Wireless TV Receivers from AT&T U-verse!

I’m so excited that AT&T U-verse has come out with wireless TV receivers. I have not had cable in my upstairs bedroom for the 6 years that I’ve lived in my current home due to the fact that the wiring was not in-place. I’d been told by multiple companies that I couldn’t get cable installed up there without tearing through the walls or running a cable up the side of the building, and I haven’t been ambitious enough to do such things. I’d dream to myself–why can’t they just come up with a wireless receiver? I can stream wirelessly from my computer, so why not do the same with TV?

Well, my prayers have been answered, and I am so happy! I ordered my wireless receiver from AT&T the day after I found out that they offered it. They charged me a one-time fee of $49.99 plus $7 per month, which is the same as a second non-wireless, non-DVR HD receiver. It arrived in the mail two days later, installed in minutes, and has worked flawlessly since.

There are two pieces to the setup. A small access point that plugs directly into the U-verse home portal (or whatever they call it–the router), and the wireless receiver. When you turn them on, you pair them much like a bluetooth device. And that’s all there was to installation & setup.

Hats off to AT&T for this. I love it 🙂

Private Builds in TFS

My team has configured TFS to automatically kick-off continuous integration (CI) builds when developers check-in changes. The build depends on the affected area, and the time to complete depends on the build. Some of our builds contains hundreds of projects and thousands of unit tests, and these can take the better part of an hour to complete. We also have nightly builds that build even more and take even longer.

Occasionally, I’ll have some changes to check-in at the end of the day. I check them in, and I get a notification that I broke the build when I’m halfway home. Crap. I need to fix the change before the nightly build starts, or it’s going to break, too.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to run a build with my pending changes and then check them in automatically if the build succeeds? Well… There is! TFS has support for private builds (or “buddy builds”) that you can queue with a shelveset.

When I choose to queue a build, I choose to build with local sources plus a shelveset. Then I specify which shelveset, and I have the option to check-in my changes if the build succeeds. Splendid!

Awesome, Free Software: Core FTP

I had to do some testing for a project that uploads its payload via SFTP. I wanted to setup a basic, no-frills SFTP server that could accept my files. I did a quick Google search and found Core FTP Server–a free download. After about 2 minutes of configuration, I had my SFTP server up & running; it was fantastic.

I also see that they have a free mini sftp server that’s available. It’s a no-install, one-user, one-directory SFTP server, and IT WORKS AWESOMELY! This might be my new favorite way to securely transfer files between sites!

Core FTP Server

Move Shelvesets Between Branches in TFS

At my company, we do a lot of concurrent development between a number of branches. It’s not uncommon for a change made in one branch to be needed in another branch. TFS Power Tools includes functionality to help you quickly and easily migrate a shelveset from one branch into another.

The usage is simple, too. Go to the command-line and type the following (make sure you run it from a directory mapped to a workspace):

tfpt unshelve "My Shelveset" /migrate /source:$/SourceBranch /target:$/TargetBranch

When you run the command, it will load the changes stored in the shelveset into the specified target branch. Super!

AVG Free Edition

If anybody asks me for recommendations on an anti-virus solution, I always point them to AVG. I’ve used it for years and love it. It has a great UI, does a good job detecting and cleaning viruses, and they have a free edition to-boot! The only drawback to the free edition is that it’s so hard to find the download!

If you try to find it by browsing through http://www.avg.com, it’s near impossible to find. So, the easiest way to find it is to remember this URL: free.avg.com.

If you do happen to download and/or install the not-free version, it will prompt you to convert to the free version when you go to uninstall. So that’s another way to get it.

Bright Future for WP7

Microsoft has come out with a list of new features that will be coming with the Mango update later this year. I gotta say, I’m really excited. I’m happy with the phone exactly how it is now, but it’s getting so much better. You can find feature/update lists all over the internet, or you can browse the What’s next | Windows Phone 7 page at Microsoft.

These are the features that I’m most excited about:

  • IE9
  • Voice turn-by-turn navigation
  • Bing Vision
  • Local Scout
  • Better integration with Twitter & support for Facebook chat
  • Improved multitasking (alt+tab-like behavior)

The only feature that I was really missing from the BlackBerry Curve that I had with Sprint is the Sprint Navigation app. It was nice to always have a GPS in my pocket. WP7 has Bing maps with directions, but it’s not the best for figuring out where to go while driving since you need to scroll through and read the steps. So I’m definitely happy to see that voice-guided turn-by-turn directions are coming. I’m also looking forward to trying out Bing Vision.

Also, the check out PC Magazine’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards for mobile phones here. The Samsung Focus on AT&T (my phone) had a sparking 9.1 rating. I agree with it–I love this phone!