Irregular Injection of Opinion
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 Saturday, 21 March 2009
Useful Stuff for Building SharePoint Themes

Thanks to all who came to my session at MIX on doing great Theme design for SharePoint.

I promised I’d post up some bits after the session so here they are.

I showed some useful snippets in the session. These were used when we created our Feature Receiver.

These two snippets basically create the code required to add our theme into and take it out of the SPThemes.xml when we install and uninstall the feature..

The Macro I showed for creating the 12 Hive structure in VS.NET is in this post here.

I mentioned Heather Solomon’s CSS Reference Guide for SharePoint here.

I also talked about the March CTP of VSeWSS 1.3 and a pack of 10 Themes for SharePoint that we’ve put together. Both are linked to from a post by Paul Andrew- his blog is well worth having in your RSS reader.

I think that’s about it. If I promised anything else please let me

SharePoint|Saturday, 21 March 2009 00:03:58 UTC|Comments [5]|    

 Sunday, 15 March 2009
Wellington Road Biking - Great Ride This Morning

With all this travel I keep forgetting just how lovely Wellington can be on a great day.

Did a fantastic road ride today. Out to Johnsonville (past the murder scene at the Mobil), back into town via Ngaio, around the bays and the Miramar peninsula and the I cut home @ Kilbirnie as I was pretty stuffed by then. Rode a bunch of the peninsula with a guy from Mercer comparing notes on hotels to stay at that actually have proper spin bikes.

Did about 70km all up.


My peak 20min power was up to 300 Watts so I’m defn. seeing some improvement in my Functional Threshold Power (up from 280 Watts last time I did a proper test) . Even more pleasing was I maintained 290 Watts for 20min and 255 Watts for 60 min. Just have to get the body weight down and should be caning it.

Adventure Sports | Gettin Fit|Sunday, 15 March 2009 02:25:05 UTC|Comments [2]|    

 Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Creating the Structure for a SharePoint Theme in VSeWSS v1.3

So VSeWSS doesn’t provide a Visual Studio project type to create Themes.

So we have to start out with a SharePoint –> Blank Project.

Then we add a Root File

Then we need to create a structure something like this (if we want to be nicely multilingual aware)

So creating these by hand is a bit of a pain in the arse… especially if you have to do it during a presentation (come to my presentation at MIX09! ‘State of the Art in Web Site Design on Microsoft SharePoint’).

So I wrote a little Macro that creates these folders for you… thought it might be useful to some people.

    Sub TemporaryMacro()
        Dim themeName As String = InputBox("Enter the template name")
        Dim rootItem As ProjectItem = DTE.Solution.Projects.Item(1).ProjectItems.Item(2)
        Dim templateItem As ProjectItem = rootItem.ProjectItems.AddFolder("TEMPLATE")
        templateItem.ProjectItems.AddFolder("LAYOUTS").ProjectItems.AddFolder("1033") _
    End Sub

Hope it’s helpful for people.

.NET | SharePoint|Wednesday, 11 March 2009 00:12:51 UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Friday, 06 March 2009
Getting Tail Kicking Performance Out of Virtual PC

So there are plenty of posts around the web about how to get the best performance out of Virtual Machines. I thought I’d jot down what I do. I use VMs mostly for running training and demos- so my usage approach is optimized that way.

First let me say I am a Virtual PC guy. I’ve tried VMWare, I’ve tried Hyper-V, I’ve tried Virtual Server 2005 R2. In the end I just find VPC 2007 SP1 the best balance of performance and convenience. I use VMs mostly for presenting and I do so off a less than uber grunty machine- I run my VMs on a Lenovo x61t Notebook- it’s not the fastest machine in the world but it is tiny, light and versatile- all grat for regular travellers like me. My Vista Index looks like this

You’ll note I’ve invested in the important things- 300GB 7200RPM HDD and 4GB of RAM. Despite only being a 1.6Ghz Processor it still gets a 4.5.

Anyway, I digress. So here’s how I run my VPCs.

I do some basic Host machine tweaks per:
Basically this is just configuring my Virus Scanner (CA eTrust) to ignore VPC and my VHD and other related files.

I follow some of the guest tweaks that Andrew Connell has collated here.

My key secret is my drive configuration.
I put my VHDs onto a fast Flash key. I’ve got a 32GB Patriot XT and I just got an OCZ ATV 32GB. Both are fast reading drives at about 30 Megabytes per Second..
I then configure my VMC so that the *.vmc file is on my primary HDD spindle (the 7200RPM drive above) and I turn on Undo disks. This means that all the write traffic is on the 7200RPM platter and the read access is split between this main drive and the thumb drive. The result is great performance. I’ll probably swap my primary drive to an SSD later this year which will probably mean a bit of a rethink.

YMMV.. but this works well for me.

.NET | Windows 7even|Friday, 06 March 2009 07:28:36 UTC|Comments [1]|    

 Monday, 02 March 2009
Travel Stats So Far This Year


7 Trips
73,600km traveled
18 Cities visited
9 Countries visited and it’s only March…

I should add a couple of extra cities this month (LA and Vegas) and should hit 100,000km by month end pretty easily.


