# Saturday, March 27, 2004

We're a small consulting firm and we take on a variety of projects. Some are just a few days, others last months and months. We live with a spectrum of decision-making styles from our clients as well. Sometimes a prospect (or returning customer) will go from “can you do this? how much will it be? when can it be done?” to “ok, make it so” in a matter of days or even hours. Other times we wait through weeks of “getting things approved” in order to do a week of work. This means that when we agree to do something, we're not always sure when we're actually going to be doing it.

This month the stars have aligned to push me up against a fence of hard deadlines all coming at once. I have a lab to complete for TechEd (you're coming to TechEd, aren't you?) and the first draft of my slides are due. I'm writing some samples and documentation (more on that later,) that are due March 31st. My slides are due for VSLive (you're coming to VSLive, aren't you? Early bird ends the 31st and you can get 10% off by dropping my name -- literally, the discount code is KATE.) The conferences aren't until May but prep time is now. My website accessibility project is being reviewed by the committee this week. And our major intranet project keeps growing and growing as the end users like what we've done so far and keep asking for more. The client where I delivered 49 days of .NET training over the winter is kicking off ASP.NET and Sharepoint projects like there's no tomorrow, and they need days of mentoring.

In this business, you're either insanely busy trying to meet the deadlines others impose, or you have nothing to do and you're scrambling for work. I think I prefer it this way, though I am looking forward to some time off. Last night in a Messenger conversation one of my deadline owners told me “enjoy your weekend” -- my reply? “Luckily I enjoy working!” And I do.

Saturday, March 27, 2004 11:23:59 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# 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)  #    
# 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)  #