Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Here's an amazing grand finale to the Dot Net Rocks Roadtrip this year -a full on developer conference in Las Vegas, Dec 9th - 12th.
I love this answer to "What is DevIntersection?"
This three-day conference marks the final stop on the USA leg of the .NET Rocks! Visual Studio 2012 Launch Road Trip! DevIntersection is a developer conference PLUS the recording venue for the last stop of the three-month road trip hosted by Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin. We're bringing together some of the best speakers (and our personal friends) for a conference that is relaxed and educational, plus forward looking as you and your company start to figure out what to do with Windows 8 and Visual Studio for the next few years. Our attendees tend to be .NET software developers plus other members of their teams. DevIntersection is an educational onsite conference for anyone who is attached to a .NET development programming project who is looking to use Visual Studio to develop apps for desktop, web and mobile platfoms.
I have two breakout sessions - one on C++ AMP and one on developing for the Windows Store in C++. No .NET in either one of them; this is a conference for expanding your horizons, after all.
For $1595 you get three full days of sessions. And if you register in October (hurry!) you will also get a new tablet. Build sold out in hours, so this is your chance to get access to deep and current information for developers across the Microsoft ecosystem. See you there!
Thursday, 27 September 2012
ago or so, when Visual Studio 2010 launched, the crazy duo of Richard Campbell
and Carl Franklin – if you’re a Dot Net Rocks listener, they’re the voices in
your head – took their show on the road and drove an RV across the USA holding
live Dot Net Rocks evenings pretty much every night for weeks on end. Each city
featured a surprise “rockstar” flown in for the occasion. I did St Louis and
had a great time. Now they’re doing it again and this time announcing us in
advance – I’ll be in Nashville Oct 24th.
Registration is free, and please do register
using the big red Register button for your city (I hope to see you in
Nashville). You can track them online too and follow
the #dnrRoadTrip hashtag on Twitter.
If you’re in
Toronto, don’t miss the October 13th Saturday-a-ganza at the
Microsoft Canada offices featuring Michele Leroux Bustmante! I know I won’t!
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Oh my goodness. What a week that was!
Here's how I thought I would do my first summary. Links to videos, discussions of sessions I either went to or tried to go to (more on that in a moment) along with my tweets from the ground, as it were.
My first real tweet Tuesday morning (8:37 California time) was announcing that my PluralSight C++ Fundamentals course had gone live. Then the keynote started. Here are my tweets and retweets along with the time into the keynote I said them:
- 6 minutes: #bldwin totally dominating my stream SS doing a good intro to lean back computing
- 37 minutes: RT @dseven WinRT API'S are natively built into Windows and built to reflect in different languages - C/C++ and .NET. #bldwin
- 42 minutes: Starting at 8PM today, Seattle time, you can download all of the code that attendees at BUILD received. t.co/nuTuwga
- 43 minutes: RT @wkrwk Did anyone notice the UI during the VSE 11 demo is the classic Windows UI? #bldwin
- 48 minutes: #bldwin VS vNext demo is breaking twitter = no hope of following it all
- 50 minutes: RT @andrewbrust Expression Blend is still Grey on Black. It could use a little "fast and fluid," frankly. #bldwin
- 51 minutes: Store menu in VS?? #bldwin #wholenewworld
- 58 minutes: RT @rhundhausen Desktop (#x86) apps can be listed in the #windows8 store as well #bldwin
- 61 minutes: RT @ayus :))) RT @timheuer The Red Shirt is dominant even when not present. #bldwin @scottgu
- 79 minutes, @EdgarSanchez retweeted @rickasaurus asking "I'm interested in hearing more about this new GPU offloading API. Any links? #bldwin" and I answered "Check my blog as the week goes on for GPU stuff"
- 80 minutes: RT @marypcbuk Sinofsky: that gaming PC looks like ice. Angiulo: more like lava, it converts 700w of power to 4.7 teraflops like 3,500 Cray XMPs #bldwinPlatform for Metro style apps
- 87 minutes: RT @Pete_Brown Dude just cracked open a laptop on stage and showed the electronics. Can't beat that #bldwin #geek
- 100 minutes: RT @andrewbrust When will we admit Sinofsky's doing a great job? He's working hard, not just presiding. #bldwin
- 120 minutes: RT @ronnipedersen If you have an iPad, don't watch the build keynote… It'll make you feel like you have bought a C64 #bldwin
- 127 minutes: RT @jonbrasted It is a great day to be a Windows developer. #bldwin #trbbuild
The download surprised me, I didn't think it would be ready for people to try on any old hardware. And the hardware demo was very very good. And sure, I was on instant messenger back to the office saying "it's official" when the rumour was finally confirmed that we were getting tablets. But mostly, I really liked what I saw and wanted to know more, which is what keynotes are all about.
After eating something completely unmemorable, I found my way to the overflow room, always a little more casual and a good place to find "the cool kids". I had already met a number of old friends in the huge keynote session and before it, but here were more. I'll just give you the links to the Big Picture sessions. They are all very good.
- 8 traits of great Metro style apps - a truly excellent session by a presenter who cares deeply about the topic. I tweeted a lot less during this one because it required more active listening.
- Platform for Metro style apps - another very good session during which I just retweeted some other people's "Hey, this stuff is C++" reactions and a link to the session planner app for the phone, which I used heavily.
By this time people were starting to "get it" (including me) and the excitement level was rising. Here's just what I retweeted:
- @coridrew #bldWin is really, really, really making me want to //BUILD/ Windows apps #BestConferenceNameEver #WhoKnew
- @briannoyes Add ref from js project to C++ library - really empasizes this is running native #bldwin
- +@fignewtron iPad limited in many ways to consumption - Windows 8 is production and consumption on many devices. Sales numbers decide winner. #bldwin
- @mcakins Wow, the silence from Apple's camp is deafening! Windows rocks once more! Its 1995 all over again! #bldwin
One more session: Tools for building Metro style apps - I was getting tired at this point. It was a lot to take in. People were lined up the length of the convention centre for tablets. I knew there were enough for all of us, so I went back to my room to edit my pointers module for the PluralSight course so it could "tack on" to the end of the published course. While videos rendered, I had a little back and forth on Twitter with people who had noticed how much fun I was having, and others who were playing with their tablets already. I slipped out to pickup the tablet about 7:30 but didn't open it till the module was done. Then:
- 10:48 pm: got major piece of work done ... yielding to temptation ... tablet here i come #bldwin
- 10:57 pm: How's that for fast setup? Everything's installed.... Trying visual studio next
- 11:11 pm: Just wrote a Win8 C++ app on the tablet with touch keyboard. Built and ran first time. #winning
That's right, I didn't even set up the bluetooth keyboard. People cite Visual Studio as an app you couldn't possibly use with touch. I wouldn't want to do it all day, but I did it! Then I played a bit more.
Day 2 started with another whole keynote
. C++ was front and centre here. Some tweets:
- 17 minutes: RT @seesharp 3D graphics debugging at the pixel level in DirectX. Unreal. #bldwin
- 33 minutes: RT @bgervin killer strategy for MS to help developers make HTML apps for iOS and Android #bldwin
- 34 minutes: RT @tpdorsey RT @EisenbergEffect […] in C++, you can write your own WinRT library, which when built, can be used by C++, C#, VB and JS.
- 34 minutes: RT @jmorrill This new COM and C++ version is not _anything_ like what you think it is. From what I can tell so far...effing amazing!!!!
- 49 minutes: Loved it RT @MichaelDesmond Zander shows off the new image editor in VS11 as he works on a C++ DirectX game.
- 54 minutes: RT @shycohen Moving a VHD while the machine is running is cool. Moving a live VHD is even cooler! :) Will enable amazing things in the future. #bldwin
- 82 minutes: most tattoos ever in an MS keynote
- 95 minutes: RT @seesharp WOAH. Did not expect Steve Ballmer today. Everyone was starting to leave already. Woah! #bldwin
- 97 minutes: RT @carafone 500,000 downloads of #win8 already! #bldwin
- 98 minutes: RT @LACanuck And #Win8 was downloaded 500K times in 12 hrs RT @mashable: RIM Has Sold Just 490,000 PlayBooks - on.mash.to/nEu0dU #bldwin
- 102 minutes: That's what these keynotes were missing! Turns out it's a great time to be a developer. I was worrying, no-one had told me yet #bldwin
- 105 minutes: I've been paid to program since 1979. Keynotes tell me at least once a year it's a great time to be a developer. And they're right. #bldwin
Then it was time for simultaneous breakouts, and that meant choices. You can search the sessions list
as well as I can. The C++ ones
are not to be missed. These are happy people who are delighted to tell us what's been going on, and they're proud of it, too. At 3:13 I tweeted "Went quiet because i am massively engaged with C++ content in packed rooms. Small break between sessions to say "wow!" #bldwin #happycamper
". The remainder of the afternoon was super confusing. People were jumping to conclusions, correcting each other, having opinions about the death of this that and the other. Because C++/Cx (the language extension you use to call WinRT) looks a lot like C++/CLI, people thought it was managed, but it's not, it's all native code and C++ Metro apps get a perf boost from that. The understanding that something amazing and powerful still has COM at the core began to grow. People were reporting trying to use Windows 8 gestures on their iPads and on nontouch screens, showing that the team has made some very intuitive choices. One tweet of mine I want to repeat: "Big props to Aleš Holeček for joining in the Q&A in the last C++ talk of the day when the questions got really Windows-y. Impressed. #bldwin
". Even if you're not a C++ developer, download that session
and watch the Q & A.
Day 3 started with being turned away from a C++ session
, and so going to a different C++ session
that was on at the same time. Several people from the C++ team made the trip with me, giving me a chance to tell them how impressive all this was. Meanwhile on mailing lists, people who weren't onsite and were 12 - 24 hours behind as they waited for session videos to go live were echoing the confusion and dismay of yesterday. It was hard to be patient with them. It's going to make sense, I wanted to tell them. Just hang in there! I took a small break from sessions to watch (and help with) the C++ part of Channel 9 Live (I am still waiting for links to the recording, because I couldn't hear everything they said and I want to) and then to Herb's second talk
- again the room jammed full and dozens turned away, Don Box (who had earlier reminded us COM is still love) blurting out his admiration for Herb as a speaker and the great content, and the terrific line, "We protect against Murphy, not Machiavelli
". What a time to be a C++ developer!
Day 4 kicked off with kind words from Daniel
and a chance to hand out paper copies of the whitepaper I recently blogged. I got some quiet time with various smart people who told me their thoughts on all this. I'm still synthesizing it all. I also was downloading videos like a mad thing. I came home with 22 hours of video to watch and since then have grabbed another 15 or so. Some people began to realize they had over-reacted. Some excellent blogs began to appear - Doug Seven,
for example, had several sensible things to say.
And then it was time to go. Glenn Ferrie tweeted "Writing C++ in the airport #bldwin #WinRT
" and that summed up the week for me. I have a lot of watching, coding, thinking, reading and talking to do so I can establish what all this means. But hey, why not join me? It's a great time to be a developer!
Thursday, 31 March 2011
You go to Tech Ed to learn about technology - developer tools, sysadmin tools, platforms like SharePoint or Windows Phone. But there's more to your work than the nuts and bolts of how to solve a technical problem. Do you use social media effectively? What would an effective use of Twitter or Facebook look like, anyway? Are jobs shifting because of technology? How important is cross-platform development? How important are new platforms? How do you react to big changes in your technical world and direct your own career?
Well, there's a Tech Ed precon Sunday evening
that covers that exact topic. And look who's involved: Stephen Rose
(Windows Community Manager), Zeus Kerravala
(Distinguished Research Fellow and Senior VP, Yankee Group), Richard Campbell
(Co-founder of Strangeloop Networks, co-host of .NET Rocks!, host of RunAsRadio, Microsoft MVP, Microsoft Regional Director),
(Senior Technical Director for Penton Media’s IT & developer publications, author of SQL Server Developer’s Guide series from Osborne-McGraw-Hill),
(Microsoft Regional Director, Founder of InterKnowlogy),
Michele Leroux Bustamante
(Chief Architect with iDesign, Microsoft Regional Director, Microsoft MVP, author of Learning WCF (O’Reilly)),
(Principal Developer Evangelist for Microsoft, Central Region),
(Microsoft Academic Developer Evangelist), Sean Deuby
(Technical Director, Penton Media’s Windows IT Pro Magazine, Microsoft MVP),
(Senior Industry Analyst, Penton Media’s Windows IT Pro and Supersite for Windows; author of Windows Phone Secrets), John Willis
(VP of Training & Services, Opscode), Laura Hunter
(Principal Technology Architect for Microsoft IT’s Identity & Access Management team), Yung Chou
(Microsoft Senior IT Pro Evangelist, East Region) and Barbara Yamauchi
(Microsoft IT program manager for developer tools and IT lifecycle management). Wow! And this is an interactive panel discussion, so you can help to shape the conversation.
There is a small fee ($99) and you have to arrive Sunday afternoon so you'll be able to attend. But it looks like a heck of an evening! Glad to see so many RDs and MVPs on that list.
Friday, 25 March 2011
Charles was busy during MVP summit! In addition to interviewing me
, he sat a number of MVPs down to talk about C++, being an MVP, and the like. They're from all over the world and they have widely different jobs, but you can see how much they love this stuff. And please notice -- they span a wide age range, too. The stereotype of C++ as the language for the grey haired developers is just a myth. If you wonder why anyone still uses C++, and why it's going to be very good for this industry that there are still C++ experts around, watching these videos will be an eyeopener.
By the way, Alon
is also an RD.
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Think you can write a TFS client for Windows Phone 7? Think you can do it by the end of November? Would you like a free MSDN subscription with Visual Studio Ultimate worth about $15,000 Canadian? Then you need to read Barry Gervin's post
where he offers you not just that, but several (probably more valuable) introductions and blog mentions.
Now, you don't need to write all of Team Explorer. Barry suggests build status, dashboards, work item editing, and of course connecting to what the phone knows about People on the team. And he wants to hear from those who are trying, so he can help make it happen.
Interested? Plan your code, email Barry, write your code, and in the end email him the code and maybe a video demo by November 30th. Easy, right?
Sunday, 01 August 2010
I've done a lot of training in my day. I really enjoy it - you get immediate satisfaction, as a trainer, from seeing people leave changed by having spent a week with you. It's one of the easiest ways to have a major impact on someone's career and even their life. These days, there's a lot less of it going on. Partly it's because technology has enabled other ways of learning. Partly it's because we're a lot more "fast-paced" - someone who realizes they are missing knowledge will search for it online, ask on StackOverflow, watch a recorded talk or screencast and then carry on, rather than waiting several weeks to be able to go on course. There is still a lot to be said, however, for spending a day or three days or a week with a really smart person who has committed to making you better at something you don't know enough about.
