Thursday, August 24, 2006


TechEd Day 2

I managed to get up and ready in enough time to have breakfast at a nice cafe this morning. Tong and Pepe weren't so lucky.

My first talk was about developing manageable web services in .NET 3.0. The talk moved very quickly, so I want to take another look through the slides and my notes, but there was some interesting stuff. It also repeated some of the stuff I'd learnt yesterday about WCF.

The talk on IIS7: Under the Hood showed me how great IIS7 is going to be for debugging and tracing. Definitely a lot of stuff we're going to have to take advantage of for the webservice. He mentioned a few things in passing that made me regret missing his IIS talk last night, but that's life at a conference!

The talk on Guerilla SOA was absolutely brilliant, and Jim Webber is now my favourite speaker of TechEd. He covered a lot of good points on the differences between SOAs and ESBs, and why SOAs are awesome and want to have your babies. Plus, he was a really funny guy, which always helps.

My first session for the afternoon was on Software as a Service. It was in the same room as the Pragmatic Architecture talk I did on Wednesday, and again the room was pretty packed. The speaker said that he didn't care what people said about his talk, as long as they said on the evaluation form that the Architecture track needs bigger rooms next year. The talk itself was a good intro into what was going on with the whole SaaS thing, the different models, when SaaS is not a good idea, etc. He also spent a lot of time carefully *not* mentioning Google, which was fun to watch.

Instead of attending more lectures, I decided to give one of the hands on labs a go. I asked about doing the XAML lab, but the guy told me it had been pulled because it was so buggy. But I was free to look through the notes if I wanted. So I did, and then flipped through the other labs and found another XAML one. It was pretty groovy stuff, but from the way it was running (ie like a dog), I'm guessing you want to be careful where you use it.

That night was the TechEd party. They'd booked out a night club, filled it with nerds and a few XBoxes and lots and lots of alcohol. There was a big sporting theme ("what's your code?"), and everyone was meant to come dressed in their team colours. Unfortunately the end result was pretty sad - the "XBox Cheer Leaders" being a good example.

Oh, and to the dick head standing behind me during the celebrity XBox boxing match. I dislike Anthony "The Man" Mundine as much as anyone (what, he has to remind us that he's actually human?). But yelling out "smash the coon!" nearly earned you a punch in the head.


TechEd Supplemental: Browser Wars

There are lots of nice shiny Dells around the place running Vista or XP. Of course, they're all running some flavour of IE. It's the first time I've really played with IE 7, and so far my experiences can be summed up with this snappy little slogan:
IE7 - Everything you hate about IE6, plus more!
In other words, I've certainly not seen anything that makes me want to change back from Firefox.

I was feeling like being a bit of a dick head, so I grabbed myself a seat at one of the friendly Dells, and set about seeing what I could do to give the next user more of a choice.

Yes yes, I know. Small things amuse small minds. But I'm certainly amused now!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


TechEd Day 1

At about 7:45am I realised that the convention key note actually started at 8am. So Tong and I rushed over and just made it. The opening presentation was given by a Microsoft anthropologist. Which seems like an odd thing for Microsoft to have, until to think it through properly. Anne Kirah's talk was about her very interesting experiences in contributing to the Windows XP beta, and how the stuff she'd learnt for that project had fed into the design for Vista.

The first talk we attended was an introduction to the .NET Framework 3.0 given by Payam Shodjai (who's still my favourite speaker so far). Turns out there are 5 parts to the new version of .NET:
Since Payam rocked so much, I decided to ditch the talk on Methodology for Upgrading to SQL Server 2005 and head to his talk on the Windows Communication Foundation. As you could probably imagine, it was a nice push for SOAs. It went into a fair bit of detail about all the improved and consolidated technologies that make up WF. A pretty useful talk for the future of the TRIM Webservice.

My first afternoon session was on Document and Records Management using SharePoint 2007. It had some interesting things, but most a lot of it was pretty redundant for me professionally. It did give me some fun quotes though:
"Like a document store with super powers"
"We're shooting to have millions of things in our document library!"
"So you can just send to your Hummingbird or your TRIM..."
The talk on II6: Everything you need to know about MOM was a bit interesting, but not very well done. I also had the problem of constantly dozing off (which is partly a reflection on the talk, and partly a reflection on me...). There's was a few interesting points that may make my life a bit easier when it come to the webservice.

I decided that apparently my brain was rejecting the idea of IIS, so instead of attending the talk on Building Custom Web Server Extensions in IIS7, I'd instead head to the talk on Pragmatic Architecture. There was a massive queue outside the lecture theatre which I joined the back of, but eventually convinced myself that it was actually just the crush for three different sessions. So I pushed my way up to the door, and the realised that no, apparently everyone wanted to hear this talk. Feeling a bit bad about queue jumping so massively, I slipped in and went inside, only to have the doors slam shut behind me because the theatre was full. The talk itself was well worth it, so I'm glad I didn't miss out. It gave me a lot of stuff to think about.

There's a collaborative software project happening at TechEd. They're trying to get a system written for the Smith Family that will do online surveys. The deal is you rock up to one of the machines, take a look at what needs to be done, write some code (or something), and check it in. We all decided to give it a go. Unfortunately since it was all ASP.NET-y, it took me pretty much the whole time to work out what was going on. I did find one bug in one of the test cases, but then the system would let me check in my fix. We got t-shirts out of it, and I'll have to head over and have another go later.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


TechEd Day 0

Apart from the taxi to the airport not showing up (yay for the automated booking system!), our trip up to Sydney went pretty well. We got an upgrade on our apartment and it's only a short walk over to the conference.

