Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year end special request: Say NO to plastics that don't go away.

You might not have heard of plastic waste that has been accumulating between California and Texas which has attained the veritable size of the state of Texas.

Please, refrain from using plastics that are hard to remove or destroy. Perhaps the human destiny is really controlled by the 2nd Law of thermodynamics.

Say NO to plastics. Tax the plastic manufacturers and the users.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Try out EnterpriseDB and get a taste of Open Source DB

You want to experience the use of an enterprise class of a relational database, try out EnterpriseDB which packages the latest version of PostgreSQL, a popular open source database which has been improved to address all deficiencies compared to the other popular database MySQL. Now what you have is a high reliability scalable database with superior performance that has encouraged many users to move out of Microsoft SQL Server according to some polls conducted. Download EnterpseDB and enjoy.

You have a user friendly management studio that you can use to get all that you need to work with Postgres.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Power fluctuation and computer display resolution

The power was interrupted more than once this morning (Dec 22,2008) in this area [Central NJ] and curiously when the voltage level dipped the display resolution of the computer suddenly got reduced on my Toshiba Satellite lap top from 1440 x 900 to 1024 x 768.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Toolbar properties of Report Viewer Controls

There are two Report Viewer Controls that are part of the Visual Studio (versions 2005 and 2008). They do not require SQL Server nor a license to redistribute. They are used to embed reports into windows desktop and intranet web applications.

They are both similar execept one is meant for Windows Applications and the other for web applications.

They both come equipped with a configurable toolbar, configurable both in design as well as at run time. The default settings of these controls are as shown here.

For Web applications

For Windows Applications

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oracle SQL Developer Tool 1.5 with SQL Server 2005

Oracle SQL Developer Tool

Oracle SQL Developer Tool is a stand alone program that connects to Oracle as well as third-party databases which can be used to perform a variety of tasks from running simple queries to migration of databases from third party vendor products to Oracle. Please review the following articles on the earlier versions 1.1 and 1.2: MS Access Queries with Oracle SQL Developer 1.2 Tool and Migrating MS Access 2003 Data using the Oracle SQL Developer 1.2.

Oracle SQL Developer Tool 1.5

While the default installation is ready to connect to Oracle and Access databases the other third-party products such as SQL Server 2005, MySQL and Sybase require additional JDBC drivers. This article describes how you may connect to SQL Server 2005 and SQLExpress servers using the JDBC drivers.

Go ahead and read it...

Northwind Database with SQL Server 2008

I have been using TestNorthwind, a copy of the Northwind database that got shipped with SQL Server 2000 in many of my articles and my book. Some of my readers have asked me how to get this database.

With each new version of SQL Server Microsoft has been providing new sample databases such as pubs, Northwind, Adventure Works etc. In recent versions Microsoft does not provide a sample database during installation of the server but provides a link to download the sample database. A variety of methods can be used to install the databases. Two most common ones being; running the SQL script files or, using the attach/detach methods.

The sample databases PUBS and NORTHWIND can be downloaded from this link:

This .msi file installs both Northwind and Pubs database MDF/LDF files as well as instwnd.sql and instpubs.sql files. Make sure you read the ReadMe files.

The Important steps for attaching the Northwind database are shown here.

Step 1: Run the installer program. This is just one screen from the installation.

The files are installed to C:\SQL Server 2000 Sample Databases

Step 2: Connect to SQL Server 2008 and start the Attach wizard

Connect tot SQL Server 2008 and expand the nodes. Right click Databases folder and choose Attach...
The Attach Databases window gets displayed as shown.

Step 3: Click on Add...button. Browse to the C:\drive and click on the NORTHWND.mdf. You can provide a different name using the AttachAs option.

Step 4: Click on the OK button. Northwind database can now be found in the Databases folder. The owner will be the account name of the machine owner in this Windows XP Installation.

Which database to use and where?
This largely depends on the purpose the database will be used. I have used Northwind many times as it is sufficient to demonstrate most aspects of relational databases. I have used it in the past as a backend database for demonstrating Analysis Services, Reporting Services and Integration Services demos. Adventure Works is another excellent sample database well suited for OLTP and OLAP demos. Actually I keep all of them on my servers for testing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Compact Fluorescent Lamp Claims

CF for short, they are indeed efficient. They have environmental problems since they have a small quantity of mercury, shiny but nasty stuff.

This posting is about other problems noticed in the past couple of months.

1. Unstable operation resulting in flickering which seems to stabilize after a while. While it flickers it is very unpleasant.

