Archives / 2003 / October
  • Misbehaving.NET : women in tech blogsite

    Wow - what fun. A great site title “Misbehaving.Net” and a bunch of fantastic bloggers there already.

    danah boyd
    Caterina Fake
    Meg Hourihan
    Liz Lawley
    Dorothea Salo
    Halley Suitt
    Gina Trapani
    Jill Walker

    “ is a weblog about women and technology. It's a celebration of women's contributions to computing; a place to spotlight women's contributions as well point out new opportunities and challenges for women in the computing field.

    The site is subtitled with a quote from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: “Well-behaved women seldom make history." --Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Who, you may ask, is Laurel Thatcher Ulrich? A quick google solves that riddle. She is a Pulitzer prize winning Historian and Harvard Professor. More specifically:

    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is James Duncan Phillips Professor of History and Director of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. She is the author of Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Early New England, 1650-1750 (1982) and A Midwifes Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (1990)which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1991 and became the basis of a PBS documentary. Her newest work, The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Making of an American Myth incorporates museum-based research as well as more traditional archival work. Her major fields of interest are early American social history, women's history, and material culture. Professor Ulrich's work is featured on the web at and

    I'd call her quotable. Not just because I was a history major either.

    The blog site has a bio of each of the bloggers at the top of their blogs. I appreciate being able to read a little bit about the bloggers before digging into their posts.


  • being accused of being an ageist

    I just lost my whole post so I will start again. I made a comment that the conference schedule is pretty draining to me, at 42, and wondered if it played any roll at all in the fact that the conference skewed in age not just gender. This was all over in Halley Suitt's awesome blog (here's the post). Shelley Powers, who is really one of the blog goddesses, completely ripped into me both in the comments and then on her blog and I still don't understand why. Though she did at least finally figure out that I wasn't a 20 year old with a bad attitude, she still thinks that I was completely out of line. I don't know. I have just spent the last 8 months trying to figure out why women who have been programming for so many years and deserve so much respect (I'm not talking about myself) are so barely represented in the highly visible roles in our community. It is why I have been talking with Susan Warren, Deborah Kurata, Kathleen Dollard, Kate Gregory, Michele Leroux Bustamente and many many others about this topic. It is why I keep pestering conference track chairs, organizers of the INETA speaker bureau, etc to make SURE that they do not ignore all of these fantastic women.  I just wish Shelley would understand but she I just don't think she will, as I can see by her further comments in Halleys' post. Even Dave Seidel chimed in. This is really bumming me out. This is not what I'm here (in blog space) for. I'm admittedly pretty thin skinned. I can't bear the thought of even one person in the entire world thinking that I'm not a nice person. My husband teases me about being such a Pollyanna.

    I said something about there being so many young “stars” in the world. Did she think I was discounting her, Dave Seidel, Don Box, Sam Gentile, Sam Ruby, etc etc? Um -- NO! It's just that I'm surprised often to discover that some of the “stars” are in fact in their 20's and 30's. Amanda Silver, Rob Howard, Sara Williams. That's pretty impressive to me. I have been doing this for 20+ years and do not believe that I have accomplished technically anything near to what Amanda and Rob have done. And Sara's skill in handling MSDN, it's personalities, it's demands, it's scope -  is something that really stands out. I feel the same with the college aged student ambassadors. I'm impressed with them. Some of them may be destined to be the future philosphers that we find now in Don Box and Sam Ruby, etc.

    Whatever -- maybe I am just digging myself a really deep hole and am in way over my head. Who knows?


  • What would I add to VB? - why the control array, of course

    I visited the VB area at expo and they had one last VB shirt. They were dark blue with huge white VB letters on the back like those FBI jackets. The person I talked to said "what would you add to VB to make it better?" Off the top of my head, I didn't have an answer. I have one now, but I have to double check in Whidbey to see if it's there. It is the control array that we had in VB__ - VB6. This was SO missed in VB.NET that Erik Porter re-created this functionality in a control as an add in and received a Coding Hero award from for it. Is there a reason that it's gone?


  • So, tell us a little about yourself...

    Oh - crap, was that an open ended question that I was just NOT prepared for (Sys-Con interview). Did I say "Well, I've been a developer for 20 years, I live in Vermont, I run a .NET User Group, I'm very involved wtih INETA, I'm a Microsoft MVP and I have a blog." No, of course not. I started saying "Well, I've been a developer for about 20 years" and then digressed into god knows what, droning on until Jon Box grabbed the mike from Derek and saved my butt by asking me explicit questions. It would have been better if Derek had turned to Jon or any number of people, in fact, and said “so tell us about Julie“.

    I think that you have to be someone who is really into marketing yourself to answer this question well. Who likes to talk about themselves in that particular way? Not everyone got stuck with this. Andrew Duthie's interview started out with a really great question and they had a conversation and the conversation was fun.

    I know that this happened with the INETA Video that Microsoft did. While they were taping me, Eric Ewing from Microsoft kept commenting that my general excitement was not coming through. It's the camera and the mike that just slays me I suppose.

    I dunno- maybe I'll just stick to writing in my blog. I'm pretty sure that I will not be listening to that interview and I'm not linking to it even because I sort of hope that nobody else does either.


  • criticism of Longhorn/Aero/Avalon - "why did it take so long?"

    Chris Hollander is NOT someone I would ever want to get in a debate with, though I would love to have met him. He's very smart and very objective and is not afraid to criticize. I'm definitely still feeling a little like Alice in Wonderland right now, pretty much “wowed” by PDC and all that I've seen. I could use a bit of his edge and I have no problem with being held up as an example of a bit of a lemming (my loose interpretation of Chris' post), but when Chris says (here) 

    The realization was that many of you are desperate to see things get better, and have the same ideas surfacing in your neural nets that I've had cooking for a while Everyone I talk to responds to Aero, WinFs, and Indigo in just about the same way " - thats how it should have been all along. I wish I had this for the last 5 years

    it just strikes me as pretty unfair. Again, maybe I'm just being naive. Yes WinFS is not new thinking, and the database implementation of it seems pretty obvious, but I just can't say “hey MS - you've really wasted the last 5 years of my programming career by not doing this before.” It's an evolution. They have done it. It's the same if you look at the SOA stuff that Clemens Vasters presented at TechEd in Dallas last June. What he expected of web services seemed a pretty obvious expectation. Now there are many of his ideas implemented in Indigo, for example -- DataContracts.


  • yes, I drank the Koolaid

    Hillel Cooperman, product unit manager for the Windows Experience at MS, who did the demos during Bill Gates  keynote at PDC, somehow came across one of my “I drank the Koolaid” posts at PDC and I think it made him kinda happy. :-) Chris Anderson had mentioned to me that this post was “getting around“ but I didn't really get the true meaning until now. (see the 10/31 5:17 am post) Tee hee!



