Archives / 2008 / May
  • Beyond Bullets Webcast

    I'm a fan of Cliff Atkinson's book Beyond Bullet Points and in my presentations, I tried to use bullet points to a minimum.  What? PowerPoint presentations without bullet points?  Intrigued?  Cliff is doing a free Webcast for Microsoft on Thursday June 12th.

    Microsoft Office System Webcast: How to Create a 15-Minute Presentation (with Graphics!) in One Hour (Level 300)

    If you are in a time crunch and have to get a presentation done, you need an approach that will get you results quickly. Join us for this advanced-level webcast with bestselling author Cliff Atkinson, and learn the tips and tricks you need to complete a Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 presentation in record time. As the clock ticks down from 60 to zero minutes, see how you can use Cliff's book Beyond Bullet Points (Microsoft Press, 2007) to structure your story, identify your key points, and create the slides you need to get amazing results.

    Presenter: Cliff Atkinson, Communications Consultant and Author, BBP Media, LLC

    Cliff Atkinson is a leading authority on improving communications across organizations. He is a popular keynote speaker, writer, and independent management consultant for leading attorneys and companies ranking in the top five of the Fortune 500. He is president of Sociable Media in Los Angeles, teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension, is a senior contributor for the MarketingProfs newsletter, and writes the blog Beyond Bullets. Cliff is also the author of Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire (Microsoft Press, 2005).

    Register for the Webcast here:



  • Zoom Out ZoomIt, here comes NLarge!

    I have been using ZoomIt for a while now.  It's a great and free presenter tool that let you zoom on screen areas while demoing stuff but there's a new pretender to the throne: NLarge.  What's so different about NLarge?  Well, it provides you with the same features as ZoomIt and it's also free but it's using WPF for smooth zoom effects.  Cool!


  • GUVSM Next Meeting: Tuesday May 27th


    More info at

    Team System Version Control: 0-100km 
    Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 6:15 PM 
    Conférencier: Barry Gervin, Regional Director Toronto et MVP Team System
    Note: Cette présentation sera en anglais


    Version Control is a natural place to start with Team System. So with that in mind, why not spend an evening with Barry Gervin, MS Regional Director and VSTS MVP as he tells stories of failure and success from his experiences helping companies migrate to Team System. Along the way he will share his ideas for good version control hygiene, techniques for handling project to project dependencies, branching & merging scenarios, evil VSTS “gotcha’s”, inner workings, working offline, and check-in policies. Come to this event and you’ll learn the answers to mysterious questions such as: “what is a workspace anyway?”, “will the Leafs ever win the cup again?” , “how come my get latest didn’t?”, and “who the heck wrote that line code?”

    Barry Gervin is a Principal Consultant with ObjectSharp Consulting. Barry, a technical leader with over 15 years experience, has helped many development teams architect and build large-scale mission critical applications. Barry is skilled in the Architecture and Development of Distributed Applications and Databases. Some of his notable recent work is aimed at establishing best practices for .NET development. He has been deeply involved with Microsoft's .NET platform and is a convert from the PowerBuilder development community. In addition to consulting, Barry has been a Software Development Instructor for over 10 years and currently holds a MS Certified Trainer designation in addition to .NET MS Certified Solution Developer and MS Solution Framework Practitioner designations.


  • Microsoft Source Analysis for C#

    Microsoft released a new cool tool called Microsoft Source Analysis for C#.  It's an internal tool that does somewhat FxCop does.  While FxCop analyse the IL, Source Analysis analyse the source code itself.  It comes with about 200 built in rules that are however not customizable.  These rules cover:

    • Microsoft Layout of elements, statements, expressions, and query clauses
    • Placement of curly brackets, parenthesis, square brackets, etc
    • Spacing around keywords and operator symbols
    • Line spacing
    • Placement of method parameters within method declarations or method calls
    • Standard ordering of elements within a class
    • Formatting of documentation within element headers and file headers
    • Naming of elements, fields and variables
    • Use of the built-in types
    • Use of access modifiers
    • Allowed contents of files
    • Debugging text

    After installation, the tool is integrated into the VS 2005 or 2008 IDE.  You can right click in the code window to analyse that code:

    Or right click on the project name in the Solution Explorer to analyse the whole project:

    From the same menu, you can change the tool's settings:

    The results are displayed in the same area as the Output window:

    You can read about Source Analysis for C# here:

    You can download it here:



  • Comments About DevTeach Toronto

    DevTeach was held for the first time in Toronto.  When a new dev conference like this comes to town, the hard work is making people aware of the quality of the content they'll get from attending a "paid" conference like DevTeach.  Jean-René Roy, the conference owner, sent the speakers a few comments he received.

    Great conference! I especially enjoyed the up and personal nature of the conference. I was able to talk with the presenters. I spent most of my time at the agile track. Having topics that are rarely dealt with at user groups was a bonus. I enjoyed all the sessions I attended. The venue was great and the attention to little details, e.g., afternoon ice cream was appreciated.

    Jean-René, thank you SO MUCH for bringing DevTeach to Toronto. It was fantastic and I will go again. Your tech chairs did a great job choosing sessions for each track. While I especially enjoyed the Agile sessions, I attended something from each track and the variety was good.

    An outstanding conference! All the speakers I saw were terrific — affable, down-to-earth, talented, incredibly knowledgeable. The sessions were entertaining as well as in-depth and honest — no BS, no company line. I also met many people and had many interesting and thought provoking discussions outside the classrooms, and came away with new knowledge, ideas and inspiration. “Training you can’t get anywhere else” is an understatement.

    Most of the speakers tell us 'why' and 'so what' instead of 'how'. This is what I expected and is good for developer in the long run. Please let speakers know this is good.

    This is an excellent conference. I feel I updated my skills intensively effectively during these 3 days. I believe it will become a key event in .net area.

    DevTeach was an amazing experience, especially for first timers. It was a good way to network with people in the industry, learn new techniques, make friends and bring home stories.

    This was my first DevTeach and if I have any say in the matter, won't be my last. I had a great time, the sessions that I attended were top notch for the most part. Jean-Rene and his team deserve a hugh pat on the back for their efforts. What-ever they're getting paid - isn't half enough

    What can I say. You'll definitely see me next year. I hope its still in Toronto. This was one of the BEST training conferences I've been on in quite some time. The "take-away's" from all the sessions were astounding. My mind is still spinning. Anyway, great job, nice prizes, great orgranization, absolutely no negative thoughts or comments.

    This was a fantastic experience, MUCH better information than what I got from TechEd last year. TechEd's information was very visionary, things I can talk about now but not use for a few years out. DevTeach taught me things and gave me ideas I can use NOW! I LOVE THAT! The presentators were awesome, professional and very gifted at presenting their material. The only suggestions I would make are to have hot food every day (cold cut sandwiches are fine, even suggested for people at the Pre/Post Con but not for the actual event). More evening sessions (like at TechEd). I would have liked to have seen a presentation on MSBuild. PS You should have a value for the drop down of NA for hotel and accomodations if you didn't stay at the hotel.

    I attended DevTeach in Toronto last week and can tell you it is every thing it claims to be and more. All the speakers I saw were terrific — affable, down-to-earth, talented, incredibly knowledgable. The sessions were entertaining as well indepth and honest — no BS, no company line. I also met many people and had many interesting and thought provoking discussions outside the classrooms, and came home full of new knowledge, ideas and inspiration. It really is “Training you can’t get anywhere else”. I would add, you probably couldn’t afford it if you could get it. I want to go again in December. I would recommend it to anyone wants to begome a better computing professional, or as JP would say — “Develop With Passion!”. In summary, an outstanding conference!