So why would someone who was lucky enough to be "sent on course" by their employer, or who has invested their own time and money on taking a course, waste that opportunity with self defeating behaviours? I don't know, but I know for a fact that it happens. I've had people in my courses who didn't care, who didn't want to learn, who were hostile to the language or tools or methodology I was there to tell them about. Sadder still were the people who did care, wanted to learn, wanted to learn this topic, but still chose to act in a way that prevented it. Back in the day when you couldn't check your email in class (no wireless, and email on phones was rare) it was the folks who burst out into the hall at every coffee break and every lab period to go check their email and voicemail. Often they would say "I read the exercise and I only need 10 minutes for that, so I'll check my messages then come back and do it." My reply was always "if you really only need 10 minutes, do the exercise and then go check your messages." But this group of people can't make the training their top priority even for this one day, this one week. And often, they don't learn much as a result. In person training is probably a bad fit for them, and they might even give it a bad name. Then there's the showoff, the arguer, the "sorry I was zoned out can you say that all over again", and so on.
Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp are still teaching more than I ever did. And now Paul's written up a lovely list
of ten things NOT to do when you're on a course. None of it is SQL-specific and it's all good advice. Enjoy.
Friday, 30 July 2010
Krakovetskiy, a Regional Director in Ukraine, has written a cool Bing Maps application that shows you where Regional Directors are located and provides a bit of their bio. It's an interesting supplement to our blog aggregation and event calendar at The Region.
Hover over a star to see someone's name (as in the screenshot) - click it to read their bio and get links to their Twitter, blog, etc. You can zoom out to the whole planet or in to a region that interests you. Nice work, Oleksandr!
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Another terrific Tech Ed has come to a close. I never really got used to the weather in New Orleans, but I loved the food, I loved that we could walk to just about every dinner or party, and I loved the locals I met. I would have liked a little less walking within the convention centre itself - that building is a mile long and I had to go the whole length and back several times each day!
I have a few pictures from inside for you.
This is the "RD couch" in the community area. Good for hanging out while waiting to be on Channel 9. As you can see, non-RDs were hanging out here too.
The table for the Code Pack was giving away copies of the Code Pack on these slightly bizarre USB keys. I meant to keep one for myself but got carried away handing them out at my session (along with cards for a free trial of the Pluralsight On Demand! library). Also the shot-glass-on-a-string-of-beads is pretty brilliant for New Orleans swag. "Give it a shot!" they say.
This is the room for my C++ talk. That's Juval Lowy, who spoke right before me, up on stage. You can see he did a pretty good job of filling the room, which holds 1000. I got somewhat less than that, but was happy with the turnout and the evals for the C++ talk. Both my talks are available online already, by the way, which is astonishingly quick.
I love the "face time" with Microsoft people (including "my" product teams as well as folks in marketing, developer outreach and education, and so on), with my fellow RDs, MVPs, INETA folks, and speakers of all stripes, and with attendees. Booth duty, where you spend long minutes shifting your weight from foot to foot praying someone will come by, is a bit like of box of chocolates. An eager attendee comes forward, meets your eye, smiles ... for every "can you tell me where to find the blinky Windows 7 pen?" there is a good solid question or expression of interest in my actual technology. I got one question on Wednesday from someone who just wanted to know what booth to go to for it to be answered, only to learn it was this booth and that in fact I was probably the only person in building who could have answered it. I sure liked that one!
Next year, Atlanta:
But I may not have to wait a year for another Tech Ed experience.
Sunday, 06 June 2010
I found myself with some free time and decided to go on a city tour here in New Orleans with a fellow RD and a fellow MVP, both from the Greater Toronto Area like me. It was eye opening. This is a city of contrasts, and I'm sure it was so even before Katrina, but the unfixed damage and signs of what once was make that even more dramatic.
Here is your classic "wrought iron balconies" picture at the start of the tour.
And then in no time, we get to wrecked buildings that haven't been rebuilt yet. All while the guide is talking about how deep the water was and how long people were kept away from their houses to try to rescue things and minimize mould damage.
I found this very poignant. A lovely allee of trees. The houses though, are gone - these two rows of trees are in front of vacant lots.
Some new building is underway; this one is in a project sponsored by Brad Pitt.
This house seems ok but the "graffiti" on the front porch is rescue worker tags explaining how many bodies were found etc. I saw dozens of houses that still had the notation - plus the big X with numbers in the quadrants - even GAS OFF in giant orange letters and not yet repainted.
The cemeteries here are really something else. I didn't think I was going to care about this part of the tour but it was actually really interesting.
Then to the Garden district and more beautiful homes, lovely trees, a man walking his dog while sipping a glass of rose, etc.
Lovely balconies and fence.
I am so glad I was driven around to see all this. What a lovely city.
Saturday, 15 May 2010
I really enjoyed the Winter Olympics this year. I could basically watch 24 hours a day if I wanted, and on a lot of channels. Typically I had a choice of 4 or 5 different broadcasts on the TV, more if I was willing to watch in French, plus all I could possibly ask for (literally every event that was happening) online. In a lot of cases I would have the online up even while I was watching live, because the online gave you details that you would have to wait for the announcers to happen to say - split times, individual stats, who got the assist and so on - and because you could rewind the online and see it again yourself instead of hoping someone else chose to replay it. And if I didn't have the TV on, people could (and did) IM me or visit my desk telling me "you have to see this shot!" and we would find the stream, find the little highlight marker in the timeline, go to that place and watch the cool thing again together. The online experience from CTV was really a big aspect of my enjoyment of the entire Olympics.
Now a case study
has been released that talks about the nuts and bolts that made it all so much fun. The headline starts "CTV Streams 6.2 Petabytes of Winter Olympics To over 3.9 Million Visitors" and that alone is astonishing. It was all built with Microsoft technologies, including Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming. I like this quote:
Marcovici initially expected most viewers to be interested in a few minutes of highlights and then to move on. Much to his surprise, the average Canadian viewer spent more than an hour watching Winter Olympics video content online every single day.
That means somebody must have watched just a few minutes, because I was well over the one hour mark every day. I think we were even over the one-hour-per-person-in-the-house mark. I also liked the behind the scenes video from Vancouver. It was a nice reminder of the emotions of those weeks, plus it gives props to Vertigo, who built the player.
There are also case studies about the NBC Olympic experience, the Norwegian Broadcasting Company Olympic experience, and the France Televisions experience with the Olympics and other sports. They are all built on the same base and it goes to show that effort put into place for the Olympics could be used for many other events as well. I would love to see elections dealt with this way, so I could see the press conference for my riding even if something else was happening on the "main screen" or so I could rewind a speech or show someone else an amazing moment.
Aren't these interesting times? Staying connected is gaining a whole different meaning.
Update: in July another case study was released. Check that one too.
Saturday, 01 May 2010
On Thursday night I was the surprise mystery guest for the St Louis installment of the .NET Rocks Roadtrip. What a fun little jaunt that was! We recorded an episode of .NET Rocks, (talking about Windows 7, C++, and educating developers) then Carl and Richard both did very interesting presentations. I had seen parts of Richard's before, but Carl's was all new to me and I will just say if you live in the half of the roadtrip that hasn't happened yet, you really need to make an effort to be there and be part of it!
Here's a blog entry by Nicholas Cloud, and another by Brian Williams, and a picture by fallenprogrammer of us getting set up.
The next morning featured breakfast at Cracker Barrel (an experience) and then a ride to the airport in the RV for me and Kindler Chase, who had joined them in Tulsa, before they headed Chicago-wards. It sure was fun to be part of it!
Thursday, 29 April 2010
Would you like to learn more about developing for Windows 7 in C# or VB? My Pluralsight On-Demand! tutorial has just gone live. 9 of the 11 modules are there now and the last two will be shortly.
As the abstract says:
This tutorial is aimed at Windows developers (Windows
Forms or WPF) who want to add Windows 7 capabilities to their application. The
emphasis is on providing a helpful and efficient user experience by hooking into
what Windows 7 has to offer. You do not need to know how to interop to native
code or how the Windows 7 features work internally.
The table of contents looks like this:
- Light Up on Windows 7
- Windows 7 Jumplists
- Taskbar Overlays on Windows 7
- Taskbar Thumbnails on Windows 7
- Network Awareness on Windows 7
- Power Awareness on Windows 7
- Windows 7 Libraries
- Windows 7 UAC and Manifests
- Partitioning Administrative Tasks for Windows 7
- Known Folders for Windows 7 (under development)
- Scheduled Tasks on Windows 7 (under development)
The course has been a lot of fun to put together. I used the Code Pack to keep the amount of code you write to a minimum. Some of the demos use samples that come with the Code Pack; others use my own code, and you can spot those by the Demos download link.
The content is all subscribers-only, but you can get a Guest Pass to check it out. Also, RDs and MVPs get a free subscription, so if you qualify, this would be a great time to use that. Let me know if there are more topics you'd like to see me cover (after I get this one finished, of course!)
Monday, 19 April 2010
I am accumulating Visual Studio 2010 links at quite a pace. Let's have a bunch in this post:
Friday, 09 April 2010
This trip to the launch gets more exciting by the minute! Check this out:
The Channel 9 team will be broadcasting live, unscripted, and 100% interactive
from DevConnections 2010 in Las Vegas as part of the Visual Studio 2010 and
Silverlight 4 launches.
Join us Monday April 12th, from 8AM (PST) for Bob
Muglia's VS2010 Launch keynote then stay tuned for more than seven hours worth
of Visual Studio 2010-themed demos, interviews and panel discussions on Channel
. . .
Day 1 Schedule April 12th 2010 (Pacific time)
8:00 AM DevConnections 2010
Day 1 Keynote.
10:00 AM Welcome to VS2010: Doug Handler and Brian
Randell with Dan Fernandez.
10:30 AM Live Q&A with Bob Muglia,
President Server & Tools Division with Dan Fernandez.
VS2010: Native Code. Kate Gregory and Richard Campbell with Charles Torre.
11:30 AM VS2010: Managed Code. Lisa Feigenbaum, Tim Ng Dustin Campbell
with Charles Torre.
. . . then some other people, who I love, but I can't paste it all in here. . .
To be part of it, use Twitter with @ch9live somewhere in your message. We'll see it and that's all it takes to join the conversation!
I count 11 Regional Directors (many of whom are also MVPs) on the guest list. What a way to spend the day!
Wednesday, 07 April 2010
A little over five years ago a whole pile of people, inspired by Julie Lerman
, got together to raise money for the tsunami relief and recovery in Aceh. (Here are my blog entries from that time
.) We raised over $10,000 and perhaps some of you were wondering if we made a difference. Well Stephen Forte, who was a big part of that effort, now lives nearby and he visited them. His update
is a lovely way to see what happened as a result of our efforts. It's nice to see that the organization we chose to support is still there and still doing good work. I wish all my donations came with a five year followup like that.
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
It's thirteen days to launch. Yesterday I was able to confirm I will be attending the Las Vegas event. I'm stoked! The speaker line-up is amazing:
In addition to insightful keynotes by Bob Muglia, President, Server and Tools
Business and Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President, .NET Developer Platform,
see key members of the Visual Studio team including Doug Seven, Sean McBreen,
Chris Sells and Andy Conrad. Also see favorites from the third-party community
including Juval Lowy, Michele Leroux Bustamante, Billy Hollis, Tim Huckaby,
Rocky Lhotka, Dan Wahlin, Steven Smith, and Rick Strahl. Listen to a live
recording of .NET Rocks! with Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell.
That's 8 RDs in that paragraph. Are we an amazing community or what? There is so much good stuff in this release that I haven't been able to play with it all yet, so I'm really looking forward to having some smart people show me what I need to know quickly.
If you can't be there in person, you'll miss some of the fun, but not all! Code Project is running a Tech Summit so you can "experience the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 launch alongside the Visual Studio
team." Live video sessions and even a virtual swag-bag for attendees.
One way or the other, be there!
Friday, 26 March 2010
One of the things I did during my break from blogging was to start creating content for Pluralsight
. Is there anyone who hasn't heard of Pluralsight? An amazing group of people who want to help everyone learn how to develop on Microsoft platforms. They offer in-classroom training and also a rapidly growing online collection of videos and tutorials called Pluralsight On-Demand!
that lets you learn what you want on the spot. Rather than just "here's a one hour video on topic X" it's all set up with searches and indexes to take you straight to the piece you want when you're in a searchy mood. It's really nicely done.
Pluralsight is a very MVP-positive group (and RD-positive too, though we're rarer) and has more than a few MVPs on the technical and management team. During the MVP Summit they announced
that all MVPs and RDs get a free standard subscription to the entire Pluralsight On-Demand!
library. That's a heck of a deal and if you're eligible, you should sign up now.
I have one how-to reference video
published at the moment, on taskbar overlays (icons and progress bars) in Windows 7 with Code Pack. There will be more
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Developer Night in Canada is a fun podcast from John Bristowe and Joey deVilla of Microsoft Canada.
Episode 1 - my friend Joel Semeniuk. He's talking about the tool formerly known as Team Systems, and about the way he makes software. The Work Item Manager I told you about gets a mention too. Worth a listen!
Friday, 09 October 2009
You have to see these. Roughly half an hour each, featuring
an RD and at least one former RD, it’s a cast of luminaries and also has some
funny-looking-back archival footage. I learned a few things, remembered a whole
bunch more, and smiled and laughed a lot. Check them out. Apparently there’s a
whole series to follow with the full interviews with all those folks. I like
this chronologicallish approach with different interviews interwoven, but I’m
sure I’ll watch the long ones too when they come out.
Here’s who’s in it:
- Anders Hejlsberg
- Soma Somasegar
- Dan Fernandez
- Alan Cooper
- Bill (archive footage)
- Tim Huckaby
- Tony Goodhew
- Dave Mendlen
- Jeff Hadfield
- Jason Zander
- Mardi Brekke
- Dee Dee Walsh
- Scott Guthrie
They are both on Channel 9 (and read the comments too): Part 1 and Part 2.
Monday, 05 October 2009
If you read Stephen Forte's blog regularly, you'll know that he's a really technical guy. He's all about SQL, SQL Azure, WCF, Silverlight and so on. He's also a guy who shows his personal side in his blog. Before we had ever met, he was described to me as a slightly crazy guy who likes to climb mountains - and he has categories in his blog not just for Climbing, but also for Kilimanjaro and Everest. But he's also a guy who likes to help - a lot of the crazy things he does have been to raise money for charities - check his .NET Celebrity Auction and Curing Cancer categories.
So I really enjoyed reading two posts recently - "we're leaving
" and "we're back
" - the latter with tons of pictures - that covered a trip to Nepal to build a library. Not by pressing Ctrl+Shift+B either - hammer and nails, baby.
The four of them manage to be 4 MVPs and 2 RDs between them and made a big difference in a far away village that already meant a lot to them. He closes with a link for you to donate and I think I will do the same.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
I read (in the blog of one of his people) that Bill Wagner has won yet another award. This one is from Automation Alley, an organization that represents technology firms in southern Michigan. He was honoured in the Emerging Leader of the Year category. According to their nomination form, the award "recognizes an individual with a strong commitment to the future growth and success of Southeast Michigan’s technology community." They expect a Director or VP who has "numerous accomplishments to technology company, industry and/or market", shows "proven leadership" and is "active and respected in technology community". Yep, sounds like Bill to me! One of the delights of being an RD is that it brings people like Bill into my work life. Congratulations!
Tuesday, 01 September 2009
Here's a recording of a panel
at Tech Ed this summer featuring four dear friends of mine: Stephen Forte
, Joel Semeniuk
, Chris Menegay
, and Richard Campbell
. The title is "Agile: A Process or an Excuse?" but they don't really answer that question. Instead they talk about what Agile means to them, what to say if people argue about whether you're agile or not, and the role of tooling including Visual Studio Team Systems, sticky notes, really large sticky notes, and Excel spreadsheets. They don't agree on all of it, which makes it a good panel, but the insight is useful. Most interesting to me: Joel and Chris have been in the "I am the guy you are making the software for" role on some internal projects - and found themselves doing everything that your usual contact over in the business unit does when you ask for requirements - forgetting some, being vague, leaving out special cases, and demanding changes because of changes in the business model out in the real world. Users don't do these things because they don't know any better; they do them because that's how life is. An agile approach lets you live in that reality instead of bemoaning the fact that no-one will stick to the things they signed two years ago. I listened on fast speed, but I suggest you only do that if you've spent a lot of time listening to these four because they're pretty fast talkers to begin with, and faster still when they get excited about a topic.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
I've mentioned the sensor improvements in Windows 7 a little bit, but they really deserve a good long blog post of their own. Luckily for me, my fellow RD Sondre Bjellås has written it .
This is a handy demo board that does light as well as position (think Wii) with some buttons you can push. Sondre covers where to get the board, where to get the drivers, and a really simple sample app to get you started. Then you're going to want the Windows 7 Training Kit
- the Hands On Labs have some fun demos. Check it out!
Monday, 10 August 2009
Of course the most important sessions at PDC couldn't possibly be announced yet. The best are the ones that are TBD in the session list and schedule right up until the keynote. That's how you know something big is going to be announced. Imagine something where just hearing its code name, just knowing who was going to give the sessions, or even a single sentence of description would spoil the whole announcement. Those are the sessions you go to PDC for, so it's a bit like a Christmas present ... you can't know in advance what it will be.
But it's a four day conference with a lot of sessions and some of them can be announced in advance. I can see that this year some folks have decided to have slightly more interesting session titles (along with the more traditional titles):
- Zero to Awesome in Nothing Flat: The Microsoft Web Platform and You
- Windows Workflow Foundation 4 from the Inside Out
- Windows Identity Foundation Overview
- Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Kernel Changes
- Using Classification for Data Security and Data Management
- Under the Hood with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Programmability
- The State of Parallel Programming
- The DirectX 11 Compute Shader
- Simplifying Application Packaging and Deployment with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
- Petabytes for Peanuts! Making Sense Out of “Ambient” Data.
- Microsoft Visual C++ 2010: The "Accelerated" Way of Building Applications
- Microsoft Unified Communications: Developer Platform Futures
- Microsoft Silverlight Roadmap and Futures
- Microsoft Silverlight 3 Advanced Performance and Profiling Techniques
- Manycore and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4: A Match Made in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
- Development Best Practices and Patterns for Using Microsoft SQL Azure Databases
- Developing xRM Solutions Using Windows Azure
- Developing .NET Managed Applications Using the Office 2010 Developer Platform
- Developer Patterns to Integrate Microsoft Silverlight 3.0 with Microsoft SharePoint 2010
- Data Programming and Modeling for the Microsoft .NET Developer
- Building Applications for the Windows Azure Platform
- Automating “Done Done” in the Dev-to-Test Workflow with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010
- Accelerating Applications Using Windows HPC Server 2008
My favourite title in there is definitely "Manycore and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4: A Match Made in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010" but there are other contenders for sure. As for the topics themselves, I think many of us have still not given concurrency/parallelism/manycore the attention it deserves, and all of us are guilty of compartmentalizing what we learn about so I bet you have probably ignored something (Silverlight, or SharePoint, or Azure, or the full power of VSTS). That means these sessions alone will make us better devs. If these titles are enough to get you signed up, do it now
while you can get a $500 (US) discount - from $2095 for the whole conference (except workshops) down to $1595 until Sept 15th. Wait till Labour Day to start bugging your boss about it and the discount will be gone, plus the plane tickets will be more expensive. (Oh, if you're a student or teacher, you pay only $595, which gives you an astonishing way to get head and shoulders above those around you.)
There are also some seriously intelligent workshops scheduled:
- Getting the most out of Silverlight 3
- Patterns of Parallel Programming
- Developing Quality Software using Visual Studio Team System 2010
- Architecting and Developing for Windows Azure
- Microsoft Technology Roadmap
- Software in the Energy Economy
- Developing Microsoft BI Applications - The How and The Why
Four of those seven workshops are being given by RDs, meaning you'll get real world experience along with the technical product knowledge. What a way to get caught up on something you weren't paying attention to!
Going to conferences is getting harder and harder to justify in this climate. But that doesn't mean you stop going to conferences - it means you only go to those that are relevant to your work and offer amazing value (content, people, atmosphere, and otherwise-unavailable bits) in return for your registration fee, travel, and time away from work. The PDC offers just that for devs on the Microsoft stack. It's the only conference I've ever paid my own money to get to. Be there!
Monday, 13 July 2009
A whole pile of really smart people, many of whom I am lucky enough to call my friends, have contributed to a new eBook on development topics. Check these titles:
- Working with Brownfield Code by Donald Belcham (Microsoft MVP)
- Beyond C# and VB by Ted Neward (Microsoft MVP)
- Remaining Valuable to Employers featuring Barry Gervin, Billy Hollis, Bruce Johnson, Scott Howlett, Adam Cogan, and Jonathan Zuck
- All I Wanted Was My Data by Barry Gervin (Microsoft Regional Director and MVP)
- Efficiency Upgrade by Derek Hatchard (Microsoft Regional Director and MVP)
- Getting Started with Continuous Integration by Sondre Bjellås (Microsoft Regional Director and MVP)
- On Strike at the Software Factory by Daniel Crenna (Microsoft MVP)
- C# Features You Should Be Using by Ted Neward (Microsoft MVP)
- Accelerate Your Coding with Code Snippets by Brian Noyes (Microsoft Regional Director and MVP)
- Is Silverlight 2 Ready for Business Applications? by Jonas Follesø (Microsoft Regional Director and MVP)
- Innovate with Silverlight 2 by Daniel Crenna (Microsoft MVP)
- Real World WPF: Rich UI + HD by Gill Cleeren (Microsoft Regional Director and MVP)
- Hidden Talents by Peter Jones
- Creating Useful Installers with Custom Actions by Christian Jacob
- Banking with XML by Peter Jones
- Sending Email by Derek Hatchard (Microsoft Regional Director and MVP)
Also, it has comics in it. Really. And if you prefer a printed copy, you can order one (black and white or colour) at a nominal cost. And these aren't little blog posts, they're decent length articles. All told the PDF is 132 pages. Each article conveys, on top of the technical information you'd expect, a glimpse into the personality and style of the author. A highly recommended download and read.
Update: This whole recommending thing works even better when you include a link: http://devshaped.com/book. Slow brain day today, I guess.
Thursday, 09 July 2009
We have a long running Agile project underway. Every month or so we deliver a new release, then work with the customer to decide what will be in the next release. Unlike many Agile shops, this isn't our only project - we have other small software development projects, mentoring work, and so on that take up about two thirds of the team's time, leaving one third for this project. What's more, we do this as a little fixed bid project every month, and both my bottom line and the customer are happy with the cost of each release. The key to that, of course, is accurate estimation of the effort in each iteration.
In some ways we have it easy now. The client has working code, and each month all we need to estimate are the changes and additions to that code. But how would it be if we were starting from nothing and planning to build a whole big system over the course of a year or so, for someone who wanted a fixed cost up front and a reasonably complete list of features to be delivered for that cost? Stephen Forte gave a talk recently on just that topic. Plenty of good ideas and a fun listen.
Tuesday, 07 July 2009
I do a lot of work in VB, though I am a C++ MVP not a VB one. This year at the MVP Summit many of the VB MVPs did short interviews with Beth Massi about how they got started and what they do in VB. Get to know some of these folks a little better. I spotted Julie Lerman, Rob Windsor, Ken Getz, Deborah Kurata, Daron Yondem, Jackie Goldstein, and even a thirteen year old! It's a mix of video interviews and text ones, and a very small time committment.
Friday, 03 July 2009
At Tech Ed this year, a whole pile of my friends (and me too) were invited to pontificate a little on fairly light weight technical topics like "what technology have you enjoyed lately?" and "how do you keep up with everything that's changing all the time?". The result is a fun series featuring luminaries inside and outside Microsoft: Scott Hanselman, Billy Hollis, me, Richard Campbell, Stephen Forte, Clemens Vasters, Tim Huckaby, Michele Leroux Bustamente, Jim Wilt, Brian Noyes, Loke Uei Tan, Matt Hessinger, Don Box, Juval Lowy, Jeffrey Palermo, and Tim Heuer. They're being uploaded one a week or so - you can get started now and enjoy more later.
Here's a direct link to mine if you need it: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/dd776253.aspx
Tuesday, 09 June 2009
I finally got around to listening to the last recorded webcast in this spring's Ignite Your Career webcast series from Microsoft Canada. Joey has a handy set of links to all the episodes on the Canadian Developers Blog. This series is very different from most Microsoft webcasts - it's not really about technology. It's about the things you need to learn to advance your career that are not straight technology like picking up a new language or a new development paradigm.
- Industry Insights and Trends (featuring Joel Semeniuk)
- Discovering Your Trusted Resources (featuring Richard Campbell)
- How to Establish and Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance
- How to Become a Great Leader (featuring Barry Gervin)
- Building, Managing and Strengthening Your Team
- Women in IT Panel Discussion
All the webcasts have been recorded and are well worth a download and a listen.
Wednesday, 03 June 2009
Further to that video of Brian Noyes and client technologies, Tim Huckaby has written a terrific paper on the topic. His personal history and experience position him perfectly to understand the real technical reasons (as well as the make-your-boss-happy or the go-home-on-time ones) why you should use a "smart client", "rich client", "Windows client" application for certain kinds of applications. He also knows when you shouldn't. Definitely recommended reading and if you want to tell him your thoughts, he's set up a blog post for comments.
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Choosing a UI technology is often very difficult. I've spoken to a great many developers who want to use one particular technology, but then second guess themselves. For example, they may want to build a client app, but have pressure from management to build a web or browser-based app, often with no clear technical reason. Or perhaps they want to update a Windows Forms app, and are wondering if they need to port it to WPF - and wondering how to do that.
In this interview (filmed at Tech Ed last year), Brian Noyes discusses all of this. He has some good rules of thumb and some advice grounded in his real world experience. Definitely a show to watch. On his blog, Brian summarizes some of his points. Worth a read also.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Windows 7 has this neat feature called Libraries. It aggregates together several real folders - perhaps two or three folders on your machine, or perhaps one on your machine and one elsewhere on the network. Within this "virtual folder" you can search, sort, and otherwise explore a large collection of files without having to worry about which real folder houses them. The usual examples given are your photos or your music, but I could also see it being handy for those "project folders" that every developer keeps on the working box, and the shared project folder that some (but not all) of the documents have been copied to. If you set up a Library that represents all those folders, you can read through the documentation without getting caught up in whether a particular file is on the project share, developer A's machine, or developer B's machine.
This blog post by Vinod Unny (a fellow RD) presents another cool use for Libraries - as a temporary creation to help you copy and paste from many different folders (perhaps all those individual developer ones) into another (perhaps that project share.) What a nice explanation!
Sunday, 01 March 2009
Being a Microsoft Regional Director has a host of benefits, most of which are intangible and hard to explain to someone who's not experiencing them. The number one benefit, for example, is the other RDs. They're such a smart and fun group, and the connections have helped me personally and professionally. The only drawback to being an RD is that so few people know what it means. They think perhaps we work for Microsoft (nope) or that it's like being an MVP (nope, though many of us are MVPs as well) or that we get paid to do it (nope again.)
Recently Joel Oleson had a crack at it. The phrase "unbiased evangelist" is a little tricky, isn't it? And we're not exactly evangelists either ... Microsoft already has people for that. I would say that we've chosen Microsoft technologies (not always exclusively) for our own reasons (that is, not because someone compensated us directly for choosing them) and we're happy to share our reasoning with others. It's that sharing that gets us the nod to become RDs.
Monday, 16 February 2009
Paul and Kimberly are so romantic! Paul started it with a Valentines Day post about how to be a better speaker, giving lots of credit to his lovely wife. So naturally she followed up with a post of her own. If you've never seen Kimberly speak, you really should, even if you don't know anything about her topics. We're often speaking at the same time but the few times I've managed to get free time and sneak into the back of her room, I've been tremendously entertained and learned more about SQL Server as well. I know, too, how much time sweating demos, rewriting things, practicing, and just plain working hard goes into being so entertaining and accurate. You start to get a sense of that by reading these posts - from the tiniest detail of what to wear to the vital "practise your demos" and "show up for your tech check" you can understand that what matters most is caring. If you want to give a great talk you will do all that it takes to give that great talk.
None of their tips are SQL-specific. Read them and you're on the way to getting better. Get out there and do some talks with this in mind, and you're really starting to get it.
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
I love hand-edited blog aggregations. You get relevant technical material without the cute cat pictures. I have a gadget that shows me headlines from the blogs of my fellow Regional Directors, but anyone can have it. Here's how it looks on my sidebar:
If I click a headline, it pops out with a summary:
Click the more link and it goes straight to the post on the original site.
You can get the gadget from Live Gallery and install it on your own machine very easily. Alternatively you can see the aggregation in a browser at http://www.microsoftregionaldirectors.com/. I've said before what a smart group of people this is and how very much you can learn from following their blogs. It's all the more true when someone else does the monitoring and editing for you. Enjoy!
Monday, 19 January 2009
2008 was a tumultuous year for me so I thought I would start a new tradition of doing a retrospective post.
In January, I started doing something at Trent that I had never done before in ten years of teaching there a course or two a year – teach the same course twice at once, on different nights in different locations. I think the Tuesday night people got a better course since I in effect rehearsed for them each Monday morning . The marking load was a little difficult but I managed it. Also in January I had a geekspeak appearance, and the planning started in earnest for Tech Ed.
In February I spoke at my own user group, which is always a treat, and the Toronto Heroes Happen Here event introduced Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Windows 2008 to Toronto.
March kicked off with SD West, where I did two sessions (Vista programming for half a day, and some Practical VSTS tips) and recorded a video interview. I really enjoyed SD West’s sense of difference – the attendees, speakers, and topics all had a little fresh and unusual twist to me compared to the conferences Microsoft runs. My schedule doesn’t often let me get to third party conferences but it’s definitely enjoyable when it does. Also in March, we closed our Peterborough offices after nearly a decade there, and consolidated back to a single office attached to our home. Times have changed since we set up the Peterborough offices – we have high speed Internet at home, couriers are no longer an important delivery mechanism for us, and we haven’t employed a university student for many years – so we decided paying rent and commuting 45 minutes each way every day was a foolish habit. It really has been one of my best decisions of the year.
April’s big fun was the MVP Summit. My schedule was jam-packed and my only regret was that the C++ team didn’t schedule any boring or irrelevant parts of the day that might have let me go visit another team to broaden my horizons.
In May, Chris Dufour and I held our own Heroes Happen Here launches in Peterborough and Whitby. We had a scaled down version of the Toronto event and enjoyed it a great deal. Then DevTeach came to town – my absolute favourite third party conference always. As well it provided an opportunity for the Canadian RDs to get together and that is never a bad thing!
June, of course, meant Tech Ed. A precon, lunch with Bill Gates, three breakouts, two podcasts, assorted booth duty / ask the experts / etc plus dinners, receptions and side meetings made for a whirlwind week. The sort of thing I work all year to get, to be honest ... I loved it!
I started July by recording a .NET Rocks episode. Another thing I don’t get to do enough of. Then I just settled down and worked on projects for a while. Community activity is always a bit slow in the summer. As my project work intensified (nothing I can announce at the moment) I stayed heads down right through to the end of October when the PDC rolled around. We were all full of pent-up PDC demand after so long without one, and it was good, really good.
Just one week home after PDC, and trying to catch up on that project work, and it was off to Barcelona (maybe for the last time?) for Tech Ed Europe. I would have had an amazingly great time even if I hadn’t placed a talk in the top ten, but I was lucky enough to do just that. The food, the scenery, the weather – I am really going to miss Barcelona.
In December I got back on the community stage by visiting three southern cities to tell the story of Vista Bridge. I got caught in a snowstorm in Baton Rouge, the like of which they get once or twice a century, just to add a little spice to the tale. And that brings us around to the end of the year. What's next?
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Barcelona is a marvelous city, beautiful, warm, possessed of amazing food and drink, and lovely things to see. Having done some Gaudi things on previous years, a bunch of us resolved to do some non Gaudi things this year.
Step 1: decide where you are going. There is a cool cliff and cable car that you can see when you come along the highway from the airport. We decided that was what we wanted. Here Joel Semeniuk is taking a picture of the web page so we will have the directions with us en route. Yes, that is what we are like. Our destination is called Montjuic. (BTW, this picture is taken in the speaker's room, so you can get an idea of what it is like in there.)
Step 2: take the subway (it's so cool that the organizers give us subway passes) to the Montjuic Funicular which is clearly labelled on the subway maps and signs.
Step 3 - take the cable car from the top of the funicular to the base of the castle. Looks like I didn't take any cable car pictures.
Step 4 - explore the castle and enjoy astonishing views over the city and harbour.
Thanks to Stephen, Joel, and Goksin for an afternoon that most definitely did not suck.
Monday, 03 November 2008
More PDC goodness.
Steven Sinofsky is the senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group at Microsoft. He was awesome in the Day 2 keynote. Then he walked down to The Big Room and did a half hour Open Spaces talk with attendees. I recognized fellow RDs Tim Huckaby and David Yack among them. The sound quality varies but the recording is well worth watching to see how comitted he is to the Engineering 7 blog and to communicating with developers.
Then there's Joey deVilla. I've been reading his personal blog for ages and his technical blog once in a while - he was an open source guy so it wasn't always relevant to me. I love his sense of humour and spirit of community. I was delighted to learn that he would replace the departing Jean Luc David (our loss is Redmond's gain.) While at PDC, he interviewed Don Box, Miguel de Icaza, John Lam, Phil Haack and some of the .NET Micro Framework team. Great ways of learning some of what happened at PDC and getting to know Joey a little better.
But he wasn't the only one! John Bristowe was also busy with the camera. He interviewed Joel Semeniuk (another RD) and some people from Windows Home Server. This is a product I am hearing a lot of praise for that I really should install on a spare machine.
I love these videos because they start to capture some of the non-session parts of the conference. If you're wondering why on earth you would go to a conference and not go to sessions, look at these conversations. Also look in the background at the other conversations and interactions. Face time is why we all come to the same place. Sessions are a bonus.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Even those of us who are here can't see all the sessions we want to. I have three and four stacked across in most timeslots - and then I might end up spending that timeslot getting some vital "face time" with an RD or blue badge I don't otherwise get to see. But never fear, they're online within about 24 hours of happening! And what's more, you don't have to be registered to see them!
So, that Parallel native C++ talk that put me in the overflow room? http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/TL25/ - watch the video, download the deck. The terrific Boris Jabes talk I lined up for? http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/TL13/ - same deal. The MFC talk that hasn't even happened yet? The page is waiting at http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/PC26/ and the video should probably show up Friday.
Want to find some more? https://sessions.microsoftpdc.com/public/timeline.aspx. This is just an amazing thing to do. It really increases the value for me of being here because it lowers my stress and worry about choosing the right session. It lets me concentrate on going to talks where I want to meet the speaker or ask the speaker a question, on going to the Labs and Lounge area to meet product team folks, and on enjoying the experience instead of frantically taking notes (or snapping pictures of demos). I think this makes me MORE likely to attend future PDCs, believe it or not.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
An astonishing thing happened to me on the afternoon of Day 1. I went to the room for the "Parallel Programming for C++ Developers in the Next Version of Microsoft Visual Studio" talk, and the redshirt guarding the entrance said "the room is full you have to go to the overflow room." I tried logic with her "It's a C++ talk! It's can't possibly be full!" but she chose to believe her own eyes. So I walked the hundred miles or so to the overflow room, which itself became full. The audience really enjoyed seeing how simple it can be to take advantage of multicores using templated functions. Lines and lines of boilerplate goo disappear into a library instead of your code, which means people might actually do this. Nice stuff.
Having learned my lesson, I lined up immediately for "Microsoft Visual C++: 10 Is the New 6." The room filled up just as fast:
I don't think I had heard Boris Jabes present before. He was very good indeed. The slide you see in this picture lays out the mission statement for "Dev10", the next version of Visual Studio, as far as the C++ team is concerned: Make VC10 the most productive IDE for native development. Then he proved it to us. Since it was the last talk of the day, people stayed with questions for a long time afterwards. I really enjoyed listening in on those.
Tuesday started with a keynote that really impressed me. Azure is amazing but the gritty details are not there yet. But Windows 7 - it's on the hard drive! It's real! So they showed it to us. Then they started talking about client development. Ray pointed out a number of advantages of writing a Windows application instead of (or as part of a suite that also has) a web app.
I loved the Windows 7 demo. Lots of features there I really want right now. I love Vista, but this is even nicer. And I hear the stability is great already so you could really use it. Julie plugged the Engineering 7 blog I've plugged myself.
Scott Guthrie said C++ five times. I don't think I've ever heard him say it once before.
Don't worry, he talked about managed code too. You may think of ScottGu as "the web guy" but he gave client development in general, whether C++ or WPF, some serious love in this talk. Great announcements too - grid control for one!
Want one more inside joke explained? (I just love the RD alias for this sort of stuff!)
David Treadwell's shirt had 0x007FFF embroidered on it. Think of it as 00 7F FF. RGB. Go try it in some HTML. Then think back to Day 1.
Update: better picture of the shirt by Angus Logan. Subtle-as-a-brick demo of the colour by Steve Clayton.
Missed the keynote? Based on the URL to day 1, try http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/KYN02/
Sunday, 26 October 2008
What can I tell you about Day 0? Well I am not allowed to tell you much, the RD side meetings on Day 0 are always strictly NDA. But I can tell you I am getting excited, I'm really glad I came, and I'm changing my IM display picture for the week to this:
LA is warm, the convention centre is as huge as I remembered, and I am pumped up!
Tuesday, 07 October 2008
Greg Low, Australian RD, has recorded a four-part webcast on Speaking at Large Events such as TechEd. These are full of good advice.
My advice to those who want to speak is pretty simple: start speaking. Your user group, code camps, heck start with your dog if you can't get invited anywhere. In fact, start with your dog for rehearsals even if you do get invited somewhere. Just hearing yourself get all tangled up and lost 5 minutes into the talk will impress upon you the need to have an outline and a plan, to rehearse, and not to try to memorize every sentence. Every time you give a talk you will get better, and every time you hear one you will get better, so go to things. A lot of things.
Greg covers some nice practical details that I won't repeat - watch his videos!
Saturday, 04 October 2008
I guess I haven't opened a CHM (compiled help) file in a really long time. So when I downloaded one (an installation guide) and it didn't really work properly, at first I didn't know what to do:
So, off I went searching and I found this fix. Some folks blame Vista, others say it's been that way since XP SP2, still others say it's about your browser (IE 7) not your OS. Whatever. Bill Evjen has had the fix on his blog for YEARS. I right-clicked the file, looked down at the bottom for an Unblock button, and clicked it. Presto!
I've said for a long time, an enormous benefit of the RD program is getting introduced to other RDs. Thanks Bill!
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Richard told me about this "get" a while back but I missed the release of the show. Soma is the senior vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, and leads the teams responsible for providing tools and developer platform technologies targeted at developers, designers and teams involved in software development. This includes Visual Studio for professional developers, Visual Studio Team System for software development teams, Visual Studio Express and Popfly for non-professional developers and hobbyists, and Expression Studio for designers. That's a lot of responsibility, and if you use Visual Studio then Soma's opinions matter to you. He talks to Carl and Richard about how he got to where he is now (he's been at Microsoft almost 20 years, and part of the attraction was the Seattle weather, which makes sense if you know he was in Buffalo when he took the job.) The interview is full of behind-the-scenes glimpses into how decisions get made ... a fascinating conversation. Read and enjoy!
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Billy is one of my heroes. He knows how to solve problem with software and he knows how to speak his mind. Here he is talking about WPF and Silverlight - shiny new ways of making applications, that work best in the hands of someone who's been making applications a long time and knows a thing or two about users and user interfaces. If you missed him on DNR TV, here's that episode. This one lets you see what he's talking about - highly recommended.
Monday, 23 June 2008
I said I would post it when I got it.
Wow. Almost as amazing to me as being in a picture with Bill is being friends with so many of the others in the picture. What a day that was.
ps: I know it looks like most of us are all wearing the same light blue shirt. We're not. Stephen, Scott, and I are all wearing Tech Ed speaker shirts, because we were speaking that day. Across the front row, Dave is wearing his Culminis shirt (it's a slightly different blue) and Morgan her INETA shirt. Dan is actually in a white shirt that is reflecting Morgan's shirt. Unfortunately I can't remember whether John (behind Morgan) was wearing a speaker shirt for sure, but I think so.
Double ps: updates from Rob Zelt and John Holliday.
Friday, 06 June 2008
In addition to the talks with C++ in the title (3 of them) and with C++ or a related word in the abstract (3 more) I listed in an earlier posting, I spotted this in a Tech Ed deck:
Heh. That sure isn't C#. What talk is it?
MBL302 Building Windows Mobile Applications That Work with Windows Vista Sync Center
The new Sync Center in Windows Vista will become the hub for all data synchronization between the PC, Mobile Devices, and online services. Take a closer look at the development framework, as well as the end-user experience that Sync Center helps create. This session dives into the code you need to write in order to plug your application into the Sync Center user interface. If you're writing an application for Windows today that has any synchronization components, you should not miss this session.
The speaker has a blog entry
that states his pro-C++, pro-COM position unambiguously:
This is easy, this is Windows software development like it has been for at least 10 years. It is well defined, well known and well supported...go and learn C++ and COM, it is how many of the Windows Vista features are exposed to developers and with good reason. If you are not prepared to learn how to program your computer then you should question why you are in the software development business.
I think easy might be an overstatement, but I do certainly agree that "old style" programming techniques still have real value in the Vista universe. Keep your skills sharp!
Wednesday, 04 June 2008
On Tuesday, Day 1 of TechEd, I was lucky enough to join a small group of people for lunch with Bill Gates. While spending an hour or two with Bill would be an honour at any time, to do so at his last Tech Ed was extra special. The invitees spanned a wide range of the developer spectrum, and what we had in common was our contributions to community. There were Regional Directors, MVPs, MCTs, INETA people, and so on. Bill arrived just in time for a group photo (I'll post it when I get it) and then sat down to answer questions for an hour or more. I was so impressed; more impressed than I planned to be. I found his answers really illuminating and inspiring. Our geeky minds and way of approaching problems can be turned to far more than just designing software. Why not, if you don't have to worry about covering your mortgage payment, try fixing the problems of disease, education, agriculture, and even the United Nations?
We were given an enormous (and heavy) memento:
It's going on the "bookshelf of showing off" for sure, but the inspiration and the practical information are more to me than the crystal .
Update: Fellow attendees Andrew Brust, Matthew Roche, Daniel Egan, Scott Golightly, Stephen Forte, and Neil Roodyn have blogged their impressions also. So has Soma, who graciously welcomed us all to the lunch and is well known as a friend of developer community people.
Friday, 14 December 2007
I've mentioned before that sometimes when I search for information about topics that matter to me, the search results frustratingly include mostly things that I wrote. That's annoying when you're trying to learn more! But from time to time that same search turns up things I've forgotten, like this interview from over four years ago with Stephen Ibaraki. He's a good interviewer and it's interesting what the interview covers. People ask me all the time "how can I be a speaker too?" or "what does a Regional Director do, anyway?" There are some answers to those, and some tips about writing, interop, porting a project over to .NET, running small business, and more too. It's pretty cool!
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Recently Eileen Crain, who used to manage the RDs, linked to a video we made "way back when" to try to explain the program. It's kind of a hard program to explain, but you might like seeing some of us try.
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, 05 August 2007
I am generally loving Vista and have no intention of going back. I keep a few VPCs of older OS'es around, for various reasons, and some of the machines in my firm haven't been updated, mostly single-purposes boxes like a file-and-print server that isn't hurting anyone, or a machine dedicated to running our accounting software. But I won't pretend there haven't been annoyances - there have. And one of them has been opening a folder full of files and getting these weird columns like Date Taken and rating and the like:
Scott Hanselman showed me how to fix it. Do this in the root of C if you like, and apply to all subfolders. I have a "working" folder, with subfolders under it for each client, and I did it there. Aaaah, relief.
ps: Still filing Scott under RD for a little while until the assimilation takes full effect
Saturday, 23 June 2007
Just a small personal observation. My oldest child turned 18 and is now technically a grownup ... though of course still living at home and still technically in high school ... graduation is only six days away though. So many of my fellow RDs and MVPs are new parents, it seems strange to be approaching "the end of the beginning" of my parenting journey. But that's how it is.
