# Sunday, June 12, 2005

As was implied, I've spent the last week+ in sunny/storming Orlando for TechEd. Unfortunately, the wireless was not working for the first three days and I gave up by that point. That could have been better, but overall, it was a great experience.

I've got emails/blogs under 800 and will be having many things to say on here this next week.


Sunday, June 12, 2005 8:20:12 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Okay, not only does the concept sound worthy, but the banner ad is just too funny! Here's my plug for the RDs' GrokTalk.net event at TechEd:

Take a few moments out of your busy TechEd schedule to stop by!

Wednesday, June 1, 2005 10:35:40 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, May 30, 2005

Another one of these "solution needed for the workplace" type of blog entries. First, I know - putting nearly 100,000 items in a control might suggest an alternative method, but accept that it's the right solution for the moment. There... don't we feel better?

Now, the situation is that I need to populate a listing type of control with between 80,000 and 100,000 items. Honestly, I would have gladly used a combobox or a listbox, just as long as it provided some means to come up quickly.

It surprised me that creating the collection of items could be so quick yet populating the control was so slow. But, I've come to accept that fact and went searching for a control that was a bit 'smarter' about its contents.

What I found was a Virtual ListBox implemented on vbAccelerator.com. It fits the bill well for my needs. The only thing to add to it is the ability to accept keyboard input to quickly move to items in the list. That is on the docket for next week :-).

Monday, May 30, 2005 7:44:07 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

Some time ago, I was asked to devlop some reports for a little tracking application I'd written for my employer. In my past life, I did a lot of this work (heck, it was my job!) and feel pretty comfortable using Excel to twist my numbers around in all sorts of Pivot-y ways.

What I hadn't done is to create pivots that were conditional and customized. I suppose, with further exploration, I'd find reasonable ways to accomodate my needs from within Excel, but I had a moment's epiphany - why not just build the proper pivot query in SQL to begin with?

I know I had seen it done, but never took the time to find out details. So, with this new thought, I did a bit of exploring - Duh! That's easy! Simply count conditionally for each column.

So, for posterity's sake - and my own future needs - here follows the basic structure for doing a pivot table with a SQL query (Counts number of items for a given number of weeks prior to current):


    'Opened On Week' AS LineType,

    'All Modules' AS AppModule,

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 4 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "4 Weeks Ago",

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 3 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "3 Weeks Ago",

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 2 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "2 Weeks Ago",

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 1 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "Last Week",

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 0 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "This Week"

  FROM PivotTableView



    'Opened On Week' AS LineType,

    Application + ': ' + ModuleName AS AppModule,

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 4 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "4 Weeks Ago",

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 3 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "3 Weeks Ago",

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 2 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "2 Weeks Ago",

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 1 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "Last Week",

    COUNT( CASE WeeksBackOpened WHEN 0 THEN IssueId ELSE NULL END )

       AS "This Week"

  FROM PivotTableView

GROUP BY Application, ModuleName

ORDER BY AppModule, LineType

Monday, May 30, 2005 7:15:13 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

Saw an interesting article up on The Code Project suggesting eleven Tufte inspired 'concepts' that could be incorporated into future versions of Visual Studio.

I'm not completely sold on all of the ideas presented, but what a great exercise to see published. Having an article like this and seeing the resulting discussion can really help open one's mind to what might be possible.

Monday, May 30, 2005 5:07:24 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

I subscribe to several e-newsletters. One of these is PCWorld's Tips & Tweaks by Steve Bass. The ironic thing is that I read it less for the tips or the tweaks and more for the "Dig This" asides he puts in.

Last week, (May 18th), one of the links was the following:

Dig This: I love imaginative and creative sites, and Billy Harvey's is super cool. (And no, I don't find his music or demeanor particularly interesting. But the site's design? Zowie!) Click around and you'll see what I mean. [Thanks, Brad.]

 It's wonderful to see such an innovative site for self-promotion. I wish this fella well!

Monday, May 30, 2005 3:09:41 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Friday, May 27, 2005

I try to resist this sort of thing... especially when it's this silly, but my results were just too compelling. I am surprised by the accuracy of this one :-). Plus, I always loved Defender!

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Defender-ship.I am a Defender-ship.