2. Claims of long life is over inflated. I have about three of them Kaput in the last couple of months. These Chinese made Sylvania lamps are supposed to last for 7 years. They went poof in less than 3 months.

But go ahead and use them. There are always bug fixes even for hardware.

MsAffe', you have been warned. Shame on you

I don't know what troubles McAffe'. They have tried to throw mud on my blog. This is the second time I have chosen to protest. Here is the troubling annotation,

Here's what I wrote the last time,

You will be ill advised to believe McAffe's Site Advisor. I have seen the following in the emails and the least McAffe' can do is to apologize for spreading advise which is incorrect and damaging.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Open Source Project's Report Designer

fyiReporting Software RDL Project (Apache License Vesion 2.0) may be downloaded from:

It has a few problems like internal validation etc but it is a easy tool to use and it is free. It can connect to a lot of data sources including iTunes, mySQL, PostGres etc. It has some non-compatible schema elements which makes its display impossible with Report Builder 2.0. Once those are taking care of, it should be possible to view them and deploy them to Report Server.

Here is a screen shot of a Report created using the above with the backend SQL Server 2008 providing data.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The NetFlix's Silverlight Connection

With your regular membership fees to NetFlix you can watch most movies instantly and for this to happen you need to install a Netflix viewer to you browser. Well this is where the problem comes in. You try to down load the NF_Movie_Player_211.msi and play a movie, you get this error right away.

Then you make a couple of phone calls, harass the poor help desk guy at Netflix ( I did, I confess and I am ashamed) and he will say you can fix it and he may also say it is cross-browser. Well it is not and it hangs-up on FireFox. But he will ask you to execute the ResetDRM.exe in your Netflix folder in MyDOcuments.

Read this carefully

Next he will ask you reboot and you come back and voila it does not work.

Now he will ask you to agree to the upgrade by abandoning the WMA viewer and go for SilverLight. Netflix uses Silverlight 2.0 beta but works great. Hats off to Microsoft.

Get smart programming a hand-held

In years to come the desktop will turn to dust and the mobile will reign. Right now the enemy is the battery and if you can get it charged from the cloud (?) we may very well have embarked on a new frontier.

Jump start your programming skills by getting a spoon feed from this article on device programming. It does not do much, perhaps a tad better than a 'Hello World' but it sure gives you an insight as to how you may program it, and what tools you can use.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lists aligned at design time but not at run time in Report Builder 2.0

You can take steps to make lists well aligned at design time (using the blue guide lines ). At run time they could be different.

Initial arrangement

Good case:

Bad case:
They are well aligned at design time as shown

But not any more when rendered

Probably the GUI provisions extra spaces as you add controls and where you add them in the lists. May be if the lists are larger at design time, they will be aligned well at run time as well.

Try on

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do not believe McAffe's Site Advisor. Shame on you McAffe'!!!

You will be ill advised to believe McAffe's Site Advisor. I have seen the following in the emails and the least McAffe' can do is to apologize for spreading advise which is incorrect and damaging.

Hodentek does not collect personal information. It is not in the Stealing business. You do not even need to register to browse this public site


Sunday, November 09, 2008

On WritingMode Property for TEXT in Report Builder 2.0

This is further to my previous post on obtaining vertical orientation of characters in Report Builder 2.0. As I mentioned there is a WritingMode property for text only in Report Builder 2.0.
The WritingMode vertical mode makes 'D' in 'Design' to the top but it also rotates the individul letters by 90 degrees. This is to do with the Glyph-Orientation in CSS3 and can be specified by an angle attribute. Refer to the figure as what it will display when applied to the word 'Design'. You would get the correct orientation for glyph-orientation-vertical with the angle set to 0 deg. The default is what you see when you use the WritingMode: Vertical in Report Builder.

The expression can provide you correct orientation and if you want to have D at the bottom then instead of the string 'DESIGN' start with 'NGISED' to get for D to start from the bottom. In this case there is no need to worry about the glyph orientation.
It is interesting to note that while CSS is not supported in Report Builder only one of its features (WritingMode) is supported.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Working with XML in SQL Server 2000?

SQL Server 2008 has been in RTM for the past couple of months. But I do know that there are folks ( a large number) using SQL 2000.

Perhaps the following articles will help in getting in understanding XML in SQL 2000.

1. The following aspects of XML support for SQL 2000 will be discussed in this article:

* T-SQL support for for XML
o Retrieving Data in XML formats, for XML
o From XML document to Table structure, open XML

* Overview of XML support in IIS for SQL 2000 Server

* Configuring the IIS Virtual Directory Management for SQL 2000 Server

2. The focus o this article is on URL Queries and Template files.

3. SQL 2000 server's support for XDR schemas provide the ability to specify Xpath queries against these schemas. In order to facilitate the derivation of these XDR schemas, Microsoft also provides an XML tool: XML View Mapper (not bundled with SQL 2000 Server, but a separate download). The bulk of the tutorial is about the basics of using this tool to create XML views that can be used in Xpath queries and using Xpath queries to query the database.

4. The focus of this article is on accessing XML data using Visual Studio .NET 2003 IDE. With the introduction of SQLXML3.0, the capabilities of XML data retrieval are vastly extended. The article discusses this topic using the Visual Studio.NET 2003 IDE and provides help on detailed coding. Specifically, it explores the SqlXmlCommand class in depth, delineating its properties and methods.

You may want to look up these 'mini tutorials' on SQL Server 2008

These are from my other blog. Mini tutorials are short and gives only the most essential stuff. Who has time to read four pages to get something done.

Setting up a Data Connection to SQL Server 2008 in Visual Studio 2008

On Using Query Designer Tool

Creating a new login to the Server

Partial answer to an ASPNET forum question on Report Generation

The ASPNET forum user wanted to display the following using Reporting Services.

Well the answer found was to put the data into an XML Document and using Report Builder 2.0 you can fashion a Matrix report. This would give the report to look like the above but the 'Aggregation' part fails. The report generated (I have used only two rows, but it can be made towork for more) is shown in the next figure.
I am now looking at why aggregation failed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Moon shot, entry visa and the coming elections

What do they have in common?

View this guy making a case for Visas.

Moon shot

Well you can guess what's the impact of the election outcome.

Crystal Reports 2008's Cool Features

Mini Review

With a few clicks I created a report with some grouping. Embedded the report in an ASP.NET page (VS 208) and displayed it in a browser. It is already on my intranet.

The Group Tree and Parameters featues were automatically present.

With Parameters icon clicked you can pick and choose items from the group list and keep them all as tabbed pages. I have four tabbed groups, Main Report, ALFIKI, CACTU  and FAMIA(showing).
Click on the Group tree and you have the 'document' map with drilldown features.

You can export any of these to several formats.

You can also set the number of pages you can send.

Don't you think these are cool features.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can you use Cubes created using SQL Server Analysis Services 2008 in Crystal Reports 2008?

Yes and No.

There are three options for using the cube in Crystal Reports 2008:

  • Using Olap Server
  • Using Local Cube file(.CUB)
  • Using HTTP Cube

Using OLAP Server: Yes

Using Local Cube file (.CUB): NO

When I tried to use a Local Cube file created in VS 2008, I could not. SSAS 2008 creates CUBEs with the extension .cube
Crystal Reports 2008 will look for a CUBE with the extension .cub. This is the only choice while browsing for a cube in Crystal Reports 2008.

Using HTTP Cube: Not tested yet

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Deepavali

Deepavali is the festival of lights in India.

I wish the readers of my blog a very happy deepavali (aka Diwali in India North)

We wish you all the very best in this festive season. Happy Deepavali 2008

ದೀಪಾಳಿ ಶುಬಾಶಯಗಳು
Jayaram Krishnaswamy

Debug an ASPNET page

Debugging is not a default. You need to enable debugging acording to:

Add this Page directive: debug=true

1. You have to setup the website for Windows Integrated security
default is Anonymous logon. You have to place a check mark for
Windows Authentication as shown.

2. IE Script Debugging may be enabled:(disabled is default)

Enable this using:
IE | TOOLS | Internet Options||Advanced Tabs
Under Browsing Category
Clear 'Disable Script Debugging(IE)' check box.

Happy Debugging

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to write text vertically in a textbox in Report Builder 2.0?

There is a WritingMode property of a textbox. But it cannot render the horizontal text DESIGN as


One way to do this is to use an expression.
The following expression will do just that:


Here is a picture of that:

Improved Report Builder 2.0

One of the GUI related problem in my previous post has been rectified and a new version (10/21/2008) of Report Builder has been released.

The New Table and Matrix wizard had this problem:

There was a work around but in some cases it could have caused a confusion. This has been rectified and the latest version is available for download according to Microsoft's Connect.

"Thank you for using Report Builder 2.0. The Arrange page of the wizard and the wizard overall was cleaned up between the RC build and the now released final version. Specific to your comments, you can remove a field by dragging it from one of the field group boxes to the white space in the middle. The final released version can be downloaded from the following location. "

If you are into SSRS download the new version.

