Thursday, December 23, 2004
I live in the Canadian countryside, so it snows in the winter and I generally consider that a feature. But we're in the middle of a 12-inches-in-24-hours blizzard right now, with bits of freezing rain mixed in. Take a look at this radar image from the Environment Canada website:
I've never seen the whole circle filled in, and I've never seen orange for snow before. This is really something!
Now I just have to find a way to get to Peterborough for the Gregcons Christmas lunch and a little last minute shopping.
Update: here's the view from my front door:
The horizontallish thing in the foreground is a picnic table... the seats are about knee height from the grass.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Recently, a reader asked "Do you know if Managed C++ can work with Managed DirectX9? I see lots of examples of C# with Managed DirectX but it seems if I want to use C++, I have to use unmanaged C++ with COM... I’ve spent the last six months learning Managed C++ and want to use that knowledge and not have to learn C#."
It certainly seemed logical that C++ and DirectX would play well together, but I couldn't find anything obvious, so I went to the source: the C++ team, who pointed me to Tim Miller, who implemented the Managed DX9 layer. He assured me it does work, though with an oddity or two, and pointed me to a blog entry of his on the topic: http://blogs.msdn.com/tmiller/archive/2004/10/05/238317.aspx.
If you're a Managed DirectX person, and a blog reading person, read Tim's blog!
Friday, December 17, 2004
I have just loved holding our meetings at Durham College, but some policy changes there meant that we would have to pay for the meeting room. Like most Canadian user groups, we don't charge membership fees or meeting admission. At the moment the only sponsor of the group is my firm, Gregory Consulting, which pays for the pizza most months (sometimes Microsoft or INETA picks up the tab.) So we've moved to another room. This one will meet our needs very nicely, I feel:
400 Taunton Road East, Whitby (between Thickson and Brock.)
So while we're still East of Toronto, our meetings won't be quite as far east of Toronto as they used to be!
We have no December meeting, so I'll see you in Whitby January 18th and Feb 22nd. Those meetings are planned and should be on the web site soon.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Finally the official announcement from INETA that eight super deserving people have been added to the North American Speakers bureau. Two are Regional Directors and friends of mine, Joel Semeniuk and Stephen Forte (get ready to come to East Of Toronto, you two ). All are well known in the speaking world and will be great additions to the bureau. Welcome aboard folks!
Here's a list of blog links stolen from the INETA site:
Update: If you want to learn more about the speakers bureau, or see who's on it, check http://www.ineta.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabindex=2&tabid=14.
I just read a blog entry that, to me, really epitomizes what blogs are all about. It starts out as a musing on a little technical question -- if some C++ code throws a string literal, what kind of catch clauses should win the race to catch it? -- and turns into a very personal story of what C++/CLI is for and about and Stan's motivations in being part of it. He says:
We have had an extraordinary degree of freedom not simply in our design, but in our being able to reach out and work with the general c++ community. this language is a coalition. I think we have all wanted to put the best face on C++ in what we regard as an otherwise hostile environment for C++. We think this is a win-win situation for everyone. if you don't like something, you should let us know. we're not a hundred thousand leagues removed from our users. if you want to use the language, you have every right to tell us what you think about it; how you find it; what you want.
I just program and write. and I do that best in C++. C# and Java mean nothing to me. Now I have my own language to use on .NET. That was my personal agenda in all this. I think you should check it out.
So go read it. C++/CLI is being developed by real people who care about the technology they use and the technology they create. I don't know what it is about C++ that makes people feel this way about it -- I feel the same way myself. I use VB.NET almost every day, I use XML, I use all kinds of things, but I don't really have feelings towards those things. I do for C++. Weird but true, and --hey!-- I'm not the only one.
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...)
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
My 2005 plan is starting to take shape a bit better now.
- VSLive Toronto April 13-16, downtown this year.
- Tech Ed June 5-10, Orlando (some info on the Tech Ed 2004 page for now)
- PDC September 13-16, Los Angeles
I'll be attending for sure. Will I also be speaking? Writing the Hands on Labs? Sitting on cool panel discussions? Time will tell... and so will I when the plans are firm.
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?
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