Thursday, December 11, 2008

Live Services, Live Framework and Mesh

This week James and I have been delivering training to help developers understand how to use Live Services now and start thinking about how they will use Live Services in the future.
James has been running around the world presenting the training over the last few weeks. It is interesting to compare how different cultures perceive the technologies and the opportunities the technologies bring.
One of the big lessons for me is just how little people know about what is available today to get started building applications that use the Live Services. Go to and find out about current Live Services and the APIs you can use to build really cool software using the technologies Microsoft is providing.
If you are doing software development you must also start to pay attention to the whole Microsoft Azure Services Platform. What Microsoft is doing here has the potential to create a serious step change in the way software is built and deployed.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dr. Neil's Notes 51

Welcome to a special edition of Dr. Neil's Notes, Show 51

A few weeks back, before PDC, Ken Levy hijacked the Dr. Neil's Notes lab, have a listen to what happened...

Happy Coding!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Day Three PDC Keynote: Microsoft Research Magic

Welcome to the last keynote, and what a magical grand finale it was! The presentation opened with an appealing video demonstrating the history and relevance of the Microsoft Research Department. Rick Rashid, the longest serving MS executive, delivered a very natural performance both in the video and on stage. He knows what he is talking about and has a real passion for pure computer science.
Rick started by explaining the Microsoft Research Mission Statement, which is to:
• Expand the state of the art in each of the areas we do research
• Rapidly transfer innovative technologies into Microsoft products
• Ensure that MS products have a future
Rick’s history in the software business leaves no doubt that this is someone with passion for what he does and the output of this passion is seen in many products today. Rick worked on the Mach kernal, the underlying software that NeXT computers used in their NeXTStep operating system. This kernal still lives today in Apple’s OSX products and the iPhone OS.
Did you know that Microsoft Research contains 850 PhD researchers at their worldwide facilities? That is a larger faculty than even Carnegie Melon or Brown. Microsoft’s researchers have distinguished themselves among research staffs in the field of computer science. The size of the Microsoft Research Department is equivalent to creating a Berkley staff every year for 17 years. The largest facility is in Redmond, the second largest is in Beijing, China. Microsoft Research worldwide owns the largest Ph.D internship program in Computer Science in the world, and its researchers write between 10-30% of papers at academic conferences.
Some of the fundamental computer science research has lead to some brilliant output in the form of concurrency runtimes and the Microsoft Distributed Software Services. This work will have impacts on fundamental software engineering and system design in the coming years.
As MS Research looks forward to 2020 they are doing more work on provable systems, to validate properties of large scale programs. The Vista driver verifier technology came from this research, we should expect more in the way of deterministic validation from this group. This is fantastic as it means we will be marching ever closer to truly bug free solutions. An example of the work being done is the solutions discovered to Church’s theorem to determine what can be recursively computed.
Microsoft Research is doing much of work to reduce energy consumption. While good for the environment, it is clear there is a business driver here to help reduce the massive cost of running hugely scaled data centers.
Presenter Feng Zhao spoke about research in sensor networks and how it can help people understand energy use as it pertains to human activities. We can improve energy efficiency - computing devices that consume a lot of power. For some time in software we have been asking questions like how much memory will your app use? and what is the CPU utilization? The next big question is how much energy does your software use?
Feng introduced a device that showed how sensor energy technology could be used to monitor and manage the cooling of machine rooms. Before the start of the convention, crews attached eight rows of sensors to the ceiling of the convention hall. Using a MS Virtual Earth map on the screen behind him, Feng centered the map in bird’s eye view on the location of the auditorium and a heat map displayed showing the relative temperature of the room in different areas throughout the day. At this time, 10,000 sensors are being placed in rack rooms in MS datacenters – perhaps to scale down some of the costs associated with running them, but whatever the case may be this is exciting stuff.
Who would have thought a software company could contribute to modern healthcare? MS uses computer science theory to tackle problems in the medical world in a dramatic new way. MSR is working towards designing medicine for a person and their genetics - the near future may hold mapping of the entire human genome for $1000 a person. Using this technology it will even be possible to create custom medicine for a person’s genetic makeup.
Right now, MS is working with scientists from Harvard and Oxford to apply SPAM hunting technology to the hunt for and killing of the HIV virus in the human body. HIV does not mutate at random, and bits of HIV serve as decoys making it an extremely difficult disease to tackle. MS is using computational analysis of HIV and computer science theory to innovatively attack problems in the medical world. Watch as this monolithic giant truly makes a positive difference in the lives of individuals and communities.
More fascinating contributions of MSR come in the field of education. Here in Washington State, the Center for Collaborative Computing at the University of Washington is just one of the many combined scholastic facilities around the world. At the Center for Personal Robotics at Georgia Tech, students receive a personal robot to program throughout their graduate career; fun and educational at the same time.
The World wide Telescope Equinox Beta links all the data from the great telescopes around the world to provide a 24/7 experience of the night sky. Even amateurs are finding things that professionals didn’t see using the 21 giga parsecs of visual data available in this amazing program.
MS programs empower children by teaching them to program. Matthew McLaurin, Principal Program Manager at MSR, presented Boku, a system that works like a game and allows children to program on their own. Programming is now a fundamental life skill.
Last on the agenda, Rick presented Steve Hodges and Shahram Izadi, who demonstrated Secondlight, an interaction beyond Surface using an infrared multi view display and pass through projection to bring the Surface interface out of the display. Words cannot describe the experience as shown on the video that was presented - this is the real magic in computing. When things appear to be beyond the achievable we know we are close to a new breakthrough in this field.
For those of you who love research as much as I do, you must see this exciting and compelling presentation by Rick Rishad, Senior Vice President of Microsoft Research and other members of the Microsoft team. Watch it here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I hate the Web

