# Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I just read a blog entry that, to me, really epitomizes what blogs are all about. It starts out as a musing on a little technical question -- if some C++ code throws a string literal, what kind of catch clauses should win the race to catch it? -- and turns into a very personal story of what C++/CLI is for and about and Stan's motivations in being part of it. He says:

We have had an extraordinary degree of freedom not simply in our design, but in our being able to reach out and work with the general c++ community. this language is a coalition. I think we have all wanted to put the best face on C++ in what we regard as an otherwise hostile environment for C++. We think this is a win-win situation for everyone. if you don't like something, you should let us know. we're not a hundred thousand leagues removed from our users. if you want to use the language, you have every right to tell us what you think about it; how you find it; what you want.

And later:

I just program and write. and I do that best in C++. C# and Java mean nothing to me. Now I have my own language to use on .NET. That was my personal agenda in all this. I think you should check it out.

So go read it. C++/CLI is being developed by real people who care about the technology they use and the technology they create. I don't know what it is about C++ that makes people feel this way about it -- I feel the same way myself. I use VB.NET almost every day, I use XML, I use all kinds of things, but I don't really have feelings towards those things. I do for C++. Weird but true, and --hey!-- I'm not the only one.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004 11:48:20 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# Thursday, December 09, 2004

Salon has an interesting interview with Joel Spolsky. (If you're not a subscriber, you'll have to sit through a Day Pass ad before you can read it, and I recommend you do.) Some real gems in it:

The key problem with the methodologies is that, implemented by smart people -- the kind of people who invent methodologies -- they work. Implemented by shlubs who will not do anything more than follow instructions they are given, they don't work.

[on intelligently sometimes-online apps for use on airplanes] ... airplanes are actually getting Internet connections. And Wi-Fi is spreading like crazy. What's kind of surprising is that it has turned out to be easier to rewire the entire world for high-bandwidth Internet than it is to make a good replication architecture so you can work disconnected!

There's also a nice link to the Joel test, sort of a lightning version of the CMM -- takes about 15 seconds to answer and then you know where you stand. (We're at ten-and-two-halves out of 12, which is pretty good, especially since with only 6 people finding someone in the hallways who isn't on your project is a bit of a challenge.)

But then he says:

Microsoft ... could ship a brown paper bag called Microsoft Brown Paper Bag 1.0 and hundreds of thousands of people would buy it. Or at least try it.

Please. What does he think I am, naive? I am a seasoned computer professional, paid to make code for over a quarter of a century, rich in Microsoft contacts and non disclosure agreements and summit invitations. I don't buy 1.0 of anything! :-) I'll be waiting for 2.0 or at least 1.1, or at the very least a service pack!


ps: here's the first service pack for MS BPB 1.0:

(it's all about the patch management...)

Thursday, December 09, 2004 3:41:55 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# 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.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004 12:04:35 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# Thursday, November 25, 2004

I'll be at the December 2nd meeting of the Canada's Technology Triangle .NET User Group to show everyone Smart Clients, VSTO, and Infopath. I did this session in Winnipeg and saw Derek Hatcher do it in Toronto so I know it has good content. Please register at http://www.cttdnug.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=68 and come out to the meeting. My only worry, based on the many years I spent living in that area, is that I'll have to drive in a blizzard. But we aren't going to let a little snow stop us, are we?


Thursday, November 25, 2004 7:22:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# Monday, November 08, 2004

Over on Developer.com, Brad Jones has summarized the TIOBE Programming Community (TPC) Index for October 2004. This is a measure of how many web pages and newsgroup postings mentioned a programming language name in conjunction with the word programming. So if I say “For serious programming, C++ is way better than Java” then that is a hit for both C++ and Java. These hits are going to include people's resumes, job postings, ads for courses, how-to pages, book pages, and so on. It gives a rough indication of popularity that people are talking about a language. After all, I rarely compare C++ to Fortran or to PL/I. I certainly can't remember the last time MATLAB (to pick a name from the table) came up in conversation. Job seekers trim their resumes all the time to include only the “relevant” languages they know.

There's a table of results, and a sorting of languages into “A languages” and “B languages” but I was really intrigued by the graph. A first glance reveals a fairly steep Java fall this year. But the C++ line is more interesting because it falls too, though not as steeply or as far, and then climbs back up again starting in March of this year. Is this people talking about C++/CLI? I think it is.


Monday, November 08, 2004 1:46:12 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# 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:


Friday, November 05, 2004 9:53:38 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# Thursday, November 04, 2004

Long ago, before search engines added automatic spell checking to their bag of tricks (did you mean to search for MASSACHUSETTS?) I knew people who used Google (or before that, Altavista) as a spell checker. Just search for the word spelled one way, then another, and compare the number of hits. If you get 125 hits for one spelling and 13,456 for the other, you have a pretty good idea of which is right.

Today I found myself using Google News as a sort of voting fact checker to establish (forgive my ghoulishness) whether Yasser Arafat has or has not died. You can count votes from different news organizations. The main news.google.com (or .ca for me) gives you a handful of stories, but click a link under “In The News” and you see a lot more. For example, http://news.google.ca/news?num=30&hl=en&ned=ca&ie=utf-8&q=Yasser-Arafat.  Perhaps not what they had in mind, but an intruiging thing to be able to do.


Thursday, November 04, 2004 2:25:36 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# 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.



Tuesday, November 02, 2004 4:23:13 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #