Guaranteed Laugh

Want a good chuckle?

  1. Goto Google Maps
  2. Get Directions from Sydney Australia to Los Angeles CA (For those with little or no time)
  3. Read number 6 on the directions.


It’s cool to be a geek…


Do you remember when it was not cool to be a geek?


Not that I ever let it bother me. I have attended every PDC since 2001. It’s tough to be the coolest guy out of 8000.


Now a days it's cool to be a geek , people are coming out of the wood work to proclaim their geekyness with pride. Below are three examples I came across in the past few weeks.

1. A developer who changed his girlfriend’s favorite game (bejeweled) so when she achieved a certain score it displayed a proposal of marriage.

2. I remember when that one kid in a class with a laptop was the geek. Who’s the outcast now?  

3. Cat 5 Wedding rings, need I say more.




Laboratory Automation Robots

Living in Canada I don't get to the Desert very often. I have always been under the impression it doesn't rain there very often. So on my first trip to the desert what does it do? Rain, the whole weekend. I was in Palm Springs attending a conference, which was a bit different for me. I have been to many conferences in my time; however I normally attend developer conferences like Microsoft's PDC and Tech Ed, DevTeach and in the past Client Server World. This time it was Lab Automation 2008.

I was there to help one of our clients, Thermo Fisher Scientific. Thermo is showing off some new software that allows its users to define and execute an automated Laboratory. Thermo is a leader in this space, and this is the next generation of their Lab Automation Systems named Momentum. I have wanted to Blog about this project for some time now but couldn't say anything until the show made it public. Now that the show has taken place, and the world knows how cool Momentum is, I can talk about it. J

I have worked on some cool projects in my 25 years of software development; this is definitely in the top 5. Thermo has built a Software Factory that allows their clients to create laboratory automation systems that can be configured to execute experiments using any vendor's instrument. In the world of Lab Automation there are hundreds of instruments that perform various tasks, from changing a plate's orientation to filling it with a compound. For the Lab Automation conference we created a demo that helps illustrate what Momentum can do. I took a short video before I left for home. In the video below you see three robots that are executing a process which is moving a plate from one location to another. Then when an conference attendee drops their plate into the shoot a bar code reader detects the plate and instructs momentum to add another process to the run which returns the attendees plate along with a plate containing a prize. How cool are Robots!




Autumn Background taken in Burlignton, Ontario

I recently found out that my favourite XP Background was a photograph taken in Burlingto ON, Canada, my home town. A friend of mine pointed out this article in the Toronto Star.

 Imagine that!?

Junk Mail

I have posted before about Junk Mail and how I am inundated with it in so many forms, one of which is in the mail box at our house. Some days you get the mail out of the mailbox and find nothing but a bill and 7 flyers for windows, pizza and credit cards.

While chatting with a friend of mine about this he gave me this great idea. I have done it about 5 times now. I'm not sure what effect it will have on the companies who send out this crap but it makes me feel better.

More then once a week I receive a letter from some credit card company with an application form for their credit card. Included in the main envelope is postage paid envelope that I am supposed to use to send back my application form. Instead, I take all the junk mail I received that day and stuff it into this envelope seal it up and mail it back to them.

 I hope they are enjoying the Pizza coupons and window adds.


San Francisco

This week I am in San Francisco (Actually I'm south of SF) but I landed there and drove down Hwy 101 to Morgan Hill just south of San Jose.

I passed some things that make every geek stop to look. Like when I saw Microsoft Campus for the first.

Today I saw the Google Campus and ebay and I drove past Palo Alto and Silicon Valley. This is my first time to San Francisco so it was very exciting for me.

Tomorrow I will be helping some nice people get the most out of Reporting Services. I'm looking forward to it.


I haven't blogged anything this summer. I plan on getting back into it soon. It's been a crazy summer, nice but crazy.

I just took a week off to go to a family reunion in N.B. The reunion was on my Dad's side of the family. Everyone from my Dad's parents down. It was great to see everyone and the location was beautiful. We met at the Bay of Fundy. I had never been there, if you get a chance go, it's wonderful. After the reunion my son Gareth and I spent the week driving back. It was a nice road trip. Starting at the bay of Fundy we drove to Moncton and spent the night at my cousins. Where we had a wonderful time. The next day we put my wife Tracy on a plane home and drove to PEI. Where we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast near Summerside. The bridge to PEI is huge. Had a great scallop and shrimp meal in New London and did some touring around. From PEI we drove to Portland Maine, where we stayed at another lovely B&B. From there we drove to Salem MA. That was the most fun, we did lots there, including a ghost walk and watched a reenactment of a witch trial from 1692. We went into a replica of the witches dungeon. It's a lovely city with nice pubs, good food and lots of stores full of spell books and potion ingredients. After Salem we drove to Wolfe Island in the 1000 Islands. We were going to stay over night there but decided to head home. So we got a Tim's and hit the 401. Nice trip glad to be done driving.

I'll get Blogging again soon.I just have to get these kids back to school first. :)

Developer Night in Canada

One of my Partners in Objectsharp John Lam was interviewed on Developer Night in Canada. It's a good interview.

If you have heard about Ruby and your curious about it you should listen to it.

Tech Support

If you are a mechanic people ask you about their car, if you are a lawyer they ask you legal advise, if you are a doctor they have a pain. I remember a day when being a programmer meant no one talked to you about your work. This is because they didn't understand it. If you said you were a programmer the standard reply was. “Good for you that sure is the up and coming business to be in.”

I remember complaining that I couldn't go to a party and talk about what I did, unless I met another programmer. No one wanted to hear it. Then along came the Personal Computer. Suddenly everyone knows what Ram is.  Now when someone finds out you are a developer they all want to talk to you about pop-ups, viruses, networks you name it. Perhaps the old days were not so bad. :)

The reality is, I don't mind helping out my friends and family at all. I'm happy to be able to talk to people about what I do. This way I can trade computer help with some skills I need help with.

As a matter of fact I recently helped my wifes boss out. He sent me this and this, I got a chuckle out of them. I thought I would pass them along to anyone else who has helped someone they know with their computer.

The Movie Business

This past weekend I spent 5 days on a movie set. This was not in Hollywood, but rather on a farm north of Harriston, ON. Its a production being created by York University students called “The Great Fear“. Why was I there you ask? Well, my son was one of the actors in the movie. Less then a year ago he told me he wanted to be an actor. Well this 11 year old made his dream come true in less then a year. I'm so proud of him, but that is another story.

Like most people I have watched the Oscars waiting like most people for the Best Actress and Best Actor categories to be presented. Scoffing at the set design, lighting, sound, costume, makeup, and camera people. Just to mention a few. Not to mention all the people who setup, tear down, move, get, send, lift, cook, run the list goes on and on.

I always knew it took a lot of people to make a movie and I think, I thought, I appreciated them. Until you actually see it in action you have no idea.

The people working on creating “The Great Fear” worked their butts off. They take their craft very seriously and it was great to see young people so passionate about something.  I cant wait to see the final product.

To everyone I met last weekend. You have enhanced Gareth and my lives in more ways then you will ever know. Thank you!

I took some pictures, if you like you can see them here.