Showing posts from 2018

I Love The Cheesy Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies

(Updated 12/2/2018)

I have a soft spot for TV, movies, and music that are considered...let’s say less than the best. Sometimes entertainment that is unintentionally bad is more enjoyable to me than something comparatively decent. And the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies fit that bill for me.

Are they bad? Well, not really. But they’re incredibly cheesy (IMHO). I watched them every chance I had during last Christmas season, and this year I plan to do the same. Here are the reasons I find these movies so cheesy, and why I love them so much.
They’re essentially Lifetime movies - Okay, now stay with me here. There’s nothing wrong with Lifetime movies, and I don't want to give you the wrong impression. It's just that these movies follow the same general formula: the lead character is female (either a professional or a small business owner), the story deals with romantic relationships, and the male lead is unrealistically perfect and the type of guy that makes us real-life guys look…

It Came From the '70s: The Ethel Merman Disco Album

From the "Who Really Thought This Was a Good Idea?" department comes The Ethel Merman Disco Album. I went spelunking for bad albums a week or so ago and found this, released back in 1979. I'd heard of it before but this is my first time listening to it and...gee, where to begin?

According to the Wikipedia article, each of the songs was recorded in just one take with Ms. Merman's usual vocal arrangement, with the disco instrumentation added later. Also, there were apparently 14 songs recorded for the album, of which only 7 made the cut (with an additional being included with a CD reissue). That means there are 6 unreleased songs from this. I'd love to hear them. The album is available on iTunes, but without the CD bonus track.

The album is typical of the genre, if that genre is Celebrities Releasing Music Outside of Their Wheelhouse. In some cases music itself is outside of the celebrity's wheelhouse, but Ms. Merman was an established singer. Still, this fora…

“Speak, Centurion.”

I have a friend who likes to send me random things through the mail from time to time, the most recent of which was the Imperious Leader action figure from the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica shown above. I decided to bring it to work and put it in my office. One day, after returning to my office from a meeting, I found that someone (my boss, it turns out) had constructed a throne for him using two paper cups. It’s surprisingly film-accurate, IMHO. My boss later admitted that he considered coloring it black with a marker but decided it wouldn’t be a productive use of time.

Positive Vibes

Sometimes a bad day can be turned around by an unexpected source. Last Wednesday I was having a pretty terrible day after being jerked around by a local car dealership. Later that day, while on a live chat with iTunes support about a missing digital booklet, I was helped by a guy named Kumar who couldn't have been more helpful and positive. What had begun as a chat session to help me with a missing content problem turned into a dose of positive attitude that I really needed that day. Thanks Kumar!

Tales from the Whiteboard 2

As mentioned in a previous post, I often have people stopping by my office when I'm not here and leaving (often humorous) messages on my whiteboard. Here is another collection of messages I've had left for me over the previous few months.

I don't get the wonderwall comment, but I found it funny nonetheless.

A coworker left a message requesting assistance as if I'd written it as one of my own notes.

A later addition, wishing me a nice trip up to Boston (for Visual Studio Live).

I honestly am at my desk regularly, but apparently I have a knack for missing someone's visits.

Resolving the "Authentication failed" Error with Git for Windows

Today I tried to clone a repo with Git but received the error "fatal: Authentication failed for (URL)". I wasn't sure why I was getting this error when everything was working fine last week. Then I realized that I'd had to change my domain password yesterday, and my stored credentials needed to be updated.

To do so, on Windows 10, right-click on the start button and select Control Panel. Then select Credential Manager. From there, select Windows Credentials and find your Git URL under the Generic Credentials section shown below.

Click on the URL or the arrow to the right of it to view the information associated with it. Click Edit to change your stored password.

I hope this helps!

How to Create Multiple Apps in the Same Workspace in Angular 6

One of the most talked-about features in Angular 6 is support for multiple apps within the same workspace. Here's a quick how-to on how to do this.

First, this assumes you're using the Angular CLI. When you create a new app using the CLI, it will actually create two projects for you: one having the name you specified when you created the project, and another with "-e2e" appended to the name. This project is for end-to-end tests. These two projects will be listed in the angular.json file under the projects node. The code for the project you asked the CLI to create will be located in (app name)\src\app, and the code for the e2e project will be located in (app name)\e2e\src.

But what if you want to add another project?

This is simple. Using the CLI, from within your project's root directory, execute ng generate application (name of your new app).

For example:
ng generate application another-app

This will do the following:

Adds a new folder called projects under your a…

It Came From the ‘70s: The Devil’s Rain

My brother-in-law asked for this movie, The Devil’s Rain, for Christmas last year. I ordered it for him on Amazon without giving it much thought. It was only after I’d given it to him that I learned anything about it. First of all, it’s a movie from the ‘70s, and if you know me or have spent much time on this blog, you know I have an affinity for that (very kitschy) decade. Plus, it’s got Ernest Borgnine and a post-Star Trek / pre-Star Trek movies William Shatner. I had to watch this.

