• Tech-Ed 2009 – Friday


    • Talking to Virtual PC Guy (Ben Armstrong) about his home HyperV machine that also runs Windows Home Server
    • Watch Pete Calvert compete in one of the crazy competitions in the Mobile Smackdown

    2008 R2 Virtualisation with Ben Armstrong

    • Live migration – 1-1.5 seconds
      • Copies config, then up to 5 passes copying memory, then finally state (CPU etc)
    • Cluster shared volumes – allows direct access to NTFS
    • Intel i7 – Hyperthreading is ok (not bad and may be good)
    • VMQ – networking optimisation (feature of NIC)
    • VM Memory Management
      • Uses shadow page tables to emulate page tables for each VM (avoids software emulation)
      • For i7, AMD gen3 Quad
      • Huge positive impact for 75
      • Solves performance issue with 3D video support
    • Deferred procedure calls (used by device drivers) now run on local core instead of core 0.
    • Power efficiency
      • Core parking (really processor parking)
    • Timer coalescing
      • align Windows timer ticks
      • Allows processor to deep sleep/save power
    • Native VHD
      • Don’t need to use passthru for performance anymore
    • VHD Boot
      • WIM2VHD (Codeplex)
      • Create VHD through Disk Management

    .NET 4 Parallel Extensions with Corneliu Tusnea

    • Need to watch out for locking
    • Parallel extensions now part of .NET Framework
    • Parallel.For/Parallel.ForEach
    • New concurrent collections
    • Automatically allocate work to to each core
    • Task, Task<>
    • PLinq
      • Need to partition data to cores
      • Depends on underlying type – eg. List or IEnumerable
      • AsParallel()
      • AsSequential() – to revert to single core
    • Debugging
      • Parallel tasks window

    Big Algorithms in F# with Joel Pobar

    • Functional Programming avoids state and mutable data
    • Increase modularity and composability
    • F# interactive
    • Search
    • Recommendation engine (Netflix)
      • Nearest Neighbour algorithm

    Mobile Smackdown

    This was bizarre and quite crazy in a mostly good way. Because I’d won a token from the WCF talk, I got get a front-row (well second to front) seat and got a pile of goodies on my seat.

    The basic rule of the smackdown was that anytime a demo failed assorted pieces of “swag” would be thrown into the audience.. Hence the audience were keen to see things fail!

    Quite a few new Windows Mobile phones, headsets, mice and other nice prizes were given way.

    I was also pleased to see that this year, no cat food was involved in any of the competitions (unlike the session from last year)

    Final thoughts

    So did I get my money’s worth? Yes, I think so. I felt I learned or was exposed to new things in almost every session I attended. It was also great to catch up with lots of friends and familiar faces.

    While the Gold Coast isn’t the most convenient venue to get to from Adelaide, I do think the convention centre does an excellent job looking after and catering for everyone. No complaints about the food!

    The HP Mini 2140 netbook is really nice. I think it was quite innovative to allow all delegates to be able to participate in the conference in an online fashion. Wireless network access at the convention centre worked pretty well considering how many concurrent users it had to cope with. Depending on which way the wind blew, I could sometime connect even when I returned to my motel room (which was just across the road). I’ve given my netbook to Narelle and I think she’s pretty impressed already.

    Maybe I missed them in the crowd, but I wonder if the days of UniSA sending >10 delegates are over as I didn’t bump into any old colleagues this year. It did feel different not having Gary, Dat, Mark around or bumping into familiar faces from IT.

    Finally I do especially appreciate the sacrifice my family made (both in my time away from home and financially) to allow me to attend.

  • 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.