Friday, 16 September 2016
It has been a very
busy summer for me. Mostly it's been great, with family visits from all over the world and the wedding of my oldest child. But there have been some challenges, too. Without going into details, I've had to cancel plans to speak at (and even attend) CppCon
. This is really sad - CppCon was the largest C++ conference ever when it started in 2014, and has grown remarkably ever since. It's a place where I learn new things, make new friends and contacts, and meet old friends for a wonderful week of laughter, in-jokes, and brain-stretching.
I am hoping that within a few months, I'll be "back in the saddle" again and planning a 2017 full of speaking and learning. In the meantime, I'll be following #CppCon
on twitter, and watching the YouTube channel
for new videos - the plenaries and keynotes get up really fast. If you're not there in person, be there virtually like me!
Friday, 26 February 2016
longest-serving employee, Joyce MacDonald, has worked her last day with us.
She’s moving away to the other side of the country, where I don’t doubt another
firm will soon find themselves blessed with her skills. Joyce joined us full
time 16 years (and one month) ago, and had been working part time for us long
before that. From the very beginning, every task that she took on she
transformed and improved. We needed data entry when we were building a website
for a local real estate firm; she took the procedure for adding a listing and
kept streamlining it – open these three files at once, copy this once, then
paste it here, here, and here – until she had cut the target time in half and
then in half again. Later, she helped to develop our Quality Procedures and to
bring order to chaos in our software development process as we moved to agile
and changed our client mix. She helped our developers to become more organized,
to report progress more thoroughly, and to test before committing or deploying.
She trained our clients to think about what they really needed and to consider
the consequences of what they were asking for. I have never met anyone who
cared as much about the success of the firm as Joyce. We’ve employed dozens of
people who’ve done good work, worked hard, and cared about our clients. The
majority of them, like the majority of people everywhere, never gave much
thought to whether the company was doing well, except perhaps to wonder or
worry if their job was safe, or if there would be money to spend on perks. I’m
not complaining; I think that’s perfectly normal. Joyce is wired differently:
it’s fundamentally important to her that things are done right, that the client
gets what they want, and that the company makes a profit. That’s what just has
to happen, and it’s generally what she’s able to make happen.
started doing data entry and office administration but quickly moved into more
complicated tasks. She’s been managing projects and client interactions for a
long time. She also made sure that people did what they were supposed to do
when they were supposed to do it, and kept everyone informed and contented. If
you’ve ever called our office, you’ve probably talked to her. She’s probably
reassured you about something and made sure it got taken care of for you. She
has her PMP now, which formally recognizes how well she manages projects, gets
requirements out of customers and organized in a way we can all understand, and
builds appropriate processes for developers to follow. She’s taken on the challenge
of managing not just seasoned, well-behaved, adult developers, but also
students and our own grown children, who are not always easy to control. Let’s
just say they meet their deadlines for her .
Joyce to the west coast hasn’t been a total surprise for us. When we came back
from the epic Pacific trip, she got the opportunity to move and though she
delayed it, we rather knew it was inevitable. Over the past 6 months or so
we’ve adjusted the balance of work we take on so that our remaining clients
will be those I can handle client support for, and whose projects I can manage.
(Brian will continue to be an architect, developer, and star debugger who
doesn’t have to talk to the clients.) For our clients, nothing much will
change. For us, there will be a hole in our lives – personally and
professionally – that will take a while to settle down. When she joined us,
Joyce was a neighbor (I believe we first met in the summer of 92), and for a
long time she walked or rode her bike to work in the office attached to our
house. Our kids have grown up together. When stuff happens, Joyce is the one we
talk it through with – business and not-business. We were able to go to the
other side of the world for five weeks, often with no internet, knowing the
company would tick along fine without us. It’s going to be an adjustment not
having her with us every day, not having her to count on. Still, we know why
she’s moving, and we wish her all the best in this new phase of her life.
you’ve found this entry as part of due diligence in a hiring process, let me be
clear: Hire Her. You won’t regret it.
Tuesday, 01 October 2013
I am months behind. I will post some of the stuff I've been meaning to post, but later. Right now I need to make new entries so people can get current information. Remember, never blog about why you're not blogging. Just blog.
Sunday, 07 August 2011
Like a lot of people, I got started on Facebook one way, but now I use it another. And like a lot of people, I haven't quite "cleaned up" from my original start. My rule these days is very clear - Facebook friends are actual friends. People I know and like. In fact, my rule is that we should have shared a meal - ideally a meal and some wine - to be friends on Facebook. If we worked together, or presented at the same conference, and we actually enjoy each other's company, chances are we went for dinner, or lunch, or a beer, at some point. It's a handy rule that makes my decision process easy. I get friend requests all the time from people I don't know, and I just ignore them.
With that audience, my Facebook posts can be pretty personal. What my kids are up to. Pictures of my family and my holidays. Details about travel plans, including whole-family trips that leave my house empty. Sure, I know that what you put on Facebook can be forwarded and shared elsewhere. But I know who I'm sharing with and I trust them to have my best interests at heart. I don't connect my Twitter statuses (which I know are public) to my Facebook ones (which are more private and less frequent) or vice versa.
What I've set up, for people who use Facebook as a news hub, is a public page
. Here I post when I'm speaking somewhere, or when a video or article is published. If you "like" this page, my announcements will end up in your news feed. So if you added me on Facebook and never heard back, use the public page instead. I don't post links to all my blog entries there, because I figure you can always subscribe to this RSS. I don't post anything personal either, so if you don't actually care where I'm spending my holidays, you might want to like that page even if we're already Facebook friends.
Friday, 05 August 2011
It's worth explaining a few things about me and Twitter. First, I'm @gregcons
. There is someone with @KateGregory
but it's not me, and whoever it is has never tweeted. I follow several hundred people and several hundred people follow me. I don't "follow back" when people follow me, unless I happen to recognize the name when Twitter emails me about it. I look at the tweets of people who retweet me or @ me (or who people I follow retweet, or who people I follow are in @ conversations with) and if the tweets look interesting, I follow for at least a while.
I tweet a mixture of personal ephemera (wow, what beautiful weather we're having today), personal stalker-bait (I'm at place x with person y, hey whoever sure was great seeing you today, wow my child just did thing x in place y), and actual technical stuff. The technical stuff might be my own blog entries, my own material being published (a PluralSight course, a Channel 9 interview, a TechEd talk) or a link to someone else's blog entry/interview/talk that I think is interesting. If you want only the technical stuff, my public Facebook feed (more on that in an upcoming post) is a better choice.
I unfollow people for a variety of reasons. People who post a great volume of tweets that are in a language I can't read, or are about things that don't matter to me, just clutter up the stream, so I will unfollow. It's not a value judgement and it's not about the ratio of useful to non useful, just the volume of non useful. (Non useful includes what your cat just did, what airport you just left or arrived at (a few close friends excepted), what you are eating/drinking unless it's inspirationally yummy, coded/veiled potshots at your coworkers, and updates on your car repair or the planning of your wedding.) Since there's a lot of overlap among the people who care about the same stuff as me, I find that when these people post something useful, ten of my friends retweet it anyway, so I won't miss it. People who just post the same thing over and over because they read somewhere that Twitter is ephemeral and people might miss your announcement at 8am so you should do it again and noon and again at 5pm and so on I will usually unfollow also. I don't keep track of who is unfollowing me and I'm not offended if I realize someone has - we all use these things differently and one person may unfollow for too much personal stuff and another may unfollow for not enough personal stuff or not different enough from my other feeds.
I mostly use MetroTwit. This lets me have search columns on myself, my @mentions, and whatever topic I'm interested in according to the news of the day or the event I'm attending. I have a Twitter client on my Windows Phone and A Quick Tweet
by Scott Cate as well - it loads super fast because it's for sending tweets, not reading them. I also use the web page from time to time. I always check email before Twitter, so it's not a great way to get hold of me in a hurry.
I don't blog my tweets. I often tweet my blog posts. If something deserves to stick around for a while, I may quickly tweet it, then later write up a blog post about it. Other than that, there's little overlap.
