Monday, 23 July 2007
There has long been a kind of mystery around getting hotfixes from Microsoft. Maybe you read a KB article or a blog or something and you learn that the fix to your problem is in a hotfix. Then there are all kinds of disclaimers about how you shouldn't get the hotfix unless you're totally sure you need it, and on top of that in order to get it, you have to phone someone!
In the last year or so I've obtained two hotfixes. One was sent to me by a friend who'd already gone to the trouble of getting it (something you're totally not supposed to do, but people do it anyway) and the other I got myself - it took less than ten minutes and was no trouble at all, but it was intimidating to do it for the first time. Well now there's an easier way ... hotfixes on the web.
I don't exactly look forward to needing a hotfix, but it will be cool to try this eventually.
Sunday, 22 July 2007
A lot of people are so into Agile that they object to writing down requirements. Take this article on why fixed bid projects are bad - one of the major reasons given is that in order to produce an accurate bid, the developers will run around trying to write requirements and keeping track of changes to them, and making people get together and agree when they change them. We do a lot of fixed bid projects and they are generally a success - finish roughly on time, cost roughly what the customer was expecting to spend, and solve the problem the customer was facing. Those "we don't know what we want but we'll pay you by the day until we have it" ones can sometimes become a complete nightmare. We like requirements. So I really liked this article by Eric Sink on Requirements. I agree with so much of what he says. What do you think?
Saturday, 21 July 2007
I should have pointed this out before, but I wasn't blogging at the start of the month. Herb Sutter has a new column at DDJ on, of course, concurrency. In his first outing, he talks about all the different words and concepts that show up in a concurrency conversation, and presents an organization of those concepts that can give you a framework for deciding what you're going to do about the future.
Words like blocking, coupling, background, asynchronous, responsive, isolated, scalability, threads, locks, race, mutable shared objects, transactions, and so on are actually applicable to different parts of the concurrency space. If you try to think about all of it at once, it's too hard. And make no mistake, concurrency is hard today. Anything that makes it easier is welcome, and in this case it's rearranging your head a bit.
Friday, 20 July 2007
Recently I told you how to get a virtual image of Vista for evaluation purposes. Now you can try a variety of operating systems, applications and server products, preinstalled onto evaluation VHDs. Try Vista, Office 2007, Visual Studio Team System, SQL Server 2005, Office Sharepoint Server 2007, and more. Some of these products are a little tricky to get installed and ready to go, so a virtual image is just what you need. Even if you have an MSDN subscription, you might like to use these VHDs just for that convenience factor.
Thursday, 19 July 2007
Did you know there is no entry for gullible in the dictionary? Really! You can check and everything!
If you needed to check, you may not get a perfect score on the McAfee phishing quiz that Roy pointed to. I managed to get 10 out of 10 - and some of them are pretty hard. Try it yourself.
I hate spam, phish mails etc. The other day I got a Nigerian-style letter from Spain. And when I say letter, I mean on paper, in an envelope. Came with cool stamps on it, which I kept. The letter, I tossed.
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
I really like Outlook 2007. I just LOVE the ToDo bar, and the searching, and the flagging for followup and marking done, and the way the calendar looks now, and well pretty much everything. Except one thing. I hate that Outlook Today view and I hated it before too. Well... I just made it go away.
Tools, Options, Other tab, Advanced button, click the Browse next to "Startup in this folder" ... and no more Outlook Today when Outlook first starts up. Simple, but so satisfying!
Tuesday, 17 July 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!
Monday, 16 July 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?
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