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When updating Office 2011 for Mac, you are prompted that you must close “Microsoft Database Daemon” and “SyncServicesAgent”

If you’re trying to update your install of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac, you may get the following message:

“These applications must be closed before the software can be installed:

Microsoft Database Daemon
SyncServicesAgent

Close these applications and try again”

If you try to kill the apps using activity monitor, you’ll find they keep getting restarted. The only way I found that worked to stop them is by following the instructions below.

  1. Open a terminal window and enter the following command:
    launchctl unload ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.microsoft.LaunchAgent.SyncServicesAgent.plist

This will unload the SyncServicesAgent. Unfortunately the Daemon kept running for me after the latest update. To stop that, do the following:

  1. Open activity monitor
  2. Scroll down until you find Microsoft Database Daemon in the list of active applications.
  3. Click on Microsoft Database Daemon and click on the Quit Process button in the toolbar

Go back to the install utility and you should now be able to proceed with the install. Once the install is finished, you’ll want to restart the Sync Services Agent, so do the following:

  1. Go back to the terminal window and enter this command:
    launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.microsoft.LaunchAgent.SyncServicesAgent.plist

Now you should be all set with updates and can close terminal.

 

Windows Server 2008/2012 Blue Screen after Login – No Desktop

One of my teammates was working on a Windows server and needed to access IIS to complete a Sitecore upgrade on the machine. After logging in, he was reporting that he only saw a blue screen with no user interface. I logged in under the administrator account and ran into the same thing. Here’s how I was able to reset:

  1. CTRL + ALT + END
  2. Start Task Manager
  3. Click processes tab and find all instances of “explorer.exe”
  4. Right click each process and selected “End process tree”
  5. Once all instances are gone, select the Applications tab
  6. Click new task button
  7. Type “explorer.exe” without the quotation marks
  8. Click OK.

If it’s a user account and you can login to the administrator account and see the UI, you can load remote desktop as admin.

  1. Start -> Run
  2. Type “mstsc /v:servername /console /admin” in order to access the server.
  3. In “Windows Taks Manager”, go to the Users tab and proceed to do a right click over the account that you want to “Log Off”, select log off.

This should free the locked session used by that account and bring the UI back.

 

Steam is having trouble connecting to the Steam servers.

If you use Steam and  suddenly find yourself unable to connect receiving the error “Steam is having trouble connecting to the Steam servers.”, check and see if you have Peerblock installed and running. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out why the connections wouldn’t go through and finally went through apps running in the background one by one, until I closed Peerblock and discovered Steam suddenly started working. If you would like to continue to use Steam while Peerblock is open, follow these instructions for a workaround:

1. Start PeerBlock
2. Click List Manager
3. Click Add
4. Put something in the description like steam-allow
5. click add url and paste this: “http://list.iblocklist.com/?list=steam” (no quotes)
6. Choose type: allow
7. Click Ok then close the List Manager.

This will download a list that adds exceptions for Steam and should let you connect with no issues.

Visual Studio 2013 package did not load correctly

Visual Studio Error MessageToday I loaded up Visual Studio to continue work on a project and created by a random bunch of errors. All were complaints that various packages could not be loaded. The one I captured was:

The ‘JavascriptWebExtensionsPackage’ did not load correctly.’ The problem may have been caused by a configuration change or by the installation of another extension.

I had just installed SyncFusion’s Essential Studio which apparently screwed something up. I tried doing a repair on Visual Studio which unfortunately did not work.

I was able to fix it by following these steps:

  1. Close Visual Studio Open the *Users*\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\12.0\ folder
  2. Rename the ComponentModelCache folder
  3. Restart Visual Studio.

Visual Studio should now rebuild the cache and no longer display the error messages.

ASP.NET MVC Model Generator

In making the switch to ASP.NET MVC, I’ve moved away from using my old Data Access Layer that I’ve used for years and have opted to use Dapper as my ORM of choice in the quest for optimal performance. My DAL was actually pretty optimized for WinForms and WebForms (using straight SQL Queries and SQL parameters) but mapping it to models wasn’t something I had in mind when I created it. I’m finding Dapper takes some getting used too but it is still pretty fast. The downside is that writing the code for Models to wire it up is proving to be a little tedious.

To that effect, I wrote a little application that has helped me generate the models from a database dynamically. It’s in it’s infancy stages and something I cobbled together in less than 8 hours but it works. I’ll add more features too as time goes on if there’s enough interest or to satisfy my own needs. In the meantime, I’m open sourcing the project as it may help others and I’d love to see it become something grander if others are willing to contribute to it. There’s also some useful bits of code that others may find useful to reference like dynamically reading fields from a database, pluralization/singularization of words, amongst others.

