Showing posts from 2011

Video Game Review: Rocksmith

I've been meaning to write this review for awhile, but life has been keeping me pretty busy lately. In fact, while I'd like to have spent more time playing this game, I haven't had much opportunity -- or energy -- of late.

Rocksmith allows you to plug a real guitar into your PS3 or (in my case) Xbox 360 and play along to real songs (using a special cable included with the game -- plug one end into the guitar, the other into your gaming console). It adjusts the difficulty up or down depending on your skill (or lack thereof!) and no matter how badly you do, you can't fail out of a song as in games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero.

When I first heard about this game, I was intrigued. But when I happened to come across it the day it came out, I was hesitant to purchase it. What if it didn't work well? What if the mechanics were off? I decided to hold off until reading some reviews. By the end of the day, a steady influx of glowing reviews had piled up on Amazon (the only…

Entity Framework and the "Undefined column mapping" Exception

I've recently run across an exception that occurs while trying to update Entity Framework data models from their respective databases. The exception message is "Unable to generate the model because of the following exception: 'An error occurred while executing the command definition. See the inner exception for details. Undefined column mapping."

I searched online and couldn't find any mention of this exception. This surprised me, considering the frequency with which I've been encountering it. I thought that perhaps it had something to do with the DbContext I'm using with Entity Framework 4.1 to create persistence ignorant POCO (plain old CLR object) classes. I tried a few things to alleviate the issue, but to no avail.

As of now, the only solution I have to this problem is merely a workaround: delete all of the entities from the model and re-add them. I hope to eventually find a good solution to this problem, but with limited time and no other leads to g…

Resolving the "Unable to load the specified metadata resource" Error When Using a Devart Entity Model

I recently made use of a Devart Entity Model to allow me to use LINQ with an Oracle database and to get around an issue when using views with Entity Framework 4.1. Everything worked well...until the code was deployed. When running on my local PC (either through Visual Studio or from another site under my local IIS) the code worked without a problem. But when built using our build machine, I would receive the "Unable to load the specified metadata resource" exception when trying to call a service method that made use of the entity model.

When I used IL DASM (ildasm.exe) to examine the manifests of the assembly built locally versus the one built on the build machine, I found that, indeed, the resources for the Devart Entity Model were not present in the assembly manifest of the assembly that was built on the build machine.

The solution -- and it's not a good solution -- was to install the Devart developer tools on the build machine. Again, this is not a good solution -- one …

Resolving a Problem When Adding A Reference to a WCF Service

Awhile ago, I was having issues adding a WCF service reference to a project I was working on. I was getting an error when trying to add the reference that said “Custom tool error: Failed to generate code for the service reference”. Looking at the Reference.cs file for the service, it was blank except for the comment block at the top.

The answer lied in one of the warning messages (I've changed some of the assembly and namespace names below to protect my company's privacy):

Custom tool warning: Cannot import wsdl:portType
Detail: An exception was thrown while running a WSDL import extension: System.ServiceModel.Description.DataContractSerializerMessageContractImporter
Error: List of referenced types contains more than one type with data contract name 'Content' in namespace ''. Need to exclude all but one of the following types. Only matching types can be valid references:

Boba Fett Cartoon From The Star Wars Holiday Special an Easter Egg in the Blu ray Set

(Hat-tip to and the contributor of this information, Luke)

I still need to confirm this, but apparently the Boba Fett cartoon from the Star Wars Holiday Special is part of the new Star Wars Complete Saga Blu ray set. To view it, go to the following menu in the Original Trilogy Bonus Disc:

epiV > Bespin > the collection > concept boba fett armour > click on first look

A Moment To Catch My Breath

It's been a few months since I've written anything here. Things have been extremely hectic, and any downtime has usually been spent trying to relax and recharge.

In fact, I haven't had time to think about what to write here, so this blog entry will be a hodge-podge of miscellaneous thoughts and updates.

