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Irregular Injection of Opinion
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 Friday, October 10, 2008
Tech Ed Features in National Campaign Video

The Nats have posted their Opening Address video to various places.

There is a better quality copy at their website: http://www.national.org.nz There is even a bit of footage from TechEd in there... A bit funny really.... I was taking photos in the keynote and there was a camera crew wandering around with a totally drool worthy rig. It was a Red One- A Rocket Rental I think...

Anyway... pretty drool worthy camera rig and seemed out of place for the live to projector broadcast stuff you'd usually see.

Politics | Toy Box|Friday, October 10, 2008 7:17:58 AM UTC|Comments [0]|    

Tech Ed Features in National Campaign Video

The Nats have posted their Opening Address video to various places.

There is a better quality copy at their website: http://www.national.org.nz There is even a bit of footage from TechEd in there... A bit funny really.... I was taking photos in the keynote and there was a camera crew wandering around with a totally drool worthy rig. It was a Red One- A Rocket Rental I think...

Anyway... pretty drool worthy camera rig and seemed out of place for the live to projector broadcast stuff you'd usually see.

Politics|Friday, October 10, 2008 7:17:53 AM UTC|Comments [1]|    

 Thursday, October 09, 2008
The Credit Crunch... A Beginners Guide

If you don't know your collateralized debt obligation from your securitized tranch of mortgage backed securities then you're not alone- neither do half of wall street.

If you're wondering how the world got into such a pickle and finance is not your forte then I highly recommend having a listen to Arnold Kling (ex Freddie Mac) on Econ Talk.

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2008/09/kling_on_freddi.html

"Arnold Kling of EconLog talks with host Russ Roberts about the economics of the housing market with a focus on the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The conversation closes with a postscript on the current financial crisis."

I'm a big fan of Econ Talk in general and it's at the top of my podcast list. If you're keen for more podcast recommendations do post in the comments.

Chris

|Thursday, October 09, 2008 9:32:59 PM UTC|Comments [1]|    

 Friday, September 19, 2008
From a D to an A in 60 seconds.

I always found the problem with studying at Uni was the whole law of diminishing returns. I could jump for a C to a solid B with a couple of nights study. To get anything better (apart from a couple of appallingly easy classes) required actual hard graft. So hence I was a B’s Get Degrees kinda guy.

Well.

I just put the new version of the RPO on MedRecruit.com and our YSlow score jumped from a D to a really good B (I think it’ll be an A outside the Intergen firewall but ISA suffs with the GZip). Took me a bit more than 60 seconds…. like 15 minutes… but that’s some pretty good ROI to me!

|Friday, September 19, 2008 2:48:09 AM UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Thursday, September 18, 2008
Why would I trust someone else to provide my <insert essential utility here>

I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past 18 months talking to people about Software as a Service, Software + Services, Cloud Services and all sorts of other catchy terms for what is effectively utility style provision of technology solutions.

A question I am often asked; indeed the first audience question when I spoke at the NZ CIO Conference last year;

“Why should I trust Amazon/Microsoft/Google/etc… with a critical part of my business”

My answer generally goes something like the following.

“Why trust yourself with a critical part of your business”

Sure, you are arguably better incentivised to deliver reliability and performance, but it is very arguable as to whether you are better equipped to do so.

|Thursday, September 18, 2008 8:33:12 PM UTC|Comments [1]|    

 Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Runtime Page Optimizer - It's like magic

Those of you who know me know that I'm an unusually excitable kinda guy. So given that I'm unusually excited I must be about to talk about something pretty exciting.

So today officially we launched the Runtime page Optimizer. You can get there by visiting www.getrpo.com.

What the runtime page optimizer does is automate a bunch of the best practice for website performance features as espoused by people like Yahoo. It does this by operating as a managed HTTP module inside ASP.NET/IIS7. So this means that you get all the performance benefits of hand optimising your site... without completely $$&^%&^ing up all of your nicely organized code and folder structures.

My favourite feature of the RPO is the way it deals with image combination.
The issue with modern websites is they just make so many requests and it's the count of requests rather than the total size that's the issue. e.g. http://www.stuff.co.nz makes 92 requests for a total of about 200kb and takes 8 seconds to load. The issue is not the 200kb, but rather the fact that the browser makes 90 odd round trips to the server... many of them sequentially. Now RPO combines all sorts of resources to reduce this count and some are pretty easy (CSS and JS etc...) but images are a bit neat. Here's how it happens.

