# Tuesday, 07 October 2008

Greg Low, Australian RD, has recorded a four-part webcast on Speaking at Large Events such as TechEd. These are full of good advice.

My advice to those who want to speak is pretty simple: start speaking. Your user group, code camps, heck start with your dog if you can't get invited anywhere. In fact, start with your dog for rehearsals even if you do get invited somewhere. Just hearing yourself get all tangled up and lost 5 minutes into the talk will impress upon you the need to have an outline and a plan, to rehearse, and not to try to memorize every sentence. Every time you give a talk you will get better, and every time you hear one you will get better, so go to things. A lot of things.

Greg covers some nice practical details that I won't repeat - watch his videos!

Kate

Tuesday, 07 October 2008 07:58:34 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, 06 October 2008

Strange Maps has, well, a strange map of the island of San Serriffe. Here's a snip of it:

Semi-colonial, indeed!

Kate

Monday, 06 October 2008 14:41:26 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, 05 October 2008

We have Team Systems hooked up to our Active Directory, which is great. It knows who created a work item (or closed it, or edited it) by who is signed in. The dropdown of who to assign things to is prefilled based on who works here. I love it. But recently we removed someone from AD, because she has left the company (to go work in a business owned by one of her family, not that the reason matters to AD or VSTS.) And that led to a problem when I went to save a work item she'd created.

Of course I can fix the "Assigned To" - after all, if I want to see this work item completed, it's pointless to leave it assigned to someone who doesn't work here any more. But "Activated By" - not so much. I can't edit that field and I wouldn't want to anyway, the value has historical meaning.

So, what to do? Neno Loje explains. You change the work item definition so that once something has been validated, that is allowed as a value going forward. You might not want to use it on the Assigned To field, but I sure want it on Activated By.

Kate

Sunday, 05 October 2008 14:15:10 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, 04 October 2008

I guess I haven't opened a CHM (compiled help) file in a really long time. So when I downloaded one (an installation guide) and it didn't really work properly, at first I didn't know what to do:

So, off I went searching and I found this fix. Some folks blame Vista, others say it's been that way since XP SP2, still others say it's about your browser (IE 7) not your OS. Whatever. Bill Evjen has had the fix on his blog for YEARS. I right-clicked the file, looked down at the bottom for an Unblock button, and clicked it. Presto!

I've said for a long time, an enormous benefit of the RD program is getting introduced to other RDs. Thanks Bill!

Kate

Saturday, 04 October 2008 14:36:17 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [4]
# Friday, 03 October 2008
This pair of podcasts snuck onto the web over the summer. This was a single interview that's been split into two parts, both pretty large files (over a hundred meg.) I talk about C++, Vista, the marshaling library and marshal-as.net, the MFC update, and plenty of other things I've blogged about here before.

Let me know what you think!

http://www.informit.com/podcasts/episode.aspx?e=3a744e05-7893-408d-91de-d73b77ddb832

http://www.informit.com/podcasts/episode.aspx?e=fc209a80-bdd7-42b4-b555-514ce882178b

These are MP4 files. The web page bugged me to install QuickTime and I did and that's what played them. You may have your own preferences - there are download links on each page.

Kate

Friday, 03 October 2008 09:20:07 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, 02 October 2008

Gizmodo provides a lovely video showing all the planes in the air over a 24 hour period. I really like watching the line between night and day move across the planet and the swarms of planes appear as their airport curfews open. It's cool!

If you like this sort of thing, also look at Earth at Night which doesn't move, but makes it night everywhere at once (by gluing together pictures taken at different times) so you can see how we tend to live on the coasts and on rivers.

This one really demonstrates how settlement happened in my corner of the planet.

Kate

Thursday, 02 October 2008 16:53:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 01 October 2008

At times I have to use a low bandwidth internet connection. No matter what my speed, though, I'm annoyed when I can't interact with a web site (say, scrolling down or following a link) because my browser is busy rendering some complicated chrome I don't care about, like a tree view navigation aid. Well, to be honest, I occasionally care about that chrome, just not very often.

Try these two links and see which loads faster for you:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/zkch586s.aspx

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/zkch586s(loband).aspx

Even on my highspeed setup, I feel a HUGE difference between the two versions of the page. My one complaint about the low bandwidth view is that you can't see the title of the page you're on in the body itself, where it's truncated, though it appears in full in the title bar. Clicking persist low bandwith view puts you in this mode until you get yourself out of it. (The link changes to read switch off low bandwidth view.) This has the advantage that your searches and whatnot will come up faster from now on. Darn right I'm persisting low bandwidth view. I can turn it off if I want more navigation help than the breadcrumbs give me. Here's a glimpse at another page:

What are you missing when you use this view, besides the tree view? A chance to rate the page and add your own content, the collapsing zones (that I never collapse), the language filter ... everything except what you came for - the article or the explanation of the function/object/keyword you wanted to use. If you want the chrome, just turn off the low bandwidth view.

Kate

Wednesday, 01 October 2008 16:38:38 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Grrrr. No doubt unexpected demand. Because really, who would want to go to a website and arrange to reduce the telemarketing calls they get?

Why is the URL an IP address? I don't know ... I followed a link to http://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/ and then clicked English. Sigh. If only the government could consistently use technology. Some things (taxes, passports) work great, get your expectations up, and then things like this come along.

Hitting refresh,

Kate

ps: yes, that's just after noon. I wouldn't be giving them a hard time early in the wee hours. I tried at 6am, at 8am, and several times through the morning before getting annoyed.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008 12:23:10 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]