Will code for food?


Is it just me or over this past fall did we hit a new low for the software development discipline in Toronto? Most of the downtown core was plastered with these home made signs reminiscent of purveyors of piano lessons or dog walking.


What's next, coders joining the legions of squeegee kids and hot dog vendors on the streets?

About being a MS Regional Director

In case you didn't know, I have been a Microsoft Regional Director (RD) for about 3 years now. There are some similarities to the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award program, which I've also been fortunate to receive for the past 2 years. But since the program is smaller (about 150 RD's world-wide), it is much less known, and as such, when the topic comes up, there are some common questions about being an RD.

Fellow Regional Director, Jonathan Goodyear, wrote up a very nice description of the Regional Director position for asp.netPRO recently that is worth reading.

In addition to myself, there are two other Regional Directors in Toronto, Kate Gregory and Scott Howlett.

Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server Seminar across Canada

In November, 2005, Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2005, a major new release of its developer tools environment, and the foundation of Microsoft platform development for the next few years. In addition, this marked our entry into the lifecycle tools market, with the addition of Visual Studio Team System and the Team Foundation Server, to support end-to-end system development scenarios. We are bringing the tools we have been using for years internally to market to help address customers need to more rapidly develop and deliver solutions that meet the business performance, scalability and end user requirements.

Visual Studio Team System adds significant new capabilities and value to the suite of Microsoft developer tools, with advanced end-to-end role collaboration, real-time reporting and analysis, and a host of new tools covering architecture, development, and testing.

Many of you may have already transition to one of the individual role based offerings in Visual Studio Team System, but are still learning all the new tools and benefits of the offering. This session is intended to provide an introduction to Visual Studio Team System, highlight the new functionality and business value in each offering, and outline the transition steps for existing Visual Studio and MSDN customers. We will also demonstrate Visual Studio Team System in action.

This is your opportunity to attend a free education session and fast track your knowledge and use of Visual Studio Team System.


On-Site VSTS Event Details & Registration:

City: Mississauga
Date/Time: February 22nd 2006 -- 3:00 to 5:00pm
Location: MS Mississauga Office MPR Room
Conference ID: 1032290174
TO REGISTER for this event click here

City: Vancouver:
Date/Time: March 2nd 2006 -- 9:00 to 11:00am
Location: MS Vancouver OFC
Conference ID: 1032290176
TO REGISTER for this event click here

City: Mississauga
Date/Time: March 21st 2006 -- 1:00 to 3:00pm
Location: MS Mississauga Office MPR Room
Conference ID: 1032290177
TO REGISTER for this event click here

City: Ottawa
Date/Time: Apr 19th 2006 -- 1:00 to 3:00pm
Location: MS Ottawa Office Glacier Room
Conference ID: 1032290179
TO REGISTER for this event click here

City: Calgary
Date/Time: May 17th 2006 -- 9:00 to 11:00am
Location: MS Calgary Office Bldg (*TBC) - registrants will be notified of location
Conference ID: 1032290181
TO REGISTER for this event click here
City: Toronto

Date/Time: June 21st 2006 -- 1:00 to 3:00pm
Location: Intercontinental Hotel on Front Street (*TBC) - downtown Toronto
Conference ID: 1032290183
TO REGISTER for this event click here
*TBC – To be confirmed

Alternative Registration Options:

  • By calling 1-877-673-8368 to reserve your place, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and quoting the event ID.
  • Register online at www.microsoft.com/canada/events by clicking on Search Event or Event ID in the left hand column and typing in the event ID.

VSLive 2006 Toronto Dates announced

Not sure this is news to most of you but VSLive is making another trip to Toronto again this year April 24-27th, 2006. It's back at the Toronto Congress Centre out by the airport again (I have mixed emotions about that one). Anyway, make sure to check it out: http://www.ftponline.com/conferences/vslive/2006/toronto/

Bell Mobility's latest bluetooth offering: Samsung SPH-a920

Back in August I wrote about Bell Mobility's first (and crippled) Bluetooth phone. This past week I picked up their latest phone with Bluetooth capabilities, the Samsung SPH-a920. I must say that I'm much happier with this phone so far. In particular the phone supports the OBEX profile for Object Exchange between two devices. I haven't done enough research about the software I can use to make use of this feature, but it's nice to know my phone has this support. Primarily I wanted to be able to send my pictures from the built in camera to my PC. Looks like the software in the phone will only allow me to send contacts. Calendar appointments and photos doesn't seem to have that option.

The good news for pictures is that this camera has a slot for a transflash memory card and they include a 32mb card to get you started (in addition to the 24mb internal memory) and a SD flash adapter so I can easily pop the chip out and pop it into the card reader of my computer. Problem solved.

In addition to being a 1.3 megapixel camera, there is also a camcorder mode for taking up to 30 second videos. When I get a chance I'll pop a few videos up on this blog.

Supporting a flash memory and video, you can imagine this phone probably plays mp3's too. I'm not a fan of flip phones, but the outer face has a separate display and a few buttons for navigating through your play list. The package also includes stereo headphones with a microphone. A nice touch.

Speaking of nice touches, I was pleasantly surprised to find they also include a USB data cable in the box. The unfortunate part of that cable is that it can't be used for charging the phone too. I'll have to look at 3rd party options like ziplinq for that.

In addition to OBEX, Audio Gateway and Dial Up Networking profiles are also supported. Which brings me to the next feature which is support for the EV-DO network. I haven't connected yet, but will be trying this in the next few days to see what the speeds and coverage are like. I generally have a week CDMA and 1X signal in my house, but surprisingly I can get an EV-DO signal most of the time.

All in all, my out of box experience has been pretty high with this phone. Takes the sting out of being stuck on the CDMA network.

Update (Feb 17/06): The Bell specific user guide for the Samsung SPH-a920 can be found here: http://bell.userguides.ca/guides/interactive.aspx?tab=h&device=76. It's a nice interactive guide.

Pricing for Mobile Data through your phone is available here: http://www.businessonthego1.com/english/wp_datapricing_cards.asp. You should call 1.877.DATA.123 (1.877.328.2123) to sign up for a package.

Migrating ASP.NET 1.x sites to ASP.NET 2.0

One of the questions we got during the Q&A of the Ottawa VS Launch yesterday was around problems in migrating ASP.NET applications from 2002/2003 to 2005.

The Web Platform Team has put together a nice step-by-step guide that covers some best practices to ensure a successful migration effort which should take you “the better part of a day” according to them. http://msdn.microsoft.com/asp.net/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dnaspp/html/webprojectsvs05.asp

Hello 2.0

This past week we saw the final bits of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 get shipped up to MSDN Subscriber Downloads. Next week we'll see the official launch of these same products to the rest of the world, ushered in with a rolling thunder of launch events and parties stretching into the rest of the month and beyond. Microsoft does a great job of fostering community with events like this.

Technically there is a lot to like about the updates to the platform and I share most of Joel's top picks. I've been building applications, consulting and teaching developers on this platform for 4 years now and it feels quite legacy, if not common place, to me now. However, in many peoples' eyes, this becomes a critical moment in time: .NET is no longer a 1.0 product. Of course I'm speaking about groups who are not developing anything significant in .NET today, and with this maturity milestone, allows them into this “new“ world.

We've been watching the adoption and market maturity of .NET closely for the past few years, and a bit to my surprise I'm starting to see a lot of groups come to .NET for the very first time with 2.0.

This coming Tuesday I have the great pleasure of being involved in the ushering in of this new era at the Toronto launch where we are expecting between 3,000 and 4,000 developers and IT professionals come together. Early statistics are showing that somewhere between 35-50% of these folks are new to .NET. Similar events are taking place all over the world during this week and stretching out into December and beyond. For Canada, Toronto is just the first stop in a long list of cities from coast to coast. Personally, I'll be presenting at Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax.

The overwhelming registration statics tics in all cities tells me two things: Firstly that .NET 2.0 is going to be adopted very quickly. Secondly, and more importantly, is that the software development industry in Canada is vibrantly growing and that indeed....Software Matters!

Consider two things:

  • Software costs a lot of money to design, build, test and deploy. Much more than it should.
  • Software projects fail at an alarming rate. Failure can be defined as any of the following: Late, Over Budget, Under Functionality, Buggy, Doesn't meet requirements.

Yet despite these two glaring issues, the business value of software is so compelling, that people are willing to keep investing in building software at increasing rates.

And then there is Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005:

  • One of ASP.NET 2.0's design goals was to reduce the number of lines of code in a typical application by over 50%.
  • SQL Server 2005 has been enhanced to be more reliable and secure, while at the same time bringing the 4GL productivity associated with C#, VB.NET and the .NET Framework into the database engine itself.
  • Visual Studio Team System 2005 was built from the ground up to help project's stay on track by integrating developers, architects, testers, project managers and other stakeholders into a common extensible repository known as Team Foundation Server.

Coincidence? I hope not ;)

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]

Toronto Architect's Breakfast: Service Oriented Design Questions Answered

Bruce Johnson is hosting our next Architect's Breakfast in Toronto this Thursday. In case you haven't been to one in the past, here's a few points of interest.

  • This is more of an interactive event. Round tables of 5-8 have breakout sessions to discuss issues. Of course there are networking opportunities with your peers before, during and after.
  • The content is focused at an architectural perspective, in this session in particular, SOA design.
  • The meeting kicks off at 7:30am. (registration/breakfast begins at 7:AM).
  • The St. Andrew's club will feed you a lovely breakfast with a great view of Toronto at the top (27th floor) of the Sun Life Building.
  • You'll be done by 9:00am and back in the office in no time.
  • You'll get to meet some really smart and nice people.

You can view the outline and register here. Hope to see you there.

Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005 Canadian Launch Dates Announced


Check out the dates for the Canadian Launch Events for Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005. Don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed to learn more about when registration opens. I can almost guarantee that these events will be sold out. Did I mention you'll receive a free copy of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 just for showing up?