Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Almost Ready to Switch

So I’m almost done with my dasBlog to .TEXT converter. That’s why I haven’t been posting much lately. Oh and I’m slammed at a client right now, which doesn’t help.

I’ve got one person who’s going to help me beta test this thing, but I think I’m going to just pull the switch this weekend sometime. So if this blog goes down, please let me know via email so I can fix it.

I have redirectors in place for the permalinks, for the RSS and ATOM feeds, etc., so hopefully none of you will notice. But it could happen.

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Annoying VS.NET Bug

OK this is a bug. Flat out. A bug.

Here’s the deal.

Subversion,├é which is my new favorite source control system, creates a hidden folder when you do a checkout called “.svn”. And for some reason, VS.NET will not tolerate a folder that begins with a period in a web project.

It works fine for Class Library projects. It works fine for Windows Forms projects. But when you use a Web Project, it says, “Refreshing the project failed. Unable to retrieve folder information from the server.”

And to make matters worse, this is a known bug. I hate things like this. There is absolutely no good reason for this rule.

Geek Notes 2004-04-12

So I think I’ve finally caught up from the overindulgence that was the MVP Summit. I’m just getting too old to do that 3 or 4 days in a row. :)

  • Top Ten Rules of Performance - I found this link on Ted Neward’s blog. Good stuff worth reading. It has me worried about issues of premature optimization, but at least he talks about using profiling to identify the problem areas.
  • Poke-Inviting Code - This post by testing-guru Brian Marick follows up on an idea presented originally by Michael Feathers: If you really want to see how decoupled your code it, pick a class, any class, and try to instantiate it in a test harness.
  • BizTalk Server 2004 Tutorial - The BizTalk Server Tutorial contains detailed information about how Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 can be used within your company to facilitate Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and among business partners to automate business-to-business processes.
  • InfoPath 2003 Training - Wow! MSDN has released a 15-part training run on developing with InfoPath 2003 SP-1. It looks like it does discuss the new .NET stuff but only cursorily.
  • Adding Components to the VS.NET Toolbox - I can’t believe I’ve been using VS.NET for as long as I have and I haven’t tried this. [via The Daily Grind 342]

And to wrap this up, let me point you to Rory’s post about the MVP Summit. Yes, I really did do that. My bad. I can’t help├é it! I read Rory’s post to my wife and she said, “Yeah, you totally are that guy. If someone told you about their fear of dogs, you would tell them some terrible story about a mauling.”

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Great. Even my wife is against me. :)

dasBlog to .Text Converter

I’ve almost finished my dasBlog -> .TEXT converter. It currently handles all of the entries, plus categories├é and comments, quite nicely. Now I’m trying to decide how to handle permalinks.

As far as I’m concerned, there are two kinds of permalinks here. Internal permalinks are the ones where I am linking from one post to another. External permalinks are where you, my readers, link to my posts.

My first thought had been to fix the internal permalinks by looking for the pattern in the dasBlog posts and replacing them. The code for that is rather simple, but there is a problem getting .TEXT entry IDs without saving them once and I don’t really want to have to hit the database twice… one to INSERT and get the ID and then a second time to update the content with the fixed permalinks.

So instead I’m thinking about writing an HTTP handler and registering it on the original dasBlog path. This way I will solve both the internal and external permalinks problem and my converter will be simpler.

If anyone else is going to be doing this kind of conversion and it interested in helping me test this code, drop me a line.

MVP Summit Wrap-up

Will asked in my comments if I would “at least tell us which breakdowns you went to, and what MS developers you got to hang out with.”

So as an answer to his request, let me give a full summary of the week. First of all, it was an absolute blast. I met a ton of people in person who I had otherwise only known virtually.

Day 0 - Sunday

I’ve already blogged about the flight in and ride to the hotel. After that post, I headed over to the convention center to check in and have a beer with my MVP Lead. I met a bunch of people there wandering around.

