• Tech-Ed 2009 – Thursday

    I woke up Thursday morning feeling pretty good, until I sneezed.

    Unfortunately the sneeze triggered another back spasm, so by the time I got over to the conference centre, I was not feeling super-comfortable. I felt a little better as the day progressed but it meant I did end up having to stand for most of the sessions to avoid aggravating things even more.


    • Discovering Michael Howard also has a “Mr Happy” T-shirt – just like the one I was wearing during his session.
    • Mitch has great clip-art in his presentations
    • Winning a token to the Mobile Smackdown by answering a question in the WCF talk (don’t call WCF proxies in a ‘using’ block as the Close() method can raise exceptions)

    Software Development Pitfalls with Mitch Denny

    • Reality – software development is hard
    • 68% of projects still fail (2004)
    • Failure #1 - “Customers must understand all requirements”
    • Failure #2 - “Fixed price solutions”
    • Define the vision
    • Roles
    • SketchFlow
    • “It’s about value, not frameworks”
    • Minimise waste
    • Villan #1 – Scope Creep
    • Villan #2 – Big “A” architect (doesn’t have Visual Studio installed)
      • Planning Poker
      • Keep team stable
      • Pick team members for how they relate to the rest of the team
      • Resourcing not just about people
    • Villan #3 - “Pony-tail network admins”
      • Developers are different
      • Need a good PC
      • Developers’ Bill of Rights
      • Rent servers by the hour

    What’s new in .NET 4 and VS 2010 with Adam Cogan

    Visual Studio 2010

    • Add references improved performance (kind of)
    • Multi-line editing
    • Code navigation
    • Call hierarchy
    • SharePoint support


    • Optional parameters
    • Named parameters


    • Less requirements for line continuation character “_”


    • SEO (Routing), RedirectPermanent
    • Live data-binding – two-way binding
    • MVC
    • Query extensions
    • Deployment

    SDL with Michael Howard

    SDL Goals:

    • Reduce vulnerabilities
    • Reduce severity of missed vulnerabilities

    • Identify primary security/privacy contact
    • Security training
    • Track security bugs
    1. Strong signing and ACPTA
    2. Secure Crypto
      1. configurable algorithms (use a factory class)
      2. Use standard libraries
      3. Use appropriate algorithms
    3. Firewall
    4. Threat models
    5. Support UAC
    6. Granular feature control
    7. Grant minimal privileges (drop privileges on service startup)
    8. Use minimum code gen suite (eg. latest compiler)
    9. Use /GS
    10. Use Safe Exception Handling
    11. MIDL
    12. Use ASLR
    13. Use DEP
    14. Defect heap corruption
    15. No writable PE segments
    16. Don’t use banned APIs
    17. Encode long-lived pointers
    18. Use FxCop
    19. Use /analyze
    20. Use SAL
    21. Use /W4
    22. Native code XML Parsers
    23. XSS
    24. Safe tags without attributes
    25. Use ViewStateUserKey
    26. Don’t use JavaScript eval()
    27. Safe redirects
    28. SQL execute only
    29. Use parameterised queries
    30. Use stored procedures
    31. Don’t depend on NTLM
    32. Don’t swallow all exceptions (rethrowing is ok though)
    33. Safe error messages
    34. Fuzz testing
    35. Application Verifier
    36. Device drivers

    Security for Developers with Michael Howard

    • How do I sell security to management?
      • Sell privacy and reliability
    • #1 skill developer should have
      • All data is evil unless proven otherwise
    • #1 skill testers should have
      • fuzz testing
      • !exploitable (WinDBG)
    • #1 skill designers/architects should have
      • threat modelling
    • What does the bad guy control?
    • The Turkish “I” problem
    • Why should I not use RC4
    • Don’t use ECB mode

    WCF Scaling with Chris Hewitt

    • Instance management (PerCall)
    • Service throttling 3.5/4.0
    • Threading IIS6/7
    • Cache the channel factory and channel
    • Proxies can explode
      • Use proxy wrapper
    • Don’t really need wrapper for basicHttp binding as there are no sessions
    • Large data – stream mode
    • Binary encoding – even over HTTP
    • PerSession with durable services
    • SSL load balancing behaviour
    • “Dublin” – WAS extensions

    Thursday night a whole stack of coaches drove all 2,500 delegates to Dreamworld. I’m not big on rides, but it was nice to have a look around, grab some tea, and catch up with Nigel, then bump into Jason and a couple of the guys from GraysOnline (Australia’s biggest online retailer, which I’d never heard of until a few months ago).

  • Tech-Ed 2009 – Wednesday

    Wednesday morning’s keynote started the conference off at 8.15am. Highlights of some of the new features of Windows 7, Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 were demoed.

    They also took some photos of the attendees which have ended up as a deep-zoom photo. See if you can spot that guy near the front in the orange (actually bright red) shirt :-)

    I attended the following sessions. Bullet points are transcripts of the notes I wrote for each session, so they may or may not make much sense sometimes!

