Category Archives: Software

Dashlane Easter Egg – Konami Code reveals Conway’s Game of Life

I’ve been a Dashlane user for a while now, having found out about it through a friend and respected colleague who started working for them in the Paris office.

What you may not know is that Dashlane have invited a number of people to be on their “Board of Users” and to give feedback on new product developments. A few days ago one of the QA Engineers set us all a challenge – to find a hidden “cheat code” in the PC version of the application.

Well, I found it! (and I think I was the first)

It turns out that if you open the application, then go to the Help > About screen you’ll initially see this:

about-before

Now comes the fun part, you need to type the Konami Code:

↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → A

As soon as you finish that, you’ll see this screen and the Easter Egg will have been activated:

about-after

Initially I though, hmm, interesting, is it some kind of icon editor? You can start drawing on the grid, like this:

about-start

But as soon as you click the Dashlane logo then the grid turns into Conway’s Game of Life:

about-running

The guys at Dashlane have been kind enough to offer to send me some goodies but the main prize is this signed Dashlane drawing from the team at Dashlane in Paris:

Dashlane Konami Code Scan

Thanks all!

The New Efficiency: The UK Technical Launch of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010

Tuesday was the UK Technical Launch of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010 at Wembley Stadium. The weather was pretty grim but it was good to finally walk down Olympic Way for the first time and see the arch coming into view.

Olympic Way

Although the event was aimed at “IT Pros” rather than developers I figured this event would be a good way of finding out what’s new and what I, as a developer, might be able to work with in the near future. There was also the bonus of a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate for turning up which helped make the peak travelcard and the day off work a bit less painful.

Below are some of the highlights from my perspective as a developer:

XBox 360s
For some reason the Wembley conference centre is full of those XBox 360 stands. I played a bit of Need for Speed: Shift and then some Halo 3: ODST while waiting for the first session. Not a bad way to start the day.

Twittering and texting
I was impressed that Microsoft had thought to suggest a Twitter hashtag (#MSWembley) to use so that everyone could keep track of tweets related to the event. They were also monitoring it for feedback and as a way of asking questions which was a nice idea. There was also a text number that you could use for questions. Unfortunately all the sessions seemed to overrun so there wasn’t any time for questions in the sessions I went to.

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
Although it’s been out a while, the R2 release seems to be much improved. I was impressed with the live migration of a virtual machine from one server to another with only a very short pause, very impressive stuff to see. I’m not sure if it’s a new feature or not but it was also useful finding out about P2V (Physical to Virtual) migration. I’m fairly sure VMWare came first with most of this stuff but that doesn’t come with my TechNet subscription!

Virtualisation
Although I use virtual machines a lot for testing and development I’d not thought about some of the many other business uses for virtualisation. One of the most interesting ones was for the police – for security they have to have seperate systems for accessing certain information databases. In the past this would be done by having physically seperate machines on seperate networks. Now they can just have a dumb terminal which remote desktops into banks of virtual machines, all running Windows 7 of course!

Exchange Server 2010
There are some nice new features with this release. While you’re composing a message you get a warning if someone on the recipient list is out of office, before you send it – a nice potential timesaver. You can create your own customisable alerts too e.g. a warning if you’re sending a mail externally or if it contains certain keywords. The web interface now has threaded conversation support, and works in Firefox just as well as in IE. And finally the beginning of the end of PST files which I know can be a nightmare.

Me at Wembley

Filter for WinMerge

A lot of web development tools like Dreamweaver and FrontPage like to create annoying files and folders throughout a build. I’m sure they’re useful to somebody, but they just get in the way when you’re doing a comparison of two builds.

I thought I’d share a basic filter I’ve made for WinMerge, which makes it ignore any junk files created by Dreamweaver, FrontPage and Windows.

Folders ignored:

  • _vti_cnf
  • _notes

Files ignored:

  • Thumbs.db
  • _vti_cnf
  • dwsync.xml

I’ll probably add more files to this list as I discover them, but for now please feel free to download the filter. If you have any suggestions, please add a comment to this post.

ASP.NET debugging in Firefox – resources not loading

For a while I’ve had trouble with Firefox when using a local IIS 5 install to test/debug an ASP.NET application. Some of the images and other resources weren’t loading, almost as if a limit had been hit. It would also show a login dialog box.

The solution is to go to about:config in Firefox and make sure that network.http.keep-alive is set to true.

The reason I’d set it to false in the past was so I could test a load balanced cluster.

Update: I’ve since found that the fix above doesn’t always work.

Something else which almost fixes this problem is to disable HTTP keep-alives via the site properties in IIS. Unfortunately this has the side effect of stopping debugging working in Visual Studio 2003.

NVidia ForceWare Network Manager vs. SonicWall VPN Client

After a lot of trial and error I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the NVidia ForceWare Network Manager can cause problems with the SonicWall VPN Client. I can’t say for certain as there are so many other things involved but after uninstalling it everything else seemed to start working as it should. I had the firewall disabled but it was still doing something to stop some VPN traffic going through. There’s some more detailed information on Experts Exchange