Saturday, October 23, 2004
Jesann and I spent the last couple of days at the beautiful Dolce Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington. She went to relax and enjoy the amenities; I went to attend the conference often referred to as SellsCon.
I really can't do justice to all of the content that was provided for the two days... at least no more than has already been done. Chris Sells has compiled an amazingly complete list of blogs about his conference. There are around forty separate persons listed as SellsCon bloggers. Wow! There are three bloggers that stand out to me:
Particularly remarkable, though, was the article by Esther Schindler on Ziff-Davis' DevSource site. It really captured the feeling of the conference well.
As you read through these blogs, you might see the point made about the first day being somewhat 'dark' or 'gloomy'. I suppose that I could understand that view, but I don't really share it. The one thing that I took away from this conference is that we've reached a new level of abstraction and with the new possibilities come a whole new set of problems.
As Rebecca Dias pointed out during the panel discussion, there are problems that need to be resolved, but there are people out in the world solving real problems with XML related technologies today; problems that seemed rather intractable just a few short years ago.
To that end, there were several demonstrations of that fact in the conference:
- Patrick Cauldwell and Scott Hanselman: Bringing Strongly Typed Business Objects to Legacy Financial Systems with XML Schema. This presentation focused on how Corillian has improved their banking systems through the use of XML. I've seen Scott and Patrick present several times and had both as instructors at OIT so I always know that I will enjoy what they have to say. Commentary here, here, here, and here.
- Whitney Kemmey: Using XML for Navy Missile Systems. Wow! This was a great presentation! This was the surprise of the conference. Here's the only person in attendance wearing a suit; He even has a rather “Department of Defense” somber look about him. Boy, was I wrong. His presentation was very funny (Internationalization is not really a problem for the Navy) and very relevant. Read more here, here, here, and here.
- Jeff Barr: Amazon Web Services - A Year in Review. I'll rank this as the most inspiring presentation of the lot. By the end of it, you find yourself saying, “Yeah, I could hook into the Amazon Web Services and start making money tomorrow!” It was like going to one of those MLM deals where they convince you that with just this small investment, you could be making thousands of dollars monthly without any work. Except, this really can work! (Oh, and I finally realized that this is the same guy that runs Syndic8! Duh!) Find more detail here, here, here, and here.
- Blair Schneider McKay: Using XML to Take the Headaches Out of EDI Processing. I think Blair's presentation showed the greatest possibility of pain relief. I'd never really seen what goes on inside EDI and I pray I never do again. The value of moving to a more verbose platform was very evident. Also read here, here, here, and here.
If you want to see the lighter side of XML, you need to visit Doug Purdy's blog and specifically view his picture of Don Box. Also, Jay Kimble's Nuclear Missile Sub is worth a gander. Of course, no blogged event is complete without the wonderful and entertaining commentary by our hero, Rory Blyth. Especially enjoyable (because I'm in one of the pix ) is his summary blog entry, XML Hangover.
To Chris, Rebecca, et al: Thanks for putting on a wonderful conference right here in our backyard.
To the numerous presenters: Kudos and thanks for crafting such interesting bits for us to consume.
To my fellow attendees and bloggers: It was wonderful to meet all of you and I look forward to seeing you all at future tech events wherever they may occur!
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
A wonderful Portland Nerd Dinner last evening. Several new faces - some on their way to the XML DevCon, others just visiting from afar, and yet more attending for the first time.
Jesann went with me to this one... it was a great chance for her to get some shopping done at the mall. I've been trying to get her to come see all of these nerds for several months now .
We even got a picture of IBM (Ed Brill), Microsoft (Robert Scoble), and Sun (Tim Bray) together. Détente!
It's such a pleasure to meet up with such a wide variety of people. I suppose it emphasizes the value of the Nerd Dinners. They are a place where people with a technical bent can get together and chat for a while.
Make sure to watch for your local Nerd Dinner at NerdDinner.com.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Jesann and I are fans of the original Thunderbirds series and also of South Park. We expected that we might enjoy Team America: World Police; Done by the creators of South Park using marionettes like the old Thunderbirds.
Boy were we wrong....
We loved the movie. Now, before you get in the car and run down to the local theater to see it, you need to know that this movie almost got an NC-17 rating. Yes, that's right: a movie with 'puppets' almost completely disallowed viewing by children under seventeen years of age. There's good reason for that, but if you are not easily offended (or like to be offended), this is one funny movie.
In fact, this is the first movie we've seen in a theater that Jesann might be willing to see again while it's still in theaters! That's amazing!
Rory enjoys a lengthy rant about how good the movie was and Scott talks about how he “...wiped tears from my face twice...” and “...almost cramped up laughing,” during the viewing of this movie. He also has a great picture of the Nerd version of the World Police (Jesann and I were already inside watching “The Twenty”).
“America! F*** Yeah!”
[Update: Just had to go see the movie again... still loved it! And I am fully sold on picking up the soundtrack of this movie, too.]
Saturday, October 9, 2004
Microsoft has brought you C#, VB.NET (B#?), C++, and J#. Others provide Python, Perl, Pascal, COBOL, and many others.
