Microsoft’s Tech Fest 2010 Auckland

A highlight of the year for Microsoft developers is Tech Ed, Microsoft’s only annual developer conference in NZ. Fortunately it’s held just down the road from my work, at Sky City Convention center so I’ve gotten to go to many sessions over the last few years.

The closing party, “Tech Fest” is always a highlight too.  A great venue, free beer, the chance to catch up with former colleagues and university friends, and of course the music. Every year that I’ve been Microsoft has done a great job of booking really good “world famous in NZ” bands to perform. 2007: Evermore. 2008: Opshop. 2009: Katchafire and Elemeno P. and 2010: Midnight Youth and Gin Wigmore.

Midnight Youth at Tech Fest 2010
Midnight Youth at Tech Fest 2010

Midnight Youth did a great job getting the crowd going. They sounded polished and the crowd was loving it. Then Gin came on. Now, I really like Gin’s music and her performance was great, but after being warmed up by a rock band the crowd wanted to party some more. The consensus amongst the punters was that Gin Wigmore should have warmed up the crowd first, and then Midnight Youth it finish off.

Gin Wigmore
Gin Wigmore at Tech fest 2010

Windows XP: password has expired, but you do not have permission to change the password

Since I work in IT, I’m occasionally asked to do tech support for family and ex-girlfriends, even though that’s not my area of expertise. Yesterday a friend had a problem I’d never seen before.

After bootup, she would be presented with the standard Windows XP login screen, with only one user account available for login. She clicks her name, enters her password, and then gets a message “your password has expired, you must enter a new one” or however the exact text goes.

So she enters a new password but then gets “You do not have permission to change your password”, which prevents her from logging in and takes her back to the login screen.

After trying a few different things to no avail, I tried googling the problem on my iPhone. But I couldn’t even find anyone with the same problem, let alone a solution.

Safe mode to the rescue

I tried booting Win XP into safe mode, and luckily at the login prompt I could now choose to login as Administrator (with no password!). Once inside I checked the account my friend was trying to login as, and sure enough the “User cannot change password” box was checked, and the “Password never expires” box was unchecked.

I restored the settings back to how they should be – password never expires and user can change the password. So that fixed the problem, but I was still wondering how those settings got set like that. My friend sheepishly admitted that she’d been playing around with those settings a while ago when she had password problems with her ISP. D’oh!

IE9 Beta renders blurry text

I’m just giving Internet Explorer 9 Beta a try, and my first impression is that the text in web pages looks blurry. See:

That’s the same web page viewed in 3 different browsers. Which one looks the worst to you?

Top – IE9

Middle – Chrome

Bottom – Firefox.

I also tried to create this post using’s post editor in IE9, but it didn’t work – I couldn’t change the cursor position using my mouse, and the image upload dialog box wouldn’t appear. Which is ironic since Microsoft is touting WordPress’s IE9 enhancements.

Update: Scott Hanselman has explained the IE9 blurry text issue.

Make yourself an admin in SQL Server 2008

The same colleague I was helping with their SQL install yesterday made another mistake. She mustn’t have set herself to be the db admin, because we’d get “Access denied” messages when she’d try to connect to her local db using SQL Server Management Studio.

Fortunately she found this script by Ward Beattie which fixes the problem. She only had to enter MSSQLSERVER as the SQL instance name.

SQL Server 2008 install requires Visual Studio 2008 SP1

I was helping a colleague setup their new Windows 7 developer box today, and we couldn’t install SQL Server 2008. SQL Server’s installation would complain:

A previous release of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 is installed on this computer. Upgrade Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 to the SP1 before installing SQL Server 2008.

Well, we’d already installed Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 SP1 so why wasn’t it working? Even after a reboot Visual Studio 2008 was reporting that SP1 was already installed.

In the end we had to install VS 2008 SP1 a second time, and after that the SQL Server install worked fine.

What went wrong? The developer had started to install SQL Server 2008 while VS 2008 SP1 was still being installed.