Sunday, September 04, 2005
Hotel Review: Sky City Grand
Bless them all, Microsoft put us up in the new Sky City Grand Hotel for Tech Ed this year.
Thought I'd pen a quick review of my thoughts on the place. I was there for 6 nights - had sessions on Fri, Tue and Wed.
General thoughts are that it was a bloody good pad. Room was comfortable, king size bed, seperate bath AND shower.
There was broadband in the room but I thought the cost was exorbitant going on extortionate. $33 per day is a bit rich in my mind.
The Gym was fantastic. A full suite of brand new equipment.
2 Treadmills, 2 Exercycles, 1 Cross Trainer, 1 Reclined Bike. All these were fancy new Technogym units so they integrated with my Polar HRM strap and also had built in Polar Own Zone adaptive training. i.e. resistance changes to keep you in zone.
Good set of weights machines including a lat machine, bench press machine and a more general cable machine. For legs they had quad and hamstring machines. I couldn't get the hamstring one to work- but I think that was ignorance as much as anything.
It would have been nice if they'd had a few more larger size dumbells- they topped out @ 10kg.
Anyway had a few good sessions in the gym.
Had room service a couple of times. Top quality but a bit rich and hard to spot the health options. My mussel chowder was VERY creamy and the corn fritters I ordered were done in a deep fried 'bannana fritter' style. Well presented, top quality, but a coronary waiting to happen.
Travel|Sunday, September 04, 2005 9:23:02 PM UTC||
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I reckon there are some fantastic opportunities for tactical voting during this coming election.....
If Rodney Hide pushes ahead in Epsom the best thing that Labour could do would be t have their supporters back Richard Worth. If Worth wins, all that ACT vote gets wasted.
I wonder just how educated the electorate is about these sorts of perverse incentives?
But anyway, it looks like he has a pretty good chance so any right leaning voter with half a brain in that electorate should really switch their vote. ACT's still in the game people!
Politics|Wednesday, August 31, 2005 3:05:57 AM UTC||
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Monday, August 29, 2005
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Tech Ed Live Blog - Avalon and Win Forms with Tony Goodhew
Live Blogging WIndows Forms and Avalon with Tony Goodhew
Avalon not necessarily a replacement of WInforms. Will be able to start to easily integrte the two.
Quick slide on Avalon Framework
.NET and DirectX based.
Unifying Documents, Graphics and Metadata. Tony says that it is borrowing ideas from the web world and applying to richer desktop UI. Avalon aimed at bringing cmpelling UI to the client.
e.g. Data Viz- more graphicly rich display model. Can increase the rentention in knowledge of users.
Will be shipping as part of Windows Vista. Will be on the machine but will not be dehydrated until 1st run. JIT deploy will be seemless. First startup there will be some overhead but after that WinFX just available.
Redist package available for WinXP and Win Server 2003. Will need to bundle the redist with apps for those platforms.
Tony left his demo cheat sheet in his bag *grins*..... I've done that before.....
Demo is MediaMania demo. Running in XP not Vista. So miss some of the Glass UI stuff.
Key things that help us now:
A key problem with windows apps is they are built around a bitmap drawing system. Avalon changes this. Renders correctly even if we scale right up. Developer doesn't need to right scaling code.
Calls out to Amazon Web Service. Returns list of music albums. Tony starts talking about XAML and how we have split UI defnintion in Avalon.
e.g. We have a standard Avalon list box and we have written some XAML to skin it with new look including images. Tony now talking about scaling- the application is good at taking advantage of more screen real estate. VEry clever though- not just scaling. E.g. Text label control. One column when narrow. As you make it wider at run time by making wind bigger it will add more clumns and flow text correctly.
Lots of great new UI features all done in Markup language. Tony showing how we can 'reskin' the list box. \Can achieve MAJOR change.
Went from standard list to a 3D array of tiles.
Now back to slides and talking interop.
We can use Avalon to enhance existing winforms app. Might already have a set of controls that encapsulate business logic- might want to just add avalon look over the top. Avalon has a much more detailed eventing model for change notification. Still easy to take data code from 1.1/2.0 and take it into Avalon.
New control called ElementHost that allows hosting Avalon control within a winforms app. Deals with some of the background properties and that sort of host related stuff. GOing the other way you can drop a WIndowsFormsHost component into Avalon to host a windows control- strictly can host anything that has an HWnd.
Forms and WIndows just work together.
Some tehcnlogies don't transfer across... e.g. TRansparency, some styling stuff. If the WinForms control doesn't support what you want, you can't just get it by hosting inside Avalon. Some limitations are around ZOrder- HWnd host has to be at the top of the Z-Order.
THey are looking at ways to allow stuff to be rendered out to Metro- this will be preoblematic around WinForms controls... still working on the problem.
Showing a stock ticker that pulls details from NYSE.
Shows list being populated and chart being brought up. Going to show WInforms Charting Control being hosted. We've opened up the XAML. At the moment we see XML. Assured that we will get some graphical tools soon. At the moment it is a case of editing raw XML with Schema support. Unsure right now as to whether this will be available in 2005 or whether we will have to wait until Orcas (VS.2005.Next).
So we are now loking at how to embed WIndows Forms chart control. NOt much code to write. Can't really see it though- this room (Elliot in the crown) is too long for the size of the screen.
Good demo. Just works. Looks good and not out of place having WInforms control in there.
Back to PPT.
So when do we want to use what?
Not telling us to reqrite existing application in WinFX. But, are there areas of the app whch we could take advantage of WinFX in.
Can we use both?
Can we build apps that take advantage of WInFX when we find it.
We need to seperate the UI and the business logic. Make sure that you sperate the UI from the business logic. Abstract it out correctly. use events appropriately- observer patters, MVCs etc...
If you have a dependency then take it on the basis of broadest platform appeal. e.g. If you need a bitmap use a Windows Forms Bitmap not an Avalong bitmap so things can still be used on nw non WInFX platform.
So we are now looking at putting an Avalon Listbox into a WinForms app. We have the form in design view. Drops in the Element host, some databinding support controls to allow binding the Avalong control to windows forms dataset. Not able to drag and drop the Avalon control yet :-( BOooo... I was getting excited for a minute there!
Actually write some code to add it during a runtime formload handler.
Demo worked well... TOny happy......
Now we're goi9ng to look at how to make it adaptive- i.e. so it still works on Windows 2000... i.e. non WInFX platforms. So what did we do to determine it was running on WInFX? At present can check in code by trying to find the actuall class using reflection. Thus doen't require a dependancy... late bound not early bound.
If it doesn't exist we can just use our normal code and display a non Avalon Control.
Really need to do something about the screen in this room. A bit hopeless..... can't see squat. TOo much looking at code that I can't see in this demo now. BUt we get the idea. Runtime detection of WInFX support and draw either Avalon or WinForms depending on our actual machine. Has used two seperate cotrol projects thus allowing us to avoid any early bound (depency) references
in our actual Winforms project. DOn't need an Avalon dependency until we actually dyaniclally load the Avaol styled listbox cntrol at runtime. We do similar stuff to this in order to make our applications run on the same code base on WIndows Mobile and on WinForms desktop.
Back into PPT.
The obligatory Call to Action Slide
Key message here is to seperate the Business and UI logic. Says to use PAG P&P guidance.
Need to look at two to three year plan and plan how we will get there with introduction of WInFX.
We will need to look at some of this as check that we can migrate our metedata driven WInforms and CF Forms engine to Avalon at some point.
.NET|Sunday, August 28, 2005 11:57:59 PM UTC||
Tech Ed Podcasts Coming Soon
I did the Podcasts on Friday. Just need to finish encoding the video and upload them. Keep your eyes peeled.
.NET|Sunday, August 28, 2005 9:58:20 PM UTC||
Been watching CNN this morning at my Hotel (hotel review to follow) and it looks like New Orleans is going to get a serious pasting. Details at www.cnn.com
Human Aggregation|Sunday, August 28, 2005 9:57:09 PM UTC||
Tech Ed 2005 Keynote Live Blog
Ross Peat (NZ MD)
Usual ra ra and blah blah. Spoke about forthcoming technology wave. Announced a new partnership with Incubators NZ worth NZ$3.5 mill. This is good. Directly affects me.
Iain McDonald (Director in Windows Team Redmond)
Wanted to piss take about the rugby couldn't. Didn;t want to talk about the cricket either
Michael Kleef (Aus D&PE- IT E from Perth) came out for Demo.
- Showed split token admin privs. Eaiser to run with lower priv.
- Showed event log that can in turn trigger other jobsand tasks
- Showed new policy stuf
- Showed virtualised HKEY local machine. I.e. apps write to user specific apps while still able to write to HKEY local machine. Old stuff will thus keep running under new Longhorn Security
- Spoke about metadata tagging of file system objects. But what about WinFS? That is what they SHOULD have done.
- Browser Security. Support for talking about certificates and other security stuff in IE. Anti phishing stuff. Little bit of demo hell
Back into PPT with Iain.
Longhorn Ship Date H2 2006.
Now talking about VS2k5 and SQL2k5.
- Up to 70% CODE REDUCTION
- Up to 40% better performance
Prishant (some VS PM from Redmond... don't know him) showing VSTS.
- Showed applicaton designer.
- System designer
- Validation. Both pretty uncompelling demos IMHO. Sorry guys.
- Unit testing. Feeling rushed. Not enough detail given as to what is going on. Showed the code coverage support- this was VERY cool. VSTS can enforce 100% code coverage.
- Security. Showed a CPP demo. Showed security warning around potential buffer overrun. Basically the same tools used for security analysis internally.
- Web Load Testing. All runs within VSTS. Can generate work items directly from within test envrionment. Looks good but again..... not keynote RA RA sort of stuff.... the crowd has yet to really go *WOW* to anything.
Back into PPT. Talking about SQL Server.
Showed the 'death by PPT' slide listing new features in SQL.
Demo with (Andrew Coates another Aussie DPE guy from Sydney) showing reportng services. Showing end user reporting. Clickonce application. Hooray real world Clickonce.
- Asks t choose datasource- pre cnfigured by DBA
- Drag and drop report designer. Looks quite nice.
- Very nice drag and drop simple reporting.
- Showed a good 3 minute report build.
- Showed ability to save report back into sharepoint. Showed reporting services web part.
- Allows paremeters to be passed into report from the web part.
- Thought this was a pretty good demo. Still not super *WOW* factor though.
Now we're into WIndows Server. Talking about being non disruptive around updates. Help users to better manage updates. Spoke about 4 yearly majors releases and 2 yearly update releases. Trying t show value in Software Assurance.
Speaking about Windows Server 2003 R2. Sharepoint Services, .NET 2.0, Unix Interop tools.
- Better support for management of Branch offices- remote backup, management, file and print. Minimal bandwidth requirements.
- Better Web Single sign on support. E.g. Fidelity uses Web Single SIgn On for MS Staff with the MS AD authentication.
- Storage. Speaking about archival of documents. Better SAN support. Better quota support- not allow JPGs, MP3s etc... Better UNIX NFS support.
Now talking abut 5 major windows server strategy areas
- Distributed Applications - Indigo
Coudn't remember the new 'Foundation name'.
Spoke about new Connected Systems Division (Biztalk, AD and Indigo teams). Spoke about how WIndows Server sits in here.
Spoke about WCF. Interop play all based around web services.
Easy service and management models.
More and more storage is on edges of network. Smartphones, notebooks. Better replication of file system for these devices. Looks GREAT. Not sure if he made the case as strongly as he could have.
- Integrating the Edge
Dealing with machines at the edge. Less control. How do you use plicy to define and protect the edge.
- Federated identity
- Multifactor and improved auth.
- Universal addresability-IPv6.
- Define the boundaries. Good IPSec cert based
- Network access protection. When laptop returns to physical network after being out in internet land. Quarantine and re-connect scanning and automated patching. Anti malware being built in.
- Per application VPSs and Firewalls.
Dynamic Systems Initiative
A move to model based management and development.
Building virtualization into the core of windows. All very much about management. (Not cost me thinks).
Licensed the VHD format for Virtual Server.
Virtual Server R2 end of 2005. Will support Linux and other *nix's. BIG step for MSFT.
Longhorn will have Hypervisor and will support new virtualizaton chips from iNTEL AND amd.
.NET|Sunday, August 28, 2005 8:56:55 PM UTC||
Showed product waves.
In the end a not too bad keynote.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Travel Madness Begins Once More
OK... so I'm pretty travel crazy over the next few weeks... blogiing may be light again for a bit
25 Aug DUD-AKL
31 Aug AKL-BNE
2 Sep BNE-WLG
5 Sep WLG-DUD
11 Sep DUD-LAX
16 Sep LAX-DUD
27 Sep DUD-SEA
31 Sep SEA-DUD
Rambles|Wednesday, August 24, 2005 10:20:31 PM UTC||
One of My Crew Is Blogging
My lovely office admin is blogging.....
She's a BA grad from Otago, wife to one of my tech guys and a generally all around smart cookie- I hired based on her Rubiks Cube ability!
Anyway check it out... they lost 13-0 in social soccer the other night.....
Human Aggregation|Wednesday, August 24, 2005 6:39:37 AM UTC||
“Today I had a rather bold customer, I don’t know if he does it in other shops or not. He asked about a TV and I said I would go and get him one. Instead he came into the stock room, clearly marked “Staff only” and had a look at it there. Then, later today he came back and said he would like one of the TVs. He then walked into the stock room picked one up and walked out. What the?! Does he go to the supermarket and say, “I’d like some gravy mix, oh none on the shelf? I’ll just pop into the store room and grab a packet.”? Weirdo”
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Pod Casts From Tech Ed NZ
We'll be doing some kickass Pod Casts from Tech Ed NZ.
Check out www.dot.net.nz on Friday night for interviews with:
- Tony Goodhew
We'll be talking to 'that' mad Aussie about XNA the development platform for XBox live.
- Ari Bixhorn
Ari has been a regular traveller to these shores. I think I first ran into him when he was a PM for VB.NET. This time around we'll be discussing the forthcoming distributed computing framework called Indigo.
- Betsy Aoki
Betsy is the Microsoft Community Program Manager. She's one of the key people driving the open culture that now seems to pervade Microsoft.
Got a burning question for these guys? Want me to ask the hard ones for you? Post your questions in the comments.
.NET|Tuesday, August 23, 2005 5:58:11 AM UTC||
Tech Ed 2005: What you wearing?
So FrakArr (DPE Aus) and David L (DPE Aus) are going on about what they're wearing to Tech Ed...
I'l have my new Puma Red Shoes- they have GENUINE green space invaders on them.... beat that!
.NET | 1t|Tuesday, August 23, 2005 4:47:36 AM UTC||
Get Fit Essentials #2: George Foreman Grill
Now I've blogged about this before. But this is really a follow up.
I currently cook about 80% of my meals on my Foreman Grill. It was a wedding present from Debs Aunt and Uncle.
It really kicks ass. Reasons:
Gettin Fit|Tuesday, August 23, 2005 2:15:33 AM UTC||
- All the fat runs off (Atkins can take a giant leap... fat is BAD BAD BAD....BAD!)
- It cooks twice as fast becuase it's heated top and bottom
- You can easily make dishes free meals with it.
- Stick steak and veges on grill and cook
- When finished place on sice of bread and eat.
- While grill still hot wipe clean with kitchen paper.
- VOILA... no dishes.
How The Tax System Works
This is a VERY simple way to understand the tax laws. Read on -- it does make you think!!
Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men — the poorest — would pay nothing; the fifth would pay $1, the sixth would pay $3, the seventh $7, the eighth $12, the ninth $18, and the tenth man — the richest — would pay $59.
That's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement — until one day, the owner threw them a curve (in tax language a tax cut).
"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20." So now dinner for the ten only cost $80.00.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six — the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"
The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, Then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being PAID to eat their meal. So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of his earlier $59. Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.
But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man who pointed to the tenth. "But he got $7!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man, "I only saved a dollar, too . . . It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!".
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man, "why should he get $7 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered, a little late what was very important. They were FIFTY-TWO DOLLARS short of paying the bill! Imagine that!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore.
Where would that leave the rest? Unfortunately, most taxing authorities anywhere cannot seem to grasp this rather straightforward logic!
[Nicked from elsewhere BTW]
Politics|Tuesday, August 23, 2005 2:09:46 AM UTC||