Still working out session details, but it looks like I will be presenting in Ottawa
and Montreal for Techdays 2009. I will
be loitering around at the Toronto event soaking up all the techie-goodness, so come
find me at any of the three events. We can talk shop, shoot the breeze, or just
mill about having a good time.
I promise I won’t embarrass anyone. Except maybe myself. But that’s a
warning for all occasions.
Here are the dates of the events across Canada. Buy your tickets before the
early-bird deal runs out!
Vancouver Convention Centre
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
World Trade & Convention Centre
Hampton Inn & Convention Centre
Winnipeg Convention Centre
The Early Bird price is $299. The regular Price is $599.
I will post more on the sessions I will be presenting at a later date when I get the
See you there!
I hated school. Technically, I’m still enrolled in college. Bachelors
of Business Management. Blech. I figured at least with business, I would
learn something useful later in life. I chose against Comp. Sci. for a few reasons.
One being that I know a couple PhD’s that know nothing about building applications
in the real world.
In Comp. Sci., you learn how to build data structures, and how to make Mandelbrot
Set’s process faster. In business, you learn why people buy stuff.
Or more appropriately, you learn how to get people to buy your stuff.
Seeing as I learned (taught myself?) about things like linked-lists and pointers while
in grade 10-ish, and wrote/re-wrote/re-re-wrote Mandelbrot Set builders as a final
project in grade 11, I think I can safely say I would be bored as all hell in University.
Not to mention all the theory. Comp. Sci. is all about theory. Maybe 10%
is actually coding. F-that.
Business is inherently hands-on.
I like hands-on. It’s tangible.
The only problem I had was finding resources. My programming teachers were pretty
cool, and were always willing to help me on algorithms that confused me, as well as
extra-curricular programs when something just wasn’t jiving. But I had cool
teachers. Not everyone is as lucky as I was. And with the teachers, they
weren’t thinking in C# or ASP.NET everyday like I tended to do. Trying to ask
them why something trivial like
didn’t compile was kinda painful. I usually got a response along the lines of
“what’s the colon for?”. I always felt funny trying to explain the quasi-xml
structure of ASP.NET to teachers. This left me in a lame position of needing
to find help. Forums are great, but separating the wheat from the chaff is a
waste of time. Enter stackoverflow.com (4
years late, mind you) and you get answers quickly. I like it. I use it
all the time. I’d like to think that those who are willing to look for resources
will find the site fairly easily. However, there is another site out there that
not too many people know about. It’s the Microsoft
Student Experience site. Yeah yeah, brain wash them early. I drank
the kool-aid early.
Part of the website is dedicated to the DreamSpark program.
Free, fully-licensed Microsoft products. Nuff said.
The other half of the site is dedicated to students. Good thing, given the name.
Not just students studying software development either. All students.
It provides tangible resources for students. Stories, tutorials, and templates
look to be the main content. It’s all surprisingly good stuff too. It
ranges from school studies to general life, to post-school life.
These resources may help those students who are struggling with school – at any level.
There are students out there with lots of potential. Let’s not see it go to
As budgets get tighter, Tech·Days is the perfect way to get the Tech·Ed experience
without the travel expense, with two days of skill-strengthening education to help
you position yourself for success by:
Learning the technology—with a customizable agenda from over forty
sessions across five technical tracks on both current technologies and new products,
like Windows® 7 and Microsoft® Exchange 2010;
Connecting with Experts and Peers—with Birds-of-a-Feather lunches
and the new Windows 7 Zone, you'll have lots of opportunities to share your ideas
with those who know the products best; and
Apply what you learn—with a Learning Kit packed with products and
resources so you can continue to grow your skills long after the event has finished.
Technologies discussed: Windows 7 Operating System, Windows Server®
2008 R2 operating system, Visual Studio® 2008 development system, Silverlight™ browser
plug-in, Exchange 2010, Security/Management, and more.
If you want the VIP Discount use the promo code TD09Partner.
