# Wednesday, April 03, 2013

As it says on the Bristol GGD website:

Our April dinner is being held on Thursday 11th in conjunction with the ACCU 2013 conference.

The event starts at 7pm for 7.30pm, at the Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre. A few female IT professionals will talk briefly about themselves and their jobs. There will then be time for discussion and networking.

Read more and register http://girlgeeksataccu2013.eventbrite.co.uk/

I can't wait! I'm delighted to be one of the speakers and I'm looking forward to meeting lots of new people.


All are welcome, whether attending ACCU or not. Men are welcome at all GGD but are asked to come in the company of a woman so that women can experience being the majority.

Kate

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 5:54:11 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, March 28, 2013
The week of April 8th, I'll be in Bristol, UK, attending ACCU. I'm looking forward to it tremendously - there is a great lineup of sessions and I only wish I could have spared the time to stay on for the C++ committee meetings that will follow it. I am, however, making the most of my time in that delightful city. Having enjoyed Guy Smith-Ferrier's presentations in several different locations, including my own East Of Toronto .NET User Group, I can now turn the tables and present at his.

Of course I want to do a C++ talk. But it's not a C++ group. So to be fair, I've decided to do two talks:

First, Use All of Visual Studio to Become a Better Developer

Most developers know how to use Visual Studio to do the basics of being a developer. You can create a solution, add projects to it, edit code, and run it. Easy, right? In this session, I want to show you how to be a better developer by using parts of Visual Studio you might not know about. Save hours of debugging time, move around your code more smoothly and don't lose your place, see what you want to see and find what you need to find. Demos will be in C# with Visual Studio 2012.

Second, C++ in 2013 – Why on earth?

There are so many languages a developer could use today. Yet some developers still use C++. Some developers are learning C++ when they already know C# and other younger languages. This session will show you why that is happening, and why you might want to learn the new C++ yourself. It's nothing like the C++ you remember, and it can be a very useful language for you to know.
Please do register for these, and I hope to see you there!

Kate

Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:55:53 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, November 03, 2012

Day 4 was the first time I started to experience what some others had been complaining about with not being able to get into the room for a popular talk. I guess I'll just have to watch the recording.

I remembered to take some pictures of the signage that directed us around to help cope with being in two different buildings plus the tents:



And the map on the ground outside the building:




There were also people holding giant arrows to point attendees towards lunch or shuttles or whatever. It would have been extra-ordinarily difficult to get lost.

Herb's session Friday was everything it had promised to be. I just love the idea of http://isocpp.org/ and I intend to make good use of it when people ask me "getting started" questions.

Finally I had to accept it was ending. They were even tearing the tent down already:




I used the airport WiFi to download sessions to watch on the way home. Good week, Microsoft!

Kate
Saturday, November 03, 2012 12:11:03 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, November 02, 2012

One of the stickers for the badge this year was to attend an 8:30 session. I achieved that by going to Alive with activity: Tiles, notifications, and background tasks which, to be honest, I chose as much to see what Kraig Brockschmidt is doing lately as to learn about tiles and toast. But I'm glad I went, because it was a very good talk.

I've come to Redmond so many times, but I never particularly noticed the colours changing. This week they've been spectacular. I had some meetings in other buildings so I was able to get out of the giant lines at least long enough to take pictures of the giant lines :-)




And yes, it rained, but they were ready for that:




I really like the vibe that came from being on campus. Speakers tended to get up from their desks, jump on a shuttle or walk over, pull on the shirt and talk to us. I really got the sense we were being welcomed into their home.

I also went to Tips for building a Windows Store app using XAML and C++: The Hilo project - how could I not, since I was on the project. Excellent summary of some hard-learned lessons and one you should totally download and watch.

Kate
Friday, November 02, 2012 12:00:10 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, October 30, 2012
I arrived in Seattle Sunday night and filled Monday with meetings, then lined up to register for Build. I'll spare you the photos of the giant lineup that everyone else seems to have taken, and show you these delicious cupcakes from the welcome reception:



For me the most exciting part of the lineup was the revised session schedule I was handed, with lots of sessions on writing Windows Phone 8 apps in native C++. I cheerfully added them to my schedule along with all the existing sessions on C++. (The sessions are recorded so check them out yourself!)

And I ended up at dinner with a lot of geeks. We were unable to resist a little side by side comparison of our phones:




It sure made me want a 920 - good thing it turns out I'm getting one :-)

Kate
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 4:47:06 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, October 27, 2012

I really enjoyed my evening in Nashville. It was fun answering the question: C++ - Why on earth? I think I even convinced a few of you.

Of course the biggest Nashville attraction for me is my friend Billy Hollis:

Look what a luxurious meeting room they have! Couches and tables and general comfort. And yes, I got to see the inside of the RV:

If I got you interested in C++, you might like some links:

Thanks for the visit, and I hope to be back!

Kate

Saturday, October 27, 2012 5:31:18 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 17, 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!

Kate

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 1:52:31 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 27, 2012

Two years 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!

Kate

Thursday, September 27, 2012 2:19:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, July 02, 2012
I'm headed to Australia tomorrow (I won't get there till Thursday though) and I'm going to be doing some C++ talks while I'm there. Both are aimed at folks who haven't been keeping up to date on all that's been happening in the world of C++ over the last few years.

On Tuesday, July 10th, I'll do a free Tech Breakfast on the new features of the C++ language in the standard once called C++0x and now called C++ 11. I'll demonstrate how a lot of these features are already in Visual Studio 2010 and some in Visual Studio 2012. It runs from 9am to 11 am in Sydney, and you do need to pre-register.

Then all day Wednesday, July 11th, I'll do a course on modern C++ development with Visual Studio 2010 and 2012. I'll cover language changes, tool changes, drill into my favourite feature - lambdas - and show some of the cool things they enable, and give you some advice on best practices for writing C++ today. This course costs $300 Australian and will be held in Sydney just once.

I realize many people who read my blog don't need to come and learn this material. But perhaps you know someone who does? There is room in both sessions for more people - and I want to reach as many people as possible, so please spread the word! Registration links for both session are on the SSW page announcing them.

Kate

Monday, July 02, 2012 10:47:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 31, 2012
Recently one of my staff went to a week-long conference - her first. I gave her some tips before she went and it occurred to me that others might like them too. I hope you'll apply them to a trip to Tech Ed or some other conference where you can hear me speak.

First, here are some links to some other good posts on the topic. Here's me a year ago, pointing to John Bristowe's suggestions for going to a big conference. And here's me 18 months ago, pointing to Joey deVilla's suggestions for meeting people and talking to them. And here's a great question (with an answer from me) on Programmers.StackExchange about networking at conferences. (BTW I met the asker of that question in person at Tech Ed, which was great for both of us.) And here's me four years ago with some details on choosing talks to attend.

Now, here's the super condensed version of my advice:
  • Plan your sessions in advance, at least two per timeslot. Carry a paper list of session names and room numbers so if you decide to bail on one, you know exactly where to run to, even if your electronics are out of battery and there's no wifi.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, but not so comfortable that you would feel underdressed when talking to a potential employer or other business contacts. You will walk a LOT so choose those shoes with special care. It will be both stinking hot (outside - many conferences are held in hot places at muggy times) and freezing cold (if you end up right under the AC that is set on stun) so have a layering approach.
  • Bring your own bag so you can tell it apart from everyone else's, and know just where to find things you need. Leave as much as you possibly can in the hotel room, to save your back during all that walking and to minimize what you might lose if there's any kind of bag mishap.
  • Eat at the conference - it's a great time to meet people and this is where I usually bump into people I know.
  • Go to the trade show floor, the community area, and the like multiple times. Serendipity will happen but you have to give it a chance
  • Pack a somewhat larger bag than you need to - there is a lot of swag at Tech Ed and first timers can't resist lining up for TShirts and the like. Don't be that person who stuffs it all in the conference bag and checks a second bag on the way home. For one thing, someone may accidentally pick up your conference bag thinking it is theirs. Your conference bag and all your other swag should fit in your main bag.
  • Pack your days and evenings FULL. Don't you dare watch TV in your hotel room! Go to the labs and try something you always wanted to learn a little more about. Download something that was just released and try it. Go to a party. Write up your notes (or better yet, blog them.) Send your boss late night emails about what a great time you're having and how much you're learning. Watch one of the sessions you didn't get to that day and then figure out if the speaker is likely still at the conference and how you can arrange to find that speaker and say thanks for the talk or ask a question. Fill out the evals for the talks you went to. There is SO MUCH you can do while you're on site, so try very hard to do it all. Make the most of the week, make it intense, and you will get more out of it by fully engaging.
  • Try to do at least a few hours of sightseeing - one afternoon or evening - with some friends if you can. Maybe the attendee party is being held in some iconic location? Go to that. Or there's a restaurant in the town that you've always wanted to eat at? Gather a few folks and arrange something. Twitter is great with the conference hashtag - "who wants to go to XYZ tonight?" - I've done this for going on tours too. Gives you fellow geeks to talk to while you sightsee and strengthens friendships if you go with people you only know professionally. But don't overdo the sightseeing - you're here for the conference, remember.

I hope I see you there! The better prepared you are, the more benefit you will get from the conference!

Kate


Thursday, May 31, 2012 11:24:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I've been putting my schedule together for the talks I want to attend at Tech Ed North America and Tech Ed Europe this year. While I wasn't looking, a bunch more C++ content was added.

In Orlando:

Plus some language agnostic sessions that chose to put C++ in their session descriptions, which is a new thing these days.

Now as it happens, Tech Ed North America is sold out, so if you're not registered yet, you have three choices: join the waiting list, watch these sessions online, or get your boss to agree to a slightly larger T&E budget and head to Tech Ed Europe in Amsterdam just two weeks later. There we will have:

  • PRC08, my all day Monday precon: C++ in Visual Studio 11: Modern, Readable, Safe, Fast
  • DEV316, Tuesday at 4:30 pm: Application Lifecycle Management Tools for C++ in Visual Studio 11 by Rong Lu
  • DEV368, Wednesday at 2:45 pm: Visual C++ and the Native Renaissance by Steve Teixeira
  • DEV322, Thursday at 8:30 am: Building Windows 8 Metro style Apps with Visual C++ 11 by Rong Lu
  • DEV367, Thursday at 4:30: Building Windows 8 Metro Style Apps With C++ by Steve Teixeira
  • DEV334, Friday at 1:00 pm: C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism in Visual C++ 11 by me

(Europe doesn't have direct links to the sessions, but they do allow links to the search for C++.) I'll have to miss Steve's talk because Rong and I are going to Belgium, so that one I'll be watching online. 

One way or another, please attend or watch these sessions. There's a lot of new stuff happening!

Kate

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 5:31:56 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, May 28, 2012
I am having a very lucky year. I've been nominated and accepted as a judge at the Worldwide finals of the Imagine Cup. I love being around students, and everything I've heard about Imagine Cup tells me that the energy, excitement, and creativity is marvelous to be part of. While I'm there, I decided to stay an extra day (July 11th) so I can offer my one-day C++ training to those who can't make it to Tech Ed in Orlando or Amsterdam. Here's what I'll cover:
  • Modern C++ with the Standard Library
  • Application Lifecycle Management for Visual C++ 11
  • Leveraging Lambdas for the PPL and C++ AMP
  • Best practices for C++ developers today

This is not a free session, but the price is even lower than the Tech Ed precons since I don't have travel expenses to get down there and see you all. If you live in Australia, please register and take advantage of this chance to come and learn what's been going on with C++ while you weren't looking! And if you don't, I'd appreciate it if you could spread the word to those who do.