But now, for the Programmer's Programmer, download Asm80386 to create your very own assembler code that can be compiled to IL. This is hilarious! As stated on the site:
"Very Usefull", you might think! "Just the sort of thing you have been looking for", I hear you say! Thanks, I do my best to support my kindred spirits.
via Kent Sharkey's Blog
I don't spend a lot of time chatting about politics... I have a lot of friends from both sides of the aisle and would rather discuss issues one by one rather than argue over candidates.
That said, I do have strong preferences and am willing to show my support by such means as putting up candidate signs on my own property.
Well, this morning, we looked out in the yard and realized that someone had come on to our property and stolen our signs. As my wife pointed out, instead of getting their own signs to support their chosen candidate or simply VOTING to make their voice heard, they decided to engage in a crime to prevent us from expressing our opinion.
This is sad. I really thought our neighborhood was better than that.
Okay, you've finally got that GMail account from your best friend. Problem is, you now have all of this storage space and hardly anything to fill it with.
Well, your problems (?) are over! GMail Drive is now available as a shell extension that allows you to copy files directly to your GMail acount from within Windows Explorer. It simply adds a new 'drive' under My Computer that you can drag and drop to.
Pretty cool idea!
via Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus
Thursday, October 7, 2004
One year ago today, I set up dasBlog on my personal website and started entering the occasional tidbit of life. I started the concept a couple months previous on Blogger, tried a few personal blogging systems, then finally settled on dasBlog. I've been happy since.
As I look back, the first entry was school related. It was at the beggining of my Senior Project. I probably should have made more notes to myself regarding the trials and tribulations I encountered through that project, but I kept spending my time doing the project instead of writing about it. It went well, I am pleased with the results, and will pull it out and add more to it one day soon.
I enjoy having the outlet this blog provides. I don't expect that there will be any overwhelming number of people visiting here, but it is satisfying to commit thoughts and anecdotes to a more permentant space.
I see the next year expanding the technical content in this space. I know enough now (so I think) to come up with some useful tidbits now and then and will start cataloging those items here. Further, I'm increasing my involvement with the development community by, among other things, taking on the roll of Outreach Coordinator with PADNUG, our local .NET User Group. I'm very excited about this as I'm already such a big fan of the group.
Here's to many more years of blogging and enjoyment. Thanks for stopping by.
Friday, October 1, 2004
I've been wanting to repave my computers for a while. My laptop has been building up cruft for over a year, the desktop could use a good cleaning, and it's time to build a new server for the household, too.
For the desktop and laptop, I wanted to install SP2 immediately. I have seen a few articles on slipstreaming the update into the original XP install, so I had to give it a try.
First, I tried out Paul Thurrott's article, but was unsuccessful. Now, it probably wasn't the article's fault; I am using my MSDN DVD to install and didn't have a handle on what to label the resulting CD. That's why I turned to Fred Langa's InformationWeek article.
The additional details found in that article were all I needed to get it done. I have now reformatted and installed Windows XP SP2 cleanly on the drive. After I've finished reinstalling applications on the laptop, it will be time to build up a new server with Win2003! Or, maybe SBS?
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Jim Blizzard must be a very proud father. NerdDinner.com has already garned
14 16 18 20 24 ∞? nerd dinner sites and it will just continue to grow.
If you are part of a nerd dinner, know someone that is, or are thinking of having one, go visit the site and let the rest of the planet know!
Friday, September 17, 2004
Here is my 4¢ on the rate information (zipped version) gathered at the August PADNUG meeting:
- First, by no means was this a scientifically based survey – neither by methodology nor by sample.
- As was pointed out by Ken, there was no differentiation between contractors and employees. Several of the respondents provided their hourly wage and some included their benefits as part of that number.
- Also called out was the impression that VB rates were higher than C#. Well, when you see the actual data, you will find that there was only one person that indicated C# as their tool and I believe that person was an employee. There were eight people that wrote “.NET,” four people indicating “ASP.NET,” and nine that fell into the “other” category. Many of those persons are likely using C# and would have changed the balance substantially.
- The “years of experience” written on the cards was interpreted differently by the audience. Some put their total programming experience, some, their experience with a given tool. Further, ten people did not provide the information. To provide more accurate data, we would need to better define that category.
If there is enough interest in PADNUG, we may want to formalize this survey and retake it with a larger group. Please feel free to let me know your interest level and we can go from there.
I really enjoy reading The Daily WTF. This week, we've been having a discussion on the local UG (PADNUG) discussion list about hourly rates that consultants could/should charge.
By sheer coincidence, The Daily WTF posted an example of code provided by a $250/hour consultant. I conisder it an opportunity to learn what it takes to make it to the big leagues.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
UPDATE: If it still feels like too much typing to find the information on the MSDN site, check out this little IE toolbar gadget by Nick Parker. Nothing fancy, but it will take you right to your namespace.
Just to make it easy to find the documetation you need, the brainiacs at MSDN are using a thing called URL Aliases. The gist of what it accomplishes is shown here with this tip:
Tip: Our system supports URLs of the format http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/.aspx.