After checking in and dumping our bags, we wondered over to register. That all went reasonably well, especially since we hadn't been sent our id barcodes. The welcome party was fun - we spent the evening checking out the booths and enjoying the free food. Tong turned out the be the king at getting swag.

My highlights included being very awful at Project Gotham Racing and getting entered in the Macquarie University booth competition just by walking past.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Welcome Richard

Since it's the traditional welcome to the blogasphere, here's a link to my friend Richard's new blog! He's spending 6 weeks traveling around the top end of Australia bring maths to small children.

And being one of those sort of people, as only two posts he's already blogging better than me.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Late Night TV Is *Really* Strange

Last night I was bumming around surfing the web while watching TV. I was chatting to some friends in the US while watching Dead Man (which was quite cool). It finished at about 12am, so I just channel surfed for background noise.

Eventually I discovered that there seems to be late night quiz shows on. But not your good, mentally stimulating quiz shows. The one I was watching had people ringing up trying to guess body parts. See, there was this list of body parts, and each one was worth a certain amount of money right. It was a bit specific - things like "fingers" and "toes". If you rang up and guessed one of these body parts, you'd win that amount of money. And sometimes they'd give you clues. Cool?

Oh my god.

They had a 4min "speed round" in which none of the callers guessed correctly, so they followed it with another 3min "speed round" that was just as unsuccessful. At least three different people guessed 'ears' and one person guessed 'organs'. There was a period of over 10min when no-one was calling in - the clue was "CH_ _KS", and you'd win at least $150. The host even got down to saying "these are the fleshy area of your face, between your eyes, ears and nose..."

I finally went to bed when someone guessed "Jeans". The clue at the time was the clue was "H_MSTER_NG".


Satan: Just Misunderstood

I've been listening to an interview with Henry Ansgar Kelly on his book Satan: A Biography. Really interesting stuff, and it's given me some great ideas for Harsher Light. I'll have to see if I can get my hands on a copy (here's a link to my Amazon wish list, just in case you happen to be fanatically into the adventures of Dante Harsher. No, I'm not being serious, lthough it would guilt me into writing more...)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006



This morning while we were grabbing coffee, I noticed a book with all the magazines. Whenever I see a book, I always like to know what it is, so I went over to take a look. It was Murder Unprompted by Simon Brett, but the really interesting part is that it was a BookCrossing book.

The idea is that once you've read a book, you leave it somewhere public for a stranger to find. You can register the book with and track it's journey. Or, if you find a book that's on a journey, you can log where you found it and where you released it again.

It's a pretty nifty idea, and something that I've wanted to give a try since I first heard about it. So it's pretty cool that I've now got a chance.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Lindsay's Tuesday Night Post

I wanted to make a comment on Lindsay post about Harsher Light (something to the effect of "I'm sure anything seems good compared to the Financial Services Regulations, but thanks!"), but it seems she didn't enable comments on that post. Or something's happen with all her feed-messing around so comments are broken on all new posts...


Census Time

We sat down last night to do the census. I realise I'm a bit strange, but I actually get pretty excited about things like the census and elections and stuff. I love "doing my bit" to help keep the wheels of Australia turning.

We did the form online, and I was impressed. No big load times, no time outs, nothing. I'm not sure if it's because we were doing it at about 10pm, if most people weren't doing it online, or if the ABS actually has their shit together (my guess is probably a combination of all three).

So, now that's done for another 5 years. When's the next election?

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Snag Sandwich?

I spent Saturday morning doing a sausage sizzle to fund raise for my scout troop. One of the kids we had helping us for a while is named Sam. Sam has a very precise way to speaking - although he's not English, he certainly sounds it. At one point during our massive meat cookup, a conversation happened that I couldn't help smiling at.

"One snag sandwich please mate" asked random guy
"...I'm sorry?" replied a very puzzled Sam
"A snag sandwich."
"...What? Oh! An egg sandwich..." Sam rushes off to put a fried egg on some bread
"No, a snag sandwich..."
"A What?"

It was then that I managed to explain to Sam what a snag was...

EDIT: And for any non-native Australia's reading this, look here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Best PodCast Evar

Tom Raftery tried to interview David Hayden, the CEO of Jeteye. Unfortunately after being on hold for 17mins, David still hadn't shown up. So Tom did the interview anyway. Well worth a listen if you've got 5mins to spare.

Jeteye seems to be a meta-bookmark system. Based on some of the questions Tom asked, and the total no-show from the CEO, I've now got exactly zero interest in ever bothering to give it a try.


Just Read: July

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Discovered: On a bookshelf at my grandmother's house about 10 years ago
About It: It's a murder mystery set in a medieval monastery, but it's packed full of theological debates and a bit of political intrigue. While I really enjoyed the movie, I tried several times over the past 10 years or so to read book, and never made it very far. I guess I must have matured as a read or something, but this time around I really got into it. Previously, the long theological debates turned me off, but this time around I found I really enjoyed them. Mostly.
My Rating: 3.5/5

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