Twitter has turned out to be hugely valuable to me. I find out about breaking news faster than Google News, I hear technical rumours and announcements there first, and I keep in touch with technical friends the world over, as well as my own neighbourhood and my family. I've started my day with smiles from jokes or from just seeing what people I care about are up to, and I've kicked off business conversations, too. It's part of my work rhythm now and it's pretty much the only place I put personal stuff these days. If you're not part of it, consider giving it a try for a week and see what changes for you.
Saturday, 23 July 2011
So, you're a C++ programmer? You've written a Windows app or two in your time? Let me propose a little challenge to you. Write one. Only start with File, New and don't let Visual Studio generate any code for you. Write each line of it. Then explain it. No MFC, No ATL. That's what was asked of me a while back, and the result is a six-paper series
that has finally arrived on MSDN.
I have to say I really enjoyed the simplicity of the smallest Windows program possible. I also enjoyed making it better, which included making it more of a C++ program and less of a C one. I also covered a little Direct2D, a little COM, and a little "here's some other stuff you're going to want to read." If it's been ages since you wrote a Windows program in C++, or wrote one that wasn't all covered in barnacles from frameworks and libraries you might not want to rely on for simple things, I really suggest you give this series a read - it won't take long and you can use Visual C++ Express if you like - the first chapter includes links and instructions for getting all the tools you need. Better still, if you've never written a Windows in C++, why not give it a try and let me know what you think?
ps: Never blog that you're not blogging. Never blog about why you're not blogging, no-one cares. Just blog. Right?
Monday, 26 July 2010
The latest refresh of the Windows Phone 7 Tools is now available! Combined with Visual Studio 2010 (any edition, you don't need Express any more, though if that's what you have it will work) you can create apps in no time flat and run them on the emulator. I couldn't resist:
If you've ever done a WPF or Silverlight app, you can do Hello World in a matter of minutes. I put the picture in there just so I could say I had edited the XAML beyond putting my own name in an attribute. If you'd like to do some serious work, there are all kinds of training resource links on Yochay's blog. Don Burnett has some interesting thoughts on why Blend gives you power and productivity for Windows Phone 7 development and how there's just nothing like it for iPhone development.
I have some fun ideas I want to try that will take a little more than 5 minutes, so I'll report back on that front soon. I'm going to put my phone posts in my Client Development category, since after all, client development includes devices like phones just as much as it includes pure Windows apps.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate the women of software. I've blogged about it before
, and it seems like a good springboard to get started again. There's a nice post
over on Toronto Girl Geek Dinners, too. I have been trying to go to an event there for at least 6 months, maybe a year - seems it's always on a day I'm out of town or otherwise unavailable. April 5th might work out - I hope it does.
What have I been doing for the last almost-4-months? Working hard. Speaking, mostly on Windows 7 things. Planning future speaking gigs. Writing code - real code - in VB, C#, and yes, C++. Some using STL and some using MFC as it happens. Project managing, which can be many times more satisfying than coding but also many times more frustrating. Tweeting
(yes, I did - and I tweet personal stuff as much as technical stuff so if you don't care for that you don't need to feel obliged to follow me.) Publishing videos. All of these things will get blog posts of their own over the next little while.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
I had to check Wikipedia to be sure how to spell that . I thought this was a good post to pull some images off my camera and be a little touristy.
Here is the U-Bahn (subway) station nearest the hotel. We rode the subways back and forth each day, about 30 minutes each way including changing lines, and all free thanks to a transit pass that I believe Kylie ("I'm 4 and a half and I'm a PC") might have created for us. Mine got crumpled and soggy but worked perfectly.
Here we all are headed into the Messe one morning. Big, isn't it?
This one shows you a little more of what we were up against. The big round thing is just the entrance to the complex. The red brick building with a big 2 on it had the speaker room in it. Behind it are other buildings of the same size with the exhibition halls, pavilions etc, and past that the food rooms. The blue-grey building with the 7 on it is the one that held all the breakouts. And yes, we had to go outside (and it rained a fair bit) when going from building to building - but only for 20 or 30 feet.
I have a bit of a running joke on my blog about donuts. Some Tech Eds have 'em ... and some don't. This one did. Apparently they're not called Berliners in Berlin. (And btw, JFK didn't say what you're thinking.)
Finally, here's all that's left of the wall in most spots:
And the Brandenburg Gate at night makes a very compelling image. We walked through, East to West.
Next year? I sure hope so.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
I admit it, I read my referrer logs. I want to see what kinds of searches bring people here, or who is linking to me. I think a lot of the single word searches (women, or shirt, or december) are blog spammers looking for posts to spam on. And some are clearly my name, names of my friends or folks I blog about, conferences I'm speaking at. The majority is things I know about, things for which I want to be your expert source: /clr:pure, windows 7 taskbar, uac manifest file, marshal_as and so on. Yay.
But this one was just plain odd: c++ standard limerick. Really? So I repeated the search, and found this:
When writing a specialization,
be careful about its location;
or to make it compile
will be such a trial
as to kindle its self-immolation.
OK, it's not spaced like that in the standard. But who'da thunk it?
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Anyone who blogs on technical topics soon notices they get a lot more hits if they wander into non technical areas for a post or two. That’s just because there are more non technical people out there, searching for tips on stain removal or coupons for TGI Fridays, than there are people who want to know how to get a manifest on an executable or how to write a C++/CLI wrapper for native code or what’s coming in Visual Studio 2010. That’s why my top ten posts last year are:
1 - XPS Document Viewer – Nov 19th 2006
I guess people are still getting XPS documents and don’t know how to read them. OK. Not sure why my page would be the one that over 7000 people find, but what the heck, the information is still valid.
2 - Reading Office 2007 files – Nov 23rd 2006
Also from two years ago but people still need to know this. I send people this link whenever I get one of those “I can’t read your attachment because I’m not on Office 2007 yet” replies to an email. I didn’t send it out 4000 times though, so I guess a lot of people are searching for this stuff.
3 - Try Www.mappoint.com – August 18th 2004
I read recently that people don’t seem to realize they can type URLS into the address bar on their browsers, and have their home pages set to search engines, and actually type entire URLS into search boxes so they can click the result. I would deny this could happen, except many years ago I had a client who did just this, so I know there really are people who do this. I also can’t think of any other reason why over 2500 people would read a four year old post comparing MapPoint to MapQuest given that everybody these days uses either maps.google.com or maps.live.com.
4 - Introduction to Workflow in SharePoint 2007 – June 22nd 2006
Yep, workflow was a hugely important addition to SharePoint. We’re loving it in the SharePoint project we’re doing now. Again this is a topic that must surely be better covered somewhere else though. Still almost 2500 people stopped by to learn about workflow – I hope they followed the link to learn more, and learn something a little more recent – say from after the product was released?
5 - How to earn a million Aeroplan miles – Oct 1st 2005
Now this is really non-technical, but it caught my attention and I guess plenty of other people’s too. I have some other blog entries from time to time about Aeroplan miles, but I don’t really cover how to earn them. For that I highly recommend Flyertalk’s Aeroplan forum.
6 - Batch-convert Visual Studio 2005 projects to Visual Studio 2008 – Dec 17th 2007
The most recent entry yet in this top ten. It makes sense that something that gets hits all year does better than something that wasn’t even around for the first half of 2008. And this is a useful tip I haven’t seen many other places. All those searching people should just subscribe to John Robbins – searching only helps you if you know something exists and want to find it. Smart blogs like John show you things you hadn’t imagined existing.
7 - Another Way to Get the Shield on a Button (or Anywhere Else) – Jan 30th 2008
Finally, something from 2008 in the 2008 top ten! And this is a good tip from Daniel Moth. Remember, the shield on a menu item or button doesn’t bring up the UAC prompt any more than putting ... on a menu item brings up a dialog. And nothing puts the shield there for you if you trigger a prompt any more than something puts the ... for you when it sees you have code to show a dialog. All of this is just sensible developer tradition that helps users feel comfortable with the software they’re using. So please play along and help people know what to expect.
8 - Don't compile MFC apps with /clr:pure – Jan 17th 2007
This one seemed like a no-brainer – MFC includes native stuff, /clr:pure means I don’t have any native stuff, but I was getting emails asking for help and this kept turning out to be the issue. So I blogged it. A lot of my blog topics are the answers to random emails I get from people who are looking for help. This way an extra 1500 or so people saw the answer in 2008.
9 - Hot Laptop? Here's a tip – May 14th 2006
It’s still good advice for working with an overheating laptop. I’m not sure if the searchers all had that problem or were using “hot” more metaphorically.
10 - Adding a manifest to a Vista application – Oct 3rd 2006
This is mostly a link over to Catherine Heller’s Visual Studio 2005 instructions, except that I really wanted to call out how much less work it was for Visual C++ compared to C# and VB.NET. Anyway it’s all a ton easier with Visual Studio 2008 these days.
What else can I tell you from my stats? I got almost a million visits over the year, and they averaged 2.71 requests – meaning most folks clicked around a bit once they arrived. That’s heartening. In 2008 I set myself a goal to blog every day. I didn’t achieve that – there were several long gaps in there – but I did post 135 times. I still like the quote from my post on June 1st, resuming after a four-month gap: “Blogging, like speaking at a Quaker meeting, is something one must do only if the spirit moves one.” I’m looking forward to having my spirit move me hundreds of times in 2009.
Sunday, 01 June 2008
Here I am again in Orlando, getting ready for another Tech Ed.
Being in a familiar place, doing something I've done so many times before, it makes me finally ready to blog again. A lovely quote I read just yesterday, "Blogging, like speaking at a Quaker meeting, is something one must do only if the spirit moves one." And today, in a hushed convention centre that will hold over 10,000 tomorrow but seems to have only a dozen today, it moves me. (Read the whole article, btw. And reflect that at Tech Ed we are exhorted to Learn, Connect, Explore.)
Tomorrow, my precon on Vista programming. And plenty more to follow. My friends, in more ways than one, here we are again.
Monday, 21 January 2008
I decided to add a Concurrency Category, and to go back in time and add things to it. I hope it helps you find my posts on this increasingly important topic. I enjoyed reading some of what I've been writing about concurrency for the last two years.
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
At Tech Ed Developers Europe, one of my talks was on STL/CLR and the marshaling library. There are three super cool things about the marshaling library that all C++ developers need to know. The first is that the random boilerplate code we used to write to convert between two kinds of strings is now taken care of for us:
char* stringfromnativelibrary; //gets set somehow
The second is that it's just templates, meaning it is fast at runtime and intuitive for a C++ developer. The third is that because it's templates, we can write our own specializations, and convert between any two types we feel we will be using - typically on either side of the managed/native border, though that's not a requirement at all.
This last part is really exciting to me. Imagine you have some library you wrote ages ago that takes a RECT and does something with it related to your business logic. But you've replaced your UI and now you have a System::Drawing::Rectangle to represent what your user selected. Wouldn't it be cool to write:
oldfunction( marshal_as<RECT> RectangleFromWinForms);
That's not a problem as long as someone has written that specialization. You can do it, or you can try to find one someone else already wrote.
Date and time, arrays, anything related to screen position, these are going to be types everyone uses. Why not share the effort of writing these conversion functions? That's the thought that hit me at the end of my talk. So I came home and set up a site - www.marshal-as.net - to use for just this purpose. I've had a few submissions from Jason, who was at my talk and was there when I thought of it, and a wish list from a "little birdie". The C++ team knows what I'm up to and they are excited too. Now what I need is submissions and lots of them!
So, drop me an email, comment on this post, or (better) comment on the first post over at www.marshal-as.net. I'll post the specializations one per post and we'll build a library. I'm inspired by pinvoke.net and would like to see this as the destination for finding a specialization instead of writing one. Can you help?
Sunday, 25 November 2007
I stopped blogging this fall because I had just too much on my plate. Most days I never found a peaceful half hour, and those days I did find it, I chose not to spend it blogging. But I have a lot of “stuff to blog” saved up, and it’s time to clear out that file and get this habit back on track. For those of you reading the feed, it will be a bit of a deluge. For the rest of you, I’m going to spread these out dated one a day because that makes them easier for me to manage later.