For example: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/system.xml.serialization.aspx, so navigating to API reference pages will be quicker and easier.
This will make finding documentation much quicker to find. Kudos!
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
UPDATE: What a surprise... The Penton newsletters are back to their old format. I hope they come up with some sort of new concept, though. I don't mind receiving HTML versions of newsletters - I find it easier to differentiate content from ads and all - I just want the content to be in the newsletter.
I have a few favorite sites in my 'Links' toolbar of Internet Explorer. One of them is Paul Thurrott's WinInfo site. I enjoy the content provided through that site and by Paul himself.
Well, my interest in their content dropped a couple of notches this week. The email newsletters no longer provide content; just a brief paragraph introducing each story. I realize that the theory here is to drive readership to the website, but it honestly is having the opposite effect on me. I will likely be dropping several of the e-letters I receive from them, too.
Just to top it off, I went to the site to see if I could change a preference that would provide the complete content. I was unable to log in! I chose the 'I forgot my name/password' option and was told that my email address, “...was not recognized.” Excuse me? I've got at least a half dozen emails from you in my inbox addressed to that very address! The newsletter even tells me that that is the address.
Further, when I try to 'Update' my subscriber information, I receive a server error that asks me to email them information; I would think with modern technology what it is, somehow the webserver might be able to do that work and not burden the customer with it!
I hope this is just a momentary lapse of reason on their part and all will be made right in the next week or two. Please?!?
Monday, September 13, 2004
A month or two ago, we were in a Trader Joe's store here in Portland. As we were leaving, I noticed up on the chalkboard at the front of the store, they were advertising French Lemonade... you may know it better as Oui, Oui.
(Think about it)
Sunday, September 12, 2004
I come out to my car at the Home Depot today to find one of those really irritating advertisements under my wiper blade. Generally, I just swallow hard and throw these things away at the first opportunity, but this time was different.
Bally Total Fitness (or their agent) has placed a glossy door hanger under my wiper whilst it is raining. Guess what? This door-hanger-turned-leaflet has become rather glue-like and it sticks to my window! After some scraping and a car-wash, it has started to come off, but there are still several little specs of paper almost etched into the glass now.
This irritated me at so many levels:
- They did not have permission to market on the property there.
- They used a door hanger on car windows (thus, likely the reason it changed in the rain).
- The very fact that they use this as a marketing method at all.
Presumably someone has demonstrated that marketing this way works. Really? Who are the people that buy products or services based on a piece of paper on their car window? Are these the same people that brag about how there multi-level-marketing scheme has allowed them to purchase a Cadillac... but it turns out to be an early '80s model that shouldn't have spent so much time in the coastal, salty air? In other words, who are these idiots?
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
I just know this will be blogged all over the web in no time, but I have to get in on it.
Chris Sells and his wife went on down to Burning Man this last week. In their honor, Rory Blyth wrote and sang a little diddy (mp3) about their adventure. It was really good as it was, but then something happened.
Mr. Jason Olson got hold of it. Rory calls it "The Jason Olson Psychedelic Lederhosen Burning Man Remix 2000." (2000?) It involves the original tune with a bit of “added pizzaz.” See how you like it - (mp3).
And, since we are already on the Chris wagon, don't forget to go see him in all his glory here. No wonder he is a Software Legend.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Ok, I hate getting spammed as much as the next person. But when I read this little bit of spam that arrived, indirectly, from my blogspace, I just L'dMAO.
It's my great pleasure to contact you !
We learned from Internet you are interested in tents. We have been in this line of business for many years. We wish to establish friendly business relations with you and share the mutual benefits.
We are specialize in tents. We are offering them to our customers with the benefits of consistently high quality and performance and competitive prices.....
We are able to supply a wide variety of tents – manufactured to the specifications and requirements of the customer. We would be interested in receiving more information about your enquiry so that we will be able to submit an offer that is suitable.
For example ,what is the height of the tent?
Are you interested in windows?
What type of frame?
Who will supply the metal parts –
will you obtain them locally which will enable a much lower quotation from our side?
Do you have a drawing of your requirement?
What quantities do you wish to buy?
We would appreciate receiving your answers to these questions which will enable us to submit our offer.
Feel free to view our website:
If you don't want to receive the mail again, pls let us know we will take you off from our maillist!
We hope information will help you .
Awaiting your favorable responds
Qyield (Xiamen) Camping Products Co., Ltd 4/F., No. 20, Huaguang Rd. Huli, Xiamen, China.
Tel: +00 000 0000000
Fax: +00 000 0000000
Web Page :---.---------.---
I searched my blogspace to find out how it is that I have an interest in tents... As near as I can tell, it is because of the numerous times I mention tents on my blog: content(s), attentive, attention, extent, and tentative.
If, by any wild chance, the implementors of this spam search algorithm read this, let me suggest something:
Get better translators
Match your search term on whole words
Don't ever spam me again!
Monday, August 30, 2004
Ok, if you can't/don't want to go to Devscovery, maybe you would enjoy a nice, shiny-new GMail account? I got my six GMail invites to give out today. Let me know in the comments if you would like one.
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