Friday, 01 June 2007
During my blogging hiatus, we went live with an aggregating site for Microsoft Regional Directors around the world. The Region aggregates our blog postings, using a human editor to extract posts that are interesting and relevant to a wide audience. It also features upcoming speaking appearance and recent publications by RDs, as well as profiles and bios of us all arranged by geography and technical expertise. (Here's mine.)
Regional Directors are smart and technical, but we're also business focused. We do a lot of speaking and a lot of writing. If you know even one smart RD, let that be an endorsement for the rest of us. Check out the Region and discover some new experts to add to your "blogs I read" or "search hits I trust" list. I'm really proud to call these folks my colleagues.
Thursday, 31 May 2007
It's time to get serious about planning my Tech Ed time next week. So far I have these immovable rocks, some of which I hope will be a don't-miss for you too:
I will be spending time at the RD Booth too so if you miss me at one of my sessions, look for me there! I'm hoping to have a fantastic week meeting developers and talking about Vista, C++, and interop in my real world and in yours. I'm also hoping to stay INDOORS as much as I can. Here at home it's in the high 20s even low 30s (Celsius, in other words HOT) but the humidity is nice and low. I know that's not what I'll find once I get to Orlando.
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
I have such a good time when I do .NET Rocks with Carl and Richard! I'm sitting around chatting with my buds, doing a little shop talk, sharing horror stories -- the time flies by. I hope one or two of you enjoy listening to it, too. Some things I heard myself say that sound pretty funny now:
- you're out of feet, i'm taking over
- it's the speed of light -- we're screwed
That first one is the CLR talking to people who messed up constantly on memory management. The second is of course the concurrency story. Along the way we talked about Vista (a lot) and covered plenty of ground. Why not give it a listen?
Wednesday, 07 March 2007
I know I mentioned earlier about Code Camp (March 31st, downtown Toronto). The sessions are now set and there will be five tracks with five talks each. Topics range widely - SharePoint development, fundamentals of generics, game programming with XNA, workflow, even a robotics / mobility mashup! Plenty of veteran and new speakers; it promises to be a great day. My talk is scheduled early so I can relax and watch everyone else after I'm done. In keeping with my Code Camp tradition this will not be a C++ talk - I'll be covering Vista programming for non C++ people.
Saturday, 03 February 2007
This year I will be partnering with my friend Tim Huckaby to deliver a pre-conference session at Tech Ed USA 2007 in Orlando:
PRCN12 From Design to Deployment: Everything You Need to Know to Optimize Your Applications for Windows Vista
Kate Gregory and Tim Huckaby
Windows Vista is the most compelling operating system release in nearly a decade. With major improvements in the areas of security, user experience, and performance, Windows Vista offers a robust and dependable platform for building a breadth of solutions. This full day seminar prepares you for building a new class of applications that take advantage of these improvements. Come and see how to take advantage of some of the most interesting new native APIs, inter-op techniques, and .NET Framework 3.0 technologies.
In this all-day pre-conference seminar, learn how to build the next generation of smart client applications with the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Learn the fundamentals of WPF and work your way through advanced topics like 3D. Learn how to build great user experiences with technologies like task-based dialogs, sidebar gadgets and customized Windows search functionality. Learn inter-operability techniques with managed wrappers and how to leverage the Vista Bridge. Dive into the best practices for upgrading existing applications, leveraging User Access Control (UAC) and techniques for virtualization. Learn how to build more reliable and secure applications with technologies like Windows Error Reporting, Next Generation Cryptography and Application Restart/Recovery. And lastly, learn how to build more connected systems with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and RSS platform support.
Many Tech Ed attendees come a day early to do a pre-con and jumpstart themselves to be ready for the rest of the conference. Registration is open and the early bird discount is still in effect.
Other RDs delivering pre-cons include Scott Hanselman, Richard Hundhausen, and Kimberly Tripp along with many other people you have heard of. This is great opportunity to get up to speed on a topic very quickly. You can then go and drill further into some niche of it that interested you, by attending breakouts on that subtopic.
See you there!
ps: do I have a breakout session? There's no announcement on that yet
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?
Tuesday, 12 December 2006
Gee, ten minute talks on very specific technical topics... where have I heard that concept before? It really is something technical people need. Here are a bunch from MSDN in the UK along with a pretty nice UI to let you filter by technology, content level, even presenter if that's important to you. They seem to upload more about every other month.
I took a quick listen to "Wrapping Windows APIs with C++/CLI" and I liked it.
Monday, 11 December 2006
The Regional Director program truly is worldwide -- about half of the 120 or so of us are located outside the USA. So let's say you want some pictures of Microsoft software in beautiful locations around the world, what better group to ask? The program asked us to send in pictures this fall, and here's the result:
Amazing, aren't we? For my picture, which is nowhere near as spectacular as some, I went and stood among some turning leaves.
Thursday, 07 December 2006
In Barcelona, I was on the panel for the Barcelona Girl Geek Dinner. Now, lest anyone be under the illusion that these panels are carefully peer-selected and reviewed, that there's some committee somewhere finding the cream of modern geekhood -- well maybe that was how the others were chosen but for me, I was hanging out in the speaker room when Sarah, who I'd only just met, asked me if I'd do it and I said yes.
I had a lovely time at the panel and we all spoke about our experiences, advice to newbies, how nice it is not being "the only one in the room" from time to time, and so on. I was sitting with Catherine and Cyra, two of my fellow panelists, and Charles Torre of Channel 9 was with us, and we talked over dinner and wine the way in my experience geeky women always do -- a fast paced mix of very technical shoptalk and personal getting-to-know-each other material. (I learned a lot from Cyra and wish we had had more time together.) When the event ended, the four of us walked together across the street to the speaker hotel, but it was such a short walk and we weren't finished talking. Someone expressed an interest in dessert, and we decided to see what the lobby bar had to offer. We kept on talking, and at one point Catherine and I were trying to convince Charles that "the compiler is your friend" -- that strong typing and early binding have big advantages. Charles kept saying "I can't believe I'm not filming this" until eventually he picked up the camera and started to film. He asked us questions he knew we cared strongly about and off we went.
The resulting video is now on Channel 9. It seems to kind of start in the middle because, well, we started in the middle. I suspect it's the only video on Channel 9 featuring gestures with a glass of Scotch. It's one of the very few that doesn't feature exclusively Microsoft employees, so I am honoured to see it there. Those of you who have heard my line "I stay up late over too much red wine arguing about deterministic destruction" can now see that in action. We don't introduce ourselves till the very end, so if you need to know who's who, download the whole thing, skip to the end, then go back to the beginning and watch us.
Tuesday, 28 November 2006
As I mentioned earlier, I recorded a DNR episode while at Tech Ed Developers in Barcelona. A bunch of us got together to talk about Agile development. As I said at the time, at Gregcons we're not "formally Agile" (stop laughing) but we do a lot of things that fall under the Agile umbrella, because they just plain make sense.
I haven't had a chance to listen to the recording yet, but Scott Bellware has, and he liked it. Among other things, he says:
Kate Gregory nailed a quintessential a-ha moment in agile adoption: "You go through this phase of saying, that's way too extreme; I would never do that; what kind of weirdo does that?. And then a year later, you're doing that."
Agile practices go deep and often work at subtle levels. The very practice of agile development puts the sharpness in your perspective that you'll need before you can see the difference between pre-agile development and agile development. Kate's statement perfectly captures this experience of the agile practice paradigm shift.
Happy to help, Scott. Thanks for listening!
Friday, 17 November 2006
Microsoft Canada is running a contest. Nominate a developer (or team of developers) who is making software that makes a difference. Subscribe to the MSDN Flash (you should anyway) to make yourself an eligible nominator. Like the nomination form says:
Judges are seeking nominations that present an innovative solution that
- defines how Microsoft technology (e.g. Visual Studio® development system, Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005, Windows Vista™ operating system) played a role in making the solution possible;
- not only helps your business, charity, or community but could help other businesses, charities or communities; and
- has had a positive impact on a business or within the community.
And when I say "judges", I mean me, Mark Relph and Barnaby Jeans of Microsoft Canada, Stephen Ibaraki and Barry Gervin. Come on, impress us! Nominations are online-only.
And prizes? Of course there are prizes. Like actual cash money for the winning developer, the winning team, and their favourite charities. Not to mention a trip to Toronto (hotel and a plane ticket if you need it) to receive your prize. So what's stopping you? Heck, with a deadline of April 12th, you still have time to write the application and then enter! (Be sure to read the rules about telling the nominees you're nominating them, dealing with applications that use some third party code, and so on.)
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
The recording of our panel at Tech Ed Developers Europe is now available at the .NET Rocks site. "Kate Gregory, Stephen Forte, and Roy Osherove join Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin on stage at TechEd Europe in Barcelona for this discussion about Agile methodologies." We enjoyed doing the show, the folks who were there in person asked plenty of questions, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
Wednesday, 04 October 2006
One of the best things about being a Regional Director is the other Regional Directors. These are wonderfully smart people who share their knowledge with each other. Most of them also share with the public through blogging. If you're an avid reader of my blog you'll have seen links to other RD blogs over time. If you'd like a one-stop-shopping approach to RD blogs let me recommend http://indepthtalk.net/Feed.aspx, which shows the first paragraph or so of each post, or http://indepthtalk.net/Community/RD.category which gives links to all the blogs and shows just headlines. There's also an RSS feed at http://indepthtalk.net/Community/RD/Feed.rss.
This is hand-aggregated content, just like TechEdBloggers and its cousins. That means not every post is aggregated, and they don't show up the instant they're posted. But it's a fantastic way to see what we're up to and to get to know some blogs you may not be reading yet. Give it a whirl!
Wednesday, 27 September 2006
The sessions for Tech Ed Africa in Sun City are now available online at http://msevents.microsoft.co.za/teched2006/Sessions.aspx. I have three sessions there, here's how they look:
Notable names on this speaker list:
- Andre de Beer
- Ayal Rosenberg
- Colin Erasmus
- Dave Webster
- Hilton Giesenow
- Jay Schmelzer
- Ken Everett
- Kimberly Tripp
- Ruari Plint
- Simon Harris
- Steve Riley
Folks I've seen speak here before, for the most part. This is always a very enjoyable conference for me and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again.
Tuesday, 26 September 2006
You can search sessions and see the schedule now, at http://www.mseventseurope.com/Teched/06/Pre/static/Developers/SessionSearch.aspx. Here's how my talk looks there:
Some names I know in the speaker list:
- Anders Hejlsberg
- Ayman Shoukry
- Brian Randell
- Carl Franklin
- Catherine Heller
- Christian Weyer
- Clemens Vasters
- Ingo Rammer
- Jackie Goldstein
- Jan Tielens
- Jay Schmelzer
- Jeff Prosise
- Kimberly Tripp
- Mike Fitzmaurice
- Patrick Tisseghem
- Richard Campbell
- Scott Hanselman
- Stephen Forte
- Steve Teixeira
- Steve Lasker
RDs, blogs I read, MS people... it's going to be a great time!
Thursday, 07 September 2006
As you may know, I'm listed as the leader of the East of Toronto .NET User Group. I'm just a figurehead though, the real work has been done for a long time by Chris Dufour and Jean-Luc David. During my blogging gap, Jean-Luc accepted a job offer from Microsoft Canada and is now a Developer Advisor. That means he looks after me as an RD, and helps with the user group. He's already doing a terrific job, and you'll never guess who our September speaker is :) (Subliminal message, go register for that meeting now, please.)
Wednesday, 06 September 2006
Sasha Krsmanovic has been working for Microsoft for a very long time, but as a v-, a vendor. This summer they finally made it official and hired him as a regular employee. At the same time he moved roles, so now instead of looking after me as an RD and a user group leader, he's looking after me as an MVP. Works for me!
This is me with Sasha back at realDevelopment06.
Thursday, 15 June 2006
TechEd is about so much more than the sessions and the parties. It's about spontaneous conversations on the bus, in the meal hall, or while waiting somewhere with groups of people. It's about watching other people react to learning something you've known for months or years. It's about finally getting around to learning something yourself that you never had time for. But that's not the whole of it for me.
Three little vignettes are kicking around my head this morning. The first is a memory from another TechEd, in Barcelona three years ago. I remembered this when I was ironing my speaker shirts for this year. In Barcelona, the hotel rooms had no irons in them, so I was headed to the speaker room in a TShirt to iron my speaker shirt. On the way Juval told me this joke:
A group of people are on a plane when the engines cut out and the pilot asks everyone to brace themselves for an emergency landing. There is some screaming and crying, then a woman stands up and yells "we're all going to die! Is there no-one on this plane who can make me feel like a woman one more time?" At that a man in the last row jumps to his feet and runs toward her. As he runs down the aisle he rips off his shirt revealing a handsome physique. She is beaming and the other passengers are distracted from their impending doom. When he reaches her row, he throws the shirt at her and says to her "Quick, IRON THIS!"
This year's TechEd memory will have to be the hotel evacuation Wednesday night. I have heard many variations on the story from those of us who were there, including people who tried to answer their phones, turn off their alarms, and so on. I also enjoyed sharing stories of what we grabbed. I put my laptop in my bag -- after all I still have a session to give -- and threw a few other things in quickly, but left my power supply and other things that would take more than a quick grab. And you better believe I slipped my shoes on and grabbed my badge, where I keep my hotel key. It was a long slow shuffle all the way down from the tenth floor, but I wasn't worried... I couldn't smell or hear anything unusual so I was pretty sure there wasn't much wrong. Turns out a water leak drew down the pressure enough to disable the sprinkler system, and that meant we all needed to get out.
And today's surreal news, from the conference site:
Information About Limited Measles Outbreak in Boston
The Tech·Ed 2006 Planning Team wants to inform you that there has been a small outbreak of measles in the Boston downtown area. The majority of the known cases have been in workers from the John Hancock building in downtown Boston who were not inoculated with the MMR vaccine or had not been exposed to the virus as children. While the risk of exposure to the measles virus while at Tech·Ed is extremely low, the best prevention against the virus is to ensure you have been inoculated. If you are not sure if you have been inoculated, contact your health care provider. Thank you.
I've already had measles, so I'm not worried.
