Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy to Not Have Ted Stevens as my Senator Anymore

You may or may not follow politics.  Pass over this if you don't care about government shenanigans.

Ted Stevens, one of Alaska's "fine" government representatives, has been smoked out as the senator who put a secret hold on a bill that would have opened up much of the government's spending by creating a publicly accessible database of nearly all government expenditures and who authorized them. 

I was an Alaskan resident until 2004 when I changed my residency here to Ohio.  I was very happy then to leave behind the three Alaskan Congressmen: Frank Murkowski, Don Young, and Ted.  Stevens has utter disdain for citizens who question his role in the exploding Federal expenditures.  I'm happy to see his sneaky manners have been exposed. 

Alaskans got smart this year and gave Frank Murkowski the boot from the govenor's office.  He'd left the senate to wage a sucessful bid for the governor's office, then appointed his daughter to fill his vacant senate seat.  Hopefully Alaskans will give Stevens the same treatment in the next elections.

Good info on Stevens' actions at Mark Tapscott's blog, or at The Palm Beach Post.

(via Instapundit, among others.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yo! Blogger! My Blog != Spam Blog

Yeesh, Blogger kindly decided my blog here was potentially a spam blog.  Their definition says spam blogs "can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text," which I guess means they didn't care for my post on Live Writer, or maybe it was my post on the book's release to publication, or perhaps it was my grousing about Petzold's math skills.

Maybe they confused me with this site, or this one.

In any case, it would be a Really Nice Thing if the dudes and dudettes at Blogger hurry up and process my request to be recognized as Not A Spam Blog.

Looking for .NET Work in South/Central Ohio? We're Hiring!

Are you looking for challenging work in Dayton, Cincinnati, or Columbus -- or even Cleveland?

NuSoft Solutions, the company I joined at the start of this month, is looking for smart, motivated folks who are passionate about creating great solutions for our customers.

What skills and experience are we looking for?  The most important thing is that you've got your head screwed on right: you care deeply about writing good code, you're a self-starter, you're excited about rolling up your sleeves and digging into work, you embrace change since the customer is paying you to meet their needs, and you're concerned about helping customers solve their business problems.  It's also important that you're able to communicate effectively with customers, both internal and external.

No practical .NET experience?  That may not be an issue if you've got solid development experience in other platforms -- but you've got to have the right mindset and be willing to hit the ground running to get up to speed.

So what can I tell you about NuSoft Solutions so far?  I haven't posted much lately because I've been up to my ears learning the great stuff SharePoint Server 2007 brings to the table,  I've been up to my nose trying to learn more about NuSoft's program management tasks (got work in that area in the next few weeks), I've been dipping my toes into studying for another certification test, and I've been trying to get more face time in with my family since finishing the major parts of our book.

My time at NuSoft so far has been terrific.  I'm seriously in awe of the amazingly smart folks I work with (just sit in a room, shut up, and listen), and I'm in awe of the really, really cool things we're working on as a company:  business intelligence, mobile development, emerging technologies (MOSS, etc.), some serious infrastructure work (SMS, Exchange, AD, etc.), and some award-winning work on some neat sites like Spout.

Life as a Microsoft Managed Gold Partner is pretty good, too.  We get plenty of access to all the latest toys and have some very unique opportunities to roll those out to solve real-world problems.

Interested?  Drop me a note via the contact link on the right sidebar -- that goes to my Iterative Rose address, but fear not, I'll pay you immediate attention!

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Ubiquitous "Ooooh! It's Windows Live Writer!"

OK, so I'm following lemmings everywhere around the world and giving Live Writer a shot.  Initial impressions? 


For whatever reason Live Writer wasn't able to grab my template from Blogger, so I've just got a nice generic editor instead of working in something WSYWIG-ish like my blog.  The editor seems OK, but I've always been happy with BlogJet -- although keyboard shortcuts never worked in BlogJet and its creator didn't seem to be much put out by that.  You can imagine my vexed state about that since it's well-known that I'm a keyboard kind of guy.

In any case, I'm looking forward to playing around with this a bit to see how it suits me.  Maybe I'll be able to find out why the template thing doesn't work.  I know Blogger is rather finicky about template changes.  Who knows?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

VPC: Blue Screen Of Death

I’ve been working with some VPC images and have been copying them from system to system.  I’ve gotten a couple BSODs on occasion after copying an image to a new machine.  A couple vague messages have pointed to driver issues.

The workaround I’ve found is to start the VPC system in safe mode right off the bat, log on, and let it reconfigure a few drivers.  Restart the VPC system and everything’s shiny.

Guess those VPC images aren’t quite as abstracted as they’re inferred to be…

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Book Update: Final Draft Chapters Available

We’ve had a couple rough draft chapters from our book available for a bit — now you can read the final draft versions of Chapter 10 (Testing Your Software) and Chapter 14 (Tracking Bugs, Changes, and Other Issues).

All the chapters in the book have undergone significant revisions from the first draft versions.  We’ve completely redone the introduction, fleshing it out more to do a better job of making the case how these tools can save you time, help boost your producivity, and increase your code’s quality.

