Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday night wrapped up with a reception in the speaker room where we'd been working all week. Some of us (including me) were a little slow to switch from workin-on-my-laptop mode to hangin-with-my-speaker-buds mode.
That's Rob Windsor in the foreground and Brian Harry next to him. I went with Cava, Rob with beer. There really are no wrong choices . In the background you can see the big screens that show the top ten speakers and also randomly display comments from any and all sessions. A number of these were very funny out of context.
Earlier Friday I took this picture from my hotel window:
Always you can see Sagrada Familia, I noticed this from the cable car and the castle also. It just rises up out of the sea of lower buildings.
Barcelona was, as predicted, warm and beautiful. Crime was not an issue this year - the police presence was intense and I heard no stories of pickpockets, muggers, or cutpurses this year at all. I discovered the best tapas in the city at Ciudad Condal - which doesn't have its name on a sign so you need to know the address, 18 Las Ramblas. Three of us arrived here - it doesn't take reservations - and fought our way inside through the crowd to reach the maitre-d', who asks "inside, outside, or at the bar?" and then told us it would be 30 minutes for our inside table. The next step is you go to the bar, ask for "tres cervesas por favor" and then point at something from the dozens of plates of gorgeous tapas and montaditos (thingies on toast) and say "tres". Presto - three beers and three (in our case) smoked salmon on toast and you go stand on the sidewalk with the rest of the city. Heaven. The beer was good, the salmon divine, and it didn't even feel like waiting. In no time we had our inside table and then the fun begins. Not a false note - and we gave them lots of opportunities because we ordered a lot of plates. Highly recommended, and actually cost less than some other dinners we had here even though we could barely move by the time we'd finished eating it all.
Will I be back? Well I guess it will be a while till Tech Ed brings me back - we move to Berlin for next year. So I'll have to bring myself back, because I'm really going to miss coming here otherwise.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tech Ed draws to a close and the website of videos gets updated. This is a general-access-no-login-required highlights site. The mechanism for extracting individual links seems broken, so I'll show you what to click on:
Thursdays wrapup includes footage of the Norway country party (North American speakers typically pick a country to visit for country drinks, and my gang chose Norway) and the Speaker Idol finals (I was recruited as a last minute replacement judge for the finals only.) Speaker Idol impresses me every year because it shows all of us (speakers, track chairs, etc) people who are really good but have not spoken at Tech Ed before. How good? I have a session in the top ten this year, and one of the very few people who is outscoring me is last year's Speaker Idol winner, Jeff Wharton.
The afore-mentioned session in the top ten is here, the full video. Doesn't seem to be downloadable, so set aside 80 minutes and learn about shared_ptr and lambdas. The abstract is inaccurate - I didn't do anything on STL/CLR or marshalling - that was last year. The attendees didn't seem to mind that I tossed out half my planned talk and replaced it with content that had been announced at the PDC .
There are 63 videos all told (though 5 are from last year) and they range from a few minutes long to, well, 80 minutes. See what you missed, and maybe see you next year!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Just in time for my Tech Ed Day 4 talk, we have the long awaited arrival of the Vista Bridge Samples Library, version 1.3, on the MSDN Code Gallery:
Here you can download the latest version, join discussions, and report issues including native APIs you wish were wrapped. Remember, this is a sample library, not a product, so don't expect the kind of support, internationalization, or full coverage a product would have. Do expect useful code for reading (if you care about how to do interop well) or just using (if you want to light up your application with Vista features without knowing about interop.)
Enjoy! I've been waiting a really long time for this!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Check this out. If you go to DevTeach - and you certainly should - you will be getting more than you bargained for. First and foremost you'll be getting great sessions by great speakers. 136 sessions to be precise, plus a keynote by Ted Neward. Because of the small scale (8 simultaneous tracks instead of dozens) you will get a chance to meet and talk to many speakers and your fellow attendees during breaks and meals.
Now I happen to think that is well worth the $1250 attendance fee plus your travel and hotel. You would pay double to go to Tech Ed. Montreal the first week of December is a delightful trip, and you will learn the things you need to learn to stay current in this world, and get face time with a dazzling array of people who are not usually this accessible.
But, in case that's not enough, they've negotiated their way to giving you about a thousand dollars worth of software and learning. Seriously. I quote:
We believe that all developers need the right tool to be productive. This is what we will give you, free software, when you register to DevTeach or SQLTeach. Yes that right! We’re pleased to announce that we’re giving over a 1000$ of software when you register to DevTeach. You will find in your conference bag a version of Visual Studio 2008 Professional, ExpressionTM Web 2 and the Tech-Ed Conference DVD Set. Is this a good deal or what?
It's a very good deal. Oh, and one other thing. Did you go to TechDays? Did you get a $100 coupon? They've decided to retroactively make that a $350 dollar coupon. So you can attend for just $900.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Barcelona is a marvelous city, beautiful, warm, possessed of amazing food and drink, and lovely things to see. Having done some Gaudi things on previous years, a bunch of us resolved to do some non Gaudi things this year.
Step 1: decide where you are going. There is a cool cliff and cable car that you can see when you come along the highway from the airport. We decided that was what we wanted. Here Joel Semeniuk is taking a picture of the web page so we will have the directions with us en route. Yes, that is what we are like. Our destination is called Montjuic. (BTW, this picture is taken in the speaker's room, so you can get an idea of what it is like in there.)
Step 2: take the subway (it's so cool that the organizers give us subway passes) to the Montjuic Funicular which is clearly labelled on the subway maps and signs.
Step 3 - take the cable car from the top of the funicular to the base of the castle. Looks like I didn't take any cable car pictures.
Step 4 - explore the castle and enjoy astonishing views over the city and harbour.
Thanks to Stephen, Joel, and Goksin for an afternoon that most definitely did not suck.
Monday, November 10, 2008
There is an older, deeper meaning for "cut and paste" and this sticker, on the laptop of a member of the C++ team, shows it nicely. The sticker was a gift, btw - somebody made it for the team member. I like it.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
These are fun:
I got them from Knom's Developer Corner, a consistent source of goodness.
Wondering why they appear to be on my desktop? Because even in Vista gadgets can be on your desktop. Just drag them there. If you use Windows+D or Alt-Tab your way to the desktop you won't see them, but bring up the sidebar with Windows+Space and the gadgets you put on your desktop will wake up too. Neat trick I learned from a Windows 7 guy .
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I think I have this finally all sorted out now. This map is a little inaccurate because it depicts driving, but it gets the point across:
Monday December 8th I will fly to Fort Smith (via Atlanta). Tuesday December 9th I will drive to the Northwest Arkansas meeting. Wednesday Dec 10th I will fly from there to Baton Rouge (via Atlanta) and then Thursday Dec 11th I will fly home (once again, via Atlanta.) The talk will be the same at all three, so there's no need to follow me around
The Windows Vista Bridge: How Managed Code Developers Can Easily Access Exciting New Vista Features
Accessing new Windows Vista features is a challenge from managed (.NET) code. The level of interoperability required is out of reach for many developers. The Vista Bridge is a sample library you can use in your own projects today that provides access to new user interface features as well as “behind the scenes” power features. Discover a shortcut to Windows Vista for Microsoft Visual Basic and Visual C# programmers and how you can get involved.
This talk is freshly updated for Tech Ed Europe where I will deliver it Nov 13th. See you there!
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