3 November 2008 in Events & Microsoft & Mindscape | Comments (6)

That’s right – free! Not only that – but prizes too!

Kicking off next week, myself and Kirk Jackson will be Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland for the Microsoft UNPLUGGED event. This is a great opportunity to get your development team out to hear about developing next generation user experiences using WPF as well as finding out how to be more productive with Visual Studio 2008.

The speaking time is around one and a half hours so we will be able to cover a reasonable amount of content. Because of this I would like to hear what things you would like to learn about Windows Presentation Foundation – leave a comment. I’m explicitly trying to ensure that the talk is as real-world as I can make it so that after the event you will better equipped to critically evaluate building your next project with WPF.

Numbers are limited so you’ll need to register as soon as possible at the site:

Oh, and the prizes I mentioned are:

  • 3 x XBOX 360
  • 3 x Samsung 22? LCD Monitors
  • 3 x Office Professional 2007
  • 3 x Windows Vista Ultimate NFR
  • 6 x Microsoft Explorer Mice

So – leave a comment of what you would like to learn, register for the event and hopefully I’ll see you soon :-)

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 155 user reviews.

11 September 2008 in .Net & Events & Microsoft & Mindscape | Comments (2)

Thanks to every one who came to my Tech Ed sessions this year – it was a real blast to sync up with folks I hadn’t seen in a wee while as well as get that surge of adrenaline that comes with public speaking.

I was prompted to post this today as the evaluation data was fed back to the speakers and I spied a couple of amusing comments. The first two were in relation to the session that Jeremy and I did on C# 3.0 tips and tricks.

“JB and JD best for buck, in a coding respect (not dodgy)”

This just made me chuckle, that’s my sort of humor right there.

“Nice use of examples and Commander Keen”

In one of my demo’s where I generated ASCII Art using an extension method that I borrowed from Jeremy, I generated a Dopefish image (from Commander Keen 4, in the water level). When I asked the audience who recognised it as the Dopefish from Commander Keen only a handful of hands went up. To those people who’s hands went up – you rock, long live the Dopefish! To those who didn’t, you can read up on some gaming history about the Dopefish here.

The last one was feedback on my ASP.NET MVC Architectural Concerns session:

No “GOOD TIMES” this year – very disappointed!

This is in relation to my saying “Good Times” about 200 times in a presentation last year when I was extremely nervous with my first audience size in the several hundreds. “Good Times” became my catch phrase for the better part of a year and has sadly started dying out (I liked that it was a positive statement).

Overall I was pleased with the ratings that were provided but there is always room for improvement. I picked up some good hints and tips from Scott Hanselman which were handy – thanks Scott.

Hopefully I’ll see you all at various user group meetings or at the very least, next years Tech Ed.

– JD

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 205 user reviews.

23 June 2008 in Business & Events | Comments (2)

Things have been progressing at a rapid clip lately and while it has been fun it has resulted in more than a few blog posts where I just announce new things I’ve been involved with. I’m going to work on changing that – not by doing less, but by ensuring I post more about general technology and business. logo

First I’d like to announce FlightCheck. FlightCheck is a YouTXT initiative to provide flight information for travelers either online or via text message.

Check out FlightCheck here:

Currently you can browse for any delays for flights to any NZ airport. You can also text your flight number (e.g. NZ898) to 8808 and get texted back the departure and arrival time (including changes if there are delays). We’re working on adding other helpful information to this service as well so I appreciate any feedback.

KnowledgeCue logo

Second, while not a business connected to me, I’d like to give a shout out to KnowledgeCue.

KnowledgeCue has been setup by local SharePoint MVP, Chan. Chan has spent considerable time working with SharePoint and has worked with top organisations in Wellington as a SharePoint expert.

You can find out more about KnowledgeCue here:

Without a doubt, SharePoint is proving to be a highly successful product for Microsoft but it can be a bit of a tricky beast from an installation/configuration angle and therefore using the services of organisations who have a deep understanding of SharePoint is going to save a lot of headaches for your business.

Now, let’s get back to sharing some coding or business discussion :-)


Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 153 user reviews.

26 May 2008 in Events & Microsoft | Comments (1)

Today I had the opportunity to present on XNA, Game development and “other stuff” to a Massey Wellington class. It was a nice small class of people that I’d seen around Wellington on previous occasions (Summer of Code etc).

I deliberately attempted to stay away from code and focus on some of the things that would have been useful to know while I was at university. This primarily made up the “other stuff” component of the presentation:

  • Do stuff now – take the initiative and just get started
  • Network – there is no reason to avoid people in the industry while studying. Get to know them, they’re not scary and don’t bite
  • Be open with what you’re doing – it’s easy to think what you’re building as a side project should be a secret and could be worth millions. Forget that, at this stage the experience is far more important than the $$ potential. Allowing employers and people interested in your work to discover it online is worth its weight in gold

The game development coverage was focused on details of the game industry – what it’s worth, what roles are in demand, the current and future technical challenges. The coverage of XNA, I hope, showed the value in being able to deliver games written in a managed language that aids in delivering a multi-platform game (important in this age when consoles are making the bulk of game money).

The presentation file below is probably not of too much use to those who didn’t attend as most of what I covered is not in the slides or will make very little sense without knowing what I said.