  • Post PDC - Home at last

    I spent most of the day flying across the country and read Code Magazine's excellent PDC issue cover to cover and am half way through the same with the ASP.NET PRO mag PDC issue. READ EVERYTHING. There is a wealth of knowledge already out there. I keep wondering - if it's supposed to be “all about the smart client” now, why the hell is ASPNet 2.0 so freaking awesome! (Oops, sorry, did I just dribble some of that koolaid?) It will be interesting to see if this initial “WOW” wears off or not...


  • Scott Hanselman at LAX

    It was fun to have one last meet-up before leaving L.A. when I bumped into Scott Hanselman waiting in the same boarding gate area as me. Whoops time to board. (Link later...)


  • Spam coming in through my blog

    In the last two days I have gotten spam in my blog. Someone posted a spam comment on a post I made yesterday. Today I got spam that someone sent through the contact form on my website. Pasted below. Unbelievable!


    hi julia!

    dear friend:

    i received your e-mail by the internet connexion of october 2003.

    i read it verry well,and i m verry happy to will be your future penpals i'm moroccan writer.27 years old,single.

    I am muslim, I believe in God and The Bilbe with all my heart,i look forward to meet a girl friend may be marriage.i m serious.

    Now I want to present to you my full name, ________________.

    I weigh 145 lbs.and I am 5 ft. 5 in. tall, i work as a sales agent.

    i speak:conversational arabic,english french deutsch little spanish and qomer japanese words.

    now i write my 2nd writing about different type communication.

    i'm lovely trustworthy serious helpful understanding...

    i'm open to different culture,people over the world.

    now i work with a humanist mouvement his local in paris our director is celine bouquet.i'm his delegate crrespondant in agadir.

    i'm open for different culture religion ...

    i have a googd basic education.

    tell me please about your bio-data i want to make a good penfriend in the future believe me.

    i wish you a good life with love happiness ....and all that you like god bless you best greetings from agadir-morocco your sincerley ali


    send me you picture please!


  • Microsoft's REAL Architect, Lili Cheng ,does the Keynote and MS's BLOGGING SOFTWARE

    The research keynote was just amazing. Here are my notes. Again just the mht file, I'll upt html up later.

    add: Lili has a background in architecture - designing  buildings. So referring to her as microsoft's “REAL“ architect is a pun, a joke. Sorry for the confusion.

    Lili Cheng was on the panel at the Women in Tech luncheon at TechEd - see my article about that. And she was one who had hoped to be able to make it to the Women who Code BOF Sunday but was unable to.

    So I was just thrilled when she was part of today's keynote. I'm not going to say anything about the fact that she was the first and only gal who has been in the keynotes (sorry, learned that trick from Cicero). She is doing a lot of research on Social engineering and part of the team working on “Wallop”, the blogging software that MS is working on.

    So this is all just way cool. Off I go.


  • Dinner with Chris Anderson and Robert Scoble

    I figured that title would get your attention. Actually, it was Chris and a number of other incredible folks and the first chance I have really had to have a real conversation wtih Robert Scoble and get to know him a bit.

    Here is what I told them. Something finally clicked yesterday. Of course it's so obvious, but you get blinded by hype and marketing and suspicion (and frustration sometimes even) so much when it comes to Microsoft that it's hard to see this.

    These guys are all programmers like me. They have been working on Avalon, Indigo, etc. for THREE YEARS. Can you imagine not being able to show off what you are doing for 3 years? To your peers? To the people you are writing it FOR? Everyone from Bill Gates and Jim Allchin on down is just excited as hell to finally be able to show us what they are working on. No it's not ready. Hell it's far from ready. But I understand why we are seeing all of this already.

    Also, when they ask me “what do you think” I say “I'm so MAD!”. Why? Because it will be frustrating not to be able to do production apps in this stuff for a long long time.

    However, there is something really important that I think we can take away from this now. Microsoft has done some amazing research. They have have looked outside of the box and really shifted how we will think about programming and about computing. Most importantly, with WinFS, I think we can take advantage of these ideas that they are sharing with us know and start thinking out of the box. Start looking at the software we are writing and either implementing some of these ideas or just take inspiration from them.

    I'm inspired.

    I'm excited for them - they are so so so very happy. They are like little kids and just keep asking - what do you think? What do you think? How did we do? Isn't this cool?

    Don't worry, I'm sitting here drinking coffee, not KoolAid.



    This is not inthe alpha bits - it is from a VERY recent build so will probably be part of the beta.So maybe 75% (??) of this is in alpha.

    Whidbey ASPNet Beta IDE

    (this is the mht - try it - I will put up full regular html later)



  • pre-pdc MVP Regional Summit

    I attended the regional MVP Summit. Fun to see friends like Kathleen Dollard and Don Kiely and met a lot of interesting people. I think connecting with folks outside of your own technology is pretty valuable. I grabbed Chris de Herrera of and talked with him for a while about some usability issues I have been worrying about for the end users of my tablet application.

    The day was filled with presentations from a number of different groups. First up was the director of the MVP program who of course lauded everyone for our participation in the community and talked about the importance of the MVP program to Microsoft and Microsoft's major effort to not be such a closed company. Then we got into the technical goodies. Since the room was filled with MVP's from all areas, not everything was pointed at developers - but most of course! First up was the future of windows deployment. BUt then Len Pryor and Robert Scoble showed up and Len showed us a little bit of Longhorn for a few hours.  When I saw Robert, I was a bit confused because he was wearing Jeff Julian's tshirt and he actually looks like Jeff (just +10 years). But then my eyes focused a little more and I realized it was Robert who's picture I have seen plenty of. All of what we saw of course is NDA until after the PDC unveiling. They said we were welcome to write in our blogs that we saw it and thought it was REALLY cool, but I said they'd have to pay me for that. Well, of course it's really cool. Would you expect any less? We also got a taste of what Avalon's all about and some of that definitely had me drooling. For some reason though - it's WinFS that has been really getting my attention. Anyway of course it's all a long way off and will be very different in the end than it is today. So maybe now at least we can look at it and take inspiration from it and ... well, maybe by Thursday I'll decide what I want to do with all of this info when I can't DO anything with it forever. Or heck, maybe I'll just end up writing one of the first killer longhorn apps  - ummmm....well...

    Next Ken Levy who I know from the OLD days of FoxPro, showed us some XML stuff in Whidbey. Very nice. We had to mop some major drool off of the floor near where Kathleen and Don were sitting. If I remember correctly, they want to do some more work on that so it won't be in the alpha that we are getting this week.

    The last session was on the Compact Framework with only a small amount of info on the CF Whidbey. However I saw some more detailed stuff on dealing with data in the CF than I have seen in many presentations already. This portion of the CF session was done  by a .NET CF MVP named Ginny Cuaghey who then demo'd a widely used production app that she wrote that was really impressive.

    I also was very happy to discover Olga Londer. Although Olga is a Windows Server MVP who is one of the authors of Content Server Manager 2002. But in talking with her I learned that she is also a big time ASP/ASP.NET person. She works at QA in the U.K. with Fernando Guerrero who is a big SQL guru.

