D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Microsoft

There are 334 entries for the tag Microsoft

The Most Epic MVP Attendee Party EVAR in Three Acts!

Last week was the Microsoft MVP Global Summit, where Microsoft brings together their independent experts and community leaders for a week of sessions, product group interactions, and some fun along the way. These nights are always epic, stretching into the wee hours of the morning. I brought my camera and flipcam with me this year to capture the events, and so I give you The Most Epic MVP Attendee Party EVAR in Three Acts! It has everything – Playing football on an NFL field, singing karaoke with ......

2012 Exciting Year in Microsoft Space

We’re only in February, but the rest of the 10 months left in 2012 look to be very interesting in the Microsoft space with products that Developers and IT Pros will find intriguing. Redmond Channel Partner posted a great article outlining what products we can expect to make an appearance this year and when. Some highlights: Windows 8/Windows Server 8 Well we all know this is coming, and that it will be a huge focus of Microsoft’s marketing (once their people are actually allowed to talk about it). ......

3 Reasons to Attend Prairie Dev Con–West

We’re well under 2 months to Prairie Dev Con – West in Calgary, and it appears some of you need an extra push to register. So why attend? Well, there’s the three days and over 80 sessions spanning software development, IT Pro, and Agile topics. There’s the pre-conference workshops available on WP7, TFS, and Agile as well as the Microsoft IT Pro Camp and Azurefest events. And there’s the value – comparable conferences in other cities will run you almost double the cost in registration, hotel, and ......

Prairie Dev Con West–MS TechDays Sessions Posted!

They’ve arrived! Microsoft is bringing a number of sessions from their popular TechDays events to Prairie Dev Con West in Calgary and they’re now posted on the site! In addition to fantastic SharePoint, SQL Server, mobile, and cloud sessions, there’s more great content for those in the IT Pro world: System Center, VIrtualization, Lync, and more! Check out all the TechDays content by visiting the Sessions page and selecting TechDays from the filter list! http://www.prairiedevcon.co... And a ......

MVP Program Thoughts for New Awardees

I received the good news on Jan 1st that, for the 4th year in a row, I was awarded a Microsoft MVP award for ASP.NET/IIS. There’s some movement as there always is – some people not getting renewed their MVP award, new people attaining it. Some people have publically voiced how they turned down the award or just didn’t bother working for it for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into here. There’s also been some passionate Twitter discussions around community and groups and how valid they are, ......

2011 Year in Review and 2012 Predictions

2011 has been a fantastic year for so many different reasons, and its laid the groundwork for a fantastic 2012 to come! Online Business Systems In February I started with Online Business Systems, a technology and business consulting company based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba but with offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Portland, Minneapolis, and Toronto. Coming to online was the best decision I’ve ever made in my career. The mentorship and nurturing, the opportunities and support, and the culture of the organization ......

Top Three Reasons Phil Haack Quit Microsoft

When Rob Conery left Microsoft I gave a blog retrospective on possible reasons behind his exit. Today I’m happy to reload the cannon and aim it square at the latest Microsoftie to hand in his blue badge – Phil Haack. Phil has been a huge part of why Microsoft MVC is a success, and his contributions have changed the way web development is done on the Microsoft platform. So why leave, and why leave to Github? Couldn’t he have just switched to the TFS team if he liked code repositories so much? Well, ......

Dell XPS + Apple Mini-Display Adaptor + Projector = KABOOM

Remember how I blogged about rolling with the punches? So today my buddy and Prairie Dev Con speaker James Chambers went to present on Microsoft MVC. He brought his fancy new Dell XPS laptop, which he had used to do presentations and stream internet video to a projector before. But today, the technology gods were not smiling… James tries to connect his laptop to the projector. Nothing. The projector just can’t recognize the connection. Realize that we’ve already had two sessions in that room already, ......

Announcing Prairie Dev Con West in Calgary March 2012!

I’m very excited to announce that we’ll be bringing the Prairie Developer Conference to Alberta in early 2012! I started Prairie Developer Conference in Regina in 2010 as an option to high cost remote conferences, and its become a huge success! With the announcement that Microsoft TechDays won’t be returning to Alberta this year, I think Prairie Dev Con can definitely fill that gap and provide Albertans with a fantastic professional development opportunity! Here are the details: When: March 13 – ......

Thoughts on Steve Jobs Death from a Non-Mac Fanboi

In the hours since Steve Jobs death was announced, the world has seemingly fallen into a conjoined state of mourning…well, at least according to my Twitter feed. Quotes Steve made over the years fill the stream, along with reports of people gathering at Apple stores with some garnering memorials outside their doors. Very rarely has someone from the corporate world garnered such a response to their passing. Even more rarely does a corporate individual get a statement from the US President. But its ......

The //Build Report–Thoughts on the Event

So its been a few weeks since Microsoft’s Build conference, where they unveiled Windows 8 and shared what the developer story will be. I had blogged about Day 1 of the conference here, but I wanted to share some video I took with my colleagues Winson Woo and Jim Russell as my thoughts now that a bit of time has lapsed. So first, a video captured right after we got our hands on the Samsung tablet given to all attendees. Yes the tablet is nice, but this conference is all about the OS. Windows 8 as ......

Winnipeg .NET User Group–Dev Intro to Windows 8

At the Build conference this month Microsoft unveiled Windows 8, their next operating system. Windows 8 is a huge paradigm shift from previous versions of Windows and with that comes changes to the developer story. Join us for this special Winnipeg .NET User Group event where D'Arcy Lussier, Microsoft Practice Lead at Online Business Systems, shows you what the future of Windows application development looks like for the client, the server, and the cloud! We'll be giving away a free conference pass ......

//Build/ Day 1–How to Create a Successful Metro App with Jensen Harris

Fantastic afternoon session by Jensen Harris on how to create a successful metro app. One of the big pushes will be the Windows 8 marketplace. Part of having a successful app is ensuring it adheres to best practices on design and usability to ensure a fantastic user experience. Because Windows 8 will have such a different approach to UX, including touch-first, its important that considerations are made up front. Here are my notes. Metro Style Design Use the Templates and Guidelines Templates will ......

Live Blogging Build Keynotes

We're 10 minutes away from the Build keynote, and I'm going to be live blogging the event. Now, to be clear, you shouldn't just read this - I mean, the keynotes are streaming live online. But I want to capture my thoughts on the announcements as they happen. So without further ado, let's start!And we're done! Great keynote, lots of content! However, we still don't have our schedule! LOL...off for lunch.11:16 - The path to RTM: Beta, RC, RTM, GA - Driven by quality and not a date, I'm ok with that.11:11 ......

//Build/ - Day 0

Today was Day 0 of the Microsoft Build conference here in Anaheim - a day for attendees to travel, get their registration done early, and set up their session schedule for the remainder of the week.But this conference is quite different. Microsoft is holding its cards very tightly around Windows 8, and no information will really be available until after the initial keynote tomorrow. Normally when you register for a conference you already have access to the sessions - not so here. In fact the Build ......

Book Review: Agile Project Management with Scrum

I’ve learned, from conference sessions and user group meetings, that Agile is best learned in action – being part of a game or activity that explains Agile, having lively discussion with people, or (best yet) being part of an Agile project. We still get a large amount of learning from books though, and so while Agile books may do a good job explaining the methodologies and techniques, its never as good as having some context to stand it up against. Enter Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken ......

Book Review: Screw It, Let’s Do It

Last month at the Microsoft WPC I had the opportunity to see Richard Branson do a live Q&A during one of the morning keynotes. I honestly knew very little about Branson, other than he headed up Virgin – which was, what, a music, mobile phone, and airline company that was also looking into space travel? My education into all things Branson was about to begin. You can see the entire video of the Q&A from the WPC site here, but what was really awesome was the initial intro video that gave a ......

Microsoft WPC Recap and Blog Links

Last week I was at the Microsoft WPC conference in Los Angeles. I’ve been to other Microsoft developer conferences like Tech Ed and PDC before, but this was my first WPC and it was a great experience. For one thing, the target audience is blatantly business, sales, and marketing. It was a weird feeling attending a Microsoft conference and not knowing *anybody* (although some familiar faces were found). I have links below to notes I made for the individual days of the conference, but I wanted to point ......

Microsoft WPC–Day 5 (Thursday)

Last day of WPC, so what should we start with? You guessed it – KEYNOTES! But Thursday was all about the regional keynotes, so all the Canadian partners packed into a room to hear from Canadian Microsoft executives. In Canada there are three different groups within Microsoft Canada – Small/Medium Business, Enterprise Business, and DPE. While in the past partners were slotted into one of the different groups, now moving forward we’re all just identified as playing in a certain area, not committed ......

Microsoft WPC–Day 4 (Wednesday)

We kick off Day 4 at, you guessed it, another keynote (maybe they should rename this to the Worldwide Partner Keynote Conference?). We kick off with the Canadian Tenors singing some song they wrote for the Vancouver Olympics, and then a parade of partners carrying their country’s flag enters. I feel like I’m at Folklarama back in Winnipeg. ;) So today we have some big names speaking. Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s COO and Sir Richard Branson are on the schedule. Kevin Turner If you have never seen Kevin ......

Microsoft WPC–Day 3 (Tuesday)

The keynote session for the morning was a mixture of things. It started with an all-female rock band singing Cold Play’s “Viva la Vida”, then had all partners-of-the-year winners parade on stage, and then we got into the specific messaging part. There were five separate keynotes this morning from different business units within Microsoft. First up was Cloud. Note that I didn’t say Azure, although that’s part of it. Azure is the public cloud, but Microsoft talked up the Private Cloud a lot at this ......

Microsoft WPC–Day 2 Con’t…

A combination of lack-of-wifi, long bus rides, and no time to spare is getting me behind in my blog posts for WPC. Below is what happened the afternoon on Day 2 (Monday). I have lots more to post from yesterday and today, hopefully I get around to it tonight. Anyway, about Day 2… We were supposed to meet with some members of the Microsoft Digital Marketing team, but they no-showed (thanks guy! :\ ). That was ok though, as the wi-fi in the one-on-one meeting area was *way* better than the rest of ......

Microsoft WPC–New Order

To kick off the WPC earlier today, Microsoft brought in Japanese artists New Order. They were fantastic, blending a version of the video below with some WPC-specific shots, and then coming live to the stage to perform a great dance number. The version of the song at WPC was in English, but still sounds great in its original language (if anyone finds video from the WPC performance, please post a link in the comments!) Update: Someone pointed out this video as well, and the performance at WPC used ......

Microsoft WPC–Day 1 and 2

I'm down in Los Angeles this week for my first ever Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference! This is the biggest industry conference I've ever attended, with more than 15000 people from around the world! It's also a bit different too because I don't know *anybody* here. WPC is more of a business/sales/marketing type of conference, not so much technical. As a result, its an entirely different crowd than the usual suspects at TechEd, PDC, etc. That's not a bad thing though! I'm meeting some great people ......

Microsoft Canada TechDays 2011–New Format

There’s a new format for TechDays 2011 this year. Damir posted all the details on the Canadian IT Pro blog, but in a nutshell: Only 3 cities this year: Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal Greater online content and year-long updating of content (so TechDays becomes an online content hub of sorts) While it is unfortunate that some cities aren’t going to get an event this year, I think there’s still some great opportunity within those markets. For instance in Winnipeg there’s already a group of us talking ......

WP7 Mango Beta–SQL CE Resources

One thing that’s really got me pumped about the Mango OS update is the inclusion of SQL Compact baked right in. We don’t need to include extra assemblies to get database functionality for our apps, as SQL Compact is a native component in Mango! Before we get all excited thinking we’ll have a full on visual designer experience when developing our apps, realize that this is still an isolate storage based data file that you’ll be using LINQ to SQL to access. There’s no visual designer (yet), which means ......

Silverlight Death Trolls Dancing on XAML’s Grave

I’m starting to see a whole bunch of tweets and blog posts on how Silverlight/WPF is dead, or how the XAML team has been disbanded at Microsoft, or how someone predicted Silverlight would die, blah blah blah. They all have a similar ring to it though: “Told ya so!” “They were stupid ideas anyway!” “Serves Microsoft right, boy are they dumb!” Let me tell you something, all those that are gleefully raving about Silverlight/WPF’s demise are nothing more than death trolls. Let’s assume that everything ......

Solutioners, Solutioners, Solutioners, Solutioners…

I’m crazy excited about the technology industry right now. We’re seeing evolution happen in real time, and at all levels. From the major platforms, we’re seeing Google’s overall story taking shape, Microsoft playing catch-up but showing with WP7 and Windows 7 that they are very much still a competitor, and Apple continuing to bolster their empire beyond fanboys with their quality technology and innovations. Then there’s the software platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and others that are ......

AzureFest Comes to Winnipeg!

There’s a lot of buzz about cloud computing right now: how it works, how you develop for a cloud platform, how you deploy your applications, what are the gotchas and nuances, etc. For those wondering these things about Microsoft’s cloud offering, Azure, the upcoming AzureFest event will answer those questions for you! Occurring May 19th from 5:30 – 9:00 at Online Business Systems, and featuring Microsoft Developer Evangelist John Bristowe, this FREE event will give you a solid grounding for developing ......

WP7–Mango Introducing Private Marketplace

One of the questions I get asked most about WP7 is what the enterprise story is. With the initial release of WP7, there isn’t one…at least not like iPhone which offers an internal server application for distributing apps within an organization, or BlackBerry with their BEZ server. Currently all apps need to go through the AppHub marketplace for WP7. A friend of mine working on a non-public app worked around this by requiring a seperate unlock key to be used, but this isn’t practical over the long ......

WP7–Getting Picture Taking Code to Work

Doing some final prep for speaking at this week’s Winnipeg IE9/WP7 bootcamp and ran into an issue with one of the demos. It’s a picture taking sample, showing how to programmatically implement functionality to interact with the phone’s camera. In the emulator everything worked fine, but when I deployed to my device I’d continually get a “User Cancelled” message after trying to snap a pic (this was coded in the event that the user cancelled taking the picture). A quick ping to WP7 MVP Mark Arteaga ......

WP7–Where’s My Update?!

“Where’s my update?!”

If you’re one of the many WP7 owners who are asking that same question, good news: Microsoft has created a site that you can check the status for your country and your phone/carrier.

You can check it out here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/features/update-schedule.aspx

D



VS.NET 2010 SP1, Win 7, Parallels, and a MBP–Hell, my friends…HELL!

LightSwitch Beta 2 is out. That’s how all this started. All I wanted was to install it on my MBP’s Win7 Parallels VM. But as I’m finding with running a Win7 VM on a MBP, nothing is as easy as it should be. First my MBP froze during the SP1 installation. Not my VM crashing, the entire machine freezing…no mouse, nothing. Had to do a hard reset. BLECH. Then we’re back and I try to re-install SP1 (since the first try obviously failed). I get met with a dialog asking me where silverlight_sdk.msi was. ......

Winnipeg IE9/WP7 Boot Camp April 5th!

Microsoft, along with local Winnipeg-based company Online Business Systems, are bringing you the IE9/WP7 Boot Camp event on April 5th! This is a *FREE* full day event with four sessions (2 on WP7, 2 on IE9) and will provide you with a great understanding of the technologies and how to leverage them! I’ll be presenting the WP7 sessions, and Lyle Bryant will be presenting the IE9 sessions. We’re holding this event at the Imax theatre, and will be providing breakfast and lunch! We’ll also have great ......

WP7–Samsung Owners Should Hold Off on the Update

Microsoft released an update for WP7 that’s meant to improve updating the devices going forward. They’ve identified a glitch though, specifically with Samsung phones. From Winrumors: A number of Windows Phone 7 users applied the patch on Monday and some Samsung Omnia owners devices have been left in a “bricked” state. Devices simply instruct users to connect them to a PC, hard resetting the device or connecting it to a PC does not appear to solve the issue. Microsoft has also been advising users ......

First 100 Registrations to Prairie Dev Con Get a Free 1 Month Subscription to TekPub!

Thanks to our generous friends at TekPub, the first 100 registrants to the Prairie Developer Conference will receive a complimentary 1 month subscription to TekPub’s content! We’ll also be giving away 2 year long subscriptions at the conference as well! TekPub is the creation of Rob Conery and James Avery. They offer web-based learning videos covering a wide variety of topics that span Microsoft, Ruby, Open Source, Linux, Best Practices, and more…there’s literally an embarrassment of technology learning ......

Prairie Dev Con 2011 – Session List Sneak Peak

I’m trying to find time to update the Prairie Developer Conference 2011 website, and the sessions and speaker information will be up by this weekend including the registration page. For those that are wondering what the session and speaker list looks like, I wanted to give a sneak peak. We have a fantastic set of sessions by world class technologists! We’re covering .NET, Java, Ruby, SQL Server, Agile, User Experience, Mobile, Security, Azure, Office, SharePoint, and others. In fact, this year I’ve ......

New Year, New Position, New Opportunity and Adventures!

2010 was an incredible year of change for me. On the personal side, we celebrated our youngest daughter’s first birthday and welcomed my oldest daughter into our family (both my girls are adopted). Professionally, I put on the first ever Prairie Developer Conference, the 3rd annual Winnipeg Code Camp, the Software Development and Evolution Conference, continued to build the technology community in Winnipeg, was awarded a Microsoft MVP award for the 4th year, created a certification program to help ......