Vancouver Convention Centre
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
World Trade & Convention Centre
Hampton Inn & Convention Centre
Winnipeg Convention Centre
Early Bird: $299, Regular Price: $599
There is a good chance I will be presenting at one (or more) of these locations, so
keep an eye out. In the event that I don’t, I will definitely be enjoying the
Toronto stop of the tour. In either case, I will be there ready to learn, with
a pocket-full of business cards.
Oh, and I’ll be leaving with a box/bag/shopping cart* of swag.
*Metaphorical shopping cart. They are going to give away lots of
Here is the presentation. Click the screen shot to download a ZIP of the demo
and slide deck.
I will be giving a presentation on Geospatial data in SQL 2008 for the Toronto SQL
User Group on June 4th. It’s a full session of everything geodetic. There
is no registration, so just show up. Doors open around 6:15 PM.
The address is: Nexient 2 Bloor St. West at Yonge, downtown Toronto – 12th
floor, Room 5.
Lang.NET was just over an hour or so ago, and there are many funny and interesting quotes I compiled over the last few days. Here are all I can remember and find on twitter.
Mads Torgersen on C# dynamic: “We owe it to IronPython and Ruby to make them first class languages.”
Mads Torgersen: “Static typers put the ‘anguish in languish’.”
Keith Robertson: “I’m here to sell you something. You can tell because I'm the one with the tie.”
Erik Meijer: “C# dynamic ‘is like the needle exchange program’.”
Tim Macfarlane: “We're planning on putting [Tycho] on the DLR pretty soon.”
Karl Prosser: “When I see squiggly brackets, it feels like a real language to me.”
Jeffrey Snover on Powershell: “No prayer based parsing.”
Lars Bak: “It’s good to have a slow compiler because that gives you job security.”
Joshua Goodman: “The way PMs fix things is by sending email.”
Erik Meijer: “I love the math - you don't need brain to do math. It’s all symbol pushing.”
Luke Hoban: “CodeDom is able to handle any language that is C#. Including VB.”
Erik Meijer: "LINQ is the solution to everything.”
Philip Wadler: “Monads aren't everything!”
Philip Wadler: “Nothing is so practical as a good theory.”
Erik Meijer: “Because of reflection, every language on the CLR is dynamic.”
I’ve enjoyed myself at Lang.NET and found the people and content are brilliant. I’ll definitely be back again next year. Kudos to the guys who helped set these up.
I am not a podcaster. I do not think I have the voice for continued listening.
However, I am a sound guy, and I am anal about it. I did a search online to
find out what equipment is necessary for podcasting and every time I came back with:
PC Editing Software
For each item on this list I have heard some very disturbing suggestions for what
type/brand to use. I thought I would dispel some myths about each piece of hardware.
Behringer is not a professional product line. They say they are; they are NOT.
I said it, and I will say it again: Behringer does not make professional equipment.
No way, no how. They market the products as professional equipment that all
the big stars use, but in actual fact the equipment would never make it on a tour.
It can’t. It’s not stable enough, and it’s not reliable enough. It WILL
Enough ranting about that. There are two main types of Microphones you will
be dealing with when podcasting. Dynamic and Condenser. They both have
their merits. Dynamic microphones are usually cheaper because they are easier
to make. The sound quality is theoretically lesser than a Condenser Mic.
And a Dynamic Mic does not need an external power source.
Sound quality is always an issue when recording. However, a podcast is 99% vocal.
At least on the recording side it is. On the frequency spectrum vocals range
between 80 Hz and 1100Hz. You do not need a super-ultra-fantastic microphone
for this job. In some cases you do, but generally if that were the case you
wouldn’t be reading this article – you would be talking to an audio recording professional.
You also have your choice between a Cardioid and an Omni-directional Mic. An
Omni-directional microphone will pick up sound from 360 degrees. It’s great
for dealing with multiple people talking at once, but horrible if you are talking
in a loud environment. A Cardioid (pronounced: car-dee-oid) microphone is directional.
It will pick up sound from a single direction, and is excellent if you are the only
person talking in a very noisy environment.
My two cents: go talk to a sound guy directly and tell them what you are doing.
They will understand. Brand-wise I like Shure and Sennheisser. By all
means contact me if you want more help.
A pre-amp will do one of two things, but first I need to explain how a microphone
works. Essentially a microphone works by producing a very small electrical signal
that is a representation of the sound hitting a membrane within the microphone capsule.
Different types of microphones (electret, condenser, dynamic, piezoelectric etc) capture
and translate the frequency patterns differently. The important thing to know
is that the electrical signal coming out of the microphone is extremely low.
The voltage is so low that most recorders cannot handle the voltage. They need
more. A pre-amp takes care of this problem. It amplifies the signal just
enough so the recorder can use it properly. In some cases microphones need voltage
going to them before they can actually produce a signal. Condenser microphones
are notorious for this. The required voltage is called Phantom Power.
It’s a long winded explanation of what actually happens with the phantom power, but
for all intensive purposes, the pre-amp will usually take care of the phantom power
too. This is definitely something you need to talk to a sound guy directly about.
I never got into digital recording, but just from basic analog to digital conversion
theory, here are some thoughts:
Get a recorder that converts to a lossless format. .Wav files are the most standard.
When recording you want the highest possible quality available.
Get a recorder that has a balanced audio input. XLR is balanced. Get a
microphone that outputs through XLR, and a pre-amp that takes XLR and outputs XLR.
You will end up with better quality. Balanced connections do wonders for interference.
It won’t remove interference already in the system, but it will prevent any other
from getting in.
Get one that is durable. You will drop it. You just will.
PC Editing Software
For editing the podcast you want a piece of software that can handle multiple tracks.
This allows you to layer chunks of audio without losing data. It also gives
you more wiggle room to move parts around. I like Adobe Audition. There
are many others out there though.
In my second post I discussed
my run in with ASP, and how PHP was far better. I ended the post talking about
an invitation to a Microsoft event. This was an interesting event. Greg
and I were the only people under 30 there. When that’s a 15 year difference,
things get interesting. Especially when you need your mother to drive you there…
The talk was a comparison between Microsoft based technologies and Linux based technologies.
The presenter was a 10 year veteran of IBM, working on their Linux platform, who then
moved to Microsoft. For the life of me I can’t remember his name.
His goal was simple. Disprove myths around Linux costs versus Windows costs.
It was a very compelling argument. The event was based around the Windows
Compare campaign. It was around this time that Longhorn (Longhorn that turned
into Vista, not Server 2008) was in pre-beta soon to go beta, and after discussing
it with Greg, we decided to probe the presenter for information about Longhorn.
In a situation like that, the presenter either gets mad, or becomes really enthusiastic
about the question. He certainly didn’t get mad.
Throughout the rest of the talk, the presenter made some jokes at mine and Greg’s
expense, which was all in good fun. Based on that, we decided to go one step
further to ask how we can get the latest Longhorn build, at one of the breaks.
the conversation went something like this:
Me: So how do people get copies of the latest build for Longhorn?
Presenter: Currently those enrolled in the MSDN Licensing program can get
Me: Ok, how does one join such a licensing program?
Presenter: Generally you buy them.
Me: How much?
Presenter: A couple thousand…
Me: Ok let me rephrase the question. How does a student, such as myself
and my friend Greg here, get a the latest build of Longhorn when we don’t have an
MSDN subscription, nor the money to buy said subscription?
Presenter: *Laughs* Oh. Go talk to Alec over there and tell him I said
to give you a student subscription.
Me: Really? Cool!
Six months later Greg and I some how got MSDN Premium Subscriptions. We had
legal copies of almost every single piece of Microsoft software ever commercially
produced. Visual Studio 2005 was still in beta, so I decided to try it out.
I was less than impressed with Visual Studio 2003, but really liked ASP.NET, so I
wanted to see what 2005 had in store. At the time PHP was still my main language,
but after the beta of 2005, I immediately switched to C#. I had known about
C# for a while, and understood the language fairly well. It was .NET 1.1 that
never took for me. That, and I didn’t have a legal copy of Visual Studio 2003
at the time.
Running a Longhorn beta build, with Visual Studio 2005 beta installed, I started playing
with ASP.NET 2.0, and built some pretty interesting sites. The first was a Wiki
type site, designed for medical knowledge (hey, it takes a lot to kill a passion of
mine). It never saw the light of day on the interweb, but it certainly was a
cool site. Following that were a bunch of test sites that I used to experiment
with the data controls.
It wasn’t until the release of SQL Server 2005 that I started getting interested in
data. Which I will discuss in the my next
I copied this blog post from Chris Dufour's blog. Chris copied it from Rob Windsor's blog. Rob copied it from Julie Lerman's blog. Julie copied it from Guy Barrette's blog. I'm sure someone will copy it from me and add their own little flair.
If you live in Toronto and don't attend DevTeach, Guy Barrette is going to make you code in Clipper for the remainder of your career (BTW - that's Clipper development with no Multi Edit and no Norton Guides. Ah, there, now you're shaking). Seriously, DevTeach has a great lineup of speakers from Toronto and across the globe. Where else can you hear, see,
touch, feel, talk to, describe your problems (IT/Dev related or not) and have a beer with these guys/gals?
And that's only half of them!!!
Need more reasons?
Keynote by Scott Hanselman
Scott is one of the most prolific, renowned and respected bloggers (http://www.hanselman.com) and podcasters (http://www.hanselminutes.com) in the .NET world. Scott is a hands-on thinker, a renowned speaker and writer. He has written a few books, most recently with Bill Evjen and Devin Rader on Professional ASP.NET. In July 2007, he joined Microsoft as a Senior Program Manager in the Developer Division. In his new role he'll continue to explore and explain a broad portfolio of technologies, both inside and outside Microsoft. He aims to spread the good word about developing software, most often on the Microsoft stack. Before this he was the Chief Architect at Corillian Corporation, now a part of Checkfree, for 6+ years and before that he was a Principal Consultant at STEP Technology for nearly 7 years.
Silverlight 2.0 Workshop
For the first time an independent conference is having a workshop on Building Business Applications with Silverlight 2.0. Join Rod Paddock and Jim Duffy as they give you a head start down the road to developing business-oriented Rich Internet Applications (RIA) with Microsoft Silverlight 2.0. Microsoft Silverlight 2.0 is a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in positioned to revolutionize the way next generation Rich Internet Applications are developed. Microsoft’s commitment to providing an extensive platform for developers and designers to collaborate on creating the next generation of RIAs is very clear and its name is Silverlight 2.0. In this intensive, full-day workshop, Rod and Jim will share their insight and experience building business applications with Silverlight 2.0 including a review of some of the Internet’s more visible Silverlight web applications. This workshop is happening on Friday May 16 at the Hilton Toronto.
Bonus session: .NET Rocks hosts a panel May 14th at 18:00
This year the bonus session (Wednesday May 14 at 18:00) will be a panel of speakers debating the Future of .NET. Where is .NET going? How will new development influence .NET and be influenced by .NET? Join Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell from .NET Rocks as they moderate a discussion on the future directions of .NET. The panellists include individuals who have strong visions of the future of software development and the role that .NET can play in that future. Attend this session and bring your questions to get some insight into the potential future of .NET! This bonus session is free for everyone. Panelists are: Ted Neward,Oren Eini ,Scott Bellware
Party with Palermo, DevTeach Toronto Edition
Jeffrey Palermo (MVP) is hosting Monday May 12th in Toronto is acclaimed "Party with Palermo". This is the official social event kicking off DevTeach Toronto. The event is not just for the attendees of Toronto it’s a free event for everyone. It’s a unique chance for the attendees, speakers and locals to meet and talk with a free beer. The event will be held at the Menage club location and you need to RSVP to attend. Get all the details at this link:
DevTeach Toronto is going to be a lot of fun and a great chance to learn from the best minds in the industry. Register now - you don't want to miss out.
Well, 45 minutes before my surprise presentation I had to do, without me even knowing I had to do it. Here it is.