Archives / 2008 / June
  • DevConnections Session Feedback

    Last week I just got back my summaries of attendee feedback for my three talks at DevConnections in Orlando in April (yes, they're not quite as efficient as TechEd).  I blogged about them and posted the slides and demos 2 months ago, but I'm finding it useful to also blog about the comments and feedback that I received on them, as a means of helping me to improve my future talks and, I hope, as a way of showing that I actually do read and care about what attendees say on the evals. For my talk on What's New in ASP.NET 3.5 there were 59 evals turned in.  The overall evaluation for the talk was a 3.39 which was slightly below the average of 3.46.  An astonishing 50% of the evals … more

  • Software Books Ordered

    I just ordered some more books, on recommendations from a few of my peers.  I'll post my thoughts on them once they've arrived and I've had a chance to read them. The Art of Agile Development: James Shore, Shane Warden: Books Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit (The Agile Software Development Series): Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck: Books Domain-Driven Design Quickly: Floyd Marinescu, Abel Avram: Books For those of you who have already read these, what did you think?  Which one should I read first? more

  • Visual Studio Tools

    I've been meaning to post something about two awesome and competing toolsets that recently have some news to report.  First, my friends at DevExpress won both the Attendee's Pick : Overall Winner and Breakthrough Product awards at Tech:Ed Developers a couple of weeks ago.  DXperience won the Attendee's Pick.  CodeRush, their productivity-enhancing Visual Studio tool, won the latter award, and you can watch a video of a complete non-computer user shaming a developer (Brendan) last November, here (she also beat me and everybody else who challenged her).  Congratulations, DevExpress! Also new this month, CodeRush/Refactor!'s primary competitor ReSharper (from JetBrains) … more

  • Silverlight Server Configuration

    I went to throw a small Silverlight sample application up on a web site to show to a client yesterday and found out the hard way that although it is primarily a client-side technology, it doesn't "just work" when you put the files up on the server.  My first attempt was to just put the necessary bits on a static file server that has ASP.NET but doesn't have an easy way for me to configure virtual roots.  Unfortunately, the project I was using (in Visual Studio) was configured to use an ASPX test project with its own web.config and /bin folder, neither of which worked outside of the application root.  So I figured perhaps I could just get the test page to work as a .htm file, … more

  • Going Solo Birds of a Feather Follow Up

    Last week I co-hosted a birds-of-a-feather session with Julia Lerman on Going Solo.  Julie and I did a similar BOF session a couple of years ago at another TechEd and both times we've gotten a pretty good crowd.  In an effort to continue the conversation and help people learn about the challenges of running your own business (be it consulting, ISV, or whatever), we are pointing anyone interested at the Business Management mailing list on  So, whether you made it to the BOF session or not, if you're interested in learning more about tips and pitfalls of life as an entrepreneur, come join the discussion on the list. more

  • Black Belt ASP.NET Performance Talk

    I gave my Tech Ed presentation, ASP.NET Black Belt Performance Techniques, yesterday afternoon.  The talk was well-attended, with about 300 372in the audience.  I gave the talk last month in Cleveland and it was very well-received.  I promised attendees the slides and demos would be available on Tech Ed's CommNet, and right now the slides are but I'm having trouble getting the demos uploaded so I'm also posting everything here: Download DemosDownload PPT I wasn't terribly happy with my performance with this talk, and the overall evaluation average for it was 7.84, which is pretty respectable (based on evaluations from 1 to 9 in a few categories) - the best talks at the show … more

  • Whither NorthWind?

    The Ha recently wrote about his desire to get away from NorthWind and perhaps start some community driven effort to come up with something else, mainly, it seemed to me, for the sake of being something else.  I must humbly disagree with this, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here. The first stated requirement for NotNorthWind is this: Complex enough to be called Real World but simple enough that someone could "get it" in 5-10 minutes That alone is enough for me, as a presenter, to suggest that perhaps this is not a good idea.  I'm a big fan of packing as much content into my presentations as possible.  I like to move quickly and fill up the audience's brain as much … more

  • Atlas Tripped Over His Own Feet

    Through Lake Quincy Media, we work with a variety of ad management platforms used by our customers.  This is a story about Atlas, as told by our CEO Michelle.  It is not a pleasant story, as a Microsoft customer and evangelist (Microsoft acquired Atlas a little while back), and hopefully there is enough constructive criticism in this story to qualify it as more than a simple rant.  Read on... In our work as an advertising agency, we often find it necessary to work with other media agencies.  It is always an interesting experience, because we learn a lot that we can use to improve the experience that we provide to our own customers.  As with anything, there are some … more

  • Customer Service Is Key

    A few months ago I went to MIX08, which was I must say an excellent conference with a very different focus from DevConnections, TechEd, and PDC.  However, the weather was against me, and I've been meaning to write about it for some time.  Now that I'm about to head to 95 degree Orlando, I think it's time.  But the weather is really just the enabler for the real point, which is that customer service can create fans from customers, and fans will get you more customers than thousands of dollars of advertising. Getting to MIX We'll keep this brief since it's old news, but while trying to fly out of Cleveland on a Tuesday evening to arrive in Vegas that night, ice storms kept us … more