Some of the links:

The presentation files
Sharky’s Air Legends
XNA racing game (+ source)
Masters of Doom – fun reading for anyone interested in Game Dev
Subscribe to rss updates of this blog

Thanks goes to Wyatt Page for organising the opportunity to speak – he helped to ensure everything went smoothly.

Also, to those that attended – the coffee offer stands, all it costs is an email :-)


Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 207 user reviews.

20 March 2008 in Code & Events & Mindscape | Comments (2)

Yesterday I had the privilege of presenting my ASP.Net MVC Framework presentation in Tauranaga & Auckland. It was great to meet so many new people as well as catch up with those I haven’t seen in a while. I’d never been to Tauranga so it was interesting being there – thanks for showing me around Rodney :-)

I have added some additional comments to the solution, mainly in the test project, to help remind people why I did things in a certain way.

You can download the demo solution and the presentation files here: ASP.Net MVC Framework Presentation and Demo.

Thanks to everyone that came along, I appreciate any feedback about the presentation – it’s your feedback that helps me improve for the future :)


– JD

P.S. If you’re looking to learn more about the MVC Framework I’d strongly urge you to check out the excellent videos created by Scott Hanselman here.

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 252 user reviews.

28 August 2007 in Events | Comments (0)

This week Ivan was unwell and asked for me to lead todays Lunch with Geeks. The topic we focused on what development tools – what’s the best and worst tools out there.

It didn’t take long for Source Safe to be rated the #1 most hated development tool and it’s easy to understand why (and why TFS is now the suggested source control platform from Microsoft).

To focus more on the positive, these tools were rated as most useful:

  • mbUnit
  • NCover + NCoverExplorer
  • Whiteboards
  • Resharper
  • Subversion
  • Any CI application such as CruiseControl.NET
  • A couple I cannot remember in the Java space or were techniques for requirements elicitation

Overall it was an enjoyable meeting, good size and nice discussion. If you’re in Wellington and want to come along to one of these Lunch with Geek meetings then just turn up at midday to Syn on Tuesdays. You’ll spot the crowd and have a good time.

– JD

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 202 user reviews.

16 August 2007 in Events | Comments (1)

Another TechEd is now complete and I had a great time, as I’m sure most people did.

This year I managed to get a slot doing some speaking which meant I ended up staying in the Sky City Grand which is a very nice hotel that I’d only stayed at once before, I’d highly recommend it as a place to stay for anyone taking a trip to Auckland. This year my focus was more on mingling and keeping in touch with some of the geeks that live a little further afar than Wellington.

The Sunday night involved a speakers dinner which was great – really top notch dinner and wine with some great conversation. Enjoyed the opportunity to talk more with Craig Walker from Xero. After that it was off to the Casino for a short time with Andrew and JB.

I did manage to attend some sessions and certainly found Alex’s discussion on LINQ interesting. Not so much from the technicalities about LINQ but more the coverage of what elements of the framework were added to make LINQ possible. I did find myself agreeing with his view of using standard language constructs rather than LINQ directly at times – it just seems more readable to me.

The ask the experts evening was interesting – I certainly felt a bit uncomfortable wearing a hat that just states “EXPERT” on it. I’ll certainly be holding onto mine to put on whenever I get into an argument with somebody, “Oh no, you see, I’m an expert!”. I haven’t seen anybody look quite as happy as James Newton-King when Darryl gave him an Expert hat after he had been complaining that he wanted on. I think I even saw him wearing it in the street the next day :)

My session was a lunch time talk about BackgroundMotion and how to get up and running while also highlighting some of the goodies that are baked into the solution. If you attended the talk and want to grab the source code you can check it would at

Casino losses were much higher compared to Remix, hitting $100 on the first night, at which point I decided to call it quits for this event. I felt much better enjoying the Rum + Cokes in the Sky City Grand lobby than I did losing my money at the casino so I made sure that I spent more time doing that than gambling.

All up, I think it was a great event and I’d certainly love to speak again next year and would recommend to anybody that has not attended to do so – you won’t regret it.

– JD

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 292 user reviews.

1 August 2007 in Events | Comments (1)

I’m a big believer in networking and trying to build connections, they’re more helpful than almost anything else when you’re in business. When I first moved to Wellington I didn’t know of any groups or any events to attend and I’ve since discovered that there is a wealth of events going on all the time around the city. I generally try to post about events that are going on to help drive more demand for them but also to help folks who, like me when I moved to Wellington, might not necessarily know about them.

Coming up shortly is an event hosted by Unlimited Potential entitled “Gadgets, Geeks & Games 07″ which, in their own words:

Unlimited Potential’s GGG night promises to stimulate the Geek, wow the Gadgeteer, and stagger the Gamer. Speakers and exhibitors will introduce you to new technology homegrown in our own Welly Valley. It’s an opportunity to network with the people who create, develop, and deliver the innovation which keeps Wellington in the entrepreneurial spotlight.

Unlimited Potential is primarily a group for aspiring technology entrepreneurs (and actual entrepreneurs!) however there is a good mix of general business discussion with this event likely to be the most geekiest of the year. I’d highly recommend attending UP events for the networking aspect as well as to continue learning about various business and technology topics. I’ve yet to go to one of these events and not come away having discovered something new or met some great new people, usually both.

If you’re interested in attending this great event, it is next Wednesday the 8th of August from 4:30 – 8:30 at the Wellington Convention Center. For more information and to RSVP please visit the website here:

Oh, and the event is free to attend.

– JD

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 158 user reviews.