I am fiercely protective of my friends and loved ones, and unforgiving of any who would hurt them. Speed and foresight are my strengths, at the cost of a little clumsiness. I'm most comfortable with a few friends, but sometimes particularly enjoy spending time in larger groups. What Video Game Character Are You?

Friday, May 27, 2005 9:57:24 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Just to keep you really busy, we have our PADNUG meeting on the 25th, the Visual Studio Team System Technical Training on the 26th, and TechEd starting in less than two weeks. Shortly after that, we will be looking forward to the first Northwest Code Camp

In the mean time, I want to remind you of what we have planned for the May PADNUG meeting. Many of you have now met Jason Mauer at various functions from PADNUG meetings to Nerd Dinners. His knowledge ranges from databases to DirectX.

WHAT: May PADNUG meeting.

Wednesday 05/25/2005
6:00 p.m. Pizza, Sponsored by 3Leaf
6:30 p.m. Presentation

WHERE: PCC Auditorium at Capital Center
18640 NW Walker Road
Beaverton, Oregon
The auditorium is in room 1508 through entrance B. There is a $2 parking fee. The kiosk for paying for parking is located between entrances B and C.

Jason Mauer
Developer Evangelist with Microsoft covering the Pacific Northwest. He recently switched to his current role from his previous one as a development consultant with Microsoft Consulting Services, where he specialized in .NET application development and SharePoint development for the past four years. Jason has extensive experience with customizing SharePoint and has worked on some of the largest SharePoint deployments in the world.


The Ins and Outs of SharePoint Development
In this presentation we will cover different opportunities for developers to build on top of the SharePoint platform. We will walk through the SharePoint stack, demonstrating different means of customization and why you may (or may not) want to adopt a certain approach. Come and learn about how you can make SharePoint a part of your development arsenal.

Jason promises some extra special swag, too :-).

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 3:39:58 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, May 14, 2005

I just finished a chat with Gateway trying to find out what resolution their laptops were available in. The representative told me 1,024 x 768 and I asked if there was any other options available.

First, he or she tells me that it would require a larger display. Uh, no, just more pixels... "HP and Dell have them," I pointed out. Then, I'm told that they just 'support' that resolution, not that the display is that large - even though we have these very computers and screens at work.

I left a 'negative' review of the experience with them with the following comment:

I'm shopping for a new laptop computer. One thing I consider important for the development work I do is a lot of pixels. First, it appears that you have no more than 1,024 x 768 resolution - my three year old HP has 1,400 x 1,050. Obviously, I'm not willing to downgrade. Second, your rep didn't seem to believe higher resolution screens existed. Please view the chat log for details.

I have had a soft spot for Gateway for years... it has now hardened.

Saturday, May 14, 2005 10:16:25 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

A few months ago, I started thinking about the next laptop I would purchase. I have had my current one for about three years now and have been pretty darn satisfied. It's a HP Pavillion that I got custom configured through Best Buy. It was a really good deal and has worked well.

Well, one of the compelling features when I got on this machine was a higher resolution screen - 1,400 x 1,050. As I'm shopping, a 'must have' feature for me is resolution at least equal to or greater than what I've grown to love on this machine.

I was thrilled to see that Costco was doing the HP Configure to Order on their website. I had my 'perfect' machine scoped out and was just waiting for a little bit more technology to come around (and memory prices to drop a bit) before I popped for it.

What do you know? I'm ready and they no longer offer the high resolutions! :'(

Looks like Michael Dell is going to become just a bit more wealthy.

Saturday, May 14, 2005 10:09:32 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

Jason Olsen has done it... he has left the safety of GeeksWithBlogs to venture out on his own blogging trek.

Congratulations Jason! I'm sure we will see all the more content from you and I think you will enjoy using the dasBlog software. I'll be looking forward to reading your crazy content and humorous anecdotes.

Now, Jason, go into your configuration and choose "Use Post Title for Permalink" so that you get the cool, clean linkies :).

Saturday, May 14, 2005 8:45:24 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]

Okay, let me be lazy and simply copy the information I put up at nerddinner.com:

Alright, I've abused this privilege twice by having the Nerd Dinner on my side of town. It's time to reciprocate. Let's all head on over to the east side of town this month. Just one week before his presentation at PADNUG, you can come experience Jason Mauer in all his candor.