I live a life of frustration, always waiting for web pages to load and refresh, it is all so slow.

The Web Browser provides the state of the art in dumb terminals with slow performance and lack of responsiveness. I have a machine with a 64 bit bus, more memory than I would know what to do with and I am constrained to spend nearly half my life interacting through this most unbearably restrictive interface of rendered markup languages and remote procedure calls over shared networks to overloaded time sliced servers.

Computing has not come very far in my opinion.

What can we do about this?

Build smarter client applications that are connected to the cloud, but understand how to take advantage of the computing power in my hands. Please build your software to be network aware, power managed and very fast.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day Two PDC Keynote - Rock and Roll to the Epic Saga of Misunderstanding

(cross post from nsquared blog)

The initial pump and excitement was certainly there this morning as opposed to yesterday’s slightly lackluster performance.

It should not be surprising that Windows 7 gets the rock star treatment on stage. It is the bus that drives the cash to Microsoft's front door every day.

Ray's introduction to the session was a perfect pull back and setting to the scene. Explaining the history of Windows, positioning the PC, the phone and web platforms from Microsoft's perspective was perfect. This is the theatre you need in a keynote, and the scene was set for Steven Sinofsky to get on stage and start showcasing Windows 7 and the features being improved.

It is clear that a lot of work has gone into the user experience for the client, and there is an understanding that Windows is now (and has for a long time been) a consumer operating system not just a business operating system.

Windows 7 is about much more than the user experience. The core technologies have had some great improvements at a power management and networking device management level. Goals for Windows 7 have been around performance and responsiveness; Windows 7 now supports 256 processors, boots faster, uses less memory and reduces the power consumption on the device.

Today all attendees get a copy of the win7 pre-beta (milestone M3 ) build. Beta will be delivered early CY 09.

This is where the keynote should have ended but Microsoft VPs rather appreciate long-winded tales, so it must have made sense to them to continue telling stories. Feedback for anyone putting together a presentation - tell one story, create a beginning, middle and an end. Perhaps learn from theatre and movie makers – please keep it short and simple next time, folks.

The next story was presented by the great Scott Guthrie. The new features in WPF, .NET 4 and VS 2010 were briefly covered by Scott, and the developer focused audience loves the fact that now more average developers can write code. Again a democratization of software development continues, allowing more mediocre software to be built and shipped. You have to hand it to Microsoft for enabling software development to be done by unexceptional members of the world’s population; leading to even more rubbish software in the world. Personally I think this may be great, it will allow the people that really know what a computer is doing to build fantastic software that will really differentiate from the rest.

Two hours in and the Day Two PDC keynote kept going and the audience got restless, the exodus started from the keynote room as David Treadwell came on stage to disclose information on how to build software using the Live Services. David discussed the concept of the internet as a bridge to allow users to see the same data and share data between users and devices. Mesh is now a key component of Live Services, mesh is the experience built on top of Live Services. The Live Services is now a platform for S+S, making it easy for developers to build applications that utilize the Live Services via the Live Framework.

