Blogus Maximus

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March 2009 Entries

Today is release day for Guitar Hero Metallica. In a few minutes (9am) I'll head out and see if I can find it. Shouldn't be a problem, right? update: it appears I went out too early. Best Buy doesn't open until 10am. So I'll go find some breakfast instead. update: while eating breakfast, I get a call that VB has gotten out of the backyard. fortunately the neighbors have him. update: after the dog is squared away, pick up some supplies for game day and head back to Best Buy. update: Go to Best Buy ......

Silverlight Toolkit adds Visual Basic samples The Silverlight Toolkit March 2009 release is enhanced with Visual Basic source code for both Silverlight 2 and Silverlight 3. The Toolkit is a collection of controls, components and utilities made available outside the normal Silverlight release cycle. It includes full source code, unit tests, samples and documentation for 18 new controls covering charting, styling, layout, and user input, in addition to 11 professional themes. The team wants feedback ......

It's almost time for the next Twin Cities Code Camp!! April 4th is only a little over a week away. Don't forget to register! TCCC has moved this year, and the new address for code camp is: Computer Science and Engineering building (University of Minnesota campus) 4-192 EE/CS Building 200 Union Street SE Minneapolis, MN 55455 Visit the official website for directions, schedule and any other info you need ......

I ran into Jessica at the MVP Summit and again recently at the Roanoke Code Camp, where she gave some BI talks. Jessica is an interesting person who not only codes in VB, but she digs sci-fi as well. Definitely a geek after my own heart. Check out these NINE Questions with Jessica M. Moss: 1. We’ll start off with an easy one… where are you from? I’ve lived most of my life in, and I still consider my home base to be, a little Virginian town called Culpeper. With my current job and an hour long drive ......

One place VB support had been missing for a while was from Microsoft Patterns & Practices’ Composite Application Guidance for WPF and Silverlight. I'm happy to announce that the P&P team are now releasing VB versions of the QuickStarts, Hands-On Labs, and How-to Topics! Get it here! This download is provided to help the Visual Basic developer use the Composite Application Library. Please note that there is not yet 100% VB; however, this is a big step in the right direction. The VB code was ......

GDC: Future Of Games For Windows Live Microsoft announces in-game DLC, anti-piracy initiatives, and cloud feature saving for GFW Live, and execs talk to Gamasutra about removing the 100-friend limit, bringing XNA Community Games to Windows, and more. GDC: Q&A: Microsoft Announces XNA Game Studio 3.1, New Dev Kit, And More Microsoft has prepared a slate of developer-oriented announcements for GDC, including the latest Dream-Build-Play development contest, upgrades to its XNA Game Studio suite, ......

Now you can get one for < $200, but only for today. Check out Dell's 1 day special:

Mini 9

Of course, that's with Ubuntu, and an 8GB solid state drive, and 512MB of RAM. If you want to upgrade it, you're still going to spend close to $400.


Donn’s a pretty interesting guy I’ve known for a while now. He’s an active community leader and has had a rather interesting career path. I have been nagging him for an interview for some time. I’ll let him take it from here, in these NINE Questions with Donn Felker: 1. Where are you from? I recently moved to Minneapolis last year. However, I’m originally from Northern California (Redding area), and lived the last ten years in Phoenix, AZ. 2. What do you do / Who do you work for / What is your product? ......

It's time to get ready for CodeStock 2009! Last year, CodeStock saw 180 developers and IT professionals attend 30 sessions by high quality speakers. We've listed many of the great reactions from 2008 at http://wiki.codestock.org Since CodeStock 2008 we've seen two new user groups start up in Knoxville, TN and a new group start in Kingsport, TN. The area has added two new MVP's, and the idea started at CodeStock of holding an Open Spaces conference along side a traditional "eyes front" conference ......

We got snowed out in March, so Jeff Brand has graciously agreed to try again in April!! Developing and Deploying Your Windows Azure Application In this session we will take a tour of the capabilities of the Microsoft cloud platform, “Windows Azure”, by building and running an application using the platform SDK. The sample app highlights some of the features of the platform including UI, service management, storage, and an integrated developer experience. This is a demo-heavy session. April 14, 2009 ......

Overall, not bad. This last season didn't start well for me, and I almost considered dropping it from my TiVo... but I stuck with it, and it did get better. The last 4 episodes were actually quite good, IMO. The FINAL final episode though, well... I liked the ending even if it was a bit predictable. Overall, I though it was a bit too long. I would have been happier with about 90 minutes instead of two hours. Seemed like too much filler, I dunno. The final disposition of Starbuck was interesting. ......