I've been playing the new Mortal Kombat game. When I heard it would be moving back to a 2D fighting plane, and doing a "Let's go back in time and have an alternate history of the first three games (a la the latest Star Trek film)", I had absolutely no interest. But the pulled it off very well. Yes, I do miss the strategy and depth allowed by a 3D plane, and miss the multiple fighting styles that the characters have had in the last 3 games, but what's there is really good, and I love the addition of a 2-Player tag team co-op mode -- my son and I enjoy playing this together.

I like the focus on characters from the first 3 games, though the downloadable char…

Possible Loss of Fraction in C#

I had written some code in C# to try to account for possible fractions that looked something like this:

double columnCountDividedBy2 = numberOfColumns / 2;

In the above example, numberOfColumns is declared as an int. I thought that, because I was assigning the result to a double, I would get a fractional number if numberOfColumns divided by 2 was not a whole number. However, what was happening was that the fraction was being dropped. ReSharper was also giving me a warning message, "possible loss of fraction".

The reason why (which I have to smack myself now for not realizing) was that, even though I was assigning the result to a double, I was still dividing two integers. Adding a decimal point and zero to the second number of my equation, as shown below, solved the problem:

double columnCountDividedBy2 = numberOfColumns / 2.0;

A Star Beyond Time (Ilia's Theme)

Even though I'd been on a bit of a Star Trek kick lately, I happened across this by chance -- a friend shared it with another friend on Facebook, and it showed up in the "Most Recent" section of the main page. When I first saw the post I thought it was a video with the theatrical track, which is a nice instrumental, but that's not what this is. I guess this was the single version (yes, they released a single version). Oh dear. I'm glad I decided to click "Play" before assuming it was the theatrical version and commenting with "I love this track". Oh, the humanity.

And did they really need to include the phrase "Star Trek" in the lyrics? Oh, it hurts, it hurts...

Enjoy the pain! Even though I'm posting this here, I have yet to sit through the whole thing (though YouTube resumed where I'd paused the track when I clicked on the link to view it directly on YouTube to get the embed code -- how nice of them. :/)

Happy 80th Birthday William Shatner

I've been on a bit of a Star Trek kick lately, and on my drive in this morning I was considering writing a bit about it here on my blog. And then I learned that today is William Shatner's 80th birthday, so that pretty much convinced me that it had to be done.

I'll be writing in more depth a bit later, but for now, here is a video by Maurice LeMarche, a voiceover actor (along with one of his Futurama cast mates), instructing us all on the intricacies of sounding like William Shatner. Enjoy!

Found On The Web: Hello?


Classic Comic Series: What If?

Lately I've been on an old comic book kick, reading a lot of old issues from the 60s, as well as some from the 70s and 80s. I don't care at all for the current state of comic books, but I love the old stuff.

Recently I read the 2nd issue of Marvel's What If? series. This series would take an alternate history approach by proposing what would happen if certain key moments in the Marvel Universe had occurred differently, or if a character had been different in some way. They brought the series back a few times, but it's the original issues from the late 70s to mid 80s that I enjoy the most.

What strikes me as I read these old issues is how much attention was given to accurately portraying the original histories of the characters. For example, in the issue pictured above, elements from the first Hulk comic are incorporated. It's not that they modified the Hulk's origin in general terms: they actually used specific dialog and characters from his first issue. Having j…

Music Review: The Transformed Man by William Shatner

I have long been a fan of that which is unintentionally funny, but before I go any further, let me state, with absolute seriousness, that there is more to this album than that.

I'd heard the stories. The reputation of this album, and in-particular, Mr. Shatner's renditions of Mister Tambourine Man and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, proceeded itself. My first real exposure to it was when I was about 20 and found a copy of it on CD, paired with a slightly-truncated copy of Leonard Nimoy's Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy on the same disc, at my local indie music store. I was ecstatic and bought it immediately. Turns out, unbeknownst to me at the time, it was a bootleg -- mastered off of vinyl records no less! But despite the not-so-great quality, it delivered.

