Thursday, January 20, 2005
An absolutely stellar group of people, dubbed by Julie Lerman to be .NET Celebrities, have come together to offer up our tiny little bit of help for those whose lives, homes, loved ones, livelihoods, and dreams were washed away on Boxing Day of last year. The immediate “if we don't get fresh water in there they will all die” crisis is past, but there is so much rebuilding work to be done. The agency we've selected is Aceh Aid at IDEP which is local to Sumatra and has been on the ground since the waves hit. This is a nimble and creative group that, for example, teamed up with the surfing community to get boats into the worst hit places while large outside groups couldn't figure out how to reach them. It's going to be an EBay auction with payment through PayPal directly to a US foundation that supports IDEP -- that way for US-based people it will be tax deductible for sure. I am working on an answer for Canadians on that. Of course if your company spends the money to get the advice, then your company can deduct it as an expense, just the same as if you wrote me a cheque for my time.
There are 25 of us up for auction. Top bidder gets their pick of Jeffrey Richter, John Robbins, Jeff Prosise, Michele Leroux Bustamante, Jonathan Goodyear, Andrew Brust, Richard Campbell, Adam Cogan, Malek Kemmou, Jackie Goldstein, Goskin Bakir, Hector M Obregon, Patrick Hynds, Fernando Guerrero, Kate Gregory, Joel Semeniuk, Scott Hanselman, Barry Gervin, Clemens Vasters, Jorge Oblitas, Stephen Forte, John Lam, Deborah Kurata, Ted Neward and Kathleen Dollard. Wow! (And like I need to link to their blogs -- you know who these people are!) Most are friends of mine already, 18 are RDs, 5 are Canadian, all are top notch .NET stars who know their stuff and are in the habit of solving problems for people.
So what we are auctioning is one hour of mentoring. Phone, IM, email, whatever. (We won't fly out to you.) If you're the top bidder, you get whoever you want from that list. Second bidder chooses from the still stellar list remaining. And so on.
Most of us are consultants so you could theoretically buy our time. But that's in theory. My firm doesn't take one hour jobs. We don't really like to take one day jobs. Our preference for mentoring work is to take a $5000 retainer and let you know when you've used most of it up and need to send more. (We make exceptions for some work that's really technically interesting and fun, but we still need to be confident it will go on for a while.) I expect it's a similar situation for the others. That means we're offering something you otherwise couldn't buy. I want you to keep that in mind, then go bid more (a lot more) than you think an hour of my time is worth. The money goes to those who need it, you get a deduction, and you get some important business problem solved. Can't fail!
I'll post a link to the auction as soon as it's live.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
In fact, you've been able to register for over a week, I just didn't notice until today. Last year it sold out, so if you already know you want to go, start making your plans now. If you register early you save money, there's some sort of sweepstakes to be won, and you'll know one little part of your year plan well in advance. Go on, register.
Me? I'm hoping to be there as a speaker (I submitted a number of C++ talks) or to take advantage of some not-yet-announced-I'm-just-hoping pass for RDs or MVPs or INETA speaker bureau folks or something, so I haven't registered. One way or another, I will be there.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
... who wouldn't be embarrassed by pictures of themselves from the 80's? But you have to see these, really you do... BillG looking soulfully into the camera while cuddling up to a monitor with the Microsoft logo, or giving new meaning to the old phrase "flipping floppies"... I don't think it was really for Teen Beat but anything's possible.
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.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
I'm pleased and proud to report that I have again been awarded MVP Status for C++. Technically it's “Visual Developer - Visual C++”. This came through January 4th, but my blog's been out of order for a bit.
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.
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