I was very fortunate to have been invited to attend a meeting with some of the WinTechOffTopic people at Buca di Beppo. We had a pretty good turnout of people from the list as well as a few others who’s names I didn’t recognize but I was glad to meet.

After that most of us headed over to the bar at the W downtown for a few more drinks. Needless to say, I drank too much. I think I got home to the hotel at around 2am, but honestly I don’t remember.

Day 1 - Monday

The Day 1 material was essentially review for me (which is good because I was had a ballpeen hammer hangover all day). As a PDC attendee, there wasn’t really a whole lot of new stuff. Sure there were some Whidbey (now known as VS.NET 2005) features demoed that I hadn’t found yet in my explorations, but in general it was pretty much a PDC rehash.

The closing session for us developers was “The Chris and Don Show”. Chris Anderson and Don Box essentially did improvisational comedy and demos for an hour and a half. We did see some neat new Longhorn things, but honestly with that release being more than 2 years out, I have a hard time getting excited. The funniest part was when Rory yelled something about penis to Don and Chris.

Unfortunately, the XML and Web Services product teams hadn’t planned a dinner with their MVPs. But luckily former MVP and new MS Developer Evangelist Kirk Evans remedied that problem by getting Don’s team and Dare’s team to buy a sushi for a dozen or so MVPs. We went to Rikki Rikki in Kirkland and had a killer time. Ate some great food and hung out with some great people. And finally, after a few pieces of sushi and a Kirin Ichiban, my hangover went away.

Day 2 - Tuesday

Day 2 was the “leave your laptops and cameras at home” day where all of MVPs got together for “executive day” with Lori Moore, Eric Rudder, Jim Allchin, Steve Ballmer and Rich Kaplan (in that order). Given the fun I had the two nights before, I decided to sleep in and walk over whenever I got up. I arrived just as Allchin was hitting the stage. I stayed through Ballmer and then went back to the hotel. They showed some very cool stuff that we will all be enjoying in the next year or so. Trust me, there is some very cool innovation going on in Redmond, but we were specifically asked not to blog about it, so I’ll just leave it at that.

After Ballmer’s presentation, which was a lot of fun (again Rory was the highlight), I went back to the hotel to take a nap and work on my dasBlog to .TEXT converter. Got comments working (mostly) and then had to head back to campus for the MVP Summit party.

There are just too many funny moments for me to list them all, but here are a few:

  • Rory waiting an hour to sing “I Want Your Sex” on karaoke and then leaving to go downtown as soon as he was finished
  • Seeing Sam Gentile get all fired up when a certain unnamed MVP didn’t give him the respect he deserves
  • Stealing the “Ask the Experts” signs with Christoph Schittko
  • Ambrose has a picture gallery of (mostly) party pics from the summit

And as I already discussed, when I got back to the hotel, there was a party in the penthouse of the Westin that went until almost 3am.

Day 3 - Wednesday

I did the XML Web Services track, which means I spent Wednesday in a small conference room with about 20 other MVPs learning about Web Services in Whidbey, WSE 2.0, Indigo, etc. Much fun and I learned a lot.

I dropped Jim Newkirk an email the night before to see if he was available for a get together while I was on campus. He was gracious enough to invite me to lunch with some of his team. I had a great time hanging out with the PAG group. They are some very smart cookies.

Unfortunately, a few days before the event my employer asked me to change my return flight so I could be home to start a client project. So I had to leave shortly after lunch and didn’t get to spend as much time with the Indigo people as I would have liked. Too bad.

People

And as requested, here are some of the people I spent time with. They aren’t all MS devs, but I may as well list all of the cool people I got to drink beer, eat, and generally hang out with over the four day event. (This list is in no particular order.)

Timing Is Interesting

It’s kinda funny how interesting timing is…

We had the MVP party tonight and it was a great time, Drank a few beers with a number of very cool fun people and got to see Rory sing “I Want Your Sex” in the karaoke room. You just can’t beat that.