You can find the repository on Github: https://github.com/gregvarghese/MVCModelGenerator

How to Get Browser Name and Version via JavaScript

Today I ran into a strange issue where Firefox version 28 and below rendered style widths different than Firefox 29 and above. Firefox 29 and above appear to have fixed the issue and render sizes to match Chrome/IE8+/Opera/Safari. Unfortunately, as old as Firefox 28 is, our client’s legal review team is stuck on that version as IT refuses to let them upgrade. As such, we needed to add a kludge fix to the site to add a style to fix the issue for those running older Firefox versions. JQuery removed the version support from version 1.9 so here’s a handy script that will allow you to detect the browser and version without any extra dependencies.

Usage is very simple:

BONUS: If you need to detect a specific version and add special classes, here’s a quick snippet that will allow you to add a class to the HTML tag  using plain old vanilla.js.

 

SourceTree Crashes on Load

sourcetree errorI’ve recently started using Git for development and while I am getting used to the command line tools on Windows, I have been using Atlassian’s free tool, SourceTree to help manage my code. Recently I’ve run into an issue where SourceTree crashes on start up.”Oh dear. We’re sorry, but SourceTree just crashed. How terribly embarrassing.”

I submitted an issue (https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/SRCTREEWIN-3011) and received a response that didn’t solve the issue. I submitted a follow up but never heard back so I did some further digging and found that SourceTree was crashing because it corrupted a repo and was still trying to load it back up on start up. The application does not exit gracefully or even give you the option to start in a safe mode which loads nothing.

To prevent it from opening the repo on start up:

Open %localappdata%/Atlassian/SourceTree/opentabs.xml in notepad or another editor.
Delete the problem repo.

Viola! No more SourceTree crashes on start up.

How to Reset Sitecore 7.1 & Sitecore 7.5 Forgotten/Lost Admin Password

In working on implementing a Sitecore site into an existing code base inherited from another vendor, I discovered that the admin password had been modified and the vendor would not share it. Not being able to login to the admin section of Sitecore was not ideal to say the least. After scouring the web, most articles contained instructions on how to reset the password, but almost all of them applied to Sitecore 6 and below. For Sitecore 7 and above, most articles were not applicable as they introduced the PasswordSalt field into the database which Sitecore uses to hash the password.

If you’ve run into a similar situation, or you’ve forgotten or lost your admin account password, getting access back to everything is pretty simple. Load SQL Management (or your favorite SQL editor) and execute this query against your Core database:

This will now reset the default admin password to ‘b’ so that you may login to the Sitecore desktop. Happy editing!

How to Import Multiple VCF contacts into iCloud

One of my users recently came to me with an interesting problem this week. She had left her old job but had left all her contacts on her work account. Once the account was deleted, all the addresses were wiped out as well. By sheer luck, her iPad had a copy of the contacts since she never connected it to a new network which prevented any type of sync. We managed to export the contacts off the iPad to VCF cards but were now left with the tedious task of importing them all into iCloud for her to use on her phone. I tried dragging and dropping all the VCF cards into the browser but iCloud displayed 300+ errors saying the card could not be imported, without specifying which ones were a problem. The import would error out after clicking OK at around 300 times and not actually import a single one.

I remembered that the format of the cards is simple text and you can easily merge the files into one big file to import.

  1. Copy the VCF cards to a folder like c:\temp\vcf.
  2. Right mouse click on c:\temp\vcf while holding shift and you’ll see an option that says “Open with Command Prompt”
    1. You can also open command prompt by clicking Start -> Run, or windows button + r and type cmd to launch it.
  3. Enter the command copy /a *.vcf merge.vcf in the command prompt.

This will merge all cards into a single VCF file. Now return to iCloud Contacts, click on the gears icon on the bottom left, and click “Import Contact” and choose the generated VCF card. iCloud will now display a progress bar of the import and any errors. In a strange coincidence, importing the contacts this way only prompted me with three or so errors. I’m not exactly sure why the error count was reduced doing it this way. (There were over 1500 contacts to import and I wasn’t about to sift through them to see what was different since it was for personal contacts.)

Soylent

Soylent Logo

If you haven’t heard of Soylent, you’ve probably been living under a rock. It’s a meal replacement that’s become a hot topic of discussion on many sites and forums from Reddit to Tim Ferris’ own blog.

I bought into the craze and decided to give it a go for a month to see if it works for me. I honestly have no expectations or assumptions as most products and gimmicks always end up failing for me despite working for everyone else. I’ve tried the Slow Carb diet but found it unsustainable for myself for long-term use for multiple reasons. The diet works but quickly becomes very expensive. Unless you have serious will-power, it becomes very hard to stick with it for long durations since it’s such a significant lifestyle change for a foodie like myself.

I’m going to log my experience with Soylent here for a month and see how it works out for me.