Now, around the time I first picked this up, I was attending night classes downtown to become a computer programmer. I'd carpool down there three nights a week with my friend Ed, one of my oldest and best friends, and the …

Old Comic Books

There's something to be said for the simple things in life. As life becomes more hectic and complicated, I find myself looking for those simple things to find solace and relaxation in. When I need to wind down, I like to have something simple to find some enjoyment in.

The taoist book "Tao Te Ching" mentions teachers who "teach without teaching", and during my early twenties, I had two friends, Ed and Rob, who did just that. From them, I learned an appreciation for the simple things in life, not through anything they said or told me, but through their example. I soon learned to appreciate the simple things myself, and from time to time (when I have time), I put this to practice to take a break from all the commotion in life.

One of those simple pleasures for me is old comic books, specifically those from the '60s through the mid '80s. I'd probably enjoy comics that are even older, but haven't read any that I know of. This isn't to say that com…

Microsoft's SYNC is Awesome...When It Works

I posted a few weeks ago about a problem I had with the Microsoft SYNC system in my car not hearing my voice commands. At the time, a simple restart of my car seemed to fix the problem, but since then, the problem got worse and worse until finally not even the Bluetooth pairing to my phone would work. This was extremely frustrating considering I'd owned the car just over a month at the time.

I Googled the problem and found that (surprise) other people were having the same problem, and recently. Some thought it was related to the cold. My first thought was to make sure I had the latest version of the software installed, but when I went to the official SYNC website and attempted to download the software, nothing happened. I turned on FireBug after several unsuccessful attempts to monitoring what was going on when I'd press the button and nothing would happen, and found out that there was a JavaScript error occurring that was then being submitted to a service to be logged...but no…

Star Wars Shop and My $6 Million Dollar Order

Back before Christmas, I placed two orders with the official Star Wars Shop for some gifts, but only received the first order. Wondering whatever happened to the second one, I looked through my e-mails and found the following order confirmation (I've removed my name and address information):

Dear (My Name),

Thank you for your order from

This is your electronic receipt which you should save for future reference. Please make a note of your order number(s) located right before each address to which you have shipped. If you ordered a digital asset (e.g. a Hyperspace membership) please use the Digital Access Code under the item description of Hyperspace listed below. If you find any errors in what you ordered or in your billing or shipping address, please visit your order history at: Order Number)

We will send you a separate e-mail notification when your order(s) ships, complete with the tracking number for your packag…

Sitting In Traffic, Yelling At My Car

I recently purchased a new car, the first I've had in 14 years. My previous car had reached the end, and I had no choice but to buy a new one. While I didn't get anything too fancy -- I didn't get a luxury car, or a sports car, or anything like that -- the new car does have Microsoft Sync, which allows you to do a bunch of neat stuff like sync up your cell phone via Bluetooth so you can dial and talk hands free, and do other things via voice commands. The voice command stuff usually works pretty good, but not always, and yesterday, I ran into a definite glitch: it wasn't recognizing any voice commands.

At first, I was trying to use some of the stuff that I hadn't used before, but every time I issued a command, the Sync would sound the tone that means "I didn't understand that." Ironically, when it would offer suggestions on what I should say, I found it offering up the very same command I was trying to give it.

I decided to give up on trying the new stu…

Harlan Ellison Interview

Here's an interview with writer Harlan Ellison. It's actually the 3rd part of a longer interview, but it's this last part of the whole interview that I really liked. I can't say that I've read much of his work -- in fact, I've only read one of his books, and am still in the process of reading it. He's got a reputation for being arrogant, abrasive, and angry -- yet I find a lot of wisdom in what he says, and in some strange way, comfort.

I do take objection with one thing he says in this interview, that being that people who do computer work aren't working real jobs or "honest work". He mentions people sitting on their fat asses typing into computers. With all due respect Harlan, there is some similarity between what you do and what I do: you sit and type at a typewriter to tell stories to people, whereas I sit and type at a computer telling it instructions. The end audience is different, but the experience of sitting there in isolation typing a…

The 1982 Tron Holiday Special

Okay, so this is a little late, but still funny.

The 1982 Tron Holiday Special from Rip Taylor