MSN Search can help you find X

It seems wierd that you'd want to go to a search engine to solve an expression for X (after all, the answer isn't “out there”, it's in the expression itself). But oh well, MSN Search to the rescue

((122.78+( x^2))/190)=.93

[via LifeHacker]

Mainstream Local Search Maps must have a scalability problem

“Tim Horton's near Hamilton, ON” should be a test case for any good local/map search enginge.

MSN Local?

In MicroSpeak, I'm “super“ disappointed. Come on, not even close. Like I really need to drive to New York State to find a Tim's. At least you have 9 listed, that's more than I expected in NY. And what's up with the “residential listing“. Can I do that? Can I get a Tim's right in my house. Sweet.


Nice try. At least I don't need a passport and more change to cross the toll bridge than the actual price of a coffee. But I'm still finding it hard to believe there is only one Timmy's in Hamilton.

And for the record, there is, according to the horses mouth, 78 Tim Horton's within 10km from the epi-centre of Downtown Hamilton. (

I should qualify that by saying “as of October 8th, 2:55pm”. We really need an MSN Alert or an RSS feed for this kind of data.

Update: Reader Kevin MacDonald of Pentura points out that has market on caffinated google mashups. Here's a focused Hamilton Tim's Link. Kevin - I owe you coffee!

Who is looking at your mobile device right now?

Korby Parnell tells of an unfortunate story about Rob Caron losing his Pocket PC in the Houston airport and then trying to have his carrier disable it since he has “everything on it”. They also lost their luggage enroute to TechEd in Orlando. How ironic it was then that Rob probably slept through Monday's keynote where Microsoft announced the Messaging & Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 and Exchange Server 2003 SP2. This dramatization shows how failed login attempts can be use to wipe the device, or even remotely wipe the device on demand.

Release Date for Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, BizTalk 2006

At TechEd today, Paul Flessner announced that these products will be released the week of November 7th. Also of interest is that SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services will be available in the express edition. Report Builder will also be pushed down into Standard, Workgroup and up.

Anybody else think it's funny that MS is releasing products touted with “2005” and “2006” labels during the same week?

SQL Server/Visual Studio/Biztalk Developer Competition - $50K 1st prize

The stakes are getting seriously high on these competitions. How about $50,000 USD?

There are lots of prizes - not just the grand prize. There are many categories to develop in so I think there is something here for every microsoft developer, from SQL Reporting Services, to SQL CLR, to video gaming.

I'd love to see a fellow Canadian win this.

From Rainier to Orcas and beyond.

This past 3 days I've spent traveling to and from Redmond to visit with a few of the developer tools teams as part of an Software Design Review (SDR). These are a kind of focus group, with the intention of getting qualitative information from folks about what they'd like to see in upcoming development tools. Hopefully I'll be able to talk more about the content after PDC in the fall so stay tuned. It was a refreshing trip in that normally, I'm traveling to either learn or teach. During this trip I was there more to discuss and influence and I got a real sense of just how careful Microsoft listens to the community.

It's fitting that I drove down to Redmond from Vancouver, passing through the town of Everett and past the Whidbey and Orcas islands (part of the San Juan Islands). These names are probably familiar to some of you as code names for Visual Studio 2003 (Everett), 2005 (Whidbey) and beyond (Orcas). For the sake of completeness we should add Rainier as well which was the code name for Visual Studio 2002. Geographically, these go from south east to north west passing more or less through Redmond.

Not unlike the development of these versions, the journey between these stops is a windy road, taking you over hill and vale, and over several bodies of water.  What's after Orcas? Well the next leg of the journey is as ambitious as the following version after Orcas, namely Hawaii. If you look at this path on a map, you'll see that this is indeed quite a leap.

The most interesting thing that happened is that I realized that come Orcas, I'm likely only going to be interested in coding in Visual Basic, and not C#.

15% off of MCSD/MCAD Certification Exams @ Pearson/VUE

Use the following voucher number MSAU113E1020. Good until August 31, 2005.

Canadian Developer Community Radio

Mark Relph (MS Canada) posted his first blogcast as part of “Canadian Developer Community Radio“. It was recorded a few weeks ago at the ASP.NET 2.0 Deep Dive in Toronto. Lots of good discussion with the speakers, their favourite features, etc. etc. There is also a brief interview with me in which I don't say anything terribly interesting.

Click Here.

Bidding on .NET Celebrities

So today our company ObjectSharp placed a bid for 5 of the individuals on the .NET Celebrity Auction. Firstly, it sucks that max bids are not shown for a charitable auction. I would encourage any winners who didn't get to their max bid, to still donate the full amount to ACEH.

Now having said that, what would *we* do with 5 .NET Celebrities? Hmmm

  • Scott Hanselman, I'm going to ask you to give a 1 hour MSDN webcast about how easy it is to build a Smart Client Application using datasets and marshal them across web services.
  • Clemens Vasters, I'm going to ask you to give a talk on rapidly building data driven applications with Windows Forms using SqlDataAdapters and dynamic SQL. (No stored procs allowed).
  • Kimberly L. Tripp, how about a MSDN webcast on building mission critical, enterprise scale applications with MS Access.
  • Joel Semeniuk, you're going to give a talk about building rich user interfaces with ASP.NET and client side javascript.
  • Stephen Forte, Essential C++ Managed Extensions
  • Richard Campbell. Creating a Business Intelligence Solutions using the ODBC driver for CSV files.
  • John Lam, a 1 hour talk on Understanding the Unexpected Reactions of Hyrdoxybenzylthiamin. Ok, so he would actually enjoy this, but for my 1 hour of time, I'll watch it and try to learn something.
  • Kate Gregory has also said she would willingly join me in a head shaving.
  • And of course there is the thought of the .NET Celebrity Winter Car Wash!

Thoughts? Any of you feel like outbidding me?


.NET Celebrity Auction

Be a sport and click on this link:

Then make a generous bid. If you'll win, you'll get an hour (or more) of help from a .NET guru/celebrity (or possibly me). But more, you'll also be helping Tsunami relief efforts.

The top bid gets to pick their consultant. Then next, and so on and so on. If you are in southern Ontario, and you get me, I'll make it up to you by coming to your office - for a whole day, hang out, and bring donuts. What will I do? I can tell you everything I know about Visual Studio Team System (breaking all kinds of NDA rules, etc.), try to convince you to use data sets, do some code reviews, help debug something nasty, defrag your hard drive, organize your mp3's, tell you what DataGrid girl is really like, whatever.

I'm visiting Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal over the next 3 months so if you live/work near there, my offer stands, pending my schedule. I'll also be in Orlando possibly in June (for TechEd), LA in Sept (for PDC), and Chicago in August, so ditto on those as well.

For more info on how it all works....

And finally, special thanks to the other RD's who are volunteering their time (especially all those fellow Canadians). Last but not least, special thanks to Stephen Forte and Julia Lerman for organizing this.