Visual Studio 2008 and XHTML Validation

In Visual Studio 2008 the Default.aspx page you get when you create a new web site has the following statement regarding HTML document:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"" >

For exmaple, in order to get the following:

<hr width="800px" align="left" / >

older type html fragment to work, you need to use the following which conforms to CSS 2.0:

<hr style="text-align:'left'; width:'800px'"/>

However, VS2008 produces this error during validation:

Error 1 Validation (CSS 2.0): ''800px'' is not a valid value for the 'width' property.

In CSS 2.0, the width can have the following values, auto | a unit| inherit

However instead of inline styling if you use the style (generated by the IDE) as in::

<style type='text/css'>
font-family: 'Times New Roman' , Times, serif;
text-align: left;
height: auto;
visibility: visible;
display: inline;
width: 400px;

 you will not get this validation error.

Note that in older browsers IE treated hr as an inline element, while the others treated it as a block element.

I have often come across the validation errors in VS 2008. If you do come across them look up this useful reference:


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rich Text Formatting in Reporting Services

It is possible to mix formatting ( like in A thing of beauty is a joy for ever) in reporting services.

Here is an example.
The description field which is below the 'Beverages' has mixed formatting.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Presently this is not working in SQL Server Integration Services 2008

Whereas the Web Service Task can connect to the Report Server Web Service the methods of the service are not accessible. This will be addressed in the next major release [see link below].

Friday, October 03, 2008

Done deal, what now?

It finally got through

Let's watch for the fallout...

Dow is down!!!!

<--- Place holder for video captured from the TV (Waiting for Blogger to rectify the interface --->

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Where else you can find my blog posts?

The recent entries in my Hodentek blog also appear here at's book site:

By the way for the price you pay you get a lot of ROI. What it means is you start with knowing nothing about SSIS, and end up getting a good hands-on experience as some of the reviewers have commented. You can do all this in under 15 days.

I have blog at as well. Most of them are syndicated from this site. I do post some articles on this as well.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Some observations on the New Table or Matrix Wizard in Report Builder 2.0

It is an excellent tool that makes it easy to rapidly develop cross-tab like reports. However there are a few problems using it.

#1. It is not like what the Report Builder 2.0 documents says it is.

Copied from documentation

Copied from the Report Builder's Wizard

#2. You can only make a cross-tab report using this (of course you can edit the report later to make a Table report).

#3. Once you move a field into the three others (ROW GROUPS, COLUMN GROUPS, VALUES) you cannot remove it. You can however move it around the three.

#4. If you cancel this step you have to start the wizard all over again

#5. Even if you start with Insert | Table Wizard you end up with the same Arrange Fields page of the wizard.

This was my experience, What is yours?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What can Report Builder 1.0 do?

Let me first of all say what it cannot do.

The scenario:

Report Builder 1.0 and Models created with Visual Studio 2.0/Report Manager [Enterprise Evaluation Copy] or Reports created with Visual Studio 2.0 based on the Models created in VS2008 and hosted on Report Server [SQL Server 2008 Enterprise EE].

#1. The Models created by VS2008/BIDS/Report Manager[Enterprise Evaluation Edition] can be accessed by Report Builder 1.0. Reports created in RB1.0 using the entities in the model accessed, cannot be processed. You get the following error:
MemoryStream length must be non-negative and less than 2^31 - 1 - origin.
Parameter name: offset
Remote GDI stream version: ?. Expected version: 11.0.1.

#2. Trying to open a report created in Visual Studio 2008 based on a Model created in Visual Studio 2008 cannot be opened in Report Builder 1.0 in the SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Evaluation Edition.
The error message for this is:

System.IO.StreamReader: The Report element was not found.

Note: The Open Report window in Report Builder 1.0 locates the report bt cannot open it. The above error is displayed.

I have not tested by trying to upload a Model/Report built using SQL Server 2005. May be it can.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

From Baghavad Gita - the divine book of songs

From the artist (Lakshmi Candade) who contributed to the Sugama Sangita disc "Naraynamruta" recently released with support from Niviqure a original medical equipment maker from Bangalore.

Watch this on You Tube:

Friday, September 19, 2008

This is no winning notification

Another scam from London. Must be quite desperate.

Info lottery

show details 3:58 PM (14 hours ago)

Microsoft Promotion Award Team
20 Craven Park, Harlesden
London NW10
United Kingdom
FILE REF: HL/5564/06/08/MICS
BATCH: MC11/834/5PDH /EU


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Query Designer Tool in Report Builder 2.0 : Problem with an ODBC Connection

Query Designer Tool in Report Builder 2.0 does not allow you to use the Graphical designer for an ODBC Connection.