Nearly* every female I know, aged 14 - 45 won't shut up about the Twilight books (and movie.) I went by Borders friday night and it looked like an Anne Rice Jr convention (before she started writing only about Jesus.) I really don't get the hype, but pretty much everywhere I turn around, people are going on and on about the pasty white dude and his oddly average and unappealing girlfriend. (*Save the hatemail, I did say "nearly", not "all") So... not being one to judge from a position of ignorance, ......

Why? Why why why why can't I get HHGttG on my Kindle 2?

If ever there was a book that belonged on this device (which with unlimited access to wikipedia AND Wikitravel basically IS the Hitchhiker's Guide) it would be Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy... but Amazon doesn't offer it. The other books are there, but not that one. 

Why?


If you're into FRPGs (and if I have to break that down, you probably aren't) and you like MMOs and PBBGs and Game Development, you should definitely check out this blog. While you're at it, check out Perenthia too, because that's his pet project, it uses .NET and it's pretty cool. There's even a fan site for it already, and it's not even out of development yet. Good stuff Cameron ......

A funny thing happened on my way to work this morning. Since I'm on an extended travel gig, I've been listening to a lot of audiobooks. My car stereo can play mp3 and wma files directly from a data disk, so I can usually cram multiple books on a single CD (often giving me 10-12 hours of audio on 1 disk) instead of the usual 6-10 disks of audio tracks. These audiobooks make the 6 hour drive (each way) a lot more interesting, and I usually get so wrapped up in the story that I also try to listen to ......

As I mentioned before, I've been using Win7 full time on my laptop. Win7 ships with IE8 beta which has some nice improvements, but overall isn't ready for prime time just yet (such are the perils of beta software.) My recent experiences with FireFox 3 (prior to installing Win7) have left me somewhat cold, so my browser of choice has been Google Chrome. Overall, I really like Chrome a lot and there have only been a few instances where it wouldn't work well with something. One of those things is a ......

Dear clueless fools who stumble upon my blog as a result of Google searches, I do NOT work for Microsoft. You may occasionally see the Microsoft logo on my site. If you look closely, you'll see it's always part of a larger design. It does NOT mean I work for Microsoft. I can not fix your xbox 360, no matter if it's the RROD or otherwise. (I realize this is because my blog is the FIRST hit for "xbox 360 return process" but come on people... look around.) I can not help you if you bricked your Zune. ......

Those of you that know me, know I'm not a treehugger at all. In fact, I'm the guy that thinks it would be cool if our planet was a little more like Coruscant (just one big city, covering the entire planet. Who needs trees and stuff?) But... I've been using freecycle for a few years now, and it's pretty cool. If you haven't heard of freecycle.org, you owe it to yourself to check it out. The concept is pretty simple. You have stuff you no longer need or want. I have stuff I no longer need or want. ......

Looking good guys...

Check it out

I'm loving Win7 big time, and every time I see stuff like this, I get even more excited. I can't wait for the final Win7 to get here already.


This Saturday is Worldwide D&D Game Day 2009.

If you're looking for a chance to try out the new 4e system (and decide for yourself... don't listen to the haters out there) stop by your FLGS and sit in on a game. Everything you need to play will be on hand, including pregenerated characters.

For more info, visit: Wizards


I used to be a big WWF fan. Monday Night Raw was the night a bunch of us got together each week and yelled at the tv for two hours. I could tell you all the backstory and win/loss stats for most of the major "characters." Eventually I stopped watching it, but I usually come back every couple years to see what's changed. Usually not much. Tonight I flipped it on, since I'm in the hotel with nothing else to watch... The stories haven't really changed, other than the addition of new performers. Triple ......

This week, Thursday March 19 at 6:00PM: The Twin Cities XNA User Group will feature Andy (The ZMan) Dunn. Andy will be discussing Best Practices for submitting your game to the XBOX Live Community Games, along with some interesting stories of how (and how NOT) to work with peer review to get your game passed. Those of you who have met Andy before know what an entertaining speaker he is. If you haven't heard one of his talks, then you really don't want to miss this one. After the meeting, we'll be ......

INETA Board of Directors On Tuesday, INETA (the International .NET Association) announced the results of their Board of Directors elections. I'm pleased to announce that I was nominated and elected to a Board of Directors position, effective March 3, 2009. While I am a firm believer in INETA and their mission, I've been as vocal as anyone (and certainly more than some) about what I perceive to be some of the problems with INETA. I see this as my opportunity to address some of those concerns and hopefully ......