Saturday, 10 June 2006
I have an HUGELY busy week planned at TechEd. It kicks off with meetings of MVPs and RDs (I have to miss the meeting of user group leaders, everyone had the same "day before TechEd starts" plan) and the keynote Sunday night. My talks are Monday (DEV309 Visual C++: IDE Features for Visual Studio 2005, 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM Room 259 AB) and Friday (DEV444 Visual C++: Debugging and Resolving Loader Lock and Side-by-Side Issues, 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM Room 160 ABC), and I won't miss the Women In Technology luncheon on Wednesday. In between I have so many meetings scheduled, it's a good thing the sessions will be on DVD afterwards because I just won't be able to attend all the ones I want to. And as for Boston tourism... well at least I'll see Fenway
If you're going to be there, drop me a note and let's see if we can have some "face time" of our own.
Thursday, 23 March 2006
It looks like I never added an entry about speaking at Devteach. I just made my travel plans to get there. I love taking the train to Montreal -- I'll end up within walking distance of the conference hotel, save time compared to flying, and travel in comfort the whole way.
Devteach is a delightful conference with a friendly atmosphere. I count 8 RDs among the speakers list, plus a whole pile of MVPs, Julie, and some of my favourite Microsoft people... DEs mostly. There is one track in French and the rest of the talks (about a hundred) are all in English.
My talks are:
- Moving C++ applications to the CLR
- The Future is Concurrent
There's plenty for everyone: web, smart client, data, security, patterns and practices, testing, Team Systems, architecture -- if it's a development topic, someone is speaking on it. On top of that the conference hosts the Canadian User Group Leader Summit (and gives user group members a discount on attendance - contact your user group leader for a code) and the Canadian Regional Director Summit. It's a great place to meet the stars of the Canadian developer community, and a number of folks from the American northeast who love to come up to Montreal. See you there!
Wednesday, 22 March 2006
Microsoft Canada is holding a five-city Web Development and Security tour with the theme of "real development". I'll be speaking in Toronto and Montreal along with Developer Evangelists Jerome Carron, Dan Sellers, and John Bristowe, and fellow Canadian Regional Directors Scott Howlett and Richard Campbell. To quote the blurb:
realDEVELOPMENT_06 is your opportunity to see the very latest technologies, trends, and techniques in web development. The day will be divided into two halves.
In the afternoon, our SECURITY ON THE BRAIN SESSIONS will focus on how to address common security issues, and help build more secure Web applications though enhanced development techniques.
It's an all day (9-5) event:
Ottawa, May 30th
Toronto, June 1st
Montreal, June 6th
Vancouver, June 8th
Calgary, June 13th
As well, RDs and MVPs will be on hand for ask the experts / cabana / mashups -- you know, people milling around asking questions and having conversations -- often the best part of these events!
Register while you still can!
Wednesday, 04 January 2006
As we flip calendar years I am delighted (even if I'm not really surprised) to learn that I am being renewed as both a Regional Director and an MVP (for C++.) These two programs are both a big part of my professional life. (The RD program is more exclusive, with only 120-140 RDs around the world compared to thousands of MVPs, but the two programs serve different needs, of course.) They each provide me with amazing information and access to the product teams. They open doors for me throughout the Microsoft-oriented world. Most of all, they introduce me to other RDs and MVPs around the world... an amazing team to feel part of. I am also still a user group leader, a member of the INETA North America and MSDN Canada speaker bureaus, and of course I have a business to run with clients throughout North America.
In not-unrelated news, I qualified for Elite on Air Canada and almost halfway to Super Elite. The previous year I just squeaked to Elite... wonder how much flying 2006 holds for me?
Wednesday, 21 December 2005
Actually, my fellow RDs make headlines in industry mags often, especially when they write the article. But this was a bit of a surprise to me: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1904532,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594. Not the announcement (Clemens let some of us know before the papers) but the attention it garnered. Though really, I shouldn't have been surprised. It is an important hire for Microsoft and Clemens, I wish you a happy time "building stuff" at the mother ship.
Thursday, 01 December 2005
Vertigo is a seriously cool company that does a lot of .NET work and a lot of C++ work. Like us, they know how to combine the two. Unlike us, they are in California. Here's what CEO Scott Stanfield (a super hard working RD) told me about the job:
We’re trying to hire a full-time C++ developer to help us work on [pretty high-profile work for Microsoft.] Needs knowledge of Windows API (old-school stuff), COM, etc. Maybe ATL.
Intruigued, I got more details:
- 2 to 4 years of Unmanaged C++/Windows Apps
- C++ Standard Library (Iterators, containers, etc.)
- VS 2003
- Using COM with #import
Knowledge that is nice to have but not necessary:
- Windows 2003/XP or VISTA experience (ie. building apps for Microsoft)
- Client side (single thread, event driven, custom drawing, experience with 32-bit, globalization)
- Server side (multi-threaded, critical sections, mutex – 1 app instance)
- Networking (WinHTTP, web services)
- VS 2005
P.S. Bear in mind that our core expertise is .NET so the person would have to be willing to learn .NET and work on other projects besides C++ stuff every so often.
And of course, it is a great company to work for :). We do a great job with developing careers and it is rock solid financially with excellent benefits. Plus there is very minimal travel.
If you follow the links in the first paragraph, you'll figure out how to apply :)
Tuesday, 08 November 2005
The theme for the global launch of Visual Studio, SQL Server, and BizTalk was "Rock the Launch" with a subtheme of being ready. It was a very fun day complete with impersonators (I saw Elvis, Cher, Madonna, and Tina Turner), and a decor of posters and equipment boxes. Scott Stanfield has a nice summary complete with the pictures I haven't got around to taking yet of the gorgeous special editions of the software we recieved. A number of RDs were there: I saw Scott, Rich Hundhausen, Richard Campbell, and Carl Franklin. Richard offered me a ride to Vegas in the dotnetrocks-mobile but I decided to stick with the plane tickets.
Sunday, 11 September 2005
We're having a CODE CAMP in Toronto in January! I'm so excited! A Code Camp is a very different kind of community event, and one that can only happen when you have a strong and vibrant developer community. If you've never heard of it, check the Code Camp Manifesto or just Google for it and find people saying things like this:
"the buzz from Atlanta Code Camp is starting to wear off a bit and let me just say I had a great time."
"I laughed, I cried, I found a bunch of new tools to use."
"When I asked him if it was as good as a commercial conference he said that he thought so. Perhaps even better. And that comes from a guy who was just at TechEd 6 weeks ago."
Now the deal with Code Camps is that they ALWAYS:
- Are free
- Are held outside business hours (typically a weekend)
- Feature a great variety of speakers and topics (except no marketing fluff allowed)
- Provide an opportunity to speak for the first time
Many Code Camp attendees have never been to a daytime or paid-attendance event - we don't all work for companies that make that possible, after all. If you've been to plenty of such events, you might consider speaking at this one: an hour on something you know well because you're doing it at work isn't hard at all, really. This is a great chance to "crossover" to the other side of the microphone. If you haven't been to lots of these events -- you've never been able to get to a DevDays or a VSLive, or heaven forbid something out of town with actual travel expenses -- plan now to set aside a weekend in January to fill your brain with free technical content and get to know the developer community in the Toronto area.
Toronto is a large city, over 3 million people, and the "Greater Toronto Area" supports a LOT of user groups:
And out of all these people, who is spearheading the Code Camp initiative? My two co-executives from the East Of Toronto group, that's who! I'm very proud of that. The GTA is full of good organizers and speakers (and has three Regional Directors on top of that) and I know we will be able to put on an amazing day. Right now Jean-Luc is finding a location and sponsors (or Contributors as Code Camp likes to call them) and shortly he'll be gathering speakers. You should use his blog to get in touch. My firm is sponsoring for sure: a Code Camp is a really low-cost event to put on and reaches a number of developers other events never do.
ps: I wanted to say that this would be the first Code Camp outside the USA, but once again Derek Hatchard has shown what a star he is: there will be a Code Camp in Atlantic Canada just next month. Go Derek!
Update: They've had them in the UK too (http://www.developerday.co.uk/ddd/default.asp ... Benjamin Mitchell is the RD involved in those) and in Australia (www.codecampoz.com.)
Monday, 05 September 2005
The Regional Directors had so much fun doing the GrokTalks at Tech Ed USA, we just couldn't leave it as a one-time thing. So at the PDC, we've arranged an event called PDC Underground. While we won't be filming and uploading the talks, we will be able to accomodate an actual audience. If you're going to be in LA, or if you're there all the time anyway, you want to come to this event. Ten RDs, fifteen minutes each, just the essence of what you need to know about one topic.
I'm doing "C++ is alive and well":
Abstract: The "C++ for the runtime" in Visual Studio 2005, C++/CLI, features everything developers love about C++ -- including templates and deterministic destruction -- and everything we love about the CLR -- including generics and garbage collection. This best-of-both-worlds approach enables the fastest and easiest interop between managed and unmanaged code. Preserve your legacy without a port, use the same binaries to support old and new clients, control the cost of interop: that's what C++ does so well.
More details and a registration link at http://www.pdcunderground.com/. If you're a member of a user group in the LA area, contact your leader who probably can get you a button to wear.
See you there!
Monday, 27 June 2005
Actually a whole bunch of them are, at www.groktalk.net, but mine in particular is at
My favourite part happens after the camera is off and we go to credits.
You can stream these, download them to watch at your leisure, or bring them down in the background with BITS using a tool like DrizzleCast. Full instructions are at the main URL. We've set each talk up as a blog entry so that you can comment and ask questions: you'll lower my workload if you comment there rather than here.
Sunday, 19 June 2005
While we wait for my Groktalk to appear (editing is really hard and timeconsuming and Scott is a hero) I have been getting a few requests for “the seven things C++ has that C#” doesn't.
- Can generate native code and work with native types from other libraries
- C++ interop – the fastest and easiest
- Templates and generics
- Deterministic destruction
- my absolute favourite, I must say
- Optimized MSIL
- PGO for native and managed code
- .NET Linking (from within the IDE)
I will try to do individual blogs on these when I can. In the meantime, you can peruse the deck and remember, it's for a ten minute talk: Why Cpp.ppt (94 KB).
Thursday, 09 June 2005
The Groktalks are finished! Now comes the editing... so Scott Stanfield needs to rest up a little... and at Tech Ed, you take your rest where you can get it.
Anyone who doubted that 40 ten-minute talks could knock an attendee over need only have visited our booth this afternoon as we wrapped up. What a treat to see and hear so many of them, and what a lot of work to film them all! The Groktalk crew all deserve a big round of applause: Patrick Hynds ran the schedule, Scott Golightly tracked the times and kept the speakers on task, Scott Stanfield was camera and direction (and heart and soul,) and J. Michael Palermo did everything else technical that needed to be done. Today I made sure speakers were ready when their time rolled around. Tons of other RDs came to the booth for moral support, occasional technical support, and to hear some really good presentations, ten minutes at a time.
Let me tell you, speaking for ten minutes is HARD. Speaking all day, for eight or nine hours, is tiring, but not that hard: if one demo blows up and you need to either do it over or abandon the rest of it, there's plenty of ways to speed up or slow down other parts of the day. An hour is reallly pretty nice: if you speak too long on one thing you can make up for it later, if you forget something when you're on slide 11 you can always find a way to weave it in to slide 12 or even 22. But in ten minutes, there's just nowhere to hide. I am so impressed that we were able to do this, and really glad we filmed them. Watch for links as we get things edited and uploaded.
Wednesday, 08 June 2005
We're putting in a lot of time at the RD Cabana booth recording these groktalks. This is such a great idea! Top notch speakers who normally do hour, half day, or all day sessions instead tackling one concept in just ten minutes. I haven't been able to watch them all, but I can't wait till they're uploaded to the groktalk site. In the meantime you can find some pictures we've taken while filming, our schedule, and a map to where we are.
Take a look!
Monday, 06 June 2005
Here's the link to the ebay auction featuring over 20 Tech Ed speakers, almost all RDs. It ends June 16th. Get your hour of consulting time and help the tsunami victims at the same time. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, wander back in time through this blog to January: we did an auction then and raised $10,000 for immediate relief. This time it's about recovery and our help is still sorely needed.
Whose time might you get?
- Don Box (USA) Microsoft, Inc.
- Jesper Johansson (USA) Microsoct, Inc.
- Richard Campbell (Canada) Campbell and Associates.
- Scott Hanselman (USA) Corillian, Inc.
- Kimberly Tripp (USA) SQLSkills.com
- Michele Leroux Bustamante (USA/Canada) iDesign, LLC
- Kate Gregory (Canada) Gregory Consulting
- Juval Lowy (USA) iDesign, LLC
- Stephen Forte (USA) Corzen, Inc
- Clemens Vasters (Germany) Newtelligence AG
- Andrew Brust (USA) Citigate-Hudson, Inc.
- Carl Franklin (USA) Franklins.net
- Ingo Rammer (Austria) Thinktecture
- Christian Weyer (Germany) Thinktecture
- Joel Semeniuk (Canada) Imaginets
- Rockford Lhotka (USA) Magenic Technologies
- Patrick Hynds (USA) Critical Sites
- Tim Landgrave (USA) Crowe, Inc.
- Tim Huckaby (USA) Interknowlogy, Inc.
- Jackie Goldstein (Israel) Renaissance
- John Goodyear (USA) Aspsoft
- Richard Hundhausen (USA) Accentient, Inc
- Paul Sheriff (USA) PDSA, Inc
Not a dud in the bunch! Please help if you can by bidding right away: the more bids are in the system the higher the minimum bid.
Day Zero was Regional Director side meetings, lots of marvelous presentations from a variety of product teams and special guests. I also took care of registering, did my technical rehearsal for Monday's talk, and generally had a wonderful time.
Day One was my first talk, and it went very well. Here's the empty room before the audience showed up:
I also got to experience the RD Cabana. This is a happening place full of smart people and couches:
We're getting ready to start filming our GrokTalks tomorrow. You need to check these out: stop by and watch us film, or get them off groktalk.net as we upload them. Here's our fearless technical director:
If you're here, stop by and say Hi! We're just off the main path through Hall A.
Friday, 03 June 2005
Twenty RDs, plus Don Box and Jesper Johansson, are doing the charity auction thing again. This time it's restricted to Tech Ed speakers. The gory details are on Stephen Forte's blog. Ebay link real soon now.
Thursday, 26 May 2005
Because he's just had something small but important explained to him in a very concise and useful way, of course.
It starts at Tech Ed, but it's more than that. Check out www.groktalk.net for details.
Tuesday, 17 May 2005
With the seven-city Smart Client Deep Dive tour done, I thought it would be appropriate to summarize my upcoming speaking and training schedule.
- May 23-26. Ascend Training (Smart Client Track) Redmond, WA. Teaching Microsoft people and special guests (MVPs, RDs, partners) all about Smart Clients (VSTO, WinForms, and more) in Whidbey.
- June 3. Ascend Training (one day ultra condensed) Orlando, FL. This is a pre-conference event for Academic Days at Tech Ed.
