# Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Scott Hanselman had a little WTF in his IM handle yesterday that I had to check out: http://www.askthetechgirl.com. This is just too funny. For just $2.95 a minute (minimum of ten minutes), you too can speak to a tech girl about C++, Photoshop, certifications, or other of your favorite tech subjects.

I really laughed at the tag line from Maria:

I'm not your average computer geek -
I'm also a professional wrestler and actress.

Uh, yeah.

The world just gets stranger all the time.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004 10:26:06 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Wednesday, June 23, 2004

As I blogged several months ago, more than twenty years have passed since I first entered college expecting to get a Computer Science degree. I went astray and looked to get a business degree. At the time, the MBAs (Masters in Business Administration) seemed like the thing to get. Unfortunately, it was not the thing I was meant to get.

Not that there is anything wrong with business degrees; I just know now that I have a passion for the machines that I can’t ignore. About four and a half years ago, I realized that I wanted to return to my youthful passion. Then, in the fall of 2000, I practically stumbled across the Computer Software Engineering Technology (CSET) program at Portland Community College (PCC).

One of the issues I had with the typical Computer Science degree was the focus on history and theory. I know a great deal of the history and, although I enjoy the theory aspects, I want to apply it to problems right away. The CSET curricula did this. As I approached the end of the two-year degree at PCC, I visited the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT). Here, I could continue my studies and receive my bachelors degree in Software Engineering.

Graduation was last week.

What a journey this has been. I find it amazing all that I have learned in the past three and a half years and can now see how much I have yet to learn. I’ve heard it suggested that it is harder to learn as one grows older… I don’t agree with that anymore. There are two factors that affect a person’s ability to learn later: It takes some practice to get into the swing of things. Compartmentalizing information from different classes and being able to switch amongst them is a skill that becomes rusty over time. However, it does come back to you.

The second thing is sleep. It was easier to go without it twenty years ago and that doesn’t change.

A great number of people have helped me get here. First, the instructor I had more than any other was Taylor Hanna at PCC. Not only did Taylor provide a great deal of knowledge to us students, he drove us, too. There were some who thought Taylor was not very easy – they were right. However, as I’ve continued through my classes, I’ve been constantly reminded of how much I learned in Taylor’s classes.

Thanks, Taylor.

There are many instructors that helped me on this trip. Al, Ali, Barbara, Brad, Christian, Colin, Gary, Jay, Jeff, Julianne, Michael, Paul, Paula, RK, Ronda, Sean, Sergey, Shawn, Stefan, Terry, Vicki, and others, thank you for all you have passed on to me.

In addition, there are numerous other people at the schools that helped make my degree possible. My thanks go out to Abbie, Anne, Cheryl, Fran, Mary Lou, Peter, Sandy, Sylvia, and all of the other people who made it possible to go through these four years with some sanity preserved.

I had a chance to meet and work with many great people over this time, too. There have been many teams and tutor-ings that helped me get here. In particular, I want to thank:

Cat Anderson – You’re such a great pair-programming partner. Our family has really enjoyed getting together with yours over the years, too.

Mike Plourde – You’ve been a really good friend and we’ve had a great journey over the last years, haven’t we?

Jeff Sherwin – My goodness you know a lot! Your appreciation of good pizza is a testament to the quality of your character.

There are others too numerous to get to, but let me try:

Anita, Casey, Chris, Colin, Daniela, David, Earnest, Eric, Frank, Fred, Hope, Jamin, Janet, Jasen, Justin, Katy, Kim, Lael, Larry, Matt, Paul, Pat, Rhollic, Robert, Steve, Tess – Thank all of you for your help, support, and assistance throughout these years.

Another individual that helped me a great deal as a fellow student, instructor, and mentor is Scott Hanselman. First, Scott has been involved with the promotion of the programs at both PCC and OIT since before I started going through them. Second, after graduating last year from OIT, he immediately returned to teach an excellent class on programming in C#. Finally, on a personal level, he has become a mentor to me and helped me immensely in getting through my senior project.

Finally, I want to thank my family for there examples, support, enthusiasm, and love. You might think that taking over twenty years to get a degree would dampen the enthusiasm of the family… not mine. Even my siblings’ kids were excited and some even attended the graduation. Thanks all of you!

