PowerShell and svnadmin dump/load

Recently I was migrating several Subversion repos­i­to­ries from a Windows server over to a Solaris one and ran into a rather frus­trat­ing issue. Actually it's quite an in­ter­est­ing problem, but was frus­trat­ing due to the size of the repos­i­to­ries involved, and my fear that repos­i­to­ries were borked.

It all started with my decision to fire up PowerShell rather than cmd.exe to do the initial dump of the re­pos­to­ries. The following code was executed to dump a repository:

svnadmin dump repositorypath > repository.dump

All seems to go to plan but this is where a silent corruption of the dump file occurs. Not suspecting that the dump file was malformed, I copied repository.dump over to the Solaris box. I issued the standard commands to create a new repository and load the dump file:

svnadmin create repository/path
svnadmin load repository/path < repository.dump

After executing the second command I got an error from svnadmin com­plain­ing about a malformed header on the dump file:

svnadmin: Malformed dumpfile header

My first instinct was to re-copy the dump file and try again, but I thought I should dump and load the repository on my Windows server. Lo and behold this fell over with the same error. At this point I was thinking something was really wrong with my SVN install and repos­i­to­ries, but then I stumbled on this newsgroup discussion.

It turns out that my problems were the result of how Windows PowerShell handles binary data that is piped on the command line. I really want to look into the details of this, but it would appear that the new found ability to pass .NET objects on the command line can mess with old school ex­pec­ta­tions of how the command line works.

Tagged with powershell, problem, solaris, subversion, svn and windows.

First impressions of Windows 7 Beta 1

After a very quick install on a Dell XPS M1710 laptop, and a few hours of messing around, I have come to the conclusion that this is going to be the best release of Windows yet. At the same time, it's not very exciting for the alpha geek in me. Perhaps it is good to have regular stable releases and leave the fireworks to user ap­pli­ca­tions?

Before I list some of the things that I like, or didn't as the case may be, I have a tip for anyone trying to get Aero running on the M1710. For some reason, Beta 1 doesn't have drivers in the box for the NVIDIA GeForce 9700M GT. Just download the mobile drivers from the NVIDIA website and install the Vista version using the "Have a disk..." option. Ignore any warnings about com­pat­i­bil­i­ty, the Vista drivers are close enough and I would expect NVIDIA to release some beta drivers for Windows 7.

What I liked

Per­for­mance im­prove­ments

This has been a problem for a large number of Vista users and Microsoft have made big strides according to my un­sci­en­tif­ic testing. Little things like searching for programs on the Start menu is noticeably quicker than Vista on the same machine. No doubt anti-virus vendors are working on ways to reduce the per­for­mance.

System protection

You can now reserve a percentage of disk space to storage of old versions of user and system files (just like Recycle Bin has done since Windows 95). This is something I would want to increase for someone like my Mum.

Task bar ap­pli­ca­tion in­te­gra­tion

The thumbnails introduced in Vista are now more useful since you view individual tabs in an ap­pli­ca­tion like Internet Explorer 8. When you have a long running task like a file copy, the progress is shown directly on the task bar when minimised.

Easier wireless network access

Clicking the network icon in the task no­ti­fi­ca­tion area now shows a list of network con­nec­tions. This makes it much easier to connect, and is similar to the experience in Apple OS X.

No­ti­fi­ca­tion area grouping

I find the pollution of the task no­ti­fi­ca­tion area to be a real pain. Every ap­pli­ca­tion thinks it belongs there and needs to be visible. With Vista you could force some items to be hidden, in Windows 7 they are grouped under a single icon. It only takes simple stuff to improve the overall experience.

Requires more thought

Taskbar ap­pli­ca­tion iden­ti­fi­ca­tion

So is Internet Explorer running, or do you have a shortcut pinned to the task bar? It's hard to see on the task bar, but I can see the rationale for this design decision. It would be nice if there was an option for clearer iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, such as the name of the ap­pli­ca­tion appearing on the task bar. I suspect more use of Windows 7 will result in a change in my ex­pec­ta­tion for this aspect of task bar operation.

IE 8 rendering issues

There is a still a lot of work to do here. I suspect that a lot of people will enable com­pat­i­bil­i­ty mode to enable sites to load. One site with problems was GMail (I'm using Google Apps for e-mail).

Tagged with internet-explorer, task-bar, dell, geforce, nvidia, review, windows and windows7.

Weekly Links #1

I manage my bookmarks using a Delicious Book­marklet, and I'll post some of the best on my blog each week.

Tagged with agile, fonts, mvc, rails, sharepoint, textmate, vertebra and wpf.

Return of the blog

Maybe this year will be the one where I get back on the path to regular blogging. Between 2002 and 2004 I was a fairly frequent blogger and then things got sub­stan­tial­ly busier when I moved to the US. The obligatory first post these days seems to be some background in­for­ma­tion on the blogger, but I'm leaving that for my about page.

Instead I'll just talk a little about some highlights of 2008. By far the biggest highlight of the year was my wedding in October - Sarah really is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I find it hard to believe that in a couple of weeks we will be cel­e­brat­ing our fourth year together, as they say 'time flies when you are having fun!'.

The other main highlight of 2008 was my cycling progress and I completed 3 big rides: the 5 Boro Bike Tour, a metric centrury in Lancaster, and the Lance Armstrong ride in Philadel­phia. Cycling was something that Sarah got me interested in, and I am looking forward to lots more in 2009!

Tagged with bicycling, blogging, brian, cycling, philadelphia, philly and sarah.