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Archive - January, 2006

----- 01.25.2006 --------
Today has turned out to be an amazing day! It started out with it's ups & downs like any other day and all the next thing I knew, and event happened that would change the day from an ordinary one, to a memerable one. A phone call. A simple phone call. And who was it? It was my real estate agent Howard Youhanan. And his good news? My condo sold! And not only that.... it sold for the list price I was asking for! :) We had a few low-blow offers that were more like insults then offers. Some cheapos will try anything to scam you! Fortunately, I wasn't in too bad a position where I needed to jump on one of those crappy offers. In fact, one was so bad that on the fax back, we raised the price. lol. Anyway, just had to share my great news. Friday's the true test... that's when the deal becomes binding. Keep them fingers crossed.... I know I have mine crossed! And my eyes! But my eyes cross more naturally then my finders... especially when I'm as tired as I am. G'nite!

----- 01.24.2006 --------
This Friday, I'm off to Waterloo to interview co-op students for the summer term. Was it really that long ago that I was on the other side of the table? I guess those days are getting smaller in my rearview mirror. Not that that's a bad thing.... the small things in my front view are getting larger and new tiny objects are appearing on the horizon. Although they're too far to make out what they are yet, I'm sure the journey there will be just as enjoyable as the destinations I'll be arriving at. I haven't been to Waterloo in quite a while... probably 7 years if I had to guess. I went back a couple times after leaving, but unfortunately I knew less people each time. Oh well.... it's not a trip down memory lane, it's a trip to the future, to meet a future employee. Kind of exciting. I have 19 students lined up, at 15 minutes a pop. I ended up with this number from the 68 resumes I plowed through yesterday and today. For this present term, I had 123 applicants, and I only chose to interview 14. And the guy I chose is working out well....

Anyway, I'm babbling. What else is up? This past weekend Jen & I entertained our first of many dinners. Sam & Dave came over and Jen prepared a delicious salmon dinner. Afterwards, we played a board game they brough over called Blokus, which was pretty fun, and then we pulled out the dance mat. That's right... our latest fun toy after a few drinks is Dance Dance Revolution (Ultramix 3) on the XBox. I'm in love with it! And I'm slowly getting better at it, able to obtain A - C on just about any tune on "light". There are 4 settings... beginner, light, standard and heavy. While playing, I accidentally changed it to standard. What a difference! I can't even pass a song, let along score well! What is encrouaging though is that light was pretty much the same way and now they seem par for the course. We gave Laura a "direct to TV" version of DDR for Christmas. She's coming up to visit us this weekend so I hope she brings her best dance moves! The action will be tight... and the neighbours will probably enjoy the show, as usual. I'd love to have nutty neighbours like us.... ones that do DDR & Tae Bo (poorly!). lol! Anyway.... that's all for now... I'm pretty tired and have a big day tomorrow. I hope you're all doing great! And if you haven't emailed me lately... let me know what you're up to these days. Later!

Oh... one more thing... our couch from EQ3 FINALLY came this weekend! It looks grrrreat!

----- 01.17.2006 --------
So, how's your 2006 so far? Mine's been busy! Sure, I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I look back at my site and the time between posts is growing. That means either I'm being lazy, or I'm being busy. In this case, I like to think it's the latter. Work's keeping me really busy... lots of projects, fresh budget.... it's "road map" time and 2006 is shaping up to be an aggressive, yet attainable year. And I'm looking forward to it! At the end of what's currently lined up will be a simpler setup. It means putting in a lot of extra work now to save a lot more down the road.
On the home front, my condo is still up for sale. I had one potential but they were just too low and they had too many conditions, not to mention they didn't want to close until the end of March! Speaking of closing, Jen officially closed on her place on Monday. She ended up doing great in the year she owned her place and turned a small fortune. I'll just sit patiently, fingers crossed, and await my fortune. Although, with down payments for the new place, there sure isn't much left! I'm sure all of this will pay off Dec 15th.... 2007. What's the significance of that date? Our new condo in Rezen should be finished. Atleast that's the schedule. I do see progress though... there are purple demolition boards around the studio that stands at the future site. Bring on the wrecking ball :) Until then, our new place in City Place is treating us well. We really like it hear and the deal's about to sweeten by the end of the month when they finally open up the common facilities. We're especially looking forward to the pool and bowling lane! Anyway, I'll leave it here and with "All's well @ robgirard.com" :) Cheers, and all the best to all of you in 2006!

----- 01.06.2006 --------
Wow, is it really 2006 ? I know I haven't updated as much as usual over the past few months because I've been busy, but to your surprise, I'm not going to make a "new year's resolution" to try to change that this year. But I will strive to keep up this site as I have for a number of years now. So, what's new with me? New Year's Eve went really well. Jen & I rented a car and drove down to Windsor to visit my folks. We celebrated a bit of a late Christmas and exchanged gifts as well. It was a fairly low key weekend, but a good, relaxing one nonetheless.