January Winnipeg .NET User Group Event

We’ve had some problems with the Winnipeg .NET UG website, but things are getting sorted out and the site should be back up very shortly. In the meantime, here’s info on our January event and how to register. This is also a Microsoft sponsored event, so we’ll have some great swag to give away. As always, pizza will be provided! When: Wednesday, January 26th Where: 17th Floor Conference Room, Richardson Building Session: Taking your Windows Phone Apps to the Next Level with Tombstoning Speaker: Tyler ......

Winnipeg SQL Server UG January Event

January Event - Highlights From PASS Summit January 19th, 2011 5:30 - 8:00 17th Floor Conference Room, Richardson Building One Lombard Place, Winnipeg Pizza and Drinks Provided! Presenter: Michael DeFehr This past November I attended the PASS summit in Seattle and SQL Connections in Las Vegas. In this session, I’ll go over the highlights of what I learned in these two weeks. SQL Server “Denali” (the next version of SQL server) was a big theme of both conferences, but I attended sessions on grouping ......

Prairie Dev Con 2011–Call For Speakers!

The Prairie Developer Conference is now accepting session submissions for our upcoming June 2011 event! We’re looking for compelling sessions featuring Microsoft, Java, Ruby, Agile, ALM, and pretty much anything that we think our attendees would find valuable and interesting!

Head on over to the Call For Speakers area of the site to get all the details and download the submission form!



MS TechDays – My WP7 Talk’s Links and Notes

I hope those that attended my Windows Phone 7 talk this morning at Winnipeg TechDays enjoyed it! As promised, below are relevant links and info from my session. Differences Between Silverlight on Windows and Windows Phone http://msdn.microsoft.com/e... Isolated Storage Best Practices for Windows Phone http://msdn.microsoft.com/e... Class Library Support for Windows Phone http://msdn.microsoft.com/e... ......

WP7 – Oh, You Wanted to Develop On Your New Phone? That’ll Cost Ya!

Had an interesting Twitter convo today about WP7 development. Question was raised on how to use a WP7 device as the deployment target from within VS.NET. Thinking that this would be an *obvious* question, I replied that you need to set the right value in one of the drop lists in the IDE… I did this, hooked up my device, then tried to run my app, just as a final test that it was as easy as I thought it would be. It wasn’t. So first, your phone can’t be locked, so make sure you unlock it. Also, don’t ......

WP7 – Samsung Focus May Never Do MMS? We’ll See…

I blogged last week about my experiences so far with my Samsung Focus on the Rogers network (phone is unlocked and branded AT&T). So far, so good, except for MMS – Multimedia messaging. In fact, nobody who’s using an unlocked Focus on a different network seems to be able to get this working. My buddy Colin did some digging and even contacted Samsung’s support account on Twitter. Here’s the horrendous response: Over at WPCentral they have an article talking about this issue, and they mention that ......

WP7 – About that “Turn Phone Into Mass Storage Device” Hack…

I blogged a while back about a WP7 hack that was making the rounds showing how to turn your phone into a mass-storage device (so like a USB drive basically). I got around to try it today, and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. Below are the directions (you can find these on a number of sites, the version below is from BigTech.com): Open Windows Registry Editor by typing regedit in your start menu Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ Then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\C... ......

WP7 – Creating Application and Marketplace Icons

I am not a designer. I like to think I have artistic ability, but let’s face it – my DLE Flash Card WP7 app’s icons are pretty lacking in a certain je-nais-se-quoi. Luckily Rick Engle wrote a great article over on the Expression website that walks us through the requirements for the icons as well as how to make them look pretty. Worthwhile read, check it out! http://expression.microsoft... D ......

WP7 and Micro SD Cards – What You Need To Know

This FAQ article came across my Twitter stream this afternoon. It’s related to the Samsung Focus, but this line suggests its a broad design feature of WP7 devices: Windows Phone 7 does not support freely swapping microSD Card in and out. ORLY!? Not only that but… Many commercially available retail microSD cards are not approved for use in Windows Phone 7. Use of unapproved cards may cause performance degradation or device instability including unexpected reset and loss of user data. A microSD card ......

WP7–Thoughts on Canadian Carrier Landscape

I had a whole blog post written up on the evils of Telus and how the “largest 3G network in Canada” doesn’t even run through two of the central provinces – Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Then I found out that they actually are 3G in SK and have the Windows Phone 7 devices listed as “coming soon”, so it would seem that Manitoba is the only province left out. Fine. Whatever. But that still leaves us with an interesting landscape here in Canada. We have three carriers committed to WP7 devices at launch: ......

Free Programming WP7 E-Book from MS Press

Microsoft Press is giving away Charles Petzold’s new Programming Windows Phone 7 book! This isn’t just a short intro-type book either. 24 chapters and over 1000 pages, this is a huge piece of Windows Phone 7 steak. You can download the e-book and the associated code examples from the MS Press blog here.



Invent Your Job, Don’t Look For One

There was a quote in The Social Network last night that struck me. I can’t remember it verbatum, but it sounded like the title of this blog post: Invent your job, don’t look for one. The context of The Social Network movie of course is Harvard students who create a revolution in social media and earn crazy money in the process. It’s a similar pattern to another software company from a few decades ago called Microsoft (interestingly, there’s a scene where Bill Gates is doing a presentation at Harvard ......

Get Your Special Edition WP7 User Group Kit!

Microsoft is making available user group kits around Windows Phone 7! You get everything you need to put on that special WP7 event: USB drive loaded with “everything you need to put on a fun and informative event” 5 USB drives for your group, containing templates and tools to get started developing apps. Swag including t-shirts, WP7 eGrips and Neoprene phone holders. There’s a limited quantity available, so head over to the site below to order your kit today! http://ms.kpcorp.com/wp7eve... ......

Speaking at Microsoft TechDays Winnipeg

Microsoft TechDays has been rolling through Canada over the last few months, and we’re coming up to the Winnipeg stop on the tour December 7 – 8! I’m going to be presenting two sessions at this year’s event: Building Web Forms Applications Made Easier with ASP.NET 4 and New IDE and Language Features in Microsoft VS.NET 2010 Using Visual Basic and C# I also have a local flavours track submission in for telling my own development story around Windows Phone 7 (which, if you’ve been following my blog, ......

SDEC10 Is In The Books!

For the second year in a row, my employer Protegra entrusted myself and my colleague Ryan Caliguiri to put on the Software Development and Evolution Conference here in Winnipeg. Last year we did a one day event with 15 sessions featuring mainly Protegra presenters. This year we expanded it to two days, 24 sessions, and brought in speakers from various companies and from out of town. And from the surveys we collected, this was another hugely successful conference! A big thanks to the presenters for ......

Windows Phone 7 App Hub Launched

I posted just the other day about some intricacies with the Windows Phone marketplace. I got some intel that the info that was available was outdated and that the program had changed, but nothing official was available online yet. Well, now its official, and the changes are definitely developer friendly! Instead of it being just a phone marketplace, Microsoft has combined the Windows Phone and XBOX Live development programs under one program. Registering for the App Hub allows you to submit for both ......

Windows Phone 7 Launch – Thoughts and Canadian Availability

Just finished watching the Windows Phone 7 launch event that streamed live from NYC this morning. Was a great event that really set the stage for the platforms launch next month. My general thoughts are that the platform looks very promising and Microsoft is definitely leveraging lessons learned from Apple and Google’s phone offerings as well as the various platforms that they’ve developed (.NET, Silverlight, XNA, Zune, etc.). Of course, until people actually get their hands on the devices and put ......

Adventures with Windows Phone 7 – The Marketplace

With the upcoming announcements around Windows Phone 7, I thought now would be a good time to dive into the platform and see what its all about. For those thinking that writing apps for the WP7 platform would be like writing apps for any other platform, prepare for a reality check (unless you’ve written XNA apps for the XBOX Live marketplace…I’m assuming the process is somewhat similar). A key aspect of the WP7 experience is the Marketplace – a Microsoft controlled gateway to getting your mobile ......

Winnipeg September Tech Community Events

It’s that time of the year when the local Winnipeg technology communities start ramping up! There are two group events this month to be aware of: .NET UG – September 21 Amir Barylko presents Iron Ruby and .NET: A Match Made in Heaven! Ruby is an awesome language that is quite popular nowadays. The beautiful expressive syntax of Ruby and the tools and frameworks that have been built around it (Rake, Rails, Sinatra, rSpec, Cucumber, etc) makes it an excellent candidate to match a wide variety of our ......

Oracle Open World – Thoughts on Eliason Keynote

So last night I started seeing the #oow10 hashtag show up on Twitter, along with comments about cloud computing, Oracle, and how horrible the HP portion of a presentation was. Turns out that OOW10 stands for Oracle Open World 2010, Oracle’s annual conference. They were live streaming the keynote and Larry Ellison was on the stage so I thought I’d check it out. First thought of the presentation was how unpolished it seemed. Keep in mind that all the tech-related keynotes I’ve seen have been at Microsoft ......

Last Day for SDEC10 $299.99 Price!

Today is the last day for the $299.99 early bird price for the Software Development and Evolution Conference 2010 happening in Winnipeg this October! The conference is 2 days of sessions spanning development, management, methodologies, and technology topics and features a wide range of local and out of town presenters! We’re also very happy to announce that Microsoft has graciously provided two free passes to the upcoming Tech Days 2010 event in Winnipeg this December, so we’ll be giving those away ......

w00t – 70-516 Exam Defeated!

So proud to say that I defeated the 70-516 Microsoft exam which covered data access with .NET 4.0! Obviously because of rules around taking Microsoft exams I can’t get into details about what I encountered, the things the questions focussed on, etc. But really I don’t have to since Microsoft is listing really good details on what’s covered and what percentage of the exam you can expect questions from the different areas. Experience obviously plays a role in determining how successful you’ll be, but ......

Mystery of the Uncooperative VS.NET 2010 Installation Resolved, or If Life Gives you Lemons…

…make a LEMON GRENADE! I blogged a few days ago about this maddening issue with VS.NET 2010 and not being able to use the designer for ASP.NET 3.5 projects or add an EF model file to a .NET 4.0 project (You can read all the gory details here). Well my friends, I’m happy to report that I have a solution! Well, not a solution…but a workaround…kinda like how they dumped Megatron into the ocean at the end of Transformers instead of dismantling him: the threat is still there, just dormant. Unfortunately ......

Software Development is Hard, Get Over It!

So I'm on this private email group and a discussion starts by someone pointing out this blog post which talks about the Microsoft.Data.dll and the Microsoft.Data namespace. From the blog post: It’s an awesome new assembly/namespace that contains everything you’ll ever need to access a database. In ASP.NET WebPages we wanted people to be able to access the database without having to write too many lines of code. ... The user doesn’t have to learn about connection strings or how to create a command ......

MVCConf Videos Posted!

Last Thursday was the first ever MVCConf – a virtual conference around Microsoft MVC Framework, and it looks to have been a great success! I wasn’t able to make it to any of the sessions, and if you’re in the same boat then you and I are both in luck: the organizers recorded all the presentations and have posted them for viewing! You can access all the conference content here ......

Mystery of the Uncooperative EF Model and the Missing Target Frameworks

I’m prepping this week for the 70-515 exam I’m taking on Friday, and I thought I’d go through some VS.NET 2010 labs as part of my prep. One of them has to do with setting up a WCF service, where you create a web application and then add an Entity Framework model file to the project. Right click, Add New Item, Entity Framework file, and… Huh. Well that’s weird, considering that this is a .NET 4.0 web application project in Visual Studio.NET 2010…how can it not resolve to the target framework? So I ......

Microsoft PDC10 – A Sign of the Times

When I did the Prairie Developer Conference it was with the idea that you don’t need to have a large-scale event to have a quality event. Other conferences like DevLink, CodeStock, and HDC are smaller scale yet all very successful, and it was their model that I tried to emulate. Contrast that with Tech Ed and PDC events from the last few years. Large cities (New Orleans, Orlando, Los Angeles), large venues, large staff requirements, and large…well, pretty much everything. The feedback I’ve heard ......

Microsoft Partner Program – Keeping Pace With a Moving Target

This year Microsoft revamped their partner program with changes to eligibility requirements, competencies, and other areas. In this post I want to talk about some changes to the competency requirements. The idea of competencies aren’t new, however this year we’re seeing Microsoft take a more serious view of who they allow into their partner program. Because of this, achieving those competencies are more difficult and require more investment. The idea is that only serious partners participate. Microsoft ......

Good Grades Don’t Solve World Problems

I’m going to toot my own horn here for a bit, highlighting some accomplishments from the last almost-decade I’ve been in the IT industry: Stayed up almost 48 hours straight creating suite of Crystal Reports for a start-up company’s initial product (which launched at the end of that 48 hour period btw). Wrote my own markup language for declaring formatting within an XSL:FO doc that would be translated through a Java app to output a PDF. Introduced initial prototype of web-based application ported ......

Rob Conerey – Heretical Ranting in Norway

Saw this on Twitter tonight: Rob’s blog posts always generate some colourful comments, so when I see a tweet with his name and “Bridges were burnt”, I’m thinking this is going to be quite the talk. The talk in question is titled “The Next Big Thing or Cool-Kid Koolaid? Slicing Through the Rhetoric of MVC vs. WebForms”. Since Rob was part of the MS-MVC team at one point, getting his view of the MVC vs. Webforms debate does sound intriguing and I’m sure many attended thinking that’s what they were ......

Free Silverlight 4 Training Course on Channel 9

Want to learn what’s new in Silverlight 4 and how to develop using all the kewl new features, bells, and whistles? John Papa and Adam Kinney have put together a fantastic and expansive Silverlight 4 course and you can get all the materials online FOR FREE! To see what’s included and download the materials individually, check out the course page on Channel 9 here. Alternately, you can download all the materials in a single executable from this site. D ......

Announcing the Winnipeg Visual Studio.NET 2010 Launch Event!

That’s right Winnipeg, we’re having our own Visual Studio.NET 2010 launch event on May 11th brought to you by your local Winnipeg .NET User Group, Anvil Digital, Imaginet, Microsoft, and Protegra! We’re excited to bring a day of sessions highlighting developer productivity, application lifecycle management, and web development using these new technologies! We’re also thrilled to have this event at the IMAX Theatre at Portage Place! The day looks like this: The event is FREE and we’re providing a ......

HR According to Batman

Any idea who that guy is running alongside the Caped Crusader? That’s Nightwing, but you may know him as Robin…well, the first Robin anyway. There were actually like 5 Robin’s according to Wikipedia: Dick Grayson, the original, who’s parents were circus performers killed by a gangster. Jason Todd, who was caught trying to steal tires off of the Batmobile. Tim Drake, who saw Dick’s parents die and figured out who Batman and Robin were. and a few others that get into recent time travel/altered reality ......

Expectations + Rewards = Innovation

“Innovation” is a heavy word. We regard those that embrace it as “Innovators”. We describe organizations as being “Innovative”. We hold those associated with the word in high regard, even though its dictionary definition is very simple: Introducing something new. What our culture has done is wrapped Innovation in white robes and a gold crown. Innovation is rarely just introducing something new. Innovations and innovators are typically associated with other terms: groundbreaking, genius, industry-changing, ......

Winnipeg Code Camp – Thanks and Lessons Learned

I wanted to mention some thanks and share some things we did differently this year from previous code camps. First the thanks: Thanks to the Speakers! We had an amazing array of speakers volunteer their time and offer their expertise in a wide variety of subjects. We also had speakers come in from Boston, Edmonton, and Ottawa, and we thank those that travelled so far just to share with us. Thanks to the Sponsors! Putting on a code camp takes dollars and we’re very lucky in Winnipeg to have a number ......

March Winnipeg SQL Server UG Event – Damir Bersinic on SQL Server 2008 R2

We’re very happy to have Damir Bersinic from Microsoft come and present on SQL Server 2008 R2 on March 9th! Below is the event abstract: SQL Server 2008 R2 is coming soon featuring several breakthrough capabilities that will enable your organization to scale database operations with confidence, help improve IT and developer efficiency, and enable highly scalable and well managed Business Intelligence on a self-service basis for your users. Come and find out how these changes will impact your role ......

Right Employees + Happy Employees = Productive Employees

I’m sitting in an area of the Microsoft campus called The Mixer. It’s one of a number of buildings that comprise an area offering restaurants, cafeterias, patios, professional services (credit union, hair salon, etc.) for Microsoft employees. With water flowing through fountains and the soccer field in view, you have to appreciate how much Microsoft tries to make the workplace a comfortable and enjoyable one. I had a discussion with a colleague thinking of leaving their employer. They were given ......

MVP Summit 2010 – Day 1

So today was the first day of the Microsoft MVP summit, the annual conference where MVP’s from around the world congregate in the Seattle area to network, attend sessions, and interact with their respective product groups. Of course, there’s a bit of fun to be had as well, and the first day of the conference is no exception. The Canadian Clique went out for breakfast, picking up some US peeps along the way. We had breakfast at the Palomino. FANTASTIC food…steak and eggs is definitely recommended. ......

Prairie Developer Conference: Post Conference Workshop with Donald Belcham!

Note: Re-posted from the Prairie Developer Conference blog. The Prairie Developer Conference is pleased to announce that Microsoft MVP, author, and consultant Donald Belchamwill be leading a one day workshop on Friday, June 4th titled Making the Most of Your Brownfield Application Development! Pricing will be announced shortly, as will pricing for the conference in general and registration will be opening next week! Below is the abstract for the workshop. Making the most of Brownfield Application ......