    We had ZERO wireless access all day. I believe that was a surprise to my pal Emily Freet from Microsoft who did a great job organizing the day.

    Dinner with Sam Gentile and Ben [ ] from Switzerland and found the INETA crowd in the bar. I seemed to keep missing Scott W.

    Long day - I'm so tired and PDC hasn't even started yet! Tomorrow Kate Gregory and I are going to go play touristas in Hollywood - or something fun and silly like that. I've been here a bunch of times but have never seen any of the routine tourist stuff. Let's see, last time I was here I stayed in a fancy all-suite hotel in Beverly Hills and went to the Playmate of the Year Party at Hugh Hefner's mansion. But that was another lifetime! (Let's see what that little tidbit does to my google hee hee). Oh wait, back to .net.

    I keep looking over the schedule, frustrated that having to choose one session means missing another. DonXML said he just goes in and out of sessions - kind of like how you click through tv stations, so he can at least get a little of everything.

    Of course I want to see what all the buzz is about with the longhorn/avalon/indigo stuff, but I know of course it's more important for me to focus on whidbey and asp.net2 and yukon because that's what I'll be using in the next few years. It is going to be a tiring week.


  • the hotel wi-fi promise

    uh-huh   low..very good...very low...excellent...good...gone...good...low

    That's sitting in one place! I actually changed rooms at the omni since I was only low...very low. They moved me to a suite (wow! Thanks!!!) because I confirmed an excellent signal by standing in the hallway one floor below the new room. But in the new room, no matter where I sit I get the very low -> excellent variations. I came down to the bar (whoops everyone's wearing black - I'm such a hick!) and am having the same results.

    Maintaining my remote connex to my home p.c. is impossible.Bummer. (Omni Downtown L.A.)


  • Jason Beres blogs

    well lookie here, Jason Beres has a blog. Jason is one of those guys who sure gets around. He is a .NET author, and INETA speaker, chair of the INETA Academic Committee and on his way to his first W-2 stint - with Infragistics. He has a lot to share...well, not in his first “hello world” blog post, but I know great things will be coming.


  • the dealmakers

    Hanging around in the large area that accomodates many airline gates, I can't help overhearing bits of peoples' conversations on their cell phones. They talk so loud - hard to shut it out. Anyway, most of what I'm hearing reminds me of a quote (which I can but paraphrase) that I heard many years ago -- that America's premier industry is deal-making.

    Really, I can't believe how loud people talk in public on their phones- blah blah blah blah blah!

    add: putting 2 'n 2 together, I just got a look at the person who had the most intersting blah blah blah - some slick lookin' man...flying out to l.a., right - I'm guessing hollywood something - agent? producer? tee hee. He sure ain't no computer geek.


  • wireless in airports

    Last time I came through Phila airport was on the way to Dallas for teched. No wireless then but now it's here - for a small fee. AT&T has set up a few areas throughout the airport . One is where my gate is for the flight to l.a. So I decided to fork over the $10 for “24 access from one location”. That's an odd feature. I sure hope I'm not here for four hours. BUt I did take Doug Reilly's advice and look again into using desktop remoting to my home machine while I am away and it is truly awesome!

    I fell the the UberGeek that is declared on a Microsoft bumper sticker that I put on my laptop (not with me). Sitting here with my little tablet, using wireless, remoting to my computer in Vermont, etc. etc.) Am I working? No. Just playing and experimenting with the technology. I have been tryingto force myself to use the tablet as a tablet and definitely see it's limitations. I want to know what the users of the app that I am writing will go through.

    One thing with this tablet is that I am definitely forced to wear my glasses which I have hardly worn since I got them some 6 months ago. All this tiny stuff!


  • PDC Schedule you can actually READ

    I have 4 hours in the philly airport tomorrow so since nobody else (that I am aware of) has done anything with Ryan LaNeve's xml version of the schedule. I has not been updated to show the Thursday panels, but it could give you a good start. The one by track will help see what sessions are being repeated. This is not a work of art. Hey, only 4 more hours till I have to leave to get my plane.



  • Missing Robert Hurlbut at PDC

    I'm really bummed that my pal Robert had to change his plans last minute to deal with housing issues and won't be able to make the PDC. Robert has been doing a lot of interesting work with Sam Gentile for the last 4 or 5 months. And of course he has been sharing in his blog his explorations of Rotor, BSD, Enterprise Services, his .NET Security presentations, unit testing in SQL and a host of other high end topics that he is up to his elbows in. If you are developing .NET production apps, this is all recommended reading.


  • Thinking out of the box to solve a problem

    There is a woman at one of my client's office who I adore. I think she hates computers, but patiently puts up with them in order to do her job. Sadly, this also means that when something goes wrong, she puts up with that too. I just found out that she was having a problem printing a few reports in the old FoxPro app that she uses every day. This was the last application targetted for a re-write and is, in fact, the one that I am working on now with the tablet pc's. So when Barbara has a problem it makes me sad and I just want her to be happy because she is just the nicest woman! This problem was that when she printed two specific reports, the app would hang for about 30 seconds before she could print. This is a report she has to print many many times a day so you can imagine how frustrating this was to her.

    We did a bunch of things. First, I archived some old data. That helped other areas of the app a ton, but not this. Then we made sure she had updated the app (which she hadn't done in a while), but that didn't help. Reindexing the data files didn't help. So last night I went to look at it again, but since she had changed her login, I had to login with my admin password. When I tried to print, the application crashed! So back with her login this morning, I started thinking about that crash, which didn't happen with her login. The reports that hung were ones that bring up the print dialog box. THe reports that ran properly just went right to the printer. So now rather than focusing on the application or the data, I decided it had something to do with the print dialog box and likely that it was in building the drop down list of printers. The print dialog box listed 4 printers. Going into her printer management (control panel) revealed 5 printers -  but the 5th was not available. Since she didn't use that printer, I removed it from her printers collections. Then we went back to her application and voila - all was well again.

    I cannot tell you how happy this made my friend Barbara and this is going to make my day!


  • Scoble on "How to Hate Microsoft"

    I really want the title of this post to complete itself with “... and learn to love the bomb” but you have to be a Peter Sellers fan to understand that one.

    Anyway, Robert's having a little fun while at the same time inviting everyone to come kick Longhorn's tires now, while it's just in it's baby stages and tell Microsoft how shitty it is so they can make it sweet as can be by the time it's released.

    And if that's not inviting enough (surely many will drool at the chance), since hearing these things will make Microsoft HAPPY, and maybe some of you don't WANT to have that effect, he offers up some really good insults you can use. These I will quote 'cause they made me laugh:

    1) Say “I have all that stuff on my Mac today.”
    2) Say “a four-year-old Linux developer could make a better API than that.”
    3) Say “wake me up when it ships.”
    4) Say “you should have open sourced it.”
    5) Say “it's too boring to hate.”
    6) Say “I'll stick with XP cause I like the UI better there.”
    7) Say “I hope there's still a bunch of security holes cause I'm on Linux and I can't make fun of you guys if you close them all.”
    8) Say “XAML shmamel. Just give me HTML and be done with it.”
    9) Say “why can't we go back to Windows 95?”

