Archives / 2003 / November
  • A groovy little pluggable framework

    Oh, this is just SO satisfying. I have finished refactoring my app and it's so cool to see this working just the way I had dreamt it up. I was only able to do this from a lot of ideas I have collected from many of the presentations at Vermont.NET over the last six months - most notably for this particular solution: Ken Getz on Visual Inheritance in Windows Forms (April 2003),  Carl Franklin on Objects (August 2003) (this really got me thinking about taking my use of inheritence to a whole new level)  and Billy Hollis on Dynamically Loading Forms and other Advanced Object Techniques (October 2003). Hey whad'ya know - all three are INETA speakers, too!

  • Virus destroys a client machine completely

    Last week a friend of mine called. She also happens to be the woman who was my very first ever consulting client 18 years ago and the relationship has evolved into a good friendship. She could not start up Windows XP. By the time I was able to return her call she was in the midst of what became a 4 hour phone call with Dell who was helping her out. This was a Dell laptop that was 8 months past its warranty. After these 4 hours and many more with further assistance, it became apparent that the system could not be restored at all or even reinstalled. My friend has since then lost so many days of work that she has decided to buy a new laptop and have that other one overhauled, if possible, and used as a secondary machine. She was so desparate that she couldn't even wait the week that Dell was quoting her for a new laptop and chose from one of the refurbished available machines she could order for overnight delivery.

  • Upgrading my server

    I work out of my home office. I have a true network with a server setup so that I can emulate my client's environment - programming against a remote SQL Server and a remote IIS. I'd rather not get tangled up in the administration, but it's the price I have to pay. My biggest client is still using SQL7 and will wait for Yukon before upgrading and therefore I have stuck with SQL7 on my server all of this time, even using SQL2K client tools to access it (for a variety of reasons). I finally am giving in and upgrading my own SQL so that I can use SourceGear Vault (”Lonely Coder Edition”). The other thing I was holding out on was, though all of my windows forms apps are written in vs2003 against .NET 1.1, I hadn't touched my webservices or apps which are still against 1.0. So I just finally put .netfx 1.1 on the server, too, and will port all of the web apps as well. Then I get to move all of my online webapps over to Alentus' 1.1 boxes and also port all of my clients webstuff to 1.1 (which is already running SxS on their webserver). The only thing that I still really want to do but can't yet is get moved up to Win2K3 server. There has not been any real need to but I figure it's time. But my poor 4Gig SCSI hard drive is just about maxed out. I thought - aww heck, I'll just buy a new server box. Dell's got free shipping and all kinds of deals, but I just looked at how much I spent already christmas shopping and don't feel like forking over another $600 (that's after choosing 512MB Ram instead of 128MB). And I'd rather hold out for a longhorn box anyway. I even have a spare 40 GIG hard drive in my development box but it's not SCSI so I can't flip it into the other box. I'll probably just buy a new drive and start it fresh with win2k3 and then move everything over to that. These things only seem to be able to happen on Sunday nights. I can hardly find the time to set aside otherwise.

  • Notes from the BatCave

    Robert McLaws was a little curious if any one took offense at what may have come across as a self-appointed title of “Boy Wonder”, a title he explains was earned from his co-workers after working in a his low-lit office fondly referred to as the Bat Cave - ergo “Robin” aka Boy-Wonder. I had always wondered about that “Boy Wonder .NET” thing and admit to having jumped to a particular conclusion myself. Now I'm waiting for a sub-sub title of “notes from the BatCave”!

  • My best teacher - a guy none of you know!

    As I'm sitting here typing code, I can't tell you how frequently when implement something an a little voice in my head says “Thanks Dave!”. Although I have programmed alone for many years, I did take a “real” job when I first moved to Vermont for a wonderfully cool ISV called Synergy Software for about 6 or 8 months. I worked very closedly with the first “REAL” programmer I had ever worked with in my life. A guy named Dave Dapkiewicz. Dave is a really cool guy and SO smart  - I could never get over it and I haven't even talked with him in years but I'm always saying “thanks Dave” still!

  • Ink Blogging - next step - hotspots for hyperlinks??

    The InkBlog (actually it's called “InkLog“) is here  - tablet pc team's test site (by way of TabulaPC). When I took my notes in ink at PDC and then posted them, besides the fact that my handwriting was horrific (bad to start with and then writing too fast) I realized that Journal wouldn't let me embed links. So that wasn't really what I expect of a blog post - since linking is the key ingredient of blogging. I was using Journal and then saving the journal and ftp'ing up to my domain and then providing a link from a standard blog post.

  • Comdex & Tablets - The reflection begins

    It's fun to read all the excitement in the posts of the tablet folks who are now on their way home from Comdex and starting to mull over all that they saw. Since I am so new to this area, I have a lot to learn and these people have been involved with tablets for a long time. These folks are SO pumped up about what's coming out for TabletPC and they are positioned to really understand the importance of it all. I'm still pretty wide-eyed and impressed by anything.

  • Tablet Emulator for VS.NET?

    This is a question I have seen now in my comments and over in the forums on There is a bunch of functionality in the Tablet OS that lies between what is in the SDK and actual pen/ink usage on a tablet surface that could be solved with an emulator such as the ones for PocketPC and Mobile development. I haven't really worried about that area because I am fortunate enough to have a tablet to experiment on. Read here and here for more. Is it just that it's too hard to do? It could mean another step for MS in getting more developers to write Tablet apps.

  • MindManager for Tablet - brainstorming on the tablet

    TabletTalkPC points out a press release for MindManager for the Tablet. Mindmanager is a product I had never seen before. It is designed to help organize ideas during brainstorming sessions. I was expecting to see the “grid“ that Bill Gates sets up on his notepad for meetings I just checked out how a desktop version looks. Not sure how you create the elements - visio like? - but the output integrates with MS Office apps as well as Project. Having it on a tablet suddenly makes it look like a really cool application. I look forward to checking it out!

  • Part II

    So who IS in charge of this website? My understanding is that someone else owned it but now Microsoft does. The latest “news” is from April. Hey why not just stick TabletPCTalk's rss feed in there?! Then you don't have to update it.

  • Vermont SQL Server User Group

    **The Vermont SQL Server Special Interest Group (currently a SIG of VTdotNET but soon ready to spread their wings and be a full-fledged user group) has definitely become a mainstay in the Burlington area! I attended a meeting last night where group president, Eric Hall, fresh back from PASS, gave a presentaiton on SQL Server Reporting Services. It looks like potentially fearsome competition for Crystal and Active Reports, though I have to REALLY see what the report designer can truly do. Remember the “report designer” in VB6? (Basically useless.) There was a continuation of the giggling from PDC about how it looks a little like “Access for SQL Server“

  • Bill Gates announces next version of Tablet PC at Comdex...and??

    So far, I am only seeing that Bill Gates announced the next version of the Tablet PC and reiterated what we basically heard at PDC - better handwriting recognition, [quoting Neowin] “deep integration of pen support” and a “rich set of capabilities“ that enable software developers to “deliver innovative software applications based on the Tablet PC platform”.

  • Code Compliation for ASP.NET Whidbey article

    When I was sitting in the talk on ASP.NET Whidbey what's new in the IDE (not quite the right name) I remember saying out loud “but where's the BIN folder?” when they compiled the application. Luckily I happened to be sitting next to G. Andrew Duthie.  Andrew had seen a preview of this and told me that it was such a cool session that I absolutely had to go. Having just authored the article “New Code Compilation Features in ASP.NET Whidbey” for MSDN online, he was able to give me the quick answer. For a more in-depth answer, check out the article.

  • Tablet App Design ... but am I really inky?

    The way the Infragistics ink-enabled tools (for Windows Forms) work is that they embed a small icon in the edit control. The icon is there whether the control is active or not. Clicking on this icon pops up their custom input panel. On most controls that icon looks like this:

  • From the "you learn something new every day" department - DirectCast

    So many functions, so little time! I noticed the Visual Basic keyword, “DirectCast”, in this code sample from Duncan Mackenzie. So I had to go look it up. It is similar to ctype(), in that it casts one type to another, but where cType only needs a defined conversion to exist between the object and the type that you are attempting to cast it to, DirectCast requires that they both are defined by the same base type. If that is the case, then you will prefer DirectCast because it's performace is better as it doesn't have to go through as many hoops to do the coersion. Makes sense. Here's the MSDN explanation.

  • Tabula PC asks for More Help for Tablet PC Devs

    I agree with Peter. I have been struggling a lot in this new territory. I have emailed Clayton Crooks, author of a forthcoming Tablet PC Developer book and I have also emailed “feedback” at which is actually a Microsoft website, although behond the “gotdotnet“ them, that is a bit mysterious. WhoIs finally settled that question for me. So we'll see. I REALLY want to see what the plans are for Lonestar. I have a lot of things I would love to see, now that I have been trying to do a managed app for the tablet.

