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

April 2009 Entries

Practitioners Are The Stars – What Consulting Companies Can Learn from McDonalds

Before my metrosexual development career took off, I spent time working in the restaurant industry; four of those years were with McDonald’s. McDonald’s is a marketing wonder. While we’ve all made jokes about the food quality or service, you can’t argue that they’ve integrated themselves into our culture and our consciousness. But how did they do that? Consider the other competitors that exist: Burger King, Wendy’s, A&W…all sell the same types of products, all have similar offerings. And yet ......

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 ......

New Political/Current Issues Blog

Every once in a while we at Geeks With Blogs like to get away from Technology and post on a non-technical subject. I enjoy this and think its one of the things that makes GWB’s a great community of people, not just geeks. Recently I’ve been blogging quite a bit on border and immigration issues, which has become somewhat of an interest of mine. While I hope my readers have enjoyed these posts, I realize that this is first and foremost a technology community and I don’t want to force those with a technical ......

You Can’t Do Silverlight Without Blend

I got back the comments from my TCCC talk, and I appreciated all of them. One stuck out though: I was hoping for more help building Silverlight as a developer without using expression blend. I would have liked to see more of making a business-line application without worrying about massive silverlight graphics and using blend. I want to make this point very clear: You will not be able to develop a Silverlight application without Expression Blend. Visual Studio only lets you interact with the XAML, ......

Earth Day FAIL

Mongabay.com posted “100 photos to remind us of the beauty of the world we share.”. The pictures are actually really awesome, but seriously…who thought including the picture below (especially as the first one on the second page of photos under the highlighted text) was a good idea ......

SSWUG.ORG VConference Starts Today!

Today marks the beginning of the SSWUG.org .NET Virtual Conference! For only $125 USD you get access to online sessions by awesome speakers including Rachel Appel, David Penton, and Donald Belcham. I was originally scheduled to present as well, but if you’ve been reading my blog you know how that ended up. However, for those that were interested in my talks, I will be recording shortened screencast versions of them and making them available through my blog in the next few weeks. I’ll also be doing ......

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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Announcing Protegra’s Lunch and Learn Series

Like the image above says: our Lunch and Learn series is all about giving your employees custom learning opportunities! We’ll come to your office and present over a lunch hour on a topic of your choosing…for free! We’ve put together a listing of software development and business performance topics to choose from, but if you have an idea in mind for a topic not listed please let us know! For more information, including how to book your Lunch and Learn, please visit our website to get all the details. ......

Don’t Take Pictures of Busses in London

Have you seen these men? This is a picture of Klaus “Spectacles” Matzka and his son, uh…Son-of-Spectacles! Klaus and his son, tourists from Austria, were visiting London. As tourists will do they took pictures of various things, including double decker busses and the Vauxhall bus station, which does look pretty kewl: Alas, all the picture taking was for naught. Klaus eventually encountered some police officers who erred on the side of paranoid caution and determined instead of innocently taking pictures ......

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 ......

Canadians – Do You Know Your Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Today is the anniversary for one of the most important documents generated by the Canadian government: the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Birthed on this day (April 17) in 1982, the Charter can be pointed to for those wondering what it is that Canada values in regards to freedoms, democratic rights, mobility rights, legal rights, and equality rights. Every Canadian should know what the charter’s purpose is, what it says, and why its existence differentiates us in the global landscape; and ......

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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Does Canada Really Take the Border For Granted? (Shout Out to Mike Easter)

I appreciate Michael Easter's comments from Ted’s and my own previous blog post, although I disagree with them. I still think there is an attitude of entitlement regarding Canadians having no issue crossing over into what is indeed a different country, as separate from Canada as China or Russia. Michael has asked that I post a reply and that is something I'm working on and intend to do (don't want it to just be kneejerk). However, in the meantime, consider this piece from a Windsor (Ontario) newspaper ......

The Fine Line Between Security and Privacy

Let’s play a game of “What if…”. What if you were a Canadian flying from Toronto to Vancouver. The only piece of luggage you had was a metal case containing $5000.00. When you went through security, the officers noticed that you were carrying a large sum of money with you. Now what is the acceptable response from the security officers? Should they be allowed to question you about the money? How about your job, what you were doing in Toronto, what you’ll be doing in Vancouver? Realize that while carrying ......

A Different Border View (or, It Ain’t Just Me)

I found a great article by Michael Balboni from the Times Union website (paper published in Albany, NY). I’ve blogged a bit on the concern we Canadians should have if the US does secure the border with the same methods as the US/Mexico border. Michael’s piece gives an American perspective, and its one that supports the view many Canadians have and sheds light on how connected US/Canada border communities really are. I don’t want to just re-post his article here, but I do want to point out a few parts. ......

An Answer to the Question: Can a Canadian Get Paid to Speak in the US?

A friend pointed me to a document on the US State Department’s website, which you can view here. The PDF lists the temporary business related travel that’s allowed under a Business Visitor Visa, or B-1. Scroll down the list, and we come to this: Lecturer or Speaker No salary or income from a U.S. based company/entity, other than expenses incidental to the visit. If honorarium will be received, activities can last no longer than nine days at any single institution or organization; payment must be ......