Office 2007 – Not *really* OK with Office 2010

I bought into the hype as so many others did: Office 2010 could be installed side by side with Office 2007 on the same machine. I jumped in blindly, hoping beyond hope that there wouldn’t be any issues or weird nuances that typically plague a beta release. What was I thinking?! First off, Office 2010 and 2007 *can* be installed side by side…except for Outlook which is sort of a big deal. You can only run one version of Outlook on a machine at any given time. So while Word, Access, Excel, and PowerPoint ......

MVVM Compared To MVC and MVP

At the recent Calgary Tech Days event I did a presentation on building composite applications with WPF and Silverlight. One question that I get asked frequently when I get to the part of explaining MVVM is how its different from patterns that seem too similar or identical, with MVC and MVP typically being the two common ones raised. Usually my answer is that MVVM is very similar to the others, but it implies *stuff* that’s specific to Silverlight and WPF (how binding works, commanding, etc.). Unfortunately ......

November Winnipeg SharePoint User Group Event

The next Winnipeg SharePoint UG event will be on Tuesday, November 24th at 5:30 PM. Same location as always: 17th floor conference room at the Richardson Building (One Lombard Place). Pizza will be provided. Presentation abstract is below, and to register please visit our registration site here. Architecting SharePoint Solutions Presenter: Juan Larios During the last year or so, Juan Larios has been working for a local client and has had a chance to architect solutions to common problems that many ......

Each Team Needs A Star

I was thinking of getting a new football jersey…here are some options. What do you think? Now before you all start making funny comments about how none of these apply to the Falcons (jerks ;) ), how about we focus on the words themselves. Why don’t we see jerseys like these? Don’t we want to show off our teams abilities and talents? Yes and no. When I go to a professional football game, I assume that the players know how to tackle, catch a ball, throw a block, run the ball, etc. I assume the coaches ......

Silverlight Winnipeg – October Event Announced!

I’m very excited to announce the first Silverlight Winnipeg meetup! When: Tuesday October 27th, 5:30 PM to Whenever Where: Kings Head Pub (click here for a map) What: … The “What” may seem a bit different from other user group events that you’ve been to. For one, we’re not just aiming for Silverlight Winnipeg to be another user group. We want this to be a community of Silverlight developers and designers, people that are already immersed in the technology and want to connect with others who are like ......

SDEC09 Photos

Yesterday Protegra hosted the first annual SDEC conference in Winnipeg and it was a huge success! Early scans of the feedback are very positive, and a huge thanks to the attendees, speakers, our sponsors (Microsoft, O’Reilly, Destination Winnipeg, and Backbone Magazine) and the vendor staff (Seriously, if anyone in Winnipeg needs A/V services, talk to Inland). I’m meeting with my cohort Ryan this morning to debrief, so I’ll have a post with thoughts on running a conference coming up. In the meantime ......

Coming To A Western Canada City Near You!

I’ve got a few speaking gigs coming up that I’m pretty pumped about, also making for a busy Fall/Winter. Edmonton Code Camp – September 18 Finally I make my way to Edmonton! I’ll be doing two sessions on Silverlight development in the afternoon. These won’t be your typical video-in-a-button-spinning talks; instead I’ll be talking about how Silverlight as a technology works: what it can do, what it can’t do, its strengths and its deficiencies. We’ll also look at patterns and architecture for creating ......

What You Need To Know About IsolatedStorageSettings

I’m putting together some demos for an upcoming Silverlight talk I’m giving, and one of the topics is on Isolated Storage. For those not aware, Isolated Storage is the small sandboxed area of the users computer that a Silverlight application can write to and read from. You can access this space through reader and writer objects, but that might be overkill if you just need to set some values. In that case, the IsolatedStorageSettings class is your friend. This class lets you treat storing values for ......

Winnipeg SharePoint User Group September Event

The Winnipeg SharePoint UG is back for another year of events and presentations! This Month: Enhancing Connected SharePoint Lists in Outlook 2007 Eric Legault, Microsoft Outlook MVP It's really easy to link an Events, Contacts or Tasks list in WSS to Outlook 2007. But what if you had custom list fields or list views? These elements are not supported! But by using Visual Studio Tools for Office to build an Outlook COM Add-In consuming SharePoint Web Services, you can easily design a custom Form Region ......

Winnipeg SQL Server UG Launching in September!

I’m very pleased to announce the newest technical community to Manitoba: the Winnipeg SQL Server User Group, a PASS Associated Organization! Myself and Michael DeFehr are running this group and are excited to provide a forum for database professionals working in the Microsoft space. Here are the details for our first event: T-SQL Development: Bullet-Dodging and Spoon-Bending Michael DeFehr, Protegra Did you think you could dodge bullets with SQL server? Well if you learn some of these techniques, ......

Announcing SDEC09 – The Software Development and Evolution Conference!

On October 14th, 2009, Winnipeg will be the site of the first annual SDEC09 – Software Development and Evolution Conference, hosted by Protegra! We’re really excited to put this on and think its going to be an awesome event! The cost of the conference is $100 until September 18th and $150 after that. What do you get for that low admission fee? Three Tracks of Sessions: Development Foundation Skills Learn best practices on how to use developmental skills such as test driven development, SOLID principles, ......

Silverlight 3 FireStarter Live Meeting Sept 17th

Got this from my MS Dev Advisor John Bristowe: Register to attend the Silverlight 3 FireStarter event on Thursday, September 17th. We will have Scott Guthrie (@scottgu) keynote the event, followed by presentations from Tim Heuer (@timheuer), Brad Abrams (@brada), Karl Shifflett (@kdawg2) and others. At this event, we will focus on three (3) areas: · What’s latest and greatest in with the latest release of Silverlight · What’s happening in the world of Expression 3, and · Give you a run down on .NET ......

Hello World – My New Role And My Life’s Next Chapter

If you follow me on Twitter, read my blog, or have me on Live Messenger, you know that over the last few months I’ve had bouts of reflection, thoughtfulness, and philosophical rambling. Many of you have pinged me asking if everything was ok and I wanted to thank everybody who voiced concern, whether it was a tweet, an im conversation, an email, or breakfast in a Vancouver restaurant that I’m pretty sure was a front for a secret police command center. I couldn’t share with you what was on my heart ......

Top Three Reasons Rob Conery Quit Microsoft

News broke today over at WekeRoad.com that Rob Conery has decided to turn in his blue-badge and go back to the solo-scene (cue that music from the Hulk series where Bruce Banner is always walking down the road alone while the credits role). Now there will be much speculation on why Rob Conery chose to leave Microsoft. Some have already suggested that it was in a fit of jealous rage after hearing about Scott Hanselman’s promotion (which Rob has already stated isn’t the reason, and as you’ll see below ......

I Want A New Web…I Don’t Know What It Looks Like, But I Want A New One

So today I poked the proverbial sleeping bear that is the web-dev community by making this statement on Twitter: I'm a day in to using jquery and I'm already questioning why having an abstraction over a script-kiddie language is a good idea. This of course resulted in a flood of tweets in response asking if I was joking, suggesting that I fill my purse for the ensuing fight, and Caleb Jenkins yelling “One Flag”. I think I convinced people to put down the pitchforks and douse the torches (us Canadians ......

RIP Microsoft Soapbox

arstechnica.com is reporting that Soapbox is set to die August 31st. Soapbox was the Microsoft YouTube competitor, which never really garnered the same sort of following that YouTube did. I was a big SoapBox fan. It was nice to not need yet another username/password and associate instead to my Live account. If you have videos uploaded, Microsoft will allow you to download them up to the August 31st deadline. I have a *tonne* of videos that I’ll have to download and replace on my blog…hoping that ......

The Return of Justice Gray and What It Means for Our Industry

Nov 19, 2008 is a day that lives in infamy. It would mark the last day that Justice Gray would have any online presence for 6 months…a gap of silence that left the entire technology community collectively asking WTF. But then in May Justice resurfaced, the absurdity of the SharePoint Knights too much for even him not to comment on. That turned out to be but a teaser, for when July rolled around we saw Justice burst back on to the blogging scene as if he had never left. We were treated to posts such ......

Office 2010 – Feedback Via Smiles and Frowns

I installed the preview release of Office 2010 tonight. Just started playing through it, so I don’t have anything crazy whiz bang to report. However, for those of you doing an Office beta for the first time I wanted to share something I found in how we can submit feedback. This is nothing new. Apparently it was part of the Office 2007 beta and feedback program also. But for those of us that are unaware, hopefully this is insightful. After I installed Office, I noticed an interesting little application ......

Silverlight 3 Released!

The Plugin The Silverlight 3 browser plugin is now available. You can download it from here. The Tools To get the Silverlight 3 tools for VS.NET 2008 go here. Note that if you’re upgrading to Silverlight 3 on a development machine you *must* install the tools first before you can install the runtime. If you have an MSDN subscription, Blend 3 should be available to you either today or tomorrow. For those without a subscription but who want to try it out, you can get a trial version here. The Launch ......

Iteration 1 – Tales from a TDD Project

I just completed my first iteration on a project I was injected into at work. What makes this project interesting is the approach to software development as well as the technology makeup. Many developers wonder what its like to switch from traditional methods and adopt something like TDD or OSS tools like nHibernate, Rhino Mocks, Castle Project, etc. I wanted to share some thoughts and what my experiences have been after completing my first iteration in exactly that type of environment. TDD – Different, ......

Windows 7 RC – Limited/No Connectivity and Resolution

I upgraded my HP laptop with Win 7 RC, but ever since I’ve run into issues with my wireless and LAN devices. I could connect to my network, but not to the internet. I’d get “limited connectivity” messages and nothing seemed to fix it. It was really weird too, because I’d get internet for a few seconds and then *poof* it would be gone, but then when restarting I’d never get internet…there was never a solid pattern to the behaviour. Others were discovering this issue as well, as one thread on the TechNet ......

Components to enumerate web references aren’t installed and I need to do what now?!

I went to update a webservice reference in a web app and was greeted with a strange and somewhat disconcerting message… The components required to enumerate web references are not installed on this computer. Please re-install Visual Studio. Luckily, I didn’t have to reinstall Visual Studio as was suggested. Instead I just did what Joshua Morgan suggested on the MSDN forums: I ran: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe /resetskippkgs" and it worked for me. And that’s ......

Dev Teach Recap – Day 0

If the first day of DevTeach is any indication I’m going to be a wreck by the end of the week thanks to a lack of sleep and copious amounts of double quarter pounders with cheese at late night feedings. Flew in yesterday morning pretty early and got to the hotel at like 9ish. Luckily they had a room available and got me into my room. Four Seasons FTW! After meeting up with the usual suspects for breakfast (Donald, Rob, Gary, and my Winnipeg compadre Dylan) and some hang time, we headed to Microsoft’s ......

Protegra Geek Dinner – Great Success!

We had a great time last night hosting our first ever Geek Dinner at the King’s Head Pub! Phil Mok from Protegra presented on his recent work with the Microsoft MVC framework and we all enjoyed some good food and drinks. Thanks to all that came out, and thanks to Wrox and Phil Haack for hooking us up with some MVC books to give away ......

Better Serving Community – Interaction over Presentation

John Oxley tweeted Brainstorming ideas on how we can better serve the Canadian ICT ecosystem, any ideas? I was thinking about it…and I’m wondering…are community technology events as we’re doing them going extinct? When user groups first came on the scene there was a very cookie-cutter template that they almost all adopted: Get together, have a powerpoint presentation with demos, eat pizza, give out prizes. The focus was always on bringing in a speaker who was the focal point of the event. But we’ve ......

Developers Have a New Threat – The Offended Designer

For most developers going to the DBA for any sort of request was usually a mixture of concern, apprehension, strife, and anger…because while you just wanted to cold-cock the snarky bugger, you knew that you’d have to play nice if you had any chance of seeing your stored proc change getting put in place before the next release. Now it appears that developers need to look both ways before crossing the street, and the threat comes from the one group you’d think would be shy and timid: the designers! ......

SharePoint Saturday – Toronto: Call For Speakers

SharePoint Saturday in Toronto will be happening July 11 at the Microsoft offices. This is the first ever SharePoint Saturday and should be a great community event!

They’re currently looking for speakers, so if you’re interested check out their website to download the speaker submission form.



Protegra Nerd Dinner June 4th @ King’s Head

Note: This is a reminder/update from a previous post. We’ve got our event listed on the NerdDinner website so interested attendees can register there! Geek Dinners have been around for a number of years, and are venues for geeks to get together and socialize in a comfortable setting. Recently Scott Hanselman, Phil Haack, Rob Conery, and Scott Guthrie released a book on the Microsoft ASP.NET MVC framework and also did a starter site focussed around the scheduling and searching of geek dinners. They ......

EDMPASS Inaugural Meeting May 28th!

If you live in Edmonton and do anything with SQL Server you should definitely check out the upcoming first ever meeting of the Edmonton chapter of the Professional Association for SQL Server (EDMPASS). Colin has done a great job getting this group off the ground, and he’s brought in Scott Gillespie to talk about SQL Server 2008 for Developers and DBA’s. I’ve included the info about the session below. Go be part of your local technology community. Date: May 28th 2009 Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Location:Stanley ......

Protegra Hosting a Geek Dinner June 4th!

Geek Dinners have been around for a number of years, and are venues for geeks to get together and socialize in a comfortable setting. Recently Scott Hanselman, Phil Haack, Rob Conery, and Scott Guthrie released a book on the Microsoft ASP.NET MVC framework and also did a starter site focussed around the scheduling and searching of geek dinners. They called the site NerdDinner.com and provided a free e-tutorial on how to build it. Protegra would like to invite you to join us as we host our own Nerd ......

VS.NET 2010 and .NET 4.0 Beta 1 Available Today

Microsoft has released Beta 1 of VS.NET 2010 and the .NET framework 4.0 to MSDN subscribers today, with the rest of the world getting access to it on Wednesday. The bits will go live as of 10:00 AM PST (so in a few minutes from the time I’m writing this). For more information on where to download the beta and how to provide feedback, visit the Visual Studio 2010 Product Page . (Note: at the time of me posting this, clicking the link results in a “page not found” message and a redirection to live ......

Tech Ed Thoughts – Microsoft <3’s India

As I watched the keynote on Day 1 of TechEd, something occurred to me: No Steve Ballmer. No Steve Ballmer? In the middle of North America’s (and really the worlds) economic situation, why wouldn’t Steve Ballmer be present to address the throngs that gathered at the biggest Microsoft learning event of the year? The answer is that he did attend Tech Ed and did deliver the keynote…it was just at Tech Ed India. It seems odd that Microsoft would have scheduled both events at the same time, but that sentiment ......

Canadian Geek Boutique Now Online…Although Who Runs It Is In Question

Oh sure, Think Geek has been around for a while. But y’know, as kewl as Think Geek is, the whole US dollar and international shipping just never got me to make that jump to actually order anything. But thanks to a couple of Canadians out in Fredericton NB, Canada now has a home-grown option for getting its geeky stuff. The Geek Chic Boutique has been in business since December 2008, and has recently gotten its online store up and running. Their products cover the gambit: t-shirts, gadgets, electronics, ......

Calgary PASS Group Event May 13, 2009

The Calgary PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) is hosting an event tomorrow night, with John Bristowe talking about SQL Server Data Services. They’ll also be giving away a free registration to the upcoming DevTeach conference in Vancouver this June! Info on the event is below and you can register for the event at their website here. When: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Where: CGI, 7th Floor, 800 – 5th Ave. SW, Calgary, AB Presenter: John Bristowe of Microsoft Canada Topic: SQL Server Data Services ......

Tech Ed Online

Microsoft Tech Ed 2009 kicks off today, and like last year they’ll be making some content available online.

To visit their online portal, visit:

http://www.msteched.com/online/home.aspx

For Monday, the keynote will stream live at noon central time (10AM PST).

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Microsoft Academic Resources

If you’re a student taking computer courses or interested in technology, or if you’re an instructor of computer science, you should definitely take a look at this list of resources that Microsoft has available.

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Winnipeg SharePoint User Group May Event - Power Features, Cool Tools and Hot Tips with SharePoint

Join us May 27th for the next session of the Winnipeg SharePoint User Group where Microsoft MVP Eric Legault will give a guided tour of SharePoint and the Office System. Focus will be on some of the powerful and overlooked features throughout the suite, as well as demonstrating some third-party software and tools that can give real-world value for your current projects. Cool Community Tools Overview of the “Fantastic 40” Site Templates and how they can be batch installed Connecting Office Applications ......

TalkingAboutWindows.com – Video Commentary on Win7

Microsoft has launched a great interactive website called TalkingAboutWindows.com. The site is meant to be a source of information but also an arena for conversation based on what the various interviewees are saying. Also, we have some Canadian representation as Mitch Garvis is one of the featured experts! Doesn’t his look just say “Come into my parlour so I can seductively woo you with my Windows 7 prowess. Great site if you want to learn more about Win 7! D ......

VS 2008 Extensions for WSS 3.0 on XP

Microsoft has tools available that add SharePoint templates for things like Web Parts, Site Definitions, and List Definitions. I tried to download and install them onto my Windows XP system but (cue the sad tuba), it complained that WSS 3.0 wasn’t installed on my machine. Unfortunately WSS 3.0 won’t install on XP or Vista…its an OS supported install only. And if you look at the requirements for the VS WSS extensions, it clearly says: In our situation, I don’t eve really want WSS 3.0 installed on ......

DSL DevCon Videos Posted

Last Thursday and Friday the DSL Developers Conference was held in Redmond at the Microsoft Conference. It looked like a great speaker and topic line-up on all things DSL.

If you weren’t able to make it out, no worries: the presentations were recorded and have been made available on MSDN!