Live Operating Environment is akin to the CLR in .NET. A set of open, consistent interfaces are provided in the Live Framework. Live Framework comes with a set of API kits including a .NET API kit making it easy for .NET developers to build Live Services enabled applications. Now your applications can tap into the user data, devices and social relationships.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windows Azure - the old new blue thing

This morning Microsoft announced windows Azure, a new platform for web computing development and deployment.
There will be plenty of technical details of Windows Azure out there so I am going to focus on the question: Is it really new?
Time sliced shared server solutions have been around since almost the beginning of electronic computing.
What seems to be really new is the democratization of this process to the masses. This is where Microsoft plays a strong game. Taking what was high cost and hard for most people and providing it to the masses of developers and smaller businesses.
This is good in many ways. It will act as a vehicle for new business growth and drive some interesting new applications. At the same time because it will be open to the masses it will be something that will attract a lot of _average_ software too. The market will determine the value.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Two Regional Directors and one brain

On one of the rare occasions that Adam Cogan and I are in the same place the PDC brain arrived. We had to take pictures of this momentous occasion.

Friday, August 29, 2008

CXC Global and nsquared partnership announcement

Hot off the press....

A new partnership between two dynamic and growing Australian businesses is expected to yield combined revenues of AU$200m within the next 10 years.
nsquared solutions and CXC Global have worked together for many years on solving the challenges faced by today’s IT and software businesses.
CXC Global provides innovative solutions to logistics and human resources challenges and has helped businesses work smarter with their global contractors and employees. nsquared’s goals have been focused on the technical challenges faced by software businesses to overcome the hurdles of delivering high quality solutions to tight time frames.
CXC Global will provide its full backing to the nsquared services project teams as an internal administration, payroll and management service, whilst nsquared will be providing the leading edge technology and applications behind the CXC online products and services.
Ingrid Webber, CEO of CXC Australasia Pty Ltd, said being world leader in Contractor Management Services was an ongoing challenge that could only be maintained by deploying the world’s ‘best practice’ solutions.
“Working with nsquared ensures that CXC will have a huge technology advantage over any potential competitors,” she said.
Dr. Neil Roodyn, Director of nsquared and a Regional Director for Microsoft Australia, feels the partnership will help both companies grow through better value add for their clients.
“This new relationship allows both companies to focus more energy on bringing value to clients while supporting each other to increase the energy each company is able to focus on their core business. By joining forces, both companies expect to accelerate their growth to achieve the significant targets they have set for the next five to 10 years. .”
nsquared solutions delivers leading edge software in a way that helps identify the most value up front and deliver on it. The nsquared development team utilises a responsive approach to deliver solutions to meet the most pressing needs first and then works through the value chain to always remain focused on what adds the most value now.
CXC Global provides salary packaging, accounting, payroll and administration services to the global contract market and has built a solid reputation for honesty and integrity with a commitment to friendly, efficient and prompt service. CXC Global has offices in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, USA, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore and South Africa with affiliations around Europe.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who do you know?

In the third video in the nsquared mini-series on Windows Live Tools for Visual Studio James McCutcheon shows you how to add the Windws Live Contacts control to your site.
James provides some ideas on how you might use the contacts to control to allow your website to access the contacts of the users on your site.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Windows Live Tools for Visual Studio 2008, the Virtual Earth control

Nick Randolph has posted the second in our mini-series of videos showing how easy it is to get started with the new Windows Live Tools for Visual Studio.
This is so cool, adding a map to your ASP.NET web site is now so easy, even Visual Basic programmers can do it! ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Windows Live Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio CTP3 Shipped

The Windows Live™ Tools for Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 are a set of control add-ins to make incorporating Windows Live services into your Web application easier with Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer Express 2008.
What does this mean?
It means if you build websites with Visual Studio and you like to drag and drop controls on to your web form and then add some code behind you can now use a number of Windows Live services in a very simple way.
To demonstrate I have created a short video showing how simple it is to add the Silverlight Streaming Media Player control to your ASP.NET website.

As one of the developers working on the architecture and code behind these tools I would love to hear your feedback.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Already Hiring...