  • Whidbey Snippets- not your father's cut & paste

    In my Whidbey presentation at Vermont.Net last Monday (which was a blast and I need to take some time out to write about that...) before I got to the heart of the presentation (ASPNet20 goodies!) I did a short VB Windows demo that demonstrated some of the new features in the IDE - mostly VB stuff. I used Jay Roxe's excellent video demo (the link is not directly to the video since they encourage you to download it first) and got my inspiration for my demo from there. Jay is a Visual Basic PM.

  • Tablet PC and trying to change the screen orientation

    In the application I am writing, there are some data entry forms that are best as portrait and others that need to be landscape. The Windows XP Tablet PC o/s has a few ways to switch the orientation, the simplest of these is a small icon in the notification area that has a menu option on it of “Change Screen Orientation”. THat's a little tricky to get at when my already small Acer display is at 1024x768 - it's a teeny tiny target.

  • Contest over on Robert Hurlbut's blog

    Geeze, haven't you people been paying attention? I knew the answer right away. Is it an age thing? Go check out Robert's contest (and probably hang around his blog a little and check out some of the interesting things he has been doing lately with ES, Rotor, BSD, Security and more...)

  • Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, RSS and the Browser

    Robert points out the irony of Dave Winer suggesting that Microsoft is out to kill the web. While I think that technically Dave is repeating his thesis that Microsoft “never wanted the web” while highlighting (and I'm reading a bit of gloating in there) Jon Udell's statement about MS killing the web, I am still amused by the point that Robert is making - that RSS has a lot to do (in our world at least) with a lot less use of the browser. I still use the browser for many many reasons, just not to peruse weblogs.

  • INETA Newsletters

    I have been the editor the INETA Newsletter since August of last year. It's kind of a secret outside of INETA since I don't put my name on it or anything. As editor I do a number of things: think up article ideas and find folks to author them (though I also get some wonderful unsolicited articles, too!), write a bunch myself, collect photos and then produce the whole thing (let me just get this out of the way: with FrontPage!) until I am happy with the balance of content and how it looks visually. I think starting next month there will be some other people with  real live graphics skills (i.e. probably not using FrontPage) doing the actual production so I don't have to worry about some of the nasty details anymore.

  • Mobile computing and the 200 year old technology it depends on

    Here's an article on how the process of getting the world mobile (laptops, etc) has really outgrown the use of batteries and the future in fuel cells. Think about it, the battery is really the weakest link in becoming mobile. it's so damned heavy and if it runs out while your in the middle of something your screwed. Or, like me at TechEd - I didn't have a means to recharge my battery even though I was pretty dependent on my laptop. So I definitely took an interest in this topic.

  • Mike "Reality-Check" Gunderloy

    This is really one of the things I love about reading Mike's The Daily Grind. It's like like they do in the movies when someone is just completely out of control. A good healthy slap in the face makes them go - “oh, yeah, ok, I'm back on planet earth now.” I definitely depend on The Daily Grind for my Daily Sanity Check as well as providing some really useful links that I frequently haven't seen elsewhere.

  • WinFS and the PC Support Guy

    One of the guys in my user group has a business as a pc support person. When I was gushing about WinFS last night, he asked a question that seemed pretty obvious from his perspective. “How the heck is the average user going to know how to backup their files?” The best answer I could give him is “dunno myself, but hopefully Microsoft has considered this.“ You know this problem. Your dad calls you and says “I need to back up [the latest chapter of your mom's book/the puppy pictures/the emails from clients]. Where are they? How do I do that?”

  • Evolution of a Blog Roll & a blog post deteriorates into a madwoman's ramblings

    Though it's not reflected (yet) on my blogroll coded onto my weblog page, it occured to me that as it grows, there is a shift of focus. Not that I am reading less technical blogs, but many of the blogs I am reading now are tech related, but not so directly about coding. Robert Scoble has a lot to do with this I think. But there are others too. So this focus is -- something I'm trying to see if I can put in a “box”. Is it tied into social software? Nah, not that. It's a little about marketing, it's a little about the culture of the software industry. Yeah, actually, I think that's more like it. The culture of the software industry. So some of this is thanks to Scoble pointing everywhere, some is also thanks to seeing my referrals (thanks ScottW). I can see who is reading what I am writing  - therefore we must have something in common - and I go see what that person is writing. The culture of Microsoft is a good chunk of what is really interesting to me now because we are really watching the company evolve. You can see this not only in the technical blogs of Microsoft-ies, but those of people like Laura John and John Porcaro. I have  become fascinated with Shelley Powers' and Halley Suitt's blogs. Robert points to a blog I never knew about , Shel Israel, who is talking about the phenomenon of the Gates Foundation and how so many people don't want to recognize the incredible things the foundation is doing because they are stuck in the old habit of hating Microsoft. One of the comments on the blog said:

