# Sunday, 16 January 2011
The SQL Server MCM certification is pretty darn serious. In order to be a Microsoft Certified Master, you really need to know your stuff. As Microsoft describes it:

Individuals interested in pursuing a Microsoft Certified Master on SQL Server 2008 certification typically have five or more years of hands-on SQL Server experience in mission-critical environments, with competencies that include:

  • Designing and implementing high-performance, scalable, and secure enterprise environments

  • Troubleshooting the most challenging SQL Server issues

  • Managing multiple instances of SQL Server, including the use of a variety of features and tasks, with a thorough understanding of SQL Server design and architecture.

  • A thorough understanding of SQL Server core engine components and dependencies, such as online transaction processing (OLTP), high availability, disaster recovery, performance tuning and optimization, the SQL Server operating system (SQLOS), the storage engine, the relational engine, security, manageability, and data distribution.

It's the highest level of certification and perhaps 1% of IT Pros can achieve it. Even if you don't want to go for the certification and sit the exams, you might like to improve your knowledge. So 40 hours of free training videos are bound to help, aren't they? The clever folks at SQLskills have put some together, and provided a handy page of links. See how much you can improve your SQL abilities and understanding.

Kate

Sunday, 16 January 2011 09:56:24 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, 14 January 2011
It's a trope of horror movies that bad things happen in the basement. You don't go down there to see why the other people who went down there aren't back yet, and you don't go down there alone. Jan Miksovsky extends the software-as-building metaphor to talk about the scary-basement part of most apps. What I like about the post is that he's not just complaining, "some parts of the app are a real pain to change" but he's also aware of the good part of it, the foundation aspects. Well worth a read!

Kate

Friday, 14 January 2011 09:41:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Since midsummer I've been watching the "STL on STL" series accumulate on Channel 9. The lectures appeared as "part 1 of n", "part 2 of n" and so on until, in the bleak midwinter, part 10 of 10 appeared, so they must be done. Here are some links to them all:

There really isn't any universe in which the material this series covers can be called Introductory. When Stephan has finished introducing you to the STL, you will know an awful lot. And in this century, knowing the STL is a vital part of being a C++ developer. Many developers are scared of it: they think it's difficult and complicated. And to be honest, it can be. There's an awful lot going on and there is a lot to learn. Watching these videos, you can see how much Stephan LIKES this material, likes this library, and he's clearly not scared of it or trying to impress you with how difficult it is. He wants you to know all this. And if you follow along (and even do the homework!) you will catapult yourself forward in your STL knowledge and abilities. Take the time to do it, you won't regret it.

Kate

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 09:33:08 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, 10 January 2011

The Visual C++ team, in addition to tweeting and blogging regularly, is now accumulating a week's worth of links and stories at a time and publishing them at paper.li. If you don't compulsively check in to the C++ world every day, it can be a great way to stay in touch. Even if you do, you might discover a source you're weren't checking before. It's a little less obtrusive than other ways of sharing links, I think. Check out the C++ Weekly and the team blog post introducing it.

Kate

Monday, 10 January 2011 08:44:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, 08 January 2011
The voting is open at the Tech Ed site for you to express your preferences on possible sessions. My experience indicates that submissions not shown here can still end up being sessions, and certainly not all submissions shown here will be accepted, but obviously a strong interest from the public in a session will increase its chances of acceptance. With that in mind I thought I'd show you the results of a few searches.

First, C++:

These have orange plusses on them because I've added them to my preferences. You'll see a grey square you can click to add them to yours.

Next, Windows 7 development. Let's try Code Pack:

And finally the intersection of WPF and Windows 7 searches (I had to crop the shot by hand, there's no handy search that returns just these):


If you want to be sure that Tech Ed USA offers sessions you'd like to attend, the power is in your hands. (Disclaimer: some - but not all - of the submissions I am showing you here are my own.) Make your feelings known. And see you in Atlanta (I hope) in May!

Kate
Saturday, 08 January 2011 10:14:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, 06 January 2011
Here's a super neat tip from Mike Ormond - he shows how to track reviews for a Windows Phone 7 app. My guess is you would mostly want to track your own apps, or possibly the competition. You use a free app that tracks reviews, of course. Written by Sergei Golubev, a former Microsoft employee, it fills an important niche and if you wrote an app and put it in the marketplace, you want this app. And it will apparently only be free for a limited time, so don't dawdle!

Kate

Thursday, 06 January 2011 20:52:58 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 04 January 2011
Ok, perhaps it's not news that a keynote is fundamentally different from a breakout. But many keynotes look just like breakouts - the way the slides are written, for example - and many keynotes leave a lot of attendees unsatisfied. A meme began to rise among presenters that "bullets are bad" and "bullets can kill you". I agree completely for keynotes. I don't agree for breakouts, and I've been to breakouts with the pictures of kittens and the single emotionally loaded word and then a picture of a tree and just hated them. But the a-ha! for me is the simple statement: a keynote is not a breakout.

It just makes the whole anti-bullet / pro-bullet thing click for me. The keynote can be full of pictures and super simple words, because it's a keynote. The breakout can still have slides with bullets, tables, charts etc because it's a breakout. Of course the deck for a keynote is not of value without the presenter. It's a keynote. This works for me. Major credit to me "getting" this goes to (of course) Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen. His post on how dramatically Bill Gates has changed his keynote style - slides, posture, tone, and more -- really lit a light bulb in my head about keynotes and breakouts, whether that was the intention or not. The post itself is highly informative and if you ever speak in from of an audience, you should read it and look at the pictures. These two are from 2005 and 2010 and I think they show you quite a difference:



So, a keynote is a not a breakout (something Bill clearly gets now) and a breakout is a not a keynote. Meaning the kitten content of my talks isn't likely to increase until someone invites me to keynote for them :-).

Kate
Tuesday, 04 January 2011 20:36:55 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, 02 January 2011
The sessions have been selected for DevTeach and I was pleased to see one of mine accepted. I'll do my "Advanced Windows 7 Programming" session:

Windows 7 development in managed code can be very simple, especially for those using the Windows API Code Pack. But there's more! Your integration with Windows 7 doesn't have to be limited to simple interactions with the new API. This session goes beyond the simple and into aspects of Windows 7 development that have in the past been left for you to explore on your own. See how to create a jumplist with a task that delivers a command to your application, as Messenger and Outlook do. Explore a simple and powerful recipe for connecting to Restart and Recovery with minimal effort. Discover how Trigger Started Services can reduce your power footprint while giving your users better responsiveness. Explore all that Libraries has to offer beyond "File Open" and why using a library is a better approach than having a user setting for "save directory."

This is all managed code, C# and VB. The conference is after Tech Ed US this year, (Tech Ed is May 16-19, DevTeach is May 30 - June 3) so rather than you seeing a Tech Ed talk before the Tech Ed attendees do (my usual DevTeach offer) you can see a Tech Ed talk after it's been refined a bit by giving it to a Tech Ed audience. Even better!

Montreal in the early summer is a beautiful place and there's a great crop of speakers coming! Many are friends, all are top-notch.
Sign up now for only $899 Canadian for the full 3 days! That's less than half the price of Tech Ed, and you travel only to Montreal. If you're a developer, give this conference serious attention. Of course, if you can do both Tech Ed and DevTeach, you will gain maximum benefit and a chance to learn all that is current in our field. That's my May 2011 plan.

Kate

Sunday, 02 January 2011 11:00:29 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]