    [So for those of you who have NO clue what the Peter Seller's reference is to, it's the film Dr. Strangelove, subtitled, “Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb”. If you haven't seen it It's a brilliant black comedy targetted at the nuclear arms race. I have NO idea why Scoble's title made me think of it - but it's late, I'm tired...what can I say?]


  • Scott Guthrie leaks aspnet 2.0 bits

    yeah - everyone's already mentioned this but here's one that really caught my eye:

    Using ValidationGroups.  You can now have validator controls optionally validate depending on which button on the page is pushed.  You can group validation rules into “groups“ so that all controls within that group fire or don't fire.

    It makes me wonder if there might also be a solution to validating multiple controls against each other on the client side which I struggled with for quite a while last year.

    I was building a time sheet web app for my client, which of course includes a start time and an end time. We needed to make sure that the end time was greater than the start time. (Unless the shift was marked as overnight, then the rules changed). The validators were not helpful - I couldn't even fanagle it with the custom validators. With one for start and one for end, I got the following results:

    Whe the user entered “start time“, then entered “end time” and the end time didn't pass , then the end time validator would show it's message “End time needs to be earlier than start time”. But if they changed the start time, that would, of course NOT fire the end time validator, which would continue to display it's error message.

    I could not find a way to have multiple controls fire off the same validator (on the client side) so I ended up just coding the whole thing manually in javascript after all.

    Perhaps there was a way, but my solution has been in production for a long time now and I don't want to be tempted to revisit it right now. I'm just curious to see if this problem will also be solved in 2.


  • Count your web views on .Text

    This is a little scary. The .Text web admin just got new bits: webviews and aggregator views. The 2nd is not implemented yet. The first is. Interesting, a little scary. I know some people are very interested in counting the number of people reading there blogs. I have to admit, I'd rather not know. Because for every high #, there will be lows that might make me question what I am writing about. Hmmm, wonder if I can turn that feature off.  Scott's a busy man.

    One thing I do notice is on posts that I was hoping for comments and feedback on, there were in fact a good number of views, but nobody had anything to say.


  • Kathleen Dollard x 3

    This month's VS.NET features not one, not two but three articles by Kathleen Dollard. The first creates a winform that organizes the details of an exception so that you can more readily find the info you need to solve the problem. In the second she builds an expandable/collapsable control to enable users have an always available search tool without giving up screen real estate. She's also got a lot of great .net lessons built into that control. The 3rd is what I believe is a pet topic for Kathleen, XSLT. This time she writes about Creating Readable XSLT. I'm happy to see these articles as Kathleen is a friend of mine and is co-hosting the Women who Code BOF at PDC. I know she wants to start blogging but has wants to clear her plate a little first. Kathleen is very detailed as well as outspoken. She will have a fantastic blog. 


  • PDC ...preparing for the big what-if

    It always happens. I'm away at a conference (or god forbid a vacation) and suddenly there are frantic calls from a client that I haven't talked to in 3 months. Maybe someone figured out how, after 4 years, to enter data that broke the application or the guys in holland sent a badly formatted xml file for a critical daily import process or the web database reached its capacity and rather than giving ANY type of error message, just ignores any inserts or put a block on every email coming from Alentus, killing an app process that emails the results of a data transformation to a client. Something! It even happened when I was visiting friends in Koln, Germany a few years ago. Oh, my phone bill! So now that I have a brand new computer that I'm bringing with me, I have to load on it VB6, every single 3rd party tool that I use for all of my apps, VS.NET2003 (I'm skipping VS2002) and all code for all clients. And all of my utilities like good ol ws-ftp. And the databases. Can't debug without sample data! Just in case. Then there's the “my plane got blown up because of a mouse nest in the engine” what-if. That's the one that's solved by making separate backup cd's of all code for each client and mailing it to them. Hey, I'm a programmer. I get paid to think “what-if”.


  • sharing the love - of pdc geekness

    Now I understand why everyone is creating extra noise to thank Jeff Sandquist et alia for the “I'm blogging this t's“. I showed it to my husband last night who just rolled his eyes. So it's just our own little party here of geeks who care about this stuff. I know that Rich knows that this is more significant than say, going to a trekkie convention. It's about my career. And what we do effects the lives of people all over the world. But still there's a big part of him that just does NOT get why so much of my time is spent doing stuff in the .net community - blogging/reading blogs, user group and INETA and then 3 conferences in the past year yet not ONE vacation in the past 2 years. He says that I work for Microsoft for free. Our life has changed a lot in the last couple of years because I have gotten so involved with .NET and all of this. I know it's really important to remember the bigger picture of the world, my life, etc etc but unfortunately, with the non-stop rollercoaster ride of a learning curve that is now necessary to be current and valid as a developer - this is unfortunately the way it has to be. This is why I am always so astonished by people like Kate Gregory and Deborah Kurata and others who are practically full time mothers in addition to keeping ahead of the curve and so significant in their work and contributions to our industry. I have joked many times that if I had kids, they'd probably have to call family services on me because I lose myself in my work so completely and so frequently. Whoa - do I really want to post all of this? Aaah, what the hell... it's cheaper than a goes!


  • Extra Battery for PDC

    After all the trouble I had at TechEd because I had left my power cord at home and had to depend on the kindness of strangers to re-charge my laptop battery (hey, no link for when Stephen Walther lent me his power cord).  Anyway, since my wonderful Acer C110 tablet unfortunately is a bit of a loser when it comes to battery life, I'm definitely concerned. I just can't be left standing with a dead Tablet at PDC. I might fall off of Jon Box's “.net somebodies” (see last sentence) if that happened. So, at the last minute, I was able to find a battery that will be shipped today at so I can have it in my hands tomorrow. All other sites I found the battery on were saying 3 days or 1-2 weeks.




  • Brainy Bloggers on my Blog Roll

    When I first set up my weblog, I created a place for blogs I read and entitled it “Brainy Bloggers”. And for the few of these bloggers who I knew, I created a separate one called “Brainy Bloggin' Buds“. When I switched to using an aggregator, I didn't really need that any more and didn't add to it everytime I added a feed to my OPML. Unfortunately, this has caused a little problem with my friends who ARE brainy and who I am absolutely subscribed to in SharpReader. But I occasionally get an email asking “hey, how come I'm not on that list? Aren't I a brainy blogger or even your bud?”

    This breaks my heart. I have to figure out what to do about this problem, because the list will never be all inclusive.


