Thursday, February 18, 2010

Specify a (Default) value for a registry key in an MSI

After reading a few interesting posts about why there is a (Default) value for a key in the Windows registry, I got down to the task of specifying a REG_SZ value for said (Default). I got a clue of how to do this when I read the following:
To read the unnamed (default) registry value, enter the key path without name (with trailing backslash character). For example: "Software\Microsoft\Windows\"
Bearing this in mind, I followed these steps to specify a (Default) value for a key in the MSI I am building via Visual Studio:

1. Right Click on the Setup project -> Select View -> Registry
2. Construct the path to your registry key. In this case, I was creating a new key for the AWSSDK assembly as HKLM\Software\Microsoft\.NETFramework\AssemblyFolders\AWSSDK.
3. Right click on the AWSSDK node and select "String Value"
4. Leave the "Name" field blank in the properties window but specify the correct value; in this case, it was the installation path for the SDK.

When you have entered a value, you will notice that the empty name field gets replaced by (Default).

This is a good explanation of why there is a (Default) value for registry keys: Why do registry keys have a default value?

Also, the Microsoft Orca tool is a great aid when debugging MSI issues. You can get Orca by downloading and installing the package from :here:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Visual Web Developer Express Download Link

For those like me who don't want to deal with downloading the Visual Studio Web Platform Installer just to get their hands on Web Developer 2008 Express, here is the file you need to download:

Enjoy building new ASP.NET applications!

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Best Cameras $300 or Less Can Buy - David Pogue

The Fujifilm F70EXR is superior in low light (and has that 10X zoom). The Panasonic Lumix ZS3 takes great hi-def movies (12X zoom). (The Nikon S8000 is extremely similar, but costs more.)
There, I did the reading for you so you can jump straight to the best part.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Great advice for budding authors

I'm a three-time (soon to be four-time) published author. When aspiring authors learn this, they invariably ask what word processor I use. It doesn't fucking matter! I happen to write in Emacs. I also code in Emacs, which is a nice bonus. Other people write and code in vi. Other people write in Microsoft Word and code in TextMate+ or TextEdit or some fancy web-based collaborative editor like EtherPad or Google Wave. Whatever. Picking the right text editor will not make you a better writer. Writing will make you a better writer. Writing, and editing, and publishing, and listening -- really listening -- to what people say about your writing. This is the golden age for aspiring writers. We have a worldwide communications and distribution network where you can publish anything you want and -- if you can manage to get anybody's attention -- get near-instant feedback. Writers just 20 years ago would have killed for that kind of feedback loop. Killed! And you're asking me what word processor I use? Just fucking write, then publish, then write some more. One day your writing will get featured on a site like Reddit and you'll go from 5 readers to 5000 in a matter of hours, and they'll all tell you how much your writing sucks. And most of them will be right! Learn how to respond to constructive criticism and filter out the trolls, and you can write the next great American novel in edlin.
And like everything else on the web, if you happen to get to this link, the advice is free...