# Saturday, 31 January 2009

Rands has some cool advice for being a fantastic manager in a pretty big company leading a pretty big team. It isn't all applicable to managing a whole company and having no boss, as I do, or to leading a smallish team without hire and fire power, as many developers do when they first move to management. But a lot of it is. Try this for a start:

... at the end of the day when you ask, “What did I build today?” The answer will be a troubling, “Nothing”. The days of fixing ten bugs before noon are gone. You’re no longer going to spend the bus ride home working on code; you’re going to be thinking hard about how to say something important to someone who doesn’t want to hear it. There will be drama. And there be those precious seconds when there is no one in your office wanting… something.

If that resonates with you, read the whole thing. You'll be glad you did.

Kate

Saturday, 31 January 2009 10:55:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, 30 January 2009

I've been in Redmond all week (some Windows 7-related fun that I'll discuss later) and rented a car. Look at the license plate I happened to get:

I don't know why it's Oregon. Probably all the Washington DEV plates are taken :-). When I first saw it, I said to myself "somewhere here there's a 22 year old developer who wishes this plate was available." It was several days before I remembered that Gregory Consulting was founded in 1986. Nice.

Kate

Friday, 30 January 2009 10:45:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Visual Studio site has been completely revamped.

It's fun and a good source of information even for those of us who already know our way around Visual Studio. Check out the Community tab for videos and links to blogs.

Kate

Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:33:16 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 28 January 2009

I love hand-edited blog aggregations. You get relevant technical material without the cute cat pictures. I have a gadget that shows me headlines from the blogs of my fellow Regional Directors, but anyone can have it. Here's how it looks on my sidebar:

If I click a headline, it pops out with a summary:

Click the more link and it goes straight to the post on the original site.

You can get the gadget from Live Gallery and install it on your own machine very easily. Alternatively you can see the aggregation in a browser at http://www.microsoftregionaldirectors.com/. I've said before what a smart group of people this is and how very much you can learn from following their blogs. It's all the more true when someone else does the monitoring and editing for you. Enjoy!

Kate

Wednesday, 28 January 2009 15:27:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Brian Marble reports that the session selection process is almost complete. I submitted a few talks, of course, and I also know of at least one talk submitted by someone else in Microsoft with me as the speaker. The dust hasn't quite settled yet (the session titles should be on the web in February) but I do know that at least one of my sessions has been accepted. Yay! I'll add more details when it's official, but for now ... see you in LA in May!

You can register now, by the way, and get a nice discount and snag a good hotel room...

Kate

Tuesday, 27 January 2009 16:11:35 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, 26 January 2009

You know the deal when you demo beta (or worse, pre-beta) software. That stuff has audience detectors in it! Sure, it works on the plane, but just wait until you get in front of people. I’ve had my share of demo deaths, but I don’t think I’ve managed to look this cool about it:

Steve Teixeira tells the story in this blog entry.

Kate

Monday, 26 January 2009 22:31:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, 25 January 2009

I attended more events than usual in 2008, and I spoke at roughly the same number as usual, for me. But many people are saying they plan to attend fewer events in 2009 than usual, and what’s more they’re saying that might not be a bad thing. In a time when sessions are online, when you can search the web for the blog of the person who wrote the feature you’re interested in, why would you pay for a plane ticket and a hotel room, not to mention a substantial admission fee? I can think of at least three reasons why I do it: for the time spent with likeminded attendees, for the time spent with speakers, and as an oasis from my other obligations that’s devoted to this particular topic. There’s a fourth that you won’t notice unless you go to conferences that are well-curated: somebody is taking the time to select sessions, to select speakers, and even to get the sessions delivered in a sensible order. For more on this point, you should read Andrew Brust’s blog entry on the importance of track chairs in the 21st century.

Kate

Sunday, 25 January 2009 22:27:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, 24 January 2009

Short answer: yes, you can open up Visual Studio 2008’s Team Explorer and point it at your not-upgraded-yet 2005 TFS server and be happy. If you are curious about other levels of mixing and matching and compatibility, check Grant Holliday’s chart.

Kate

Saturday, 24 January 2009 22:17:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, 23 January 2009

I was working on a service recently (pretty cool actually, it is a Windows Service that hosts a WCF Web Service) and I was fiddling with it and installing and uninstalling it, and I was getting frustrated. I couldn’t install the new version because it already existed. I couldn’t uninstall it because it was “marked for deletion” whatever that means. I found a knowledge base article which suggested rebooting my machine. Sure, that’s no trouble at all. Grr. Then I found Avner Kashtan’s blog entry. I can’t believe the simple fix he provides. And it WORKS! Go on, read it there. You’ll thank me.

Kate

Friday, 23 January 2009 22:16:36 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [2]