Kate

Monday, May 28, 2012 9:04:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, May 27, 2012
Some people really go above and beyond for community. They have an idea, and then they make it happen. Take Marc Gregoire, for example. Our names are similar, and we both care about community, C++, and related topics, but we've never met. That didn't stop him from emailing me to see if I would do a user group talk while I was nearby for Tech Ed Europe. Of course I would! And then he arranged for Rong Lu from the C++ team to come and do one as well. Marc has done all the work of getting the room, the travel arrangements, you name it. All I have to do is take a short scenic train ride, and talk about a topic I'm excited about. That part is easy. The organizing part is hard.

It's going to be a very fun evening. I'm going to talk about C++ AMP, and Rong will cover what's new in VC++ 11. I've seen her speak before, and I know you're going to enjoy it. Be there, Wednesday June 27th at the Microsoft offices in Brussels. (I was kinda hoping for Tuesday, so I could make a joke, but Wednesday will be fine.) You need to register, so please do!

Kate


Sunday, May 27, 2012 8:49:12 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, April 13, 2012
The times for my sessions at Tech Ed North America and Tech Ed Europe have been announced.

  • PRC08 - C++ in Visual Studio 11: Modern, Readable, Safe, Fast is Sunday, June 10th in Orlando, 10am to 6pm. This is the session for those who've been ignoring C++ and are wondering why they keep hearing about it. Please encourage your friends to attend.
  • DEV334 - C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism in Visual C++ 11 is Tuesday, June 12th in Orlando, 10:15am - 11:30 am. This session will show you what C++ AMP is all about.
  • PRC08 - C++ in Visual Studio 11: Modern, Readable, Safe, Fast is Monday, June 25th in Amsterdam, 9am to 5pm. The same material as in Orlando, just saving some travel time and costs for attendees :-)
  • DEV334 - C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism in Visual C++ 11 is Friday , June 29th in Amsterdam, 1pm - 2:15 pm. Again, same material, different continent.

If you or those you influence are not yet registered for the conference in general, and the preconferences in particular (they cost extra and require you to arrive early, so plan ahead) please take care of that as soon as you can. Here are some helpful links:

North America


Europe

Hope to see you in one place or the other!

Kate
Friday, April 13, 2012 4:02:44 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recently the Tech Ed people interviewed me for a profile that is now live. You can read it on their blog. We are all starting to work our way towards being ready for June. The content catalogs are partially public for both Tech Ed North America and Tech Ed Europe. If you search on C++, you'll find more than just my precon, by the way.

North America:

Europe:

Who is giving those talks? Well I am doing the precons in both places - that's official. And I wrote the abstracts for the other two talks, so I'm pretty sure I'm giving those too. I would love to see you there. And if you have colleagues who are coming to Tech Ed who really don't "get" why C++ is different these days, please encourage them to join me for the all-day precon that answers precisely that question.

Kate

Sunday, March 11, 2012 1:48:45 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, January 09, 2012
Yay! Today I got news that registration is open for Tech Ed 2012 in Amsterdam, and with it confirmation that my preconference has been accepted! This is great news for anyone who loves C++, because it's a C++ all day preconference! The title is C++ in 2012: Modern, Readable, Safe, Fast and here's the abstract:

C++ is gaining momentum as a development language, so whether you’ve never used C++ or stopped using it a decade ago, it may be time to brush up on your skills. With a new standard release providing new keywords and capabilities, C++ is a  featured language for many of the new Microsoft technologies and enables some amazing speed-ups of your application using libraries like PPL and C++ AMP. What’s more, Visual Studio offers tools to native developers that have only been available for managed developers in earlier versions. This all-day session will show you what all the fuss is about and give you the skills you need to understand the advantages of C++ today and how to start applying those benefits to your application.

Now, if you're an experienced and current C++ developer, you may not need to come to this session. But if you were thinking you needed a refresher, here's a great way to get one, and at the same time look at some of the cool new stuff that is available to you once you know C++. If you've never written a line of C++ code in your life, but you're solid in C# or Java so you know the basic syntax (if, while, etc) you should be able to follow this session, though it won't teach you all the fiddly bits of C++ syntax and make you a C++ developer from scratch. It should, however, give you the inspiration you might need to go and learn all that fiddly syntax, and understand why we have it. I am also hoping there will be a number of relevant breakout sessions you'll want to attend after getting a taste of what C++ developers can do, though we have to wait a little longer to find out about those.




I'm still working on the exact content, but my first draft outline looks something like this:
  • Modern C++ with the Standard Library (demo of strings, shared pointers)
  • Application Lifecycle Management for Visual C++ 11
  • Leveraging Lambdas for the PPL and C++ AMP
  • Best practices for C++ developers today

This is 9am - 5pm (all day) the Monday before Tech Ed Europe starts, June 25th. You can register for the precon and Tech Ed now. And tell your friends! I would love to see a TON of registrations to ensure continued C++ content at Tech Eds around the world.

Kate

PS: Yes, I know that Tech Ed US is a few weeks before Tech Ed Europe. You didn't miss the US announcement; you shouldn't have to wait much longer for it though.

Monday, January 09, 2012 8:29:14 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, January 08, 2011
The voting is open at the Tech Ed site for you to express your preferences on possible sessions. My experience indicates that submissions not shown here can still end up being sessions, and certainly not all submissions shown here will be accepted, but obviously a strong interest from the public in a session will increase its chances of acceptance. With that in mind I thought I'd show you the results of a few searches.

First, C++:

These have orange plusses on them because I've added them to my preferences. You'll see a grey square you can click to add them to yours.

Next, Windows 7 development. Let's try Code Pack:

And finally the intersection of WPF and Windows 7 searches (I had to crop the shot by hand, there's no handy search that returns just these):


If you want to be sure that Tech Ed USA offers sessions you'd like to attend, the power is in your hands. (Disclaimer: some - but not all - of the submissions I am showing you here are my own.) Make your feelings known. And see you in Atlanta (I hope) in May!

Kate
Saturday, January 08, 2011 10:14:11 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, January 02, 2011
The sessions have been selected for DevTeach and I was pleased to see one of mine accepted. I'll do my "Advanced Windows 7 Programming" session:

Windows 7 development in managed code can be very simple, especially for those using the Windows API Code Pack. But there's more! Your integration with Windows 7 doesn't have to be limited to simple interactions with the new API. This session goes beyond the simple and into aspects of Windows 7 development that have in the past been left for you to explore on your own. See how to create a jumplist with a task that delivers a command to your application, as Messenger and Outlook do. Explore a simple and powerful recipe for connecting to Restart and Recovery with minimal effort. Discover how Trigger Started Services can reduce your power footprint while giving your users better responsiveness. Explore all that Libraries has to offer beyond "File Open" and why using a library is a better approach than having a user setting for "save directory."

This is all managed code, C# and VB. The conference is after Tech Ed US this year, (Tech Ed is May 16-19, DevTeach is May 30 - June 3) so rather than you seeing a Tech Ed talk before the Tech Ed attendees do (my usual DevTeach offer) you can see a Tech Ed talk after it's been refined a bit by giving it to a Tech Ed audience. Even better!

Montreal in the early summer is a beautiful place and there's a great crop of speakers coming! Many are friends, all are top-notch.
Sign up now for only $899 Canadian for the full 3 days! That's less than half the price of Tech Ed, and you travel only to Montreal. If you're a developer, give this conference serious attention. Of course, if you can do both Tech Ed and DevTeach, you will gain maximum benefit and a chance to learn all that is current in our field. That's my May 2011 plan.

Kate

Sunday, January 02, 2011 11:00:29 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 16, 2010

It took a while for the session catalog to update online, but it's official now:

DEV311 - Modern Programming with C++0x in Microsoft Visual C++ 2010

Session Type: Breakout Session
Track: Developer Tools, Languages & Frameworks
Speaker(s): Kate Gregory
Why wait for the C++ committee to finish the specification when you can enjoy much of the power of C++0x today! C++0x, the next C++ standard, is almost upon us and it contains the most important updates to the language since the mid-90s. It even accepts the existence of multiple threads for the first time in the history of the language. Needless to say, these new features bring more expressiveness and power to the native C++ developer. Visual Studio 2010 has added support for some of these key features in order to enable these modern programming techniques. This session clarifies what features are in Visual C++ 2010 and what is yet to come. It illustrates how new constructs such as lambda expressions enable better use of existing libraries and how your code can be simpler, safer and faster all at the same time. If you are itching to show off how C++ is one of the coolest languages on the planet, this talk is for you!

WCL322 - The Windows API Code Pack: Add Windows 7 Features to Your Application

Session Type: Breakout Session
Track: Windows Client
Speaker(s):Kate Gregory
Accessing new Windows 7 features is a challenge from managed (.NET) code. The level of interoperability required is out of reach for many developers. The Windows API Code Pack for the Microsoft .NET Framework is a sample library you can use in your own projects today that provides access to new user interface features (taskbar jumplists, libraries, sensor platform and more) as well as "behind the scenes" features that make your applications more aware and responsive (restart and recovery, power management and more.) Discover a shortcut to Windows 7 development for Microsoft Visual Basic and Visual C# programmers and get started today.

I've done talks with these titles and abstracts before, but I'm not repeating those this time. I'm rejigging the demos pretty substantially and generally rewriting the talks. Register now, and I hope to see you there!

Kate

Thursday, September 16, 2010 11:19:56 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, June 12, 2010
On the Sunday night before TechEd started, I had dinner at K Pauls. I had a number of delicious deep fried oysters that were going around on trays, in the sort of absent-minded sure-I'll-try-one way we tend to take appetizers when they're offered to us at these things. It was sufficiently delicious that it got my attention and I kept an eye out for them as the trays came around. After that I ate an amazing dinner and put the oysters out of my mind. Just three days later, on Wednesday night, I had dinner at Mulates. I had the ribs, but someone else at the table ordered some sort of platter/sampler and Logan, our fantastic waiter, had to say "I'm sorry, but there are no oysters in that tonight; they've closed the beds". Closed the beds. There may not be oysters there again for a generation. And now the oldest oyster-shucking operation in New Orleans is closed until further notice. (New York Times; WWL radio).

So sad. Real people, real jobs gone, real losses. And at the moment, nothing we can do to help.

Kate

Saturday, June 12, 2010 1:04:38 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Thursday, June 10, 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. :-)

Kate

Thursday, June 10, 2010 10:09:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, June 06, 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.

Kate

MVP | RD | Travel
Sunday, June 06, 2010 7:43:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, May 31, 2010

John Bristowe has posted a nice list of tips to get ready for any big conference. I'll let you read the details there, but here's a summary.

  • Have a plan
  • Bring a good backpack (I'll just add, don't use the conference bag during the conference - thousands of people have the identical bag and it's confusing)
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Bring lots of business cards (yes! You are here to meet people and people are here to meet you! Make it stick)
  • be able to get by on crummy or no wireless
Give yourself time before, during, and after the event. You need to plan and make goals in advance. While you're there, go to talks, be open to serendipity (conversations, extra talks, booth visits) and don't forget to go to dinners and parties for vital face time and relationship building. Then you need to have time to follow up when it's over. This happens once or twice a year for most people. Putting an extra ten or twenty hours into it will make a HUGE difference.

Kate

Monday, May 31, 2010 2:03:47 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I was just looking up the session codes for my Tech Ed talks next month (my flight to New Orleans leaves a month today, at about this time actually) and spotted something unexpected:

DEV316 | Modern Programming with C++0x in Microsoft Visual C++ 2010
Session Type: Breakout Session

Track: Developer Tools, Languages & Frameworks
Speaker(s): Kate Gregory
Level: 300 - Advanced
Why wait for the C++ committee to finish the specification when you can enjoy much of the power of C++0x today! C++0x, the next C++ standard, is almost upon us and it contains the most important updates to the language since the mid-90s. It even accepts the existence of multiple threads for the first time in the history of the language. Needless to say, these new features bring more expressiveness and power to the native C++ developer. Visual Studio 2010 has added support for some of these key features in order to enable these modern programming techniques. This session clarifies what features are in Visual C++ 2010 and what is yet to come. It illustrates how new constructs such as lambda expressions enable better use of existing libraries and how your code can be simpler, safer, and faster all at the same time. If you are itching to show off how C++ is one of the coolest languages on the planet, this talk is for you!