  • Switched to Google Reader

    I've been using IE/Outlook as my RSS client for a while now but a couple of weeks ago, a switched to Google Reader.  Here are my findings so far:


    Using IE 7, you can subscribe to RSS feeds.  It's very easy as described here:

    IE7 introduce the concept of a shared RSS store and Outlook 2007 use that store so you can view the blog entries directly in Outlook.  You can also manage the feeds directly in Outlook.

    On the plus side:
    Everything is centralized.
    If you add a feed from IE, it will appear in Outlook.
    You can use Outlook to search the feeds.
    Great for archiving blog entries containing great info.
    One client to read them all  ;-)

    Everything is centralized on one PC.
    If I use OWA, I won't get the newest blog entries until I go back to my PC.
    There's a limit on the number of blog entries (per feed) that can be stored on the RSS store.
    Your PST file will grow so plan on setting auto archive.

    Google Reader

    I gave Google Reader a try a couple of weeks ago.  Google Reader is an online RSS reader so everything is stored on Google's servers.  The main benefit is that it's online so nothing is stored locally and it's always fresh.

    Tour 1

    On the plus side:
    Everything is centralized on Google's servers.
    It's always in sync.
    You use Google search engine to search the feeds.
    One client to read them all  ;-)
    Each blog entry is marked as read after you view it.
    You can group feeds using foders and Google Reader will list all the blog entries from that folder if you click on the folder's name.
    You can mark blog entries with a star.  This way, you can retrieve entries of interest later on.
    You can share blog entries.  Best of all, there's an RSS feed others can subscribe to.  You can also display an HTML clip on your Web site.
    You can listen to podcasts directly from the blog entries.
    You have stats but I'm not sure I want to know how much time I'm spending reading blogs  ;-)
    There's a mobile interface.
    Google offers you feed recommendations based on what you're subscribing to.
    Dilbert displays nicely  ;-)

    Everything's on Google's servers.
    Using IE, there's no easy button to subscribe to feeds.  You need to do the good old Copy/Paste.

    Overall, I'm quite pleased by Google Reader. 

    Here's how audio files are displayed:

    Dilbert's feed showing how pictures are displayed:

    Some stats:


  • Using Gmail as a backup mail server

    Let's face it, if you're a small shop, building a redundant Exchange infrastructure is way too hard and way too expensive.  So what if you have a simple Exchange setup with just a few users?  You can prey that you server will never go down and you can plan the reboots after the critical updates installs on Sunday mornings.

    But why not leverage Gmail itself?  Yep, why not use Google's Gmail as the backup email server?  Sounds wacky?  It is but it works AND it's free!!!

    OK, how you I do that?

    First, you must have access to the domain's DNS entries because you'll have to modify them.

    Point your browser to, do a little reading and discover what is Google Apps.

    Next, create an a free account.

    Use your existing domain

    Follow the steps that let Google verify that you really own the domain name.  That will involve either putting a text file in the root directory of your Website or adding a CNAME.

    I use GoDaddy to register my domain names and they let you tweak the domain settings using their Total DNS Control Panel.  Check if your registrar let you do this.

    After the domain ownership has been verified, you need to change the MX records (Mail Exchange).  Gmail lists instructions for a few registrars.

    Basically, you need to add Gmail's MX records to the domain's MX records list.

    The trick is to leave the one with PriorityValue 0 (zero) pointing to YOUR email server.

    This way, mail will flow to your email server and Gmail will catch them only if your server is down.

    The downside:
    You'll have to create a Gmail account for each users.
    You'll have to ask them to check their Google apps Gmail account when you have downtime.
    The accounts are not synched.

    To simplify this, you can add a CNAME to point directly to Google apps Gmail.  Something like

    This is a great solution for small shops, best of all, it's free!


  • Microsoft's in the digital cameras business

    [Via Mark Brown's blog]

    Do you know that Microsoft is in the digital camera business?  Sure you might say, they have been selling Web cams like this one for a while now.

    Yep but I'm talking about a real digital camera with impressive features like 216 megapixels that can take these kind of pictures:

    Here's the beast:

    Yep, this puppy is designed for aerial photography and Microsoft bougth the German company who designed it back in March.