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Winnipeg .NET UG – Silverlight/Flash Smackdown!

*Note: Re-posted from Miguel Carrasco’s blog. Be sure to check it out! Finally, SmackDown has come back to Winnipeg on May 19th, 2009! For the first time under one roof, New Media Manitoba, the Adobe User Group, and the Winnipeg .net User Group bring you The Silverlight and Flash SmackDown! This is, without a doubt the most electrifying topic in web development today! We are about to shake things up and end the fall season with a bang! Developers and Designers finally under one roof! A merger of ......

Why Politics Matters To Cloud Computing

Cloud computing holds great promise to the next evolution of business and consumer computing. Amazon has been in the cloud computing game for a while now. In addition to their Azure platform for hosting cloud applications, Microsoft also has online services for pictures, blogs, videos, and files. Google has similar software-as-a-service offerings as well. As other companies bring their offerings to the market, we’ll see more and more options to store our data and files “in the cloud”. But in our ......

What’s New in Silverlight 3 with Shawn Wildermuth

There’s an MSDN geekSpeak webcast today at noon Pacific time with Shawn Wildermuth where he’ll talk about the new Silverlight 3 features.

You can register for it here.

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SharePoint Designer 2007 – Now Free!

Microsoft has released SharePoint Designer 2007 for free, enabling anyone developing with SharePoint to take advantage of this great tool!

You can get the download information from the Microsoft Download Center website here.

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Updated ToDo List: Fix TechEd Site for Canadians, then Teach Andrew Duthie to Sing Billy Idol, and then Open a Chipotle in Winnipeg

I’ve uncovered a fiendish plot tonight to try and dissuade Canadians from going to TechEd this year! I wanted to check the dates to see if they coincided with any of the upcoming NIN|JA tour dates, but when I went to the TechEd site at www.microsoft.com/events/Te... I saw…THIS: I tried refreshing…I even tried opening up another browser, but to no avail. So I did what anyone else would do: I turned to Twitter. However, it wasn’t enough that Andrew Duthie took my constructive critique of his ......

Great Silverlight 3 Resources

Now that the cat is out of the bag, we can all FINALLY talk about Silverlight 3 and all the sweetness it brings to the Microsoft RIA space. Below are some links to fantastic blog posts highlighting some of the new features. Tim Heuer - “What’s New in Silverlight 3” Mike Harsh’s Slidentity presentation app built with SL3 (incl. sourcecode) Ashish Shetty’s blog post on Offline and Out of Browser support in SL3 Christian Schormann on new features in Blend 3 and last but not least, Eclipse4SL – Create ......

Silverlight 3 SDK Beta 1 Available

The goodies from Mix are starting to appear early today. First there was the ASP.NET MVC 1.0 release, now the Twitter feed is showing that the Silverlight 3 SDK Beta 1 is available for download as well. I think this is going to be one of those days mimicing the Showcase Showdown on Price is Right where they keep bringing the prizes out, getting better and better until the new car…which of course will be SL 3. D ......

ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Released

I was talking with a colleague yesterday about the free MVC eBook that was released, and he noticed that the book was using MVC 1.0 and not the release candidates. We figured it was because the full book that the eBook is part of was going to be released in May sometimes, which version 1.0 would be released sometime before then. Well it looks like “sometime” was yesterday. You can hit this link to download ASP.NET MVC 1.0! According to this guy, the fixes from RC2 to 1.0 relate to the version of ......

Silverlight 2 Book Reviews

I wanted to share a couple of suggested Silverlight 2 reads, especially for those visiting my blog after the recent Winnipeg Code Camp talk I did on Silverlight 2. Pro Silverlight 2 in C# 2008 by Matthew MacDonald. This book is an incredible reference, covering almost every topic that you’d need to know for building Silverlight 2 applications (There’s no dedicated “Architecture” chapter, but I think that’s a topic best served currently by the Microsoft P&P Team and Prism). The book has the benefit ......

Winnipeg Code Camp Speakers

I wanted to thank the many speakers that came out to the Winnipeg Code Camp this past Saturday. Everyone did a great job, and the investment to the community was greatly appreciated. I was able to record a few videos of some of the speakers, and wanted to highlight the others who I didn’t get a chance to interview. Aaron Erickson – Magenic Al Williams – Sunset Hill Solutions Al has been a great supporter of the Winnipeg developer community, presenting at the .NET User Group and at our recent code ......

Build Issues with Prism Stock Ticker Sample App (Silverlight)

Prism is the sexier term for the Patterns and Practices Composite Application Guidance for WPF and Silverlight (You can find out more info and download the components for it here). If you’re going to be doing complex, larger-scale development utilizing Silverlight (or WPF), you should definitely check it out as there’s a great deal of helpful information on how to structure and develop your app. Setting up Prism is not a turn-key type of operation though. Like other application blocks, you download ......

“I’m a PC” ad, MVP Edition

At the recent MVP summit, the questions was asked “When will the MVP’s be featured in an ‘I’m a PC’ ad?” Well…here we have it: MVP "I'm a PC" Video ......

Energize IT Comes to Winnipeg

Energize IT has traditionally been a Microsoft shindig that happened in Toronto. This year they’ve decided that they want to spread the love beyond the Ontario borders and take Energize IT on the road! For those of us in Winnipeg, that means we have three evenings of events in April to look forward to! April 14 – User Group Connection: The Future of the MS Windows Platform 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM Red River College (Princess Campus) Get more info and register for this night here. April 15 – Energize IT: ......

It Shouldn’t Be This Hard To Edit A Movie

In my last blog post I embedded a movie that I had uploaded to SoapBox. The path that video, and myself, took to get to that point is EPIC. It all started with recording the video with my trusty Sony camcorder. I copied over the file to my Windows 7 machine…file format is MPG. The size was 118 MB, but SoapBox has a 100MB limit. Easiest way to alter that: Movie Maker. As I’m all about the Windows Live suite of tools, I opened up Movie Maker Beta. I was a huge fan of Movie Maker 2.6, and I hadn’t had ......

Microsoft Recite – Search Recordings Using Speech

Microsoft has released a kewl new technology preview called Recite. It’s a Windows Mobile application that allows you to easily record notes as well as search through those notes using speech. Check out this video I threw together showing how it works. Video: Recite Demo To get more information, check out the Recite home page here. You can also follow the Recite discussion on Twitter here. D *Note: Dev Teach submissions is closed AFIAK. I just used that as an example in the demo. **Note: Please don’t ......

Ignite Your Life: Relationships – Learn To Deal With People

This post is part of a series called Ignite Your Life. For background info on the series, please refer to previous posts on introducing the series and The 5 R's (where you can find links to the other posts in this series). In the last two Relationship segments, we discussed how we need people and relationships as well as the importance of finding our tribe. In the final segment before we move on, I want to turn the tables a bit. We talked previously about the reasons why we can be apprehensive or ......

Windows 7 – Adding Password to Compressed Folder Missing

This is my Super Secret Stuff folder. It’s a zip file, and I need to pass on my super secret stuff to some super secret person who will be the only person knowing the super secret password to open it. So I open the zip file in explorer and…um…where’s my “Add Password” option in the file menu?! It’s GONE! It’s also not under any of the other menu items. I’m going to chalk this up to it being a beta, but still…shouldn’t this have been part of Explorer since its been a mainstay in Windows XP and Vista? ......

Windows 7 – Home Networking Done Right

Remember how annoying it was to get two computers on a network to share files between each other? I don’t mean on a domain or anything, but on a typical home network where you don’t have a domain controller or anything at that level, and at most you had a workgroup value assigned to each machine. With Windows 7, getting your computers to talk to each other is SO SIMPLE. In fact, the least amount of work you have to do to get it working is entering a password. Here’s how it works. Homegroup When you ......

Vista Stops Recognizing Optical Drives

I noticed something odd last week…I tried to install something on my older HP laptop that had Vista running on it. No biggie, except that the optical drive wasn’t showing up as an option. I ignored it and moved on to a different route (made a VM instead of installing directly on the metal…details not necessary for this post). Anyway, point is that the optical drive wasn’t showing up. Today I went to put Win7 on my laptop. I use Daemon tools to mount ISO’s, and I attached my Win7 iso without a problem. ......

Office 14 Screenshots Leaked

The Good News: We have the first leaked screenshots of the next Office suite on the web (view here).

The Bad News: Groove is going to be part of the next offering.

The Hopeful News: Maybe the Groove MVP's won't clog up the mic's at the MVP summit Q&A like last year begging that Groove not go away. ;)

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Winnipeg SharePoint UG – January Event

http://www.sharepointgroups... Event Sponsors Juan Larios presents Inside SharePoint Workflows Date: January 20 (Tuesday) Time: 5:30 PM Location: One Lombard Place (Richardson Building), 17th floor conference room. Pizza and drinks to be provided To register, click here: https://www.clicktoattend.c... Presentation Abstract SharePoint workflows are a great tool for automating processes. This session will give you a closer look at what workflows are available ......

A New Year, A New MVP Cycle AND New INETA Speakers!

January 1st for many people is simply New Year’s Day. But there are those that continually monitor their inbox waiting anxiously to see if they receive a gift from Santa Ballmer. That gift is a Microsoft MVP award for 2009. There are multiple award cycles and days of renewal, but mine lands on Jan 1st and I’m very honored and pleased to report that I’m once again an MVP for 2009! But the purpose of this post isn’t to gloat about my MVPness (say it a few times…you’ll get it). There are many that are ......

For the Love of God, Don't Change the SSO Account Password!

I'm on a bit of a fun project here at work: while most of the team is away me and a co-worker have been tasked with setting up an internal BizTalk environment that we can set up with a sample application and use as demo/reference material. We hit a snag though, and I'm putting this post out as a warning to others that may tempt fate and walk in our path: DON'T CHANGE THE SSO PASSWORD OR ACCOUNT! But I digress...how did we get here? Well, we noticed that there were a bunch of BizTalk services that ......

Microsoft Offering Free Media Streaming for Silverlight

So you have a Silverlight application, and you want it to serve up some videos or deep zoom images, but you don’t want to fork over major cash to your hosting provider for the extra disk space and traffic. Well has Microsoft got a deal for you… The Microsoft Silverlight Streaming program gives you space online to not only host your media files but also the bandwidth to serve them up to your Silverlight app…and its *free*! Here’s the details: - 10 GB of space to host your media files. - Up to 5 TB ......

Microsoft Keynote Start to Finish

Came across this video via some blogs…very kewl timelapse showing exactly what goes on to setup for keynote speeches at Microsoft conferences (this one from the recent PDC). Video: PDC 2008 Timelapse ......

MSDN Dev Tools Power Hour

MSDN is putting out a whole whack of webcasts on how to utilize and use various Microsoft tools. Session topics include Visual Studio .NET 2008, Silverlight, Team System, BizTalk, and others.

For more information, to register, or to watch previously recorded sessions on demand, check out the site here.

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Silverlight: Using Non-Standard Fonts

I had a custom style defined in a Silverlight application… I wanted text using this style to display using the Impact font, which is common to Microsoft Windows font sets. When I ran my app however, it never displayed the text with Impact font. I wasn’t getting any information about why, so I thought I’d try it in Blend. Low and behold, Blend gives me a helpful message… Embed it you say? After doing some online research I discovered the answer. Silverlight Default Fonts Silverlight out of the box ......

Creating A User Group: Winnipeg Sharepoint UG Case Study

In my last post, I talked about how to start a user group and what the steps were to get it going. In this post I’ll talk about how we got our SharePoint user group up and running in less than a week. November 10 Juan Larios emailed myself, Eric Legault, and Gerald Danais about getting a SharePoint group going. We had discussed this idea on and off as a group over the last few months, but now we were ready to actually make it happen! We discussed that we’d aim for a January 09 event, seeing as how ......

How To Start A User Group

I’ve been involved with user groups for a number of yeas as well as INETA. One of the questions that I’ve heard over and over again through those years has been “How do I start up a user group?” Well my friends, below I’m going to share with you the secret formula…and you may be surprised. Starting a User Group 1. Get a venue 2. Get some speakers 3. Set a date 4. Start getting the word out and building hype. Those are the basic steps that you need to perform to get your user group up and running. ......

MSDN Ramp Up E-Learning

MSDN has a new program called Ramp Up. It's a free e-learning program designed to help developers improve/upgrade their skill levels to the next tier. The tracks (called 'routes' for the program) include: - VS.NET 2002/2003 Developers (VS.NET 2005 and .NET 2.0) - VB 6.0 Developers (VB.NET 2.0 track) - Java Developers (C# 2.0 track) - Aspiring Developers (Programming fundamentals, VS.NET 2005 and .NET 2.0, Data and Security, and Web Apps) - VS.NET 2008 - Sharepoint for Developers - Part 1 As a reward ......

Glad I Didn’t Waste Time With LINQ to SQL

This post from the ADO.NET team, and the initial response in the comments from Elisa Flasko, seem to be tolling the death bells for LINQ to SQL…or at least in its current form. Over and over in the blog post we’re told of Microsoft’s investment into EF and how that will be the “recommended data access solution for LINQ to relational scenarios”. So if you have heavy investment yourself in LINQ to SQL, you might want to start looking at EF…or contacting Microsoft to let them know you like your LINQ ......

Reflections on PDC 08 - The Message

PDC has come to an end and I’m sitting here reflecting on what I've experienced over the last few days. The PDC experience has been quite different than the Tech Ed or Dev Teach events I've attended in the past. There's a different vibe to PDC, and a different message that Microsoft is trying to get across. Where Tech Ed is all about teaching, PDC is all about telling. At PDC, Microsoft is describing the direction they're heading in for the next few years. They're giving us a glimpse into where they're ......

PDC 08 – Devs After Dark Party

So last night we hit up the Devs After Dark party held by the Microsoft partners team. It was a very LA type party: - Awesome venue, including a huge outdoor patio area. - Awesome food and an open bar(s…there were like 4 or 5 of them) - Rock Band 2 displaying on a huge brick wall - Classic video games, pool table, and 360’s all over the place - And…Laker Girls (you could get your picture taken with them for free) No pictures unfortunately, since I didn’t bring my camera, but a good time was had by ......

PDC 08 – Expo Party

So last night was the conference Expo Party. Every Microsoft conference I’ve been to has held this event at some point. It’s basically party appetizer food and desserts along with beer and wine, and its held in the Expo area. This is where the Expo people get to show off their big event presentations (Mini Me…Vern whatever his name is…was here for example), and its a great networking time as well. I’ve got some video footage to post in a bit as well. D ......

PDC 08 - *The* Best MVC Presentation *EV-AR*

I checked out Phil Haack’s MVC presentation this afternoon, and I’ve gotta say that Phil did a phenomenal job communicating the story behind the product. From establishing why the framework was created, how it fits in the ASP.NET strategy going forward, and explaining the how’s and why’s to an audience that more than likely was comprised of webform devs. Phil did a great example app as well, mimicking stackoverflow.com and providing a great real world example. However, as a great follow up, Jeff ......

Microsoft releases Intellisense for JQuery…ON JQuery


The intellisense files for JQuery in VS.NET 2008 have been released…and interestingly, they’re not available on Microsoft’s site…but on JQuery’s!

You can get them at:
http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.2.6-vsdoc.js
and…
http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest-vsdoc.js

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PDC 08 – Monday Morning Keynote

So I was late to the keynote this morning. No biggie…it doesn’t look like I missed too much in the first half hour. The message from what I did see is pretty clear though: Microsoft is jumping into cloud computing in a big way. So what is cloud computing anyway? From what I can tell so far, its basically the next evolution in internet based services. It’s an infrastructure that allows for anywhere-computing, and for securely connecting internal and cloud based computers to perform tasks. To go along ......

The Oh So Stylish PDC Bag

So this year Microsoft decided to go green with their conference bag offering. In conferences past its been all about the laptop bag or backpack…but this year, the bag is more like the reusable ones you get at your local grocery store. Ooooo…so prada…so stylish… Don’t mess with the Zochris! Video of the contents to come…off to a few parties tonight. Pics! D ......

Sorry, But Weird Al Has Not Joined MSDN Canada DPE (But Joey deVilla has!)

OH THE DISSAPOINTMENT!!! I read with much enthusiasm that MSDN Canada was replacing Jean-Luc David (who’s moving on to a role at Redmond…GL JL!) with ‘The Accordion Guy’! Now, I know like you whenever I hear the words ‘Accordion Guy’, you think of one thing: Weird Al Yankovic! But NO! Weird Al has *NOT* joined MSDN DPE here in Canada. So then I thought, well maybe its the other Yankovic…and with his Yanks no less… But NO! So it turns out that ‘The Accordion Guy’ is actually Joey deVilla! Now some ......

Microsoft SOA and BPM Conference 2009?

Does anyone know where I can get more info on the Microsoft SOA and BPM conference scheduled for Jan 2009 in Redmond?

I know there are a few Canadian day-events, but I've also heard there's one in Redmond as well...

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Microsoft Canada Tech Days 2008 Registration

For those of you wondering when you’ll be able to register for the TechDays events, I heard through the grapevine that the site (which you can reach here) will be open on Monday morning next week. D Technorati Tags: TechDays_CA ......

Microsoft Canada Tech Days Sessions and Schedule

If you’re wondering what the schedule and sessions for the upcoming Microsoft Tech Days 2008 events are, you can get all the info here. D Technorati Tags: TechDays_CA ......