WCL316 | The Windows API Code Pack: Add Windows 7 Features to Your Application
Session Type: Breakout Session
Track: Windows Client
Speaker(s): Kate Gregory
Level: 300 - Advanced
Accessing new Windows 7 features is a challenge from managed (.NET) code. The level of interoperability required is out of reach for many developers. The Windows API Code Pack for the Microsoft .NET Framework is a sample library you can use in your own projects today that provides access to new user interface features (taskbar jumplists, libraries, sensor platform, and more) as well as "behind the scenes" features that make your applications more aware and responsive (restart and recovery, power management, and more.) Discover a shortcut to Windows 7 development for Microsoft Visual Basic and Visual C# programmers and get started today.

The first digit carries meaning, but the last two don't. So I don't really know how they both got to be 316. Since I often have trouble remembering my session codes, this should halve the effort for me :-).

Kate

PS: I checked whether the Brian rule still applies. You can too, by just dropping down the "Speaker" box on the session catalog page. I'm happy to report there are 9 Brians and I reached 9 obviously female names (ignoring Alex, Chris etc) while I was still in the C's. Good news, in my opinion!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010 1:54:51 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, May 01, 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!

Kate

Saturday, May 01, 2010 8:22:11 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Sunday, April 25, 2010

Once again Carl and Richard are driving across the country to celebrate a Microsoft launch. This time it's for Visual Studio 2010.

As they say on the roadtrip page:

Carl and Richard are loading up the DotNetMobile (a 30 foot RV) and driving to your town again to show off their favorite bits of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0! Richard talks about Web load testing and Carl talks about Silverlight 4.0 and multimedia.

And to make the night even more fun, we’re going to bring a mystery rock star from the Visual Studio world to the event and interview them for a special .NET Rocks Road Trip show series.

Along the way we’ll be giving away some great prizes, showing off some awesome technology and having a ton of laughs.

So come out to the most fun you can have in a geeky evening – and learn a few things along the way about web load testing and Silverlight 4!

You can track their progress online, too! Looks like a blast.

Kate

Sunday, April 25, 2010 10:12:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is it a good omen when mornings start out beautiful? I think it might be:

Normally, when I go to a conference, the first day is a little slow. I might go to the keynote, or I might not. If I do, I wander in to the back row 5 minutes before it starts (hey, I'm leaving plenty of seats for the paying attendees) with my coffee in my hand. So reaching the keynote room at 7am, full of pep and vigour, was fun!

I really liked the story the keynote demos told. If you haven't seen it yet, it's available online. The demos start with simple productivity boosts like multi-monitor support, Intellisense for Javascript, and so on, then move to some amazing C++ updates including Windows 7 support (yes, the demo went boom, but if you watch closely you'll see it was just that the app was still running, preventing a successful rebuild.) Then you see "SharePoint F5", a huge pain-saver for anyone, like me, who does SharePoint development. Over a dozen manual steps done for you when you press F5, and you can run SharePoint right on your laptop. But they're not done yet -- here comes an Azure demo with the Windows Phone 7 emulator and a real phone, and then Team Foundation Server and a ton of exciting new Application Lifecycle Management features in Visual Studio including (no kidding) time travel. Wow! I hope you all enjoyed it as much from the seats as I did from backstage.

No sooner was the keynote over than I was headed for the Channel 9 stage to record half an hour of Q&A with Twitter people.

That's available online too. And if you want more, some of the sessions are appearing on Channel 9, too. Not filmed on site, but the content matches. Get your Visual Studio 2010 from MSDN downloads, or if you're not a subscriber you can take the Professional Edition for a test drive.

Kate

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 11:38:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, April 11, 2010

I've never been backstage for a big keynote before. There's a lot going on back there. Each demo runs on its own machine, so if one messes up it doesn't hurt the others. There are monitors everywhere showing what's on all the cameras and what's going out as the feed. There's one half for the camera and production people, and one half for the demo people. Here's a glimpse of the demo half:

Crowded, noisy, hot, and people are standing in your way sometimes. Best seat in the house!

Also, I'm just loving the signs throughout the Bellagio. There are all different ones (water, wires, light bulbs etc) but I think this is my favourite:

Watching something launch feels like it wouldn't be exciting, after all how long have I been working with this product? But you know what, it is!

Kate

Sunday, April 11, 2010 11:13:22 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, April 05, 2010

I am so looking forward to seeing New Orleans for the first time. I am pretty sure this is my tenth Tech Ed North America. I have two sessions, one for native C++ developers and one for managed developers who want to use Windows 7 features. No surprise if you read my blog regularly, I suppose.

The C++ talk is called Modern Programming with C++0x in Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 and the abstract reads:

Why wait for the C++ committee to finish the specification when you can enjoy much of the power of C++0x today! C++0x, the next C++ standard, is almost upon us and it contains the most important updates to the language since the mid-90s. It even accepts the existence of multiple threads for the first time in the history of the language. Needless to say, these new features bring more expressiveness and power to the native C++ developer. Visual Studio 2010 has added support for some of these key features in order to enable these modern programming techniques. This session clarifies what features are in Visual C++ 2010 and what is yet to come. It illustrates how new constructs such as lambda expressions enable better use of existing libraries and how your code can be simpler, safer, and faster all at the same time. If you are itching to show off how C++ is one of the coolest languages on the planet, this talk is for you!

The Windows 7 one is The Windows API Code Pack: Add Windows 7 Features to Your Application and the abstract is:

Accessing new Windows 7 features is a challenge from managed (.NET) code. The level of interoperability required is out of reach for many developers. The Windows API Code Pack for the Microsoft .NET Framework is a sample library you can use in your own projects today that provides access to new user interface features (taskbar jumplists, libraries, sensor platform, and more) as well as "behind the scenes" features that make your applications more aware and responsive (restart and recovery, power management, and more.) Discover a shortcut to Windows 7 development for Microsoft Visual Basic and Visual C# programmers and get started today.

Registration is open, so plan to be there!

Kate

Monday, April 05, 2010 11:13:40 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, March 30, 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!

Kate

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 6:41:19 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3]
# Saturday, November 14, 2009

I had to check Wikipedia to be sure how to spell that :-). I thought this was a good post to pull some images off my camera and be a little touristy.

Here is the U-Bahn (subway) station nearest the hotel. We rode the subways back and forth each day, about 30 minutes each way including changing lines, and all free thanks to a transit pass that I believe Kylie ("I'm 4 and a half and I'm a PC") might have created for us. Mine got crumpled and soggy but worked perfectly.

Here we all are headed into the Messe one morning. Big, isn't it?

This one shows you a little more of what we were up against. The big round thing is just the entrance to the complex. The red brick building with a big 2 on it had the speaker room in it. Behind it are other buildings of the same size with the exhibition halls, pavilions etc, and past that the food rooms. The blue-grey building with the 7 on it is the one that held all the breakouts. And yes, we had to go outside (and it rained a fair bit) when going from building to building - but only for 20 or 30 feet.

I have a bit of a running joke on my blog about donuts. Some Tech Eds have 'em ... and some don't. This one did. Apparently they're not called Berliners in Berlin. (And btw, JFK didn't say what you're thinking.)

Finally, here's all that's left of the wall in most spots:

And the Brandenburg Gate at night makes a very compelling image. We walked through, East to West.

Next year? I sure hope so.

Kate

Saturday, November 14, 2009 8:15:27 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, November 12, 2009

The second-last day is drawing to a close and I am getting tired. At Tech Ed Europe I actually attend sessions as well as preparing for my own and attending the various dinners and get-togethers. Throw in some attempt to do actual work rather than pressing pause on all my other projects for a full seven days, and there isn't much time for sleep.

Yesterday was my Code Pack session, featuring the mysterious disappearing slides. Some of you may have noticed a little consternation on my part when I came back from the first demo. Here's what happened. I prepared my slides for this talk following the schedule the organizers asked for, and actually uploaded them in October to be prepared for the attendees. Then one night, just as I was falling asleep, I decided I wanted to add slides that highlighted the actual code in each demo that was specific to the taskbar or the overlay or whatever. The next day, I did just that and I uploaded the deck again.

When I got to my room for the tech check, I ran through the deck on the room machine and - hey! my new slides are not in that deck! So I went back to the speaker room (which is about a mile away) and gave them to the nice "powerpoint team" that sits there waiting for all the speakers who ignore the schedule and work on their slides while on the plane. I heard them on the radio pushing the slides to the room.

An hour before my talk, I got to the room, waited while someone else did a tech check, then got set up. I paged through the "new" deck - and the code slides weren't there! Everyone remembered getting new ones from me yesterday. But they weren't there. I pulled a USB stick out and copied the deck from my laptop to the room machine.

And yet, when I did the talk moments later - they still weren't there! Did I double-click the old deck instead of the new? Did I maybe dream the entire thing? Who knows. But here they are now, attached to this post. Interleave these into the deck you got from CommNet, one after each demo.

One more day of Tech Ed... one more day of sessions and meeting people.

Kate

codeslides.pptx (372.92 KB)
Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:15:59 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yesterday was the first day of Tech Ed. I went to Marian Luparu's talk on Visual C++ 2010. He did mostly demo, and showed a ton of hot new C++ features.

If you missed this one (it was the very first talk of the conference) be sure to look for the recording.

After lunch I headed out to be part of the anniversary celebrations. Despite the rain, it was a great outing, and the crowds were very orderly. I had a bratwurst and took a few pictures:

No place I'd rather be.

Kate

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 7:04:25 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, November 08, 2009

An auspicious start to my Europe trip - a jam-packed plane means an "op-up" (operational upgrade, meaning Air Canada decided it was in their best interests to put me in Business Class for free and let someone else have my vacated economy seat). A lovely transit in Munich (probably my favourite airport to change planes in) and a pretzel in the lounge, along with some fantastic coffee, helped me convince my body it was 8am, not 2am. (Sleeping on a lie-flat bed for about 5 hours of the 8 hour flight helped with that too.) Landing in a town that's buzzing with anticipation - there's Windows, "life without walls" and then there's life without this wall - is getting me pepped up. Bring it on!

Kate

Sunday, November 08, 2009 6:10:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, October 05, 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. 

Kate

Monday, October 05, 2009 8:32:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Thursday, September 03, 2009
Scott Hanselman has done quite a few posts on Windows 7 topics already. But now he's done a lollapalooza! He covers:
  • The Code7 contest - How to get a trip to PDC and $17,777. Not bad eh? Also covered by Yochay.
  • XP2Win7 (aka PhotoView) - I've covered it before and I won't repeat the links from that post. Scott includes a gratuitous underwear shot you're going to love.
  • Code Pack - you know it almost deserves its own category here on my blog. Like Scott says, a gold mine of samples in both C# and VB.
  • 16 bonus links and the "lightweight" parameter for MSDN.



Speaking of the PDC, they've released a bunch more sessions... it's looking very good. I have to pull the trigger soon on a decision about going straight to the PDC from Tech Ed Europe. It's calling me...

What are you waiting for? You need to read Scott's post.

