Mars attacks

One “nice” thing about not being able to sleep because I feel the need to show the world how much sludge I have in my brain: I just walked outside and was blinded by how bright Mars is.

Received in e-mail:

Never again in your lifetime will the Red Planet be so spectacular. This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars, an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter’s gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the last 5,000 years but it may be as long as 60,000 years. The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye. Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August Mars will rise in the east at 10 p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m. But by the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30 a.m.

“Access Forbidden” when attempting to create an ASP.NET web project

A few weeks ago I had one of those days…

I hosed my development environment, so that every time I attempted to create a new ASP.NET web application in VS.NET 2003, I would get the following error message:   The Web server reported the following error when attempting to create or open the Web project located at the following URL: ‘http://localhost/WebApplication1’.  ‘HTTP/1.1 403 Access Forbidden’.

I could create a web project in VS.NET 2002 without any problem (on the same machine).  Another fun note was that if I created the virtual directory first in IIS manager, and create a project in VS 2003 pointing to that vdir it would work.

I looked through the MSDN docs, through the news groups, etc., but couldn’t find a way to resolve the issue.

Turns out that I had somehow set my default web site’s Home Directory > Execute Permissions to None.  Once I changed it back to Scripts only, bingo.  VS.NET 2003 was happy.

So if you get a 403 Access Forbidden error message when attempting to create an ASP.NET web app in VS 2003, take a look at your execute permissions… bliz

up from the sludge

i took the biztalk server certification exam on monday afternoon as a lark.  no studying at all.

heh.  can’t believe i passed it.  it’s been a couple of years since i did anything significant with bts.  on each question i went with the first answer that popped into my head, hoping that it was something that bubbled up from the sludge of my brain from a couple of years ago.

if you asked me how to implement something today (especially tonight (it’s a little after 3am in new Orleans)), i wouldn’t have a clue any longer.  just shows how misleading a passing score can be sometimes.  also shows how real-world experience can be better than cramming to pass an exam.  i used to know that stuff really well.  (honest)

i also tried the analyzing requirements exam today, and thought i had done really well on it.  but when i pressed the ‘end exam’ button, up flashed this nasty message stating ‘you have failed’.  for a second i thought the testing program was telling me that i had ended the test incorrectly, like ‘you have failed to answer a couple of questions, please go back and fix it’.  heh.  not.

well, the requirements exam is the last one for my .net version of the mcsd cert.  i already have the desktop, web, and web services exams under my belt. (again, real-world practice made all the difference (in the world).)  (so what does that say about my ability to analyze requirements?  uh… it was a tough test.  i’d like to have a discussion with the authors.) 🙂

– bliz

oh, yeh, one more thing: take a look at this cool gdi .net clock.  if you change the opacity to 50% it works great in the lower right-hand corner of your desktop, always on top.  nice app!

Console.WriteLine(“Hello World!”);

hello.  i’m a .net developer evangelist with the microsoft pacific northwest district.

welcome to my blog.

i’m currently in new Orleans at a technical briefing for microsofties.  for the most part it’s been very cool (the conference, not the weather).  there’s a lot of exciting new stuff in the works (that i can’t talk about today).  can’t wait to talk to you about it in the future!

tomorrow’s sessions will start in just a few hours, so i’m going to leave you now.


– bliz

oh, yeh, one cool thing that i will mention is “application architecture for .net: designing applications and services” from the microsoft patterns & practices group.  it’s an excellent resource.  for more good stuff like this, take a look at or  (they both take you to the same link.)

p.s. just for the record: these are my thoughts.  they do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of my employer.  all my blogging is provided as-is, without warranty and does not confer any rights.