Blogus Maximus

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June 2008 Entries

I (relatively) recently received a handsfree bluetooth rearview mirror kit as my prize from Community-Credit.com. This weekend, I finally got around to hooking it up. First impressions are good. The mirror just clips right on top of the existing mirror and is held in place by some spring loaded clips. I like the fact that this mirror is about 25% wider than my original mirror, giving me a better field of vision. The mirror does seem darker though, but not so much to be a problem. Pairing the bluetooth ......

The following is an excerpt from a story I'm working on. Writing fiction is a lot harder than blogging. Writing interesting fiction even harder still... so take this for what it is. A rough, first attempt. enjoy (or avoid... your choice.) Lathan swung his axe for what felt like the thousandth time that day, turning, ducking and swinging as blood and gore flew past his head. For every orc the warrior took down, it seemed as though another stepped in to continue the fight. “Where the hell is Shawna?” ......

A couple weeks ago, Jeff Brand and I sat down and talked about XNA on his Spaghetti Code podcast. We had a good time, as usual, and discussed various aspects of the XNA experience, and what's new in the XNA 3.0 CTP. Here's the link: XNA Podcast ......

Do the Twin Cities really need ANOTHER .Net User Group? There are two answers to that question. The first is YES, we think so. The second is that we aren't a typical .net user group, even though we focus on Microsoft Technologies. We use the term Developers Guild to imply more than just a roomful of folks sitting around listening to someone talk. Our objective is to bring the various special interest groups of the Twin Cities together and also provide our own events. We think you'll be pretty happy ......

...and we're back. This time with Aaron Erickson, a Technical Sales Specialist with Magenic's Chicago office. Aaron was nice enough to sit down with me while I was in Chicago and answer these NINE Questions. 1. Where are you from? Born in El Cajon, CA, grew up in Troutdale, OR. 2. Obviously, I know where you work since I work there as well, but give our readers the 10 second pitch on them anyway. Why would I want to buy the product? We are a firm that effectively converts IQ points into business ......

How would you like to win a prize that doesn't suck? A really big, expensive prize... I mean it. This prize doesn't suck at all. In fact, it's the opposite of suck. This prize rocks. Totally rocks. I've got a 1 Year MSDN Premium Subscription sitting on my desk, staring at me... just daring me to give it away. (I actually have more than one of them, cause that's how I roll, but I'm only giving one away right now.) Take a moment, catch your breath... yes it's true. I am giving you a magnificent* gift ......

People ask me why I blog so much. You know, why I turn a 9 word sentence into War and Peace? Maybe I'm a comment whore. When I blog about semi-personal stuff, I do so in part because I enjoy the feedback and comments I receive. Some posts receive more than others. Some post receive none at all. My technical posts tend to fall in that last category. I've found that my somewhat funny, somewhat rambling blog posts usually get more of a response than my terse ones. For example: I installed a new router ......

Well, we're back again, this time with Trisha Cardell (formerly Lacey) of INETA/CodeZone fame. Trisha is also an occasional blogger at GeeksWithBlogs and plays a rather wicked Night Elf in World of Warcraft. Yes guys, really. So without further ado, here are NINE Questions with Trisha Cardell. 1. Where are you from? Gainesville, GA. A smallish town NE of Atlanta. http://www.gainesville.org/. To be more specific, I actually grew up in Flowery Branch, GA on a street called Quiet Meadow Lane. 2. We ......

Twin Cities Languages User Group My colleague, language geek and Twin Cities Code Camp leader, Jason Bock has recently formed a new Dev Languages focused user group. As leader of the Twin Cities Developers Guild, I have already extended him an invitation to join as one of our first affiliate groups. Here is Jason's description of the group: As developers, we use a number of languages throughout the lifecycle of a project and our careers in general. Learning core aspects and features from other langauges ......

Recently I bought a new router. My existing Linksys Wireless B router (a nearly vintage BEFW11S4 v.4) was up to 4 reboots a day. Those of you who have experienced this fun little ritual know what I'm referring to: One minute you're working just fine and then all of a sudden, no internet connection. Doesn't matter if you're wired or wireless. So, being the thrifty (cheap bastard) type, I put off replacing it as long as possible. I also hate hate hate dealing with networking stuff, so that was another ......

Since Rocky and I happen to both be at the Magenic Technology Summit in Chicago this week, I managed to find some time to corner him and ask him NINE Questions. This means you, dear reader, get a bonus interview this week. This is my gift to you. 1. Where are you from? Aitkin, Minnesota. A small town with one stoplight and surrounded by a lot of great fishing lakes. 2. Who do you work for? Give me the 10 second pitch on them. Why would I want to buy their product? Magenic, probably the largest Microsoft-only ......

Session 1: Writing Better Code by Jason Bock (Magenic) Jason spent the first few minutes going over what makes good code and what makes bad code before jumping into (in my opinion) the best part of the talk, where he shows bad code on screen and has the audience discuss why it's bad. Most of the time, he gets the expected answer, but there are the occasional curveballs. After spending some time on the code examples, Jason covers our motivation for writing good code (productivity, maintenance, being ......

The Magenic Technology Summit has kicked off with a bang and things are going great! We're located at the Microsoft offices in Downers Grove, IL and the attendance is great. Greg Frankenfield (Magenic CEO) started things off with a brief introduction and welcomed everyone. Both of our keynotes went off without a hitch. Jay Schmelzer (Microsoft) had the first keynote, and he was followed by Rocky Lhotka (Magenic) Now that the keynotes are out of the way, we're taking a short break and reconfiguring ......

