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Scott's Column
Visual Basic 2005, Funeral in New York

May 1, 2006
By Scott Lewis

It has been a slow month. I was sick for a little bit at the beginning of the month, and this caused my sons to miss some of their Cub/Boy Scout stuff. I also had to go to New York for a funeral.

Gaming

There is nothing new on the gaming front. However, a friend showed me the latest Tomb Raider game. The reason for this was he discovered a button labeled "Next Generation Content." This improved the looks of the game by an overwhelming amount. He has a pretty good gaming machine (AMD Athlon 64 3500+, nVidia GeForce 6800 w/ 256 MB, 1 GB memory, etc). The Next Generation Content ran quite slow, but you could see that the graphics were very impressive. I can't wait until I build another gaming machine and all games look this good.

Visual Studio 2005

We left off last time with my application almost complete, and waiting for more in-depth testing. I have tested it more, and I even beefed up its error handling. I tried to write a simple routine for notifying the appropriate people when certain errors occur. Simple got a little complicated. Basically there are three levels of severity. Each level will send a page or e-mail (or both) once or more as necessary. It turned out quite well.

My trip to New York prevented me from moving the new code into production.

Another hiccup that prevented moving my first VB 2005 application into production was a server problem. The server was running very slow. We would watch it closely through Task Manager and programs were getting very little CPU time. The application that generates our Postscript output normally sucks up all the available CPU cycles. For some reason they were only taking 1 to 5 percent of the CPU action. Jobs that should take about 1-1/2 minutes were taking well over 10 minutes.

Since we have two identically configured servers we tried to see what could be different. We didn't find anything. Eventually we stood up a backup server for two days while we rebuilt the slow server. While we were at it we installed Windows Server 2003, instead of Windows Server 2000.

All was well once we got all the files necessary to process our jobs. We will upgrade the other production server to 2003 in the near future.

New York

I had to take a trip to New York for my grandmother's funeral. I had enough time up there to visit all the people I normal try to visit. This is the first time in a long time I have seen everyone. Usually some people get left out. It was a good trip. I even had the chance to spend a couple of hours in the Atlanta airport with my oldest friend (friends since I was 7). He works at the Atlanta airport and he came by for my two hour layover.

I also happen to be in New York during the New York International Auto Show. I was jammed for time when I learned it was in town, but I did manage to squeeze in 90 minutes there. I borrowed my brother's digital camera to grab some pictures. You can check out some of the pictures in this month's Car Corner.

Conclusion

That's it for this month. I am hoping to get one weekend camping trip in with my oldest son and his Boy Scout Troop. They go camping once a month, and they have a big four day camping trip in July. The July trip will be in Oklahoma, so with travel time there and back it is supposed to be eight days. Yikes! I would like to get one normal weekend trip in before that.

Hopefully next month I will have more to talk about. Until then...
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