MVC 4 and Azure emulator error: CREATE DATABASE permission denied in database ‘master’

Go through the basics of ASP.Net MVC 4 and Azure development, I ran into a problem when the site would try to access the database:

CREATE DATABASE permission denied in database ‘master’

I found this site detailing the problem and a potential soltuion: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dparys/archive/2009/09/17/create-database-permission-denied-in-database-master-my-fix.aspx

What that doesn’t cover is the fact that, when debugging with the Azure emulator, it’s not using your personal local account anymore. It’s using the “NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE” account. So the steps to grant that account access to the database from SQLCMD is:

CREATE LOGIN [your domain account] FROM WINDOWS;
GO;
SP_ADDSRVROLEMEMBER ‘NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE’, ‘sysadmin’;
GO;

Why can’t my tablet be the best remote control ever?

Every time Apple TV gets an update, I can’t help but think that Apple (or a competitor) is missing an opportunity.

Check out this quick video from The Verge:

See how you have to move what is essentially a cursor around the screen, using Apple TV’s tiny remote with its arrow and select buttons, to highlight the choice you want? Come on. For as pretty a UI as the Apple TV presents you with, navigating around like that feels so antiquated in this “Post-PC” era that Apple champions.

This is where a tablet comes in. So while mirroring and AirPlay options exist already, they’re awkward features, and it doesn’t make sense for the tablet to do the heavy lifting of data transfer and streaming that both of those options imply. The Apple TV doesn’t have to worry about battery life, so make it do all the work. But what a tablet is really good at is presenting me with choices, and allowing me make my selection using a pretty and responsive interface.

And that’s exactly how a tablet can be used here. See all those menu items at the top of the Apple TV UI? Present me with those choices in a tablet-oriented UI on my tablet. I make my selection, and both my tablet and the TV respond with the next screen of choices. I tap a movie to see its details on both my tablet and the TV. I hit play, the movie starts playing on the TV, and the tablet shows a progress bar and pause/play/etc. buttons along the bottom of its screen. At which point I can navigate away, use a different app, lock my tablet, or turn it all the way off, and the TV keeps showing the content from the Apple TV until told to do otherwise.

This could also be the start to an API that apps could make use of, to essentially have two screens at their disposal. This could be great for both media consumption scenarios, and for the displaying of content with a group of people.

Why can’t my tablet be the best remote control ever?

Login Form Input Elements’ Tab Order should be Standardized

One thing that can always irk me about a website’s interface is when the tab order of the site’s login form input elements are not what I expect. Typically, this is the order I want to do things:

  1. Click in the Username field.
  2. Type my username.
  3. Press Tab to go to the password field.
  4. Type my password.
  5. Press Tab to go to the “Remember Me” check box.
  6. Optionally press the spacebar to (un)check “Remember Me.”
  7. Press Tab to go to the submit button.
  8. Press the spacebar to submit the form.

This process often gets mucked up by extra links in the way, like the “Forgot your username/password?” link, or a “?” help link, which really annoys me. Providing your username and password is (well, should be) a keyboard-centric action, and it’s completely unnecessary to ask the user to go back forth between the keyboard and mouse for this.

I don’t know of any existing standard that might apply in this situation, or where a standard like this could even be defined. Would be appropriate for the W3C to include this in their standards? Whatever the case, it’s about time this became a universal aspect of all web sites.

Watched Watchmen

And I thought it was great. It was a very accurate representation of the original graphic novel, and (keep this a secret) I think I liked the ending they had in the movie over the book. There’s no giant squid, but instead the idea is that explosions occur around the world, killing even more millions than in the novel, but Ozymandias orchestrates events such that it’s perceived by the rest of the world that Dr. Manhattan is the cause of the explosions. This was a great idea, since nothing is lost from the story in terms of theme or message, but it makes the ending more tragic and personal, since one the characters we’ve gotten to know is now blamed for genocide and forced to excommunicate himself.

The casting turned out to be spot on. Pretty much everyone was presented nearly identical to how I interpreted them in the novel. One exception would be Sally Jupiter. She was a little too Joan Rivers for me.

If I had to pick one thing to improve, it would be the pacing of some of the scenes. This is probably the fault of trying to keep as short as they could. But certain scenes didn’t feel right. Towards the beginning, when Rorschach is giving a voice over, some of his lines are strung together too fast, making it seem like his mind is moving from thought to thought incohesively. Putting a couple beats between those lines would have helped. Same goes for some of Laurie’s and Daniel’s exchanges. Some of their interactions happened faster than what seems normal.

Can’t wait for the DVD release, though. Seeing the scenes that didn’t make it, as well as potential pacing fixes, is going to be even better.

StyleCop Brutality

We’ve just started to use StyleCop, and the classes I’m currently writing are the first of our project that have to validate correctly before submission. It’s an interesting task, getting my code to be in the exact proper format: the 4 or so classes I’m writing generated over 300 StyleCop errors. I’m amazed at how specific StyleCop is, in regards to what it considers valid. I went into it expecting that it would enforce that certain elements merely have documentation, but it actually goes a step further an enforces that the documentation have specific wording. Kudos the StyleCop on that.

But one (default) rule that I think might be excessive is that a class’ private variables must be documented. While I understand from an idealistic point of view why it should be documented, the typical scenario where I use private variables is one where that documentation seems excessive to me. That scenario is for read-only properties that force me to have a private variable to store the value of the property (if I want to be able to set the property from within the class). In that scenario, I then must document both the private variable and read-only property itself. But documenting that private variable seems just as (ir)relevant as documenting local variable of a method.

I think we’ll be turning that rule off.

ASP.Net MembershipProvider using NHibernate

At work we are in the process of implementing an ASP.Net MembershipProvider that uses NHibernate for the data access. I’m hoping that once it’s all complete, we’ll be able to post it online (somewhere) for the ASP.Net and NHibernate communities to peruse. It seems like a typical thing that developers out in the wild would make use of. Stay tuned.

A Healthy Skewering of Rush, Steele, and Bill-O

Another futile attempt…

Maybe THIS blog will be used.

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