One of the vendors who happened to be exhibiting at TechEd Australia this year was a company called Websense.
They were giving away T-shirts, so it was only after I had received my free shirt from them that I then proceeded to tell them how stupid and horrible their software was.
This seem to take the Websense staff a bit by surprise and they tried to defend their product assuring me with words to the effect that their software was wonderful and couldn’t possibly be faulty and had the “largest database”. Well let me assure you “quantity” definitely does not equate to “quality”, and it may be no coincidence that their company name rhymes with “nonsense” :-)
Don’t believe me? Well take a look at this example:
Try and browse http://www.opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.html through Websense and you are greeted with this response:
The Websense category "Entertainment" is filtered.
Presumably the legal department must have a fair bit of influence at Websense, Inc. as I don’t think anyone else would consider reading software licenses ‘Entertainment’.
It just goes to reinforce the enhancement Mitch Denny made in his Software Development Pitfalls talk to point 5 of Jeff Attwood’s Programmer’s Bill of Rights :
Every programmer shall have a fast, unfiltered internet connection
Ah, we can but dream.
Following on from seeing Michael Howard at TechEd last week, here’s a couple of new tools to help with analysing your applications for security issues.
“BinScope is a verification tool that analyzes binaries on a project-wide level to ensure that they have been built in compliance with Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) requirements and recommendations”
“MiniFuzz is a basic testing tool designed to help detect code flaws that may expose security vulnerabilities in file-handling code. This tool creates multiple random variations of file content and feeds it to the application to exercise the code in an attempt to expose unexpected and potentially insecure application behaviours”
- 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
- New concurrent collections
- Automatically allocate work to to each core
- Task, Task<>
- Need to partition data to cores
- Depends on underlying type – eg. List or IEnumerable
- AsSequential() – to revert to single core
Big Algorithms in F# with Joel Pobar
- Functional Programming avoids state and mutable data
- Increase modularity and composability
- F# interactive
- Recommendation engine (Netflix)
- Nearest Neighbour algorithm
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)
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.
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
- “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
- Query extensions
- Strong signing and ACPTA
- Secure Crypto
- configurable algorithms (use a factory class)
- Use standard libraries
- Use appropriate algorithms
- Threat models
- Support UAC
- Granular feature control
- Grant minimal privileges (drop privileges on service startup)
- Use minimum code gen suite (eg. latest compiler)
- Use /GS
- Use Safe Exception Handling
- Use ASLR
- Use DEP
- Defect heap corruption
- No writable PE segments
- Don’t use banned APIs
- Encode long-lived pointers
- Use FxCop
- Use /analyze
- Use SAL
- Use /W4
- Native code XML Parsers
- Safe tags without attributes
- Use ViewStateUserKey
- Safe redirects
- SQL execute only
- Use parameterised queries
- Use stored procedures
- Don’t depend on NTLM
- Don’t swallow all exceptions (rethrowing is ok though)
- Safe error messages
- Fuzz testing
- Application Verifier
- 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
- 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
- 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).
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.
- Sample site hooizdat.com
- Model-binding instead of data-binding
- Unit testing
- restrictions on cache size
- mdbf.codeplex.com – mobile device compatibility
- mobile-aware view engine
- Reduce HTTP requests
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
- Improved REST support
- WF 4
- Activity library
- No state machine support
- Support for Server Core on R2 – 64bit only
- Use DISM to install ASP.NET on Core
- 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.
- 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.