Resources from the SQL 2008 Spatial Data Presentation


Here is the presentation.  Click the screen shot to download a ZIP of the demo and slide deck.

Exchange 2010 Beta

A couple days ago Daniel Shapiro offered 10 people Virtual Servers hosted by Rack Force.  I jumped on the offer, as I’ve been wanting to migrate this website to it’s own privately hosted server.  It really came down to never having the time to test out hosts, so this was a perfect opportunity.  Shortly thereafter I found out Exchange 2010 hit beta, and I wanted to run it through it’s paces.

After installing Active Directory, I installed the beta, which went really smooth.  Given that it went smooth, I decided to update the DNS MX records for to point to this server.

One thing I didn’t realize is you have to set up Receive Connectors and Send Connectors.  The wording is kinda misleading, so I ended up setting my first Send Connector to only route mail going to from  Not so useful.  The Receive connector was the same way.  However, this is all similar to Exchange 2007.

Now some pictures:

image Outlook Web Access

image Exchange Management Console


 IIS Manager Hosting Outlook Web Access


Always a Good Sign on a Friday…

There is something to be said for having an empty inbox on a Friday evening.  Mind you, it is after 7:00PM though…


Presentation on Geospatial Data(types) in SQL 2008 – June 4th

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.

Map picture

The Fine Line Between Insanity and Clarity

The BBSM (Building Broadband Service Manager) is a Windows 2000 box that acts as a gateway to the internet for customer access.  It handles that login page when you connect to the open WiFi network.  It is the most convoluted piece of [insert noun here].  The guy who signs my paycheck had asked me a few weeks back to redesign said login page in keeping with corporate designs.  It was also requested that it be mobile browser friendly.  Classic ASP, running JScript (yes, JScript), in IIS 5 on Windows 2000 behind ISA Server 2000.  The new layout was done in about an hour, and it looks pretty good.  It has been 3 weeks and I still can't get the freakin mobile code working.

In a moment of insanity (clarity?) I got the bright idea to install .NET on the box and rewrite all the pages from scratch.  Rewriting took a couple hours, and the mobile support works.  Go to set it up on the box (which must be done via USB key, via Ops guy, via physically walking to box in DataCentre {which I don't have access to}) and come to find permission errors for the ASPNET account doing COM stuff.  Needless to say I hate COM Interop with a passion.  I even sunk to the level of giving the ASPNET account full admin privileges.  Turns out Windows 2000 does not like COM Interop either.

"It looks nice if you use a laptop" was my statement to the boss.  His response was "everyone is using PDA's and their iPhones.  Maybe 10 customers use laptops."

Moral of the story: If the original code was written in the same year you turned 11, run.  Quickly.


In my previous post I had said I saw some pretty interesting stuff on the Canadian Evangelist’s blogs.  While I’m not a big fan of PHP for technical reasons (i.e. NOT philosophical), it is pretty cool that you can run PHP on IIS.  So with that being said, we have a contest:

For the Win! For the Web! FTW: Ultimate App Throwdown -- Professionals vs. Students

Wait a Minute…Microsoft and PHP?

You probably wouldn’t be surprised that Microsoft is holding a development contest that pits professional developers against student developers. You might be surprised that Microsoft is holding a development contest where the challenge is to build a PHP application.

You read that right: PHP. Microsoft’s web server, IIS (Internet Information Services) can run PHP as well as ASP.NET; in fact, it can even run both on the same site at the same time, so you can have apps like Wordpress along with your ASP.NET-based apps.

Even more unexpected is that the beta for the 2.0 version of the Microsoft Web Platform Installer doesn’t do a “couple-of-clicks” installation of the expected stuff like IIS and SQL Server 2008 Express, it also provides a “couple-of-clicks” installation of PHP and Wordpress.

The FTW! Throwdown

That’s “FTW!” as in “For the Win” or “For the Web”, by the way.

The contest is pretty simple: the idea is to show the best application written in PHP and deployed on Windows. The app can be either:

  • A new application developed by you in PHP and running on IIS in Windows
  • An existing application or framework written in PHP and ported by you to run on IIS in Windows

That’s right: if you’re pressed for ideas or time to make a new application, it’s all right – you can take a PHP application that already exists, make the necessary changes so that it’ll run on IIS (and hey, for bonus points, make it tie into SQL Server instead of MySQL), and submit that as your contest entry!

Students vs. Professionals

Another twist to the FTW! Throwdown is that we’re getting student developers and professional developers to challenge each other. The pros have experience and resources on their side; students have youthful energy and fewer distractions going for them. Not since “Pirates vs. Ninjas” has there been a challenge like this!

One application developed or ported by students and one application developed or ported by professionals will be chosen from the submissions for the Ultimate Challenge, which will be a final bout at Microsoft’s Make Web, Not War conference. In that last match, it “Two apps enter! One app leaves!”. Simply put, one of the apps – either the student one or the professional one – will be declared the Ultimate Champion.

As they said in Highlander: “There can be…only one!”

The Booty

We want to reward the best contestants for their efforts in the FTW! Throwdown, and we plan to do so with some pretty nice prizes, which include:

  • The grand prize: $5000 for the winning entrant.
  • The runner-up prize: $3000 for the runner-up.
  • The SQL Server prize: $3000 for the finalist whose app showcases the best use of PHP with a Microsoft SQL Server database.
  • The PHP/.NET Mash-Up prize: $2000 for the finalist whose app showcases the best of PHP with .NET-based code working together in a single application.
  • The student finalist prize: The student developer who makes it to the last match will also get an interview and resume critique from Microsoft and a $200 Petro-Canada gas card.
  • The professional finalist prize: The professional developer who makes it to the last match will also get a chance for a published case study, enrollment in the MAPS or EMPOWER program and a $200 Petro-Canada gas card.

Ignite Your Career Webcast Series for IT Architects

I’m not usually one to repost from other blogs, but the last few I’ve seen from the Canadian Evangelist’s from Microsoft have been pretty exciting.  The first is the Ignite Your Career Webcast series for IT Architects.  There was a string of IYC Webcasts put on by Rick Claus over March for the IT Pro’s about lots of interesting topics.  This Series is all about the developers.  That is such a nice statement to hear: “…all about the developers”.  Enjoy!

Ignite Your Career Webcast

The IT Architect team here in the Canadian Developer & Platform Group are getting really excited... and this webcast series is why!

Starting on the 5th of May we're going to be joined by IT Architects from around the country to talk about career issues in challenging times. We're going to discuss industry trends and insights, skills development, entrepreneurship and organizational competitive advantage through careful use of IT - all in the context of furthering our careers as IT Architects.

The webcasts will be one hour long starting at 12 noon Eastern and will consist of a panel discussion with our invited guests. Every week we will tackle a new topic with a goal of taking as many questions as we can get from you the audience. This is your opportunity to learn about best practices and ways of honing our careers from individuals around Canada who have excelled in the IT industry. Be sure to visit the Ignite Your Career MSDN website to register for each of the sessions that interest you.

This is interesting…


I’m fairly certain there’s a good reason for this, but I just thought it was interesting because these are not hashes.  They are actual encrypted passwords.  Statistically improbable to get something like this in production systems.  Completely understandable in development.  Just thought it was interesting to see.

Consultation to Salary – Theoretical Head Banging Meets the Real World

A few weeks ago, six or so, I was offered a position as a Software Developer for the Woodbine Entertainment Group.  The position looked appealing so I accepted the job offer.  I am in a probationary period for the next four months and a bit.  Anything I say can be grounds for firing me.  Never liked that part about non-contract jobs.  Ah well.

Woodbine is an interesting company.  I knew very little about it until I got word of the job.  Seems I was the only one in Canada who didn’t know the company.  My grandmother, who moved to California 50 years ago, knew about the company.  Even used to bet there – well, the Woodbine Race Track, before it moved.  It has an interesting history.

It is migrating to be a Microsoft shop, from a more Novell focused infrastructure.  We are working towards standardizing on .NET for our custom applications.

The one thing that caught my eye with Woodbine is that the company is the technology leader for Horse Racing.  Not just in Canada, but throughout the world.  Our services can let you place a bet live, on a track in Australia, and see results immediately.  Can you imagine the infrastructure required for such a feat?  It’s sweet!  The business-people behind this are really keen on letting technology do it’s thing, so we can make money.  Lots of money.  See our Annual Reports on that.  Check back for latest numbers.

Now, some of you may have noticed that our Corporate Portal is written in what looks to be Classic ASP.  For all intensive purposes, it is. shows the portal went live in 2001, and had a major rebuild in 2003.  Since then incremental changes have taken place, most of which have been built using ASP.NET.  We are working on the new portal.  All I can say at the moment is: it’s going to be awesome.  So awesome that a new word will need to created to contain all of its awesomeness.  HorsePlayer Interactive is pretty amazing, but I’d like to think this new site will be just that much more awesomer.  Yes, I said awesomer.

As for the nature of this site, it won’t change.  I’ll still post my thoughts and experiences.  I might need to change stories a little to protect the innocent, but it’s all in good fun.  I may be forced to post details of how horse racing actually works, because I’m still not sure I get all the facets of it.  In time.

More to follow.

For the love of god, stop saving my Internet Explorer session!

There is a relatively new feature in IE that reloads your session if IE gets unstable.  A godsend for poorly built pages and badly written ActiveX controls, but when I want to close the window, let me close the fricken window.


Notice the three iexplore.exe processes running?  I have one window open, and 1 tab open.  For each tab I open a new process is spawned.  For each tab I close, nothing.  For each spawned process I manually try to kill, a new process is automatically started, via this lovely new feature.  If I close the parent iexplore.exe process, they all go away as they should.  But when I try to kill one of these spawned little bastards, IE thinks it got unstable, so it tries to save the session by restarting the downed process.  Lovely.

Solutions?  Stop bitching because I’m running IE 8 beta, on Windows 7 beta, on a laptop that is slowly becoming more unstable each and every waking day.

I’m thinking I’ll buy a nice E6500 from Dell.  Or maybe an X200 Tablet from IBM…err, Lenovo.  I’ll have to make a decision within the next couple days.  I can’t stand when hardware makes the system unstable.  Just makes me want to throw the freakin thing off the roof.  Hey…that’s a pretty good idea.  Pictures to come, guaranteed!