My mom didn’t get to stay around long enough to attend my graduation in person, but I knew she was there when I got up for my speaking portion and didn’t have any butterflies in my stomach. I know I wasn’t a perfect son, but my mom and dad always stood by me and made sure I turned out right. Thanks to both of them for all they did for me.

Last, but most, I want to thank my wife Jesann for her love and support through these years. Our household has a fraction of the income we did before I went back to school and I have spent way too much time staring at a monitor instead of helping her around the house. She’s been an inspiration to me and truly made it possible for me to get through this degree. Without you, honey, I wouldn’t have done this. Thank you and I love you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004 1:29:32 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [3]
# Wednesday, June 16, 2004

As mentioned below, there is an effort underway to convince MS that Unit Testing should be in versions of Visual Studio other than the Team System version(s).

Well, it seems that Leon has looked into his crystal ball and discovered the future plans that Microsoft has for solving this problem. My credit card is ready...;-).

Wednesday, June 16, 2004 3:55:13 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

It's been a long time since I visited Bob Rivers' site, but Brian Redmond's blog entry reminded me of it. When ever I here mention of Brittany's song, I think of the version that Bob did (this is a PG-13 site in my mind.)

There are some really funny remixes on this site ala Weird Al.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004 1:34:47 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Sara Ford has started a bit of a humorous thread on her blog. Some really cute techno-jokes going on. For example:

Two strings walk into a bar.  The first one says, “Bartender! Bartender! I want a drink!”
The second one says, “Bartender! Bartender! I want a drink too! blaaaaaaaaah Eeeeeeeek yaaaaaaak oooooooh.”
The first one says, “Please excuse my friend.  He isn't null terminated.”

Head on over! And, find other funny quips through my humor category (especially the Joel on Software link from November!).

Tuesday, June 15, 2004 8:49:00 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, June 11, 2004

Jim Blizzard, the father of the Nerd Dinner, has written an open invitation to Linus Torvalds to begin attending the Portland Nerd Dinner. I second that invite!

Linus and his family are moving to Portland next week and I can't imagine a better place for him to get to know the region's nerd population.

Friday, June 11, 2004 10:45:09 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Last night was the OIT Senior Project Software Exposition. It was Great!

I was really impressed by what we put together for this year's show. I went to last year's and heard from others that had been in previous years'... This was a much bigger and better presentation.

First, we rearranged the room to better accomodate all of the presenters and attendees. A classroom layout doesn't really fit for doing several software presentations.

Second, every student made up a poster for his or her project. All of these posters looked good and added an extra bit of professional feel to the whole show. We also used the poster images for a rolling slide show on the room's projection system.

Third, every project was very demonstrable. The two game developers even had multiple computers involved to really show off what they were doing.

Fourth, we had refreshments available. Much more pleasurable for those attending.

Finally, the invites went out to people beyond the school. The event was very well attended and I'm sure will set a standard for future senior software fairs at OIT.

And well it should!

Wednesday, June 9, 2004 9:39:44 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [2]
# Monday, June 7, 2004

Ironically (or is it?), I was thinking just last night that I should ping Jim to see when he wanted to do another Nerd Dinner. It's been too long for those of us who weren't in San Diego.

Apparently, Jim could sense the disturbance in The Force because I woke up this morning to find the next PND announcement:

Tuesday, June 29 @ 6:30
Washington Square Food Court
and of course, Be there and be square!

What surprises might be in store this time?

Monday, June 7, 2004 7:25:40 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, May 29, 2004

Well, did I have a rude realization this evening. I went to do some work on a web service project and Visual Studio wouldn't load the web service project.

Okay, maybe IIS isn't running correctly or I've screwed something up. I try some other /localhost/.../.aspx sites and they don't run either. Restart IIS to no avail.

Then I realize that I just upgraded ZoneAlarm yesterday (or was it two days ago?), so I shut it off temporarily. Ah, now everything is working. Time to fiddle with the settings in ZoneAlarm and figure out what isn't correct.

I tried just about every setting there was and found nothing to work. Finally I got frustrated enough to go looking for support. When I use their help system, it mentions that ZA isn't compatible with Win2K Server... I'm running WinXP. Then I try the forums and search for IIS... Oh boy, there you go.