Plus, folks, he's got VS2005 Beta 2 DVD kits! As he mentioned to me, “the DVD kits include VS2005 Team Suite Beta 2, Team Foundation Server Beta 2, and the April CTP of SQL Server 2005... a hefty load, even for a cable modem.“

Noted, Jason. And well worth a trip to the mall!

What: Portland Nerd Dinner
Where: Lloyd Center Mall food court
When: Wednesday, May 18, starting around 6:30 PM
Why: We want them disks!

Be There and Be Square!

Saturday, May 14, 2005 8:33:26 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Buddy and fellow nerd Jason Olson and I were chatting today. We were discussing Chris Sells' trips to the Redmond MS campus being that he works remotely from his home here in the Portland area.

Since MS uses the term OOF or "out|off of facility" to designate that an employee isn't at their office, what would they call it when the employee is on campus for a change like Chris? "On facility" just didn't have the ring to it, so we had to move to "in facility"

So, Chris is IFfy when he's OOF in Redmond. As long as they don't designate him as "On the F'n Facility," we'll be fine.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 2:12:59 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Tuesday, May 10, 2005

One of my buddies, and fellow Nonna's patrons, here in town is getting some press on his current venture.

Jon Joye started AudioGlobe to tap into the MP3 boom, but that didn't pan out. Instead, he has developed a concept known as Dynamic Digital Rights Management that allows the content an artist (or writer, or programmer, etc.) produces to dictate the rights given to a consumer.

If the producer simply wants recognition as the source, he or she may choose that. Alternatively, if money is to be made, that can be be embedded in the content. As I understand, the idea is that the content itself contains the rights, not the 'player'.

It sure sounds like a cool idea. I'm looking forward to seeing where Jon takes this. It holds a lot of promise!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 11:33:39 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

Last fall, I was shocked to read an opinion piece form local editorialist Steve Duin (locked away in the 'paid' area of The Oregonian). As outlined in the Beaverton Valley Times, the Beaverton School District realized that they had more money than expected. With that new awareness, they voted to not collect the second year of an option levy that the voters had approved.

I actually had to reread the article - when the budget situation improved, they actually 'gave back' the tax money they had requested to make ends meet? Was this for real?

It turns out that it was for real. Further, I knew one of the people involved with this decision. Craig Irwin spends many of his days helping out at my favorite local spot, Nonna Emilia Ristoranté. He and his associates on the school board decided to not take money they didn't need.

As stated by board chairman Mike Osborne, “We want to be consistent and true to our word. When we needed the money, we used it. If we don’t need it, we’re not going to take it.” The idea was, if they were honest with the voters - giving back the money they realized they didn't need as expected - they would be in a better position to come back to the voters if needed in the future.

Sounds like a good idea to me. Of course, there are those that didn't agree. Dawn Bonder is one of these people and is challenging Osborne in the coming election. She's very involved with schools, but seems to be willing to do it all on credit... yeah, that's what it seems like... credit.

I really hold out hope that the government bodies will one day run a bit more like other entities - spend what is available or repayable.

Mike and Craig, you have my vote. I trust that you'll do the right thing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 11:16:59 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Stuart had a great idea yesterday: Since we have the quarterly MSDN event in town tomorrow, let's make a Nerd Lunch happen right before it. Wonderful!

So, in that vein, I have announced a Portland Nerd Lunch over at nerddinners.com. The details are as follows: "...meet up with Stuart et al at 11:30 at McMenamins on Broadway, 1504 N.E. Broadway [map]."

Be There and Be Square!

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 8:28:21 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, April 28, 2005

Last evening we had our monthly installment of the Portland Area .NET User Group. We had Scott Hanselman and Patrick Cauldwell speak on creating an environment of continuous integration. To borrow from the description:

Continuous Integration is more than just a fad; it's darn near required to survive anymore.

Join Patrick Cauldwell and Scott Hanselman as they talk about one of Corillian's product's build processes. They will explore NUnit, NAnt, custom NAnt Tasks, automatic reporting of errors, and unit test failures as well as Cruise Control.NET which can enable you to create an Enterprise Wide Build Dashboard for all the pointy-haired bosses to oogle at. It'll be fun, informative, and fast pace.

Specifically, they discussed several tools that they use at Corillian to build their products. The major tools were:

  • Ambient Orb - The Ambient Orb slowly transitions between thousands of colors to show changes in the weather, the health of your stock portfolio, or if your boss or kid is on instant messenger.
  • Cassini - The ASP.NET Cassini Web Server Sample is a sample web server written using the Microsoft® .NET® Framework, and demonstrates hosting ASP.NET using the ASP.NET hosting APIs (System.Web.Hosting).
  • CodeSmith - CodeSmith is a FREEWARE template-based code generator that can generate code for any ASCII-based language. CodeSmith templates use a syntax nearly identical to ASP.NET syntax so that creating templates should feel immediately familiar to ASP.NET developers.
  • CruiseControl.NET - CruiseControl.NET is an Automated Continuous Integration server, implemented using the Microsoft .NET Framework.
  • MbUnit - MbUnit is an evolutive Unit Test Framework for .Net. It provides new fixtures as well as the framework to create new ones. MbUnit is based QuickGraph, a directed graph library for C#.
  • NAnt - NAnt is a free .NET build tool. In theory it is kind of like make without make's wrinkles. In practice it's a lot like Ant.
  • NUnit - NUnit is a unit-testing framework for all .Net languages. Initially ported from JUnit, the current release, version 2.2, is the fourth major release of this xUnit based unit testing tool for Microsoft .NET. It is written entirely in C# and has been completely redesigned to take advantage of many .NET language features, for example custom attributes and other reflection related capabilities. NUnit brings xUnit to all .NET languages.
  • TestDriven.NET - TestDriven.NET makes it easy to run unit tests with a single click, anywhere in your Visual Studio solutions. It supports all versions of Microsoft Visual Studio .NET meaning you don't have to worry about compatibility issues and fully integrates with all major unit testing frameworks including NUnit, MbUnit, & MS Team System.
  • Tree Surgeon - Tree Surgeon is a .NET development tree generator. Just give it the name of your project, and it will set up a development tree for you in seconds. More than that, your new tree has years worth of accumulated build engineering experience built right in.
  • Zanebug - Zanebug is an advanced tool for comprehensive unit and integration testing.

If these tools are not enough for you to satisfy your cravings, visit Scott's Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for more.

Thursday, April 28, 2005 9:54:43 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, April 27, 2005

To make way for a hyperspace bypass, of course. As mentioned here, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is coming this Friday. Chris Sells has posted a note inviting any and all to the viewing at 7:35pm at the Regal Evergreen Theater in Hillsboro, Oregon.

I've seen various reviews all over the place. As pointed to here and here, there doesn't appear to be a consensus over the quality of the movie, but as Chris says, "I am really excited about this movie. I love the book and want badly for the movie to be an excellent alternate way for me to enjoy the Hitchhiker's universe." Bravo!

Come on out and join the gang.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005 9:06:36 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, April 23, 2005

One of our fairly regular attendees to the Portland Nerd Dinners has started his blog!

At this last week's Nerd Dinner, I was amazed that John Hann hadn't already started sharing his knowledge with the world by self-publishing on a weblog. Then, last night at the Pirillo-inspired Geek Dinner, we had a chance to talk about it and I see that he took the leap today.

Welcome, John! After what I've heard from you, I'm expecting some great material on your blog... but, no pressure ;-).

Saturday, April 23, 2005 10:37:58 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]

Last night, we had a rather impromptu (to me, anyway) Geek Dinner organized by Alex Williams of Corante to welcome Chris Pirillo and his fiance Ponzi to town.

There were several local nerds/geeks that I knew there: Greg, Scott, and John, for example. But I didn't expect to see a Marketing wonk that I worked with down at InFocus many years ago. Apparently, Scott Niesen is now with a company here in Portland making software that makes one's email and blogging software just a little bit better. The company is called You Software and the products look very helpful.

It was really great to meet up with Chris, Ponzi, and other techies that are a bit outside of the 'usual' crowd. I do hope to see more of these folks in future Nerd and Geek Dinners.

Who knows? Maybe we'll stretch the rules a bit and have a PND at a location other than a shopping mall one day.

Saturday, April 23, 2005 10:09:12 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]