Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kneel before Zod!

I found this via Noah Coad's Blog. You take a quiz and it tells you which superhero you are (see the link below).

Your results:
You are Superman
The Flash
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Ha! I knew it all along!

Be sure to go out and see my movie which opens tomorrow.

Say, who do I see to get my share of the merchandising money?

Friday, June 23, 2006

For Entertainment Purposes Only, No Wagering Please...

Finally, I can live the dream of every blogger; having an outlet to handicap a second-tier reality-show.

I'm not a huge fan of reality TV. I do like "The Apprentice" because I work in the business world and I like "Hells Kitchen" (the primary subject of this installment) probably due to the fact that I like eating. A lot. I just can't get into shows like "Survivor." Maybe it’s because unlike the other two, I have no real sense of "common-ground" with the premise. In actuality, I send a certain percentage of effort each day trying to avoid being stranded on a desert island, as you can see from this chart:

So, the second season of "Hells Kitchen" began while I was in Boston. I didn't pick it up till the third episode, which is OK since a lot of the chaff is already gone and we are left with either the superstars or the people so bad they are kept on for pure comic enjoyment. That's entertainment!

So here are my picks:

Heather aka the "Bossy Know-It-All"

Seems to know her stuff and be a hard worker. She is kind of a bitch to the other contestants though. I give her 2:1 if she can avoid having an "unfortunate celery chopping accident" in her sleep, courtesy of Sara.

Sara aka "The Bumpkin"

Again, knows her way around a kitchen, but comes of as a kind of "ditzy southern girl." This may be by design. She has issues with Heather, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Sara throw her under the bus the first chance she gets. I give her 1.5:1

Garrett aka "The 'Bad' Boy"

He's the only real "leader" I see here. Once the dead-weight from the men’s team is gone I think he'll emerge as the favorite. No odds; I wouldn't bet against him. Partially because he was in prison and I don't want to get "shived."

Keith aka "The Old, White Guy Who Thinks He's a Young Black Guy"

I'm giving this moron 6:1. From what I've seen he can cook and knows how things work in a commercial kitchen. But, who the hell wants their food cooked by a guy who sweats so much that he looks like he just came in out of the rain. That and the fact that he seems to lack the ability to pull his pants up don’t bode well for ol’ Keith.

Rachel aka "'Rachel?'... uh, nope not ringin' a bell. Are you sure you have the right show?"

15:1. Flying so far under the radar that I can't even think of anything to say about her. Which may not be the worst strategy considering the show she is on.

Maribel aka "The Home-Sick Mommie"

Like Rachel, she is flying under the radar, only emerging long enough to get kicked-off her station by Ramsey or annoy her fellow contestants by crying about missing her home and family. 20:1; Maribel is a nice person. Ramsey is not a nice person. Which one runs the famous restaurant again? Point made.

Virginia aka "The Shameless Flirt"

Lust is attractive, desperation is not. Not even if the woman is attractive. If even an ego-maniac like Ramsey is embarrassed by the way Virginia is throwing herself at him, then you know it's not working. Combine that with the fact she can't even cook tortellini and I give her 30:1. Her title is "salad chef" and I'm pretty sure people who go to four star restaurants want their food cooked.

Tom aka "The Bitter Old Dude"

How the hell did Tom get on this show?! He seems to be a menace in the kitchen. He got a very minor burn on his hand. Ramsey and his team checked him out and all concluded that is was nothing, yet Tom basically shut-down. Kitchens are full of hot things; you're gonna get little burns from time to time. If you want to be a professional, you have to shake it off and move on. His confrontational attitude with Ramsey is not earning him any points either. 50:1

I hear a lot of the people who watch this show complain that Gordan Ramsey is too hard and "mean" to the contestants. I have two comments for that:

When I lived in Las Vegas, I worked at a couple of hotel/casinos. I didn't work in "F & B" (food and buffet) but being in the back of the house, I saw what went on. I went to college at UNLV, which has a very well respected hotel management program, and friends of mine who were in the program would get me "back-stage" at some of the nicest restaurants in town (for a while I was considering going to culinary school, obviously I decided against it) and I have to say that the way things go down in Hell's Kitchen is pretty much the way it is in real life. The executive chefs, especially at the nicer “upper-tier” restaurants are supremely up-tight perfectionist. Not to mention complete bastards. I heard them say things to the people underneath them were just evil. But, the bottom line is that if you can't stand the heat, well, you know.