Microsoft Canada Tech Days ‘08

That’s right friends! Coming to a city near you* this October to December, its the Microsoft Tech Days 08! And the reigning members of Microsoft’s in-house wrestling team, The Nation of Domination**, are EXPECTING you to come out and LEARN, INTERACT, GET FREE STUFF, and LEARN EVEN MORE! Don’t be caught in the cross hairs of Sasha “The Rock” Krsmanovic’s eyebrow raise, ‘cause you know the MVP Elbow is just around the corner! Ok, so seriously though…Microsoft is going to be coming through Canada between ......

Branching Guidance and Feature Crews

Interesting article up on CodePlex about how Microsoft organizes “Feature Crews” to organize development (also has to do with how they structure their branching). If you’re familiare with FDD (Feature Driven Development), then there’s alot here that will seem familiar. Interesting to see how Microsoft has formalized the concepts though. D ......

PCMag.Com – Apparently .NET is a Failure

So tell me what the following have in common: WebTV TabletPCs WinFS Passport .NET Windows Live Spaces SidewinderFreestylePro WinG Sidewalk OS/2 Give up? Well, according to Jeremy Kaplan and Sascha Segan of PC Magazine, these are all 10 Great Microsoft Technologies That Failed. There’s nothing really scientific about this list, especially considering that its a jumbled collection that spans 1980’s operating systems, a gaming controller, and a very well established development platform. In fact, I ......

Windows Server 2008 Activation Issue – 0x8007232B

For the past few months, I’ve had a little bubble pop up from my taskbar saying “Hey, your copy of Windows can’t be activated!” and to each of these I would respond…well, I wouldn’t…I just ignored it. Figured it was an issue with the Microsoft activation servers and eventually activation would occur. Not so much. Instead, I was greeted this morning with a message that my copy of Windows was not authentic, and it would just sit with a black screen, a cursor, and the forementioned message in the bottom ......

Ignite Your Life: Realization - Escape the Cult of Personality

This post is part of a series called Ignite Your Life. For background info on the series, please refer to previous posts on introducing the series and The 5 R's. Heroes. Idols. Role Models. Many of us have people in our lives that we look up to, that we idolize, that we'd be considered a "fan" of. Think about it: get a piece of paper out, and write down the people that you look up to, the ones that you wish to become like, the ones that hold some level of authority over who you are or what you want ......

New Blog Series: Igniting Your Life

Microsoft Canada did a webcast series last year called Ignite Your Career. Over the course of the podcasts different people weighed in on various topics like increasing development skills, developing resources, and becoming your own boss and starting a business. Great webcasts, great content. But there’s something missing. You can’t have a discussion about how to better your career without covering something that transcends your career: You. So often we try to separate the areas of our life into ......

Culminus Changes - Move to INETA Model

Looks like Culminus, the IT Pro community organization, will be moving to a model more in line to what INETA has grown into. Graham's post gives more detail from the Microsoft side of things. I need to read up more and hear feedback from Culminus user groups as to whether this decision is a good thing in the long term, but from what I've heard from friends who are part of IT Pro groups this move is a good thing that will help the community on a whole. D ......

Microsoft's Entity Framework and "The Petition"

Do you know what I love about the .NET community? DRAMA! Not a day goes by that there isn't some blog post or Twitter discussion that occurs that gets everyone all riled up and motivated to speak their mind, debate, rage, and give us all something to talk about over beers. Sometimes its something that ends up being entertaining, but ultimately trivial or non career altering. But sometimes you get what's happening with Microsoft's Entity Framework. For those who haven't read it yet, or don't know ......

To Thine Own Self Be True

I get people asking me about going independent all the time. Why I did it, what the experience has been like, etc. One of the key reasons that I've gone off on my own is a strong view that many shops are basically slave/master relationships instead of true emplyee/employer relationships. Obviously not *all* shops are like this, but in my career I have somehow been able to hit every rest stop on the IT Interstate that had a malicious trucker or hobo waiting in the bathroom stall. I bring this up because ......

Send Text Messages to Cell Phone with Windows Live Messenger

Microsoft has launched a new website, http://www.pc2mobile.ca, to show users how they can use Windows Live Messenger to send text messages to contact's cell phones. I want to test it out with some buds to see how it actually works in practice, but if you check out the site it has a great tutorial and a game where you try to text your "friend" into a date with a girl.

Anyway, interesting feature.

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Tech Ed - Working the ARC Area

So instead of trying to do these Tech Ed posts on a day-to-day basis, I'm just going to be doing them topical instead. So let's talk about working the ARC area. As an MVP, we're given an opportunity to attend Tech Ed under a work program. We commit to working 16 hours in one of the TLC areas, and in exchange we get free admission to Tech Ed. I submitted and was selected for the program, being assigned to the Architecture area (or ARC). Now, I had gone to Tech Ed in 2005, and I knew there were people ......

Tech Ed: Tuesday

Tuesday was the first *official* day of Tech Ed, kicking off with a keynote by Bill Gates…and his last keynote in his current role with Microsoft. It was a good keynote, but honestly there was nothing big or surprising announcement wise. This makes sense since PDC is coming up and they’ll wait to make any big announcements there, but you always hope there will be a little something. I worked my first shift at the Architecture booth and it was a great experience (and deserves its own blog post). The ......

Tech Ed – Access Developers are Stupid and Not Real Developers

Hey, don’t get mad at me. Don’t go off on how dare I put this blog post out there, because if you’re an Access developer you should know its YOUR people saying this. Let me back up a bit. I’m here at the blog lounge, and its right outside the Tech Ed Online stage where there’s a conversation on ‘Upgrading From Access to SQL Server’. The things I’m hearing are a bit disturbing. Here’s what I’m hearing in a nutshell: “Not all applications require SQL Server and a .NET front end, and Access is perfectly ......

Eric, Why is Picture Attachment Wizard 2.0 So Sexy?!

My buddy Eric Legault has just released version 2.0 of his Microsoft Outlook add in Picture Attachment Wizard. If you live and die by Outlook, then you really should consider this add in. A few features as listed on his blog: View thumbnails of image attachments - without having to save the attachments to disk! Run a slideshow of attached picture files - without having to save the attachments to disk! Quickly save all attachments to a folder with one click! Easily export every attachment in every ......

MSDN Canada - Crack the Code Contest

MSDN Canada has a contest right now called Crack the Code. You answer four "puzzles" (they aren't hard), and you're entered to win a $4000.00 Future Shop gift card. They have some early bird prizes as well.

You can check out the site here.

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8 Reasons Why You *MUST* Attend Dev Teach Toronto

Dev Teach Toronto is only a few weeks away, and if you haven't registered yet you need to do so NOW! Why? Because otherwise a very angry French man will kick your @$$. In fact, you should review Guy's blog post although I must warn you, reading it might mislead you. You might be sitting there after reading his post thinking: Gee, I can't go to Dev Teach...I wouldn't fit in...I don't... a) have facial hair b) suffer from baldness c) know how to talk to girls d) know how to speak Hebrew I'm happy to ......

Ramblings Of An Unsettled Web Developer...

I remember playing this game on my Sega Genesis...it was one of the Phantasy Star series where eventually your character had to get married. Who you chose as your wife would determine which character you would get in the *next* generation (or phase of the game). I feel like I'm reliving that, only my console has been replaced with the world wide web and my choices aren't nearly as sexy. For the last 7 years we've been learning the web form framework, learning the ins and outs of state management ......

ALT.NET Conference: Microsoft MVC Framework

We had a pretty good discussion on the MS MVC framework. Phil Haack and Brad Abrams were in the house for it, and it pretty much turned into a "let's grill the Microsoft guys" sort of forum...which I think is ok...I mean, who better to answer the questions and offer feedback to? I was *really* impressed with our audience. We had about 40 people in the room, and there was *much love* for the new framework and the work being done. There were some tough questions, but nothing along the lines of what ......

ALT.NET - Microsoft V1 vs. Mature Open Source

We had a great discussion in the first session of the day. Oren, Chad, Scott Gu, and Brad Abrams all chimed in as well as many others in the audience. The biggest items that seemed to keep coming up is justifying using open source to the business, arguing against the perceived risk, and educating the masses on the tools available and what they help solve. All three of these, I think, are related. Justifying open source, even the mature tools, can be difficult when coming up against Microsoft V1 offerings ......

Alt.Net - So what are we checking out today...

There are a TONNE of great topics scheduled here, but here's my list of what I'll be checking out today. Microsoft vs. Mature Tools This one should be a lively discussion. What do you define as "mature"? I'm sure many here would say that tools like NHibernate, NAnt, and other tools that don't come out of Redmond are considered *mature*, but what's the difference between those tools and what Microsoft provides? Both are created by teams of developers, but the key difference seems to be purpose (Microsoft ......

Justice Gray: A Community Sends Their Love

Many of you know who Justice Gray is, a self proclaimed metro-sexual developer living in Edmonton who tries to provide organizations and developers with insight on best practices, coding standards, and hair care tips. Recently, there was much buzz about Justice becoming an MVP...to which he took dramatic license on his blog to tell the world "I can't be one until my well deserving brothers are acknowledged!" Now, that's how I know he meant it to sound even though reading the post you would think ......

Live Blogging MVC Presentation

I'm here in the MVC Framework talk with Phil Haack and Scott Hanselman. Here we go... - Pie chart showing influence...part Hanselman, part Haack, the rest MVP's...where is Conery on the chart?! - Scott is talking about the solid foundation that Web Forms have...he mentions something and Oren starts waving his hand and yelling "No its not!". They're going to meet at the Microsoft playground after the session. - The key message coming out is that MVC is *not* a replacement to Web Forms...Car vs. Motorcycle ......

Importance of the Human Factor in Software Development

A comment was just made in the session today about preventing developers from doing something. The response was, in a nutshell, "Well, tell them not to do it." I've noticed this in a few sessions/discussions that I've been part of at the MVP summit. Yesterday in our ASP.NET open space, we talked a lot about the MVC framework and the challenges coming up between MVC and Webforms. Alot of the discussion revolved around what this means for developers and learning, knowing what is the best practice, ......

MVP Summit - Hanging with the VB.NET kids

I'm in a few VB.NET sessions this morning here at the Microsoft campus. We went through a bit of an overview of where the Visual Studio language team is at, where things are moving, and where VB.NET fits into that picture. Donald decided to infiltrate and see what was going on with the non-semicolon kids. He's now become a convert and ran out of the room tearing off his badge and saying "I can't believe I've been so blinded!" I've been sitting with Chris Williams and Jason Olson... The first demo ......

1:18 AM Pacific Time - End of Day 1

Wow...what a day. My last post covered the early parts: we had a lunch provided, then into the keynote. Sean O'Driscoll was the keynote presenter and did a fantastic job as usual. Sean has actually announced his leaving from Microsoft, and they gave him a great tribute as part of the entire presentation. Very kewl. After the keynote it was off to the open spaces sessions. I attended one on ASP.NET and discussing the MVC framework. We had alot of good discussion, but what I really got out of it was ......

MVP Summit - What Am I Hoping To Get Out Of It

There's no denying that the MVP summit is a great time of socializing and partying...everyone gets together with their peer group and has a good time. I'm hoping though that through this week there will also be some time to "get work done". I have some things I'd like to raise with other ASP.NET MVP's and also community leaders on a whole (most MVP's happen to be community champions). How do we inject good coding practices for existing ASP.NET webform dev? I was talking with someone after my TCCC ......

RIP MCSD/MCAD

Microsoft has announced that it will be discontinuing the exams required to achieve the MCAD and MCSD designation by March 2009. This obviously makes sense since they've moved to the new TS and PD model of certifications instead. So for all those thinking of getting your MCAD or MCSD or in the process of, better get it quick!

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My Tech Ed BoF Session Accepted

I just got the email that my birds of a feather session on 'ASP.NET vs MVC - What's your Take?' has been accepted! It's slotted for June 4 at 7:45 - 8:45 PM, so if you're interested in having a lively talk about the future of web development, how the MVC framework will play into the larger web application initiatives of Microsoft and your own companies, and share your stories and experiences with the MVC framework, c'mon over and get into the conversation!

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Twin Cities Code Camp This Weekend!

I'm super pumped to be speaking at the Twin Cities Code Camp this weekend in Minneapolis! They have a fantastic set of speakers and sessions, and recently extended the schedule to include a sixth track! I'll be doing talks on introducing the Microsoft MVC Framework as well as how to implement MVC into your web-form based applications. Other topics cover everything: Workflow, F#, ORM, WCF, Spatial Computing with SQL 2008, Silverlight, Sharepoint, LINQ, CSLA...30 sessions over an 8 hour period...its ......

Big Reason to Move From VB 6.0 to VB.NET

At the recent Winnipeg Community Connection event, we had one person voice how he hasn't seen a good enough reason to leave their VB 6.0 development for .NET. He felt that they had better code security, it still did what they needed to, and they were able to meet ISO requirements (an important thing for his organization). All of his points seemed valid...nobody really stepped up to say "well here's one reason". Well...here's one reason: My buddy Chris has posted his findings on the cost of purchasing ......

Another Canadian MVP!

Congrats to Tom Opgenorth for his recent MVP award for C#!!!

There's one off the Justice Gray nomination list!

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Pursefight!

{Edit} Ok, obviously this was *not* written by me...but its part of a bigger story, which can be read over here. You can read the full explanation at Bil Simser's blog here (in fact, please do...this post makes me sound like a total jackass). {/Edit} Long has it been rumored that the identity of the alt.net purse fight blog has been one of the persons initially involved in coining the phrase/starting the movement. This is not the case and I figured it was time that I put an end to the pointless speculation ......

Helpful Tech Ed 2008 Links

Wanted to comprise some links for helping plan your Tech Ed event: Map of conference hotels. Listing of conference hotels (with rates and contact information). Avis rental car Tech Ed discount page. D ......

Blogging from the VS.NET 2008 Winnipeg Launch Event

The VS.NET 2008 launch tour has rolled into Winnipeg! Last night we had a fantastic Community Connection event hosted by Microsoft and CIPS. There was a great turnout and great discussion. Today I'm blogging from the Silver City Polo Park theatre where the event is happening. Looks like a great turnout (I had heard numbers around 350 a few days ago). In another "I really need to lose weight" moment though, my XL MVP jacket isn't quite "D'Arcy" XL if you know what I mean...but that's ok, I still rock ......

Winnipeg Community Connection Event This Tuesday!

Leading up to the Winnipeg VS.NET 2008 launch event, and hot on the heels of the very successful Regina and Saskatoon community connection events, comes the Winnipeg Community Connection Event! So what is the event and why should you come out? The CC events are meant to provide a forum for us as a community to interact and discuss issues that we're facing. Five areas are used as a baseline for discussions, but as we've seen in past cities the groups ultimately dictate where the conversations go. ......

Regina Community Connection Event

We had an amazing time at the Community Connection event here in Regina. Over 100 people came out to connect, discuss, and share. The turnout was phenomenal and is a testament to the work that Gary and Will have been doing here in the Regina community. Jean-Luc and Rodney did a great job with MC'ing the event, showing demos, and most importantly giving the vision to the audience of why they were there and the importance of community building. Below are some pics. Sorry about the quality...I lost ......

Rob Conery on SubSonic's New Repository Base Class - A Review

Rob Conery has posted a webcast showing the new Repository base class functionality coming in the next version of Sub Sonic. Adding this functionality to Sub Sonic is *awesome* as I'm one of the many who aren't a fan of having "smart" objects (I'm sure I could make a correlation between smart/dumb objects and Tucker Max's rules on dating...and lose all female readership in the process...so we'll just carry on). Now, at this point I could leave it here and you would have a great post encouraging you ......

Introducing Henry Khaw

So as part of the community helping him out with going to Dev Teach, we're putting a few requirements on his plate. For one, he has to do a guest post introducing himself (which is below). Secondly, he'll need to set up a blog of his own to keep everyone filled in with how Dev Teach is going (Hey Jeff, can you help a brutha out?). So, without further ado, here is Henry's guest blog post: My name is Henry. I am a student enrolled as a Computer Science Major for University of Manitoba perhaps also ......

Community Connection Events - Regina and Saskatoon Next Week!

I'm really looking forward to heading to Regina (March 18) and Saskatoon (March 19) next week to participate in their community connection events, hosted in support of the VS.NET 2008 launch events by Microsoft. The format of the event is very kewl as well. We'll have a bit of an intro from the CIPS people, then see some technology demonstrations...but then the *real* benefit of these session occurs: We get an overview of the community story...why its important to nurture and get involved with your ......

Tech Ed 2008 BOF Voting - *NOW* You Have a Reason To Vote!

You could almost see the tears in his eyes as he wrote the blog post. Rob Zelt, nestled at his computer, pleading for someone...anyone...to come to the aid of the Birds of a Feather sessions and take it from a "Well that was fun" level to "OMG, my head JUST EXPLODED from the amazing discussion!" I heard Rob's cries...and I'm happy to report, that the call has been answered. Ok, so now that my dramatic intro is out of the way, the BOF (Birds of a Feather) sessions have become one of the hallmarks ......

Watch Justice's Blog for MVC Posts

Justice - "I have the most amazing news!" Me - "Really? What?!" Justice - "Oh, I'm not going to TELL you! I just wanted you to know that I had amazing news." In a nutshell that was my conversation with Justice this morning. He did drop a few crumbs (he's *SO* dramatic...seriously, the last Dev Teach we were at he hired a few homeless people to walk in front of him dropping rose petals wherever he walked and spray FeBreeze whenever he farted), but basically he's waiting to drop huge info on his blog. ......