There is a technique called CSS Spriting (everyone remembers sprites from the Commodore 64???) that basically involves making a single large image that contains all your site images and then using CSS on the client side to chop this up. It's possible to do it all by hand, but, it's both time consuming and tends to %^%ck up your site structure.

What RPO does is intercept the HTML page on the way back through to the browser, it grabs all the links, creates the large tiled image and then injects the CSS back into the page for client side chop up. Like magic the page request count plummets.

This site is running RPO so if you look at the source or use Firebug you'll be able to see the RPO in action. Another one of my sites that's running RPO is www.medrecruit.com which was the first production site to go live with it.

I'll be doing a few more blogs on why the RPO REALLY excites me over the next few days... but in the meantime go grab it yourself from www.getrpo.com

|Wednesday, September 17, 2008 3:28:45 AM UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Sunday, September 07, 2008
Tech Ed'd Out for 2008

So I'm sitting at SYD airport on my way home. It's been a pretty full on 10 days of Tech Ed madness. Here's my recap and thoughts.

  1. Last Saturday (seems so long ago) we had the New Zealand Microsoft community leaders day and then the Dot Net User Group AGM. This was a great day and really good to be able to put faces to names. I stepped down as the President of the NZ Dot Net Users Group and my focus for the next 12 months is going to be around presenting on topics- probably mainly on cloud services and Oslo.
  2. Sunday was Code Camp but I spent most of the time Camped in my room working on my decks and demos for the week. I knew I had a session every day of the week so was pacing myself. Hit up the speakers dinner on the Sunday night which was great. Spent the evening chatting with Dr Neil, Steve Riley, Ivan T, Angus Logan, JamesNK and Reed Shafner (wow how good am I remembering all those names!)
    I also popped into the hands on Labs on Sunday afternoon and they were cranking... more on these later.
  3. Monday saw TechEd kick off in earnest. I actually quite liked the politicos presenting... but then I am a political animal. Others were not so happy with it. I had my first session before lunch focusing on Cloud Services. I could have said it was about BizTalk services but then no one would have turned up so I fibbed a little. The session went really well with good audience interaction and good evals. I decided afterwards that my demos were kinda arse. I was showing off some stuff we had built at Intergen* but because parts of the app we built have yet to be announced I couldn't show the whole thing. Based on this I resolved to re-do my demos for Sydney.
    I attended the VIP/Sponsors drinks on Monday night and passed on both the Bloggers Dinner and Architects Dinner as I was just too exhausted.
  4. I ran the Web Futures panel session on Tuesday. This went really well with both the audience and the panel enjoying it I think? On the panel were Jorke from MS Aus, Nigel Parker, Scott Hanselmann, Harry Pierson, Trent Mankelow from Optimal Usability and Jonas Foles. There was a great turnout of Intergenites in the crowd and we even got to give some mad yellow props when Trent said the best colors for links were Yellow on Black!
    Tuesday night was the party night. I got a special VIP invite as I was in the top 20 on the Veek of the Week competition- this was a comp run by the MSNZ marketing guys around Virtualization. The VIP area was nice with killer cocktails, but, it needed a few more people. I did a video interview about the way we've used Virtualization in the Intergen Data Center to provide MedRecruit with high end hosting at a reasonable price point.
    I was in bed by about 9pm as I was presenting again on Wednesday.
  5. Wednesday I presented my session on Microsoft Oslo. Again, this went really well given that I had so little to show off. Because Oslo is still so far off it was really a case of going through the 50k foot view. Ran into some great folks from some big NZ business^ who are keen to follow up around Oslo when I'm able to talk in more detail. i.e. Post PDC in early November. Enjoyed catching up with people at the leaving drinks and kinda gorged myself on the mini duck spring rolls....
    After the drinks I grabbed some food and hit the hay.
  6. Thursday morning I was out on the 7am flight to Sydney. Got a lift to the airport with Scott Cate who I've heard does a killer Javascript demo. Spent most of the flight catching up on email but managed 1/2 an hour of FreezeTV (Skiing stuff) on the all new touch screen AirNZ entertainment system. Someone needs to boot their User eXperience people up the bum as it's still pretty below par, though much better than their older system.
    Scott and I caught a cab into the hotel and then headed over to the Darling Harbour conference center.
    I presented my Cloud Services session that afternoon and to be honest I thought I really NAILED it (i.e. best session of the week). The evals were only so so though :-( It drives me a bit insane when people comment "room too small, room too cold, good session though" and then tick 6's for everything. Or come along to a 200 level session on stuff that's barely been announced and grumble that I didn't dive deep enough.... grumble grumble....
    I spent a bunch of time patrolling the exhibition pavilion. Sharepoint is huge in Aus at the moment with and I also had a chat with some people about some RFID demos that I'm keen to do soon. This was much bigger than the last Aus TechEd I went to in Brisbane.
    The party for Aus TechEd was Thursday night but I bailed and went back to catch up on some sleep.... trying hard to stay on Kiwi time which meant up at 5am at the latest!!!
  7. Friday I ran the Web Futures panel again with a slightly different bunch of people. This included Shane Morris who is a UX evangelist for MSFT and ex Optimal Experience. He made a really good point in the session about branded intranets and how they can become a real rallying point for staff. I think our own Intranet at Intergen, the Kernel, really is a great example of this. The audience was much more active in Australia and while I got through ALL my pre-canned questions in NZ I only managed a couple in Aus,
    My Oslo session was the last session of the day on Friday. Tough gig again I guess. I was up against Steve Riley and this thing called the Mobile Smackdown which seems to have some history in Aus and is reputed to 'sell out' very early. I still got a pretty full room and a lot of interest and 'probing' questions. Some of which I could answer, some of which I knew the answer but couldn't say and some of which I was just like.... where on earth did that come from.

And that's it. Another solid year of Tech Ed.

The highlights for me this year was the kick ass Intergen Hands on Labs setup in Auckland (If I do say so myself!). I think we really nailed it this year. It looked great, we had the infrastructure and labs down pretty well and didn't have too many labs we had to pull. Well done to the team- I got a lot of positive commentary from both within MSFT NZ and other attendees.
Other highlights were getting over to Aus again. It's always interesting to see what's going on over here.

|Sunday, September 07, 2008 7:40:40 AM UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Monday, September 01, 2008
NZ TechEd 2008 Keynote

Well.... a surprise this morning in the keynote... and I don't just mean Oliver Driver's glasses. Microsoft extended an invitation to National (John Key) and Labour (David Cunliffe) to present their IT/Broadband strategies.

I genuinely enjoyed both these presentations, but then I am a bit of a political animal. A few of the thoughts that struck me:

  1. Both these two gentlemen are smart, well spoken and have actually had a real job outside parliament.
  2. They agree on more than they disagree on
  3. Cunliffe was a bit disingenuous when he said National will be dicking around for 18 months. Key is on record saying they'll have diggers laying conduit by Christmas
  4. Cunliffe didn't wow me as much as a spekaer this time as he did at the CIO conference last year-  that said I could still see myself voting for a Cunliffe lead Labour party
  5. Key had the call of the day about people needing to use broadband for more than porn and online poker.
  6. I'm not sure if Key is going to 'own' the digital strategy himself when they win the election. Not sure I'm much into Maurice to be honest.
  7. Not sure how much depth National have. Key is brilliant, my observation of the rest is they are pretty mediocre.
  8. Despite being a pretty hardcore Libertarian, I think the most efficient and effective approach will be for Chorus to own and managed a regulated return infrastructure network and make this available under open access. The irony is this is the National policy.

I didn't hang around for the last half of the keynote as I was presenting in the session afterwards. Photos below.

IMG_4137 IMG_4155
IMG_4125 IMG_4154
|Monday, September 01, 2008 3:41:02 AM UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Sunday, August 31, 2008
The Brain On Tour

So we (the MSDN Regional Directors around the world) are doing something a bit different in the lead up to Microsoft PDC in LAX. We've got the PDC 'Brain in a Jar' and we're taking it on a world tour. Here it is on the New Zealand leg with Dr Neil, Adam Cogan, JB, myself and Jonas Folles at Sky City in Auckland.

IMG_4101

|Sunday, August 31, 2008 9:58:45 AM UTC|Comments [0]|