    More info here:

    I wonder if I can fit one in my car for taking potholes snapshots.


  • GUVSM Next Meeting: Wednesday May 21th (French)


    More info at


    Sujet: Survol des extensions ASP.NET 3.5
    Mercredi 21 mai 2008 à 18:15
    Conférencier: Dominic Sévigny, MVP ASP.NET
    En première partie, cette présentation portera sur le nouveau « framework » ASP.NET MVC de Microsoft. Voyez comment Microsoft prévoit d'implémenter le "Model View Controler" à ASP.NET en utilisant et en intégrant les "features" existants. Nous verrons les pour et les contres d'une telle architecture et l’impact sur vos projets existants. En deuxième partie, nous verrons les autres "features" d’ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions tels que les nouveaux contrôles, les données dynamiques ainsi que le contrôle "History" pour les applications AJAX.

    Dominic Sévigny est président de RunAtServer Consulting, une entreprise spécialisée dans la consultation ASP.NET et offrant une expertise de développement Web exemplaire par la qualité de ses développeurs séniors. Dominic est reconnu comme étant un conférencier très dynamique. En effet, il donne à l’occasion des conférences sur les technologies Web telles que ASP.NET et Ajax. Il a donné plusieurs conférences au Groupe d’usagers Visual Studio de Montréal ainsi qu’au DevTeach où il a été nommé « Best Speaker » en 2007. Il est le formateur exclusif de toutes les formations ASP.NET et AJAX pour le plus grand centre de formation de Montréal, Technologia


  • Xobni is pretty cool but...

    Xobni (Inbox backward) is a great Outlook add-in that add some cool features that let you find information more easily.

    It's still in Beta and I encountered a recurring problem where Outlook would simply not close properly and I had to kill it in Task Manager.  Upon restart, it complained that it didn't shut down properly and went to check it's data files so I uninstalled Xobni and I will give it a try when it's more baked.

    However, I must say that Derek Hatchard and Joel Semeniuk are using it intensively without problems.


  • Enterprise Library 4 is now released


    Microsoft as released Enterprise Library 4.0.

    You can download it here:

    You can read about it here:

    You can read about the new features here:

    You can read the online documentation here:




  • Digital Cameras Findings

    While browsing a little bit for digital cameras stuff this morning while sipping my latte, I found a couple of interesting sites.

    First, Flickr.  Yeah, yeah, nothing new there I known but this Flickr page is very interesting:

    It lists the cameras that Flickr users used.  You can select the model you're interested in and see "real people" (not just pro photographers) results.  Cool!

    For digital camera reviews, I used to go to Steve's Digicams and now discovered very thorough reviews at Digital Photography Review.


  • Virtual PC 2007 SP1

    Virtual PC 2007 SP1 is now available.

    This update for Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 includes support for the following additional Host and Guest Operating Systems:

    Additonal Guest Operating System support:
    Windows Vista® Ultimate Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
    Windows Vista® Business Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
    Windows Vista® Enterprise Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
    Windows Server® 2008 Standard
    Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3

    Additional Host Operating System support:
    Windows Vista® Ultimate Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
    Windows Vista® Business Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
    Windows Vista® Enterprise Edition with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
    Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3


  • Visual Studio Talk Show #74 is online (French)


    Christian Beauclair: Stratégies de migration VB6 vers .NET

    Nous discutons avec Christian Beauclair des stratégies de migration VB6 vers .NET. Entre autres, nous discutons comment utiliser le "VB 6 Code Advisor" et le "Interop Forms Toolkit" pour ajouter la puissance du Framework .NET à vos applications VB6 existantes.

    Christian Beauclair fait partie de l’équipe MSDN Canada et est basé à Ottawa. Il est avec Microsoft depuis 13 ans et a une passion toute spéciale pour le développement d’application sous toutes ses facettes. Il a écrit des programmes en Modula-2, xBase, VB6, et maintenant en C#. Il a été impliqué dans le développement de plusieurs applications majeures avec Microsoft et son ancien employeur. Sa passion s’étend aussi aux jeux (il avait son Xbox 360 réservé 6 mois avant la sortie). Il fût aussi un des membres fondateurs de la communauté .NET d’Ottawa et fait partie de son comité.

