Welcome Nigel and Richard

Monday, 21 July 2008

Today Nigel Spencer and Richard Hollon joined us at ABB.

Timothy has dubbed us the “Dream Team”. I’m not sure if that means we’re really good, or we’re really sleepy.

Passed 70-562

Thursday, 17 July 2008

I’ve received confirmation that I passed Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development. This was one of the two beta exams I did in early May.

The one good thing about doing beta exams is they are free. The bad thing is that unlike regular exams, you have to wait 6-8 weeks to find out if you passed or not, and you don’t get a score – just a pass or fail.

CodeCampSA 2008 – Day 2

Monday, 14 July 2008

Presentation notes

Paul Stovell – Reactive Programming

Tatham Oddie - ASP.NET MVC

Ben Mackie – Reflection, extension, injection

I wonder if you could write a whole application as a bunch of addins?

Dr Greg Low – SQL isolation levels etc

How much one user impacts others.

Locks

Make sure you use semicolons in your T-SQL as it will become mandatory in the future

Shane Morris – User Experience (UX)

UX design process

Interaction and presentation are mostly in the “coding” side.

Interaction design

  1. List everything you need to show
  2. Map out the workflow – what order are people going to work?
  3. Layout the elements (left-right, top-bottom)
  4. Check groupings
Presentation design
  1. Remove every unnecessary element
  2. ?
  3. Line stuff up – line up text to baselines (eg. labels and textboxes)
  4. Space and size things evenly
  5. Indicate grouping (group-boxes, similarity, proximity, alignment, empty space)
  6. Add visual weight
    • Colour
    • Size
    • Contrast
    • Irregular shape
    • Misalignment
    • 3D
    • Movement

Daniel Brown – SharePoint development

New Visual Studio 2008 extensions for SharePoint.

Corneliu Tusnea – Debugging the CLR

Debugging in Visual Studio

Memory dumps

WinDbg

gflags  - use to start debugger before service starts

Adrian Downs – PerformancePoint

Demonstration of Dashboard Designer

Final day thoughts

Another great day of content. I had to leave before Paul’s second quiz was finished (apparently the SMS proved problematic and they had to resort to paper in the end). Maybe next time the quiz could be run over the whole day (eg. a question in between each session). This would give time for answers to be received.

Well done to Peter for organising everything, and special thanks to the interstate speakers for making the effort to come down to Adelaide – very much appreciated.

Dual monitoring again

Monday, 14 July 2008

Hooray! It’s a bit like Christmas at the moment. Not only did I win a $AU19,000 MSDN subscription at CodeCampSA on the weekend (feel free to add your comments as to whether I should keep it or give it away to a suitable cause), but finally my second monitor arrived this morning at ABB. I’ve been waiting 5 weeks for this, and there were times when I wondered if it would ever happen.

The new monitor is a HP L1950, which is the same screen size as my existing HP L1906, but most importantly has DVI input, and also a slightly narrower bezel.

My current machine is one of these dinky HP dc7800p ultra-slim desktops. To be honest, they’re probably fine for your average Microsoft Office user, but they are quite a bit under-specced for developing.

This is something that we’ve raised, and hopefully will be addressed soon either by extra RAM and a second hard drive, or (fingers crossed) some replacement boxes that are more in the “power workstation” class. I think this is critical, as we have a tight deadline and don’t want to waste time watching the hard disk LED glow brightly for 30 seconds at a time (freezing Windows) until it’s ready again.

After all, it’s not like I’m asking for three screens or anything!

Some mistakes and a nice surprise

Saturday, 12 July 2008

My talk today at CodeCampSA was on SQL 2008 change tracking and how that works with the new Microsoft Sync Framework. It went ok up until I put the VM into full-screen mode, which promptly stopped the display on the projector. Arrgh! A quick fumble around and running the ATI video utility got things working again. Doubly embarrassing as I'd just made a comment about the whole "demo gods" thing so that drew a few smart comments!

Then, my "prepared earlier" demo failed to work. I suspect it’s because just an hour before my talk, I decided to add an extra table to my test database. That probably wasn’t a very wise thing to do.

I then asked Timothy (fellow developer from ABB and Sync Framework whiz) to join me out the front and demonstrate how to create custom client and server providers. I realise now that I should have given him much more time, as he did a great job, but with time against us we couldn't finish it properly. I really should have given him more chance to prepare rather than throwing him in the deep end with only 10 minutes to go.

Even with all that, I still stand by my dismissal of "demo gods" comments that so many presenters like to make. But I'm happy to admit that I'm not perfect rather than blame someone (or something) else.

So I was feeling a bit disappointed with how that went, but things were about to change for the better.

As I mentioned, Paul ran a clever quiz competition to give away a Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite with MSDN Premium.

Guess who won?

Yep, yours truly!!! Wow, and they don't sell these for peanuts either!

So now I have a dilemma - I realise this is a very valuable resource, probably not something I'd ever get to buy myself. But is it something that I'm going to be able to make good use of? I'm not sure.. maybe there are some other organisations that this could benefit much more.

I'll think about it before I decide what to do. But a warning, don't bother contacting me asking me to give it to you! The answer to those requests will be "Sorry, No".

I could give it to my Mum, to say thanks for lending me her laptop to use today, but I have a feeling she might not know what to do with it :-)

Of course I may still decide to keep it. Otherwise I'll be deciding what to do with it soon (making sure what ever happens complies with Microsoft's licensing/conditions).