Wednesday, 30 May 2007
Again a blogging pause. Just too darn much work and a fair amount of speaking too. I'll do some "what's upcoming" shortly, but first here are the materials from my talk at the Toronto .NET User Group this week. I helped to found this group five years ago and it was great to be back. I've been doing this Vista talk a lot lately (Code Camp, DevTeach, a webcast last week, and now in Toronto) and it seems like people keep wanting to hear it. It's hard to fit it in a single evening but yes, you can learn what you need to get your app working on Vista in just an hour or two.
The first demo - the one app that has a manifest for the whole thing. Play with the required level or take the manifest away (remove the post build step) to see virtualization. UACDemoSolution1.zip (68.65 KB)
The second demo - the partitioned app with an asInvoker manifest for the overall app and a requireAdministrator manifest for the privileged exe. Also shows how to put the shield on the button. UACDemoSolution2.zip (68.2 KB)
Some fun with the Vista look and the effort VistaBridge saves. CommonFileDialogSolution.zip (1.88 MB)
The deck. ItsVistaTime.zip (790.18 KB) Zipped because the four digit extension seems to be causing a problem. It's .pptx which means you need the viewer for it.
More in the days to come!
Sunday, 07 January 2007
Let's see, I got dinged (so far) by
If I don't step up and produce my Five Things pretty quickly, there won't be anyone with a blog left for me to tag!
- I have a PhD in engineering -- Chemical Engineering to be precise -- from the University of Toronto. My thesis title had way too many "of"s in it and was about modelling the very first steps in blood coagulation at a surface. Simultaneous partial differential equations! Boundary layer! Non-Newtonian fluids! Woo hoo! My undergrad work was also in Chemical Engineering, at Waterloo.
- If you don't count co-op jobs while an undergrad, TA-ing while a grad student, part time lecturing, and the like, I have held only two "real" jobs in my entire life, one for two years between graduating from my undergrad and starting my grad work, and the other as partner here at Gregory Consulting ever since.
- I am an elder in a martial arts system, one of only six in that system. Don't try to beat me up though... we'll both be sorry.
- I never lie. I sometimes say I can't talk about something, or I say something that I know is deceptive but is technically true, but I do not lie. For example, I only say "this demo worked on the plane!" if it really did. But I might say "they haven't announced anything" knowing that you will conclude I don't know, when in fact I do know but can't tell you. Sorry.
- I adore my kids, and put them first in just about everything I do. I've turned down conferences because it conflicted with family things, and followed a lower-salary career path so I'd have time to be hugely involved in what they do. I even homeschooled one of them half days for an academic year. I just don't talk about them much in my blog to give them some privacy. As a result many people think I don't have kids! Trust me, when we're together in person and it's not all being archived for some future romantic interest of theirs to read 20 years from now, I'll talk your ear off about these sweet, funny, smart, hardworking, reliable little angels!
Now, my victims. Who on my favourites list is not already playing, but knows me enough to take a tag from me?
Monday, 23 October 2006
[back-dated with dasBlog]
While I was in Africa my father's condition worsened and then he slipped away. He died at home, in the bed he'd been using for several months, without pain, knowing he was dying and that it was time to go. He had taken care of the things he needed to take care of: explaining his latest project to his former graduate students so that they can prove his theory and rewrite some text books, explaining the trickier aspects of the boat motor to my sister, giving some instructions to his lawyer. He was content to go at the end.
His obituary was in the Globe. It could easily have been twice as long.
Tuesday, 05 September 2006
One more update about my Dad and then some catching up from the old "stuff to blog" file. My Dad has an inoperable lump. Visually the surgeon says it is cancer, but two biopsies have been negative. This lump was blocking bile ducts, blocking the bowel, and doing various things that cause terrible pain and can kill you within days. His late August surgery moved things out of the way of the lump, leaving him to recover from the surgery (and subsequent abscess) and the weight loss and muscle loss that comes from going over 6 weeks without really eating. He has done an amazing job of that, returning within days to regular bike riding, sailing the 26 foot wooden boat he took around the world, and putting weight back on. He is also figuring out how to balance his pain meds so that he can stay as active as he wants to be.