But that’s not what the title of this post is about…

After the party I took the bus back to downtown (where the hotels are) and rather than get off at my hotel, I got off at the W and spent some time with Christoph and a number of European and Canadian MVPs until they kicked us out at last call.

Still not what the title of this post is about…

I walked back to the Westin with Andy Smith and when we got there, as expected, the bar was closed. Just as we were getting ready to head up to our respective rooms, someone came up to us (and the rest of the MVPs in the lobby hoping to get a last drink) and said, “Are you all MVPs?”

I guess my badge wasn’t good enough evidence.

“Uhhh… yeah,” we replied.

“Come on upstairs… there’s a party in the penthouse suite.”

It turns out that the guy who won the #1 voted question (to ask Steve Ballmer) on the MVP newsgroups hadn’t actually made the conference. So he gave it to a friend and by being #1, he got a free penthouse suite.

This place was bigger than my house.

(Now we get to the part that is related to the title.)

So I got to hang out up there on the top floor of the Westin… one of the taller buildings in downtown Seattle (43rd floor as I recall)… drinking beer and talking Agile/XP and .NET and Java and many other topics with Ted Neward, Mark Dunn and many, many others.

If I’d come home and gone to bed earlier (as had been my original plan), I would have missed all that.

At this point… (3am) I think is was very worth tomorrow’s (or is it today’s?) hangover. We’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow morning. :)

OS Upgrade for My MPx200?

So I was at dinner with a bunch of MVPs and some people from the XML and Indigo teams last night and when I saw Don Box playing with his MPx-200.

“So did you get an OS bump yet?”

“Of course!” he said, “You don’t?”

Well as you can tell by this post… I am still running the old version. And I want to be running the new version. I know that they were doing upgrades for people at MDC, but I didn’t get to go to MDC and I want it.

So as long as I’m here in Seattle/Redmond, does anyone know how/where I can upgrade my damn phone? If I can’t do it here, can someone help me? Please?

Pretty please?

MVP Summit Day 0

Well, made it to Seattle for the MVP Global Summit, but only just barely. How’s this for a contradiction… we got fogged in in Denver and almost didn’t get out, but when we got to Seattle, it was SUNNY! Bass-ackwards.

I know that Andy Smith got to the airport at the same time as I did, but his outbound plane hadn’t arrived yet while mine had. So I got out, but he didn’t. Bummer. I called him from SEA-TAC and he was just boarding in Denver. :(

I spent the entire flight working on a conversion tool to go from dasBlog to .TEXT. Not too hard. I’ve got the posts done and now I’m working on comments (no problem) and attachments (not sure yet). I’ll post the code and the EXE when I’m done with it.

Shared a town car from the airport with Robert McLaws. He was jetting off to some event with Scoble et al, so I don’t have much to do for the afternoon. Check in is tonight, then I’m off to dinner with some of the WTOT people. Should be a blast.

I probably won’t be “blogging” this conference like I did the PDC. Much of the content will be under NDA (sorry) and I seriously doubt I will have time. I will try to post here and there, and if I can I will try to put up a Geek Notes or two. At a minimum, I’ll post a summary at the end.

Geek Notes 2004-04-02

Not that many good April Fool’s day jokes on the net yesterday but there were a few good ones on the radio. Here in Denver KBPI had people lined up all morning waiting for free gas.

Yeah right!

And on NPR, they had an excellent story about the ZIP Code Portability Act of 2004. That was some funny shit!

So after reading that Linux article and thinking about it some more, I have to ask a question… why is it that Red Hat charging $179 and up for RH Enterprise Linux isn’t a violation of the GPL? Sure… I know… they claim that it is for “support” but if that is true, then why is the fee “per-installed-processor”? And if I don’t want the support, why do I have to pay?

Seems to me that the Linux folks are so busy being anti-Microsoft that they aren’t paying attention to their own backyard.