We’ve also restructured each article so that they’re fairly similar in how they present their material.  Each tool article follows this general structure:

  • Introduction
  • Summary table (where to get it, which version we’re covering, what it does, etc.)
  • Getting Started
    • Requirements
    • Installation
  • Using <the tool> (the meat and potatoes of the article, with pictures, even!)
  • See Also (other cool stuff in the book along similar veins)
  • Getting Support
  • <the tool> in a Nutshell

James and I are pretty excited about the book’s final shape.  Hopefully you’ll find it of value!

(Failing that, just buy lots of copies so I can get my kids through college, OK?)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Book Update: 100% Final Draft!

Whoof!  We’ve got 100% of our chapters for The Book through the final edits and delivered to our editor at O’Reilly.

Last count for tools: 176.  Absolutely no clue what the final page count will be, but it will almost certainly be over 1100 pages, perhaps even over 1200.  A rough bit of work in Cygwin tells me we had 842 figures between gif, jpg, bmp, and png files.  Not all of those made the cut, but the vast majority did.  There’s also one token SVG file in there, just because we weren’t difficult enough with everything else.

The final list of tools, in absolutely no sensible order, is shown below.  I’ve no clue if this will render properly by the time it makes it through BlogJet,’s stylesheets, and whatever agent you’re using to view this post with.  Hopefully so. 

XSD.exeKrypton ToolkitCommunity Server
CodusVisual Studio Express EditionsFlexwiki
MyGenerationSharpDevelopXP Remote Assistance
Peli's Reflector AddinsMonoDevelopSkype
CR_MetricsNotepad2TFS Admin Tool
NprofTCPViewCastle ActiveRecord
SVN 1-Click SetupRegMonCoolCommands
TortuiseCVSProcess ExplorerClassDesigner PowerToy
SourceSafe Binding RemoverClrDumpHTML/ASP.NET Spell Checker
WinMergeManaged Stack ExplorerVSWindowManager
Anthem.NETPing PlotterCSSPropertiesWindow
AJAX.NET ProfessionalLogParserWeb Application Project
UrlRewritingNet.UrlRewriteRegex Kit VisualizersVSContentInstaller PowerToys
CSS Friendly ASP.NET 2.0 Control AdaptersASP.NET CacheLog4Net
FreeTextBoxConchango XML VisualizerLucene.NET
WebChartExpression Graphic DesignerLibCheck
RSSToolKitExpression Interaction DesignerNetSpell
Nunit Code Snippets for Visual Studio 2005Service Configuration EditornSort
MbUnitService Trace ViewerRelfector.Diff
ZanebugWinFX Development ToolsRSS.NET
nCoverExplorerDotnet IL EditoriTextSharp
NMock2Threat Analysis and Modeling ToolCR_Documentor
Rhino.MocksBouncy CastleNdoc
NUnitFormsXSS LibraryPDFCreator
RotorXML Diff and PatchZoomIt
Castle MonoRailEXSLT.NETMagnifixer
Castle Windsor ContainerXSDObjectGeneratorLess MSIerables
Enterprise LibraryConnectionStrings.comFileZilla
OpenNETCFSQL Connection String BuilderCommandPromptHere
NantSQLite AdministratorCropper
MSBuildOracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio .NETColorMania
MSBeeOracle SQL DeveloperPowerShell
MSBuild Community TasksWeb Developer Toolbar for Internet ExplorerPowerShellIDE
MSBuild SidekickWeb Developer Extension for FirefoxTaskSwitcherXP
CruiseControl.NETWeb Developer HelperSyncToy
CI FactoryDripUnlocker
Unleash ITDOM HelperCygwin
Web Deployment ProjectsW3C Markup Validation Service
XP Common ControlsHTML Tidy
DockPanel SuiteBasecamp

So there you have it.  We’re done with the vast majority of the work.  We’ve still got copyedits to handle, but James tells me that goes much quicker.

Many thanks to the folks who contributed articles to the book.  Many thanks to the reviewers.  Many thanks to Ralph Davis who was our copy editor and did a tremendous job of polishing up our work.

Most of all, thanks a bunch to the people who were passionate and smart enough to create all these tools.

That’s all for now.  I’m going to spend the evening with my family who hasn’t seen much of me for the last two months as James and I have crushed to finish this thing.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Two Rants on Visual Source Safe

Jeff Atwood started the latest rant on Visual Source Safe and then Phil Haack took the ball and ran with it.  The posts are only mini-rants and have some good info, plus a couple links to other good stuff like Eric Sink’s most excellent treatsie on working with Source Control.

I’m not a VSS fan at all, preferring Subversion for the projects I’ve been working on—but I will say that Brian Prince, a guy I’ve lots of respect for, has had fine success with VSS at his company.  Brian and his team follow the practices laid out in Microsoft’s white paper on enterprise development with VSS and haven’t had any problems — but it seems to me they’re in the minority. (Sorry, couldn’t find a link for that paper.)


Update: Fixed typo in Phil’s last name.  Mea culpa, dude.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hitting the Final Stretch

Blogging has been sporadic of late, and often nothing more than regurtitated links to good stuff other folks have written about.

James and I are in the last stretch for work on the book and we’re crushing to hit our final deadline.  Actually, that’s come and gone, but we’ll have 100% of the book finalized and off to the Production folks at O’Reilly by Friday the 18th come Hell or high water.  We’ve been pushed back for a couple reasons, mostly last-minute restructuring and edits our senior editor asked us to do. 

It was frustrating as all get out to have this hit so late in the game but, putting my tetchy whining aside, it’s making the book way more better.  (“’Way more better?’  You want me to pay money for your book when you write like that?”  Heh. You bet.)  Each article’s doing a lot better job of flowing through in a regular fashion, so readers will have a lot more consistent and productive reading experience.  (Reading experience.  Heh.  If it works for software it ought to work for books.)

We’ve also drastically reworked the chapter introductions, thanks to pointed, spot-on comments from our tech reviewers.  The introductions now do a lot better job of discussing the general topics and concepts in a chapter, so readers will have a better grasp on the fundamentals as they press through the articles.

Oh, by the way, our list of tech reviewers includes a bunch of Really Smart Folks.  I’m absolutely amazed at the folks who signed up to review this beast: Sam Gentile, Jason Follas, Daren May, Patrick Cauldwell, Marc Holmes, Scott Hanselman (yep, him), and Bill Wagner (Bill Wagner!!).  Mitch Wheat also caught a number of great things from the chapters I posted up on my biz site.

We’ve busted our butts on this book, and I hope you folks who buy it will feel you got your money’s worth.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

SharePointKicks Site

Perhaps you know of the DotNetKicks site which lets .NET geeks call out interesting .NET-related news.  Did you know there’s also a similar site specific for SharePoint?  Gobs of pointers to great content.


Office SharePoint Server / Workflow Widgets

A couple resources you’ll need if you’re starting to work on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) or workflow:

SharePoint Services v3 Starter Kit — holds templates and a custom workflow for VS 2005

SharePoint Server 2007 SDK — documentation, How Tos, samples, references

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Virtual PC Not Detecting NIC

I’m setting up a VPC for some SharePoint work and it wasn’t finding my laptop’s network card during configuration.  Bummer.  No clue what’s going on here — it was finding the wireless card OK, but I need to run over the hardwired NIC.

Google and Ben Day to the rescue: futz around with Virtual Machine Network Services for the adapter.  VMNS (because you can’t have enough acryonyms) was enabled on my wired NIC, the Cisco VPN client, and my wireless NIC.  (Check Control Panel -> Network Connections)  I disabled it from the wired NIC, saved the settings, enabled it again and Poof! I’m able to use the wired adapter in VPC.

Thanks, Ben!

(Wonder if he’s related to Green Day.)

Now Playing: Thin Lizzy — Jailbreak.  I forgot about these guys for decades.  Nice to have stumbled across them again.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Good SharePoint Chart

I often have problems clearly explaining the differences between SharePoint Services and SharePoint Server.  This graphic, nabbed from one of Microsoft’s killer FREE online training courses, does a great job of breaking out what’s provided by which thing.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Great Troubleshooting Resource

“Back to basics!”  How many times have you said that to yourself after you’ve allowed yourself to get distracted by some red herring during troubleshooting?  Probably too often. 

David Agans has a great companion website to his book Debugging: The Nine Indispensable Rules for Finding Even the Most Elusive Software and Hardware Problems.  Be sure to check out the debugging poster and the list of other useful sites.

I’ve got his book added to my queue of things to buy in the next few months.  It looks like a great addition to my bookshelf.

The Future of Sysinternals Tools

Folks who love the amazing stuff from Sysinternals like TCPView, RegMon, etc. can perhaps breathe a bit easier after reading Mark’s post on his first week as a Microsoft employee.  It sounds like there’s a firm committment to keep the tools free—including a new license which is more open than the previous one.

I’ll admit I was exceedingly pessimistic about the future of the tools.  Looks like I was wrong.  I’m quite relieved to read this latest update!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Great Tutorial on Submitting Open Source Patches

Jeff Atwood challenged Scott Hanselman to come up with a detailed blog post on exactly how to submit a patch to an open source project.

Of course Hanselman rose to the occasion.

Must Read stuff.

My First Few Days

So here I am at Thursday, starting my fourth day at my new job with NuSoft

Initial thoughts?  I am so over my head with work to do and new technologies to get up to speed on — and you know what?  That’s a great place to be.  I love challenges and am really pumped up about all the cool stuff I’ll be working with in short order.

I’m also really fortunate to have gotten on a company with a bunch of incredibly smart folks.  I was out for dinner last night with a few colleagues and one relative newcomer said “You know what?  This is the first place I’ve been where when you’re in the room with co-workers it’s usually a good idea to just shut up and listen.”  He was talking about the knowledge level of the folks on various teams and he’s right.

Lots of work, lots of challenges, lots of exciting stuff to do.

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