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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Disabling Annoying Point Stick Mouse in Dell Laptop

In Thoughtworks we normally use Dell Laptops running windows xp for .Net development (Some use Mac with Windows partition but I have feel it becomes extremely slow). But one problem with Dell laptop is the stick mouse. Whenever we type fast, the stick mouse moves the cursor to an irrelevant location and becomes very annoying creating nonsensical sentences. So the quest is for disabling it...

I found a way to disable and this is a reference for people who need it as well myself. I tried to disable it in control panel mouse control but I don't think there is anything there for it. Mine is a Dell Latitude D620, so I checked out Dell support website and found that there is a driver called ALPS - Driver which applies for stick pointer. I downloaded and ran the installer and once the installation completes I think I restarted (Not sure but if it is not asking do not restart). After installation a touch pad controller was available in the system tray and also in control panel. I used this to disable the point stick device as well as its buttons. Now I don't have the problem of cursor randomly moving. I hope this will reduce my annoyance and will help someone who is having the same problem...

For other models of laptop, corresponding drivers are available in Dell support site. Look for driver for stick pointer or pointing stick.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Running Selenium RC as Windows Service

The story starts at a time when I was really tired to running FitNesse every time I start my office laptop. I wanted a way to run it perpetually and in my quest during a sleepless night found that FitNesse can indeed be run as a windows service. And after a long battle (actually a very short one) I am successfully running it now :) (For those who need that info check out FitNesse as service).

After this I got a crazy thought which is normal as far as I am concerned. Sometimes I use Selenium and Selenium RC also uses a jetty web server. Why can't I try to run selenium as a service so that I don't need to start it every time I log on (I remember this only after I see a test throwing exception :))? Well the steps are pretty simple. Same as how you make FitNesse run as a service so if you need, check out those instructions and translate the appropriate locations to Selenium.

One thing which needs to get noted is if the Selenium service is running in a account you have given or local system account without permission to interact with desktop then the tests will run and provide results but you will not be able to see them running. So if you need to see the test run visually in a browser then run in local account with permission for the service to interact with desktop. But the catch is if you run with access to desktop you will see all the messages which selenium will normally give in command line i.e. it will not run in background.

One more thing, I think most would have explored this but for people who are looking for a way to test application in Google Chrome you must be able to use Selenium RC with custom launcher. For more info checkout Selenium website.

Running of Selenium as service is an experiment I have done at night 1 PM because I was sleepless, so I hope people get the big red label warning I am trying to put here. I haven't clearly thought about the advantage or disadvantage of this method which I may do at a later post. Till then happy hacking and get some sleep :).