Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

2004 in Review - the Busiest Year of My Life

I was looking back over my posts for 2004 and realized how ridiculously busy we were this last year…

In January, I spent most of my professional time writing an Outlook Add-in with COM in C++ and hating it. The family got sick a lot, but that’s what having kids is all about. Also, in January my&nbsp_place_holder;six month tenure as a Microsoft MVP began (it ended when I became a MS employee in August.

In February, I experienced morons in movie theatres, visited the MTC in Silicon Valley, got Interlink into blogging, watched too much American Idol, and wrote my HOWTO: Adopt .NET For Free post.

In March, Emily and I had the worst flying experience of our lives, presented Threats and Threat Modeling at DevDays, wrote about Blogroll Cosmology, and proposed a BoF Session for TechEd.

In April, I went to the MVP Summit (see Day 0, Timing Is Interesting and the Wrap-up post). While there I met up with Scott Densmore and Jim Newkirk, who I now work with. In fact, that was when I was encouraged to apply for the job I now have. Many thanks to Jim and Scott for that. Also in April, I wrote the dasBlog2DotText converter program&nbsp_place_holder;and gave a lecture at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with David Yack.

May was a busy blogging month with 57 posts. Whew. I opened the month by making the switch to .TEXT. I was asked to work Harry Pierson’s cabana at TechEd, replaced a wiper motor on my car, saw the Avs get eliminated from the playoffs, introduced blog ratings, and&nbsp_place_holder;had my backyard landscaped&nbsp_place_holder;(with lots of pictures).

Also in May I started work on my basement by smashing out a dummy brick fireplace, wrote my Software Development Karate Belts post, and made a number of posts about and from TechEd (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14). I also wrote a post about VSTS and religion that hinted at a more controversial post I would be making in June.

In June Kris Syverstad and I blogged a bit about the analogies between developers and professional athletes. I discovered the PAG bloggers, found a free uptme service, and switched to BlogJet for posting. In the middle of the month, I gave a fun series of talks called Building Quality .NET Solutions that focused on the things you don’t often hear about: Unit testing, build systems, continuous integration, etc.

Also June was the month where I wrote the now infamous Unit Testing in Visual Studio 2005 post (which has 169 comments&nbsp_place_holder;on it at this point) and a couple of follow-ups. The interesting thing about this post is that it was made during the time between my interviews for the job with PAG and receiving notification about getting the job. Some might say that I shouldn’t have made a post like that while trying to get a job at Microsoft, but honestly, if they weren’t going to hire me for saying something like that, then I probably didn’t want to work there. I’m a loud-mouth and I say what’s on my mind, so deal with it.

As it so often does, it all worked itself out, eh?

In July we took Hadley to her first movie (Shrek 2), Craig Andera and I posted dasBlog2DotText to Sourceforge, and Enterprise Library was announced. Not much else happened in July…


No… wait…

Oh yeah! My son Finn Mansfield was born on July 8th. &nbsp_place_holder;I was posting pics over dial up from the hospital to the the Finn Image Gallery. He is a wonderful, beautiful child and we love him more than life itself.

In August I announced my move to Microsoft to the world with the post Peter Takes the Red Pill. I continued to work on finishing the basement of our Victorian-era bungalow. I also moved my sites off of the server in my basement and onto a server at WebHost4Life. Somewhere in there, I actually got some client work done and as part of that created a Generic BizTalk Build System with NAnt. The month ended with us moving to Seattle and me starting work.

In September I surprised Emily by flying her best friend in for a surprise visit. Other than that, I was mostly focused on us getting settled in Seattle, selling our Denver house, and getting settled into my new job. And something I didn’t blog about: shortly after getting to Washington, my wife Emily found out that she has some kind of auto-immune disorder, possibly lupus or antiphospholipid antibody&nbsp_place_holder;syndrome. It seems to be under control at this point, but the timing certainly could have been better.

October was fun. I had a poetry contest to see who would get my GMail invites&nbsp_place_holder;and posted the winners, wrote a cool little reg-hack for running NUnitConsole on any DLL or EXE, used a metal detector to find a missing engagement ring, and went to Win-Dev Boston to give two talks. Somewhere in there I also figured out how to make IE display the application/xhtml+xml mime type properly.

In November I made a couple of posts about developing as a non-administrator. Brian Button and I figured out a cool way to unit test the interaction between two threads. Atticus came from Denver, Emily and I celebrated out 4th anniversary, started learning to touch-type, Jamie Cansdale shipped TestDriven.NET 1.0, and we learned that it really is rainy and cold in Seattle in the winter. Somewhere in there, Brian Button and I went to a great talk at MSR by Ward Cunningham.

At the start of December, Emily and Finn went to Denver leaving me and Hadley to fend for ourselves. I babbled a bit about RAII and IDisposable in .NET, settles on a new RSS aggregator, we all got sick again, I finally had to deal with comments spam, posted another non-admin trick, and we had our first Christmas in Washington.

Wow, what a year. I think I’ll try to make 2005&nbsp_place_holder;a little less hectic. No new children, no moves, no job changes. Nice and mellow.

Best wishes to all my readers in 2005. Thanks for taking time out of your valuable schedule to read my occasional ramblings.