    SQL 2008 R2 with Mark Souza

    • Base engine is basically unchanged
    • “Gemini” add-in for Excel can efficiently process millions of rows of data in memory
    • Data-tier Application Component
      • unit of deployment
      • virtualise connection strings
      • can be moved between servers
      • supports updating and running custom scripts
    • Complex event processing

    The DAC stuff looked interesting, and appears as though it will be a useful way to deploy and update database schemas.

    ASP.NET MVC with Damien Edwards

    • Sample site hooizdat.com
    • Model-binding instead of data-binding
    • Unit testing
      • arrange-act-assert
    • Includes AJAX javascript library and JQuery
    • Mobile
      • restrictions on cache size
      • mdbf.codeplex.com – mobile device compatibility
      • mobile-aware view engine
    • Optimistion
      • Reduce HTTP requests
      • PowerShell post-build script to strip/compress/optimise javascript and CSS files
      • Switch to condensed javascript file (single file instead of multiple includes) in release mode

    The optimisation stuff was interesting – concatenating multiple js files into one to reduce the number of HTTP requests.

    WCF and WF in .NET 4.0 with Graham Elliot

    • Simplified configuration
      • Able to figure out default endpoints from bindings
      • Set default behaviours by omitting names in configuration
    • Service discovery
      • Dynamic endpoints
        • ad-hoc – good within a subnet
          • managed – uses a discovery proxy
      • Routing
    • Improved REST support
    • WF 4
      • XAML-only
      • Activity library
      • No state machine support

    IIS 7.5 New Features with Jorke Odolphi

    • Support for Server Core on R2 – 64bit only
    • Use DISM to install ASP.NET on Core
    • FTP
    • WebDAV
    • Media Services (more integrated into IIS now)
      • smooth streaming
      • demo of HyperV live migration whilst streaming video
    • Web deployment tool

    Live migration of virtual machine whilst streaming video was impressive.

    SQL High Availability with Nicholas Dritsas

    • 2008 SP1 can finally uninstall updates and service packs
    • Support for HyperV – 1-2% impact if using newer hardware
    • Mirroring enhancements
      • recover from I/O errors by copying from mirror
      • log stream compression
    • ServiceU case study
      • Cluster at primary and DR sites
      • Log shipping and async mirroring
    • Connection string
      • use “Failover Partner=servername;”
    • Clustering new features
      • rolling node upgrade/patching
    • Can use replication to migrate to a new server and have the ability to roll back to the original server should the upgrade fail.

    SQL Certification 70-432 Cram Session with Greg Low

    • Installing and configuring
      • Don’t need Browser service running if using fixed port numbers
      • Database mail depends on Service Broker
    • Maintain SQL Server instances
      • Transparent database encryption – need to backup the certificate and private keys too
    • Performing data migration tasks
      • Filtered INDEX can include a WHERE clause
    • Monitoring and troubleshooting
    • Optimise SQL Performance
    • Implementing High Availability
      • Log shipping can be a good way to upgrade to a new server

    Not sure if I’ll do this exam, but Greg did a nice job giving an overview of the required knowledge, and we got tea as well.

  • Tech-Ed 2009 Arrival

    The day almost didn’t happen when I realised I’d left my wallet in the car after being dropped off at the airport. Some frantic phone calls managed to catch Narelle before she’d driven too far! Boy did I feel silly!

    The flights to Melbourne and then to Brisbane were uneventful, and made a bit more comfortable by being upgraded to exit seats (my legs appreciate the extra room). I’d had some of my Melbourne flights automatically upgraded when I was flying over to see Nanna before she died and for her funeral, and I also discovered that often you can ask to be moved to an exit seat – if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

    Next the AirTrain down to the Gold Coast. I took advantage of booking the taxi when I collected my tickets at Brisbane airport, so they were there to pick me up from the train station and drive me directly to my motel.

    The motel is directly opposite the convention centre, so you can’t get a more convenient location. My priorities were to get something as cheap as possible, and it probably is a case of getting what you pay for. The room is very simple – bed, TV, bar fridge and bathroom. No, it isn’t the Sydney Hilton by any means, but as I’m paying for it out of my own pocket, I’m quite content.

    After dropping of my bags in my room, I wandered across the road and met up with Rob. Wearing our shirts we looked like the Lobsterpot Solutions Twins :-)

    There was a nice dinner on offer as part of the welcome party (I do have good memories of conference catering at the Gold Coast!) and a chance to be introduced to many of Rob’s contacts, survey the expo stalls and grab a few freebies for the kids.

    One interesting thing I learned while chatting to one of the guys (I think it was Vaughan Knight) was that he had to change the topic of his talk because Microsoft were dropping the Live Services Framework – including Live Mesh. I’ve been using Live Mesh a bit (including as a way for the band-members of sevenfold to collaborate and share lyrics, recordings and other documents), but apparently it will shortly be no more, which is a real shame.