  • Cross Posting your Blogs

    Just a few days ago I was dreaming out loud about being able to post blogs in one central place and have some of them spit out to other weblogs I might have. So I could have a weblog on my own domain and then some of my posts would spit out to this weblog (that you are reading) and to any other weblogs I wanted to participate in.

    Well, I barely even batted an eyelash and my wish has come true. Okay - it wasn't like Clemens wrote this because I mentioned it! He had already been thinking about the same problem. Also, in my previous post, DonXML commented that he and ScottW were working on a similar feature for .Text v.94.


  • Identity Crisis- What IS my name?

    I have been asked a gazillion times: “is it Julie or Julia?” And I was recently told [by the very confused, considering how darned smart he is, Jon Box] that I should blog this. So here is the answer.

    I am “Julia on paper” - birth certificate, business cards, bank accounts, credit cards and every where else that I try to give the impression of being a grown up. It's my real official name.

    But I have been called “Julie” my entire life. So that is what I refer to myself and what I am used to being called.

    If you saw me on the street, or perhaps across a crowded room at PDC and called “Hey, Julia!”, chances are that I won't even turn my head, as it won't even register that someone is calling me.


  • My new friend Outlook 2003

    No need to post every little discovery in my weblog so I'll put them here. Certainly this will be forgotten after a day, but I'll have the gratification of having an outlet.

    I am in love with the “Unread Mail“ folder. I have never been able to delete emails so easily before - the guilt, the possiblity of wanting to refer to them later. Somehow, there is some psychology going on here with this folder but whatever the magic - it is fantastic. Plus, due to rules, incoming mail goes to many different folders. Now I can still find them all in one place and nothing gets buried.

    Hooray - I can hide the minimized Outlook Window. I have always wanted to just have a little icon over in the notification tray and not have the minimized windows take up so much room on my taskbar. It took me a few minutes to find this feature when I asked myslef “I wonder if they thought of that this time?“. The default is to have both the icon in the notification tray and the minimized window in the task bar. If you right click on the icon, one option is “Hide When Minimized“. When that is checked, you won't get the window in the task bar any mroe. Hooray Now if only I could hover over that icon and see how many unread emails there are!




  • PDC - Brad Abrams and Jeffrey Richter on .NET Framework

    Brad Abrams thinks we may not have noticed this talk that is on Monday at 1:30 and repeated on Tuesday at 3:45. As some would say: heh!

    (hey what happened to the rest of this post)

    I had also added that it is not obvious when there are multiple sessions. The above is ARC200 on Monday and ARC200R on Tuesday. So you can't search on ARC200 and find all instances of once session.

    It might be easier to do something with Ryan LaNeve's xml version of the schedule.


  • promoting the great speakers we get at my user group

    Generally a day or so before our meetings, if I'm not happy with the # of rsvps, I pull out all the stops out and send one last email blast to my whole mailing list for Vermont.NET. With the unbelievable array of speakers we have managed to lure to Vermont, I often find myself referring to them as gurus, legends, etc. They tend to hate that. I remember Ken Getz making me take those words off of the website and the flyer I had created and replace them with “book author“ or something like that. I like to refer to him as “swami” now. There are people who give me shit for what looks like big time grovelling and hero worship, which, c'mon, it just is not that. But it's not just marketing either. I'm sorry but it's my way of being supportive of my peers. And  when you are dealing with a lot of people who don't have the kind of exposure to information that we do here in this community and who don't get to go to conferences, they sometimes really don't know who some of these people are. Yes, it's true. Luckily the folks in my user group trust that when I say someone is “freakin' awesome” that they truly are. In fact, our September speaker might not be as well known to the average VB user or web developer, but when I explained to my group who he was and what his background was, it really got a great crowd of people to show up and every single one of them was thrilled that they had come to the meeting.


  • Hey - Mr. PDC Blogger - it's a girl

    Drew Robbins and his wife, Aya, FINALLY :-) had their baby. If you don't know by now, Drew started TechEdBloggers and PDCBloggers and has a great blog of his own, not to mention probably one of the most attractive blog sites I have every seen. Drew is a fellow .NET user group leader and INETA volunteer, so we have met on more than one occasion. It just occurred to me that I didn't notice anyone else on dotnetweblogs mention the baby. Baby Kotomi Robbins was born on Tuesday Oct. 14th. There's more and pics here on Drew's site. Even with a newborn at home, Drew will not be missing the PDC conference! Congratulations Drew!


  • Billy Hollis at Vermont .NET Monday

    Well, finally, the October meeting of VTdotNET is around the corner. We normally have our meetings on the 2nd Monday of the month, which would have been 10/13. But our speaker, Billy Hollis, coming to us as an INETA speaker, was just at DevConnections, so we moved the meeting to 3rd monday - tomorrow. Our last meeting was 9/8 (Sam Gentile) and it will have been 6 weeks since then. User Group withdrawal?

    So unfortunately, Billy is now missing the leaves which were great last weekend, but got blown away by big winds during this week and last night's hard frost did them in even more. And it is cold cold cold all of a sudden. Good thing our meetings are indoors. Billy and his wife were originally going to spend the weekend with Rich and I, and do the Vermont Fall leaf-peeping thing, but unfortunately we only get him for Monday night now. Hopefully he'll stay long enough on Tuesday morning for some pancakes and Vermont syrup!!

    Well, we are certainly looking forward to Billy's educational and entertaining presentation on Advanced Objects in .NET.


  • Multiple weblogs??

    Recently I have been invited to start two additional weblogs. One to cover my desire to write about non .NET topics and one for another specific technology that I don't have anything to say about yet beyond the fact that I'm very curious about it and WinFS, too!!

    I have, for the time being, declined both offers. I am put off by the idea of having to aggregate myself from various places, having to post to different places and having my ideas be in different locations. I just want to blog in one place.

    What would be cool is if I had my own weblog - like dotText or dasBlog - and a reader could go there to read all of my posts (if there was every anyone so insane). But then if I wrote a .net related post - it would spit out to the .NET weblogs blog (and feed) and the same with the other topics.

    (Add. Note: I don't believe I'm talking about categories. I am thinking more about how to have my .net related posts show up on the page and be part of the dotnetweblogs rss feed. Same with longhorn if I have something to say about that. Actually, there might be a way. I'll hold off on bugging ScottW about it for now though...)

    For now, I'm going to just stay here and hope that my more than occasional non-.NET related posts don't annoy the hell out of anyone.


  • outlook 2003 UnRead folder

    The unread mail folder has answered a big problem for me. Somehow, I am willing to delete emails from here after I read them, rather than letting them linger in a subfolder or the inbox for all eternity. I cannot tell you what the psychology is behind this. Perhaps my inbox is so bad that it is daunting to clean it up. But the “unread mail” folder is easy.


  • BOF Sessions Schedule in Flux

    Be aware that there is a flurry of emails going between the BOF Session leaders as a number of people need to re-schedule their session due to conflicts. We have until, I believe, the 24th or 25th, to have everything firm. I know that Kathleen Dollard and I are trying to get our session (Women who Code) moved from Tuesday 9-10 to another slot. We're looking at Sunday 9-10 right now but who knows...