I didn't find one person running IIS on a local system that been able to keep ZA 5.0 going. A couple even claimed that this was a prominent beta issue that has gone unaddressed.

I've now downgraded to version 4.5 until this problem is resolved. What a shame, too... I like ZoneAlarm. Hopefully, they will get it resolved soon.

Saturday, May 29, 2004 2:19:00 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, May 28, 2004

In each edition of the LangaList, Fred Langa includes a “Just for Grins” entry. The latest was a link to an American Express advertisement site. It's a series of “ad-ventures” starring Jerry Seineld and Superman.

Need I say much more?

I found the Flash version somewhat lacking and clicked the “Trouble with Flash? Go to HTML.” link that gave the option for either Quicktime or Windows Media versions of the clips.

Very funny. As good or better than Super Bowl ads.

Friday, May 28, 2004 10:25:07 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The days are counting down quickly... in just thirteen days we will be conducting the Software Exposition for the 2004 Senior Projects at OIT. There are nine projects coming to a close and all will be displayed for others to see.

If you have a chance, it would be worth stopping by to see the applications that have been built. Who knows? You might just find your Next Great Developer while you are there!

There will be free food, fun, and great bunch of people. Below are the details of where and when:

5:00pm - 6:30pm
Tuesday, June 8th

Capital Center
18640 NW Walker Rd.
(185th and Walker Road)
Beaverton, OR 97006
(503) 725-2129

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 3:29:56 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, May 21, 2004

The latest revision of the NUnit Addin now plugs NUnit into Visual Studio. I can't vouch for the stability of this version... I seem to be having some problems myself, but it's looking very exciting.

A good screen shot is available here.

Download is available here.

Check it out!

Friday, May 21, 2004 9:15:09 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, May 20, 2004

Mr. Hanselman is helping to improve television for all: He will be making The Apprentice.NET real at TechEd this year! Come on folks - wouldn't you rather see Bill picking an apprentice than old Donald?

The Apprentice.NET

Boy, does that make me want to be there.

Thursday, May 20, 2004 12:00:11 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 19, 2004

[Update: Betsy, Chris, Jim, Patrick, and Scott have added their voices to the post-dinner Nerd din.]

I'm tempted to use the phrase 'best Nerd Dinner Yet,' but I've said that before. Last night was the best, though. At the peak, we had 34 people in attendence. That's nearly three times the usual size. Jim Blizzard will go down in history as the father of the great Nerd Dinners.

Chris Sells led an entourage of the MSDN team down from Redmond to join us. This group included Shawn Morrissey, Betsy Aoki, Matt Powell, Duncan Mackenzie, Kent Sharkey, and of course, Chris himself. Not only did they contribute financially to the Nerd Dinner, but they offered themselves up for a panel discussion and allowed all there to provide feedback on how to improve MSDN and the developer experience in general.

The award for the 'farthest travelled' went to the surprise attendee Rory Blyth. Yes, all the way from New London, Connecticut and the .NET Rocks! show. I guess he means it when he says he misses us back here.

The 'youngest' award goes to Patrick Miller... let's just say the junior high school will be lucky to have him.

Another big surprise was seeing Scott Hanselman decked out in a suit and tie:

Who would have thought?

Obviously, there are too many people to mention them all specifically... we gathered a virtual (or is that a physical one?) blogroll of attendees and will probably make that available on Northwest Evening Blend.

Folks - you don't want to miss these events. This was some really good stuff!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 8:20:09 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, May 14, 2004

A few days ago, Scott chatted me up and asked if I'd tried Skype yet. I was familiar with the software since .NET Rocks! uses it as a way for listeners to call in. If you don't know already, it is a telephony product that works over the internet.

Well, either Scott or the general cosmos have schemed to make Skype the buzz for the week. Several people are beginning to realize the value and quality of the product (examples here, here, and here). In addition, I'm beginning to see talk in the trade rags.

The only BIG thing that I would like to see added is an alliance with Trillian (the consolidated IM client). I would love to have both of these tools wrapped up into one simple package... all of my instant messaging and the Skype telephony service in a single piece of software.

How about it?

Friday, May 14, 2004 10:15:03 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]