Speaking at CodeCamp in Zagreb, Croatia

CodeCamp2007Banner I am pretty busy lately and also have been attending CEE MVP Open Days 2007 summit in beautiful Cavtat right next Dubrovnik in beautiful warm weather. Nevertheless I've found enough time to (re)deliver LINQ to SQL presentation and co-moderate ORM - hero to zero round table on Saturday, 29th of September at CodeCamp. The event will happen in [MS] Hrvatska building located in Zagreb, Croatia.

I have to say that this is my first engagement in non-native and non-English language and I am curios whether attendees will understand me at all. See you in Zagreb!

Context Menu extensions can cause all sort of problems in Vista

I have been bugged for a while with some highly annoying problems in Vista:

  1. Mouse click on recently used item in start menu didn't start anything - nothing at all
  2. Running As Administrator on pinned menu items didn't work on some items.
  3. Typing application name in start search text box didn't start some applications either even though search found them
  4. Double click on items in Visual Studio solution's explorer didn't start context application, too.

Try living with those threefour problems for a single day and you'll feel the pain.

Of course I phoned [MS] support and they didn't know nothing about this problem. So after a while I went googling again and almost immediately found the description to my problem in this thread - apparently the problem is related to 3rd party context menu extensions.

Fortunately for me, the thread mentions a possible solution: basically you have to run ShellExView application and pinpoint the offender by disabling Context Menu extensions one by one (no need to restart the OS in between) until one of the problems is gone (they are all related thus when one is gone all are gone). The culprit on my computer was KDiff3 (otherwise a very good tool). Once I disabled Context Menu for KDiff3 the problems were magically gone. I suggest you to start by disabling non-[MS] multiplatform application context menu extensions as I did (KDiff3 was 2nd on my list out of 30 extensions).

And everything is working again.

Is your Seagate 7200.10 disk using SATA or SATAII?

Another detail regarding the Seagate 7200.10 disk (and perhaps other series as well). These disks are SATAII capable but aren't SATAII enabled by default. The difference is 300MB vs 150MB transfer rate. It actually does matter only when you are running RAID array because no single disk has 150MB sustained transfer rate so far. At least a mainstream disk. If you aren't on RAID then it is not that important (there is no big performance gain - most of the gain is only when PC is reading from disk's internal cache). Anyway, if you have SATAII capable motherboard then you might double check whether you are on SATAII or not. To enable SATA II  you have to remove a jumper located right to the data cable connector (it is also described on the sticker attached at the top of the drive). That's it.

Beware of Seagate 7200.10 disk series

I noticed a bunch of articles regarding highly praised Seagate 7200.10 disk series and a couple of forum threads: one, two (I am sure there are others as well).

The problem is if you got a drive with an AAK firmware - it is abnormally slow (see article). Unfortunately I have one of these and can confirm the bad HD Tune results as others are reporting - at least my results are similar but not exactly the same since I have a 750GB drive instead of 320GB the people are talking about. Looks like my drive is having hardware problems, too. Since the Seagate is unwilling to comment (According to second forum's thread, at the bottom, they just say that this version is an OEM and it should never see retail stores. And since it is an OEM version Seagate isn't supporting it.) it is a big possibility that these results are correct and drive performance sucks. But it gets even worse - firmware is written on ROM and thus can't be flashed. Isn't that just great. I guess the hard disk price fall has its own bad side.

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I am also getting some hardware errors, it seems (perhaps this is related to bad results?). Not sure why there are a vast amount of errors and HD Tune reports status as OK.
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The bottom line is to avoid 7200.10 AAK versions unless you are sure that its performance is OK. At least I will be very cautious when buying a new drive, specially from a Seagate.