Win-Hell, You can Check Out but You can Never Leave!

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What a week it’s been! My wife’s computer died so we had to buy a new one. As a professional developer, I needed a faster machine anyhow, and my poor computer was always near the brink of crashing because it couldn’t handle all the servers and development applications I have running.  We went to the local city twice, looking at computers.  The financing options available where ghastly so we ended up just putting it on credit cards, but you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find a decent operating system!

I ended up having to settle for Windows 7 Home Premium. At least it can run my servers, but the security on it is a nightmare!  Windows 7 Home Premium disables some of the security management tools that you can use in more upgraded versions, plus the new Windows 7 Security system is extremely paranoid! Even more paranoid than Windows Vista! More than once, I couldn’t access files that I’ve installed. Luckily, I know a quick fix for that; I open a Command shell in administrator mode and launch explorer from there.

So came the server setup. I needed to install MsSQL, Oracle SQL Express, MySQL, Tomcat, IIS (With PHP, ASP, and ISAPI support to connect to the Tomcat server).  As usual, I had to install Tor (A proxy client) to even download most products from Oracle. There were really no problems until it came to the IIS server. I was using the Web Platform Installer application by Microsoft to install all the features I needed, and as usual, most of their software isn’t compatible with their own software.  In short, I had to re-install IIS three times which took over 6 hours before I was able to get it to run properly. Amazingly, it started working just as my download of a WAMP server completed (WAMP is a web server alternative to IIS).

Then there was the development applications.  No real problems with Eclipse IDE except when Java was acting up, but I’ll get to that soon. I had a lot of problems getting Netbeans installed with the proper plugins. I tried using Tor as  a proxy and still couldn’t get it to work, so I ended up having to manually download and install the plug-ins.

Installing Visual Studio projects was a double nightmare. After installing a few, they stopped working, saying that some had Service Pack 1 (SP1) so none would run. So I ran a complete SP1 update which took like 2 hours but just stopped working so I stopped it, and spent another 2 hours waiting for it to run again.  No luck! When it was done running, it said the patch had failed for some stupid reason. Grumble! Well I went online and installed a Visual Studio Uninstall application. After running that I ran cleaner to clean up my registry. I then downloaded the ISO version of Visual Studio 2010 express and the SP1 patch. I also had to install PowerISO because I didn’t have any spare writable DVD’s around to burn the ISO images to.  After installing each Visual Studio application, I ran the SP1 patch again. I admit this was probably overkill but I just need the applications to work!

The other problem to mention is Java-Hell! I was doing some work for a client in Netbeans and my applets were not running. At first I thought I was doing something wrong because I don’t develop applets often but then I realized there was something wrong with Java. The applets run from my hard drive but not from the web server. I first suspected it was the server’s fault but nothing I did to the server would fix it, and using Wireshark (network auditing tool), I was able to see that the web server sent the files correctly. My new computer has 4GB ram and a 64 bit AMD processor to handle my work and It turns out that there are a tons of issues regarding 64-bit vs 32-bit applications on Windows 7. I installed a 64 bit version of firefox 9 (nightly build) and my applets magically started working! So somehow its the browser’s fault, but ultimately, the problem is caused by the Java Runtime Environment since the applets should run in 32-bit mode without any problems.

Finally, my computer is working! My wife is also loving having my old machine, Windows Vista Business with a dual core processor, definitely a big upgrade from her previous computer (ASUS A9RP).

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Programming is my passion, and I am constantly working on making my mark in this industry by creating new technologies which open doors to new capabilities. While some of my projects are experimental, most of it is grounded in standard compliant design with a constant focus on security.

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