Kate
Thursday, September 03, 2009 10:01:35 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It wasn't long ago everyone was talking about a whole new way of working. It started with telecommuting in the 90's, but spread in this century to something far bigger. Remote work as a way of life, virtual teams, outsourcing, offshoring ... the scale just kept growing and the savings for companies appeared to be at least partly met by happy staff, whether that was a guy in the city who didn't have to spend 90 minutes each way in traffic, or a guy who was able to keep living in his small town while working for the big city firm so far away, or even a guy in a developing country who was able to earn more than his neighbours and follow the lure of high tech and problem solving at a time when no firms in that country were offering those jobs. I know many people in the big cities and the developed countries lost their jobs to those people, and I know it wasn't always simple to find traditional employment once the world of work started to change. Still, the world and the way many people in it earn a living changed and will not be changing back.

That said, in the mid 90s everyone I knew who was associated with any of this "new way of working" had come to realize it wasn't just a fire and forget sort of thing. You had to communicate a lot. And while technology made some ways of communication simple and cheap, so that video calls and conference calls and instant messenger and desktop sharing and so on are all vital, it couldn't do it all. You have to get face to face still, and you have to do it regularly. I recently finished a 10 month contract for clients three thousand miles away. I did the vast majority of the work from here, and had phone calls and livemeetings many times a week. But every 4 to 6 weeks I got on a plane and I went there. And wow, the work we got done in those few days! Mini hallway meetings, lunches, dinners -- I typically could "touch" half the project participants in just two or three days, and solve seemingly intractable problems by going to people's offices and listening to them and looking at their body language and telling them they could trust me or asking them what the real problem was. It made such a huge difference to the success of the project. I didn't get paid for the time I spent travelling to them, or the nights spent away from my family, but I gladly invested that time to make everything go smoothly and to be a successful remote worker.

Some other folks have noticed this too, and in a far more systematic way. How's this for a conclusion: "... common workplace-relationship problems, such as broken commitments, mistrust and misrepresentation of information, occur more than twice as often with virtual teams, as opposed to teams located in the same building. " Yikes! Apparently it's partly because things we do when we're upset with people work well if you see if each other regularly, but make things worse if you're apart. Or this useful summary: "teams are a lot more effective when they're working with their friends in another country than when they're working with those stupid offshore idiots who never understand our designs or requirements." So in that context, what could be a worse way of saving money than lowering the travel budget to zero and not letting people visit each other any more?

Yet that is exactly what's happening in a lot of companies. If it's happening in yours, do something about it. You need to visit your colleagues. If not, when your projects go pear-shaped, you may find the whole concept of virtual teams gets thrown out with it. And that would be a real shame.

Kate

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 1:53:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, August 24, 2009

I am pleased to learn that at least one of the sessions I submitted for Tech Ed Europe in Berlin has been accepted:

The Windows API Code Pack: How Managed Code Developers Can Easily Access Exciting New Vista and Windows 7 Features

Accessing new Windows 7 or Vista features is a challenge from managed (.NET) code. The level of interoperability required is out of reach for many developers. The Windows API Code Pack for the Microsoft .NET Framework is a sample library you can use in your own projects today that provides access to new user interface features (taskbar jumplists, libraries, sensor platform and more) as well as "behind the scenes" features that make your applications more aware and responsive (restart and recovery, power management, and more.) Discover a shortcut to Windows 7 and Vista development for Microsoft Visual Basic and Visual C# programmers and how you can get involved.

Now comes the logistics fluffle of getting everything booked, telling "my" teams I'm going, and possibly picking up some other talks or panels or whatnot while I'm there. I'm looking forward to it already! I love Tech Ed Europe - it's such a well run show and the other speakers are a delight to spend time with and learn from. The energy is always good and on top of that the destination is fabulous. I adored Barcelona, so now it is time for Berlin to show me what she's got. What a week we've picked to be there!

 

You can still register at a discount. See you there!

Kate

Monday, August 24, 2009 12:01:56 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, August 10, 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!

Kate
Monday, August 10, 2009 11:49:32 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, May 22, 2009

Completely without sarcasm, I am pleased with Air Canada for introducing cell-phone free areas in their lounges. While it seems plenty of people come there to hang out, drink free booze, ask when the soup will be available, and have long loud conversations, I go there to have some peace and quiet and a wireless connection. (Though I do like the soup.)

Yes, that's a regular phone in the foreground, just outside the cell-free zone. Irony? Only if anyone ever used them.

Kate

Friday, May 22, 2009 3:55:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Brian Marble reports that the session selection process is almost complete. I submitted a few talks, of course, and I also know of at least one talk submitted by someone else in Microsoft with me as the speaker. The dust hasn't quite settled yet (the session titles should be on the web in February) but I do know that at least one of my sessions has been accepted. Yay! I'll add more details when it's official, but for now ... see you in LA in May!

You can register now, by the way, and get a nice discount and snag a good hotel room...

Kate

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 4:11:35 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, January 19, 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?

Monday, January 19, 2009 10:00:53 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, November 30, 2008

This has been a very busy fall for me, with more travel than usual. So it was timely to read this article about what got through airport security and what didn't. I actually wasn't worried that the flags, tshirts and pamphlets expressing pro-terrorist views got through ... the mandate is supposed to be to keep out bad items, and your chances of killing someone with a tshirt aren't dependent on what's printed on it. But the 80 ounces of liquid (by using a silly Beer Belly pouch under your shirt) or ordinary water bottles with hand typed Saline Solution labels make me resent every bottle of water, can of coke etc that's been taken from me. And the ID triangle thing was new to me ... in Canada the security people don't check your ID but the airline does, a lot.

You go along, of course you go along. A security type took my passport from me while my stuff was going through the Xray. I asked for it back. She said "you can have it on the other side." I said "you are allowed my boarding pass, but not my passport." She said "you wanna argue or you wanna catch your plane?". Sigh. She gave it back on the other side, but what if she hadn't? They would have all said "oh no ma'am, our staff never take your passport, only your boarding pass."

The article is definitely worth a read.

Kate

Sunday, November 30, 2008 10:45:32 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday night wrapped up with a reception in the speaker room where we'd been working all week. Some of us (including me) were a little slow to switch from workin-on-my-laptop mode to hangin-with-my-speaker-buds mode.

That's Rob Windsor in the foreground and Brian Harry next to him. I went with Cava, Rob with beer. There really are no wrong choices :-). In the background you can see the big screens that show the top ten speakers and also randomly display comments from any and all sessions. A number of these were very funny out of context.

Earlier Friday I took this picture from my hotel window:

Always you can see Sagrada Familia, I noticed this from the cable car and the castle also. It just rises up out of the sea of lower buildings.

Barcelona was, as predicted, warm and beautiful. Crime was not an issue this year - the police presence was intense and I heard no stories of pickpockets, muggers, or cutpurses this year at all. I discovered the best tapas in the city at Ciudad Condal - which doesn't have its name on a sign so you need to know the address, 18 Las Ramblas. Three of us arrived here - it doesn't take reservations - and fought our way inside through the crowd to reach the maitre-d', who asks "inside, outside, or at the bar?" and then told us it would be 30 minutes for our inside table. The next step is you go to the bar, ask for "tres cervesas por favor" and then point at something from the dozens of plates of gorgeous tapas and montaditos (thingies on toast) and say "tres". Presto - three beers and three (in our case) smoked salmon on toast and you go stand on the sidewalk with the rest of the city. Heaven. The beer was good, the salmon divine, and it didn't even feel like waiting. In no time we had our inside table and then the fun begins. Not a false note - and we gave them lots of opportunities because we ordered a lot of plates. Highly recommended, and actually cost less than some other dinners we had here even though we could barely move by the time we'd finished eating it all.

Will I be back? Well I guess it will be a while till Tech Ed brings me back - we move to Berlin for next year. So I'll have to bring myself back, because I'm really going to miss coming here otherwise.

Kate

Saturday, November 15, 2008 8:07:08 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, November 11, 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.

Kate

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 10:36:24 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, November 08, 2008

I think I have this finally all sorted out now. This map is a little inaccurate because it depicts driving, but it gets the point across:

Monday December 8th I will fly to Fort Smith (via Atlanta). Tuesday December 9th I will drive to the Northwest Arkansas meeting. Wednesday Dec 10th I will fly from there to Baton Rouge (via Atlanta) and then Thursday Dec 11th I will fly home (once again, via Atlanta.) The talk will be the same at all three, so there's no need to follow me around :-)

The Windows Vista Bridge: How Managed Code Developers Can Easily Access Exciting New Vista Features

Accessing new Windows Vista features is a challenge from managed (.NET) code. The level of interoperability required is out of reach for many developers. The Vista Bridge is a sample library you can use in your own projects today that provides access to new user interface features as well as “behind the scenes” power features. Discover a shortcut to Windows Vista for Microsoft Visual Basic and Visual C# programmers and how you can get involved.

This talk is freshly updated for Tech Ed Europe where I will deliver it Nov 13th. See you there!

Kate

Saturday, November 08, 2008 10:32:26 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, November 07, 2008

Guess where I plan to be mid-November next year?

What will they talk about? Let the speculation begin.

Kate

Friday, November 07, 2008 8:25:28 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, November 03, 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.

Kate

Monday, November 03, 2008 12:14:32 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 29, 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.

Kate

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 10:57:45 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Sunday, October 26, 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!

Kate

Sunday, October 26, 2008 12:25:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Tech Ed Europe sessions are confirmed (have been for a while actually) so I had better tell you about them:

See you there!

Kate

Saturday, October 25, 2008 1:18:39 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Sunday, October 19, 2008

Word is starting to spread about the Vista Bridge. Greg Duncan's blog entry on it links to the SDK blog entry and includes a screenshot of the demo. Nice to see awareness growing on this. Interesting link on the side to a buzzword bingo game for Zune. I really need to take a few minutes and get some games onto my Zune to make those plane rides go a little faster...

Kate

Sunday, October 19, 2008 2:53:29 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, October 18, 2008

Some schedules I have flagged with "must attend" in my calendar:

TL13 Microsoft Visual C++: 10 Is the New 6
Boris Jabes

Get more done. The next version of Visual C++ is all about improving developer productivity for large-scale applications. Learn about the IntelliSense and browsing experiences, changes to the project and build system, project-less browsing, collaboration through remote symbol indexing, and custom visualization of symbolic information.

Tags: Advanced, Languages

PC26 Microsoft Visual Studio: Building Applications with MFC
Damien Watkins

The next release of MFC will provide encapsulations around a number of new Windows platform features. With this functionality you can easily build applications that integrate into features such as desktop search, application restart and recovery functionality, leverage the new Windows UI metaphors such as Live Icons and Rich Preview. These features represent one of the most significant updates to MFC in years. Come learn the details on all these new classes so you can rapidly build Windows applications that stand out from the crowd.

Tags: Advanced, Visual Studio

TL25 Parallel Programming for C++ Developers in the Next Version of Microsoft Visual Studio
Rick Molloy

Build more responsive C++ programs that take full advantage of multicore hardware. We demonstrate how the new Parallel Pattern Library (PPL) enables you to express parallelism in your code and how the asynchronous messaging APIs can be used to separate shared state and increase your application's resilience and robustness. Finally, we take a look at some of the new capabilities of C++0x and Visual Studio to help you efficiently code and debug your multi-threaded applications.

Tags: Advanced, Parallelism, Visual Studio

Kate

Saturday, October 18, 2008 2:32:09 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Do you recognize this man?

 

Maybe that's too recent a picture... try this one:

Combine these tickets with the PDC location and I have an earworm that should be with me till the end of the month.

