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  • RussellGilbert 10:37 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft ID, Visual Studio   

    Dear Santa, For Christmas please arrange for my Microsoft ID to be at peace with the World. 

    For some time, I’ve been trying to live in a seamlessly joined up digital World. iPhone, PC, Mac, my car, my tablets (Surface, iPad & Android) all talking nicely to each other, all my diaries, all my inboxes, all my reminders, on every device, all in sync. Nirvana.

    I’ve come close but each success brings a new hurdle to fail at. With each failure, I can’t help a wistful look at my Betamax video recorder, while I scream, silently to myself, ‘Surely it can’t be happening again!’.

    In search of a backend that works with everything I’ve migrated from the dizzy uplands of Office 365 to the dark side that is Google G-Suite, and then back to Office 365 again. More of this in another post, but the news I wish to bring before my humble reader today (you know who you are) is that along the way I broke my Outlook.com, fixed it, broke everything else and, after much angst, fixed that too…

    Having migrated my whole life to G-Suite, my outlook.com account lay fallow for some time. In migrating back to O365 I wanted to return to Outlook.com too (It’s where my Arsenal FC fixture list is sync’d, obviously vital). They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but in this case Outlook.com was basically sulking and refused to show me any of my data merely telling me that it’s server had had quite enough of my non-presence and would never talk to me again. After consulting Mr. Google I logged in to account.live.com, created myself a brand new @outlook.com email address, made it my primary alias and, hey presto! All my data was back. Hoorah! No idea what weirdness is going on in Microsoft’s back-end, but then, I’m not sure I want to know what weirdness is going on in Microsoft’s back-end.

    Anyhoo, with Outlook.com working and my O365 migration done I moved on to some actual work…

    Next job; publish the Xamarin forms app I’m working on to my Azure dev App Service slot. But it was not to be. When I tried to publish V2017 told me I had to re-enter my credentials. The pseudo code for the process would look something like this…

    While (BeingAwkward == true)


        Switch (GetRussellsMicrosoftIdFromHim())


        Case RussellsAtOutlookComId:

    BeingAwkward = true;



        Case RussellsOldId:

    BeingAwkawrd = true;




    BeingAwkawrd = true;




    If (BeingAwkward == true || BeingAwkward == false || AnythingElse())


        BeingAwkward = true;

    } else


        BeingAwkward = true;





    After a happy half hour playing with this infinite loop I consulted Mr. Google again; I called Grey Matter for help (brilliant peeps, by the way); I emailed Scott Guthrie (who’s problem it isn’t, but who is, as we all know, a thoroughly bloody nice bloke). Armed with all this top notch help I soon eventually discovered the problem and the fix…

    • Creating a new alias for my Microsoft account had somehow signed me up for Visual Studio Dev Essentials which had overwritten my paid for subscription (!?).
    • To fix this I had to…
      • Go to the Volume Licensing Service Centre, sign in with my old primary Microsoft ID alias
      • Go to Relationship Summary
      • Select the right agreement (why are there two? I don’t know)
      • Change the associated email address to my new Outlook.com address
      • Logout of Visual Studio 2017 & quit
      • Clear the Visual Studio User cache (Lots of stuff on Google)
      • Restart Visual Studio & re-entered my credentials


    Peace & calm return to the Gilbert household. Microsoft Id’s & aliases playing nicely once more, even amongst themselves. The sun shines brightly in the Azure blue sky. Who knows, the Gunners may even get something out of Crystal Palace tonight.

  • RussellGilbert 10:09 am on April 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Visual Studio, Xamarin,   

    Visual Studio and Xamarin Update Pain 

    I’m in the middle of writing a cross platform app (UWP, IOS, Android) using Xamarin on Visual Studio 2017.

    Yesterday, just for fun, I updated stuff on my PC…

    • I set my Windows 10 PC to the Release Preview Ring on Windows Insider and got the Creators update
    • I installed the latest VS2017 update (15.0.26228.12)
    • I updated my MacBook to MacOs 10.12.5 Beta (16F43C)
    • I updated my Xcode to 8.3 (8E162)


    After which some stuff was broken.

    • VS would connect to my Mac & Start the build agent but after a few seconds it would just stop.
    • My IOS app wouldn’t compile. It kept bombing with “The ‘ConvertPdbToMdb’ task failed unexpectedly”.
    • I couldn’t deploy my UWP to my Surface Pro.


    I finished all the updates around 9:00pm last night & started on getting things working again at 8:00am this morning. I’ve just got it all going (10:00am). Here are the fixes…

    Connecting to the build agent: Download and install the latest Xamarin Studio on my Mac (6.2.1 Build 3), reboot my Mac, Restart Visual Studio

    ConvertPdbToMdb task failed: Go to the Build tab on Property page of my common .Net Standard library, click the ‘Advanced’ button at the bottom & set ‘Debugging Information’ to full in the ‘Output’ section.

    Deploy to UWP: Dunno mate. Rebooted my Surface Pro a few times and it started working.

    Amazingly, my Android app – often a source of deployment pain – didn’t even break wind.

    Given all the updates I did at the same time I guess a couple hours of chasing down issues isn’t the end of the World. But, the whole Xamarin/Visual Studio plumbing still feels a bit fragile and it’s frequently not great at giving useful information back. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all evolves now VS2017 is out there. Hopefully, a whole building full of clever peeps at Microsoft are on the case.



  • RussellGilbert 9:46 am on April 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Visual Studio,   

    Visual Studio 2011 Prices 

    Have a look at this site for preview prices for Visual Studio 2011. Some prices have come down but the top version still costs more than a small car! VS is easily the best dev environment I’ve come across but the cost is eye watering. Apple’s XCode is catching up and it’s free. Come on Microsoft, give us freelance devs a bit of a break!

  • RussellGilbert 9:10 am on June 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2010, Visual Studio, VS2010   

    Visual Studio 2010: First Impressions 

    For the last month(ish) I’ve been using Visual Studio 2010 (Beta 1) as my main development environment, running on Window 7 RC1  & I’ve been give Silverlight 3 Beta a serious run out.

    Given that none of these are released yet I’m just amazed at how painless the experience has been. There are a few niggles; something’s chewing up way more processor time than I expected (I’m running a 64-bit environment, may be that make a difference). Both IE8 and Visual Studio have hung from time to time – but they both recover with reasonable elegance. That’s about it for niggles though.

    I’m planning to blog about Silverlight 3 later but I thought I’d kick off with a few comments on Visual Studio 2010.

    First off, I really like the look and feel. I think the start page is much better (clearer and more useful) than previous versions. Its a small point but it at least sets things off on the right foot. Also the default text in the editor and all the visual feedback seem a lot sharper.

    One of the big boons so far is that the XAML designer is a proper designer rather than just a preview mode. I tend to cut my XAML directly in the editor, so I haven’t really played with drag and drop, but being able to click on a control in the designer and have it highlight the relevant XAML makes life much easier. The XAML intellisense seems pretty good, although it still doesn’t work inside the PropertyName text for Setter tags, which would be really helpful.

    I’ve found myself wanting to reach for blend much less often – just as well I guess, since blend 3 won’t load VS2010 projects yet – but at least VS2010 seems to be a more complete environment for developing WPF/Silverlight apps.

    I really like being able to undock editor & design windows from the main app. If you’ve got plenty of screen real-estate it really helps when you’re working on multiple classes/controls at the same time.

    I’ll post more when I get some time but my first impressions are really positive.

    If you want to learn more on Silverlight 3 I recommend Jesse Liberty’s blog (http://silverlight.net/blogs/jesseliberty/), which has got some very useful stuff on it and some great videos.

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