All entries for February 2007

February 26, 2007

Graph Vectorisation

Initial Network Vectorisation
I combined the junction detector with the line following algorithm. The result is a graph vectoriser! I still need to refine the algorithm so it only uses each junction exit once, but basically it works!

The rest of the week can now be spent building an interaction demo. :D


February 23, 2007

Junction Detection

Recently I have been focusing on detection of junctions and end points on a raster network. It is suprisingly difficult, but I have something that works nicely on test images.
Junctions Sample
The parameters the algorithm uses seem to be quite sensitive at the moment, this mainly due to the point grouping function. I need to come up with a more stable point grouper…

However, with the junction detector working vectorising a network is simple a case of line following out of one junction until reaching another!


February 07, 2007

Installing ClickOnce application as non–admin user

Insight shipped a while ago. It is deployed as a ClickOnce application. The bootstrap setup.exe created by the .NET SDK is excellent in that it detects missing pre-requisites on a user’s machine, downloads and installs them.
The problem is that a non-admin user will not be able to install components such as the .NET Framework, Microsoft Reporting Library, etc.
“Right-click, RunAs admin” on the setup.exe works except that the Start Menu entry for the application is put in the Administrator’s start menu and home directory. This means the user has to run Setup.exe again as themself! Argh, imagine the support calls on that one…

My solution is to make a ZIP file containing setup.exe, Install.bat and part2.bat.
Install.bat contains:

@echo off
set _User_=%USERDOMAIN%%USERNAME%
set _wd_=%CD%

echo Installing Insight for %_User_%.
runas /u:%COMPUTERNAME%\Administrator "cmd.exe /c CD \"%_wd_%\" && part2.bat \"%_User_%\" \"%_wd_%\""

which upon running prompts:

Installing Insight for WORK\Andrew Davey.
Enter the password for WORK\Administrator: 

The user types the admin password, hits enter. That runs part2.bat:

@echo off
echo Giving %1 temporary Administrator status
net localgroup Administrators %1 /ADD
echo Running Insight install program
runas /u:%1 "cmd.exe /c CD %CD% && setup.exe" 
echo Removing %1's Administrator status
net localgroup Administrators %1 /DELETE

That adds the user to the Administrator group, then runs setup.exe as the user (but now with admin permissions). Afterwards, the user is removed from the Administrator group.

I took the idea from the MakeMeAdmin.cmd batch file. I could not seem to pass the current directory using MakeMeAdmin, so it could not find setup.exe. That’s why I have two batch files.
Maybe someone can point out how it should be done.

So the result is I can tell someone to download the ZIP, extract and double-click Install.bat. Whilst that’s not exactly “ClickOnce” anymore, it slightly better than the alternative! Of course once installed, any later application updates go into the user’s directory so no admin permissions are required.
I hope Microsoft update the bootstrapper in the next version so that it can handle non-admin users better.


February 02, 2007

Problems focusing

How come the best projects always come along at the busiest times? My mate Alex came to visit last weekend and we got talking about a great project. I don’t want to say too much here in case some sneaky bright-spark implements it before us! The project has great potential and really motivated me to get cracking on a prototype. This is the kind of motivation that makes me work until 3am without even realising!
Of course the problem with all this is that I should be working on my 3rd year uni project right now. In addition, I need to prepare for travelling back the Cornwall on the 8th to sell my primary school assessment tracking app “Insight”. I really should be doing reading for my various uni modules as well. I actually turned down some contract work with a regular client because I’m just too busy. I could have really done with the money too.
Uni is seeming less relevant every day. I have to stick it out, don’t I? My plan for when I finish is to start my own software company. I already have one great product, Insight, and this new project with Alex stands to be an awesome success as well. I guess a few more months won’t seem like a big deal in retrospect, but right now it feels like I’m wasting precious time that would better spent developing my company.
Maybe I should find out the university’s policy on defering my final year…
Heh, isn’t the world richest man a college drop out? ;)


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