Kate, humming

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 8:50:26 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, October 11, 2008

Headed to the PDC this month? Is it your first? Or did you go once before but ended up feeling you somehow wasted the opportunity? A huge part of conferences is the face time. The really popular sessions will be blogged (so go to sessions on more obscure topics), there will be other ways to get some of the information (not all, so choose wisely), but no screencast can compare to chatting to people who know things you need to know, to making friends, and to seeing some of your heroes as actual human beings and learning what beer they prefer. Thomas Lewis has an intruiging Guide to the PDC that covers slightly different ground than the usual guides. An intruiging combination of how to learn the most and how to get free drinks as well.

Alas I am not staying at the Westin, but the Marriot. The good news is I have an invitation to a party at the Standard :-).

See you there!

Kate

Saturday, October 11, 2008 9:11:47 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, October 02, 2008

Gizmodo provides a lovely video showing all the planes in the air over a 24 hour period. I really like watching the line between night and day move across the planet and the swarms of planes appear as their airport curfews open. It's cool!

If you like this sort of thing, also look at Earth at Night which doesn't move, but makes it night everywhere at once (by gluing together pictures taken at different times) so you can see how we tend to live on the coasts and on rivers.

This one really demonstrates how settlement happened in my corner of the planet.

Kate

Thursday, October 02, 2008 4:53:12 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 25, 2008

Steve, a former C++ guy and current PCP guy, tells stories very well... just three of the reasons I like him. He blogs very infrequently, but when he has an update it's worth reading. This one is funny and informative. Plus, it features links to videos of presentations about the Parallel Computing Initiative. I've linked in the past to videos in English that are hosted on a page in French, so I know you can all handle it. Consider it Canadian Content even though the videos are from Paris. Go, read, watch, you'll enjoy it.

Kate

Thursday, September 25, 2008 8:47:15 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, September 15, 2008

At the moment I only have one fall speaking commitment settled and it’s one of my favourites - Tech Ed Developers Europe. Barcelona will be warm, both in the temperature sense and the personal interaction sense (though I do predict exposure to pocket-picking, bag-lifting, and other forms of theft once again). The attendees will be energetic and appreciative. The other speakers will be fun to hang around with. The ancillary events will be fun fun fun.

My topics are the Vista Bridge, and some new C++ features. We’re still working on the abstracts and titles, so I’ll post an update when they’re locked.

See you there!

Monday, September 15, 2008 5:06:49 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, June 15, 2008

This fall there will be a PDC. Yay! What will it be about? Some hints are starting to emerge. I predict you will hear the word Cloud a lot. I predict things I blog about pretty regularly will get some serious coverage. I predict I will be there. That one's a sure bet actually ... I'm registered and everything.

http://microsoftpdc.com/

Yeah, I know, LA again, but hey! It's the PDC! How bad can that be?

Kate

Sunday, June 15, 2008 11:35:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, June 01, 2008

Here I am again in Orlando, getting ready for another Tech Ed.

Being in a familiar place, doing something I've done so many times before, it makes me finally ready to blog again. A lovely quote I read just yesterday, "Blogging, like speaking at a Quaker meeting, is something one must do only if the spirit moves one." And today, in a hushed convention centre that will hold over 10,000 tomorrow but seems to have only a dozen today, it moves me. (Read the whole article, btw. And reflect that at Tech Ed we are exhorted to Learn, Connect, Explore.)

Tomorrow, my precon on Vista programming. And plenty more to follow. My friends, in more ways than one, here we are again.

Kate

 

Sunday, June 01, 2008 4:05:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, January 28, 2008

This year for the first time I am speaking at SD West. This is a conference I have watched from afar and often wanted to attend. I’m delivering a half day tutorial on Vista Programming, and a new breakout session called Practical Visual Studio Team Systems.  In between I will be at Sutter and Stroustrup on C++ and a host of other feed-my-brain sessions that you might also want to attend. Check the full session list and register quickly... the early bird deadline is February 8th.


The Vista Programming abstract is:

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 half 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. Learn how to build the next generation of smart client applications with the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and improve 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, and understanding User Access Control (UAC). Learn how to build more reliable and secure applications with technologies like Application Restart/Recovery. And lastly, learn how to build more connected systems with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and RSS platform support.

The Team Systems abstract is:

The real strength of VSTS is its adaptability. Our small shop (no professional project managers, everyone’s a developer of some kind, not-officially-agile-but-not-CMMI-either) has learned a lot about making VSTS and TFS fit the way that we work. Topics include knowing which project people are working on without asking them, adding your own fields to those provided out of the box, writing your own queries and reports, and customizing your project portal. This session will help you get up to speed with the features the most practical features VSTS has to offer, and best practices will be suggested.

See you there!

Kate

Monday, January 28, 2008 11:48:43 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Virtual Side guys do a great job of capturing some of the fun and buzz from Tech Ed day by day. Here’s a roundup video that features a little bit of me judging Speaker Idol.  12 MB, 2 minutes.

Kate

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 4:12:43 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, July 28, 2007

Check it out ... sessions are starting to appear. I've been looking at the Tools and Languages track... there are some talks here I'll be sitting in on for sure.

It's going to be a fun fall!

Kate

Saturday, July 28, 2007 10:56:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, July 14, 2007

This is actually something that got settled during Tech Ed USA but my June schedule meant a lot of things I intended to blog didn't get blogged. Now I see myself listed on the Featured Speakers page (I told them, "flattery will get you everywhere" and they're going for it) so it's official.

My talks? The C++/Vista talk I did in the USA, plus a managed-code Vista one. We're still working on an abstract for that.

This will be my third trip to Barcelona. Will this be the year I do the Gaudi-tourist thing? Sure hope so!

Kate

Saturday, July 14, 2007 3:43:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 31, 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.

Kate

Thursday, May 31, 2007 11:52:54 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, February 18, 2007

I will be in Montreal in May to speak at DevTeach.

My talk:

It’s Vista time – is your application ready?

Windows Vista provides an extensive set of new APIs that enable improved user experiences and enhanced security, but some of these APIs are exposed through native COM and Win32 programming models. This session highlights strategies and techniques for taking advantage of these native APIs from managed code. Learn what's really involved in making your .NET application "light up on Windows Vista" with User Account Control (UAC) integration, Windows Vista User Experience features like common file dialogs, task dialogs and command links, and integrated desktop search.

DevTeach is a lot easier to get to than some of the bigger conferences, and it has a star-studded speaker list. See you there!

Kate

Sunday, February 18, 2007 3:35:55 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Eileen Rumwell is sponsoring a contest to send someone to Globewomen's annual conference, Global Summit of Women, in Berlin in June. Globewomen invite you to:

  • Join the premier gathering of women leaders focused on advancing women's economic opportunities globally
  • Be inspired by the energy, enthusiasm and expertise of the women decision-makers in business and government from around the world
  • Learn practical strategies to grow your career or your business
  • Share winning solutions and strategies with your peers
  • Be part of a global network of economic dynamos who will make changes in the 21st century global economy.

A 250 word essay about why you chose the technical field you did, and how you feel about it (man! 250 words is hardly anything! that's a challenge!) could get you airfare and accomodations so you can attend this seriously high-level get together. If you don't (or can't) win, consider attending anyway ... it sounds like fun!

Kate

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 10:40:51 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, December 14, 2006

Microsoft has announced that the next Professional Developers Conference (PDC) will be October 2-5, 2007 in Los Angeles, with two days of pre-conference on September 30 and October 1. That's good news and bad news for me. I'm glad we're having a PDC this year because it means there's something to announce and something to get early bits of. The official word is:

The PDC is the definitive developer event focused on the future of the Microsoft platform.  PDC 2007 attendees will have the opportunity to access new code, learn about the latest Microsoft product offerings and hear from Microsoft executives about the various platform developments. 

Check http://msdn.microsoft.com/events/pdc/ for updates; you can also subscribe to the RSS feed to find out more information about the event as we get closer.  Registration will open in the May/June timeframe. 


 

So what's the bad news? LA, again. This will be three in a row. I wouldn't miss the PDC for anything but can't we go somewhere else?

Kate

Thursday, December 14, 2006 2:50:57 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, December 11, 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:


(larger version)

Amazing, aren't we? For my picture, which is nowhere near as spectacular as some, I went and stood among some turning leaves.

Kate

Monday, December 11, 2006 2:01:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Thursday, December 07, 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.

Kate

Thursday, December 07, 2006 10:51:37 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Friday, November 10, 2006

One of the comments in the evals for my Barcelona talk was "extend it to a day!" Well that's just what Microsoft Denmark chose to do, giving me an entire day to talk about C++/CLI, moving to managed code, interop, combining MFC with WinForms, incredible IDE tricks that I promise you never knew, and the importance of concurrent programming going forward, along with some guidance about how to get there.

I had such a great time I forgot to be tired.... for a while.

I found that Danish has one thing in common with Spanish: I can kind of read it if I try. (Example: Danish for "fire" is "brand".) And I saw a LOT of bicycles. This is a country that gets just as cold as Canada, but people don't insist on driving everywhere. I spoke at a movie theatre and took this picture just outside:

That's right, a separate indoor parking lot for bikes. And it's full, so they're all over the sidewalk. Apparently all the visitors take pictures of the bikes.

I really enjoyed the talk. If anyone is reading this who thinks their local DPE group would welcome a C++ day, please drop me a line. Having a full day to do all the demos I don't normally have time was a marvelous experience.

Kate

Friday, November 10, 2006 1:17:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Spotted in the speaker room in Barcelona:

That's right, donuts entirely coated in decent chocolate. Mmmmmmm.

For those keeping track, the MVP shoes are in this speaker room also. They follow me around :-)

Kate

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 8:20:49 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Here I am at my second Tech Ed in three weeks and ready for a great time. The RDs already had a great dinner Monday night, and Tuesday is Girl Geek night. I've picked up an extra session, too, a panel discussion Wednesday afternoon:

DEVPD01 .NET Rocks! Talks Agile Development!

Carl Franklin , Richard Campbell , Stephen Forte , Roy Osherove , Kate Gregory

Wed Nov 8 15:15 - 16:30 Room 116

Enjoy a live audience recording of .NET Rocks as Carl and Richard bring together a group of serious thinkers on agile development for a no-holds barred debate on what works and what doesn’t in the world of agile. Bring yourselves and your questions to the panel and help create a future episode of .NET Rocks!

Kate

 

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 7:46:44 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spotted in the speaker room in South Africa:

Those feet belong to Karen Young, MVP Regional Manager for EMEA:

 

Alas, the shoes aren't swag. Karen had them done at a street stall in China that was painting roses and anime characters onto shoes. They're one of a kind!

Kate

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 5:06:57 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [2]
# Monday, October 09, 2006

I've been messing a lot with time zones lately, planning my trips to South Africa, Spain, and Denmark, along with flight connections through other countries, and trying to be sure that I correctly map the local times people tell me with the Eastern times I need to enter in my Outlook calendar. As part of that I found a neat time zone map at http://www.travel.com.hk/region/timezone.htm. Now time zone maps are not exactly hard to come by, but this one gave me some interesting insight.

Until I found this map I believed, in a vague never-bothered-to-check way, that Newfoundland was the only place whose time zones differered by half an hour rather than an hour from the neighbouring zones:

But this map uses that hash pattern to indicate the not-an-hour timezones, and so for the first time I noticed there are other places that do this too:

 

It's all over the place! But I wonder if people on the other side of the world would get the Canadian joke: The World Will End at Midnight! 12:30 in Newfoundland.

