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: 4.5 out of 5 based on 190 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: 4.9 out of 5 based on 215 user reviews.

9 June 2008 in Microsoft & Tools | Comments (8)

Reading over the last week shows that there is some strong interest in Microsoft’s new “Velocity” project. What is Velocity? It’s a distributed caching framework to aid in scaling out applications over many servers – for example, an ASP.Net website.

That’s cool.

But, wait a minute, doesn’t this sound exactly the same as what memcached does? Almost the defacto standard for distributed caching and developed many moons ago, memchached powers sites like YouTube, Slashdot, Facebook, to name a few.

I’m a big fan of what Microsoft creates, in fact I’m building a business that sits on top of what Microsoft builds. I appreciated that the initial blog post even referred to memcached and hints at some of what Microsoft might want to add to their caching system to create some differentiation.

What concerns me here is seeing posts popping up about how cool this framework is from various Microsoft geeks from the “ooo – distributed caching!” perspective. Do they not ever look outside the Microsoft world? Do they not realise this is not new? I think it’s an important discipline for developers to keep looking outside their comfort zone to learn new things. This is by no means something I’m perfect at – it’s a struggle when you’re comfortable with what’s already in front of you but, as the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know.

I look forward to the future of the Velocity project and I really hope it’s not just a me too project from Microsoft. You can keep an eye on it by subscribing to their blog.

As a mild plug, our LightSpeed object/relational mapping product has included a memcached provider if you’re building suitably large solutions since version 1.0 :-)


kick it on

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 182 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: 4.7 out of 5 based on 181 user reviews.

24 May 2008 in Microsoft | Comments (2)

Just found this and it cracked me up (I don’t care that it’s old)

It’s made even more comical by the implication that you would need a GUI to actually get an IP address. I’d also recommend reading the comment on the YouTube post itself for more laughs.


Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 258 user reviews.

30 January 2008 in .Net & Code & Microsoft & Tools | Comments (0)

A big thanks to everyone who came along to the dot net user group meeting this evening for my presentation on the new ASP.Net MVC Framework. I’ve attached the files below to have your own play with the sample and to check out the presentation file as well.

You will need to install the ASP.Net MVC Framework but everything else (like the MVC Toolkit) is included in the download. If you would like more help with LightSpeed then I’d suggest you download the Express edition which includes a huge number of samples and one of the best developer guides you’ll find.

I would also take this moment to mention that this is a first CTP, you shouldn’t be using it to create production quality solutions yet and the chance for the API to change is very very high. Just have an explore, taste test the framework and get your head around some of the concepts at this stage :-)

Download the slides and sample application here.

I hope those of you that attended enjoyed the presentation and, as always, I appreciate any feedback.


– JD

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 257 user reviews.

20 December 2007 in Code & Microsoft & Tools | Comments (0)

Andrew Peters (co-founder of Mindscape) has released the NHaml View Engine for ASP.NET MVC. He had been working with Haml on a project and fell in love with how easy it was to use and the quality of the output and decided it was high time something like this was available to .NET Developers.

Andrew has created a rather lengthy blog post about the engine as well as how to write in Haml, Check out the NHaml View Engine here.

If you are using ASP.NET MVC and are a lover of fine XHTML output then you should check this out.

– JD

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 245 user reviews.

20 December 2007 in Microsoft | Comments (0)

I’ve been looking to find more information about IE8 lately however it looks like JB got the scoop (damn Regional Directors and their underground connections! :) and has posted specifically about standards compliance in IE8 – certainly the most important area of enhancement in my opinion.

Click here to read Jeremy’s post about IE8.

I also question the inclusion of a new header tag to force compliance mode. Even if this is just a meta tag addition I can already hear the outcry’s about splintering standards. Admittedly Microsoft often find themselves in “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” type situation and overall it’s fantastic to hear that there will be ACID2 support – lets just hope that they manage the whole tag required challenge well.

Bring on the beta’s!

– JD

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 269 user reviews.