Many of you may have wondered why I have been so quite on my blog in the last few months. Along with all my usual travels and presentations I have been working with Nick Randolph and James McCutcheon on a new company enterprise called nsquared solutions. While we are not quite ready to tell you all about nsquared yet, you can probably guess it will involve some mobile development projects.
We already have a number of interesting projects on board and are working on our first range of products, and right now we need some help. We have a couple of opportunities for the right developers to come on board at this early stage and help us deliver projects and ship the first set of products.
We are looking for the following, if you are interested then please get directly in touch.

A WPF .NET Developer
The job will be developing a mixture of .NET business logic development with Windows Presentation Foundation UI development. The projects are for leading edge as yet unreleased products.

Required Skills:
At least three years of commercial experience in C#,.NET, XML
Some experience and understanding of WPF
Strong knowledge of Object Oriented methodologies.
Able to handle pressure and work with minimum supervision
Positive, pro-active and flexible attitude, keen to learn and grow
Strong interpersonal/communication skills.

Desirable skills:
Experience developing in the .NET 3.0 and 3.5 framework
Experience using SQL Server 2005
MCSD or MCAD certified.

An ASP.NET Developer
The job will be developing a mixture of webservices and ASP.NET and AJAX applications for a Web 2.0 project.

Required Skills:
At least three years of commercial experience in C#, ASP.NET, SQL Server, XML
Strong knowledge of Object Oriented methodologies.
Able to handle pressure and work with minimum supervision
Positive, pro-active and flexible attitude, keen to learn and grow
Strong interpersonal/communication skills.

Desirable skills:
Experience developing in the .NET 2.0 framework
Experience using SQL Server 2005
MCSD or MCAD certified.

nsquared solutions provides a comfortable Sydney based work place, with the benefits of working with, and learning from, leaders in the field of software development. Founded by Microsoft Regional Director Dr. Neil Roodyn and Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals Nick Randolph and James McCutcheon, nsquared delivers high value leading edge solutions to global customers. Working with nsquared provides an opportunity to work overseas, if desired. Many of the nsquared clients are based in the USA and we have offices in the Seattle area.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Integrating Virtual Earth into Your Partner Solution Offerings

Do you have customers that rely on location based information? At the Australian Microsoft Partner Conference I will show you how your customers can track assets, find their customers more easily, manage mobile work forces and ensure their customers find them before heading to a competitor. Learn how to combine your expertise and Microsoft’s mapping technology to integrate location services into your customers’ business solutions and applications.

The event blurb...
At the Virtual Earth sessions at the Australia Partner Conference pre days Microsoft Regional Director Dr Neil will be demonstrating a Windows Mobile application that uses GPS to log tracks and plot them on Virtual Earth. By attending the session you will get a chance to win a Palm Treo SmartPhone enabling you to put into practice what you learn on the day!

If you cannot make it to the Partner Conference there are 3 events around Australia the week before the conference.
Sydney July 29th
Melbourne July 31st
Brisbane August 1st
You can register here

I will be at the Sydney and Melbourne events, come and meet me there.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

TechEd Panel: Windows Mobile Application Development

At TechEd in Orlando last month a few of the Windows Mobile presenters discussed development for mobile devices in a panel session. You can view the recorded session here.

The panel consists of Andy Wigley, myself, Maarten Struys, and Paul Yao.

You can also see other panel sessions and recordings from TechEd online

Saturday, June 21, 2008

TechEd Australia, the mobile story

September seems like a long way off, but before you know it it will be here and so will TechEd Australia.
I (and other great community members) have been working with the guys down under to help shape the look and feel of TechEd for you to learn about mobile development.
Don Kerr has posted the current thinking for the sessions, what do you think?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Silverlight Mobile with John L Scott Real Estate

Some of the recent work I have been doing with Silverlight Mobile is showcased in an interview with John L. Scott on Channel 10.
This project has been done with a pre-release version of Silverlight Mobile and uses Virtual Earth maps to display real estate property near you on your Windows Mobile phone.
Credit is due to Tricky Business for the slick and clean user interface design.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

PDC 2008, will you be there?

I have just registered for PDC 2008. It should be awesome. It sounds like a heap of new technology platforms will be discussed and explored at this event. As the web site says "Wanna be where the action is?" then you better get registered for this event.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Software Quality is not optional

The last day of TechEd and I did two panel sessions. The topic of the first panel session was software quality.
The panel had an awesome line up including; Billy Hollis, Jeffrey Palermoand David Platt.
In this panel were people I respect, they are smart, have worked in the industry for a while and know their areas well.
Then I discover some panel members (called Billy and David) are happy to accept that software will be built with defects, they do not believe that the software they write is likely to be defect free.
This makes me wonder what hope the industry has as a whole.
The software you produce is an output of your goals. Aim high to achieve high targets. Aim for zero defect software, do everything in your power to build zero defect software and the chances are you can get there.
If you start with the belief that this software will have defects when you are finished building it, then your chances of delivering zero defect software are already lower.

Friday, June 06, 2008

C++ and COM, the way to program Windows

I presented a session this morning at TechEd on building applications that work with Windows Vista Sync Center. Sync Center exposes COM interfaces and requires your application to expose COM interfaces.
This is easy, this is Windows software development like it has been for at least 10 years. It is well defined, well known and well supported.
Hearing developers complain about having to use C++ and do COM development today made me realise that the .NET developer generation is missing out on so many areas of the Windows development opportunities.
My advice, go and learn C++ and COM, it is how many of the Windows Vista features are exposed to developers and with good reason.
If you are not prepared to learn how to program your computer then you should question why you are in the software development business.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

SideShow for Windows Mobile

It seems like the SideShow team is really getting things together now. This week Windows SideShow for Windows Mobile is shipping as a developer preview. this lets you use your Windows Mobile device as a Windows Vista SideShow display.
I have shown this in various demo situations over the last couple of years and now you can get your hands on the technology and start building for it using the new Managed APIs.

Also be sure to check out the SideShow gadget development contest NVidia is running.

Lunch with Bill Gates

Half way into day one of TechEd 2008 and 15 of the top community folks (Regional Directors, MVPs etc) were invited to an Influencer Roundtable lunch with Bill Gates.
Bill is such a switched on person, the whole room spent most of the lunch listening to Bill's words of wisdom. Bill thinks big and acts big, I like this man.
The first half of the lunch conversation was around education and the things that can be done to improve education both globally and in the USA. Interesting stuff. I think that once Bill puts more energy into the foundation we will see amazing things happen.
Each of the attendees also was presented an award for our achievements.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Virtually back in Vienna

Vienna in Austria now has really sweet 3D buildings available in Virtual Earth. I was just there speaking at the MIX Essentials event 2 weeks ago. Now I can virtually visit Vienna any time I like.


TechEd 2008 Day 0

It's only the end of day 0?
Wow, its been a fun packed day already, with lots of the familiar faces in the community engaging in conversations about all things good, bad and beautiful in the world of software development.
I could hardly walk 10 yards today without meeting someone who I knew or knew me, or even better both :)
It's always good to finally meet people I have had email conversations with and put faces to names.
I helped to get a bunch of demos running today that will be shown on the show floor at the product booths. If you are at TechEd you should certainly swing by and have a look at some of the cool product demos.
I am already getting a good feeling about the event splitting so IT Pro and Developers have their own events. This week is the developer week (no surprises) and I am getting good vibes about this. Developers connecting with developers and knowing that nearly everyone else is a developer will make the meal time conversations easier.
If you are at TechEd then come and find me and say hello.
I will be often found in and around the Windows Mobile booth space.

Friday, May 30, 2008

SideShow managed API is shipped!

It seems to have taken a while, the Managed API for SideShow has left the beta phase and shipped.
I was working on SideShow before Vista shipped with the team that built this awesome axillary display technology. All the code I wrote was native C++ against the native SideShow APIs. Now the large number of .NET programmers can access SideShow technology from the comfort of the abstraction layer.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Windows Mobile Unit Tests setting the time

As if you didn't know, I am a fan of TDD (Test Driven Development). I try to work in a TDD manner as much as possible.
Unit testing for Windows Mobile applications has always been somewhat challenging. Visual Studio 2008 (professional and above) allows me to work in a TDD manner as I build software for the Windows Mobile platform.
I have been working on some software that needs the time to be changed as part of the tests. This might not be as simple as you think, but it's not hard as long as you know to set the local time not the system time on the device.

private SYSTEMTIME SetDateTime(DateTime dateTime)
st.year = (short)dateTime.Year;
st.month = (short)dateTime.Month; = (short)dateTime.Day;
st.hour = (short)dateTime.Hour;
st.minute = (short)dateTime.Minute;
st.second = (short)dateTime.Second;
st.milliseconds = (short)dateTime.Millisecond;

return st;

public struct SYSTEMTIME
public short year;
public short month;
public short dayOfWeek;
public short day;
public short hour;
public short minute;
public short second;
public short milliseconds;

[DllImport("coredll.dll", SetLastError=true)]
static extern bool SetLocalTime(ref SYSTEMTIME time);

public void HourIsOne()
DateTime savedDT = DateTime.Now;
SYSTEMTIME sysTime = SetDateTime(savedDT);
sysTime.hour = 1;

bool setSuccess = SetLocalTime(ref sysTime);
Assert.IsTrue(setSuccess, "Failed to SetLocalTime");
Assert.AreEqual(1, DateTime.Now.Hour,
"Hour should be 1 after setting it");

sysTime = SetDateTime(savedDT);
SetLocalTime(ref sysTime);

Friday, May 09, 2008

Local Feedback Loops

I had a wonderful beach side meeting and lunch with Andrew Coates yesterday and we talked through a number of ideas. Mostly about TechEd Australia as that is Andrew's focus right now.
We brainstormed ideas around how to get people talking more at the event rather than make it a series of push sessions.
I find I rarely attend a session at conferences any more as I can watch them all online afterwards. The real value of a conference is meeting people and talking to them. Creating feedback loops for thought processes. Sometimes just listening in to other people talking can be enlightening too.
We brainstormed some ideas around having the first session after the keynote being a panel for each track. The panel would introduce the speakers on that track and start the conversation around the track topics. Andrew has blogged about it.
I hear complaints about there not being enough content at TechEd and comparing TechEd Australia to TechEd USA, which does have a lot more content and a much higher attendance. I don't think this is a good argument. You are allowed to go to both! TechEd USA is an awesome event and worth going to. TechEd Australia is different, it is a local event, smaller in nature and allows the local community to engage with each other. I don't believe TechEd Australia should just be a mini version of TechEd USA. That is a waste of time, the world is a small place and Australians are mostly capable of getting on an airplane to fly to TechEd USA if they want to. TechEd Australia has an opportunity to do something different and better for the local community. I believe the same is true for all events that run locally in a region.
I am hoping for lots of good conversations at TechEd Australia that have local relevance.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New Windows Mobile Dev Blog

Amit Chopra from the Windows Mobile developer tools team at Microsoft has set up a new Windows Mobile developer blog.
He has kicked off with a post about the the great line up of sessions at TechEd in Orlando next month.
I'll be doing a session on Windows Vista sync center and some chalk talks.
I'm looking forward to catching up with the mobile developers there.

SWMUG Thrives

Another night, another Sydney user group.
Along with my old surf beach buddy, Hugo 'UberTablet', I headed down to the Microsoft offices in North Ryde to catch up with old friends at the Sydney Windows Mobile User Group or SWMUG. I was impressed by the turnout. Some excellent presentations and of course the obligatory dribbling over new and as yet unreleased technology.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

SyXPAC lives!

Last night I headed down towards Darling Harbour to the regular SyXPAC meeting.
I started Sydney's eXtreme Programming Activity Club at the end of 2001 as a way to spread the knowledge about eXtreme Programming. Initially a monthly meeting, it has gone through many phases. The hardcore SyXPAC members meet weekly on Monday evenings, drink, eat and discuss software development.
At last nights meeting we discussed how SyXPAC can enter a new phase and become interesting to new people interested in finding out more about agile development and learning to build better software.
It sounds like there will be monthly SyXPAC events focused around presentations, discussions and debates. If you have topics you are interested in then you should get involved and put a request in the SyXPAC blog or on the Yahoo! group.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Expression Web used to build the site?

I wonder if Expression Web was used to build the Microsoft Expression site?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Do you realise how much time we invested in. . ..?

Imagine you are at the bar of your local pub. You would like to order some food & drinks.
You catch the eye of the barman who nods to indicate he has seen you and then stands still, as if deep in thought.
The barman looks at the floor, then looks at you, then focuses his attention on the glasses, and bottles behind the bar.
After about 10 minutes of this he slowly walks over to you.
I expect you are pretty frustrated by now.
Slowly and carefully the barman pulls out a pad and pencil from under the bar. He asks you what you would like, you ask for 2 pies & 2 pints of your favorite, he slowly and carefully writes this down. The barman then turns the pad around and asks you to check your order. You review it, it appears correct and you tell him it's good. He then asks you to sign it, in order to confirm you agree.
Astonished, you sign it.
The barman asks you to take a seat, "your food & drinks will be with you within 2 hours" he informs you.
"and that will be $6,500 please"
" WHAT?!?!" you scream out loud
"well look how much time I am putting into this, and I spent 3 years at university studying bar service"

It seems strange to me that people believe that because they invested more time into a project it is worth more. Surely it is more valuable to get great results sooner?
The most value should be given to results that are delivered fast and provide what is needed.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reconnect through someone else

Sometimes the strangest things happen.
I received an email last week (when email still worked) from a friend in Cuppertino(can you guess where they work?) with a link to this article in SD Times.
It's a great piece by Larry O'Brien about the difference in abilities between developers. A more positive and thought through article than my rant Most programmers shouldn't write code.
Because of that article I was prompted to get back in touch with Larry and have a chat about a bunch of things going on in the tech world at the moment.
So thanks to one friend I am now back in touch with another friend and they don't even know each other. What a strange and wonderful world.

Yes my email is still broken.

Monday, April 28, 2008

MIX Essentials Austria and Denmark

Since announcing that I will not be presenting at ReMix Australia I have been asked to present Windows Live developer sessions at Mix Essentials in Austria and Copenhagen.
Looking forward to getting back to both of these cities at the end of May.
If you are going to be at either of these events feel free to drop me a note and we can meet up.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mail hijacked

It looks like my email address has been hijacked. I have 472 messages in my inbox and they all seem to be returned mail.
I expect this means that my email will now be blacklisted and emails I send might not get through.
If you receive spam from my address, I am sorry, blame the spamhead that just hijacked my email.
Is this the beginning of the end of email?
Is email just a broken protocol now?
How much longer will it be before we give up with email?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Not at ReMix Australia

I have had a few emails asking if I will have time to meet at ReMix Australia this year. the answer is NO. The reason I can't meet is I will not be there.
I was going to do a session on Silverlight for Windows Mobile, I have been working on a proof of concept with Tricky Business and the Redmond team that I would have loved to show and talk about but it is not ready. Silverlight for Mobile is not ready and the proof of concept is not ready.
Silverlight for Mobile is currently a closed beta for a select few. I do not want to present, at the end of the day, on a technology that you cannot start playing with now (or very soon).
I am sorry if you were hoping to see me there, I am sure some of the local speakers will do a good job of keeping you entertained.

Friday, April 25, 2008

DevConnections and Live Mesh

After a successful few days in Orlando at DevConnections I am back in London.
At DevConnections I presented sessions on Windows Live (Silverlight Streaming and Data Portability) and Windows Mobile (Sync Center, Gadgets and windows Live apps for Windows Mobile). After Tuesday nights announcement of Live Mesh, I assumed that many of the attendees would be asking questions.
To my surprise most of them didn't know about it, and many didn't care. Why not? Because it is not of relevance to them, or so they believe. I think what we see with Live Mesh might be the start of something exciting, something I have spoken about for some time. I shouldn't have to print out driving directions from my home PC to take them in the car, the car should 'sync' with my home PC and know what I have been searching for on my home or work PC. It is the same story with my phone.
In my session at DevConnections on Windows Vista gadgets that speak to my mobile phone, I talk about building applications that know I am at my PC and so display content on the PC screen not on the phone. One of my biggest annoyances is still the fact that all my devices that sync with Exchange fire off reminders. I am now sitting at a hot desk I am using for a few days while in London. I have my laptop, tablet, UK phone and US phone on the desk. When a calendar reminder is raised all my devices insist on ringing bells. Why?
The keyboard of my laptop is being used and I am logged in, the other devices should detect this and only 1 reminder should be displayed on the device I am currently working with. I am hoping that Live Mesh makes these scenarios easier to deliver against.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Those who do and those who blog

Tricky tells me there are those who do and those who blog.
In the last few months I have been doing.
I am going to continue doing for a while....