Silverlight – Embedding Objects In XAML

At my recent TCCC talk, someone had a question about storing data in objects within XAML. This is actually relatively easy to do, but there are some limitations to it. Let’s walk through a scenario. I’m creating an image viewer so that I can browse my collection of David Hasselhoff pictures. I first create an object to hold the title, comments, and the name of the image: Next I whip up the interface: two TextBlocks and an image control. The UI isn’t the focus of what we’re doing so just envision ......

Canada <3’s US Public Speakers

I was talking to a US friend recently about what his experience is coming through the Canadian border when doing speaking at a user group, code camp, or conference. He said he’s never had a problem doing it. Huh…in fact, when I talk to any of my US friends who speak in Canada, none of them seem to have any issue and none of them withhold any information when declaring what they’ll be doing. The reason for this is because Canada actually has a list of jobs that do not require a work permit. And oh…look ......

Protegra Ranks 3rd in Canada as a Great Place to Work

Protegra ranks number 3 in Canada as a Great Place to Work® Problem Solvers Ranked One of the Best in Canada for the Second time in 2009 Winnipeg, Canada – Protegra has been recognized as one of this year’s top 75 Best Workplaces in Canada. Protegra ranked number 3 on the list and is the second year they have been included in the study. This distinction comes just 3 months after Protegra was named the number one small and medium business employer in Canada by the Globe and Mail and Queens School ......

Canada, Mexico, What’s The Diff?

Apparently there isn’t one judging by the comments given by Janet Napolitano, the US Secretary of Homeland Security, at a recent Canada/US border conference in Washington. A few excerpts… "One of the things that we need to be sensitive to is the very real feelings among southern border states and in Mexico that if things are being done on the Mexican border, they should also be done on the Canadian border," “We shouldn't go light on one and heavy on the other.” "This is one NAFTA, one area, one continent, ......

Changing the “Silverlight – Click to Install” Message

Typically, if Silverlight isn’t installed for the user’s browser, they see this: …or something like that. But what if you don’t want that to display? Maybe you want to actually replace an area with alternate markup, javascript, etc. when Silverlight isn’t available? Or maybe you want to just have your own message letting them know that Silverlight needs to be installed. There’s a built in way to handle this with the Silverlight control. Below is my Silverlight application running in IE: Now, what ......

Disabling Silverlight in IE and FF

Sometimes you want Silverlight to be disabled in your browser, mainly because you want to test out how aspects of your Silverlight app will work without the plug-in installed. Here’s how you do it in IE 8 and FF: IE 8 Get into Internet Options via the Tools menu. Then go to the Programs tab and click the Manage Add-Ons button. This will bring up the Manage Add-Ons screen. You’ll notice that there’s no Silverlight add on listed. That’s because by default the filter is set to show “Currently loaded ......

Done With US Travel for a While

Today was my final time trying to enter the US to do what many other people have done in my industry before: go and speak at a conference. The reason I was given this time was that although I had forfeit the speaking fee they were going to pay me, I was still going to be speaking at a conference where other speakers were getting paid, and that there was no reason an American couldn’t fill that spot. When I asked if there would have been any issue if the conference was a free one and nobody was getting ......

Twin Cities Code Camp Interviews/Videos

Jason Bock brought his trusty camcorder with him to the recent Twin Cities Code Camp and did a bunch of interviews with the speakers as well as recordings of some of the sessions. You can see all the videos here, but below is the interview he did with me and also one with Aaron Erickson. Apparently there was some that were disturbed at the expression of pure hetero man appreciation that was shown to Aaron…you be the judge (about 1:00 into his vid) ......

Twin Cities Code Camp 6 is In The Bag!

Had a great time at the Twin Cities Code Camp again this past weekend. Jason and his team did a great job putting on the event, and there was a great turnout! Looking forward to the next one! Jason doing what has become customary: TCCC Video Interviews TCCC – It was a sausage party! ;) Some Christian group went around the university writing messages like “Who Is God?” on the ground in chalk. Read into Jason standing in the picture as you will. Giving away prizes at the end of the Code Camp. At the…uh…Town ......

My Chipotle Dreams are Fulfilled!

Today at the Twin Cities Code Camp, my long lost dream of tasting the wonder that is Chipotle was finally realized! I think the pictures say it all… Hallelujah! Barbacoa: Beef, rice, black beans, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, peppers, onions, and love. I would like to point out AMAZING hair today ......

Twin Cities Code Camp – Venue Map

The university of Minnesota has a pretty sweet map application done in PDF format. It let’s you easily identify the various buildings as well as different services like parking, bus routes, etc. I uploaded a copy to my SkyDrive that already has the EE/CS building highlighted where the Twin Cities Code Camp will be taking place this weekend. You can get it at the link below in case you’re not familiar with the university or the area. And yes…there really is a place north of the University called “Dinkytown” ......

Dave Laribee Webinar on User Story Essentials

Dave Laribee will be presenting a free webinar on User Story Essentials next Wednesday. From the abstract: First, we'll cover the anatomy of a user story: what makes a good story; who's the story for; how do we apply estimates; how and when do we specify stories? Having a solid definition and understanding of what makes a good story, we'll dive into a brief discussion of how stories drive our developer testing and Behavior-Driven Development efforts. We'll wrap up with a quick discussion of how stories ......

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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