- June 6-10. Tech Ed USA, Orlando FL. Two talks (Monday morning and Tuesday morning - both are C++ talks and who would go to only one of them? See the new syntax, new optimizations, new power for an old friend - search for DEV330 and DEV331), one panel lunch (women in technology), and helping out with the way cool thing the RDs are doing that I can't quite discuss yet.
- June 18-19. DevTeach, Montreal Quebec. A Canadian User Group Leader get-together, and my two C++ talks glued into one “What's New in C++“ presentation.
- October 23-26, Tech Ed Africa, Sun City South Africa. OK, I'm not officially accepted as a speaker yet but I'm pretty sure I'll be there, topics TBD.
- Nov 7-10. C++ Connections, Las Vegas, NV. How real customers are moving to the new C++.
This is just the stuff I'm on stage for. I'm planning to be in the audience at either or both of the PDC and the MVP Summit, both in September. And oh yeah, I have a company to run and some projects to finish. Gotta dash!
Sunday, 27 March 2005
Sessions and abstracts, along with speaker names, are starting to appear on the Tech Ed sessions page. My C++ talks have been christened DEV 330 and DEV 331. You can search on the session code or my name to see the abstracts. Doesn't look like you can start to build your calendar yet, but watch for it.
Since the speaker dropdown is populated, I just had to check: I counted 8 Brians, and 11 obvious women, not counting the chances that an Alex, Chris, or Pat could be a woman. I also see some fellow RDs and some Speaker Bureau folks. Should be a fun week!
Monday, 14 March 2005
Back in the 80's, one of the classic anecdotes around corporate gender unfairness was the idea of the meeting that finished up in the mens room, inaccessible to the women left standing in the hall. If this is how those meetings went, we were worried for nothing.
See you at Tech Ed, guys!
Tuesday, 01 February 2005
110.00, 107.50, 105.00, 102.50, 101.00, 100.00
What do these numbers have in common? They are losing bids for the consultant auction . Time is running out, the auction closes tomorrow morning, 9am Eastern, and now is the time to boost your bid and catapult yourself up the list! Lowest winning bid at the moment is $120... let's drive it up!
Monday, 31 January 2005
Apparently some people are hesitant about bidding on the auction in case they win. I know the feeling, do I have enough tough questions to justify an hour of Richter or Prosise time, do I have my act together on Web Services and Interop enough to grill Michele on them properly...
Relax. You don't have to think of it that way. Whoever you win, fire us an email with something that's been bugging you. Like “can you really explain this whole destructors in C++ when it's managed code and the object I'm using wasn't even written in C++?” Or like some of the old emails I cleared out this last week: “how can I uninstall a service?” “how do I restrict forms authentication in ASP.NET to only some folders? How can I force a logout when they browse from a secured to an open page?” and “why am I getting this linker error?”. Maybe that uses up 10 or 20 minutes. Fine, next time you have a toughy like that, send it along. By the time you use up your whole hour, you'll probably have become a friend/colleague/former client who can send questions like that once in a while for the rest of your life.
Or, how about this? Take a look at the talks your selected consultant has prepped for upcoming conferences (get us to send you the abstracts we've submitted) and have us deliver a private session of a useful talk to your whole company over LiveMeeting. There's a free LiveMeeting trial going on, and the talks have to be prepped anyway, so your hour would just be the delivery of the talk, to as many of your colleagues as you can get online at once. So it might end up 90 minutes, we don't mind.
You can't lose! Hell, even if you use your hour to take one of us for a drink the next time we're in the same city, what really counts is you gave $100 or $150 or $200 to help people who have NO clothes, NO books, NO walls around them.... this is a FUNDRAISER so come on, let's raise some funds!
Wednesday, 26 January 2005
Barry Gervin is bidding on some of his fellow celebrities in the fundraising auction. But the thing is, Barry is a .NET expert in his own right and employs quite a few more. And you know, if he asked me to help him with some little thing that would only take an hour, I would. So he doesn't need the services he's bidding for in quite the same way as other folks do. So he has a few, er, creative ideas for how to use an hour... still consulting, mostly, but ...
But to clarify, I won't so much shave my head as shorten my hair by the same number of inches that Barry shortens his. That should still leave me three feet or so
I am learning a lot about how EBay works. In IM with Adam and Julie I think I have figured it out. Let's say you went right now to bid on the auction (good for you!) and you bid $200. Not “$100 now and if I need to then automatically raise me to $200” but just flat out $200. Your bid would still appear as $100. Why? Because there are 30 items available and so far only 27 have been bid for. Once there are more than 30 bids, we will start to see real bids and not just the minimum. So come on, go bid. Believe me you will get more than $100 value no matter who you get, and you'll be helping a good cause.
Sunday, 23 January 2005
Saturday, 22 January 2005
Stephen Forte has posted a voluminous update that includes links to all our blogs and little bios of us all, in case there are one or two you haven't heard of. Check it out.
Friday, 21 January 2005
Here's a blog entry by the surfers I mentioned yesterday explaining some of what they're up to and how desparately it's needed. And Julie has a delightful picture of them, too.
Julie is still getting our ducks in a row with EBay. As you can imagine, you can't just hold an auction and claim it's a fundraiser -- what a fraud opportunity.that would be! There are letters and faxes and suchlike to make sure that everybody is on the up and up. The good news is that because EBay and Paypal are doing this, you can be confident your money (you are going to bid, aren't you?) is going where we say its going. The bad news is I don't have an EBay link yet
Thursday, 20 January 2005
An absolutely stellar group of people, dubbed by Julie Lerman to be .NET Celebrities, have come together to offer up our tiny little bit of help for those whose lives, homes, loved ones, livelihoods, and dreams were washed away on Boxing Day of last year. The immediate “if we don't get fresh water in there they will all die” crisis is past, but there is so much rebuilding work to be done. The agency we've selected is Aceh Aid at IDEP which is local to Sumatra and has been on the ground since the waves hit. This is a nimble and creative group that, for example, teamed up with the surfing community to get boats into the worst hit places while large outside groups couldn't figure out how to reach them. It's going to be an EBay auction with payment through PayPal directly to a US foundation that supports IDEP -- that way for US-based people it will be tax deductible for sure. I am working on an answer for Canadians on that. Of course if your company spends the money to get the advice, then your company can deduct it as an expense, just the same as if you wrote me a cheque for my time.
There are 25 of us up for auction. Top bidder gets their pick of Jeffrey Richter, John Robbins, Jeff Prosise, Michele Leroux Bustamante, Jonathan Goodyear, Andrew Brust, Richard Campbell, Adam Cogan, Malek Kemmou, Jackie Goldstein, Goskin Bakir, Hector M Obregon, Patrick Hynds, Fernando Guerrero, Kate Gregory, Joel Semeniuk, Scott Hanselman, Barry Gervin, Clemens Vasters, Jorge Oblitas, Stephen Forte, John Lam, Deborah Kurata, Ted Neward and Kathleen Dollard. Wow! (And like I need to link to their blogs -- you know who these people are!) Most are friends of mine already, 18 are RDs, 5 are Canadian, all are top notch .NET stars who know their stuff and are in the habit of solving problems for people.
So what we are auctioning is one hour of mentoring. Phone, IM, email, whatever. (We won't fly out to you.) If you're the top bidder, you get whoever you want from that list. Second bidder chooses from the still stellar list remaining. And so on.
Most of us are consultants so you could theoretically buy our time. But that's in theory. My firm doesn't take one hour jobs. We don't really like to take one day jobs. Our preference for mentoring work is to take a $5000 retainer and let you know when you've used most of it up and need to send more. (We make exceptions for some work that's really technically interesting and fun, but we still need to be confident it will go on for a while.) I expect it's a similar situation for the others. That means we're offering something you otherwise couldn't buy. I want you to keep that in mind, then go bid more (a lot more) than you think an hour of my time is worth. The money goes to those who need it, you get a deduction, and you get some important business problem solved. Can't fail!
I'll post a link to the auction as soon as it's live.
Wednesday, 19 January 2005
In fact, you've been able to register for over a week, I just didn't notice until today. Last year it sold out, so if you already know you want to go, start making your plans now. If you register early you save money, there's some sort of sweepstakes to be won, and you'll know one little part of your year plan well in advance. Go on, register.
Me? I'm hoping to be there as a speaker (I submitted a number of C++ talks) or to take advantage of some not-yet-announced-I'm-just-hoping pass for RDs or MVPs or INETA speaker bureau folks or something, so I haven't registered. One way or another, I will be there.
Wednesday, 15 December 2004
Finally the official announcement from INETA that eight super deserving people have been added to the North American Speakers bureau. Two are Regional Directors and friends of mine, Joel Semeniuk and Stephen Forte (get ready to come to East Of Toronto, you two ). All are well known in the speaking world and will be great additions to the bureau. Welcome aboard folks!
Here's a list of blog links stolen from the INETA site:
Update: If you want to learn more about the speakers bureau, or see who's on it, check http://www.ineta.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabindex=2&tabid=14.
Wednesday, 08 December 2004
My 2005 plan is starting to take shape a bit better now.
- VSLive Toronto April 13-16, downtown this year.
- Tech Ed June 5-10, Orlando (some info on the Tech Ed 2004 page for now)
- PDC September 13-16, Los Angeles
I'll be attending for sure. Will I also be speaking? Writing the Hands on Labs? Sitting on cool panel discussions? Time will tell... and so will I when the plans are firm.
Friday, 05 November 2004
Last night I spoke to Carl Franklin (my fellow RD) for Dot Net Rocks. Over the course of an hour and a quarter we talked about C++ (I think I'm converting him :) ) VSTO, VB, sockets, what I have for breakfast, Carl's Westminster Abbey experience, and assorted geeky things. It was a lot of fun. Here are some links stolen from the site:
Wednesday, 27 October 2004
As a presenter, I use the /fs switch on Visual Studio quite often. It makes the product come up with larger fonts in Solution Explorer and other “chrome” that you can't control with Tools, Options. If you present, do everyone a favour and use this switch yourself. Also change your highlighted text from white-on-darkish-blue to black-on-yellow and crank your editor fonts to at least 14 points.
Well, Scott Hanselman alerted us all that the /fs switch is gone in Whidbey and urges us to vote on the importance of this omission. It's not just about speakers, it's about accessibility. My firm has done quite a bit of accessibility work, and we're sensitive to it. How can one team be changing ASP.NET so it emits accessible HTML while another removes a working switch that wasn't hurting anyone and that made programming feasible for someone with low vision? It must just be an oversight, right? Well give the bug a vote and the oversight is more likely to be corrected.
Monday, 25 October 2004
This is an amazing place. The heat, the colour, the vibrancy. I am constantly being surprised by something. Then I go inside and I could almost forget where I am, because Tech Ed is Tech Ed everywhere. At the keynote this morning, they showed some language packs for Windows in Afrikaans and Zulu, reminding me of my old post on Windows in Inuktitut.
My sessions are tomorrow and the day after, so I'm just going to soak up some atmosphere and go to some talks. Several nice touches here: RFID cards for everyone so there's an accurate count of how many people went to each session, and so you can only evaluate sessions you went to. Staff everywhere who can answer not only Tech Ed related questions but “what is this fruit?“ (Hey, I'd never seen fresh guava before, what did I know? It looks a lot like a tomato, only firmer.)
I've already seen plenty of SADeveloper.net shirts and hats (I have my own set now) and a We Heart Our MVPs shirt. There's plenty of community here!
Thursday, 14 October 2004
I'm on vacation at the moment (travel blog entries to come if I get any free time) but had to take a minute to mention that I'll be speaking at Tech Ed South Africa at the end of the month. I'm doing three talks: better performance in VB, programming with Word or Excel as your user interface with VSTO, and Visual C++ 2005 and the C++/CLI features -- which the organizers were nice enough to add just because I asked them to. I'm really looking forward to the trip and the people!
Friday, 27 August 2004
Like a lot of RDs (about half of us worldwide) I'm in Redmond this week for some training. Most of it is NDA but I have to share this quote from Don Box (who rocked) tonight:
Visual Studio rocks; I have not used Emacs since the PDC.
Wow! If you need context, he was discussing XML editing and Visual Studio “Whidbey“.
Friday, 06 August 2004
Admit it, you'd like a Tablet PC, wouldn't you? Then you could know what Julie Lerman and other ink-lovers are talking about all the time. Or if you already have one, with a second one you could give it away and get someone else hooked on tablet development. Well, Carl Franklin of .NET Rocks (and my fellow RD) wants some insight into what developers care about, and he's willing to give away this lovely Toshiba M200 to get it. Fill out a quick and confidential survey and you're all set. Contest ends August 26th, so don't dilly-dally.
Wednesday, 28 July 2004
Almost two months ago now, Joel Semeniuk blogged about responding to RFPs and how awful it is. The thing is, it's really hard to keep a business larger than one person afloat without ever responding to them. And once in a while, you get the contract, which is fantastic but keeps you from blogging .
Gregory Consulting is in the midst of not one but two contracts landed through RFPs right now, and I just can't help myself, I'm responding to another, this to get on a Vendor of Record list for, er, a major provincial government. About two years ago this ministry built a list and the RFP had a due date for responses of December 23rd. The first Q & A session was full of questions about the deadline, would it be postponed, and the answers were oh no, absolutely not, there's plenty of time for you to make a good response in that time. Every Q & A after that, the same question, the same answer. Until two weeks before the deadline when they announced a four week or so extension. So here we go again in 2004 and the due date was July 29th, and the Q & A literally complained “the government is ruining my vacation” and the answer was “we are ruining our own as well but there will be no extension.” Again and again people asked and were told the deadline was immutable.
I've been busy doing the work I landed but I settled down last night to pull the whole RFP package together so it could be printed and bound today and hand delivered tomorrow. And with a horrible sinking feeling I was realizing I had hours of work writing project profiles and filling out checklists. I got to the bit where you have to list all the addenda you have seen, popped up to merx to get the most recent addenda (I've been busy, remember?) and -- hey! This thing closes August 19th now!
At least I found out before I stayed up all night.
Wednesday, 14 July 2004
On Monday night, folks who were in town for the partner conference came out to dinner with some locals. As always when RDs gather, I learned some things and laughed a lot. Here are a few snaps:
Craig Flannagan, MSDN Guy and RD-looker-after in Canada is in the foreground. Then we have Scott Howlett of Toronto, and hiding behind a HUGE bottle of wine is Thomas Lee from the UK.
Here we have Patrick Hynds of New England, Ryan Storgaard who lives in either Calgary or Vancouver (it's complicated,) and Patrick's boss Bruce.
And at this end of the table it's Adam Gallant, my local DE and buddy, Jonathan Zuck of the Association for Competitive Technology, and Patrick again, who managed to have his eyes closed in both pictures.
Thanks everyone for joining us, it was a great evening!
Monday, 05 July 2004
My Microsoft DE, Adam Gallant, is blogging about DevCan so I guess I can too. I'm co chairing two tracks.
