Friday, 16 June 2006
Joel Spolsky has a nice article today about Bill, inspired by the retirement announcement of course. I loved this story for two reasons. The first is when he started talking about the leap year thing in Lotus 123, I was right there with him -- I had problems with that myself over twenty years ago. The second is the "little girl" sound effects and thought balloons injected into the story. Times change. Companies change. People retire. These things don't necessarily cause each other. Read the story.
Thursday, 15 June 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.
Wednesday, 14 June 2006
Over on the Visual C++ team blog, Martyn Lovell muses about MSBuild, renaming all the library DLLs, and STL/CLR, among other things. On that topic, he says:
We’re not finished yet on performance, but in informal testing we’ve seen some exciting results, including a bunch of cases where the magic of templates combined with the C++ optimizer are able to outperform the .NET Base Class Library even in verifiable code. When we envisioned C++/CLI several years ago, these are the kinds of scenarios that we dreamed of, and it’s exciting to see them coming to fruition.
Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Here's a quick tip about tips. The default font for data tips, editor tips, and so on is really tiny (8 point):
Especially if you're presenting, you'll want to make it larger:
How's it done? The same Fonts and Colors dialog you use for your regular font setting, but use the dropdown at the top of the dialog:
You can also change Data Tips, the font in the output window and find results window, and plenty more. Experiment a bit!
Monday, 12 June 2006
My first talk of this year's TechEd, DEV 309, is today. For those who haven't pulled the slides from CommNet, here's the secret: there really aren't any slides.
That's right, if you remove the "chrome" that TechEd requires, like the session title and my name, there's an agenda, 4 demos, a laundry list to remind you what was covered, and a summary. Basically it's an hour and a bit of showing what the IDE can do. I like doing this talk because I just KNOW everyone will learn something they didn't know before.
ps: attendees PLEASE do your evals, that's how they decide who comes back next year!
Sunday, 11 June 2006
This one not from the hotel, but from TechEd as a speaker thankyou:
It's started already, and it's fun already (and I didn't even open the wine).
Saturday, 10 June 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.
Friday, 09 June 2006
If you attended realDEVELOPMENT_06 and really liked Infocard when I showed it to you, I have news: it's got a name now. Infocard was just a code name, which is why it said "Infocard" on the slides. Marketing has now christened it Windows CardSpace (WCS).
What's more, WinFX (which will be released with Vista but available on operating systems down to XP) will be called the NET Framework 3.0. That's handy, because I was spending a fair amount of time explaining what the heck WinFX was (the FX stands for framework, it's basically the .NET framework plus extra good stuff like WCF, WPF, WF, and
Infocard WCS.) I think everyone will "get" what .NET Framework 3.0 means.
Nothing changes in the technology, just the names.
Thursday, 08 June 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!
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