Kate

Monday, October 09, 2006 7:35:06 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [2]
# Sunday, October 08, 2006

I was looking forward to next year's Tech Ed USA for more than the usual reasons we look forward to a Tech Ed. You see, it was going to be in New Orleans, and I've never been there. Everyone said it was a place you really should see, and here was my chance to both see it and somehow feel like I was doing a good deed by contributing to the economy. But that's not how it's going to be, apparently, not in 2007 anyway. (Story on bink.nu) It seems the airlines haven't bounced back yet in terms of allocating capacity to the city, so Tech Ed 2007 will be somewhere else. Any chance they'll consider Toronto? :-)

Kate

Sunday, October 08, 2006 12:28:45 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, October 06, 2006

Airports, like software, need to be tested before they're released -- or I guess for an airport, you'd say opened. That's why the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), is asking for volunteers to come to the airport on the morning of Oct 28th and wander around like they were trying to catch a flight, or arrive from a flight, or whatever. Can you read that sign as you head down the elevator? Is it obvious that you are not at ground level and need to find an elevator to get to ground level? Is this hallway really wide enough when two planes arrive at once and 400 people are walking through it? It's not like there wasn't any thought put into that sort of thing in advance, but before you open the doors, testing is a really good idea.

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and want to tell your grandchildren you once beta tested an airport (perhaps the fact that you parked and ate at an airport for free will excite them more) then head on over to http://www.gtaa.com/airportvolunteer/ and sign up. Apparently there's some sort of souvenir in it for you, and you'll get to see the new parts of the terminal months before they open. Go for it!

Kate

Friday, October 06, 2006 5:20:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I've been dying to announce this one. I'm leaving Tech Ed Developers one day early to go to Copenhagen and do a C++ day November 10th. There's an announcement in Danish on the msevents site now. Here's the agenda:

Agenda 

Kl. 9.00-10.15:                   Visual C++: Højere produktivitet med Visual Studio 2005

Visual Studio 2005 indeholder en lang række produktivitets-forbedringer for C++ udvikleren. I denne session ser Kate Gregory nærmere på de mange nye features og forbedringer Visual Studio 2005 tilbyder. Endeligt viser hun en række tips og tricks, som ingen C++ udvikler bør være foruden.

Kl. 10.15-10.45:             Pause

Kl. 10.45-12.45:             Sådan flytter man C++ applikationer til .NET

Se hvordan man flytter C++ projekter til .NET og CLR’en uden at skulle porte eller genskrive hele koden. Lær hvordan man nemt kan migrere eksisterende native C++ kode – inklusiv MFC applikationer – til at køre under .NET. Kate Gregory vil også gennemgå strategier til at vælge hvilke dele af applikationen, der skal forblive i native kode og hvilke der skal flyttes til managed kode (.NET). Og endelig viser Kate hvordan du kan bruge .NET’s klassebibliotek og du kan bygge managed ”Wrappers”, som muliggør genbrug af eksisterende C++ klassebiblioteker.

Kl. 12.45-13.30:             Frokost

Kl. 13.30- 14.30:            Fremtiden er nu

Så længe, der har været software, har der været pc’er med stadigt stigende clockfrekvenser. Nu lader det til at den tendens er stoppet – i dag bliver maskinerne hurtigere ikke fordi clockfrekvens stiger, men forbi de får stadigt flere CPU’er. Det betyder at selv enkeltbruger-applikationer bliver nødt til at være multi threaded. Det skræmmende ved dét, er at de fleste udviklere ikke kan skrive thread safe kode. Kom og se, hvad det kan få af betydning for fremtidens software udvikling!

Kl. 14.30-15.00:             Q&A

Kl. 15.00:                      Tak for i dag

I will be speaking entirely in English. (I'm not sure what "Sprog: Dansk" means but I hope it doesn't mean Language: Danish.) So far I have learned the word "Tak" and hope to use it extensively. I believe "Tak for i dag" means "thanks for the day" and that is going to be my motto this fall. Should you happen to live in Denmark, or near enough to it that you could attend this, and yet not know enough Danish to muddle through this agenda, I will tell you the titles of the sessions as I submitted them:

  • IDE Features for Visual Studio 2005
  • Moving C++ Applications to the Common Language Runtime
  • The Future is Concurrent

See you there, I hope!

Kate

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 2:19:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]

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.

Kate

 

RD | Speaking | Travel | Vista
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 2:03:28 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, September 26, 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!

Kate

C++ | RD | Speaking | Travel
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 1:52:10 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, September 10, 2006

After a three-year gap, I return to Tech Ed Europe as it returns to Barcelona. Moving it to the late fall has made it much easier to fit into my life. (Not surprisingly, I'll be speaking in the Developers half of the two-week conference.)

My talk is DEV406, Extending Native Code C++ Applications with Managed Code

Managed code programming models and frameworks offer developers a great boost in productivity and code maintainability. This session demonstrates the use of the C++/Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) language binding to access .NET platform features. Rather than re-write applications from scratch to take advantage of managed code, Visual C++ gives developers the ability to enjoy the advantages of managed code whilst still leveraging their existing native code base.

This is the power of C++/CLI - don't port or rewrite, integrate! You're going to love it.

Kate

Sunday, September 10, 2006 12:54:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, September 09, 2006

I'm thrilled to confirm that I will be speaking at Tech Ed in Sun City again this year!

I'm travelling on South African Airways this time (it's been Lufthansa before) and taking a different route, so there will be some novelty along with the familiarity. I just love the energy at this conference; I can't wait to get there!

My talks:

  • DEV 307: Delving into Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers
  • CLI 315: Windows Vista: Tips and Tricks for Targeting Key Native APIs from Managed Code
  • CLI 402: Modifying Applications to Run on Windows Vista

Kate

Saturday, September 09, 2006 12:46:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Recently the French government launched a geo-portal (GeoPortail en francais) with satellite pictures and maps of France and France-associated places around the world. The detail is pretty cool. Here's Le Château de Chenonceau:

Here's the smaller of the two formal gardens, to the left in the arial shot, as seen from inside the Château:

That one's not from the website, but from my own camera. It gives you a good idea of the scale the satellites can achieve. The building itself is amazing -- it actually spans the river. Worth a detour to experience if you find yourself on The Continent.

Kate

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:22:21 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, June 15, 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.

Kate

 

Thursday, June 15, 2006 9:45:18 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [2]
# Saturday, June 10, 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.

Kate

C++ | Consulting Life | INETA | MVP | RD | Speaking | Travel
Saturday, June 10, 2006 7:43:18 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Thursday, June 08, 2006

Imagine yourself in a hotel room early in the morning. You're tired, the alarm's just gone off, you're not ready to have a lot of lights on yet, you need to get up, iron some clothes, and get out the door all perky and chirpy to go teach a course. Luckily, the room has a coffee maker and supplies, so you can pre-caffeinate yourself. Yay! Now some of you, if you're North America-based, might have trouble spotting the sugar packets, but not me, oh no, I've been to Europe before you know, world traveller me, I know which is the sugar. It's those long skinny things. Like this:

One small problem: some of those are brown sugar, but the others are instant coffee. Ah well, I needed extra caffeine anyway.

Of course, whenever you go somewhere new, it opens your eyes to what people think is obvious. Take road signs for example. What does this mean?

I figured it out eventually from signs that have some more specific rules on it: No Stopping.

Try this one:

That means "end of motorway" and appears on most exit ramps to remind you that you're leaving the highway and changing your default traffic rules. I figured that out because the same symbol, which to me looks like an inukshuk, shows up on more understandable signs:

Another mystery was this one:

Though it "clicked" for me when I saw this variant:

Now there are some signs I think are brilliant:

  

But all in all, I'm really glad I'm leaving the driving to professionals on this trip. And I speak the language!

Kate

Thursday, June 08, 2006 4:53:56 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sorry about that, but the number one headline here in the UK is the state of Wayne Rooney's foot. Listening to the radio in cabs and buses, or watching the television, that's all anybody cares about... they find a way to include it in the weather report, the traffic updates, the stock market report and so on. It was wild to see so many English flags (not Union Jacks, those are British flags based on the union of the individual flags) in windows and on cars.

There's a bit of controversy here about the flag thing, with people saying it's tacky, but i certainly saw hundreds of flags in just one day of travel, from Heathrow to Woking to Portsmouth, walking around Portsmouth, and then back up to Reading that evening.

Nice surprise for me when I reached the hotel... as a Hilton Gold member I'm used to a little snack waiting for me in my room. Sometimes it's a cookie and a bottle of water, or even two cookies and a bottle of water. Here's what was waiting for me in the Manor Room to which I was upgraded:

That's two bottles of water, two apples (at least one of which was very nice, I can report, having eaten it) and a bottle of red wine. The bed, for those who are following the pillow story, had three pillows on it. I'll take snack escalation over pillow escalation anytime.

Kate

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 5:38:30 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Rory blogged what I was thinking... "SEVEN PILLOWS HOTEL WHY???!!!?!"

And then his pictures prove that the bed he faced and which lit this question in his brain is in fact identical to the bed I faced last night myself. How scary is that? Rory is not at Devteach, is he?

My guess (nay, I'm pretty sure it's my fervent hope) is that he is at another Marriott somewhere else and not in my room here in Montreal taking pictures and blogging.

Kate

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 3:50:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [4]
# Thursday, March 23, 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!

Kate

Thursday, March 23, 2006 7:25:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 22, 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 morning, the WEB PLATFORM SESSIONS will give you the chance to explore Web development technologies such as AJAX, RSS, Javascript and Gadgets.

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!

      Kate

    • Wednesday, March 22, 2006 10:48:25 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Sunday, January 08, 2006

      The December lull is past, for sure. Here's where I'm headed in the next month or so:

      • January 11th, CNY .NET Users Group, Syracuse NY, Windows Forms: Deploying Applications with ClickOnce: Advanced Topics
      • January 14th, Toronto Code Camp, Yonge and Bloor, The Future is Concurrent
      • January 17th, Regina .NET Users Group, Regina Saskatchewan, Managing the Software Lifecycle with Visual Studio 2005 Team System
      • January 18th, Saskatoon .NET Users Group, Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Managing the Software Lifecycle with Visual Studio 2005 Team System
      • February 7th, SouthColorado .NET, Colorado Springs CO, TBD but probably the ClickOnce talk
      • February 8th, TRINUG, Cary NC, TBD but probably the ClickOnce talk 

      That should keep me from being bored, eh?

      Kate

      Sunday, January 08, 2006 11:12:37 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Wednesday, January 04, 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?

      Kate

           
      C++ | Consulting Life | INETA | MVP | RD | Speaking | Travel
      Wednesday, January 04, 2006 4:33:27 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Saturday, November 26, 2005

      Yesterday's beach was nice, but not really pink. So today's mission was to find a pinker one. It's one of the few days I've been able to check off everything on my todo list :-)

       

      Kate

      Saturday, November 26, 2005 3:28:16 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Friday, November 25, 2005

      Treasure chests, glass bottles, ropes of crystals that look like seeweed, the usual ribbons, balls, and pearls, all of that I can handle. Beyond the surrealism of Christmas decorations while you wander around in your bathing suit, that is. But one particular ornament on this tree made it worthy of a picture:

      Ah yes, nothing says Christmas like a deadly jellyfish! Good thing I consider it too early for Christmas anyway.

      Kate

      Friday, November 25, 2005 7:30:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Tuesday, November 08, 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.

      Kate

      Tuesday, November 08, 2005 3:23:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Friday, November 04, 2005

      While I was over ten thousand miles from home, my laptop started to get weird on me. First, it started to spontaneously power itself off, for no reason at all, while I was using it. Alarming! But then I eventually discovered that it only did so if I pressed the left Ctrl key. Confining myself to the right Ctrl key was a challenge -- I am hugely keyboard oriented and do Ctrl-S, Ctrl-B, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V sort of things all the time without looking or to be honest even thinking keystrokes, I think Bold and my fingers do the right thing -- but I was able to do a whole presentation without it powering itself off. Then it started to get more delicate. Any pressure on the left side of the keyboard would power it down. And it got harder and harder to power it up. 5 tries, 10 tries, 20 tries... I did manage to power it up in the Jo-burg airport but it shut down while I was working and never did come back up again. I just slept instead of working and put it out of my mind.

      When I got home, I confirmed it was still under warranty, next day on site service, and arranged a service call. Then I wanted my files back... I wasn't going to last all weekend without my files. Luckily the hard drives in laptops are delightfully standard things. For $13 Canadian, I bought a little wrapper that turns any 2.5" drive into an external USB drive:

      I put the drive in it and ---ooooh, there are all my folders! Yay! But I can't see any actual files! Boo!

      Turns out the power cycling and hard power downs (many many of them) had not been nice to the drive. So I got a little utility called File Scavenger from QueTek. I started with the trial version to prove to myself it worked, then got a personal licence and set to work bringing back everything I cared about -- the pictures I took while I was away, my Outlook PST file (yes I backed up before I left, but a lot happened that week) and a lot of work I was in the middle of. Phew!

      The service call ended up stretching over several days ... replacing the motherboard, keyboard, palm rest, and hard drive wasn't enough, it also needed a new processor. But now it works again. And what do I get to do with my copious free time? Reinstall things. A lot of things.

      Ah well, a good way to clear out junk you don't need any more. It was pretty much repaving time anyway, the machine had been kind of flaky for the last few months. And I'm ready to leave for SF and Vegas now... or at least my laptop is :-)

      Kate

      Friday, November 04, 2005 2:06:12 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Monday, October 24, 2005

      When you go to a conference, there's a tendency to see nothing beyond the airport, your hotel, and the convention centre. Maybe a few nice restaurants if you're lucky enough to be invited to a press dinner or the like. The minute I got off the plane a year ago for Tech Ed Africa, I knew I wasn't going to have that kind of experience. And this year Julie and I have upped the ante by taking advantage of the Gametrackers services offered right from within the resort where the conference is being held. I took over 40 pictures this morning, here are just a few:

          

      Wish you were here?

      Kate

      Monday, October 24, 2005 7:21:42 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [4]
      # Saturday, October 22, 2005

      Julie and I have a twelve hour layover in Frankfurt so we decided to go into town for a little sightseeing. Here's where we had our lunch:

      What did we have? Sausages (bratwurst to be precise) and potato "salad". Yum!

      Next stop, Johannesburg and then on to Sun City!

      Kate

      Saturday, October 22, 2005 12:06:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Friday, October 21, 2005

      Leave my house 11:30 am. Flight to New York departs 2:30. Here I am in New York, at about 5:30. In four hours my flight to Frankfurt leaves. 8 hours across the Atlantic. 12 hour stopover in Frankfurt. 10 hours down to Jo-burg. Clear whatever we need to clear, get baggage, wait for the bus, that's another hour, then two more hours to Sun City. Total travel time: 43 hours. Six of it is behind me. It's extra-rehearsing time for me now, here in the Lufthansa lounge of Kennedy airport. Friday night and Saturday night the only sleep I will get will be on planes. Luckily, I'm good at that.

      Kate

      Friday, October 21, 2005 5:27:03 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Wednesday, October 12, 2005

      I just registered for the global launch in San Francisco November 7th:

      (Yes, I will be in Las Vegas that whole week to speak at C++ Connections. I'm just going to the launch on Monday and then to Vegas.)

      If a flight to SF is out of the question, why not see if you can get into one of the Canadian dates?

      November 8 Toronto
      November 10 Ottawa
      November 15 Edmonton
      November 17 Victoria
      November 22 Vancouver
      November 24 Calgary
      November 29 Montreal
      December 1 Quebec
      December 6 Halifax
      December 8 Winnipeg

      http://www.microsoft.com/canada/launch2005/default.aspx has all the details and registration links.

      Didn't act soon enough? Didn't think a launch event could sell out? Watch for announcements of user group launch events through the fall.

      Kate

       

      Wednesday, October 12, 2005 2:11:01 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [2]
      # Saturday, October 01, 2005

      I fly quite a lot. Over the first six months of this year (I pretty much stopped travelling after TechEd USA) i flew 25,000 miles. That's not a lot compared to those who reach Air Canada Super Elite status at 100,000 miles (a handful even fly 300,000 miles a year) but it felt like a lot to me. I'm about to fly another 30,000 in just a few weeks... to South Africa and back, then a week later to Las Vegas and back. But it's nothing compared to what someone I know is up to.

      Air Canada is selling an "unlimited" North America travel pass. $7000 gets you all the flights you can stand in October and November. A fellow Flyertalker with two months off has bought one and is trying to get the maximum possible mileage from it. Because he's already Super Elite, he gets a 50% bonus on every mile he flies, and there's a promotion on to get a 25% bonus as well (I earned a 542 mile bonus to and from LA for the PDC). Add in threshold bonuses and he has determined he is going to earn a million Aeroplan miles for just $7,000  ... and two solid months of his time. Most of it will be up front, thanks to the upgrade certificates he's going to earn as he goes, and his status moving him to the front of the line for "op-ups" on full flights. His sleep, what there is of it, will be exclusively on overnight transcontinental flights.

      He's blogging his progress... a must read!

      Kate

      Update: there are now four Flyertalkers doing this, but Marc is the one blogging it. Today he mentioned on FT: "I was home last night, had dinner with family. Leaving at 820 am. Its a job like any other. I am home 4 nights a week. On overnight trips the other three."

      Saturday, October 01, 2005 6:38:40 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Tuesday, August 23, 2005

      Last year I had a marvelous time at Tech Ed Africa, and made the Top 5 list. I am thrilled to announce that I will be there again this year! It will take me about 41 hours to travel from my house to the conference center, and about 36 hours to get home a week later. This place is seriously far from home.

      My talks:

      Microsoft Visual C++ 2005: A Look at the New Features for Building Fast Native and Managed Code
      Whether you build end-to-end applications or components for enhancing larger applications, the new Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 is the power tool for Windows programming. In this presentation we spend extensive time in the Visual C++ 2005 development environment -- highlighting new productivity features -- as we dive into its support for building high-performance, first-class native and managed applications. Learn about native code compiler optimizations, security enhancements, 64-bit development, and support for multiprocessor/grid computing systems. In addition, this presentation demonstrates how Visual C++ 2005 now provides CLR/.NET Framework support that allows it to stand toe-to-toe with any other tool in terms of elegance and productivity… with the additional benefit of high-performance access to native code and the ability to easily move native code to the managed environment.

      Microsoft Visual Basic 2005: Application Frameworks and Advanced Language Features
      This is a must-see session for Visual Basic developers who are new to Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, and also reviews the major feature changes and additions for beta 2. Take a top-down look at the new application architecture and RAD development enhancements in Whidbey, including several key productivity features that are exclusive to Visual Basic. This session covers the new Visual Basic lightweight application model for client applications, the My namespace, Data, Settings and Resources, and many more features that speed development for connected applications.

      Windows Forms: Deploying Applications with ClickOnce
      This session covers examples of ClickOnce deployment technology at work in the real-world as well as advanced scenarios, including an in-depth look at leveraging ClickOnce APIs for server-side extensions and on-demand deployment of application components.

      Only two things could have made my trip last year better: an extra day to explore and soak in the marvelous place where this conference is held, and a friend from "home" to travel and explore with, to while away the long trip there and back. Can you believe I get both my wishes! I must be living right.

      Oh, did you want to register? Too bad, it's sold out. :-)

      Kate

      Tuesday, August 23, 2005 7:30:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Thursday, August 11, 2005

      This is a cool little service, “Not Endorsed nor Authorized by Google in any way”, that lets readers show me where you are. Go on, zoom and pan and whatever till you find your location, then double-click to add your little face icon to the map.

      Inspired, as I so often am, by Scott Hanselman.

      Kate

      Thursday, August 11, 2005 9:41:05 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Thursday, July 14, 2005

      I'm registered and I've reserved a hotel room. Just the little matter of plane tickets to take care of now...

      Kate

      Thursday, July 14, 2005 11:10:50 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Thursday, June 09, 2005

      Have you ever read the hotel soap story? It's always presented as true, but of course it's not. I've found an American version (featuring Dial and Camay) and a British one (featuring Imperial Leather). The thing just makes me laugh out loud even after all the times I've read it. Well anyway here at the Peabody (Tech Ed Speaker hotel) I am starting to have a similar, but more delicious, problem. Each evening they come around to do a turn-down service, to get you ready for bed. If I am out, they come in and do it, and leave two chocolates on the pillow. Very nice. If I am in, they knock on the door and say “turndown!” and I come to the door and say “thanks, I'm fine, really.” And then, you see, they say the dreaded words “but wouldn't you like a chocolate or two?”. “Oh yes, that would be nice, thankyou!”. The first time this happened, they gave me three. The next night, four. It keeps going up, I have no idea why. Last night, SEVEN! Tonight I think it was TEN!

      I am actually eating a few of these chocolates but not at a sufficient pace. I leave tomorrow: I have, after eight nights in this hotel, twenty nine squares of chocolate still piled by my lamp, a little like the soaps of our supposed true story above.

      There are worse problems to have.

      Kate

      Thursday, June 09, 2005 10:56:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Saturday, June 04, 2005

      Tech Ed starts on Monday, there are all kinds of side meetings Sunday, and I'm here early because I did a compressed Ascend day yesterday. So far it is rainy and grey: I feel as though I accidentally flew to Seattle instead of Florida.

      I like to get a room with two beds so I can use one bed just to pile up swag. Here's how it looks so far:

      All this has to get home with me, and we're not even started yet. If you haven't left yet, remember to leave lots of room in your suitcase! Trust me!

      Kate

      Saturday, June 04, 2005 5:52:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [2]
      # Tuesday, May 17, 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!

      Kate

      Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:39:50 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Saturday, March 19, 2005

      I'm going to be travelling across Canada in April and May to deliver the next round of Deep Dives -- these ones on Smart Client development with VSTO 2005. Here's the abstract:

      Recommended Audience: Developer.

      Microsoft Office has established itself as the standard for office productivity applications. Knowledge workers use the Office tools (word and excel) to create and mine data. The experience and familiarity with these tools can be leveraged to build a new breed of applications to make working with important information easier using Word and Excel as application interfaces.

      This session will explore the details of creating Smart Client Applications using Microsoft Office System and Visual Studio Tools for Office. This session will include data access techniques for online and offline work, security considerations and leveraging the .NET Framework and web services to interact with Line of Business applications. This session will also provide attendees with prescriptive guidance on choices for application development, comparing all the possibilities for smart client development, in the form of a decision matrix.

      Here's the schedule and some links to register:

      Ottawa April 19
      Waterloo April 20
      Windsor April 21
      Vancouver April 26
      Calgary April 27
      Halifax April 28
      Toronto May 3
      Montreal May 4

      I am preparing the material right now, and it's all Visual Studio 2005 and VSTO 2005 -- if you've seen me do VSTO 2003 material before, you're going to be delighted with the new tool! It's much more designery and much less “now simply provide implementations for the following 20 functions with almost identical names.” That means there's time to show cooler stuff, and I fully intend to. See you there!

      Kate

      Saturday, March 19, 2005 1:40:25 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3]
      # Sunday, January 16, 2005

      I have these friends, a married couple who are both paramedics -- the people who show up in an ambulance while the building is still on fire or the bad guy is still maybe inside with a weapon, and help you when you need it most. One works in the Peterborough area where I live, and the other commutes regularly to Toronto. Well this week, he's not in Toronto, he's in Sri Lanka, to help people who most surely need help. They were going to go on vacation somewhere sunny: instead he's gone to help and she's holding down the fort at home. I am so impressed by people like that.

      Here's some news coverage from CTV, interviewing three of the four, but not my friend.

