# Tuesday, July 17, 2007

So you were thinking about entering the Gadget contest, but then you didn't get around to it? Well lucky you, you get another chance. Here's what I heard today: the deadline has been extended a month. You have to get your gadget into the Gallery to enter, and it's a process with a few steps to it:

Process to Enter Competition


Developers will need to perform the following actions:


1.       Post their Gadget on the Windows Live Gallery (approval process can take a few days)

2.       Return to the Gadget Vs. Gadget site and select ‘Enter Contest’ tab and use their Live ID to login

3.       Complete the entry form to submit their Windows Vista gadget for review


Winners will be announced September 4, 2007.

Same cool prizes, same great exposure, so go for it! http://www.microsoft.com/canada/msdn/gadgetvsgadget/default.aspx . Remember, Canadians only!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007 4:38:39 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    
# Monday, July 16, 2007

Steve Clayton reports on a British university that offers a B.Sc. in .NET ... well in Computer Science but with a deliberate emphasis on .NET technologies. Interesting approach since here in Canada universities like to distinguish themselves from colleges and trade schools by teaching theory and concepts and not worrying too much about what tools the students learn how to use along the way. The belief is that learning to use tools in general and learning the commonalities behind them (what is a compiler, what is a renderer, what are the aspects of identity management) has greater long term value than learning one particular tool or toolset. In general, I agree with that belief, and I've hired people from a wide variety of backgrounds over the two decades we've been in business. But on the other hand, if you're going to teach all that general stuff, why not teach it in the context of some tools that happen to be immediately useful in the work world?


Monday, July 16, 2007 4:56:17 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    
# Sunday, July 15, 2007

Roy Osherove is looking for a Test Driven C++ trainer who lives in Israel already. He can make you a better trainer, he can get you the TDD background you need, but you need to have the C++ chops already and to be in the area. If you're interested, read his blog entry and make yourself known to Roy directly.


Sunday, July 15, 2007 4:48:25 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    
# Saturday, July 14, 2007

This is actually something that got settled during Tech Ed USA but my June schedule meant a lot of things I intended to blog didn't get blogged. Now I see myself listed on the Featured Speakers page (I told them, "flattery will get you everywhere" and they're going for it) so it's official.

My talks? The C++/Vista talk I did in the USA, plus a managed-code Vista one. We're still working on an abstract for that.

This will be my third trip to Barcelona. Will this be the year I do the Gaudi-tourist thing? Sure hope so!


Saturday, July 14, 2007 3:43:33 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    
# Friday, July 13, 2007

Speaker Idol is happening again at Tech Ed Developers in Barcelona this fall. You have months to sign up, but only the first 30 are accepted, so if you already know you're headed to Barcelona (and not speaking, live in EMEA, don't work for Microsoft, etc ... full eligibility rules on the contest site) then you want to give this some serious consideration. Speaking as a judge at this year's US event, I can tell you that the experience of trying to do 5 minutes on a topic you know well can only be good. In order of the worst-possible-thing to best, here's what can happen:

  • You can do your talk, do OK, not win, and learn nothing from the judges while still failing to impress anyone with your speaking skills. I think this is pretty unlikely, but anyway it would leave you where you were before you tried - no loss
  • You can learn some very specific tips on being a better speaker, both from observing other speakers whose content you don't understand, and from the judges giving you ideas
  • You can show your skills in front of people who choose speakers - and not just for Tech Ed either
  • you get some publicity and bragging rights just by being selected
  • You can win a speaking slot at Tech Ed

To enter, you need to make a 3 minute video of yourself presenting on a technical topic, so don't dawdle!

If you are sure you don't want to enter, either because you're already a Tech Ed speaker or because you'd rather die than speak in public, be sure to at least plan to watch. I found it highly entertaining.


Friday, July 13, 2007 3:34:19 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    
# Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why, you call 911 of course. I imagine it would be a challenge for the 911 operator not to laugh out loud, but it was true...




My favourite part is the elephant who didn't particularly notice they'd escaped and went to sleep just outside the pen. She's the one at the far left not being sprayed with the hose.

Update: The National Post provides this delightful picture, and links to the 911 call and dispatcher conversation. "Outstanding elephant" indeed. And what a nice police department to host the mp3s - not all would.




Thursday, July 12, 2007 5:19:57 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    
# Tuesday, June 26, 2007

In a talk on IDE tips and tricks for Visual Studio, I asserted that good programmers are ten times as productive as ordinary ones. I didn't remember where I'd read that, but I knew it was true. I've just worked with so many folks who need a week to do what some superstars can do in a morning. The ordinary guy needs half a day to find some samples that are similar, half a day to tweak them so they fit into the current situation, a day to test and realize they aren't quite right, a day to adjust them and then fix the things that broke while adjusting them, half a day to get distracted and lured into scope creep by some comments during user testing, then another day to fix up what they did that they shouldn't have, and finally a half a day to clean things up and make documentation. The terrific guy only spends an hour finding samples, stays focused, documents and tests along the way, and makes short work of a specific small task. And I find this holds over months and years as well as over the course of a week.

Now I bumped across a proper cite of that, and not surprisingly it's from the Mythical Man Month. The quote and some related musings is over on Phil Haack's blog. Worth reading and worth thinking about. There are many ways to be productive ... write code that solves the real problem, don't write buggy code, don't write brittle code, and so on.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007 4:06:47 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    
# Monday, June 25, 2007

One of the things that people comment on when they work with me is how much of a keyboard shortcut person I am. In fact I really like the fact that Vista supports my typing-preferences and doesn't make me mouse so much. But when I'm presenting, I try to use the mouse as much as I can and stay away from keyboard shortcuts. I just find such presentations hard to follow myself, when I don't know what the demo-ing person is typing and what shortcuts they are using. It's easier to see what they are clicking on.

This became a bit relevant during Speaker Idol when I mused aloud about whether to dock Mark Miller for using CodeRush while demo-ing. Anyone else I would definitely have told not to, but perhaps Mark has a dispensation. I just find that many attendees can't follow along with the blazing speed that CodeRush enables and really lose track of the demo.

Roy Osherove has put together a little utility that displays your shortcuts as you type them. His first post on the topic suggests its value to presenters, while his second one focuses on using it to become more keyboard oriented or to train a coworker to be more keyboard oriented. If you really can't switch to the mouse while presenting, consider using this utility so that people can see what you're doing.


Monday, June 25, 2007 3:12:41 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #