# Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The nice folks at O'Reilly, who make very good geeky books, have a fun little quiz going on. They show you a code snippet and you guess what book it's from. This is usually (but not always) a matter of guessing what the language is, and that's harder than you might think at first. There's a little timer counting down so the longer you take to make up your mind, the less points you get. Here's a really easy example:

    <p>Here is a paragraph.
    <p>And here is another.

Is that from:

  1. Gaming Hacks
  2. Learning XML, 2nd Edition
  3. GNU Emacs Pocket Reference
  4. HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition

Trust me, most of them are much harder :-)


Wednesday, November 15, 2006 12:27:22 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The recording of our panel at Tech Ed Developers Europe is now available at the .NET Rocks site. "Kate Gregory, Stephen Forte, and Roy Osherove join Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin on stage at TechEd Europe in Barcelona for this discussion about Agile methodologies." We enjoyed doing the show, the folks who were there in person asked plenty of questions, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006 12:05:04 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# 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.


Monday, November 13, 2006 11:57:21 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# 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.


Sunday, November 12, 2006 11:56:08 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# 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.


Saturday, November 11, 2006 1:29:18 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# 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.


Friday, November 10, 2006 1:17:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# Thursday, November 09, 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.


C++ | MVP | Speaking
Thursday, November 09, 2006 1:05:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    
# Wednesday, November 08, 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 :-)


Wednesday, November 08, 2006 8:20:49 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #