Archives / 2008 / April
  • TECHbash is Coming to PA

    In just 10 days (May 10th, 2008), TECHbash 2008 will kick off in northeastern Pennsylvania.  The show has been around since 2005 and will include several hundred developers, IT professionals, and industry experts from PA and surrounding states.  Joe Stagner from Microsoft will be giving the keynote and my company, Lake Quincy Media, is one of the sponsors of the show. Speakers will include MVPs Miguel Castro, Sam Gentile, and many more.  Jason Gaylord (who runs the .NET Valley User Group) is one of the primary organizers of the event and has done a very good job. more

  • DevConnections Spring Slides and Demos

    Last week I gave three presentations at the DevConnections spring show in Orlando.  I received a lot of great feedback from attendees which I definitely appreciate, especially since I was feeling a little bit bad about having run out of time in my first two talks (and overcompensating a bit on my last one, which ended a few minutes early).  I definitely try to err on the side of too much content, with the idea being that if I can't fit it all in, at least the slides and demos are there for attendees to reference, and I'm happy to answer emails with questions about any of the material. What's New in ASP.NET 3.5 Slides and Demos My first talk was on What's New in ASP.NET 3.5, and it … more

  • Twitter as Smoking Cessation Aid

    I was talking to a couple of friends and occasional smokers today, and both were commenting about how nice it is that Seattle is almost entirely non-smoking now, so they didn't light up while in town for the MVP Summit.  I've never smoked, but listening to them, clearly they were not addicts in the hard-core packs-a-day kind, but they would smoke socially or just to be doing something.  So it occurred to me, especially given that the three of us had just spent half of lunch each individually checking various Twitter feeds (and email) on our phones, that perhaps Twitter and similar apps on mobile devices are having a positive health impact.  Why light up a cigarrette when you … more

  • Triskaidecaphobia

    Office 13 is going to actually be called Office 14, since there are some people who assign some negative significance to the number 13 (see Triskaidekaphobia).  Since this is clearly a significant concern in the world of computing, it seems natural to me that other areas of Microsoft's platform should work harder to avoid this unlucky number. On a slightly related note, I was glad to see that the Westin Seattle actually is honest about the numbering of its floors, and does *not* label the 13th floor 14 in an effort to appease people's superstitions.  Scott Cate and I stayed on the 13th floor this week, and even had the super-duper unluck of having 13 on our door twice (in a … more

  • Microsoft Cloud Services

    One of the quietly announced (at MIX - WMV here) new things coming from Microsoft "soon" is SQL Server Data Services (SSDS).  The SSDS team has a blog on MSDN.  Ryan Dunn discussed it with me recently and also has been blogging about it.  Last week he announced the release of PhluffyFotos, a sample site built on top of SSDS.  You can sign up for the beta of SSDS here.  Roger Jennings has some comments here. So, what is SSDS (read the FAQ)?  Essentially, it's a way for you to access data from "the cloud" providing a highly scalable and globally available data access story.  One scenario that benefits greatly from this approach is the application that suffers … more

  • ASP.NET AJAX Download Performance Improvement Request

    I'm a big fan of ASP.NET AJAX in general, but one concern I have and something that has forced me to use other technologies is the size of the library.  It's about 85kb when compressed and unfortunately that is quite large if you're trying to include it on most every page on a site (or, much much worse, every advertisement in a large Microsoft developer advertising network).  One can certainly argue that this will be cached, and that is true, but for many sites that get most of their traffic from search engines (ASPAlliance gets over 70% of its traffic from this), you have to assume that many users will not have the .js file cached, and that is a significant increase in the total … more

  • Extract Control for ASP.NET in Visual Studio

    I've been posting about some feature requests for ASP.NET/Visual Studio, so here's one more in that thread. One nice feature of Blend is the ability to select a chunk of XAML and choose to "Extract User Control".  The result works very nicely, creating the separate control and inserting the reference to that control into the original XAML document.  It would be very cool if ASP.NET had this same notion, wherein one could select a chunk of ASPX markup and choose "Extract User Control" and have it create the .ascx file for you and insert the reference to that control into the original page. Another nice addition to take this another step further would be the ability to convert an … more

  • 2008 Goal Progress Update

    If you just read my blog for technical stuff, you can skip this one. So at the start of the year I set a few personal goals.  Since the best way to achieve goals, I've found, is to break them down into smaller and smaller pieces (as in "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step"), I thought I would assess my progress on the five goals I set for myself. Goal 1 - 200 Blog Posts in 2008.  That breaks down nicely into 50 per quarter, and in the first quarter I published 52 posts, just barely on track.  February was pretty light with only 9.  I'm sure if it had had 30 days in it I could have written a lot more posts.  Of course, if it had had only 28 … more

  • OpenXML Standardized and Sour Grapes

    Earlier this week, the OpenXML document format was standardized by the ISO/IEC, with a huge 86% of voting countries favoring the format (news here, among other places).  While this is interesting and a win for anyone using Microsoft Office document formats (who isn't?), it's also a bit disappointing that those who opposed the format's standardization have opted not to accept the decision of the global community.  Instead, they've shifted into sour grapes mode and are attacking the process and everyone involved (at least the ones who didn't agree with their perspective).  Jan van den Beld has a great writeup of the accusations being thrown about by the folks who couldn't … more

  • CruiseControl.NET Caching Old Project Locations SOLVED

    As I mentioned in my previous post, we're just wrapping up a continuous integration solution for a client (and if you're not using this for your team, you should be.  If you don't have time to do it, contact us to do it for you.  You'll thank me later.) and one of the last requirements changes was an update to where on the build server's hard drive the project files should reside once they're checked out from source control.  After making this change in the file for the various ccnet projects, and also making the change in the source control provider's working folder association for the build account username, I figured things would just work.  I forgot … more

  • Not Working for Microsoft

    I thought I should post a follow-up since I'm sure many people ready my post on Tuesday about going to work for Microsoft on some code-named project and (a) didn't remember it was April Fool's Day and (b) didn't then read the comments where I pointed out that it was a joke.  I'm still happily self-employed and working on Lake Quincy Media,, and a new consulting business that so far is trying to focus on agile development and in particular setup of continuous integration for shops that don't already have it (just wrapping up one of these). I like being my own boss (or at least, having my wife as my boss - she's the CEO of Lake Quincy and runs the show there), but if I … more

  • Refactor Request

    Not sure if it's already there, but the folks at DevExpress or JetBrains (or Microsoft, but I don't want to wait for another VS) should have a refactoring for CodeRush/Refactor! or Resharper that will convert verbose properties into C# 3.5 short properties, like so: Make this: protected bool isSponsored = false; public bool IsSponsored { get { return isSponsored; } set { isSponsored = value; } } Into this: public bool IsSponsored { get; set; }   Ideally, it should work in two forms: 1) Right click on the property (field name let's say) and offer it as an option in that context. 2) Apply to all properties in a class. And it should only do it if it is safe, of … more

  • Silverlight Rehab

    Check out Dan Fernandez, Adam Kinney, and others in this very funny 5 minutes video about Silverlight Rehab on more

  • The Evolution of Status Pattern

    An interesting pattern that I see in many of the applications I've worked with is the notion of status, and how it tends to evolve over time.  This is probably familiar to most of you, though perhaps you've never thought about it.  Consider the following scenario: Requirement - The system should have Users, to control access via authentication. At this stage, the developer creates a User class and a User table with a few fields like UserId, UserName, Password, Email, etc.  Status is implicit - if there exists a row that matches the given UserId (or UserId and Password for authentication), then the user's status is valid.  Otherwise, not.  Ah, the beauty that is … more