So how has my year started so far? Strangely, it's been a year of running into people from the past. I heard from my friend Matt who's home on vacation from teaching in Brazil (it was Germany for 3 years before that). If all goes well, I'll meet up with him and a bunch of others I went to Waterloo with back in 96/97. Yikes, I just realized that's 10 years ago (almost)! Anyway, not only did I make that connection, but I also ran into my friend Andrew who lived beside me in Res during summer of 98 in Waterloo. I haven't seen him in atleast 5 years and sure enough, I bumped into him shopping at Loblaws with Jen. He and I are going to have lunch tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. Funny enough, it may start like most conversations: "What's new?".... "Nothing much.". Nothing much?!?!? OK, that seems to be my general response and it's got to change! Tons has changed, tons is new :) If it weren't, I'd be pretty bummed out! Anyway, now for one of the reasons I decided to post tonight: another problem at work and it's resolution:

---GEEK ALERT--- Occasionally, I find it necessary to talk shop on my site. Why? Well, my primary reason is because I, like many others, use the web as one of my primary tools of troubleshooting a problem. I pull up Google, look for my problem, and if I'm lucky, it comes up in the first 10 hits. Sometimes that's not the case, depending on the problem. Next I hit the news groups. And sometimes, I just don't get a resolution and I need to go back to the basics and troubleshoot using instinct, skill, and my favorite: luck! So, I'm going to fill you in on the problem I had so that hopefully, if you've encountered the same problem and look to google for the answer, my site will pop up and I can save you a ton of hours. After all, it's only fair to contribute to the process, right? OK... the problem was around Crystal reports not working in one of our inhouse VB apps. The app works fine, but I needed to put it on a Windows 2003 Terminal Server (with SP1). The reports are part of Crystal Reports 8.5. The error I get is this:
Description: Cannot find database DLL
Generated by: CrystalReport
VB Error#: 20532

First I checked my own logs and found I ran into this same problem when installing this app on a Windows 2000 terminal server. The resolution there was to make sure the OS could see p2ssql.dll (located in C:\windows\crystal). This can be done by adding your crystal folder to your path (recommended), or by copying the .dll to windows\system32 (which by default is alreay in the path). I tried that and the error persisted. I pulled out my favorite tools: Regmon, FileMon, Process Explorer, and Dependency Walker. The first 3 can be found at sysinternals.com and the latter can be found at dependencywalker.com. So after numerous traces, I kept seeing some patterns and was convinced that p2ssql.dll had something to do with it. OK, back up a minute. First of all, the custom built MSI I used to install the program failed. Why? It had MDAC 2.6 SP1 bundled in it and it is incompatible with Windows 2003. Besides, w2k3 has MDAC built in, right? Sure it does.... version 2.8.... or so you're told. So, I removed the mdac module from my msi and used it to install. THe installation succeeded and the app ran, all but some of the reports. I loaded p2ssql.dll into dependancy walker and found the MSVCRT71.DLL was missing. I searched the computer and didn't find it anywhere. Ah ha! I found the dll I needed! So, I searched my computer (win xp pro w/ SP2) and couldn't find the dll. So, I ran dependency walker on it and found my machine used MSVCRT.dll. So, I searched for it and came up empty. What the hell? I looked closer and found it is bundled in NTWDBLIB.dll, a component of MDAC. But wait, isn't MDAC built into Windows 2003? Yes... Microsoft told me so. I search the terminal server and I find NTWDBLIB.dll. It's a bit new then the one on my workstation so I decide to replace it. First, I rename it to ntwdblib.dll.bak, then copy mine over into the same folder, which is addressed in the path (in my case: windows\system32). Voila! Problem solved!!

So, the root problem was the version of MDAC no longer support the C++ runtime libary (msvcrt.dll). What implication does this have? Well, if windows 2003 doesn't have it... I'm sure Vista won't! Another reminder to TEST TEST TEST your apps before migrating! THe best method in our case will probably be to get a newer version of crystal and have our programmers update our apps. But what about coexistence with other apps that rely on old versions of crystal? Welcome to the famous world of DLL Hell. Anyway, if you found this site via Google, I really hope this helped as it has in the past when I've posted stuff. In a nutshell, here's how to fix the error when the following conditions apply:
1. You have Windows 2003 and Crystal Report 8.x
2. VB Error#: 20532 - cannot find database dll
3. Make sure p2ssql.dll exists and is in the path
4. Run dependency walker on p2ssql.dll and find all other dll's you need. In this case, a copy of ntwdblib.dll was taken from an XP workstation to replace the 2003 version
5. Cross your fingers and try your app.

Good luck and hopefully this helps because I know when I was searching, I came across a lot of dead ends. Oh, and speaking of dead ends... a new pet peeve of mine is this. DON'T POST A QUESTION IN A NEWS GROUP WITHOUT A FOLLOWUP ON RESOLUTION. The worst is when you see a thread of many people experiencing the same problem and trying to help and at the end of it all the original poster writes "Never mind, I figured it out". Please share!!!! K, I'm off to bed...


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