Vista Ultimate Focused "UltimatePC.Com" Launched

Microsoft has released a new website specifically tailored for users with Windows Vista Ultimate. www.UltimatePC.com has a collection of stories (case studies), marketing material, etc. around Vista Ultimate...and it clearly is meant to showcase the multimedia capabilities of the product as well as mac-like uses (graphics, arts, etc.). It also has profiles of various hardware that is built to run Ultimate. One other thing it has is an area for extras and exclusives. These are add-ins that are made ......

It all started with Scott Hanselman...

It started innocently enough...I was reading Scott's post about how he had been at Microsoft for 6 months and asked whether he was "evil" yet or not. Somewhere during the comments there was a question posted about whether this meant that Scott's blog was somehow de-valued and whether people should consider his blogging tainted by the blue stain. This of course triggered Justice's spidey sense to action, where he quickly dove to the lowest common geek denominator: Any of you who say that a) Scott ......

Sierra 595U - We Have Messenger!...No We don't...I spoke too soon :(

[Edit] I spoke too soon...there's a setting on there for "Disable Microsoft Networking Bindings for 3G Connection Connection (no, it really does have Connection twice after each other)", and it gets checked whenever you check "Enable NIC for Data Connections", regardless if you want it. Messneger was good, but everything else was slooooow. And I had to remove the modem and reseat it to get things back working properly. Lame. [/Edit] I finally got my MSN Messenger working with my Sierra 595U USB card! ......

Are Datasets Bound For Extinction?

I'm working late on a project tonight where I'm implementing a MVC pattern into a non-MVC ASP.NET application. The original application was done in .NET 1.1 and relied heavily on a dataset for accessing the database. A thought occurred to me... Are datasets bound for extinction? Think about it... .NET 1 and 1.1 .NET is released upon the world, and the biggest shift in Microsoft development begins. There are a *tonne* of VB 6.0 devs who are chomping at the bit to try the new fully OO language features, ......

Making User Groups Work in Small Markets

I read Gary's recent post and totally understand his frustration. Trying to maintain a user group in a small market can be a difficult, and although we have great national sponsors (especially in MSDN), the reality is that community initiatives from a corporate point of view occur based on corporate objectives. This is why places like Yellowknife or Whitehorse will never get any type of Microsoft event...it just doesn't make sense from a business point of view. Or take the Atlantic provinces: they ......

Now I Know How How Colin and Justin Feel

I'm working on a web project, implementing some new functionality. The web-app was originally written in .NET 1.1, upgraded to 2.0, and has all the "great, productivity-enhancing features" that Microsoft touted when .NET was first released. Of course, all those features can become an absolute pain when you need to add a huge piece of functionality, not just tweak something here or there. The state of the project doesn't fall with the devs; they were developing with the tools and best-practice guidance ......

DreamSpark...Your College Needs To Get In On This!

Microsoft announced the DreamSpark program recently, and it looks to be a phenomenal opportunity for any college student wanting to play with the non-trial, non-express versions of Microsoft development products. In a nutshell, if you're a student you get free licenses for VS.NET 2008 Pro, Expression Studio, Windows Server 2003 Standard, and SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition (as well as access to the express versions). To find out more information check out the website at: https://downloads.channel8.... ......

Television: How Programs Became Commercials (or My Knight Rider Review)

So tonight I watched the better part of an hour-long Ford car commercial (well, it was technically two hours I think, but I just recorded the rest to run as background music for my next WoW session). Any of you that watched the Knight Rider premiere tonight...well, if you did, first let me offer my condolences. As with any remake of an establishment, there's always risk that things will turn into a gong-show while attempting to relive the glory days...and unforunately for Knight Rider, the gong is ......

VS.NET 2008 and VWD Hotfix

The Visual Web Developer team released a performance hotfix for vs.net 2008 and Visual Web Developer. You can get more info about the improvements and download the hotfix here.



Blogging = Community Involvement

Jeff posted about it...Jeremy posted about it...I wanted to chime in my +1 that yes indeed: Blogging makes us all better, regardless of who you are and what you have to say. I think some people have this notion that blogging is a) Too time intensive b) Has no real value apart from *real* work One of the things that I hear from many people that read my blog is "How do you find the time to do it?" Seriously? How do I find the time? To take a few minutes to fire up LiveWriter and output something? Blogging ......

Aaron Erickson Interview Available

What does Star Wars, "Pour Some Sugar on Me", Beer, Ginger from Gilligan's Island, Socks with Sandals, LINQ, MetaLINQ, and a lack of pants have in common? You'll have to watch Jeff Brand's interview with Aaron Erickson to find out! Back at last Fall's Twin Cities Code Camp, the resident Microsoft DE Jeff Brand did a series of recordings with some of the presenters. He's got them posted up on his web-site now for your parousal. Interesting note: you can't tell, but Aaron is actually not wearing pants. ......

It's Official: Scott Hanselman is *NOT* a Dick

Microsoft came under one of its *biggest* PR nightmares recently, when Rob Conery's recent post describing how Scott Hanselman single-handedly schooled a "Red Shirt" while also creating the newest catchphrase to be seen on t-shirts at the upcoming MVP summit: "That's Comp-Sci Baby!" This was how it was made out as: However, it would take the courage of a lone Canadian with incredibly good looking hair and a throng of fans (like him, him, him, him, and him) to expose what *really* happened that fateful ......

Heroes can be *anywhere*!

It's coming! The Canadian launch events around the 2008 suite of products has been set in stone, and registration for the events is now open! So what are you waiting for? Click the registration link below and get out to an event near you! Three ways to be a hero. One event to launch them. As one of the unsung heroes of technology, you do work that helps your company be more competitive. Now, Microsoft is launching three powerful new products that help make it even easier for you to be a hero every ......

Microsoft Office System Developer Conference

I just learned about this today from Joe Stagner's blog, and I wish I would have found out sooner! It sounds like a fantastic conference for those into Sharepoint or any of the Office suite of applications. Like Joe mentions in his blog, there's still time to register so go check it out if Office is what tickles your fancy. Check out the conference site here. D ......

ASP.NET and Active Directory

Ran into a need to connect up to Active Directory from an ASP.NET app at work today...found this article and wanted to post it up as reference. http://msdn2.microsoft.com/... Technorati Tags: ASP.NET Active Directory,Active Directory ......

Sean O'Driscoll Leaves Microsoft

Ok, this isn't necessarily up-to-the-minute news, as Sean posted about his leaving Microsoft on December 20. However I'm not sure if many outside the MVP program had any exposure to him, and my brief meeting with him left enough of an impression that I'd be blogging about him here. At the Canadian UG Summit this past November we held it simultaneously with the Canadian MVP Summit in Vancouver as well. We (the user group leaders) were invited to attend the MVP keynote and discussion period. Sean delivered ......

Claim Your MCP Status Back

If you have an MCP status, your organization might have created an association with your MCP number (this is common, as the more Microsoft certifications their staff hold, the more points they get towards the company partner status). When you leave an organization though, they might not remember (either honestly or deliberately) to disassociate. To disassociate, go to the partner site (https://partners.microsoft... and the first box of the three shown will be "Associate ......

Dev Teach Day 1 - UG Summit and Party With Polermo

Day 1 of our little Dev Teach adventure seems like it was enough to fill an entire week already! Others have already started blogging about it, so make sure to keep an eye on those who are here and commenting on the general happenings around Dev Teach. But I digress, back to Day 1. UG Summit Monday was the User Group summit, which Microsoft graciously hosted for us at their new downtown Vancouver offices. This also coincided with the Canadian MVP summit at the same location. Our user group discussions ......

Dev Teach Day 1 - UG Summit

UG summit is going strong, and we're approaching our get-together with the MVP's for a conversation on how we can work together and ...well, I'm actually not sure yet what we're talking about, but it should be good. Morning session was great though...the UG leaders had great discussion around extending the life of user group events via live meeting, web casts, etc., and also how we can impact our industry to encourage others to becoming IT professionals (targeting college, high school, as well as ......

Canadian User Group Summit Location

Below is a pic showing where the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre (site of Dev Teach) is compared to the Microsoft offices in downtown Vancouver. (Click to download and view a larger version) ......

Why you need to look at SubSonic NOW.

There are a number of tools out there that will auto-gen your DAL from a database schema, most notably nHibernate. But another tool, SubSonic, should be on your queue of tools to research and investigate...especially if you're getting hot under the collar for the upcoming MVC framework from Microsoft. SubSonic is an open source product that will automagically generate your DAL and supporting entity objects based on a database schema. I've been lucky to have Kent Sharkey here in the office the last ......

Microsoft Partner Program: Exercise in Futility!

All I want to do is register myself with the Microsoft Partner Program...sign in, subscribe to the Action Pack, and get all cuddly with Microsoft. The first test to see if you're worthy, apparantly, is to actually REGISTER for the Partner Program. I start by going here and entering my registration information under "enroll my organization". After clicking next, I'm told that there are other entries for my company name already in the system, all that haven't been enrolled yet either (hmm...so all ......

SQL Server 2008 November CTP

The November CTP for SQL Server 2008 has been released. You can get the ISO downloads from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3BF4C5CA-B905-4EBC-8901-1D4C1D1DA884&displaylang=en

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Why MVC Has Me Concerned

Everyone is talking about the new MVC framework that will be released in the coming weeks as a CTP, and so far everyone is very pumped about the way it will revolutionize web application development...how it will allow us to utilize testing tools, TDD, etc. It's always mentioned with reverence and joy. Well, hello: my name is Killjoy. I've read Scott G.'s recent blog entry that gives a great detailed description of how the MVC framework will operate and he walks through a sample app that explains ......

Justice Gray speaking on ASP.NET MVC at Dev Teach Vancouver

Justice announced on his site that he'll be speaking at Dev Teach this month on the new MVC framework Microsoft is releasing: "Introduction to the Microsoft MVC Architecture...what side are YOU on?? Presented by Justice Gray Everybody who is anybody is talking about the new MVC. And when you've heard it mentioned, you've *also* heard the standard "We can all play nice together", "there's still room for choice", "this is just an alternative" and all those other phrases that likely also involve group ......

VS.NET 2008 and .NET 3.5 Shipping...When?...This Month?!

Apparently at TechEd Barcelona it was announced that VS.NET 2008 and .NET 3.5 are shipping not in early 2008, but THIS MONTH. Seriously?!

That's excellent news and hopefully will drive interest in the new platform...and even if it doesn't, we now have a new tool to develop 2.0 applications on, and for web developers this is a great thing...GREAT THING!

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Twin Cities Code Camp - Arioragato Mr. Roboto...or however you spell it.

Michael Dunn is getting ready to show of his kick ass robot and how he was able to develop interfaces using the Microsoft Robotics SDK. This robot (as you can tell from the picture) is hella-kewl. Chris just informed me its actually "Domo Arigato" (and had to correct me a few times in my typing of that). Chris says Hi. Mike is having some keyboard issues...but OMG...his mouse, monitor, and keyboard is connected to the robot...which is running XP Pro! Very kewl. He has two different batteries...one ......

Twin Cities Code Camp - Chris Williams on XNA

I'm sitting in on Chris Williams XNA session...looking forward to it. This room has NO projector...but instead, his laptop is hooked up to a connection that broadcasts his screen to all the computers in the room. Cool, but I agree with him: I'm used to seeing a big screen to reference off of too. Chris is showing us a picture of sprites...explaining what sprites are and how they're the main thing you'll work with in a 2D game. Sprites are/can be everything: characters, monsters, items, backgrounds, ......

Twin Cities Code Camp - Noon Update

I haven't had a chance to check out any sessions as I spent the morning tweaking my presentation. I'm really stoked for Chris' presentation this afternoon on XNA, and there are some great presentations on Microsoft Robotics Studio, AJAX, and Advanced Testing Concepts.

Lunch was catered from some place called Honeyham or something like that...great sandwhiches loaded with meat...good times!

So far everything seems to be going pretty well. More info to come.

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We Need To Be Better At Designing The Presentation

This weekend I'll be speaking at the Twin Cities code camp about designing the presentation layer in ASP.NET. The funny thing is that as I've been preparing for this talk, I'm realizing that its really not about ASP.NET specifically at all...its more about our mindset around software development and the practices and processes that we implement. Sure there are best practices that we can look at, but by and large the biggest issue facing not only web developers but software developers in general is ......

Who Needs ALT.NET when we have WATERFALLOOZA?!

Recently there was alot of buzz around the ALT.NET conference, and not just because it was overshadowed by the biggest break ups in recent geek history (link1, and link2). Unfortunately, many people were probably scratching their head wondering what all the fuss is about. If you were one of those people, then do we have the event for you! Announcing... WATERFALLOOZA - The Conference For Morts! We've got some insanely skilled speakers that will be talking on a variety of topics, including: Outsourcing ......

MSDN Canada - Ignite Your Career Webcast Series

MSDN Canada is doing a webcast series on how to improve your developer career, called Ignite Your Career. There are five webcasts over September and October: Becoming a Better Developer Building Your SkillSet Discovering Your Trusted Resources Becoming Your Own Boss Creating Your Startup Business If any of these sound interesting to you, check out the official page of the series here. Also, if you want to get a download of previously held webcasts (two of the series are already complete), just register ......

Developer Night in Canada - Winnipeg, October 9th

John Bristowe from MSDN will be coming by on October 9th to deliver the next Developer Night in Canada event at our local .NET User Group. John's topic will be "Bringing the Power of the .NET Framework to Your Existing Applications", which will talk about integration and migration of existing VB 6.0 investments. From his abstract: "For the past few years, you’ve heard a lot about the .NET Framework and the development platform it provides to foster innovation. Meanwhile, you’re still managing applications ......

New Laptop Toy

So I bought...I mean, my company bought me, a new toy to use with my laptop today: a Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 (possibly the longest mouse name ev-AR)! I'm doing a few code camp presentations coming up, and I've always wanted one of these, so this was a great opportunity to pick one up...well, that and Best Buy had it on for like $40 off. This mouse has a bunch of awesome features that ALL mice should have: An ON/OFF BUTTON!Seriously, this should be STANDARD for all mice here ......

Microsoft AJAX Update Panel - Great on Looks, Poor on Performance

There's a great MSDN article by Jeff Prosise that talks about the pros and cons of using the Microsoft AJAX update panel compared to other options (like web services and page methods). A quick excerpt: "For better or for worse, the UpdatePanel control is the darling of the ASP.NET AJAX community. I say "for better" because UpdatePanel makes partial-page rendering shockingly easy and "for worse" because its simplicity and ease-of-use come at the cost of efficiency and, ironically, bandwidth. While ......

Oracle and Crystal Reports - A combination surely signaling the coming apocalypse

I had to connect to an Oracle database from Crystal Reports 11 (or XI as they like to put it...because, y'know, it just LOOKS more forboding and impressive). We wanted to connect using the Microsoft ODBC connection for Oracle, but I kept getting this error about Syntax wrong or Access issues blah blah blah. What solved it was installing the Crystal Reports data drivers which, for some reason, aren't automatically installed when you install the FULL VERSION of Crystal Reports 11 (XI). Once I had it ......

Community 2.0

I've been mentioning the idea of Community 2.0 with my colleagues and peers over the last few months, and a recent discussion of it prompted me to write this post to bring the reality of the community landscape to full focus. Community 2.0, for me, is the emergence of the next generation of influencers in our industry. It’s more than just the changing of the guard, it’s the revitalization of the developer community back to the grass-roots movements that spawned the user group initiative, INETA, and ......

Saving to an Oracle Blob field using DAAB

Been working on a file-upload feature on my current web app project, with the catches being 1) We're saving the file to an Oracle BLOB field 2) We're using the Data Access Application Block If this was using the Microsoft or Oracle data providers, we'd be able to specify Blob as the parameter type being passed into the stored proc...but we can't with the built in type list. The way around this is to specify the datatype as DBType.Binary and pass in a byte array representing the file. D ......

Discussion Post: Vista is the new Millenium Edition

I was talking with Dave Harris about search functionality in Vista compared to XP, and he dropped this: "Vista is the new Millenium Edition" What do you think? How pleased are you with the latest and greatest OS from Microsoft compared to what has become a very stable operating platform in XP? D ......

The Region - Great Microsoft RD Blog Aggregator Site

First off, let's answer the question of what an RD, or Microsoft Regional Director is. From this Microsoft site, they say" "Regional Directors aren't Microsoft employees--they're independent developers, architects, trainers, and other professionals who provide a vital link between Microsoft and the developer community." So Regional Directors should be key figures in your community efforts. Obviously, this isn't always the case...but that's a topic for another post. But this post is meant to open ......

Bill Gates Harvard Commencement Speech 2007

Bill Gates gave the commencement speech for Harvard this year, and it's fantastic! He speaks about how important it is for the brightest minds of today to be utilized in fixing the biggest problems we have today, and not just as more tools to further the capitalistic juggernaut (that's my interpretation, not necessarily Gates' opinion). If Gates was just the big Microsoft guy, this would all sound hypocritical; but he's not. He's poured insane amounts of his own money into charity work, and although ......

Microsoft Products Roadmap

Interesting post here (which I found via Kate's blog) about the product roadmap for Microsoft in FY08 and beyond.

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*DING* Congratulations, you're now a level 30 developer, which means you're available for this quest: UltraWebListBar of HELL

Now that I've conquered the UltraWebGrid, I've moved out of the Arathi highlands and into the mire that is the Wetlands further south. Here is where my next quest waits for me, and its name is "UltraWebListBar...of HELL". I encountered this nice little undead apothecary named Fred of the Dead who said to me... "Oh no, I'm so upset. The dwarven hordes are closing in on all sides, and the only way to stop them is to implement this UltraWebListBar...but it won't maintain its selected group through postbacks! ......