The other thing to keep in mind is that this is a TV show. On Fox. The people who brought you "Celebrity Boxing" and "The Glutton Bowl." Fox doesn't do "nice." It's the devils network. If it was “Chef-Sensitive's Group Hug Hour” no one would watch it. If you’re that upset by it, the answer is simple; turn it off.

And remember, I don't condone illegal gaming, but if you choose to indulge, 10% goes to the house.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Final thoughts on Boston and new adventures in .NET 3.0

Boston was cool but I'm glad to be back. My flight didn't leave till Saturday afternoon (last minute planning) so I had some time Friday after Tech Ed ended and a few hours Saturday morning to go exploring.

One of the things I liked about Boston was the subway. For an investment of $1.25 and a short walk you can be anywhere in the city in about 20 minutes. This is good because the streets can be a bit confusing. Between all the tunnels and the "spaghetti-roads" I'm sure some of the cabs were taking the "scenic route" but not knowing the area, I couldn't really argue with them.

I did notice that the cost of living in Boston is a bit higher than Columbus as well. For example, they are paying about $.30 more for a gallon of gas than we are.

So, Tech Ed ended at 4:00, and I was back to the hotel by 4:30. I decided to check out the Boston Museum of Science which was pretty cool. They have the world's largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator that they used to scare the crap out of the kids. They were hosting an Accenture party there, but the place seemed pretty empty, which was great frankly. I'm not a big "crowd" person.

For dinner I went to a place called "Legal Seafood" (as opposed to fugitive seafood I suppose) largely on the recommendation of Brian <Anzalone> who has gotten some of their stuff mail-order. Everybody talks about the Clam Chowder in Boston and how wonderful it is, so I had to try some. I ordered a cup of it and..... it was OK. I didn't have the religious experience everybody describes, but it was better than Campbell’s.

I walked around part of the city and Chinatown, where I was offered drugs three separate times. Welcome to the big city.

The next morning I had several hours to kill, so I went to Quincy market and got souvenirs for a few people, then back to the airport and home. Boston is a cool city with a lot of stuff to do. Definitely someplace to consider next time I go on vacation.

As a "welcome home" gift from the Sharon Township police department, I got a $100.00 ticket for driving with expired plates, which the officer amazingly was able to pick out at 70MPH on I-270. I completely forgot to get that taken care of last month, and apologized profusely to the officer. No dice, I still go the ticket. Well, it was after the 15th and they do have a quota to meet I suppose...

So now that I'm back at work and the client I'm currently working with want's to know what's up with "the .NET 3.0 thing." I explained to them the re-branding and that a first blush it seems like a stupid idea. But, between the announcement last week and my return to Columbus, I've had a little time to think about it. In retrospect, I don't know that it's really that bad of an idea. Does including the components of WinFX in .NET qualify it as a "major upgrade" to the framework?

Well, seeing first hand last week what WCF and WF are capable of and hearing from Tim how much he was impressed with CardSpace (formerly InfoCard) I would say it sounds like a major upgrade. And the naming makes a little more sense. One of the criticisms I see with Java is that there are too many frameworks. It's not enough to just be "Java" it's got to be "Java with struts" or "Java with Spring" or "Java with whatever." And while I think a few powerful frameworks are a good thing, I don't necessarily subscribe to the "more is better" philosophy here. If it suddenly became ".NET with WinFX" you could make the argument that .NET would be sliding down the same slop. There are already a lot of frameworks available for .NET, but you don't hear a lot about them because, well, .NET already does a lot out of the box. Sure, I use nHibernate, but my whole .NET app isn't inexorably tied to it like it would be to WinFX. So I guess in that regard, making it .NET 3.0 makes sense.
Now that I've had a chance to talk to a few people about it, I think the major source of fear around this is falls into two categories:
  • We just upgraded our code to .NET 2.0 and went through that learning curve. Now we have to do it again?!