I got a review copy of SlickEdit recently and over the last couple weeks, I fired it up to check it out. These are my thoughts... Overall, it's a lightweight alternative to Visual Studio .NET. I can customize the look and feel and can build from it, and the memory footprint seems pretty small, so it's not all bad. It's not all good either. I don't know if I'm just spoiled on Visual Studio, but a lot of the "not entirely necessary, but nice to have" features that I've come to rely on just aren't there. ......

Well, we all knew it was coming... but when I read a headline like that, I expect a bit more than this:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25209226//wid/11915829?GT1=40006

Come on guys... you can do better than that.

Epic Fail. 


D'Arcy is one of the most interesting techy people I know, so he seems like the perfect match for this column. When I asked him to do it, he graciously agreed, and got answers back to me pretty quickly. Settling on his picture, however... well that took longer. Where are you from? Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (One hour from the North Dakota border) Who do you work for? Give me the 10 second pitch on them. Why would I want to buy their product? I chose to become an independent consultant a year ago. ......

I have a nephew who is wicked smart. Actually, I have 4 nephews and 4 nieces in total, but this is about one nephew in particular. Anyway... he's fairly young, but he's always been interested in software development. By software development, I mean games of course. He doesn't just play them though, he's taught himself Java. Then I showed him C#. (Yes, I suppose I could have showed him VB... but he already knew Java, so C# was the logical choice.) Along with C#, was XNA. He really grok'ed XNA. One ......

Attendee Registration is now open for Codestock! www.codestock.org What is Codestock? Well, it's a one day conference, full of top notch programmers talking about the latest technology. There's no marketing presentations, or in your face propaganda. Ok, so what's the deal? The bad news: CodeStock costs $25 to attend. It doesn't cover a hotel, or even gas to get the the conference. It does include a lunch, a t-shirt, and a day of amazing sessions by awesome speakers. Personally, I wouldn't pay it. ......

I've been playing with ClickOnce at work lately, and I like it, so I decided to publish HA! with it. HA! really is the perfect application for it, since there are no external dependancies (other than .NET 2.0) and it doesn't care where you put it. I'll also be able to tap into the ClickOnce On-Demand API (which you can't do unless its running under ClickOnce) and pull down updates automatically in the background. The project along with all the sourcecode, bug tracking, etc is all still hosted on ......

This is #3 in a series of interviews where I ask NINE Questions of various interesting people in the technical community. This time, we're talking to Amanda Laucher (aka Pandamonial.) You can find her blog at www.Pandamonial.com 1. Ok, let's kick this off with an easy question. Where are you from? I am from a small town in SW Pennsylvania called Dilliner, originally. Now I live and work in Columbus, Ohio. 2. Who do you work for? Give me the 10 second pitch on them. Why would I want to work there, ......

The Twin Cities Sharepoint Camp kicked off this morning and is currently well on it's way. We had a few hiccups this morning, with a misprint (starting time) on the schedule vs the website. So we kicked things off a few minutes later than planned, but everyone was flexible and accomodating. We had one presenter who was very sick and couldn't make it, but he was nice enough to give us as much advance notice as possible. We also had one no-show, Jerry Sevier from ILM*. It's a shame, because he was ......

This time, I'm talking with Beth Massi of the Visual Basic Dev Center (http://msdn.com/vbasic/) and (http://msdn.com/vsto/) at Microsoft. You can also find Beth's blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/bethm... In case you can't see it, the beer in her hand is a Victoria Bitter (get it? VB!) 1. Where are you from? I was born in San Pedro, CA (Southern California) but moved up to Northern California for college. I’ve been living primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area ever since. 2. Who do you work for? ......

Spring 2008 Session - Saturday, June 14, 2008 Join New Horizons of Minnesota and Magenic Technologies for the First Bi-Annual Twin Cities SharePoint Camp Event. Spend a day with other SharePoint Administrators, Developers and End-Users and learn from each other on a variety of topics that impact your world. SharePoint Camps are about the SharePoint community at large. They are meant to be a place for developers, administrators and any SharePoint user to come and learn from their peers. Topics are ......

This is the first in what will hopefully be a series where I ask NINE Questions of various Interesting People in the Technical Industry. My first victim is Andy Dunn of www.thezbuffer.com. 1. Where are you from? I’m from a town called Halesowen, just outside Birmingham in the UK. I’ve lived in the USA for almost 12 years. 2. Who do you work for? Give me the 10 second pitch on them. Why would I want to buy their product? I work for myself. I have no products besides my own abilities. You are buying ......

So TechEd 2008 was pretty awesome. I spent a lot of time at the VB.NET booth, interacting with members of the VB team as well as VB community influencers and talking with VB users who had questions. I also managed to hit a few sessions. The sessions I hit were really good, and informative, but I have to wonder... I think the real value of TechEd lies in the networking and the spur of the moment discussions that pop up everywhere. I think I learned more that way than I did in the sessions I attended. ......

Tech Ed 2008 has been great so far. I've spent a fair amount of time at the VB.NET booth, talking to folks, answering questions and also hearing about some the cool stuff they've been doing in VB.NET. Lots of LINQ questions so far. Also caught some excellent sessions, including: getting published writing on "MS technologies", "XNA 3.0", "Silverlight" and "UX: Selecting the right technology." I also got a chance to chat with Brian Noyes, the author of the ClickOnce book I've been using on my current ......