And now I have. And wow, what a mess. And that’s saying a lot, because a film from the ‘70s featuring two icons of ‘70s film and some truly ‘70s subject matter (the supernatural — it seems the country was obsessed with the supernatural back then) hits all my “Cheesy Seventies Movie” checkboxes. My level of expectations was understandably low: I wasn’t expecting an Oscar-caliber film here. So what went wrong?

Well, to start, the movie begins in the middle of a tense, dramatic situation that we know nothi…

Moving / Deleting Files That Were Attachments After Sending Email in .NET

I recently worked on some code that attached some files to an email in .NET. After the email is sent, the code tries to move the files that were attached to a "Sent" directory, but it was failing with the error "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process." The cause was that the MailMessage class implements IDisposable, and even though I'm often very cognizant / responsible when it comes to disposing of IDisposable objects, in this case, I missed it. Once I disposed of the mail message, I was able to move those files. And I now lower my head in shame...

Here's the corrected code as an example. Wrapping the mailMessage variable inside a using block implicitly calls Dispose() at the end of the block.

using (var mailMessage = CreateMailMessage(emailTo, emailFrom, body, emailSubject))
    CreateEmailAttachments(mailMessage, attachmentFilenames);     _smtpManager.Send(mailMessage); } I've been meaning to write a blog post …

Obscure Music: The New World of Leonard Nimoy

This, here, is the last of Leonard Nimoy's five albums. Five albums. Some of my favorite bands haven't had five albums, yet somehow Leonard Nimoy did.

It's also the only one of Nimoy's albums not to be available on iTunes. It may have something to do with one or more of the cover tunes featured on it.

Where to begin...okay, so, Leonard's not exactly the best singer. And when I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was listening to this, he asked "Why do you hate your ears so much?" Included here are covers of Proud Mary by Credence Clearwater Revival, and Everybody's Talkin' by Harry Nilsson, either one of which could be the reason why this isn't available on iTunes.

I just noticed that Leonard's headshot is different in each of the squares on the album cover...that very sparse, minimalistic album cover. Apparently, that new world of Leonard Nimoy's has some wide margins and a lot of purple.

I have to admit that I find something very r…

Resolving the "n timer(s) still in the queue" Error In Angular Unit Tests

A few months ago one of the developers I work with ran into the below error in an Angular unit test:

1 timer(s) still in the queue

The fix was to specify a particular amount of time in the tick() call as shown below:

it('should set accountConfirmationDetails when getAccountConfirmationDetails is called', fakeAsync(() => { // Arrange let spyGetAccountConfirmationDetails = spyOn(accountService, 'getAccountConfirmationDetails')         .and         .returnValue(Promise.resolve(AccountMockData.mockAccountConfirmationDetails));
// Act         fixture.detectChanges(); tick(15000);
// Assert         expect(spyGetPaymentConfirmationDetails).toHaveBeenCalled(); expect(; expect(comp.hasValidProfile).toBeTruthy(); }));
Hoping this helps someone!

It Came From the ‘70s: Laverne and Shirley Sing

I’ve already written about ‘70s novelty albums based on Lenny and Squiggy and The Odd Couple, but this one is the piece de resistance of albums based on Garry Marshall shows: the way too optimistically titled Laverne and Shirley Sing. Personally, I think a much more accurate title would have been Can Laverne and Shirley Sing?

While the album is long out of print, it was re-released on CD a number of years back, but that too is now out of print. But, shockingly, it's currently available on iTunes. Being a lover of obscure/weird/bad music, I paid the $7.99 plus tax to get it. wow.

In all fairness, Penny Marshall (Laverne) and Cindy Williams (Shirley) are both talented individuals. It’s just that singing really isn’t one of their talents. But is it really that bad? To be honest, they're not horrible, it's just that the album sounds like two people singing karaoke.

As for the songs themselves, they're mostly covers of 1950s rock songs, or at the ve…

BDDfy Executing Methods in the Wrong Order When Using the Method Naming Conventions

I was working on a unit test with BDDfy yesterday and found that my Then method was being executed first, causing the test to fail. Here's what the test class looked like:

publicclassShouldLogMessageBodyOnPreReceive {     private Core.Observers.ReceiveObserver sut;     privateMock<ILogger> mockLog;     privateMock<ReceiveContext> context;     public ShouldLogMessageBodyOnPreReceive()     {         sut = new Core.Observers.ReceiveObserver();         mockLog = newMock<ILogger>();         Core.Observers.ReceiveObserver.Log = mockLog.Object;     }     void GivenTheContextIsValid()     {         ( test code...)    }     void WhenTheMethodIsInvoked()     { ( test code...)    }void ThenTheMessageShouldBeRetrievedFromTheContext()     { ( test code...)    }void AndTheMessageShouldBeLogged()     { ( test code...)     } }The method ThenTheMessageShouldBeRetrievedFromTheContext() was being executed first, despite the use of the Then naming convention…

It Came From the '70s: The Odd Couple Sings

This is the second of three posts I'm doing concerning odd albums from the 1970s. It seems like if you were a television celebrity in the '70s you were sure to get one of two things: a variety show special or an ill-conceived album. Here, we have the latter.

