# Thursday, 03 March 2011
The PDC was a little different last year. It was held on the Microsoft Campus, meaning that only a thousand people could attend, when usually it's 5 times that. But it featured an amazing player that opened the whole conference up to the world. I was one of the 100,000 (yes, 100,000!) who watched online. If you are interested in some of the technical details, there's been a whitepaper released. You can read about it on the Windows Azure Team Blog. Makes sense, since Azure was a big part of the solution.

Kate

Thursday, 03 March 2011 11:41:55 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 01 March 2011
Are you doing Scrum? Do you use TFS? Then you should check out Urban Turtle. Brian Harry did (yes, that Brian Harry) and he really liked it - his blog post makes a great introduction. It gives you rich visibility onto your project and lets you work with it your own way. You can download a 30 day free trial to see if there is a good fit with the way your team fits and works.

If you like it, let me give you a tip. If you go to DevTeach in Montreal (which is so worth your while to attend on its own) you will get a 5-user license of Urban Turtle, which means you're effectively going to DevTeach for half price. And you can hear me speak on Windows 7 development, too.

Kate

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 22:55:42 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, 27 February 2011
Here's an interesting blog post. Say you use MFC and are wondering whether anything was added to it in a particular release. What tool would you use for that? How about CppDepend? If you've never used it, seeing how it provides the illustrations for this post should show you the appeal of it. Either way, you're going to learn something.

Kate

Sunday, 27 February 2011 22:11:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, 25 February 2011
Pete Brown is a WPF guy and I've learned a lot from him. Now I get to watch him learn. Recently he wanted to write an add-in for IE and he decided to do it in C++. You can see how he struggled through it and get some tips of your own in the detailed post he wrote about the experience. I agree with the commenter who said you should only run Visual Studio as admin when you know you're going to do a step (like registration) that requires elevation, and you should run non-elevated the rest of the time, and the one who tweaked the string code to take advantage of being in C++. If you have some tweaks of your own, stop by and add a comment.

Kate

Friday, 25 February 2011 18:20:58 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 23 February 2011
People talk a lot about work/life balance. There really is no such thing. They never deserve 50/50 which is what balance implies. But I read an interesting point in this summary of (and link to) a TED talk: over what period of time do you want to achieve some ratio of "work" and "life"? Every day? Most people prefer their weekends to have more "life" than "work". Over every individual week? I think we all would like to have weeks of vacation with no work at all, and most of us accept the occasional "crunch week" with more work than is comfortable. Over a 50 year period? That's not realistic at all. Think about that a bit. Then watch the video.

Kate

Wednesday, 23 February 2011 18:10:38 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, 21 February 2011
If you've been to a developer event this century, or if you spend any time on Channel 9, you've probably seen Beth Massi. I read an interesting interview with her by Carla Fair-Wright where she talks about what Microsoft is like, advises young women, and plugs LightSwitch. Did you think she was the I-was-programming-in-BASIC-when-I-was-8 type? Well now you know.

Kate

PS: the whole series is worth a read.

Monday, 21 February 2011 18:03:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, 19 February 2011

Imagine an app that you have running under Windows 7 as a desktop app. Now as much as you are enjoying the Windows 7 features it uses, you know there is some functionality there you could offer to people another way. Do you have to just start over to make it into a phone app? What if you want it in a browser? If you write the desktop part in WPF, will that be something you can use when you create the Silverlight code for the browser or phone apps? Well, check this mission statement:

Our goal was to enable seamless and easy sharing of decks among users across different computers. The idea was simple, upload the deck to the cloud, and let the user send a message to whomever the user wants to share the deck with. That message will include a link for the receiving party to click on to launch a web browser and run a Silverlight application that can “play” the shared deck. The Silverlight application dynamically downloads the shared deck and displays that single deck just as it would be displayed on the WPF application. At this point the user can launch any of the 3 games: Learning, Matching, or Memory, with the same user experience as the WPF application.

Sounds like just what you might like to do in some of your apps, doesn't it? Oh yeah, and would you like the code? And a blog post explaining the code? And a video on Channel 9?

Happy to help!

Kate

Saturday, 19 February 2011 17:53:09 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, 17 February 2011
One of the marks of true expertise and skill is making something very difficult look easy and effortless. It can take a long time and a lot of work to give the impression that something is natural and everyday for you. It takes even more work and practice to make something look spontaneous and unrehearsed. This is as true of giving a technical presentation as it is of playing a sport or a musical instrument, dancing, singing, or cooking. Oddly, some people seem to think that presenters are all "just naturals" who don't practice, rehearse, or plan.

There are two problems with thinking that. The first (and the smaller one) is that it doesn't give enough credit to the hours of work that goes into producing that "off the cuff" presentation you so enjoyed. The second (and by far the bigger one) is that it leads you to think that you couldn't be a presenter. And that would be a loss. Presenting, even in the smallest of contexts, makes you better at whatever you're presenting about. If you do a presentation on Windows Phone development or Visual Studio Extensibility or the like, you will know that subject better when the presentation is over. It also generally helps your career, gives you a chance to meet people and help them, and if you're lucky will also get you a chance to travel to marvelous places and meet even more people.

One of the terrific people I've been able to meet thanks to the speaking I've done is Guy Smith-Ferrier. He's really good. He's always been generous with slides and downloads on his website, and he really knows his stuff. And now he's made a series of videos to show anyone - really, anyone! - just what it takes to be a presenter. He covers a number of things I've never seen in talks of this kind, like choosing your topic wisely. They total a little over 2 hours and are well worth your time if you're thinking of trying presenting or (more likely) you wish you could and think you can't. You can watch them on the UGSS site or download them if you prefer (search for speaker.)

Once you've watched these, you will understand what it seems the great speakers just "happen" to be doing. And you can do those things too. You can be a presenter if you want - it's no harder than learning to code. Guy's straightforward way of laying down the truths behind great presentations will take you where you want to go.

Kate


Thursday, 17 February 2011 02:14:42 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]