Here is a screen shot of what should have been a graphical interface to create a dataset.

The workaround is to type in a query which you have created, tested and verified earlier. The import can only import *.sql or *.rdl files from a saved location.

Updated information:

It appears that the Graphic interface in the Query Designer Tool works only with SQL Server according to one of MSDN Moderators.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Google Chrome and JSON

A mini tutorial:
JSON (RFC 4627) is short for JavaScript Object Notation and Google Chrome has no problem in handling JSON. Json as compared to XML has some good points. There are no versions of JSON and it does not need validation. You cannot extend it. Well it is a subset of JavaScript and there should not be any problem as long as JavaScript is enabled. Accessing within a defined object is lot easier than using ECMA as you need to do for XML.

Here are two examples of Json, an object and an array on Google Chrome.

Example of JSON Object:


Example of JSON Array:


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Data Pager Control [.NET Framework 3.5] in VS2008

When query results exceed the display area then you resort to scrolling and wish you had some way to limit the number of results displayed and comfortable to view without scrolling. Paging functionality which provides an answer to this is therefore a much desired feature. The Data Pager Control in Visual Studio 2008 provides this functionality when you create an ASP.NET web form under .NET Framework 3.5. It can be configured automatically using the GUI, or it can be installed manually after installing the ListView. In this article both of them are described. While the number of items displayed in a list can be declaratively coded, it is possible to set it at page load time as well.

Want to know how it is done?
Read the following article at Packt Site...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I thought Solitaire was a rock solid programme

Not any more. I have been seeing recently the weirdest things with this fast to load, rock solid porgram (of the past).

Want to know Solitaire on Windows ? Follow this link 

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Posting in Kannada on the Blogger

The Process of importing was round about but works alright.

Note: I did not use Google's Transcription for this

My name in Kannada

Compared to two years ago the Baraha software is good, although need steep practicing.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I Can't find these in documentation

I tried to enable My Reports in Site Settings as suggested by Microsoft Documentation for SQL Server 2008 Documentation,

but I cannot find any control (Radio button, check box) in Report Manager's Settings page to enable My Reports.

In Report Manager | Site Settings | General there is this item,

Custom Report Builder launch URL:

I also cannot find documentation about this item,

I appreciate if any reader of this blog has some idea about these.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Report Builder 2.0 with RC1 applied looks good

I was discouraged about Report Builder 2.0 but now with RC1 applied we can pursue the Game.
Looks good at first take.

Don't tarry, Get the RC1. You need to point the upgrade to your Report Server.

Report Builder 2.0 did not get better in the RTM, or did it?

The Report Builder 2.0 Help says this about Query Designer

In this window you create a dataset in Report Builder 2.0
Notice the missing Radio Button for Tables
This is the Query Designer tool in Report Builder 2.0
No support for graphic design!!!
May be this is only what I see. If you see that everything is fine kindly leave a comment.

Looks like there has been a recent RC1 for the Report Builder. Now I am in hot pursuit of this one.

Google Chrome and XML Support

Google Chrome when it renders XML does not seem to use XSLT. Here are some of the screen shots. The first is representative of mature browers (IE 7.0, Firefox 3.1, and Netscape 8.1). The second from much leaner browsers (Safari, Opera and Chrome)

IE 7.0, Firefox 3.1, and Netscape 8.1

Safari, Opera and Chrome

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google Chrome Installation - No Fuss

Go to

Accept license by hitting Accept and Install button

You will be downloading the CromeSetup (474KB) file. Double click and in less than 3 screens you are finished installing.

When you double click ChromeSetup you start up a Google Chrome Installer which works really fast. When it is done you have the browser open on your desktop. Before it gets installed it seems to import stuff from IE.

It also makes an entry into the Add/Remove Programs window in the Control Panel.

The Google Chrome Welcome page shows up as shown here.

Hitting View all features shows more details of its features as shown here.

New tab, New Window can be opened from here.

Here you can access the tools,

One of the important menu items is Options. Here is what you see in the Options. Here I am setting up the Home page to open at my blog site:

A little 'Home' icon will be added to the toolbar with the chosen option.

It has a 'Minor Tweeks' tabbed page as shown,

What you see under the hood is quite a lot,

Close this out and open the Home page. Here it is in all its chrome glory.

IE installs are time consuming. Firefox is OK but too frequent upgrades. Well, Chrome on that score appears fast without a fuss. Protection Status