Spaceroom Enhancements & Updates

Last week Gavin asked me to come down for a visit, saying he had a surprise. It was a good one!

The Spaceroom got a major overhaul in terms of equipment last week. Through a surplus web site Gavin was able to get 10 Dell OptiFlex 170 computers for $96 each. We are now upgraded from really old computers running Windows 98 to only slightly old ones running Windows XP.

One of the interesting features of the new machines is that they are supposed to support network wake-up. This means it should be possible to send a message to the machine that is powered down, to cause it to start up automatically. We already have software for automating the shutdown process, so if we can figure out how to use this we will have complete control of the machines.

We started to work on getting the software setup and configured. There is an odd issue with the Console program relating to using Run-Time libraries. Also odd is that the behavior is different if it is run from a local drive, versus a network drive mapping. In the local case there are specific error messages that imply that a number of the run-time libraries are trying to be loaded twice. Likely due to that issue, there is an issue with some component registration. In the drive mapping case only the component reg. failure messages show up. Why not consistent error messages? I almost wonder if there is something going on with the security settings. We are getting the Windows prompt that the software is unsigned, which usually means that the security settings for the intranet are too tight. I don’t know if this is related.

I am going to see if using a tool named Eureak Log can help. It is a very interesting add-on to the development environment that when included provides extremely detailed information in an error log file, including call stack, line number and unit where the exception occured, and the ability to email the log file to any addresses, as well as a list of all applications and run time libraries that were in memory. It can also do memory leak checking as well. The only issue I see is that it seems to be an issue with the early stage of loading DLL’s so it may be outside of the scope of the logging sofware.

There were a number of things that I could not do in Windows 98, so I am looking forward to being able to take advantage of the XP environment.