Sunday, September 12, 2010
Over six years ago, I helped to found the East of Toronto .NET Users Group
, because I didn't want to drive all the way across Toronto to attend user group meetings, and I was pretty sure I was surrounded by others who felt that way. The meeting location has varied over the years but is always in Oshawa or Whitby. That's about a 45 minute drive from my house, and never slows down because of rush hour traffic. I get to as many meetings as I can.
About a year and a half ago, the Markham .NET Users Group
kicked off, for much the same reason - wanting to learn more, but not wanting to drive for hours to get to meetings. And now our schedules finally mesh and I can speak there. It's also about 45 minutes from my house and immune from traffic problems.
So, on October 25th I will be speaking
in Markham, on Extending Visual Studio 2010
. I hope to cover both finding and using extensions and a tiny taste of writing your own. If you live closer to Markham than to downtown, or North York, or Whitby, then please come out and learn how to make Visual Studio your own! I'll be bringing some cool prizes, too - free Pluralsight training
, for example. Please register
so we know how many to expect.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Intel and Microsoft are offering free training:
Learn directly from Intel and Microsoft when you attend this
free one-day course on parallelism and threading. This is a
great opportunity learn about threading your applications for multi-core
platforms. This course is targeted for Windows* C++ developers using Microsoft
The performance benefits of application parallelism on
modern computing platforms will come from threading software. Learn how to
develop software that utilizes many cores! Familiarity with threads is helpful,
but not required (target is beginning- to intermediate-experience with threads,
experts would not benefit as much from this course).
They are going to cover concepts of parallelism plus instructor-led demos
of Intel Parallel Advisor, Microsoft PPL, and Visual Studio 2010.
Sound good? The dates are coming up soon:
- 20-Sept-2010 Montreal
- 22-Sept-2010 Chicago
- 28-Sept-2010 San Francisco
- 29-Sept-2010 Seattle / Bellevue
as soon as you can!
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Here's another thing I learned when preparing demos for a non technical crowd on Office 2010. Putting videos into PowerPoint can actually be fun. My exposure to these was mostly at large keynotes and so on, where the speaker would play a video and stand there kind of awkwardly while it played. Not my thing.
Now, have you ever been at a party or get together that had a slideshow of pictures playing? Weddings, wakes, milestone birthday parties, seems like you can almost always spot a laptop in the corner just quietly cycling through dozens (or hundreds) of pictures. It's actually a really nice trend. Most of the people I know do that with PowerPoint. One picture per slide - sometimes filling the whole slide, sometimes with some text added - and then set it up to auto advance and to repeat indefinitely. Well, if you're going to do that, you can include videos as well. And PowerPoint has some built in tools to let you crop (or clip) the video, fade it in and out, even display it in a slightly more interesting layout.
I can see adding videos to my next slideshow using these tools. And not having to open a second product will make it that much more likely that I'll actually do it.
Monday, September 06, 2010
Earlier this summer I was invited to talk to some non technical users about Office 2010. As always happens when I am preparing new material, I learned something. My problem is that I often learn how to do things and then figure I'm done, I know how to do that. But software changes and sometimes the 11 step, 3 application approach that I've learned gets superseded by a much simpler way.
Here's an example: let's say you're putting together a Word document, but it's not a requirements document or a specification or a response to an RFP. It's something a little more personal, a little less technical. It has actual photographs in it. Not screen shots, not a GIF exported from Visio, a photograph. You have the photograph, but it's not quite the right size, or perhaps it's too dark, or too light. You need to fiddle with the contrast and such. If you're a geeky person, you probably have various apps installed on your machine that can do that. So you open the photo in app 1, do something to it, maybe also in app 2 and do something else, and then finally you paste the picture into Word.
Well that process is just old school. Word can do all kinds of neat stuff right from within the app. Try it! Paste in a picture that needs some tweaking. Then select it, and click on Picture Tools.
You can adjust brightness and contrast with a live preview. Or try out the Artistic Effects:
This is a lot quicker than fooling around with multiple applications, and makes this sort of document fun.
Saturday, September 04, 2010
Back in July, I mentioned that my Extending Visual Studio course for Pluralsight was live. As I completed the course, it just kept growing and growing, so in the end it became two courses.
Customizing and Extending Visual Studio 2010 Without Code covers macros, snippets, templates, and so on - ways that you type stuff into a file, and thus make Visual Studio behave differently, but don't actually write C# or VB or C++ to make that happen. The modules are:
- Overview of Visual Studio 2010 Extensibility
- Why write extensions for Visual Studio?
- Visual Studio Macros
- Visual Studio Snippets
- Getting and installing extensions for Visual Studio
- The Visual Studio 2010 SDK
- Visual Studio Start Page
- The VSIX Format
- Deploying Templates
Customizing and Extending Visual Studio 2010 by Writing Code covers the rest of the story - cases where you actually write and compile code (in this course, the demos are all in C#) and thus make Visual Studio behave differently. The modules are:
- MEF, The Managed Extensibility Framework
- Writing Editor Extensions
- Testing and deploying editor extensions
- Visual Studio Add-Ins
- Visual Studio Packages
- Extending Modeling and Diagramming tools
Together, these courses total 9 hours. Please let me know if they help you!
Thursday, September 02, 2010
I'm having a Coffee and Code of my own in downtown Toronto on September 23rd all afternoon. Actually, I'll start at 11 and be there until 6 to catch the "stop by after work" folks. If you've heard of Coffee and Code at all, you know how this works. If you haven't, I've made a page on our web site about it
. Just drop in and ask me "Is it true that the C++ language is getting new keywords and stuff? How can that be? And does it really matter?" or "Do you have the Windows Phone 7 tools installed? Can you show me an app on the emulator?" or "Is Visual Studio 2010 really nicer than Visual Studio 2008?" or "What local user group meetings should I be coming to?" or whatever else is on your mind.
So stop by any time between 11 and 6 on the 23rd to the Starbucks at Yonge and King. I'll be at the big table at the back, just walk up and say hi. We'll talk about whatever is on your mind, maybe some of you will talk amongst yourselves, maybe you'll show me what you're working on. I'm looking forward to it!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Let's say you read the entry about data structure visualizers
and in addition to all the STL humour you got excited about being able to control the way the debugger shows your objects as you work at understanding your application at runtime. And then you were sad because you don't do native C++ work and you don't know how you could get the same behaviour in a managed application. Well, have I got a keyword for you - DebuggerDisplay
. Don't like that MSDN page about it? Here's another
. Quick and easy, at least for simple types with only a few member variables. Give it a whirl. There's a nice example
with screen shots at Dev102.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I somehow missed this John Robbins blog post
from back in May. He calls out an excellent presentation on writing data structure visualizers presented at BoostCon 2010. Here's the title slide:
Oh yes, this is a fun talk. I wish I had a recording, but the slides alone are entertaining and useful. I am already planning to put some of this code into practice, and I must find time to check the other talks, too. The links are in John's blog post.
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