Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Solved: Lenovo ThinkPad W510: High pitched squealing noise

I recently got a Lenovo ThinkPad W510 laptop, which is a bit of a beast (PC Advisor Review). There's an Intel Core i7 CPU running at 1.73 GHz, 3GB RAM and a nice 15.6" LED Screen. It's very well put together and feels like it will last for a long time, especially with the hard disk shock detection technology which turns off your hard drive if the chassis detects that the machine is dropped onto the ground

However, I had an issue with the laptop where it would make a constant high pitched squealing noise, almost so high pitched that only dogs would hear it, but unfortunately not quite.

I thought I could live with it but when you're sitting next to it for 7-8 hours a day and the sound is drilling into your mind, it becomes quite annoying. But fortunately, unlike many others who had the same problem, the answer proved to be achievable without making any support phone calls or having any parts replaced.

There's a very comprehensive suite of Lenovo settings which are preinstalled on the machine, and in particular there's an application called Power Manager.

Since it's a high performance machine designed for development or graphics editing and therefore has heavy battery usage by default, it gives you fine grained control over the balance between performance and power. You can slow down the CPU, dull the screen and switch off optical drives if you're running on battery power, and when you're on AC you can disable all that and let it run at full tilt.

These types of controls are nothing new, but in there was the answer to my squealing problem.

As part of Power Manager, there's a setting called 'Deep Sleep' which is some kind of CPU power management function. This was the cause. So I created a new 'power management profile' within the Power Manager applet and set Deep Sleep to off, then saved it.

After activating my new profile, the noise immediately went away! Thank goodness for that, because I had to get rid of the noise one way or another before it drove me nuts.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Rounded Corners

I was asked to put some content inside a box shaped element which had rounded corners. Not square corners, it had to have rounded corners.

Unfortunately, since HTML is so 'boxy' this behaviour does not come naturally. It's not just a setting on your table or div element, and there's no particularly easy way to achieve this effect.

Until CSS3 and its border-radius property comes into play in all of the next generation browsers, creating a screen element with rounded corners needs to be done another way. More info on border-radius and browser support is available on CSS3.info.

I found that the effect can be achieved using images and divs. There's a nice article on the Webcredible site which gives you a step by step tutorial on exactly how to do it.

N.B: Being honest, you can actually use browser specific properties such as '-moz-border-radius' to display rounded corners, but I couldn't find the equivalent for IE which is no good since a large chunk of users will be using IE.

Monday, 23 August 2010

ASP.NET Error: "The DataSource does not support sorting"

In one of our projects we had a GridView which was by default bound to an ObjectDataSource to allow us to Sort/Page and to apply custom filtering. But we also needed to be able to search the data which the GridView is bound to, which we achieved in code and then databound the GridView to the resulting DataTable.

Here's a code snippet:


grdvSummaryGrid.DataSourceID = String.Empty

Dim _clientBLL As New ClientBLL()
grdvSummaryGrid.DataSource = _clientBLL .Search(e.SearchText)

Using this code, a problem arose where if you sorted the GridView and then carried out a search, an error resulted when the code attempted to DataBind it to the resulting table:

"System.NotSupportedException: The data source does not support sorting"

I tried a few things and considered creating an ObjectDataSource in code with the search results and then binding the GridView to that, but the answer turned out to be simple.

Before setting the DataSourceID of the GridView to an empty string to allow you to set its DataSource to the resulting DataTable (you can't set both properties), you clear the sort expression.

Like this:

After (Notice the new first line)

grdvSummaryGrid.Sort("", SortDirection.Ascending)
grdvSummaryGrid.DataSourceID = String.Empty

Dim _clientBLL As New ClientBLL()
grdvSummaryGrid.DataSource = _clientBLL .Search(e.SearchText)

That did the job. Lots of people seem to have had this problem too, so hopefully this answer will be useful.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

ASP.NET: Sorting a DataTable

I was pulling out a DataTable from my database and applying some sorting to it in the Stored Procedure, which of course worked as expected.

But I needed the user to be able to pull a row out from a GridView, edit its fields and then reinsert it to the GridView, all the time preserving the sort order.

As usual, I went round the houses looking at all the usual crappy solutions that others who also forget to read the documentation come up with, until I found a simple solution that worked for me:

dataTable.DefaultView.Sort = "date_of_birth asc"


Here's the MSDN documentation.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

CSS: RadioButtonList Layout

For the most part, I love web development, but there are some things that I absolutely detest about it.

For example, something that should be straightforward such as getting horizontal radio buttons to appear in a neat and tidy way can be tough. Obviously your radiobutton labels will have different values and will therefore cause the list to have different widths - this can be messy if you have a few rows of radiobuttons.

In addition, the radiobutton label will by default wrap down to underneath the radiobutton itself which is hideous. That needs to be fixed.

You could try laying the controls out with a table or a series of fixed size divs, but you shouldn't need to. And using tables could be nasty.

CSS to the rescue! Create a class to use for your RadioButton controls and assign it.

.radioButtons {
border-collapse:separate ;
.radioButtons input {
.radioButtons label {
margin-left: 25px;
display: block;
.radioButtons td{

Then just lay out your control like this (an ASP RadioButtonList control is used here but you could use HTML literals too I guess):

<asp:RadioButtonList ID="rblYesNoMaybe" runat="server" RepeatDirection="Horizontal"
CssClass="radioButtons" >

Using this, you should find that your RadioButtons look better and that your label text doesn't wrap underneath the radiobutton input. You'll probably need to set the min-width property of the td to an arbitrary value to suit your page or site.