  • choices in leveraging ink for data entry

    I had a interesting session with the person I trust most regarding ui design at my client's office. He is the guy who interacts the most with the users who are not really computer savvy - my target audience.

    So we went over the options for using ink of which I proposed 3. I had created  a little sample app that I sent to him which demonstrated all 3, so he was actually playing with all of the options on his tablet while we went over this.

    1) Use regular input controls in combination with the Tablet PC Input Panel.

    Pros: common user experience; no effort on my part
    Cons: they have to move back and forth from the form to the panel - click on the control, go down to the panel; input panel owns a good chunk of the screen real estate; no fun for me to not use any new toys!

    2) Use ink-enabled controls along the lines of the sample controls provided with the SDK.

    Pros : this will be more like filling out a paper form
    Cons: though I think they are really cool, for an average user, the sample controls are clunky and I would have to write my own from scratch to make editing with ink as simple as just writing with ink (read: time); you have to make the input controls HUGE and that kills the real estate on the screen (think: big paws using the pens);the correction user interface (the little green thing) is really cool but it is tricky to get it to pop up (I think this goes away once you've gotten the hang of it); you can backspace with gestures but you can't strike out a whole field; all in all, for our traget audience - not an ideal scenario

    3) Use 3rd party tools - of course I'm talking about Infragistic's new ink tools

    Pros: they have a similar user experience to using the input panel with 2 improvements a) the panel is right there, since it pops up in the same location of the control and does not eat up real estate since it comes and goes and b) it extends the tablet pc input panel with some additional useful functionality

    Cons: well, still it's not REALLY like filling out a paper form. I really love the idea of writing right in the controls.

    [Current] Conclusion: Well, I'd pick the Infra input panel over the tablet pc input panel, but I'm still VERY tempted by the ink edit controls. Chris (the tester) seems to think that it will be a lot easier for our target audience to deal with the input panel than the nuances of the ink edit controls. He has to teach them how to use the tablets and the application, so this is important. So for this app, which I have to roll out quickly, we are going to go with #3.

    Maybe someday I'll get to write an application for savvy users and get really slick!

    add: One thing I actually prefer about the tablet input panel being on the bottom of the screen is that you are much less likely to rest your hand on the screen. Think about how you write. Do you hold your hand up in the air? No. You put the palm of your hand on the surface. Imagine how hard it would be with lots of caffeine. :-) Actually I have do have similar problem from my mouse (carpal onset?) that makes my right hand VERY shaky - chopsticks are getting to be a problem... - anyway, I really need to rest my hand on something when I'm writing. Just some more thoughts in my little debate.


  • designing for tablet portrait orientation

    All of the design recommendations for tablet assume that you want your user to be able to use either orientation. But what if this isn't the case?

    In VS.NET design mode, a windows form height defaults to a maximum of 780. If you try to set the height to a larger number, it pops back to 780.

    When I put a sample app on the tablet and maximize that application window, the height is 1002 and the width is 776.

    So, unless I am going to place things on the screen dynamically, there doesn't seem to be a way  leverage the area below 780.

    This is annoying. Maybe I'm missing something but it I have wasted the afternoon exploring this issue. Looks like I'll be working all l weekend (yet again). Back to google...


  • lazy lazy lazy - code I shouldn't have to write

    Why do I still have to create these shortcut functions to replace something like this:

    With drpAirMeter
     .DataSource = reportCFI.AirMeters
     .ValueMember = "EquipmentID"
     .DisplayMember = "equipmentnumber"
     .SelectedValue = reportCFI.AirMeterID
    End With

    with this

    SetUpDropDownList(drpAirMeter, reportCFI.AirMeters, "EquipmentID", "equipmentnumber", reportCFI.AirMeterID)

    here's the method in case it's not obvious enough:

    Public Sub SetUpDropDownList(ByRef ListCtl As Windows.Forms.ListControl, ByVal DataSource As DataTable, ByVal ValueMember As String, ByVal DisplayMember As String, ByVal SelectedValue As Int32)
      With ListCtl
    .DataSource = DataSource
    .ValueMember = ValueMember
    .DisplayMember = DisplayMember
    .SelectedValue = SelectedValue 
      End With
    End Sub

    I had to do this in VB5 and 6, VS.NET 2002 and still in VS.NET 2003. (Unless I just didn't look hard enough at the CLR.)

    And if anyone wants to give me shit about the way I'm naming my drop down list, I'm calling the boys and they're gonna beat you up for me.


  • Kate Gregory does 6 hours of MSDN Canada's "The .NET Show"

    The .NET Show Returns - Friday on YTV!
    Catch 6 full hour episodes on developing for the Microsoft Office System, with Microsoft Regional Director Kate Gregory. Starting this Friday, these episodes will cover Visual Studio Tools for Office, Word and Excel Object Models, InfoPath, Windows SharePoint Services, Smart Documents and more!

    This is SO cool! Kate is already my hero - now she's a t.v. star! The Canadian .NET Shows are on cable t.v. Not just streamed. The archived shows are downloadable.


  • PowerPoint story on NPR this morning

    Did anyone catch this story on Morning Edition this a.m.? It won't be on the NPR website until tomorrow. It was mostly about grade schoolers using powerpoint and the debate between it's makers' saying it helps kids organize their ideas and educators saying they only learn to think in bullets and not to have real conversations, etc. It is not good for spherical or holistic thinking. They quoted Edward Tufte's essay (book?): The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. He says PP is for the 20% of people who are really discorganized and really poor presenters and that for everyone else, it completely cramps the style and their thinking. Here's from his essay:

    Alas, slideware often reduces the analytical quality of presentations. In particular, the popular PowerPoint templates (ready-made designs) usually weaken verbal and spatial reasoning, and almost always corrupt statistical analysis. What is the problem with PowerPoint? And how can we improve our presentations?

    I found this very interesting because I have had to teach myself to communicate in lists and bullets and headlines when I'm doing business - mostly with men who are more typically linear thinkers (not all - just statistics here). Though it is a discipline for me to do that because I am thinking all over the map all of the time. This results (as you may guess from ever reading my blog) in a lot of stream of consciousness stuff coming out. This is good for cognitive - thinking, figuring things out, etc but it makes it difficult for me to communicate my ideas much of the time. Anyway - this is not conculsive, just thinking out loud! :-)


  • web apps for virtual catalogues

    recent shopping for furnishing my home office and sundry things in our new house has led to some interesting discoveries with some website implementations of catalogues:

    this is for Hold Everything

    This is for IKEA

    You get to flip through the catalog which really works for people when you just want to browse rather than do a targetted search. The way they work visually is incredibly creative.