How long does he have? We don't know. He could have died back in August in that dingy hospital room, wearing just that stupid backless gown and with no comforts of home. Now he is home, with ocean views from every room, his own clothes, his own shower, his bike, his boat, music, his laptop, and family. I hope he has another year or more... but we are all prepared for less. And we are all living as though he has more, much more.
Tuesday, 22 August 2006
Blogging is usually a way I talk to people I don't otherwise talk to. Not that friends, family, clients, and staff don't read it -- I know you're there! But there is another group of people I know are reading who I don't normally email, IM, call, see, or send pieces of paper to. And in my life, as in so many lives, things come up, stresses rise, deadlines loom, project work eats all available hours, and the blog starts to suffer.
It starts with missing a few days, then catching up. The "stuff to blog" file is handy here, so when you catch up you clean out the file. Then the number of days you're behind exceeds the number of entries in the file, and besides most of them are just a link and you don't have time to write the three sentences that go with it. So then you don't blog for a while.
When are you likely to start again? When the blog becomes the more efficient way to talk to the people you usually talk to, but don't have time to. Expect the blog to get a little more personal for a while (though there's some technical stuff to clear out of "stuff to blog" as well, or to go dark again. I'll do what I can.
Tuesday, 04 July 2006
Is a blog just for reading? Some blogs have way more life in the comments than the original posts (think Mini Microsoft for example, and I'm not saying the original posts are lifeless, just that the comments really take it up a notch) while others (like the one you're reading now) have very few comments. I like to think that people wander off and think about what they read, or go fix the problem in their code (hello all you broke-your-sql-reporting-services-installation people, I see your search terms in my activity list) and think nicely of me.
But here's a rather interesting blog entry. It's one word long. And that word is not all that unusual. Now I love self-reference, Godel, Escher, Bach etc, so I laughed. And I'm not alone. The commenters got it right away, drawing on a long tradition back to Usenet (at least 20 years) and then bringing in some more recent traditions. Good fun for as long as you can stand it.
Friday, 21 April 2006
I've just updated the mentoring and consulting pages on our website. The mentoring offering is where I get most of my fun, so we've decided to emphasize it a little more. I even found out how to put flare on my blog. Tell your friends
Saturday, 25 February 2006
I have no clue who would come up with a number such as that, but anyone who approaches me with a cheque for $17,500 (or should I say check, I bet that's US dollars) is very likely to become a proud blog-owner :). And that's a 54 cent discount!
Thursday, 06 October 2005
At the PDC, we were shown what Office 12 is going to be like, and it was impressive. But since then more announcements keep coming out about it that in many ways are more impressive than the new user interface. (If you're thinking "what new user interface?" you need to check out the future Office page at MSDN for details.) Apparently the Channel 9 Video has been insanely popular also. In some ways the Open XML formats are more exciting than the UI , especially for developers. And now this: Office 12 - not just Word, but Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, everybody - will all know how to publish their documents as PDF. No third party tool, no add in, it will just work. I read about it on Brian Jones' blog, but there are also details on that future Office page.
Friday, 09 September 2005
This morning I got an email that my blog was down... turned out that one of the drives in my web server had died. We were in the process of moving everything off that server anyway, to a more modern one, but needless to say this accelerated the schedule a little. While we were at it, we upgraded dasBlog to 1.8. I believe all the comment spam should have gone as part of the upgrade, and from now on you will need to do the Captcha thing to leave comments. If you hate that, email me and we'll discuss it. I sure was hating clearing out the you-know-what.
Thursday, 11 August 2005
This is a cool little service, “Not Endorsed nor Authorized by Google in any way”, that lets readers show me where you are. Go on, zoom and pan and whatever till you find your location, then double-click to add your little face icon to the map.
Inspired, as I so often am, by Scott Hanselman.
