Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ready, Set, ... wait

I'm a blue badge! I'm official! This is a little overwhelming and I think I'm not quite sure what to think or how to feel. For the past two weeks I've been immersed in impatience waiting for when I could get started. For the past day and a half I’ve been doing orientation and then this afternoon configuring my workstation. I’m at the end of the day looking at my shiny new blue badge and I guess I should feel some relief, but I don’t. I’m still in a holding pattern. I’m still not doing what I do best. When I’m not slinging thousands of lines of code or refactoring hundreds of classes or architecting huge frameworks or solving the unbelievably complex problems, I feel like I’m holding my breath. I’m like a fighter pilot waiting for the next sortie. I’m like a NASCAR driver waiting for the next race. I usually vent this energy in after hours work or study but I’m completely focused on pouring all of my energies into this experience and this opportunity. So I wait. My new team mates are reassuring me that it will all come and I will get my chance to contribute. But they can’t see the pent up energy building just underneath. I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime and one that fits not only my talents but my beliefs and my goals and my drive. So I wait. Just a little longer…

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Let's NOT get physical

While working with a couple of source control software packages over the last few months, I have been frustrated by what I saw as a lack of usability with the UIs. What I thought should have been intuitive took too many steps or was not immediately or readily accessable. It finally struck me today, they that they are based upon the old physical view of the control process. Their software was nothing more than an electronic representation of the physical process that they replaced. The reason that had an impact on me is that if you brought in someone not familar with development to 'flowchart' a process, that is what they would do. They would lay the steps and flow down from their physical point of view of how the steps were sequenced. However, from a software usability point of view, that is not the best process. Things in software work better from the point of view of using the software to accomplish a business process. Software allows us to grow beyond the physical and formulate our workflow in such a way as to be better for our needs rather than being stuck with the limits of physicality.

When you're designing your systems, understand what you're trying to accomplish, not just the steps the user goes through. Then design your system to better help the user do their business, not just their tasks. When you're done you'll have a much better system and a much happier user. What the user wouldn't know is that you threw in a little BPR (Business Process Re-engineering) along the way.

If you're into IIS...

Then you'll definitely want to check out this episode of The .NET Show: IIS 7.0
You'll get some of the low down on just a few of the new features coming in IIS 7.0. It's a little long (almost 90 min) so you might want to set aside a chunk of time to go through it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Interviewing a replacement

Interviewing is always a tedious process. There are several reasons for this: people want jobs, recruiters want to fill those jobs, etc. In preparing to move to Redmond, I'm interviewing potential replacements for the project that I am leaving. I've been trying to go beyond just waiting for the recruiter to call and I'm actively trying to find a good person to replace me. I am completely agast at the audacity of people who tell me they have certain experiences and feel they are qualified to do a job when (1) they cannot even answer simple questions and (2) THEY DON'T EVEN PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEW! Whatever you do when you come to an interview, you should be prepared. And for heaven's sake, if you can't do the job, don't take the interview! Let's try to be clear:If you apply for a C# coding position,
C #

To be honest, it really goes beyond that. If you want to be a developer, you have to keep learning. You can't do the same job for 20 years then loose it because of some market conditions (economy, downsizing, etc) then expect to pick up a book and be marketable over a weekend. It just doesn't work that way. You have to keep learning, you have to keep coding, you have keep reading and studying and thinking about code and design and architecture. If you don't love what you're doing for a living, then do something else!

OK, I'll step off my soapbox now....

Another VS05 gotcha

Periodically, my VS05 IDE will max out the CPU and just seem to hang. Terminating the IDE and restarting doesn't seem to fix it. What I have found is that there would appear to be something being stored in the pdb that has to do with the breakpoints. The reason I say that is when this situation occurrs, I can work around it by deleting all of my breakpoints, closing my windows and then trying to run with a fresh build. We already know that somtimes the VS05 IDE window manager can take the IDE out to lunch, but I don't think this is related.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Keys, keys, get your keys here!

This is a post that just could not wait. LC posts on his blog how to determine what key was used to encrypt a piece of data in SQL 2005. Anyone doing encryption in SQL '05 has GOT to keep this one in their toolboxes. Trust me, you'll need it one day.

Apples and Oranges?

OK, everybody is giving Microsoft a hard time about trying to help keep your system up to date by gathering system information, but yet no one is saying anything about Apple doing the same thing!!!! Come on, folks!

Ajax and tooltips...

Has anyone else run into this: put a input box in an update panel and then post it every second (simulating a save). Then mouse over to bring up the tooltip. The tooltip flashes with every cycle, even if no input is given. The input box does not flash and no other updates appear to be done. Curious.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Entering a new and wonderful phase...

I have been doing consulting for many years and had felt that I would always be a consultant because of how much I enjoyed it. However, an unbelievable opportunity has presented itself. Microsoft has approached me to work for them in Redmond, Washington. Working for Microsoft in any capacity is a dream of almost every developer but I will not only have the opportunity to work for them, I will have the opportunity to work in one of the newest and most exciting divisions in the company, the adCenter division!

In both the projects that I have done and the other consultants that I have worked with, I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I don’t want to sound like I’m disappearing; I will still continue to help as many young developers as I can through both mentoring and this blog. Just think of me as changing locations. I’m sure that working around the brilliant developers that haunt the halls of Microsoft will provide a million more tips to blog about! Although it will be a few weeks yet, I can’t wait to get started! Hang on, this baby’s about to take off!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Drool, drool and more drool!

OK, I know multiple posts within a few minutes are a bit chaotic but I just had to share this one. I had a hectic few days and missed this one posted Thursday, June 28th. The WPF team has released 400 samples on the community site! We asked for more, we got more! Great job WPF team!

.Net Framework 3.0

There is an incredable array of new and amazing technologies coming down in the .Net 3.0 Framework. Many of us have been drooling endlessly waiting for them to settle. For those of you out there who want to know more or like the rest of us, keep watching the CTPs, changes and threads, check out the .Net 3.0 Framework page. Great info and good links!