Saturday, January 30, 2010

EMWIN Port 2211

At the request of Antonio Querubin, IANA (Internet Assigned Number Authority), assigned port 2211 for the EMWIN (Emergency Managers Information Network) data stream in March of 2008.  The ByteBlaster network presently uses port 1000/tcp for distributing EMWIN data and ByteBlaster server lists. 

I am glad to see a recognized port adopted (Thanks Antonio).  I guess I just let this information get by me.  I will be running some experiments to see what problems users would encounter switching from port 1000 to 2211.  I am sure some users have opened their firewall ports for outbound connections to port 1000.

There is presently one ByteBlaster server running on port 2211.  I may change my server for testing.  Having a couple of servers on port 2211 will make the transistion easier to adopt.

Multicast Address

I knew that EMWIN was assigned the multicast address  I never had access to a multicast network, so I did not do anything with this information.  I am considering adding support for transmitting and receiving data by multicast.

Server Discovery

I was working with a customer that wanted to install the Weather Message Clients on their computers.  One of the setup steps was to enter the tcp/ip address and port of the server.  This resulted in a discussion about tcp/ip and how to determine the servers address.  For technical users this is not an issue.  For those that want to operate software, but not understand how it works internally, this can be a road block.

I am working on some changes that will allow the client applications to automatically discover a weather message server that is on the local network.  This will make installing the clients easier for the end user.

These changes are in the idea stage, but should be relatively easy to implement.

Update:  I have completed the changes for this feature.  It works well on the local network.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

SSL Email Changes - Message Date Problem

 After one user downloaded Beta 3, he noticed that his emails were being flagged as spam.  Apparently the SSL Email component had a problem properly formating the email message date field.  It was putting a colon in the time field when there should have not been one.

I received an update from my TCP/IP vendor that corrects the problem.  I will be releasing a new beta this Sunday to address the problem.  If you are having the problem, just drop me an email and I'll send you the installer.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Optimization Weekend

I spent the weekend running a code analyzer on the Weather Message code base.  It recommended several changes that may help improve the speed of the programs.

I also started changing several of the internal lists to dictionary collections.  The dictionary collection can locate items much faster.  This would be something like getting the description of a product.  The old method was to iterate over the items.  The dictionary method is much faster in most cases. 

Before changing anything, I wrote programs to compare different approaches.  This has taken the better of three full days.  However, I am pleased with the results.

I want to do something with the county names list.  I am still running tests to see which approach is best.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weather Message 3.6 Beta 3 Posted

I am in the process of posting Weather Message 3.6 Beta 3.  This release contains updated TCP/IP components to support the new SSL/TLS features for email.  These changes have been tested for a couple of weeks without any reported issues.

This release also contains a few additional features.  See the release notes on the beta site.

Note:  Due to the update to the TCP/IP components, you will have to upgrade WxLocal, WxDataSave and WxRetran if you use them on your computer.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Weather Message Website Download Problem

Some users are reporting an issue with downloading large installers from the Weather Message website.  Some of the downloads are coming down corrupted.  I have been having problems myself. 

After spending all day today on the problem, I think the problem may be Internet or router related.  I have called a couple of people that have Charter Internet and their downloads are working. 

If you run into a problem, let me know.  I can email you the installer.

Weather Message 3.6 will have all "exe" and "dll" files digitally signed

Starting with Weather Message 3.6 Beta 3, all "exe" and "dll" files will be digitally signed.  Microsoft calls this authenticode signing.  Microsoft highly recommends that all "exe" and "dll" files be signed for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7.

This will bring the Weather Message programs into compliance with their recommendation.  I started signing the installers with the 3.5 release.  That did prevent alot of those "unknown publisher" messages.  This is an extra expense, but does bring a level of professionalism to the installation experience and program operation.

No Internet Slow Loading Revisited - Signed Executables

After many hours of research, I went ahead and updated the Weather Message installers so that they automatically disable the revolked certificate check in the Microsoft .Net framework.  What seemed so simple turned into a full day's worth of work.  The 32-bit and 64-bit directories have to be updated as appropriate.

Here is what Microsoft has to say about the change.
The common language runtime (CLR) tries to verify the Authenticode signature at load time to create Publisher evidence for the assembly. However, by default, most applications do not need Publisher evidence. Standard CAS policy does not rely on the PublisherMembershipCondition. You should avoid the unnecessary startup cost associated with verifying the publisher signature unless your application executes on a computer with custom CAS policy, or is intending to satisfy demands for PublisherIdentityPermission in a partial-trust environment. (Demands for identity permissions always succeed in a full-trust environment.)
For services they go one step further with this note.
We recommend that services use the element to improve startup performance. Using this element can also help avoid delays that can cause a time-out and the cancellation of the service startup.
After reading this information published by Microsoft, you would think they would disable this by default.  See this KB article for more information KB936707.