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  • Imaginet Spring 2008 Webcast Series

    Joel Semeniuk, RD for Winnipeg and known as "Joel from Canada", mentioned to me that his company (Imaginet) started a series of free Webcasts. 

    Imaginet is now providing in-depth technology Seminars covering a wide range of topics. These seminars are designed to help you approach some common and not-so-common programming challenges and provide you the opportunity to interact with our staff of experts. These sessions are also short and to the point - only 30 minutes long. It's a great way to stay in the lead on technology issues and also offer some of your own knowledge on these topics. We sincerely hope you enjoy the series.

    Take a look at:


  • Heading to DevTeach Toronto

    I'm heading to Toronto for DevTeach where I'll talk about the tooling in VS 2008 pre SP1. Here's my session's description:

    Visual Studio 2008 IDE : Grand tour of (some) of the new features

    In this session, Guy Barrette will take you to a grand tour of some of the coolest new features found in Visual Studio 2008 IDE. Be advised that this session will focus on the IDE and the tooling and that Windows and Web development will be covered. So what are some of the new Visual Studio 2008 cool features? Project compatibility with VS 2005; targeting a specific .NET Framework version; WF, WCF and WPF integrated designers; workflow enabled services; SQL Server Compact Edition integration; local database cache; enhanced CSS support; enhanced JavaScript support and debugging.


  • Visual Studio Team System 2008 Licensing White Paper

    A new version of the Team System Licensing White Paper has been published.

    You can use it as a prep tool for exam 70-555 "What you've always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about TFS licensing", a mandatory exam for the new MCLP certification (Microsoft Certified Licensing Professional).  This will also definitively help you get an MVP Licensing award.

    Seriously, why does it need to be so hard?


  • .NET 3.5 SP1 and VS 2008 SP1

    Microsoft released today a Beta version of the .NET Framework 3.5 along a Beta version of the Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2008.

    ScottGu describes the new features here:

    If you're using the Silverlight Tools, SP1 is not compatible.  Make sure you read this:



  • Speaking at the Patterns and Practices Summit

    I'm at the Patterns & Practices Summit in Quebec City and I'll give a talk about data access layer.  Sounds boring?  What if I mix some LINQ to SQL with some multi layered architecture and a touch of WCF?  Sounds more interesting, right?

    To be honest, I'm scared to death because I'm the 3rd to speak, right after the Alpha Geek himself: Scott Hanselman and a living legend: Billy Hollis.

    If you're attending, make sure to say hello!


  • NIN - The new album is free!

    Yeah, this is a blog about technology but I love music and I love NIN so skip this one if you think it's silly.

    Today, NIN released their latest album, The Split, for free on the Internet.  Yep, for free!  You can even download the tracks to create your own remixes.

    Why?  I do buy CDs but kids don't.  They download and they don't see any value in spending cash when it's there to download.  So there is less and less money to be made from selling CDs.  And when dinausors like me will disapear, they'll stop making them.

    This marks the beginning of the death of the CD and the music industry as we know it.

    Will software follow that path?


  • Visual Studio Talk Show #73 is online (French)


    Ludovic Dubois: T#: une nouvelle façon de tester

    Nous discutons avec Ludovic Dubois le concepteur du nouveau langage de programmation T# dédié pour les tests. T# est un langage .NET compatible avec C# v2 qui intègre l’équivalent de NUnit, de POCMock et bien d’autres choses… en beaucoup plus simple et beaucoup plus puissant.

