Saturday, 13 June 2009
Early this spring I delivered several sessions of training for Microsoft. It was for ISVs who wanted to get rolling on Windows 7 as quickly as possible. It's good material that covers a mix of managed and native development to take full advantage of new APIs, new features, and new power in Windows 7. It relies on the Windows API Code Pack and some custom-written wrappers for Windows 7 functionality that isn't in Code Pack at the moment. And now it's available to anyone who wants it.
If you couldn't come to one of the courses I taught, consider this the next-best thing.
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Seems like a can't-lose offer, doesn't it? Free developer licenses of WPF controls (Calendar, Carousel, Chart, ColorPicker, DatePicker, Expander, Gauge, GridView, MaskedTextBox, NumericUpDown, PanelBar, ProgressBar, Scheduler, Slider, TabControl, TimePicker, TreeView) from Telerik. And don't be scared off by "developer license": they say "The Developer License is perpetual and has no deployment limitations – it allows the use of the controls for an unlimited number of applications spanning various servers and domains. The applications you develop with the Telerik WPF controls can be distributed royalty free." That sounds pretty no-strings and truly free to me.
What are you waiting for? Go get your controls!
Tuesday, 09 June 2009
I finally got around to listening to the last recorded webcast in this spring's Ignite Your Career webcast series from Microsoft Canada. Joey has a handy set of links to all the episodes on the Canadian Developers Blog. This series is very different from most Microsoft webcasts - it's not really about technology. It's about the things you need to learn to advance your career that are not straight technology like picking up a new language or a new development paradigm.
- Industry Insights and Trends (featuring Joel Semeniuk)
- Discovering Your Trusted Resources (featuring Richard Campbell)
- How to Establish and Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance
- How to Become a Great Leader (featuring Barry Gervin)
- Building, Managing and Strengthening Your Team
- Women in IT Panel Discussion
All the webcasts have been recorded and are well worth a download and a listen.
Sunday, 07 June 2009
I grew up in Southern Ontario (Kitchener Waterloo area) before moving to Toronto and now to my current home between Toronto and Peterborough, which possibly isn't Southern Ontario any more. Imagine my surprise, reading an article in The Economist, to come across this:
Ms Munro comes from southern Ontario, an area of considerable psychic murkiness and oddity. Her stories dwell on her own people and their peculiarities: their repressed emotions, respectable fronts, hidden sexual excesses, outbreaks of violence, lurid crimes and long-held grudges.
Psychic murkiness, eh? If you say so.
Friday, 05 June 2009
Well, obviously some programmers are poor communicators, just as some programmers are good painters or poor singers. But Leon Bambrick (Secret Geek) says "the better you program, the worse you communicate." And he means it. Basically good programmers have a number of habits that work well when talking to (or listening to) a compiler, but hurt you when you're dealing with people. And the comments dig in to the "how can I get better?" part of the problem. Worth a read.
Wednesday, 03 June 2009
Further to that video of Brian Noyes and client technologies, Tim Huckaby has written a terrific paper on the topic. His personal history and experience position him perfectly to understand the real technical reasons (as well as the make-your-boss-happy or the go-home-on-time ones) why you should use a "smart client", "rich client", "Windows client" application for certain kinds of applications. He also knows when you shouldn't. Definitely recommended reading and if you want to tell him your thoughts, he's set up a blog post for comments.
Monday, 01 June 2009
We have all worked with star developers. When I come into a client to mentor, occasionally they have one developer who is just a star. I can pretty much spot them in the first half hour these days. Other times they have a developer who would say "I am a star" but who wouldn't get that designation from me. Tim Stall has a nice list of things that make a developer a star. As I went through the list I was thinking "yes! yes!" and finally "hire! hire!" which is also what happens when I meet real stars. (Don't worry, I have never poached a dev from a client and never would, but "would you hire this person" is still an incredibly useful summary of someone's skills.) I especially like "22. Knows when the rules do not apply". It can't be taught, and dear heaven can people get this one wrong. When you meet someone who gets this right, it is such a relief.
The list doesn't tell you how to become that sort of person, but I am quite sure the rest of the Internet has some hints. So will I if I meet you in a mentoring context.
Saturday, 30 May 2009
An illuminating post from Dr. Rick Kirschner on bringing out the best in others. He gives ten specific rules, which act as nice reminders only after you've read the paragraphs that go with each. A lot of this maps well to things I am doing and things I have read elsewhere, but in far longer than a paragraph. Other things, like "useful assumptions" are new and bring me an "aha" that I enjoy.
Read it over and see if you don't learn something.
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