Tuesday, 05 April 2005
In the last few days just about every Microsoft or Microsoft-friendly blog I read has changed its theme. I can't even remember how to change my theme, and suddenly the folks who were black on orange are blue on white, the folks who were blue on grey are orange on white, links that were on the left are on the right and vice versa. More than once this week I have thought I was on the wrong blog!
Let's see if I can get with the spirit and add some flare today or tomorrow...
Thursday, 10 February 2005
OK, I did the blogmap thing:
This is my Peterborough office, not that I'm there very often...
Wednesday, 15 December 2004
I just read a blog entry that, to me, really epitomizes what blogs are all about. It starts out as a musing on a little technical question -- if some C++ code throws a string literal, what kind of catch clauses should win the race to catch it? -- and turns into a very personal story of what C++/CLI is for and about and Stan's motivations in being part of it. He says:
We have had an extraordinary degree of freedom not simply in our design, but in our being able to reach out and work with the general c++ community. this language is a coalition. I think we have all wanted to put the best face on C++ in what we regard as an otherwise hostile environment for C++. We think this is a win-win situation for everyone. if you don't like something, you should let us know. we're not a hundred thousand leagues removed from our users. if you want to use the language, you have every right to tell us what you think about it; how you find it; what you want.
I just program and write. and I do that best in C++. C# and Java mean nothing to me. Now I have my own language to use on .NET. That was my personal agenda in all this. I think you should check it out.
So go read it. C++/CLI is being developed by real people who care about the technology they use and the technology they create. I don't know what it is about C++ that makes people feel this way about it -- I feel the same way myself. I use VB.NET almost every day, I use XML, I use all kinds of things, but I don't really have feelings towards those things. I do for C++. Weird but true, and --hey!-- I'm not the only one.
Tuesday, 06 July 2004
Tuesday, 08 June 2004
Now people I haven't even met are blogging about donuts... not that the back door he describes could persuade me to scan my own groceries, until the UI improves dramatically. It's forever telling me to put the bag back on the scale or take things off the scale until I'm ready to abandon everything I've bought just to make the process stop.
Monday, 31 May 2004
Marcie blogs about donuts so I don't have to.
As for snacks at TechEd, just don't get me started.
Tuesday, 25 May 2004
This year there are two flavours of speaker shirts at TechEd: the darker (more attractive, I think) blue belong to Microsoft people and the lighter ones to third parties -- that would be me. I wore one of mine today and since I have booth duty tomorrow (RD booth -- 49 and 50 in the Microsoft Pavilion in the Exhibit Hall, come on by) I'll be wearing the other one. I'm hoping to get a third shirt tomorrow. I don't know why I packed any of my own clothes, really, folks have been handing me shirts every time I turn around. No-one gives you pants as swag though. Too bad!
As well as the shirt, I have a slightly decorated badge:
I figure I might as well make myself easy to spot. So if you can't recognize me from the picture (upper left corner) on the bingo card, you can recognize my badge Most of the RDs are wearing the Regional Director Program button also, and we tend to know where each other are. So if you still need a Forte or Huckaby signature, if you missed Clemens and Scott in the RD booth tonight, or left before Goksin arrived (oh yes, he did come by later!) then flag down any RD you see and ask us if we've seen the one you're missing.
I think I just about have one piece of badge bling for every category on my blog. I got an INETA card after I took the picture. I forgot to bring my MVP lapel pin, sorry MVP program.
And of course, I can relax and think about badges and shirts and such because I did my talk and it went well. I will try to get my code (and my slides for that matter) on CommNet.
Tuesday, 11 May 2004
Almost as soon as I noticed (and before I could report it) the only flaw I had found in dasBlog has been fixed. My C++ Category used to always come up empty, though of course I had plenty of posts in it, thanks to the punctuation in the category name. Today a completely painless upgrade to 1.6 fixed that. Yay!
Monday, 22 March 2004
My favourite sysadmin downloaded dasBlog for me (thanks to Clemens for writing it) and installed it, leaving me with only the task of filling it up with stuff. I can't write much today because I'm getting ready to go to Montreal tomorrow for the Montreal Microsoft .NET Architecture User Group where I'm going to talk about Remoting. Looking forward to the train ride already.
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