    Ludovic Dubois est le président de Pretty Objects Computers, une compagnie aidant les entreprises dans leurs développements orienté objet, par de la formation, du coaching et du développement d'outils de développement. Ludovic est plongé depuis plus de 15 ans dans l'orienté objet et se passionne pour toutes les technologies qui émergent, tant qu'elles permettent aux développeurs de répondre encore mieux aux besoins d'affaires. Depuis plusieurs années, il utilise les idées des tests unitaires avec des mockobjects pour améliorer la conception de systèmes.

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  • Visual Studio Talk Show #72 is online (French)


    Patrick Smacchia: NDepend

    Nous discutons avec Patrick Smacchia du logiciel NDepend, un outil qui permet aux architectes ainsi qu’aux dévelopeurs d’analyser la structure du code, de vérifier les règles de conception et de planifier les activités de refactorisation. Entres autres, nous discutons comment il est possible de codifier les contraintes liées au couplage et à la cohésion et de les intégrer dans un « build » journalier de sorte que ces contraintes se perpétuent à travers les versions comme spécifications "exécutables" d'architecture.

    Passionné par l'architecture et le développent logicielle, Patrick Smacchia aide les entreprises à concevoir leurs applications. Ingénieur diplômé de l'ENSEEIHT, il a notamment collaboré avec Amadeus la Société Générale, Siemens et Alcatel. Il est l'auteur et maintenant le Team Lead de l'outil NDepend. Patrick a aussi rédigé l'ouvrage Pratique de .NET2 et C#2 (O'Reilly 2005) qui fait référence sur le sujet dans la communauté francophone. En complément du livre, Patrick assure des formations en entreprise et université sur les aspects avancés de la plateforme .NET. Ses compétences ont été reconnues par Microsoft France, ce qui lui a valu la distinction MVP .NET (Most Valuable Professional sur les technologies .NET) depuis 2003. Vous pouvez lire son blog au url suivant:

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  • GUVSM Next Meeting: Monday May 5th

    More info at

    Database Design Patterns

    Monday, May 05, 2008 at 6:15 PM

    Conférencier: Stephen Forte, RD New-York, USA
    Note: Cette présentation sera en anglais

    Architecting an application starts with the database. Different applications need different data models. Fifth normal form is great for an OLTP database but reporting databases need more of a flat denormalized structure and different web sites need several different types of data models: eCommerce sites need different data models than traditional publishing sites. You need to optimize your data model for your application’s performance needs. Concurrent users, Data load, transactions per minute, report rendering and query seek time all determine the type of data model you will need. See how different applications and different parts of an application can use different data models and how you can architect your database to fit into your application’s needs-not the other way around.

    Stephen Forte is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Corzen, Inc, a Manhattan (USA) based provider of online market research data for Wall Street Firms. Stephen is also the Microsoft Regional Director for the NY Metro region as well as an MVP and INETA speaker. He speaks regularly at industry conferences like Tech*Ed, North Africa Developers Conference and other conferences around the world. He is an author of Programming SQL Server 2005 (MSPress) as well as other books on application and database development. He currently is the co-moderator and founder of the NYC .NET Developer User Group.


  • Expression Studio 2 Ships!

    Microsoft shipped Expression Studio 2 yesterday:

    Some of the new features:

    Expression Web:

    ·         Standards-based design with PHP

    ·         Silverlight support

    ·         Ability to import Adobe Photoshop files

    ·         Support for ASP.NET 3.5 including ASP.NET AJAX support

    Expression Blend:

    ·         Silverlight support including JavaScript editor

    ·         XAML Vertex Animation – individual vertex control

    ·         Convert existing XAML artwork into WPF user controls

    ·         Improve workflow with enhanced UI including split design/XAML view

    Expression Media:

    ·         Shared catalogs

    ·         Photo uploader

    ·         Silverlight web galleries

    ·         Multi-monitor light table

    Expression Encoder:

    ·         New VC-1 codecs – better image quality smaller files

    ·         Apply simply edits directly

    ·         High quality live encoding with VC-1

    ·         Inverse telecine – lets film content look its best

    Expression Design:

    ·         Improved export to XAML for Silverlight and WPF

    ·         Image slicing for website graphic creation