Other Books You Should Consider Reading

With all the "Become a Better Developer" movement going around, alot has been said about which technology books should be read. I'm going to offer a few books I read that aren't technical, but are still very relevant to our field. Bad Boy Ballmer - The Man Who Rules Microsoft (Fredric Alan Maxwell) Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a HUGE Steve Ballmer fan. Sure he throws chairs at employees who leave for Google, and sure he keeps his kids from buying anything Apple...but if you want to understand ......

Microsoft Certifications: Another Reason They Matter

I was listening to a podcast recently that talked about Microsoft certifications and whether they were still relevant. Mostly the arguments revolve around whether or not these certifications are legitimately gained: are people just using brain dumps or are they studying and applying real-world knowledge to pass, and should this be a legit gauge of skills? But there's something else to consider when you're thinking about getting the latest certification, and it could directly affect how appealing ......

Becoming a Better Developer Update - Or "How to spice up baby-making sex"

You're probably looking at the title of this post wondering how spicing up baby making sex relates to becoming a better developer. First, you should really go and read George's post first to get some context around this. Read it? Great... So over the last few months I've been trying to sink my teeth into some Tech books as part of my becoming a better developer. I sympathize with George in that tech books can sometimes become difficult to plow through. To use another analogy, its like working out: ......

SQL 2008 - Video Wrapup

In some previous posts I was commenting on a series of short info-videos that Microsoft has put out on SQL 2008. The last two videos are definately not geared for developers. The Enterprise Data Platform Vision describes SQL 2008 from an IT/DBA perspective. They talk about meeting needs around compliance, security, and availability. New features around failover, mirroring, pluggable cpu, and other IT speak. Although they didn't go into detail on the side of new SQL tools, they did mention that star-joins ......

SQL 2008 - Dynamic Development

Another in the "4 Pillars" of SQL 2008 series, this one focuses on Dynamic Development. Again, its a high-level overview that really just gives you enough buzzwords to go off and start researching on Google. New development technologies were highlighted, including the Entity Data Model, LINQ, Entity SQL, and Data Shaping Services (but no demos...all just mentioned abstractly and how they fit into the new data services plan in the new offering). Although it wasn't mentioned in detail, and it may have ......

SQL 2008 - Beyond Relational

There's a video series on the SQL 2008 product site that reviews at a high level the "4 Pillars" that SQL 2008 is built upon. One of these is "Beyond Relational". This video talks about some of the new features that are part of 2008 from a data-storage and retrieval point of view. There are a bunch of new datatypes (including some updated date/time ones that increase precision), but the big one that will be touted is the filestream datatype. It was explained in the video as the "best of both worlds" ......

Just a reminder - it's not JUST about VS.NET 2008...

Although the big buzz is around VS.NET 2008 launching in the new year, there's also an updated database platform as well!

Make sure to check out the SQL Server 2008 page on Microsoft's website for updates:

https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/content/content.aspx?ContentID=5395

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Microsoft Dropping VUE and Using Prometric Exclusively for Certification

Trika Harms zum Spreckel (that's a kick ass name) has posted on her blog about how Microsoft is dropping VUE as a testing provider after August of this year. You can read her blog post here. Trika, btw, is on the Microsoft Marketing Communications team (see her about page here). Thanks to Kay for originally posting this tidbit (you can read Kay's blog here). My personal thought? Whatever...it doesn't really affect me. Testing centers for either VUE or Prometric are available in Winnipeg, so there's ......

Adventures in Sharepoint 2007 - The Fun Continues

So I ditched the whole aspx/dll option for a straight aspx page solution and got it working! (w00t!) So what I did was put an ASPX page into the Pages directory of the site. From here I can access it easily by browsing or passing the url in to whatever control I want opening up the page. A few things that came up: - This page needs to export to Excel and for whatever reason it wasn't doign it properly. I took out the actual control tags and replaced them with dynamically created controls in the code ......

More fun with Sharepoint 2007. This Episode: Sharepoint Designer - Adding ASPX File Over-writes Default.aspx?!

I'm trying to add an ASPX page to a Sharepoint 2007 site using Sharepoint Designer. When I do so, it defaults to adding it as "default.aspx" (I don't have a default.aspx page in my structure). But I obviously don't want it to be default.aspx...I want it to be Test.aspx. However...when I rename it, it says to me "do you really want to rename your default.aspx page to test.aspx?". Um...I didn't want this to BE my default .aspx in the first place...kinda silly...must be a "feature"...so I just click ......

Microsoft has "Community", it doesn't need a "Cult"

Michael Singer posted an article on Information Week about Microsoft's seeming lack of community (Thanks to Scott for originally posting about the article on GWB). I think that he might have gotten some misinformation from less-than-reliable sources, so I wanted to go through his article and give a Microsoft-ie point of view. Let's review the article shall we? "Apple has one. So does the Java community, Oracle, IBM, and Google. Lord knows anyone who uses Linux or free and open source software is ......

VB Launches MASSIve Attack on C#

The war for which .NET language will reign supreme just got a little dicier folks. For a while now everybody has been slowly moving toward C# as the defacto .NET language of choice. Big names in the .NET world have been showing off coding samples in C# for a long time, books have been filled with C#-only samples...it seemed that we were all moving toward a new future where semi-colons and curly-brackets would reign supreme. That was...until now. The VB.NET team has launched a new weapon in its quest ......

How I am becoming a better developer in 6 months

Justice started a little challange, and i'm answering the call! Basically the idea is about accountability: what are you doing on an ongoing basis that is increasing your skills as a developer? Justice has pushed the envelope somewhat...he's going to be reading a book every week from now until October. That's very aggresive and shows his determination, focus, and apparantly lack of any sort of life outside the range of his Macbook's screen. (Note that one of his books is "MaxOS: The Missing Manual". ......

I love my new mouse!

I picked up a new wireless mouse tonight: a Microsoft Laser Mouse 5000. This thing is freaking sweet! First off...I didn't realize that there was a difference between an optical mouse and a laser mouse. I mean, one could figure out that the optical uses LED based technology while the laser uses something else. But at first I thought I had a bad mouse: there's no light underneath it. Turns out that the laser is invisible...who'd have thunk? Second, Microsoft has some sweet software bundled with this ......

Microsoft, I just want to cancel my account...

I had a smart watch...but I lost it. I need to cancel my account. I go to the Microsoft website instructed in the email...when I select "Cancel" account, I get nothing. Well, I get something, but its useless. Really horrible website btw...not intuitive at all (and I'm usually pretty nice about critquing...) I call the customer account number. Some guy who is very nice tells me that I can't cancel it there...he's going to transfer me to the right department. I get to the new phone menu..."Welcome ......

Mobile Developers Finally Recognized!

For the longest time, MCAD and MCSD certifictions revolved around windows, web, and services. With the new certification structure, the door has been opened wide for developers of specific technologies to finally be recognized as specialists in their field; and that now includes mobile development! Microsoft has two new Technology Specialist certifications: Windows Mobile 5.0 - Application Developer and Windows Mobile Designing, Implementing, and Managing This is great news for those of us that have ......

The Next Phase of Mobile Development

Chris posted on his blog about the demise of the Axim PPC line. Interestingly enough, when you look at the types of devices entering the Windows Mobile marketplace there are two distinct lines forming: communication enabled devices and rugged devices. Take a look at the list of Mobile devices on Microsoft's site. Only 4 of them (one being the cancelled Axim) are wife-wants-to-electronicall... grade, while the others are "rugged" or specialied to fit a certain environment. Compare ......

Eric, why are you so sexy?

It's that time again to ask Eric Legault, Microsoft Outlook MVP, why he's so sexy? So Eric, why are you so sexy? "Because I'm like Jack Tripper...I'm vaguely homoerotic, blatently heterosexual...but really all I want to do is date* two chicks at once." How awesome would Three's Company have been if Eric Legault had played Jack Tripper... D *Note: The word "date" has been substituted here to ensure we keep a "PG" rating for this blog ......

Great Evolutionary Post

Slashdot has a post here about how 48% of American Reject Evolution. It's actually a link to the MSNBC article, but the Slashdot comments are what makes this post worthwhile...especially the one where this guy lambastes a believer about how if his parents had brought him up to believe in the Power Rangers, he'd be spouting off on that...ha...classic! I actually had a discussion recently about this with some co-workers. They seemed to think it odd that I didn't believe in evolution, even with all ......

Microsoft Aquires Teamplain

Read Brian Harry's blog post on it here.

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UniveRSS - 3D Vista RSS Reader

yo yo yo, check it out here.

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What's with the i'm thing on MSN?!

For those askign that question, check out:

http://im.live.com/Messenger/IM/Home/

It's an initiative from Microsoft to help sponsor some charity orgs. Please check it out and join in!

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Life Update

Sorry, no technical update here...mainly life updates. Workouts My workouts have been going really well, although the scale isn't my friend anymore. I've been hovering around 265 and 270 for the last few weeks...can't seem to break that plateau. From a heart-standpoint though, I've probably never felt better. I got on the treadmill last week for the first time in a while (they've had me do other cardio stuff), and the speed/incline they gave me...well, when I started it almost killed me. Now, it's ......

Eric, why are you so sexy?

Yes its time once again for "Eric, why are you so sex?", the part of my blog where I ask my co-worker and Microsoft Outlook MVP Eric Legault why he's so sexy.

So Eric, why are you so sexy?

"Because I'm like a KFC/Taco Bell combo restaurant: I run for the border where its finger licking good."

Oh my...

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Overriding Unique ID's in Web Controls

I came accross a scenario where I needed to override the ASP.NET-assigned id name of a label control that is used within a datalist control on a webform. The problem is that, because of ASP.NET's naming scheme, you get names like ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_N... (Read the MSDN article that explains this here.) Not the easiest or nicest to play with when you need to do something as simple as, say, use anchors on a page for navigation. To make a long story short, there are two ......

Eric, why are you so sexy?

It's time once again for another installment of "Eric, why are you so sex?", the blog entry where I ask my co-worker and Microsoft Outlook MVP Eric Legault why he's so sexy.

So Eric, why are you so sexy?

"Cause the fingers do the walking and the rest do the talking!"

On fire!

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Microsoft Releases Team Foundation Server Power Tools

Microsoft released some kewl power tools for Team System...especially the amazing Process Template Editor!

Check it out here.

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Never mind Vista, here's REALLY trusting Microsoft...

I'm an MCSD. I've passed all the exams. However, when my testing center registered me, they created an entirely new MCP ID for me (WTF?!), so now I have two accounts linked to me, with two sets of exams passed on them. Great. Should be easy to clear it up right? That's what I thought...until I was told that I had to send in a copy of my birth certificate (just a scan) as proof. Ok, not crazy about that, but whatever (not crazy about the fact that I'm pretty sure they've outsourced the center to India ......

Winnipeg Technology Communities/Canadian Dev Resources

Winnipeg Technology Communities Winnipeg .NET User Group Manitoba Oracle User Group (may be dead?) Winnipeg IT Pro User Group Blogs Donald Belcham Justice Gray Amanda Murphy Joel Semeniuk Derek Hatchard Rob Windsor Nolan Zak Steven Rockarts James Kovaks Jean-Paul Boodhoo Bil Simser MSDN Canada Community Blog Sites You Should Bookmark (Not All Canadian) MSDN Canada Home ASP.NET (Home) Channel 9 Geeks With Blogs ......

Comments on Vista Fine Print

Michael Geist has a great column that talks about the fine print associated with Vista. I thought I'd share my views on some of his points. "Users activate Vista by associating it with a particular computer or device and transmitting certain hardware information directly to Microsoft" Um...wasn't this part of the activation process for Windows XP as well? I recall that there may have been an issue if you did too many upgrades to your machine and XP saw it as a different machine. If you purchase a ......

Not Impressed with Microsoft Call Centers

So last weekend I wanted to re-install Windows XP on my home PC, which is now my gaming rig since we do all the regular day-to-day stuff on the Mac. The install went fine (well, the second time around it did anyway), but when I went to activate it, I was told that it had exceeded the allowable number of activations. Alright...I guess I'm calling Microsoft. So I give them a call, and wait for about 6 minutes. Then I get this woman who sounds a little flustered and seemed to try and push through her ......

One of the few reasons Canada sucks

So, I don't want to gripe or sound really ungrateful for all the wonderful things that us Canadians do get, but seriously...SERIOUSLY...what's up with all those contests or promotions that are "US Only"?! Like, for example, the one here. Yes, I'm talking about how, if you go to the Office/Vista launch event in the states, you get a FREE license for Office Pro 2007 and Groove 2007! Y'know what us Canucks got at our launch event? A t-shirt. And some marketing materials. And a pad of paper. I don't ......

Reality Update: The Apprentice LA/Beauty and the Geek 3

The Apprentice LA We kicked off the third season of The Apprentice last night. The Donald and his producers realized that the old formula was getting old, so they pulled a Vince McMahon and decided to mix it up: It's in LALosing teams sleep in tents outsideWinning Project Manager sits in on the boardroom as advisor to TrumpBianca Trump is WAY easier on the eyes than Catherine was Overall pretty good first episode. I mean, it wasn't gripping TV, but I'd put it under guilty pleasure status. Martin ......

You want me to pay how much to host my external Sharepoint site?!

OK, someone at Microsoft please clarify this: One of the new Sharepoint 2007 features is that you can host an externally available website to the masses, which will grab data from the shared datastore as your internal sharepoint, and not have to pay CAL's for each individual user (since, y'know, its the internet, and that could be huge). But instead, you end up paying an insane amount of money to do this, to the tune of approx 50k. If this is just how it is, how unfortunate that one of the kewlest ......

Inspiration for the "Others"

Friends, this time of year can be extremely difficult for many of us. As the clock continues to move ahead, and the new year approaches, many of us will feel an emptiness...a sadness...possibly even anger and angst. Why are we different? What is it about us that makes us un-worthy of the love and affection poured out to others? Yes, I'm talking to you my brethren, the ones that DIDN'T GET AN F'N MVP STATUS AWARDED THIS YEAR. I know it's tough right now with so many gloating about the joy of reading ......

How to Access Send-To Folder in Vista

Bill Tudor posted about trying to get into the Send-To folder in Vista to add your own shortcuts. He was getting a message saying that "Access is Denied". I got the same issue, even after turning off user account control. I did some digging and found the answer! If you go to C:\Users\<your username>, you'll see shortcuts for SendTo, Start Menu, My Documents, etc., but you won't be able to access any of them. That's because they aren't really shortcuts, but are "programmatic junction points". ......

The internet depresses me...

Remember back in the day when the internet was (relatively) new, and we were all discovering the joys of hand-written web pages (with notepad, no graphical stuff), playing XWing vs. Tie Fighter online in MSN's Zone (I was part of LSF: Last Starfighter League which routinely playing in Weekends of War...that's WoW before it became World of Warcraft), and chatting it up with friends on ICQ (who uses THAT anymore eh?). But now...now the internet is just so...BORING. I mean, its become as routine as ......

Law and Order SVU: install the what?!

I was watching this week's Law and Order SVU episode (love my PVR) this morning. One of the characters is a "computer geek" (oddly enough, played by Bob Sagat). There's a scene where he's at his computer firm and is scolding one of his employees. They're at her desk, and the computer appears to be a Mac (the keyboard was from a Mac anyway) and he utters this spew of garbage: "If you don't install the service pack on the cluster, you open the network up to a back oriface attack." Yes, they used the ......

Microsoft hires ex-'Apprentice' star as judge - CNN.com

Interesting article about how Microsoft is putting together their own cross between "America's Greatest Inventor" and "The Apprentice", complete with judges and Carolyn Kepcher. It's a marketing promotion for Office 2007, and the winning business start up will get free storefront rent in Manhatten, software swag, and money. Link to Microsoft hires ex-'Apprentice' star as judge - CNN.com ......

The Soul Of A New Microsoft

Business Week has a great article on J Allard and the future execs of Microsoft that are taking the company to Geek 2.0 (their terminology, not mine). Allard is definately the man...seriously, he's like a young Steve Ballmer on brain roids ......

IPod to Zune: What will it take?

I've been looking more into the Zune lately, and I'm very excited for them to come to Canada...but then I was talking with a buddy who recently got one and he informed me that the much talked about rumors of Microsoft giving you every song you've purchased through iTunes for free is just that: rumor. So that got me thinking...how is Microsoft going to try and justify to all those people who have bought hundreds of songs through ITunes to just up and switch to the Zune marketplace? There's no way ......

Microsoft offering 25% off purchase of Office....for Mac

Microsoft is offering discounts on Office 2004 for Mac. You buy Office, then download/print/fill out a form and send it in with the barcode from the product box. If you're in the USA, you can get the form here. If you're in Canada, you can get the form here. D ......

Tech Ed Back to Orlando

According to this link Tech Ed 2007 is going to go back to Orlando. Joy...couldn't come up with another location eh? Something a little more CENTRAL maybe? Or how about someplace that's just NEW, and different...and not Boston.

Sigh...

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TechEd Pulled from Big Easy

Scott Ladewig pointed out a story about Microsoft moving TechEd and some other events out of New Orleans in 2007. This means that we need to begin pushing MS to move Tech Ed to the obvious 2nd choice: Fargo, North Dakota No, I'm not drunk. No, I'm not high. Think about it: Fargo is practically the center of North America! No extreme locations to travel to, minimal time zone changes. Alright...most importantly I could actually drive down. ;) D ......