  • running my .Network through another power outage

    Due to ridiculously high winds (50mph+??), the power went out all around me at about 5am. It's still out at 2:00 pm. Below is what has kept my computers going all day: a Honda eu2000i. It outputs inverted power which is cleaner for the computers. They run about $1,000 - though we happily bought ours [barely] used for $400. I'm still on my first gallon of gas that I fired up at about 9am. (running server box, dev box, one 19“ monitor, dsl modem and wireless router).
    Luckily I have a little Jotul (gas fireplace) in my office and our kitchen stove is gas too. (I always make my coffee in a Chemex pot, never the electric coffee maker, so this is key!) While I was still getting my [always needed] beauty sleep this morning, my hubby got this little guy (honda) all set up outside my office , brought me a kerosene lamp in case I actually got out of bed before sunrise (yeah, right) and even left a little igniter/lighter by the stove for me. It's child proof, so I had to call him at work to find out how to use it. It's really nice to get taken care of sometimes. Thanks Rich. smooch smooch.

    (anyone notice my lame attempt to make this a .net topic??)


  • overdesigning? and a lesson in cooking ideas

    No! You misunderstand. I am much more of an XP type person. I can barely spell UML. I am talking about one small piece of my application. But it's a foundation piece. I wanted it to be constructed properly. And if you subscribe to the late Ilya Prigogine's theory of Chaos and Disorder in the Universe (chaos precedes order), then you will understand that my frustration this morning was after spending a lot of time thinking about how I want to build this application. I've been stewing.. This morning everything suddenly just went to high boil - and I was steaming. But the next moment - everything crystalized, fell into place, and I have been banging out code ever since and feeling REEEEEEALY good about it.


  • tangled up in classes and The Ivory Tower

    Here's the biggest problem with trying to learn everything and constantly reading what so many unbelievably smart people have to say. I'm working out the classes for a new project. I want them to be PERFECT - understand? PERFECT! (Don't worry, I know... there is no such thing, really) I have been sitting here for days and days all tangled up in interfaces, inherits, collections ... frustrated as hell. I mean, I have DONE this stuff before. I know how they work. I know how to build them. I have Juval Lowy's fantastic .NET Components book and access to all of the patterns & practices info on msdn. I think what I want is Juval to just come sit next to me in front of my white board for about 3 hours. The bar has been raised right over my head I think. Whatever I do, suddenly I think - “if so & so (Juval, Sam G, Scott & Sean, insert name here) looked at my code, would they say this about me? Would they just give me a gun to put to my head because it's so unbelievably hopeless?” Everything looks like spaghetti code to me now. Whenever I start a new project, I really try to do it WAY better than the last one so instead of just knocking this out quickly using a previous model (which would make my client perfectly happy), I have to do this to myself instead. The more you know the stupider you feel. Where have I heard that before?!  Is it time for me to look into this?


  • programming not just for profit

    I used to do a lot of programming work for non-profits. Now most of the programming I do is for for-profit businesses. One of those companies makes sure that when roads and bridges and buildings are built that they don't collapse! (i.e. meeting regulations). So that's for some public good in the long run. Another company is in the flower importing business. Ummm, makes people happy at the end of the day! But when I read about companies using the same technologies to accomplish things that REALLY help people, such as the Glucose meter with integrated wireless alerts that Scott Hanselman has written about, that really turns me on. Now Scott didn't write the software for that, but he too is always looking at how the latest and greatest technology can help his fellow diabetics. My pal Scott Lock is in charge of the donations website for the American Red Cross .  By the way, ACR's Disaster Relief Fund is really hurting. Here's an idea. Go make a donation on the current site and then when he rolls out the .NET site, you can make another donation while admiring the difference from the old site to the new! Well, I guess I can feel happy that I'm at least part of the chain that makes your bridges safe and another that maybe helps to keep marriages together (the flowers I mean)! :-) 

    Hey here's another idea. If you know someone who's trying to get some hands on .NET experience, check out NonProfitWays, which builds teams of developers to work on projects for non-profits. It's a win-win situation. NPW was started by a bunch of folks in the Florida.NET User Group.


  • Tablet Dev Thoughts

    ed: I had to come in here with a keyboard and make this a little more readable!

    (from tablet ink) ...'I installed infra tools. Downloaded + installed microsoft Tablet PC SDK . Created lf one little win-form with regular controls, an infra ink enabled text edit tool and a MS-Ink text edit box. I can write into the regular textbox with the tablet pc input panel. I can write directly mots the microsoft ink textbox. And I can writ-into the Infra box with their own input panel.except ' think I'm doing something wrong because ' cant actually write in their yet. Lots of testing ahead, (wrote this whole post in ink! If Yn saw my handwriting... yor world be really impressed with the hand writing recognition-it's a slow process be cause you run out of room in the panel, Also you have to rethink your UI because people need a C lot of room to write. I have to think about the choice between writing in the panel or writing in the edit box. Rich is a lefty and had a hard time with this. Lots to considers! No links-too hard! :-)

    note - dots, dashes and “u” are really hard with ink!

    oh and waiting for my msdn universal October to arrive so I can put office 2003 on my new tablet and check out oneNote!


  • Susan Warren at Vertigo

    I was happy to have a nice chat with ASP/ASP.Net maven Susan Warren who is now at Vertigo. Susan took a well-earned break and is now back to what she loves doing most as well as enjoying the California sunshine. Welcome back Susan! You've been missed by many.


  • PDC BOF Session proposal - last minute

    Women Who Code... “A lot of programmers are women - perhaps 10-20% of the industry, but it’s often hard to connect with other women at gatherings like PDC. This session is an opportunity for women to meet and talk about careers in IT. Have you wondered what it takes to be more visible in the industry? Are you curious about the backgrounds of women you see at conferences or in journals? Is there a disparity between how many women work in this industry and the number of women that are visible at the top of our field? This is a chance to gather with talented women coders like yourself to discuss how you can better define and reach your goals as a technology leader.”

    This will be fun. Lots of well-known names in the room. We will try hard not to conflict with BOF's being led by Deborah Kurata, Michele Leroux Bustamente or Sam Gentile's Interop session which Kate Gregory, Sonja Keserovic and I are attending.

    Get out and vote. then View Proposed Topics. Find this one and click Vote.


  • the social life of an independent developer

    Who's your best friend? Of course, it's the FedEx guy/gal (or UPS driver or mail carrier). Today when I received my new Tablet (wheeeee!), I learned that the UVM graduate students who live next door to me convert vehicles from running on gas to running on vegetable oil. I have always wondered why they were fiddling around with their cars so much and the occasional odd vehicle. How cool is that? :-) Apparently their most recent one was for a state senator. Hey Arnold, maybe you should bring that Hummer to Vermont!


  • possibility of hiring those .NET "gurus"

    Clemens Vasters writes this morning about the frustration of having folks presume that Newtelligence is just too far out of their league to hire for consulting projects.

    I hear a lot of this in my conversations with a lot of the people who we look up to in the development community. Especially with the INETA speakers, who I have a lot of contact with.