Just heard about this... figured I would share. "We have made a change to previously published agendas. The (TechEd 2009) attendee party will no longer take place, however we are planning an alternative social gathering which will continue to provide a great opportunity for attendees to network with each other in a fun social setting. Additionally this year you will receive a full copy of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 when released to market as part of registration." So I'm guessing maybe ......

We Are the Masters of the Twitterverse How did we ever survive without social networks? I asked myself that today and couldn’t come up with an answer I liked. If I need to find contact information for that DBA I worked with three jobs ago, it’s off to LinkedIn or Plaxo. When I’m wondering about that guy from high school who was going to be a world famous rock star, Facebook is only a couple of clicks away. Out of town for a conference? No worries, I just check Twitter to see where my friends are. ......

Challenging IT Promotion “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain...” (Quote from Harvey Dent in the movie, The Dark Knight by Warner Brothers Pictures) I know, you’re rolling your eyes and wondering why I’m quoting comic book movies. Bear with me, there’s a point here. In our industry there is a trend of promoting good technical people past their level of effectiveness. Yes, we’re talking about the Peter Principle. You all know someone who was an excellent ......

Eight Evil Things Microsoft Never Showed You in the ClickOnce Demos (and What You Can Do About Some of Them) ClickOnce is a powerful and easy-to-use deployment technology that offers a relatively hassle-free experience for the end user when properly configured. The developer story for ClickOnce varies from super simple to maddeningly complicated, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. I recently wrapped up a project where ClickOnce was a large part of the release strategy, and also responsible ......

Those of you that do Game Development, how many of you are also doing TDD (Test Driven Development) as part of the process? I've recently made a promise to myself that I would start doing more TDD in my projects (ok ok, doing "any" would qualify as more, technically...) and I find myself at a loss for what to actually test. It seems easier in traditional projects, but in game development where you rely on random things and generated things and player input things, I'm curious what you (those of you ......

David Penton is another one of those folks that I’ve known for a while via the InterTubes but never had the pleasure of meeting in person until the MVP Summit. He also works on one of my favorite products, which means if I have any questions… he’s the first name on my list. After hanging out in Seattle for a few days, I realized I hadn’t yet done a NINE Questions interview on David, so today’s your lucky day: 1. Where are you from? I was born and bred in Dallas, TX. I've lived in the Dallas area ......

If you're a subscriber to my favorite .NET mag, CoDe Magazine, you've probably already seen my latest article: Dances With Workflows. If you haven't, here's an excerpt: Dances with Workflows (One Newbie’s Journey) Recently I started working with a client that was interested in using Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) in their application. Having never used WF before, I thought it might be interesting to document the experience and my assumptions as I started learning and implementing the technology ......

It’s been a really long day today. Around 4:30am I got in the car and headed off to South Dakota for the week. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it. I did eventually make it home safely though. I think my Twitter stream tells the story as well or better than I could, so here you go: chrisgwilliams: driving sucks this AM. only gonna get worse about 11 hours ago from mobile web · Reply · View Tweet tedneward: @chrisgwilliams Be safe out there. about 11 hours ago from web · Reply · View Tweet chrisgwilliams: ......

I’ve known Suzanna (aka @ZannaBanana on Twitter) for some time, but we finally met in person at the MVP Summit last week. Fortunately for me (and you, dear reader) she was willing to do a NINE Questions interview. If you’ve ever wondered just what an MVP Lead actually does, read on: 1. Where are you from? (if it's different than where you are now, please feel free to elaborate.) I was born in San Francisco, CA and grew up in northern California. I attended college in the small town of Arcata, CA ......

I’ve known Lou Vega a really long time and he’s a terrific guy. He’s the leader of the Charleston, SC .NET User Group (GC.NUG) and uber geek extraordinaire. I’ve been bugging Lou for a while to do a 9Q interview, and when he finally got back to me I ended up shelving it for a couple months. (Sorry about that man… travel gigs are a bear.) So without further ado, here’s Lou: 1. Where are you from? (if it's different than where you are now, please feel free to elaborate.) Hmmm – I was an “army brat” ......

It's been brought to my attention that I'm no longer "King of the Hill" in terms of top posts on GeeksWithBlogs.NET anymore. That honor now belongs to D'Arcy Lussier. Congrats man, you deserve it.

Except there's one problem. By writing this post, I have unintentionally placed you back in the #2 position... D'Oh! Sorry Bro.

See ya at 2000 posts.