  • We just spend a butt-load of money on Visual Studio 2005, now we're going to have to pay for another upgrade?

Obviously, the answer to both questions is "No." I'm describing .NET 3.0 to people as (for better or worse) just an addition and extension to what .NET 2.0 already does. The core language and CLR didn't change; your .NET 2.0 code will compile and work in a .NET 3.0 world. Yes, there is a learning curve to use the new stuff in WinFX, but if your developers are worth their salt, they've already known about WinFX and what it can do for about a year. Maybe they've done some Virtual Labs and visited the WinFX homepage or even better, they've already downloaded the beta and read the Go-Live licence. In any case, most developers I know are chomping at the bit to start using something in WinFX. And if they aren't, well, this is just my opinion, but you may have bigger problems on your hands....

There is also no new Visual Studio on the horizon except "Orcas" which is still a ways off. But, I think I can see where this bit of FUD may come from. When .NET 1.0 came out, so did Visual Studio 2002 and in short order, the .NET 1.1 framework was shipped with Visual Studio 2003. .NET 2.0 hits the streets, and so does Visual Studio 2005. All of these Visual Studio upgrades have also brought a certain degree of pain (besides the kind that hits you in the wallet) although my experience so far has been that the move from 1.1/2003 to 2.0/2005 has been much smoother than the move from 1.0/2002 to 1.1/2003, but of course your mileage may vary. What Microsoft has done here is seems is break with the notion that each version of the .NET framework necessitates an upgrade to the development environment. I like this. Frankly, you're programming to the frame work (in this case the .NET CLR) and too many people think of development in terms of what the IDE will allow you to do easily. Not that I’m saying that Visual Studio is limiting in anyway, but you could write a .NET program in note pad. Visual Studio makes it a lot easier and faster, and I'm glad I don't have to use notepad, but it would work. I guess what I'm saying is that the IDE is a great tool, but the framework is the key.

And no, I'm not volunteering to start doing my development in notepad!

Of course this is just what I think; I may be reading too much into this...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Booth Babes

No two words in the English language, except maybe "Dual Core" or "Free X-Box" fan the flame of nerd-lust as much as those...

Anyway, what's changed over the years is that companies no longer seem to have to rely on "hired talent" for this need. Women, especially attractive women are getting smarter and smarter it seems. Which is good, the computer industry is no longer thought of as a place for social outcasts and frankly, it's easier to interact with members of the opposite sex when you have more in common.

That being said, there was one booth that decided to dress an attractive young woman up in a skin-tight wet suit. Oddly enough, I can remember every detail about her, but I couldn't tell you what the company sold if my life depended on it.

Aside from my favorite booth babe, I’m not posting any pictures. I though about it. But it turns out smart, professional and technically savvy women don't appreciate being singled out and reduced to merely a collection of desirable body parts. Chicks are weird that way.

As for SQL girl, she's all mine fellas! :)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Last post from Tech Ed (probably)...

... but probably not my last post about Tech Ed.

The part last night at FENWAY park (Geesh, like it really makes a difference) was pretty cool. They serves a lot of "base-ball" realted food; hot dogs, Italian sausage, BBQ chicken, burgers, that kind of thing. I got to sit in the visitors dugout and check out the park. It's really old. Not a big Train fan, but I stayed for their first two songs. This may be my musical snobbery coming through, but all their songs kind of sound alike to me.

This morning I hit another service factory chalk talk by Don Smith and Shy Cohen. There is a lot to this (more than can really be covered in an hour) but I think it's a pretty cool tool to help write WCF services (with the large number of "contracts" that it now uses) and I'm eager to start working with it when I get back.

I also went to Web307 ASP.NET: Best Practices in Creating Scalable, Data-Driven Web Sites by Rob Howard. This was pretty cool. There was a lot of stuff in it most people already know (like turning off Viewstate or Session if you're not using them) but he showed a lot of the cool caching capabilites for data base calls. He has a sample, and by tweaking some of the cache settings, we was able to increase the amount of page requests he could server from 150 to about 750. He also showed how to teak some memory setting in IIS and talked about hardware architecture and when and how you should seperate your business logic from your presentation layer. Basically, he said try not to and use ISA if you can.

Just got out of CON440 .NET Framework 2.0: Advanced Serialization. This was pretty good, and I thought I should attend since WCF is so dependant on contracts and serialization. The speaker didn't touch on WCF till the end, and kind of blew through it. I was kind of out of scope for the presentation, but it was pretty informative and I have a much better picture of how .NET serialization works.

I have one more session this afternoon, but they are already folding up the tent here so to speak, so I might not get a chance to post after it.

Since someone did ask about the food, and I'm sure other people have mentioned it, I have to weigh in. I am a well knows food-snob, I think we can all agree on that. And I understand that you don't come to Tech Ed for the food. AND I understand that the logistics invovled in feeding thousands of people in a short period of time for a reasonable cost are difficult parameter to work in sometimes. But, the food has frankly been awful. I try to live a healthy lifestyle, especially where it applies to what I eat, and maybe that make me more sensitive. But, this week has been nothing but offerings of bland, luke-warm food served in pools of grease and lots of highly processed crap. Even trying to pick out the "healthy" options as mealtime (which has been no small feat!) I have had the worst stomach ache in my life since Tuesday evening up till this very moment. It feels like I've been punched in the gut. It all kind of came to a head between the chalk talk and the ASP.Net session this morning when I was violently ill in the mens room. I do feel a little better since then, so hopefully things will get better now that I am "on my own" to go out and seek healthier options. The good news is, I don't seem to have gained any weight while I've been here, maybe because I've been hitting the cardio VERY hard in the morning. I ate breakfast with someone from Microsoft this morning, and she told me that I'm not alone; a lot of the feed back about the food and the facility have been very poor. She thinks it may be awhile before Tech Ed returns to Boston...

During our converstaion, somone else at the table asked, somewhat annoyed, why Bill Gates and/or Steve Balmer did not make an appearance this year. The nice lady from Microsoft said that she believed that they had conflicts (?) and that "Well, this isn't really their people."


I guess I have a little problem with this. Now, I know that Microsofts long money comes from Windows and Office. But, we developers are generally the ones out there carrying the message and evangelising to our clients about .NET and all the tools taht Microsoft sells and why these are better than free Linux and Java. I understand we may not want a week of marketing rhetoric, but I think a token appearance during the keynote (aside from Balmers cameo in the video) would have made some people happy.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

More Tech Ed stuff...

OK, I actually started this post a day or so ago. But, It's been hard to finish it, primarily because I've been using the computers provided here at Tech Ed between session (gotta bring a laptop next year) and because Brian has been using the time between sessions to introduce me to some Microsoft people, which has been very cool. I've also had a real nack for picking back to back sessions that are on the complete opposite ends of the convention center.

The other reason is that this is a personal blog. I am soley responsible for all editorial content, and I answer to no one. Well, maybe still my Mom on occasion...

Yeah, I work in technology, and a lot of content here will be technology related because of this. But, it isn't going to be limited by my job. For one thing, I have a lot of friends and family who read this and frankly, I don't think they would be interesting in reading a pure-techno blog. And frankly, that's not the kind of blog I want to write! This blog is about what interests me. If that's going to be a problem for some people, then I suggest finding another blog, God knows there are plenty out there.

Here is an update on the sessions I've been to;

CON320 (WinFX) Windows Communication Foundation: Building Peer-to-Peer Applications: Very interesting. WCF seems to be a very powerful technology that is capable of a lot of things. I'm not sure peer-to-peer is high on my list of things to do with it, but it was nice to see how it could be used to facilitate this type of connectivity.

DAT320 An Inside Look At an exciting New Addition to Visual Studio Team System (part 2). I missed part 1. They are talking about the new Visual Studio for DBA's. I missed the first one because it wasn't in the schedule since they hadn't announced the product yet. The second session was about refactoring databases and running test cases. Pretty interesting. They handed out the CTP to everyone, so I'll have to play around with it when I get home.

ARCTLC14 Introduction to the Service Factory. I really like this. I've had the GAX and GAT downloaded for a while, but haven't had time to play with them. After this session, I'm going to make the time. This thing will basically generate the stub code for all your WCF based services (there are about half a dozen contracts you use) which is a great time saver. I just hope it doesn't inspire some people to "cut corners" with their WCF education. It will do a lot of the work, but you still need to know what's going on under the hood.

DEV233 Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server: Using Metrics to Manage and Troubleshoot Your Projects. This was mostly a re-hash from a previous session. It talked about the reporting capabilities of TFS when you track code and changesets to workitems. He showed the same "out-of-the-box" reports that I've already seen a hundred times. He did a couple custom reports, and that aspect it pretty easy, but he didn't do a "deep dive" by any streach.

Dev237 Visual Studio Team Foundation Server: Step-by-step Migration and Adoption planning. This wasn't step-by-step anything! It was a re-hash of a previous session about creating custom guidance and work item types. I didn't' get anything really new out of it except that he did go into a discussion of how TFS scales and what and how much hardware you really need based on your team size. It was less than I thought, which should help get this into more clients shops.

ARC220 How to Get Your Grandmother Building Missle Defense Systems: This was a good session, unfortunately the presenter, Martin, was having some major technical problems with the projectors and the SVM switch on the stage. For those who don't know, each stage has on PC that generally hosts the Power Point slide, and the presenters plug their laptops into a KVM to do their demos. This session was mostly about how Architects provide guidance to developers using Frameworks and tools. I think he had to cut a few corners in his presentation because of the technical difficulties.

CON423 (WinFx) Windows Communication Foundation: Desgining Bindings and Contracts. The more I learn about WCF, the more I like it. This really blurs the lines between all the service paradigms out there to the point where you can really design for the business, not around the technology. For those who don't know, at any WCF session they will talk about the "ABC's". Address (where), Bindings(how) and Contracts(what). This was a session on all the different contracts that exist in WCF (more that I care to list here) and how and when to use each one. Good stuff!

Con335 (WinFX) Windows Workflow Foundation: Creating a Host for the Workflow Runtime: This was an OK session. Kind of a re-hash of the intro session, but he did go into binding custom events to workflow events and how the runtime is contained and works.

That's all for today. The "party" is tonight. It's at Wrigley Field and Train is playing. Not my kind of music and baseball stuff and'm kind of tired, so I probably wont go for long.

BTW: I appologize for any and all spelling errors. Blogspot spellchecker sucks and I don't have access to a machine with Word.

Brian's BizTalk Session

This is going to be mostly for my co-workers and fellow techie's. If you're not in one of these categories and are looking for some stupid jokes, you'll have to come back for a later post.

Brian and Keith did their BizTalk planning session this morning at 8:00. This was kind of a crappy slot since the conference starts earlier and earlier each day, and the audience at 8:00 can be really "iffy." On top of that, Brian was making tweaks to his slide deck as late as Tuesday (as I understand) and there was the fire alarm last night that I already posted about.

Well, without getting into a lot of detail (because I have five minutes to find my next session) it was great! They took a pretty difficult topic to speak about in just over an hour (Enterprise Integration) and gave a great presentation.

And the number reflected it; right now they are carrying an 8.5 out of 9! For a while this morning they had one of the top ten highest scores of ALL the sessions.

New for Tech Ed 2006!

Come on out for our Thursday morning all-nerd pajama party!

That's right, everyone meet in the Hilton parking lot at 3:30 AM and see what your fellow Tech Eder's wear... or don't wear to the sack!

Discuss interesting topics like:
  • Is there really a fire?
  • Has the fire department been called?
  • When can we go back to our rooms?
  • Are we getting a free night out of this?

We're looking forward to see all of you there!


Selected comments from the Tech Ed Pajama Party:

"Man, this sucked! All the speakers were half asleep!"

"The room was too cold."

"Why weren't refreshments provided?"

"Hellllloooo..... Swag?"

So, if you haven't' figured it out already, there was a fire alarm last night (actually this morning) at the hotel. So we all had to shuffle to the parking lot while the fire department checked it out. I did notice several people, at 3:30 AM mind you, already fully dressed with their Tech Ed "man purses" ready to go. Wow! Turns out it was just "steam." Yeah... uh.... steam.... of course....

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hate and Discontent...

This morning is off to a rocky start....

I guess it mostly started yesterday; it was my "cheat-day" when I am allowed to go off my "diet" and indulge. Which is pretty easy at Tech Ed, it's junk-food heaven. I had more sugar yesterday then I think I normally have in a month.

After the conference, I attended a Microsoft event, which I really enjoyed (Thanks Drew!) and where I continued to indulge in rich "no-no" food, and was out much later than normal. I got back to my room about 11:30 PM, which is basically the equivalent of 2:00 AM for me with a splitting head-ache. I had to get up at 5:30 to work out (sprints, yay) so I went straight to bed.

5:30 came, and boy did it suck. I downed an energy drink and hit the gym. I was hoping to do 45 minutes, but at about 30, all of yesterdays gastronomical indiscretion came crashing down. I had the stomach ache to end all stomach aches. Imagine the worst hang-over you've ever had and now picture it focused in your stomach. I went back up to my room and got ready to head over to the conference. On the way I stopped in the little store in the lobby of the hotel to get some Pepto Bismol. The total came to $9.71 (I got some Rolaids too, and it is a hotel gift shop) but the very nice lady working there keyed it into the credit card machine as $97.10. It took are about ten minutes to straighten it out. Meanwhile the $97.10 charge is still pending on my account.

Here's where the suckiness starts.

I go get on a shuttle bus at 7:30 AM. The conference starts at 8:30. I figure if I get some "real" food into me before the sessions, I'll be cool. I got on a shuttle but run by "Datco" The bus loads, and instead of leaving at the appointed time, they driver spends and extra ten minutes hitting on the nerd-herder. When he FINALLY realizes that he's not getting anywhere, he climbs in and we take off. He heads to the next hotel, and proceeds to go through the wrong entrance. Then he spends another ten minutes hitting an another nerd-herder. Realizing he's 0 for 2, he gets back on and we head to the next hotel, and the next nerd-herder. Sorry dude, three trips to the line and three air-balls. So, finally we are off to the convention center, right? Wrong. And this part wasn't really his fault. The guy in the truck in front of us decides to stop (on a one lane road) and have a conversation with his buddy walking along the side walk. Apparently he doesn't notice the tour bus behind him, and why would he, it's not like it's a giant, several thousand pound object or anything. Why our driver does start laying on the horn and get the guy to move, I'll never know. So truck guy FINALLY finished his conversation and we are off. Home free, right? Wrong. The driver got lost twice on the way to the convention center. And lets be clear, it is not a long trip. I've been here three and a half days, and I'm pretty sure I could find my way. It took us an hour to get from the hotel to the conference. On the way, we were passed by two busses from our route. I practically inhaled breakfast before I had to sprint to the next session. Gah!

Thanks Datco, next time I'll just walk. :(

OK, enough anger for today. I promise the next post will be happiness and sunshine.

Update: I was informed earlier that there is a Boston-wide bus strike. Apparently it's gone so far that several drivers have "commandeered" a bus, plastered it with signs, and are driving around area hotels taunting people waiting for their much-delayed busses.

I don't know that this tempers my irritation from earlier, the bus business is a business and they need to do what it takes to provide service. But, I'm no fan of the unions in general either...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Day two begins, and more lucid thoughts on last nights expo...

OK, now that I'm more awake, and not worried about missing the last bus from the convention center, I can opine a bit about last nights vendor-expo-reception-type-thingie...

All in all it was exactly what it sounds like; free food, free booze and lots of marketing. Some of the vendors are doing some very cool, interesting stuff. Others.... uh, did I mention the free food and free booze?

The free food was of the "on-a-stick" variety, which I know is easy for these kinds of events; it's easy to handle and you don't have much to clean afterward. But, I question the logic of grouping several tired, half-drunk swag-frenzied people in close quarters with what are essentially very small pikes. It was so crowded I almost accidentally stabbed four people! Ok, one of them wasn't as accidental as I claimed...

The swag was good. As I mentioned I was pretty "weighed-down" with it when I left. The hoops they are making you go through to get it are more and more invovled every year. To get a t-shirt I had to retrieve the Golden chalice from the Red Castle and return it to the Yellow Castle while being chased by some very disturbing looking ducks! And all I had was the aforementioned very small pike to defend myself!

But I got someone to snap a picture for me:

Anyway, here's the run down so far for today....

ARC206 Evolving to Patterns (James Newkirk): I really enjoyed this. Someone pointed out he "reused" stuff from Fowlers website, but I don't care. I plan to re-reuse the stuff when I work with developers.

CON213 Integration Technologies: What to use When (Kris Horrocks): So... did I mention that the Expo last night had free food and free booze? Actually, this wasn't bad, I think I was just "flooded with information" and since I'm relatively new to BizTalk, WCF and their ilk, didn't pick up as much as I had hoped.

SEC307 Baking Security into the Development Life Cycle (Michael Howard): To be honest, I didn't strictly go to this as my first choice. A co-worker of mine wanted a signed copy of his new book. I was sort of on the fence about this or another session, but decided to go so I could get the book signed and Brian could go to another session. I'm glad I did. This session was great and Michael really explained the value of the SDL and demonstrated (with real numbers from production Microsoft products) how using this can help generate more secure software. I went right afterward and bought my own copy of his book. Not sure about getting it signed though... :)

If my co-workers are reading this, I just picked up a SWEET piece of swag that I'll be giving away at some unspecified future event.

Monday, June 12, 2006

End of the first day...


Well... it's about 8:30, and time for my bed time. The first day has been a lot of fun. I hit two more sessions....:

CON314 (WinFX) Windows workflow Foundation: Building Workflow-Enabled Services with WCF. Pretty good. The speaker showed us some ways to integrate WCF with Workflow stuff from both angles (easy and neat vs. wider WS* support and security). He also pointed out that in the new VS (Orcas?) this latter will somehow be merged with the former. It will be a neat trick.

ARC204 Web Services Security: Scenarios, Patterns and Implementations. Another good session. It was put on by two guys from the Patterns and Practices group. They have just published a book (which I was able to get a free copy of!) of guidences and practices for implementing security patters with web services (as the title suggests.) I've flipped though the book a little. I is kind of structured like a questionnaire, helping you determine what approach is best depending on your situation. It also explains the benefits/drawbacks of one approach vs another for each case and how to implement each one. I didn't see any mention of how (if) it interacts with EL (or if it even should) but if I track one of the speakers down, I'll be sure to ask him.

The expo reception was fun as well; lots of people. Oh, how I love a crowd. If I pick up one more piece of swag, I'm gonna tip over!

OK, that's all, I'm tired. More tomorrow...

Tech Ed so far...

Just have a moment to make a quick post. Here's what's been going on so far...

First Session Web301 ASP.NET: accelerating Web Application Development with the Microsoft Enterprise Library. To be honest, I was not impressed with the content for this as a "300" level course. I expected some really in-depth stuff about extending it and writing your own providers. This was a basic "see spot use EL" thing. Not NEARLY deep enough. The speaker did seem to be half-asleep, but some of the comments I heard people making were just mean. That's not cool.

Then one to DEV304: Delving into Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Architects. This was MUCH better. I've played with the Logical Datacenter Diagram and the Application Designer a bit. They are pretty cool. But this speaker went into some great detail with the System Designer and the Deployment Report. I'm definitely gonna try to get my clients (especially those with big data centers) interested in this!

Just got done with CON206 (WinFx) Windows Workflow Foundation: Introduction. I hadn't done much with WF (very clear, it's NOT WWF. Those people are very... litigeous) but I'm excited about it now. It seems like there might be some overlap with BizTalk... I'll ask Brian about it later and see what his take is. But, I think it's going to be a very helpful tool.

One non-technical observation. And an explanation. If you meet me here at Tech Ed, and I seem hesitent to shake your hand, there is a reason. Everybody is pressed for time and the bathrooms are full. I get that. But, PLEASE take a moment and WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER YOU "GO" for Christ's sake! It's just gross.

For some non-Microsoft technical (sorta) content, I did learn something about my iPod this morning. I have a travel adapter for it. I plugged it in after my workout this morning and.... nothing. No charging, no nothing. After several minutes of what my Mom would refer to as "Sailor Talk" I figured out (and no, it wasn't in the directions) that the iPod must be in standby BEFORE you plug it in. WTF? Anyway, crisis averted.

Time to go get my "learn-on." Later....

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Scene from a Boston highway....

Highway Patrolman: "Sir, do you know what we do to drunk drivers here in Massachusetts?"
Driver: "Uh, re-elect them to the Senate?"

Apologies to whoever I stole that joke from.

Well, I made it, and I am standing in the BCEC right now writing this entry. I got to ride through one of the "Big-Dig" tunnels, which was, uh... like being in a tunnel....

So far, I only have two observations...

  • There were about three people on my flight in, besides me, who were waiting for suitcases at baggage claim. In addition to our suitcases, there were about 20 going around and around on the carousel. This tells me that either American Airline just pissed of several people, or several people got lost somehow during that harrowing 50 yards between the plane and baggage claim.
  • Even though it's only Sunday, the convention center is a buzz. I know some people are here for pre-conference stuff, but I'm wondering how many of the rest of us are just excited to be here (or don't have anywhere better to go. :) )

At any rate, I'm waiting for the bookstore to open up. They have a sign up (several actually) that say that for every purchase, you get an entry in a drawing for one of two 360's (SWEEET!), a Microsoft directors chair (That's OK too) or a pair of those sunglasses-MP3 player combos like "Dogg the Bounty Hunter" wears.


Now THERE'S a look I think we can ALL appreciate!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Put THAT in your blog reader and ... uhh, read it I guess...

I added RSS syndication via feedburner (the button on the right.)


First Post


Well, my first post isn't going to be really compelling. It's the day before I leave for Tech Ed in Botson.

It's been about three years since I've been to Tech Ed. I also went to a PDC years ago, and I've been itchin' to go back. Luckily, I was able to convince my company to send me this year. Hopefully it will be an ongoing thing.

I'm really interested in the Team System and Team Foundation Server stuff. I've been using it for about a year now and have seen it grow from a quirky beta to a pretty cool platform! I also want to check out some of the WinFX stuff (mostly WCF and workflow stuff) and I'm really interested in the BizTalk stuff. In fact, my boss Brian will be giving a presentation on it. (CON329 BizTalk Server Solution Lifecycle: Planning and Design (Part 1), Thursday at 8:00)

I'll make some "TechEd-related" posts this week. I'll make an officially official "first post" when I get back.

Till then...