Monday, November 13, 2006
Apparently a lot of people come to me for their physics experiment information, so I have an update. The pitchdrop experiment is listed as one of the longest running experiments ever. It surely must be one of the slowest.
Pitch, like glass, is a very very thick liquid that can be shattered and that most people think of as a solid. This experiment has been measuring its viscosity by timing the drops... they fall about once every 8 or 9 years. There have been 8 so far, most recently in November 2000, and no-one has ever seen one fall - that is, separate from the funnel. There's a webcam pointed at it, but it should be a while yet before you need to start monitoring it.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Data tips are really cool. It's fun to drill down into containers and complex objects and really see what's going on:
So imagine you're in the debugger. You've expanded all this stuff, and you really understand what's in mapVectString now. It has two entries, each is a vector of strings, and you're looking at entry #1 and it has three strings, and you have a good mental picture of the object. Nice. So when I'm debugging, my next step is to say to myself what the code is going to do, given what the object holds. I know most of us do that -- we solve the bug before control even reaches the bad line. But there's one problem... these delightful data tips are covering up the code!
Now, you could move your mouse off the tips, let them fade, read the code, and bring them back again, but that isn't exactly fun or efficient. So try this instead. Press Ctrl. Nothing else, just press Ctrl by itself.
See that? the data tips go almost (but not completely) transparent. Let go of Ctrl and they come back! I bet the first time you try this you will press and release Ctrl a bunch of times with a silly grin on your face. I know I did. Enjoy! BTW, it appears to be Visual-Studio-wide so feel free to apply this tip to your VB and C# programming also.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
The abstract promised:
If building games for the Xbox 360 or Windows gets you excited then you have to be at this event. For the first time, Microsoft will take you through the details of our (soon to be released) XNA Studio Express. If you didn’t already know, anyone can now build interactive, high performance games for Windows or Xbox 360. We’ll take you through an introduction to XNA and XNA Studio Express. Then we’ll equip you with the skills to start building games ranging from simple 2-D to stunning interactive 3-D.
And that's what we got!
As you can see, the space was JAMMED and the demographic skewed a little younger than your typical Microsoft event. There are more pictures at Barnaby's Flickr site, which is where I got this one
Here's one I took myself, of a very nice gesture:
Since you probably can't read the letter I'll paraphrase it: "we know it's Remembrance Day, we've made a donation on behalf of the attendees, please take and wear a poppy." Christian Beauclair, who was speaking as 11:00 rolled around, paused us for our minute of silence and the room fell completely still.
A great introduction to both game development and the world of MSDN events for plenty of young people. XNA is really going to make things interesting for developers who want to just play and try things.
Friday, November 10, 2006
One of the comments in the evals for my Barcelona talk was "extend it to a day!" Well that's just what Microsoft Denmark chose to do, giving me an entire day to talk about C++/CLI, moving to managed code, interop, combining MFC with WinForms, incredible IDE tricks that I promise you never knew, and the importance of concurrent programming going forward, along with some guidance about how to get there.
I had such a great time I forgot to be tired.... for a while.
I found that Danish has one thing in common with Spanish: I can kind of read it if I try. (Example: Danish for "fire" is "brand".) And I saw a LOT of bicycles. This is a country that gets just as cold as Canada, but people don't insist on driving everywhere. I spoke at a movie theatre and took this picture just outside:
That's right, a separate indoor parking lot for bikes. And it's full, so they're all over the sidewalk. Apparently all the visitors take pictures of the bikes.
I really enjoyed the talk. If anyone is reading this who thinks their local DPE group would welcome a C++ day, please drop me a line. Having a full day to do all the demos I don't normally have time was a marvelous experience.
Thursday, November 9, 2006
I had such a good time this week at Tech Ed Developers! I really enjoyed delivering my talk to a PACKED room (148 evaluations and apparently 155 chairs, how's that for interest in C++) as well as participating in the DotNetRocks panel on agility. This is my room, during my tech check (love that yellow highlight):
A week for me of old friends and new faces, and general good moods all around. And from what I read in the blogs, a week of real interest in C++ and especially C++/CLI. Steve has a roundup over on the VC++ team blog. Bruno van Dooren, a C++ MVP, blogged all the talks and even though he said some overly flattering things about me I will still give you a link to his blog. Don't worry, my head still fits through normal-sized doors.
Here I am with Arfa, the eleven year old (look at the poise! And she's incredibly well spoken in English, her SECOND language) who has two Microsoft Certifications already. She actually did a demo in the keynote and when I complimented her on how she did, she turned it around and complimented me on how I handled panel duties at the Girl Geek Dinner. (Stress-wise, I had the way easier gig.) Keep your eye on her, she's going places.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Spotted in the speaker room in Barcelona:
That's right, donuts entirely coated in decent chocolate. Mmmmmmm.
For those keeping track, the MVP shoes are in this speaker room also. They follow me around
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Here I am at my second Tech Ed in three weeks and ready for a great time. The RDs already had a great dinner Monday night, and Tuesday is Girl Geek night. I've picked up an extra session, too, a panel discussion Wednesday afternoon:
DEVPD01 .NET Rocks! Talks Agile Development!
Carl Franklin , Richard Campbell , Stephen Forte , Roy Osherove , Kate Gregory
Wed Nov 8 15:15 - 16:30 Room 116
Enjoy a live audience recording of .NET Rocks as Carl and Richard bring together a group of serious thinkers on agile development for a no-holds barred debate on what works and what doesn’t in the world of agile. Bring yourselves and your questions to the panel and help create a future episode of .NET Rocks!
Monday, November 6, 2006
Tim Sneath has a neat trick: how to launch something "Run As Administrator" without right-clicking it and selecting from the context menu. And no, I don't mean use the ContextMenu key on your extended keyboard.
"Simply press Ctrl+Shift+Enter from the search bar on the start menu with a selected application, and that triggers elevation."
This is part of a series of useful tips you should probably read.
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