What is it? Well it has tracks, so it must be a conference, right? And it has Can in the name, and a maple leaf in the logo, so it's in Canada. And we're planning it now, so it's not in July but nor is it in the spring of 2006.
Tuesday, 08 June 2004
I have loved this trick since I saw it and I've just decided it's time to share it. Say you have some application or folder open, but it's minimized or has stuff on top of it, and you want to drag a file to it. Here's how I was taught to do that: grab the thing you're dragging, and drag it down to the taskbar, then wait patiently without letting go. If you let go, Windows will nag you:
So you wait, eventually the window opens up, and then you drag back up from the taskbar before dropping. If you're trying to drag another file into a product like FrontPage and a file is already open, you want to drag all the way to the top menu bar, otherwise the new file will just be inserted into the open document -- hardly ever what what you want.
Next time, try this instead. Get your drag started, and after moving the icon just a few pixels, and without letting go of the mouse button, use your other hand to ALT-TAB. Pop around to the target app and let go of the ALT-TAB, then let go of the mouse button to drop your icon onto the target. This is faster and less frustrating and now I do it all the time. I just checked, and you could do this even in NT 4, if not before. I just never knew, until I saw Scott Hanselman do it in a presentation. Very neat trick.
Wednesday, 26 May 2004
Today I did my webcast, sat on the panel for the Women In Technology Luncheon, and have been hanging in the Cabana ever since. The Cabanas are so cool! There are so many smart people here, and attendees come by with a problem and a tremendous concentration of smart people gather and solve the problem. And because of the location, everyone seems to come by. I am seeing old friends and listening to wonderful conversations. It's full of RDs, too.
If you're at TechEd and you haven't spent time in a Cabana yet, you really really have to. Trust me. The breakout sessions will be on the DVD. Come to the Cabana and even if you don't have a question, just listen in! There are presentations too, but sit close if you want to hear them.
(If you're here this afternoon, and wondering whose cell phone is playing O Canada, that would be me. It attracts Canadians remarkably well.)
I can't believe it's only Day 2. My feet are sore enough to have been here a week! Today I stayed in the hotel for a while catching up on work, then went over to the convention centre for a book signing. Unfortunately you were all more interested in eating lunch than coming by the bookstore :-(. Found a quiet place to do a bit more work, then to the RD booth for more insanity. Some very smart fellow got 6 3/4 out of 22 on the quiz -- almost beat the record which is 7. This is a seriously hard quiz. If you think you can do better, come on by.
What do you think has this crew so interested?
It's CodeRush and it is seriously cool. Scott Hanselman is making animated gifs, flash demos, you name it of this tool because you have to see it to know what it does. I saw it and I loved it. This is a high-power piece of floor: Clemens Vasters, Mark Miller (it's his product I believe), Scott Hanselman, Goksin Bakir (just the top of his head), and Mitch Roebush (his back anyway.) That's four RDs in one place and a whole lot of brain power. The feet in the background include Guy Barrette and Malek. And let me just say, my feet love the extra thick carpet in the Microsoft Pavilion.
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.
Monday, 24 May 2004
The talks must be seriously good this year. No-one is in the halls! The show is sold out, the red-jacketed aides are keeping people out of talks that are full, and yet I am not seeing many people at all. They must all be sitting in talks, or in the exhibit hall collecting swag. I have seen a few folks laden down with big bags of stuff.
I am also seeing a lot of women. I am walking by sessions and hearing women speak. I am seeing women with speaker badges and I don't know them! This is really cool. Being a woman should never be something that fast-tracks you to speaking but nor should it exclude you, and when the percentages are lower for speakers, even attendees, than in the industry as a whole it feels wrong. This year it feels more balanced. Fun!
Several people have come up to me and asked me to initial over my picture on the RD Bingo card. When I'm feeling extroverted I have even handed out extra bingo cards to those who don't have them. I've seen the fabulous prize now and let me just say that even the most swag-jaded of those I showed mine to said “ooh, cool, I want one of those.”
C++ talks are few and far between this year. Kang Su had one already, mine is in 45 minutes, there's a 64-bit one tomorrow and the super vital important “language changes for Whidbey” talk is Friday afternoon at 2:45. Aaargh. I will be on a plane. If you don't already know the language changes that are coming then you need to be at that talk. Change your plane tickets if you must. Come do the HOL that lets you play with the new features, or at least some of them, as well, it's DEV11 and it's in Room 6F.
Sunday, 23 May 2004
After an awful pair of flights (weather delays, and far too much time in the Chicago airport) I reached San Diego about midnight local time. Even as tired as I was, I appreciated the small airport, and the pretty drive to the hotel along the water. It's warm but not hot, and the palm trees are neat.
Registration was as I expected - lines were huge, the process was quick once you got to the front. The wireless is spotty but working now. RDs are a ton of fun and the convention centre is both huge and full of food. I haven't seen my room yet but will in a few hours.
I now have a handful of cards for RD Bingo and the Apprentice.NET so if you see me before you get one, ask me for one. And since I'm on the card, if you see me and you already have one, get me to initial it. Booth 49 and 50 is where the RD program can be found.
Saturday, 22 May 2004
I do believe I'm ready for TechEd.
The suitcase is packed -- but not too packed, have to leave room for swag. I have my passport for the border and my driver's licence for registration (I had a huge delay at PDC because I arrived at the conference centre without photo ID). I have my eyeshades and earplugs for the plane. I have my Regional Director program button and my little Canadian flag to put on my badge holder. I have some US cash so I can get overpriced coffee in the Chicago airport. My demos work. The webcast software is on the new laptop. The VPC and my session are on my little 20 gig USB drive as well as the laptop. I even found my MSDN card. I have sunscreen in my carryon, I have the MP3 player and the digital camera, chargers for everything (it's going to be another long trip through security) and all the bits and pieces of paper that make me feel warm and fuzzy -- hotel reservation, plane ticket, my schedule, ... yep, I'm ready!
Yesterday I wore my Tech Ed 99 Tshirt. That conference really changed the way we make software and changed us as a company. I hope Tech Ed 2004 does the same for you, if you're going.
Thursday, 20 May 2004
Scott Hanselman is planning a world of fun for the RD Booth at Tech Ed. I'm beginning to feel sad I'm only signed up for two hours. Probably the coolest thing is that someone will win an invitation to the “Influencers Dinner” Wednesday night -- but only if you can prove your .NET prowess.
Wednesday, 19 May 2004
Tech Ed is next week! How scary is that? Here's some of what I'll be doing:
- DEV331 "Visual C++: Using the .NET Framework in Win32/MFC Applications" is Monday afternoon, 3:15pm, in Room 10
- Working in the Regional Director booth. If you're attending TechEd, be sure to get an "RD Bingo" card. Then find us (we're giving talks, hanging in the Cabanas, proctoring in the Hands on Labs and more) and get us to mark your card. Get a bingo, bring it to the booth, and get a prize. As for the booth (it's in the Microsoft pavilion) let's just say there will more prize opportunities there.
- Doing my webcast again, this time Live From Tech Ed, at 11am Pacific time, on Wednesday. Of course, you can listen from anywhere, and I hope you do.
- Serving on the panel of the Women in Technology lunch, Wednesday. All women at Tech Ed (for whatever reason) are welcome to come and join the conversation.
- going to the Influencer party with MVPs, RDs, and assorted other VIPs.
- meeting you! Why not? Set it up in RIO. I'd love to talk about whatever you're working on and why you want me to know about it, or how I can help you.
What else? Well I want to go to sessions and BOFs but I haven't had a chance to sit down with CommNet yet and plan that. I also have Cabana time and will be spending as much time soaking in information as I can. That includes information about what everyone wants to read about or hear about in talks, and what people are sick of already.
Friday, 14 May 2004
Tuesday, 11 May 2004
VSLive has been over for days and days and still no blog from me, because I'm tired as I always am after a conference. I used to blame it on the flying and the airport time, but since I drove to this one, it must be the conference itself. I did four talks, and yes that's a lot of talks, and a roundtable user group thing. I had a fun time with old friends, made some new ones, and stuck up for C++ on cue. The VSLive speaker list is RD-rich so I enjoyed seeing the gang.
My best visual memory from the entire conference has to be watching Richard Hale Shaw trying to throw swag into the crowd -- tip for next year: boomerangs are not the ideal item to try to throw into the crowd . My favourite thing to say as the conference wound down: see you in two weeks! OK it's two-and-a-half, but still, Tech Ed is just around the corner!
Tuesday, 04 May 2004
I spent all day Monday hanging with almost all of the Canadian RDs. If you were wondering who we all are, you can find nine of us at http://msdn.microsoft.com/canada/rd/. Or check the individual pages such as http://kate.regionaldirector.ca. (If by chance you're reading this blog entry at http://kate.regionaldirector.ca, then you need to check out http://www.gregcons.com/kateblog/ which is my regular home.)
About the picture: I hate it. What can I tell you, I hate pretty well all pictures of me but the ones that people get hold of electronically I hate even more. Enough about that until I managed to replace it with one I can stand.
What do RDs talk about when you get us all in a room? Business challenges, personal challenges, what's coming in Whidbey, what we're excited about for Longhorn, patch management, and a bunch of other stuff that's under NDA for a while yet. We also talked about user groups, Deep Dives (like this Smart Client one in Toronto or this Web Services Security one in Toronto; there are some in Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto too) and conferences. VSLive starts tomorrow, then all the TechEds through the summer and the Microsoft Partner Conference in July. Lots of chances for us all to get on stage. We also talked about the things we do beyond speaking, webcasts, and other community touches. Things like my Code Guru column, the RD column on MSDN, books, and developing content. Most people never think about where all the whitepapers on MSDN, the Hands on Labs and PDC and TechEd, and the presentations for tours and events actually come from. Sure, lots are written by Microsoft people, but plenty are written by smart folks who are really into the topic, and a lot of those are RDs. And of course, we talked about our day jobs and the work we're taking on. Don't forget, pretty much all the RDs are available for consulting gigs although some of us are less available than others.
Looking forward to the next one already.
Tuesday, 06 April 2004
I arrived in Seattle Sunday afternoon and went to two receptions that evening. I met people, took pictures (not enough) and picked up some to-do items. I had a huge fight with my own power supply and then the hotel high speed. I think I hate technology. I love what it gets me though, so I'll put up with it. There are a number of RDs here, and my badge reads MVP/RD which is a really nice touch.
Monday, 29 March 2004
The first instance of the MSDN column for Regional Directors, .NET in the Real World, is up! Billy Hollis writes persuasively about smart clients. He also reminds us all that everything old is new again. Like Billy, I have some grey in my hair, and I enjoy those times when having a long memory gives you an advantage over those who only remember one or two waves of technology.
The RD column is to be an ongoing experience. We'll be writing about why certain technologies matter, and what they mean to developers and to businesses. It's a great opportunity to hear some wisdom from some very experienced people. Check it out!
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On this page....
|New Conference - DevIntersection
|Appearing in Nashville with the Dot Net Rocks Tour
|My week at BUILD
|Tech Ed Precon - Career Development
|More C++ MVPs on Channel 9
|Windows Phone 7 Challenge - build a TFS client
|How to Waste Good Training
|Regional Directors on Bing Maps
|Tech Ed Wrapup
|A three hour tour...
|Case Study: CTV Olympics and Silverlight
|.NET Rocks in St Louis
|My Windows 7 Tutorial
|Visual Studio 2010 Links
|Channel 9 ... live from the launch
|Remember the tsunami?
|Visual Studio 2010 Launch
|My Pluralsight Video
|Developer Night In Canada
|Visual Studio Documentary
|RDs making a difference
|Agile Panel at Tech Ed USA
|Windows 7 makes using sensors easy
|PDC is starting to take shape
|Free eBook of developer stories
|How do you estimate accurately when you're running an Agile project?
|I'm a VB
|Video Interview Series: Bytes by MSDN
|Ignite Your Career Webcasts
|More on client technologies and choice
|Brian Noyes on selecting a UI technology
|A clever use for Windows 7 Libraries
|Another try at "What is an RD"?
|Speaking Tips from Superstars
|The Region Blog Gadget
|2008 in review
|When RDs go sightseeing
|PDC interviews and open spaces
|PDC Day 3 - the sessions are all online
|PDC Day 1 C++ talks and Day 2 keynote
|PDC Day 0
|Greg Low on Speaking at Large Events
|CHM files and "Navigation was cancelled" - fix
|Soma on Dot Net Rocks
|Billy Hollis on Dot Net Rocks
|The Bill Gates picture
|Another hidden C++ talk at Tech Ed 2008
|A Lunch to Remember
|Ancient Interview with Me
|Red Chair, Green Wall
|Teach Vista your folder preferences
|I made a grownup!
|The Region - www.microsoftregionaldirectors.com
|Tech Ed Time
|My dotnetrocks episode is up!
|Code Camp in Toronto
|My Tech Ed Precon
|OK, OK, I got tagged!
|My Vista, My Office
|My Channel 9 Video
|Review of our Agile Panel Discussion
|Microsoft Canada Code Awards
|Tech Ed Europe Agile Panel on .NET Rocks
|Aggregate of RD blogs
|Schedule for Tech Ed Africa
|Schedule for Tech Ed Developers in Barcelona
|My loss is Microsoft's gain
|Sasha gets a blue badge
|Surreal TechEd moments
|Headed for Boston
|When your peers make headlines
|Vertigo needs a C++ developer
|The launch rocked (of course)
|Toronto Code Camp!
|The Spirit of GrokTalks at PDC: PDC Underground
|My GrokTalk is up!
|My Groktalk deck
|What about this man? Why is he lying on the floor?
|Groktalks in progress
|Charity Auction is live!
|Tech Ed, Day 0 and 1
|Another Charity Auction
|Why is this man lying on the floor?
|My speaking and training schedule
|Tech Ed site is populating
|Scott and Rory... where?
|What do these numbers have in common?
|The auction - what if you won?
|You want me to what??
|We need more bids
|Fundraising auction is live on ebay!
|Links, Bios, and update on the Tsunami Fundraiser
|Tsunami Fundraiser update
|Registration is open for Tech Ed 2005
|Woo Hoo! New INETA Speakers
|Conference announcement season
|Dot Net Rocks
|Please vote on the /FS bug for Whidbey
|Tech Ed Day 1 - Howzit!
|Tech Ed South Africa
|Don Box on Visual Studio
|Win a Tablet PC
|RFPs and Irony
|Mini RD Dinner in Toronto
|DevCan is coming
|Cool Drag N Drop trick
|Tech Ed, Day 3
|Tech Ed, Day 2
|What am I wearing?
|Tech Ed, Day 1
|Tech Ed, Day 0
|California, here I come!
|More on the RD Booth, RD Bingo, and the Apprentice .NET
|What am I doing at Tech Ed?
|VSLive was a blast!
|Canadian RD Summit
|MVP Summit, Day 0
|RD Column on MSDN
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