The Odd Couple Sings. Do they? Do they??? Well, sort of. Tony Randall (aka Felix) sings. Jack Klugman (aka Oscar) not so much, and he even admitted as much. And it's evident from the very first track, entitled Johnny One Note, which seems to tell you right from the beginning "Look: Jack can't sing. I know it. Jack knows it. Now you know it."

How bad is it? Well, in the aforementioned opening track, Jack sings one note through the entire song. I'm not sure exactly which note that is, but it sounds like when you go to the doctor, and the doctor brings out a tongue depressor and tells you to say "Ah", and you say "Ahhhhhhh" with your tongue sticking out. Now imagine that for a mercifu…

It Came From the ‘70s: Lenny and the Squigtones

The 1970s were a weird, weird time. It’s one of the reasons I have such a fascination with that decade. This is the first of three posts I’m going to do on novelty albums from the ‘70s, all three based on TV shows from producer Garry Marshall. And this first one is, IMHO, the most palatable of the three.

Lenny and Squiggy Present Lenny and the Squigtones is played for laughs. Recorded in front of a live audience and released in 1979, the album features Michael McKean and David Lander in character as Lenny and Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley. Several times on that series they performed as Lenny and the Squigtones, and this time they’re joined by a drummer and by future Spinal Tap guitarist Christopher Guest. Included here is the track Night After Night which had been performed by the duo on the show during a Shotz Brewery talent show. But it’s not just music. The album also contains comedy bits that are interactions between Lenny and Squiggy.

I gotta admit: this one ain’t bad, and the…

Resolving the "request canceled while waiting for connection" Error in Docker for Windows

I'm currently learning how to use containers with Docker for Windows, but ran into a brick wall pretty early after installing it and trying to run the sample hello-world image. After executing docker run hello-world, I got the following response:

Error response from daemon: Get net/http: request canceled while waiting for connection (Client.Timeout exceeded while awaiting headers).

In an attempt to resolve this, I created a Docker ID, confirmed my email address to activate it, then restarted Docker and opened a new Powershell prompt, but got the same result. My first thought was that this was a firewall issue, but when I checked my firewall configuration I found that Docker was already setup correctly for internet access.

After some Googling, it turned out my issue was much simpler. All I needed to do was switch Docker to use Windows containers instead of Linux containers (Linux containers are the default for Docker for Windows). You can do this by…

Tales from the Whiteboard

Sometimes someone will stop by my office looking for me, but I won't be there, so they'll leave me a note on my whiteboard. Usually the note has nothing to do with what they wanted and almost always doesn't identify who the person was who stopped by. Here are some of my favorites.

When you move into the office of someone who'd kept it dark with a lot of atmosphere, but decide that you'd prefer it a bit brighter. Those comments are from three different people.

"I was here!" I was never able to track down who "I" was. It remains an unsolved mystery.

I worked from home yesterday and came in this morning to find the message in green waiting for me. It gave me a good laugh first thing in the morning. :)


Superfriends was a cartoon by Hanna Barbara that ran from the early ‘70s to the mid ‘80s. It was very much a product of its time and is very cheesy by today’s standards. And I love it. So I was happy to find these two figures at Target recently on separate trips. They are re-releases of pervious figures but modified to more match their cartoon appearance. Apparently, these had been released as an exclusive somewhere else a few years ago but now they’re back, but at Target. I already own the non-Superfriends versions of these but being a fan of all things ‘70s I had to pick these up.

How to Get Norton Security Suite Firewall to Allow Remote Desktop Connections in Windows

I ran into an issue recently with RDP connections being blocked by the firewall in Norton Security Suite. I checked the traffic rules under Settings > Firewall > Traffic Rules and found that it was enabled by default (and couldn't be edited):

But during further research, I found this page on Norton's support site which discusses the different trust levels of networks and mentions that, for the Public trust level, "This setting also blocks remote desktop connections by default.". I checked my network's trust level, and sure enough, it was set to Public (I'm not sure how/why). (Sidebar: Notice in the screenshot above that allowing Remote Desktop for Public Networks is defaulted to Allow, though that rule is not active).
Here's what my network trust level looks like now after changing the setting to Private (accessible under Settings > Firewall > General Settings > Network Trust):

After changing the network trust level to Private, I was able t…