Apparantly I'm Really Bummed About Safari...

K, so I'm dreaming last night...some weird thing about visiting some weird store...can't remember all the details...except this one: I'm talking to some of the sales guys at this weird store, and notice once has a Mac. I ask him to go to Amazon.com with Safari. When he tries to go there, he gets an error saying that javascript is on this page and can't be rendered. I then proceed to tell him about my woes using Safari with certain sites. And I'm not raggin' on GWB...any Microsoft-based site has issues. ......

Can a Mac POST?

It's early...but visions of getting my Mac up and running are soaring through my head. (And its only 7:03 AM here...my timestamp is wrong on my blog posts...gotta fix that...). Here's a pic of my Mac btw: So a few more observations made before my woes began... Microsoft's Messenger for Mac is very slick. It runs pretty much like Messenger on Windows, and its nice that I don't need to use some third-party app that integrates with MSN instead of just directly accessing the system. Installing programs ......

David Weiss: A Tour of Microsoft's Mac Lab

Check out David's blog here to see a tour of the Mac Labs inside Microsoft.

Very kewl to see how they set up their test environment, eventually migrating to 150 Mac-minis.

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Apple: Misleading Ship Days

This is letting the cat out of the bag a bit, and I had hoped to have a huge whiz-bang announcement that would blow the socks off of all my friends that think I just go home and worship at my alter to Steve Ballmer, but I need to blog about this annyance, so... I'm buying a Mac. Yes, its true. Mr. Microsoft-To-The-End is going to be surfing the web on one of the machines made by the other Steve. I placed my order for my new 20 inch iMac back on September 7th. As I was customizing my Mac, I was quite ......

The Microsoft Fallacy

Found this on Nadyne Mielke's blog, talking about the Microsoft Fallacy. She comments, as a member of one of the smaller teams in the company, the business reality from inside Microsoft (yes, their business units have budgets and no, they don't have free reign to a money making machine in the basement). But...why am I reading a MacBU person's blog...? D ......

Cascading Style Sheet Compatibility in Internet Explorer 7

Someone pointed out that my blog rendered improperly in IE 6. This was odd, as I hadn't heard anything about it. I recently posted using LIveWriter's Blockquote feature, but my blog rendered fine in IE7 and Firefox. Once I took the blockquote out of my post though, IE 6 rendered fine as well. Interesting... So I haven't put too much time into reasearching, but I did find this article about CSS compatibility with IE 7, and it talks about some of the differences in how IE 7 renders things...which scares ......

Tech Net 06 Tour - Winnipeg

Make sure to register for the upcoming Tech Net 06 tour...well, if you live in Winnipeg...and you're in IT and not the MSDN side of things.



IE7 Scares Me

I've done some sites in ASP.NET 2.0 now, and they look great....in IE 6. But now that Microsoft is getting ready to release IE 7, testing those same sites isn't having the same happy effect anymore. One site I worked on has a piece that outputs a dynamically created HTML table, with links and whatnot. In IE 6.0, the page grows properly, so the user scrolls down the page to see the rest of the table. In IE 7.0, it doesn't. The table gets cut off where the Master Page footer starts. Not good. I have ......

Gimme another bowl of AppleJax!

This article is talking about how "Atlas" won't be the final name for Microsoft's AJAX-based technology. They're requesting the community suggest options for the name, and I gotta tell you that I LOVE this one: Asynchronous POST Platform Leveraging Enterprise JavaScript And XML (APPLEJAX) That's just priceless! We need to bond together, fellow web-geeks, and push this through! This could be the coolest name to come out of Microsoft since...um...since...yeah, well anyway... What we need to do is mass ......

Develop Without Borders Challange

Microsoft is hosting a very kewl contest called the Develop Without Border Challange. The idea is pretty simple: spec out a solution using Office 2007 for a charity of your choice. The prizes are excellent, as the real winner in this is whatever charity you're speaking for, so its not a selfishly motivated contest at all, which is nice for a change (yes, devs do get some prizes...but the cash and technology for the charity makes it the real winner in this). Check out the links below for more info: ......

Congrats Jean-Luc!

Congratulations to Jean-Luc David on joining the ranks of Microsoft as a Developer Evangelist here in Canada! Of course, as initiation, the Mad Mexican will be crashing a speaking engagement of yours...but which one will it be?!

;)

Congrats again!

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A few announcements

I wanted to bring attention to a couple of events that have occurred lately. Firstly, congrats to Canadian Developer Evangelist, and pimp-wrestler, John Bristowe on his recent marriage! You can see pics of the wedding and what looks like the honeymoon at his Flickr site here. Secondly, its with great sadness that the Canadian developer community bids a fond farewell to Sasha Krsmanovic. Sasha has been the main contact at MSDN Canada for the past number of years for us user group leaders, and has ......

User Group Community: Why?

I had a really good conversation with someone today about community. We were talking about why communities exist...what are the hallmarks of a community...who are the people that attend and lead them, and what are their motives. What were the instigating factors that started a community? For those heading up the creation of a community, what are the motives, expectations, and requirements for maintaining the life of the community? What makes a community...and what makes someone want to be part of ......

Saturday feelin' like a Monday

So before I dive into my extended work week, I thought I'd blog a bit about the week that was here at Geeks with Blogs. Let's take a peek shall we? I just want a HAMMER!Uri Goldstein has a great post about an article on Joel on Software talking about frameworks and how silly the whole framework-movement can be. Ooooo, look at me...I have a Motarola Q!Yeah yeah Driss, we get it: You have a Motarola Q...rub it in our faces why don't you! ;) But seriously, Driss, has a great post about his initial experiences ......

Office 2007 Delayed

According to the CNN article below, Office 2007 is going to be delayed.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/ptech/06/29/microsoft.office.ap/index.html

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Who let the girls in?!

So Trish Lacey has added her blog to GWB. I'm sure that her blog hits have gone through the roof from people reeling from the shock and awe of a female who not only works for Microsoft but plays WoW as well. I mean, not that I'm bitter or anything. I've only been part of this community since November 2005 with a unisex name, expounding on my geeky life including video games, coding, football, etc., and does Chris Williams ever call ME a 'hottie'?! Hell no! (mind you...I did sit on Brendon's lap in ......

Get the Mad Mexican to Tech Ed!

Who are these heartless people that simply walk by a poor Mexican wrestler who just wants to eat free twinkies and talk up Web 2.0 with fellow Microsofties?! *Edit: Props to Rob Windsor for showing off his Paint .NET skills...watch out Bristowe, there may be a new Paint.NET MVP out there...The Mad Mexican may not be making an appearance in Boston, but you can bet that he'll be body slamming someone in New Orleans next year! D ......

Tech Ed 2007/2008

Crusing on Google I found the locations for next years Tech Ed (which I REALLY want to go to...really really badly...really...) Apparantly, Tech Ed 2007 will be held in none-other than the Big Easy, New Orleans! Tech Ed 2008 will be heading back to Orlando. This is according to a Google cache of a Microsoft page which apparantly is down. D ......

Tech Ed Smech Ed

All anyone seems to be blogging about is Tech Ed, and how they're going down to Tech Ed, and how many more days until they leave for Tech Ed, and won't it be fun to meet up with so and so at Tech Ed. Phooey I say! Overrated! Media Hyped! Why would I want to be in Boston with a bunch of geeks getting fed awesome food, hearing awesome sessions, networking with great people, and enjoying all things Microsoft when I could be here in Winnipeg enjoying our warm weather, mosquito swarms, our...uh...half-price ......

Random Thoughts from a Calgary Hotel Room

Tomorrow is the Calgary Code Camp, and I'm pretty stoked about going. It'll be great to meet the two Calgary-based UG leaders, Daniel and Dawn. Steve is coming down with Donald and Justice Gray from Edmonton as well, so it'll be one big Albertan/INETA-CC love-in. Speaking of Steve, I bought the book he recommended today (JPod by Douglas Coupland). If you're interested in getting it, Chapters/Indigo has it on for 30% off and an extra 10% if you have the iRewards card...and Sunday is a double iRewards ......

Consolas Font

Glen Gordon has a great blog post showing off a new font pack released by Microsoft called Consolas. Designed for code editing and to take advantage of ClearType, its another alternative developers have within their development environment. The kewlest feature for me though is that zeros in this font have a line through them...no more mistaking 0 for O...I know, its a small thing...but I mark out for the 0 with the lines through. You can download the font here. D ......

Cram Night

Tomorrow morning I write what I hope is my last Microsoft exam for a while...well, until I decide to go for my MCPD designation. I'm writing the 70-301 exam, and the last one to achieve my MCSD. 70-301 is the Managing, Organizing, and Delivering IT Projects by using MSF 3.0. My main study guide is actually the Microsoft Press book Analyzing Requirements and Defining MS .NET Solution Architectures, which is intended as a study guide to the 70-300 exam. I've passed the 70-300, and this is my second ......

New SQL 2005 Exam Counts Towards MCSD

According to this page on the Microsoft site, the new 70-431 exam now counts towards an MCSD certification, and you get a TS: SQL Server 2005 to boot!

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Web Service Monkey Off My Back

So I went in this morning and passed my 70-310 exam...FINALLY...but more importantly, it gives me my fourth exam towards MCSD and my MCAD designation.

It also means that I only need to write one exam to upgrade to the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer status (well, one each if I want to get both web and windows).

I've still got my eye on the MCSD though...I'm thinking SQL 2000 will be my next one.

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Microsoft Web Standards

Interesting article here explaining Microsoft's design decisions when creating their ASP.NET “Basic” design template.

Of note is the comment about using div's for layout instead of tables. I'm curious:

How many people actually use div tags to define their layouts over tables for the majority of their development?

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New MS Certs?

While reviewing his profile on Microsoft's site, a co-worker noticed that he was given a certification as Microsoft Certifid Technology Specialist: Windows 2003 Messaging and Collaboration.

Interesting...there is no record of this certification on the Microsoft Learning site, yet he was given this back in January (just wasn't told about it).

Does this mean that there are some new MCTS designations around the corner, or currently being given out?

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Kewl Geeky Fun

I've been playing around with some new tech stuff over the last few weeks. Office LiveI've been trying out the new Office Live offering by Microsoft (www.officelivechurch.com), and for a business its great! For an organization, I think it could work as well. It's basically Sharepoint under the hood though, so there's nothing really “new” there that I haven't seen before. IE 7Anyone who hasn't gotten IE 7 really should. I've been really happy with it, and have had almost no problems (a ......

Displaying Gradients on the Web

So I'm working on a new website for the company I work for, and I'm looking at some other sites to get some inspiration. I was looking through Microsoft's website, and seeing how they did their table structures and what not...when I happened accross an interesting line of code: DXImageTransform.Microsoft.... endColorStr='#1E77D3', gradientType='1') So I called out “Oh great Google, please tell me what this means” and the response I got was this: http://msdn.microsoft.com/l... ......

Analysts miss key Origami market

If you believe the analysts in this article, Microsoft's new Ultra Mobile PC isn't going to live up to its hype. It has nowhere near the battery life of the IPod, its (as Pip Coburn states) “another failed attempt to jam everything into one device.”, and (according to Cynthia Brumfield) its too expensive for consumers. What I find interesting about this article is that they keep refering it as a mobile media device aimed at consumers...an in that capacity, I agree with them. I would never ......

OfficeLiveChurch

So with the help of a buddy of mine living in the US (thanks Jer!), I've started working with the new OfficeLive Beta from Microsoft. My trial has more behind it than just interest in the technology. I've been involved with technology in my church for a few years now, and setting up networks, buying software, setting up software...for people in volunteer positions to put in the time required to properly secure, setup, and maintain a Sharepoint deployment or even a website, it can really become overwhelming. ......

If Microsoft Packaged the IPod

Funny video over at YouTube showing what the IPod packaging would look like if Microsoft had done it (obviously with a Mac-fan/Anti-MS spin to it).

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeXAcwriid0&search=microsoft%20ipod

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Fun with SQL 2005 and DTS

I'm working on a project where we wanted to run a DTS package from an ASP.NET page. Problem was that on the test server, it kept erroring out when we'd navigate to the page saying that it couldn't find a reference to Microsoft.SQLServer.DTS.Run... This namespace is actually found in the physical file Microsoft.SQLServer.Managed... Now, I have no explanation as to why, but when we ran the web app from within the VS.NET IDE, we had no problem accessing it (i.e. through Cassini). But access it ......

Microsoft For Every Sized Business

Funny video showing off Microsoft's CRM tool and how it can help your kids get their own money for college.

http://xpstream.winisp.net/BenVollmer/LemonadeSmall

If only we as developers could claim our hours playing XBox as billable time...

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INETA History Lesson

A previous post of mine ranted about the current state of user groups and the level of support that many groups are feeling is declining due to increased pressure from sponsors to justify further support. I gave the impression in that post that INETA was created out of Microsoft's drive to push marketing within the development communities. Julie Lerman corrected me on this on her blog (the INETA egg came before the MS marketing juggernaut chicken). Thanks for sharing a bit of the history behind the ......

The State of the User Group Union...

Flash back a few years to when .NET was an emerging technology. Microsoft put their marketing muscle behind the promotion and creation of user group communities: groups of geeks getting together to talk about CLR goodness. Their plan worked to perfection, and user groups sprung up all over the world! An organization (which I'm a membership manager for), INETA - The International .NET Association, was created and helped bolster the user groups by providing guidance, speakers, and support. Here in ......

June 30 is D-Day for Win98/WinME

Microsoft is finally ending support for Windows 98 and ME this June. This probably wouldn't be a big deal for most people if not for the fact no new security patches will be released. Guess its time for all those 98 users (or those unlucky enough to have bought ME) to upgrade to XP.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/support/endofsupport.mspx

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Thoughts from Ottawa Airport...

So I’m writing this at 5:47 AM in the Ottawa airport. I’d be actually entering this straight into the blog, but the oh-so-wonderful pay-for-service wireless provider seems to be having problems…and now I just can’t justify paying $10 when they’re going to start boarding us in the next 10 minutes. (Note: I'm posting this at 1:34AM on Saturday...crazy day!) Why don’t airports just add another little tax on (Lord knows they already do for other things) and make wireless ......

Mobile Datagrid 2.0 and World Junior Hockey

I'm starting on a new project at work where we're developing for the Windows Mobile 2003 platform using VB.NET 2005. I was really pumped to see all the new controls, especially the editable datagrid becaue they HAD to put one in this time around! But to my shock and horror...the datagrid is STILL not editable! I couldn't believe it! How could Microsoft let me down?! Well, they didn't...sort of. By using all the nifty drag and drop abilities of VS.NET 2005, the IDE will actually create the datagrid ......

Google Launches Video Beta

This is pretty kewl. Google has launched a new video service that lets you search for videos online! It defaults to showing most popular ones, random, or you can enter text to search. Very kewl. A search of “Microsoft” came up with this oldie but a goodie: Developers! “Developers, Developers, Developers...You tell 'em Steve, you tell the WORLD!” ;) D ......

Java: created to make VB with semicolons 1.0...C# version 2.0

Rocky Lhotka has an awesome blog entry talking about yet another discussion about VB vs C#. It's actually a pretty funny read, and he ends off bringing us all together as one big Microsoft coding family (although the C# programmers are still the black sheep).
;)

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Microsoft better strike while the iron is hot!

Sometimes opportunity falls in your lap. Of course, opportunity without action results in nothing. Recently the Gartner group issued a statement urging companies NOT to use BlackBerry devices for mission critical communication projects pending the result of a patent lawsuit before the courts. (read the article here). Now, yes Google is the primary target, but DING DING DING! I think that's opportunity knocking at the door! There is now going to be companies asking what alternatives there are to BlackBerry ......

How ITunes Saved (my wife's) Christmas (party)

So my wife gets a call about a half hour before heading out to a Sunday school teacher's shindig from one of the ladies, asking if she could bring a Christmas CD for the gettogether. Of course, she said. We have Christmas CD's. Or so we thought... As we scoured the house looking for any site of a Christian Christmas CD, we started to realize as the clock ticked away that maybe we didn't have Christmas CD's (or at least we didn't know where they were). Then an idea hit me: why don't we just buy an ......

XBox Live Woes

It's not really that difficult...all I want to do is associate my XBox Live gamertag with my 360. But for some reason it doesn't want to take. So I try to associate my passport and gamertag on the xbox website. Same thing: I get errors. So this morning I called XBox support. I talked to a very nice girl (can't remember her name) who was very helpful, and bugged not one but two supervisors on my behalf. The first supervisor sounded like a tool, but the second one, Chris, was helpful...although we ......

First Impressions of XBox 360

I finally plugged in my Xbox 360 tonight and got it up and running. I must say that I'm impressed with the hardware. It's a much nicer design than the old XBox (side by side, you can totally tell that Microsoft has improved over the original, bulky design). The controllers, which I thought I'd deteste, I actually really like! Wireless is a beautiful thing, and the controls are very responsive and comfortable. But what about the games? I have two: Project Gotham Racing 3 and Call of Duty 2.Project ......

New Tech Blog

Welcome to my tech blog! I'm going to be retiring my spaces blog shortly (which was the plan all along). I'm going to be creating my own personal site (www.chaoticgood.ca) in the near future when I get more time (aiming for 2007 currently), but for now I wanted to have a tech-only type site that I could post on things that are work friendly. So here you won't find commentary on my views of society, abortion, religion, politics, etc....just Microsoft goodness and any geeky stuff that I come accross. ......