      Think geeks like you and me can't help? Think again. Look at what Julie has been up to. The same skills we can sell to clients around the world we can also give to aid organizations. Watch this space for my tiny little bit.

      Kate

      Sunday, January 16, 2005 9:57:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Wednesday, December 08, 2004

      My 2005 plan is starting to take shape a bit better now.

      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.

      Kate

      Wednesday, December 08, 2004 12:04:35 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Friday, November 05, 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:

      Kate

      Friday, November 05, 2004 9:53:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Tuesday, November 02, 2004

       

      I'm going to kick off the Smart Client User Group Tour with a talk in Winnipeg. I'm expecting a slight contrast between South Africa in late October and Winnipeg in early November :-). The talk is November 10th, details on the Winnipeg UG site.


       

      Kate

      Tuesday, November 02, 2004 4:23:13 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Wednesday, October 27, 2004

      I had a thoroughly enjoyable but oh-too-brief time here. My third talk, this morning, went well like the others, and now I'm at the airport with about 27 hours between me and my own home -- and it's 4 hours since I walked out of the conference centre.

      I'm going to put the code from my sessions on the SA Developer website when I get home.

      Kate

      Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:01:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [3]
      # Tuesday, October 26, 2004

      It's still gorgeous, sunny, and HOT here. I did two talks today -- the C++ and the VSTO ones. I was really pleased with the C++ attendance, and people saying “I'm going to switch back” after seeing what Visual C++ 2005 is going to be like. And that was with no demos! VSTO is a very fun product, and easy to demonstrate too. So two pleasant sessions with very nice audiences and great logistics.

      One more day, one more talk, but first I think I'm going to go for a swim...

      Kate

      Tuesday, October 26, 2004 10:31:44 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Monday, October 25, 2004

      Wow!

      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!

      Kate

      Monday, October 25, 2004 4:22:10 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Thursday, October 14, 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!

      C++ | Office 2003 | RD | Speaking | Travel
      Thursday, October 14, 2004 6:07:48 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Thursday, September 30, 2004

      It must be the user group :-)

      Apparently the number one city to move to in all of Canada last year was Oshawa. I heard the head of chamber of commerce on the radio tonight and had to laugh when he listed one of the big assets of Oshawa is that it's close the Kawartha Lakes (I live in Kawartha Lakes and honestly I prefer it to Oshawa.) Oshawa is not a grimy industrial town, it's pretty and clean and friendly. And if you want to see what all the fuss is about, come to our next meeting, October 19th, and come a little early so you can look around the town.

      http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1096495811790&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154

      http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2004/09/29/648677-cp.html

      Kate

      Thursday, September 30, 2004 9:24:46 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Wednesday, August 18, 2004

      For a long time now, I've been using mapquest.com for maps of places I am going to. I have no real complaints with it, so I haven't been looking to see what else there is. Sure, it's a little annoying that I have to click Maps when I first get there if I want a Canadian map, and then there's a really annoying refresh when you choose Canada and it changes State to Province, which can wipe out everything you typed if you're on a slow line, but those are pretty minor, really.

      Last night Dwayne was talking about Mappoint Location Server, which is an enterprise-focused technology for seeing where your people or deliveries or whatnot are, using a map, but of course he showed a lot of Mappoint maps along the way. And you know what? They're nice-looking. Really nice-looking.

      So tonight someone phoned me to ask where a particular building was, and said Mapquest couldn't find the address she gave it. (Turned out she was spelling the street incorrectly so no marks off to Mapquest on that.) I tried Mappoint and -wow! These are beautiful maps that get more beautiful as you drill in.

      drills to

      It felt a little more dial-up friendly, too. The printable map is especially nice. Mapquest reduces the amount of chrome when you go for a printable map, but not to zero. At least for now the printable Mappoint map is pretty much chrome-free. I tried a few places where the streets are denser (downtown Toronto) and liked that, too.

      For now it seems to be North America only, so I'll use MapQuest for my Europe planning. Up to now I've been using a 40 year old atlas for that, which is working fine really since London, Paris, Venice etc tend not to move around and I only need to know things like how far apart they are. Sooner or later I'll want a touch more detail, and Internet maps are perfect for that.

      [Update Sept 23rd: Europe is in there. I'm a 100% Mappoint girl now...]

       Kate
      Wednesday, August 18, 2004 10:37:24 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Wednesday, August 04, 2004

      I get a lot of fake bounce messages these days, either because mail that was spoofed as being from me has bounced or because viruses are pretending to be bounce messages. I also get a fair number of OOF and vacation messages from strangers, for much the same reasons I suppose. I ignore them, and usually delete them unread. But this one I read, because it had no attachment and I didn't know what the subject (Congés) meant. What I found is worthy of mention:

      Bonjour,

      Je serais de retour de congés le 23 août 2004.

      En mon absence, je vous invite à contacter Steve xxxxxxxxx (xxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxx.fr).

      Coordonnées du standard : 01 41 97 xx xx

      Je me tiens à votre disposition à mon retour.

      Cordialement,

      didier

      (I elided the name and email of the standin, Steve, and the phone number.) Just look at the phrasing! He invites me to contact Steve. He's going to put himself at my disposition on his return. He even signs it Cordially! Is it just that the French language lends itself to that kind of phrasing, or is didier a truly gracious person? I'll never know. But if I ever get a vacation, I think I will be wording my message a little differently now...

      Kate

      Wednesday, August 04, 2004 10:18:56 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Monday, May 31, 2004

      Marcie blogs about donuts so I don't have to.

      As for snacks at TechEd, just don't get me started.

      Kate

      Monday, May 31, 2004 8:14:14 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Friday, May 28, 2004

      One of the hidden advantages of being a woman in any group that has mostly men is that you don't have to line up for the bathroom. Obviously some time this week the folks running the convention centre noticed this line-up imbalance, because they've changed several women's rooms to men's:

      Kate

      Friday, May 28, 2004 10:25:32 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Sunday, May 23, 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.

      Kate

      Sunday, May 23, 2004 4:57:35 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Saturday, May 22, 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.

      Kate

      Saturday, May 22, 2004 10:15:17 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
      # Tuesday, April 06, 2004


      I missed quite a bit of the sessions Monday because I had some urgent fires to put out and some other Microsoft-related business to take care of. I did enjoy hearing Don Box again, and seeing some things I just hadn't found time to notice yet. It was a beautiful day here, sunny and bright, and I actually saw the mountains for a few minutes. I was sure that was just something locals tell visitors, the whole seeing the mountains thing. Then we had a C++-specific dinner. What other group would gleefully accept a 64 page paper as they get on the bus to go to dinner, and then immediately start to read it? I know I read mine too.

       

      Tuesday, April 06, 2004 8:13:54 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]

      I flew to Minnesota and back, and then after 36 hours home I flew to Seattle, changing planes in Chicago. That's 4 legs in 3 days and 2 of those legs were significantly delayed by mechanical problems. Yikes! I hope I've used them up for a while. The delay leaving Chicago was caused because the guy driving the baggage ramp bumped into the plane and dented it. They had to get a structural engineer to pronounce judgement on whether the size of the dent meant the plane was out of service.

      And the lining up and identifying yourself is reaching epic proportions. Here's how it went for Minnesota: drive to Park N Fly. Walk in, put down suitcase and carry-on, tell someone who I am, get piece of paper, pick everything up. Walk 20 feet to Air Canada desk, put everything down. Tell someone who I am and prove it with passport, also show air miles card in case the travel agent didn't pass it along. Receive piece of paper. Walk outside and wait for bus. Put everything down. Bus comes. Pick everything up, go on bus, tell driver which terminal I want, put everything down.

      Reach my terminal, pick everything up, go inside, wait in line to recieve baggage tag. Prove who I am by showing passport and boarding pass. Answer questions about my packing and my luggage. Pick everything up (including bag which will be with me through several more lines yet.) Show boarding pass to prove I am allowed into immigration area. Line up for US Immigration. This line is about 45 minutes long so I am pulled out after ten minutes into much shorter line. Reach immigration guy. Show passport, boarding pass, customs form which I had filled out while waiting in some line or another. Answer questions. Admitted. Pick everything up, walk 20 feet, hand customs form to some other guy. Walk 50 feet, join lineup to have checked baggage x-rayed. Wait while bag comes out. Wait. In there a long time. Eventually it's rejected so I have to carry it over to some other table and wait patiently and non-threateningly while someone hand-searches it. Then she escorts me (I feel so trusted) to the conveyor belt. At least that's gone. Now me and my carry on are headed for the next security checkpoint. Take out laptop and cell phone. Take off coat. Show boarding pass again. Take off shoes because they always set off the metal detectors. Get told off by security people for putting shoes in tray, they must go directly on belt. Whatever. Wait for my stuff. Wait some more while they swab the laptop and hand search my bag to find a suspicious looking pen. Once it was out in the open air it was pronounced safe and returned to me. Put everything back in the bag. Head for gate.

      Oh dear. Gate is downstairs. That means, yes indeed, join line up to wait for shuttle bus. Get on bus. Ride to other side of airport. Find subgate. Wait. We are moved to another subgate; pick everything up to walk 100 feet to new subgate. Wait some more.  Ah, finally, we're boarding. Show boarding pass and passport. Onto plane. Don't forget to turn off cellphone! Put everything away and out of reach. I'm a nervous wreck!

      Coming to Seattle I had an extra step in all of that -- though I didn't get my luggage hand searched this time -- because I was flying business class (using up my points in case Air Canada really goes bust this time) so I had to prove my identity at two business-class lounges, though I can't really complain about that. I was traveling on one hour sleep (I would have had two if not for the time change) so I kind of zoned through the whole thing and don't really remember much of it.

      And airlines wonder why plane travel hasn't picked back up?

      Tuesday, April 06, 2004 8:10:55 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]

      I really enjoyed speaking at the Twin Cities .NET User Group April 1st (no fooling!) and just haven't had a minute since then to stop and write about it. I repeated the Remoting talk I did in Montreal and it went nicely. I got to meet another RD (Farhan Muhammad) and an MVP from South Africa on his way to Seattle, Simon Stewart. He did another full talk after mine, on GDI+. Some interesting material on speeding drawing -- I liked it.

      Tuesday, April 06, 2004 8:03:55 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Thursday, March 25, 2004

      My trip to  Montreal was tremendous fun. The venue was beautiful - Microsoft is moving offices so we were in a museum - and the people were interested and asked great questions. Remoting may be replaced with Indigo some day but it's a real technique and people are using it now. I enjoyed explaining it.

      I took the train to Montreal because it's quicker than flying. It's about a four hour train ride, and a one hour flight, but there's so much other lining up and waiting involved with flying. For the train, I drive into the parking lot, park for free within sight of the tracks, walk a hundred yards or so to the platform, and get on the train. Not a single instance of lining up, ticket showing, name saying, bag unpacking and repacking, form filling or question answering. Then I go sit in first class with laptop power, free food and drink, and now free wireless internet access the whole way. (After a few minutes a person comes by to give me a menu, and later when he collects it back and asks what I want, he asks for my ticket.) I arrived downtown and walked to my hotel without going outside, and was only ten minutes from the venue. And to top it off, first class train travel is cheaper than economy flying. Cheaper, faster, and nicer. Can't go wrong, really.

       

      Thursday, March 25, 2004 7:20:22 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
      # Monday, March 22, 2004

      My favourite sysadmin downloaded dasBlog for me (thanks to Clemens for writing it) and installed it, leaving me with only the task of filling it up with stuff. I can't write much today because I'm getting ready to go to Montreal tomorrow for the Montreal Microsoft .NET Architecture User Group where I'm going to talk about Remoting. Looking forward to the train ride already.

      Monday, March 22, 2004 6:31:09 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]