    We had a speaker here last fall who ended up doing some consulting work for a local company. This is a guy who even the “gurus“ say “WOW!“ about. It was an interesting project and he was very happy to find the time and make himself not only available but affordable so that he could help them out. My friends at the company said that his input probably saved them about a year.

    I know people who are actually looking for work. You would be surprised that this is the case for some of them! (This of course is from personal conversations and don't expect me to provide anyone with names.) Most likely their biggest enemy is the presumption that they are a) so busy that they could never be available and b) so expensive that it could never be a possibility. Maybe even add in c) so well-known or smart that they couldn't possibly be interested in the work that you are doing.

    Well, if you have been thinking that a particular person or company has just the right expertise to help you out with a project, whether it's just to give you some pointers and direction, or even a bigger involvement, like Clemens says “don't guess, ask”!


  • upcoming webcasts and chats schedule rss feeds?

    Still dreaming of this...

    By category is best so I can put the approrpriate ones on my user group website. It's a lot of work to cull through them to send out an email or list them on the website. I have stopped doing that little chore.



  • ink enabled controls, err "tools"

    Jon Box talks about having seen Infragistic's ink-aware user controls tools at a user group presentation by Brad McCabe (of Infragistics). I am definitely excited about this. I don't see anything on Infragistic's site yet. Of course, I still want to learn how to implement ink directly with Microsoft.Ink namespace in my WinForms app, but this is going to mean that if this stuff is here soon I can just pop them right into my new tablet app and probably get it rolled out MUCH faster! And then it will be easy enough to dynamically grab either a regular control on a regular Windows box or the ink control when the application is run on a tablet. Oh I just can't wait to get my hands on these! I know somebody who if he were reading this is going “oh no, Julie ... not drag and drop!!! You are a mort!”.


  • the contemplative man

    It's nice to see Robert Scoble writing about what he thinks today rather than only linking to other posts. Happy to see that he has some time to sit back and relax and therefore able to mull things over and share them with us -- the contemplative Scoble in addition to the informative Scoble. 

    I have had complaints (well just one, but it felt like a thousand at the time) that I do a little too much of the same thing, too. But gosh, there is so much interesting information out there and not nearly as much in “here” -- i.e. .my brain/my work/my life. :-) Of course, I am a little more constrained by being part of the .NET Weblogs (very happily). So when I don't have something technically interesting of my own, it is fun to see what everyone else is up to.


  • basic outline for next .net app and Acer Tablet PCs

    So here's what I have ahead of me.

    I'm writing a windows forms application that will be used (very rarely) in-house on workstations on the intranet and most often remotely (read: don't expect any internet access) out on construction sites using Tablet PC's. Eventually, we will also enable techs to use the application on their home computers as well in the cases where they make paper notes during the day but do not get back to the office. The App Updater block will be a piece of that solution as well.

    I will be creating a GET web service and a POST web service. The GET will bring down the day's assignments for the specified user along with all necessary cross-referencing data from their SQL Server. It will be stored locally in XML files.

    I decided that in order to make life easier, I will have the local machines use the same model, rather than write a what-if model. I know that the what-if (connected or not) scenario is easy to do - thanks to Scott Swigart and Sean Campbell's recent Northwind Unplugged article. Though some of my requirements are different than what is outlined in their article. But again, since I do not need the tablets to do the “what-if“ scenario, I will just assume a disconnected model. So locally, the winforms can check to see if they have gotten the day's data yet. If not then it will call the web service. From the tablets, they will explictly request a data dump. (Who knows, this may change. It's just what it looks like on my white board right now!)

    Then all of the data entry will be done in a disconnected model simply using xml to persist all data.

    Then the users will have the ability to post any completed reports via the web service. In-house that means “whenever”. From the tablets, it means when they are connected again.

    Then the “posting” webservice can process the incoming data, put it where it needs to go in SQL Server and do some other little tricks.

    It will be fun implementing some of the ink technology for the tablets while I'm doing this. Getting my test machine any day now!! Acer Travelmate C110, though the technicians will be getting the C100's. Down the road, they will most likely get the newer ones that are better for outdoor light.


  • finally can move to 1.1

    I've been waiting for Alentus to put 1.1 on some of their boxes. I stopped pestering them a while ago and thought to ask again yesterday. Yes, they finally upgraded some servers. I have moved ALL of my winforms projects to .NET 1.1 (with 2003) months ago. But I couldn't touch my web services or my apps. Now I can go ahead and put 1.1 onto my webserver here and start porting all of that stuff. Phew.


  • Sociology of Blogging from Werner Vogels at BloggerCon

    Werner Vogels is at BloggerCon at Harvard right now and was answering why he, a serious technologist, is there. He responds that blogging is going to have a huge impact on the academic world in terms of how information is disseminated. He also is very happy to be hanging out with people who he has things in common with outside of the academic research circle. In the meantime, someone else is frustrated that the technology to enable him to attend this conference remotely is failing him.


  • a blog idea

    Occasionally I find something in the blogs or make a post myself that is something I would like to share with my user group. So I just copy and paste and send an email to my user group member list. Boy (lazy lazy girl I am) wouldn't it be cool to flag the post and as I post it, the flag would get read and that post would then automatically get emailed to the list? Yeah, they could all get a rss aggregator and subscribe and see that stuff, but that'll never happen and then they'd miss all of the goodies! I also know that I can just use my rss display control that I wrote back in April for the user group website (used already for MSDN feeds and others - see here and then just subscribe that control to a particular category on my blog, but again, how often do you think those people REALLY go to the website to see what's new?


  • PDC Session Times Posted

    That Scott Watermasysk doesn't miss a trick! Go here to get to there. Now we can finally start scheduling our extra-curricular activities. Now if they could just show you one big pdf grid or even an excel spreadsheet so you don't have to go trolling around for hours to figure it all out. Hey wait, that's all done by InterKnowlogy. I know JUST who to bug about THIS one!


  • watching the .NET Seminar videos from MSDN

    There have been a number of posts about the video on Designing and Developing a Line of Business Web Application. The direct link that people were providing gave me lots of trouble. I was, however, able to view the video if I started at the Seminar website ( And there are a lot of other ones there, too. I hope this helps someone else who is just sitting there and waiting and waiting for the video to start up like I was!!


  • VB6 build problem - lesson that cost me 2 days

    I was suddenly unable to build a particular VB6 exe. I mucked around with cleaning up files, defragging hard my drive, moving to a new dev machine etc for 2 days to no avail. It would compile but then would hang before getting to the Build Exe stage. I finally had the bright idea of rebuilding every single dependent dll (all vb6) that the exe uses. Then I was able to compile. Since I found nothing in google or msdn that led me to this solution, I thought I would stick it here for some poor soul in the future to find when they have the same problem. I do not know what caused the problem. But at least I can get back to work again! Getting this little mod to this vb6 app out of the way means I can now dig into my newest .NET project. Yee haw!