Skeletons in the Closet

I'm spending this week in Los Angeles.  Not the vacation from the cold that you'd be thinking I on, however.  I'm at the L.A. County Coroner installing some software that has been a while in coming.  To put it into perspective, the app is in VB6 and I have SQL Server 7 on my development environment to support it. Which means that I'm unlikely to have anything blogworth based on my experiences here.

What is interesting, if you have a sense of humor about death, is the the Coroner's online store.  Called Skeletons in the Closet, it offers a wide selection of Coroner emblemmed merchandise, as well as some shirts, cups, hats, key chains and mouse pads decorated with the requisite chalk body outline.  Honestly, I can't accurately convey just how cool this stuff looks.  Do yourself a favor and check it out at  It'll knock you dead.

Between the Lines Article

As much as I don't like to toot my own horn, I'm proud of the fact that I'm now officially published on an MSDN site.  If that isn't worth a “Woo Hoo!!”, I don't know what is.

re: Gotta Love Misinformed Authors Spreading FUD

I have no problem with the opinion that Steve Gillmor shares both in his original eWeek article or in his subsequent comments in Drew's blog on the topic.  Specifically, I appreciate his willingness to stand behind his views.  To quote Mr. Gillmor,

“As for Robert Scoble, he is certainly capable of standing behind his own views when he wants to. I certainly stand behind mine.”

I take issue, however, with exactly what he is standing behind.  Is it the view that XAML stands for the Transaction Authority Markup Language?  Is it the opinion that Longhorn “veers-away” from some unstated (and, to the best of my knowledge, non-existant) standard that separates the layout and logic portions of an application?  Could it be that he stands behind the idea that developers create applications using the XSD 'language'?  Or that programmers will have to 'unlearn' XSD once Longhorn arrives. If so, it might be better to find a more stable platform on which to make your stand.

The idea that I'm going to have to wait until 2006 before getting access to some of the functionality that will be available in Longhorn is frustrating to me as a developer.  Sometimes ignorance can be bliss.  But I balance my frustration with the ability to better plan my current application architectures.  Do I expect to include XSD/XML functionality in my current code?  Certainly, assuming that I want my applications to be able to exchange data with not only other Microsoft products but the rest of the computing world.  Do I expect that arrival of Longhorn to change my use of XSD/XML?  Only in the integration that my apps have with the file system on which they are running.  The rest of the world speaks XML and I don't think that Longhorn will change that significantly.  Nor is the release of Longhorn likely to make my life as a developer more difficult, as Mr. Gillmor suggests.  If I take advantage of the information that is being made available by Redmond now, I should be ready for it, whenever it gets here.

Defining the Longhorn Battleground

Along with Sam Gentile and Drew Marsh (and others, I'm sure), I had a chance to read the eWeek opinion piece Can Microsoft's 'Longhorn' Pull it Off?.  Is this article an accurate representation of the facts that surround Longhorn?  Not even close.  Does the article display a lack of understanding by the author of the basic technologies used in Longhorn?  Yes.  But even if you completely eliminate the chaff, there is still an interesting element that can be gleaned from the approach taken by Mr. Gillmor.  What you are seeing is the initial 'shot across the bow' - the angle that Microsoft bashers will take as they attempt to capture mind- and developer-share.

The problem is that, without knowledge that can only be gained by playing with XAML and WinFS or reading articles and documentation on the topic, there is no way for the casual developer to tell the different between eFact and real facts.  I guess that means it's time to fire up the old Remington and produce some content more directed to the general masses.

EIF Presentation at CTT User Group Meeting

For all of you fans out there, I will be giving a presentation on the Enterprise Instrumentation Framework at 6:30 on November 26.  If you're interesting in reading the abstract or registering for it, visit the CTTDNUG web site.