Friday, December 07, 2007
Last year at Tech Ed Developers in Europe, I had a very impromptu Channel 9 interview. A “shop talk” conversation broke out in the lobby of the Hilton, and Charles decided to film it. This year we planned it in advance and I sat down with Steve Teixeira and Ale Contenti of the C++ team. Watching the video, I love watching the two of them get visibly happier as they start to talk about the product and the big changes and news they announced at Tech Ed. Steve was really quite sick and depending on throat lozenges to be able to talk at all. Despite that, it turned out to be a really fun interview.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Here’s a little video I did with Paul Foster on C++ and Vista topics. 15 MB, 2.5 minutes. Short but sweet!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The Virtual Side guys do a great job of capturing some of the fun and buzz from Tech Ed day by day. Here’s a roundup video that features a little bit of me judging Speaker Idol. 12 MB, 2 minutes.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Have you been missing your fix of Ale Contenti at the whiteboard? Are you unclear on the differences between try and __try? Or between exception handling and structured exception handling? Watch two guys who really understand how all this works and learn why not handling an exception can be as important as handling one.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Everyone has UI woes. Users want more controls on the dialogs, or they want them simpler, or smaller, or larger, or combined, or split. The thing you think makes perfect sense they refuse to understand. But it could be so much more complicated. Take this insightful post on the Shell Blog about one of the games that has come with Windows for as long as anyone can remember: Minesweeper. Some folks who use Windows don’t actually think that mines are funny things or that avoiding them is a game. Well, probably if you asked them, most people would agree that mines are bad, but for some people it's a far more personal and upsetting reality than for others. (BTW the mines in Minesweeper are apparently water mines, not land mines, but that doesn’t really increase the fun factor.) So they changed it to give you an option to find flowers instead:
Be sure to read the whole post to understand why that was only the start of the work involved.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
There are plenty of webcasts on “what’s new in ProductName 2007” or “Introduction to XYZ Security” or various other technical topics. I’ve done my share and will continue to do so. But this is something a little different:
- Becoming a Better Developer
- Building Your Skill Set
- Discovering Your Trusted Resources
- Becoming Your Own Boss
- Creating Your Own Start-Up Business
Some of the high flyers of the Canadian developer community are here... you want to watch these. The webcasts are available on demand and there are plenty of handy links as well for you to use as you’re following along.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I recently started reading Rands In Repose, a business blog of sorts that is full of advice I will never need (how to enjoy a gambling trip to Vegas) and plenty more that I find very useful. Take The Laptop Herring, for example. He argues strongly for the banning of laptops in meetings. Oh dear. I take my laptop to essentially every meeting. But he then goes to on to direct some good thinking towards WHY a person would sit in a meeting room and surf the web or check their email. Either you’re in the meeting or you’re not, right? Well, no, because most of us don’t have the power to say “that hour would be a waste of my time” so we have to go. I had a client whose meetings always lasted exactly an hour. People found a way to use up that time even if the decisions were all made at the 37 minute mark. Grrr. But whether or you not you can refuse to attend meetings that are a total waste of time, there is value in realizing that laptop use is a dramatic indicator of what people feel about the meeting they are in.
And from his comments, here’s a challenge for the brave. You want your laptop in the meeting because you’re taking notes / assigning work items / running queries / checking that against the requirements? No problem. Put it on the projector. That’ll keep you off email / IM / YouTube, won’t it?
Friday, November 30, 2007
My last post before my hiatus was Give Before You Take. Steve Clayton expressed a very similar sentiment while talking about making yourself, as an employee, high value and hard to replace. Worth reading, and follow his link over to a nice categorization of employee values and behaviours. It’s not enough to provide high value to your employers or customers – if you provide “commodity service” that others can also provide, you’re replaceable. And who wants to be replaceable?
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