Travel|Monday, 02 March 2009 19:34:31 UTC|Comments [2]|    

 Monday, 23 February 2009
Copyright Amendment Delayed – And a Treatise On Singapore Airlines

So back online afterthe Blackout.. and whaddayaknow… they delayed it

Internet copyright law delayed

So I’m finally on the homeward stretch of a tour around Asia presenting on Microsoft CRM technology- currently sitting at the airport at Singapore waiting to get on my flight to Sydney. Will be my first flight on an A380 so I pretty buzzed!

I just posted a comment over on Cactus’ site where she’s having a whinge about Air New Zealand.
I’m sorry but I’ve tried a bunch of the *A carriers and while NZ is not perfect it’s the best of the bunch I think. As for calling out Singapore Airlines as a shining light- I’m sorry but until they fix the following that aren’t playing the game in my book

    • Checking in *A Gold card holders at their business counters @ Changi T2 and T3- instead of having a special area to hide them away in.
      In your place from the moment you step through those big glass doors.
      The ‘Special’ Gold Card Holder check in area.
      Note the tape fences to keep the Economy Class flying ‘swine’ in check!
      Reserved for Proper Premium Service passengers only. No cattle here.

    • Allowing *A gold card holders to use their business class lounge at Changi T2 and T3 the same way that every other bloody Star Alliance airline does for their frequent flyers. Instead *A Gold members get a ‘special’ lounge without showers and the other niceties one might expect. Back in the days before T3 they used to claim it was due to ‘space requirements’ but with the move to T3 this ‘excuse’ is categorically a complete load of bollocks- It’s peak time in the lounge right now with all the long haul flights leaving over the next couple of hours and the place is empty.
    • Updating their priority boarding policy and priority boarding signs to make it clear that they actually give a shit about being part of a global alliance rather than just paying it lip service.
      Star Alliance?!? What’s that?

For my next post, you’ll get my feelings on the behaviour of another behemoth of the Alliance, the perpetually bankrupt, United Airlines.

Deep down I really just want to fly on Spice Jet!


I hope the inflight service is as Spicy as it sounds! Though without the naked Cacti as I’m sure they’re sans a J cabin that would be up to standard.

PoliTechLaw | Travel|Monday, 23 February 2009 10:12:10 UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Sunday, 22 February 2009
Blacked Out for Monday

While I have posted before that I don’t agree entirely with the approach taken by the Creative Freedom people. I do, like almost every blogger, from almost every political persuasion, think that this is a poor piece of legislation.

This Saturday, February 28th, Section 92A of the Copyright Act is due to come into force. This website has voluntarily been taken down in protest against this law, which will be used to disconnect New Zealanders from the internet based on accusations of copyright infringement, without a trial and without evidence held up to court scrutiny. May we be very clear: we do not support or condone copyright infringement or illegal downloads. But this blatant disregard towards the basic human right to a fair trial is completely unjust and unworkable and it has the potential to punish New Zealand businesses and individuals where in fact no laws have been broken. Similar laws have been rejected in the EU as being against

PoliTechLaw|Sunday, 22 February 2009 21:30:01 UTC|Comments [2]|    

 Thursday, 19 February 2009
My Friend Nikki Kelly Does an Update At the Werner Site



Nikki Kelly Nikki is a paddling friend from way back and her son Sam is about the same age and Anna Kaituna Calder, the daughter of some other great paddling buddies.

Almost inspires me to jump back in a slalom boat…. if I had time :-)

I pine to go and live by the Kaituna river!

Nikki Kelly Shows Why She Is So Inspirational

Adventure Sports|Thursday, 19 February 2009 00:59:30 UTC|Comments [0]|    

Required Reading if you’re Working in the Cloud Space

So I’ve been doing a bunch of presenting around the Cloud Recently and also starting to discuss it as a platform with a number of our customers.

I thought I’d put together a blog post on some of the key reading I’m getting people to do to come up to speed.
Is an academic white paper out of Berkeley. Well worth a read and I’d probably start your journey here.

It’s also important, no matter which platform you choose, that you have a good understanding of how to build horizontally scalable systems and that you understand why and how to partition your stateful data tier.
I quite like the recent O’Reilly book Beautiful Architecture  for an overview of this with worked examples


Other stuff that’s worth reading include:

The Primer on Scale from Wikipedia is useful

Choosing Partition Keys
Some Thoughts on Choosing Partition Keys in Windows Azure's Table Storage

And Also from Dare: On ‘Trusting’ The Cloud
Asking should we trust the cloud is like asking should we trust horseless carriages

If STS’s, IP’s RP’s and other identity acronyms are Dutch to you then Vittorio’s article on Claims is well worth a read
Claims and Identity, On-Premise and Cloud Solutions

Windows Azure|Thursday, 19 February 2009 00:36:12 UTC|Comments [0]|