  • Generics explained in VB

    Generics is part of the CLR. But sometimes a familiar example - a picture - is pretty helpful to get you started. So I will raise my hand here (for all of you who wouldn't dare do so in public) and admit that since I'm not intimate with C#, my first looks at generics (they are all in C#) were a little confusing because when they say - “this is the old way and this is the new way“, it's a little fuzzy since I'm spending too much time trying to “translate“ the C# code. It's hard to spot which is the new part (it's the )! 

  • My full responses for Tablet PC article in IT World

    When I returned from PDC, I did an “email” interview with Joris Evers, from IDG for an article on the Tablet PC's 1st anniversary. He asked me to participate as he had noticed some posts in my weblog about a production app I am writing for my client for use on a Tablet PC. There are others but I don't feel like grabbing all of those links. (I will flag them as category=Tablet.) So the article is here and I'm honored to be in some damn fine company with the likes of Werner Vogels and others who were also interviewed. But this is old news. I am making this post because Joris gave me permission to post the full text of my responses (from which he mined a few sentences) on my blog. So if you are interested, here is that text.

  • Whidbey at Vermont .NET

    Don't remember if I mentioned that I have put the PDC bits of Whidbey on my laptop and am going to run through some of it at the Vermont .NET User group meeting tomorrow night. I also want to tell them about Longhorn, etc. I see lots of screen shots of Longhorn (eg here at WinSuperSite). But I've been really hoping that someone would do some video screen capture of Longhorn in action. I've seen some of the videos that Paul &  Keith took at PDC. I might just end up using those. That would be really fun to show. Otherwise, I'll just do a little slide show from Paul's screen shots. Usually we just have soda with our pizza at the meeting. I think it will be fun to literally bring some Koolaid. And I even have some red pills left over from my presentation at a group of mostly IBMers last spring.

  • Jeff Julian gets radiated

    This is my nightmare, though I'm sure many others have desks that look like this. It is why I am not running out to get a “longhorn“ box. I only have 2 computers at my desk - my dev box and the tablet. The laptop lives upstairs, the test machine sits on my husband's desk and the server is on my groovy new PURPLE cart from IKEA. So everything's spread out. There's too much crap on my desk to fit all of those computers. Jeff, man, you're a geek! :-)

  • Exceptional new blogs: Laura John & Bill Evjen

    I love Laura's blog. It's a fresh perspective since she is not a programmer but [already] very ingrained in the Microsoft culture as a part of the MSDN team. Laura was clicking with her little Treo phone all over PDC and has fun insider pics although I think my little Kodak digital camera did better at night capturing the Band on the Runtime :-). Her blog is not about code, but about things that developers definitely can connect to. Check it out if you're not already subscribed. Laura also attended the Women who Code BOF at PDC because she has a great interest in the topic.

  • more thoughts on tablet app design

    I talked with Chris deHerrera from while at PDC about usability. I even encouraged him to write an article aimed at developers who are writing for the tablet but do not have a lot of end-user experience with them. He said that one problem with asking for recommendations is that the design ideas are pretty subjective. But I said I was more than willing to try out any recommendations he had. One of them was to change my already upsized fonts to 12 pt. We are using the Acer C100 series right now, which has a small form factor and a smallish screen. If you use anything less than 1024x768 resolution, the rendering pretty much sucks. So everything is teeny tiny and the 12pt font makes good sense here.

  • I wanna play with longhorn without installing it

    I really don't want to install longhorn if I'm already seeing people more adept than me having problems. But I'd love to play with with some code and then build it like Don Box is doing and Sam is doing. Not that I can do anything like those two (heh!), but who better to learn from? I wonder if I could just install bits of the bits and accomplish this. Of course, this too will have to wait! Aargh. Priorities are falling to the wayside. Note to myself : #1 BILLABLE work that makes my client happy #2 Prep for Whidbey preview at vtdotnet in 3 days, #3 finishing touches on INETA Newsletter. Well the list goes to about 50 so I'll just stop there.

  • Werner Vogels Tablet Experience in ITWeek Article

    Yes, I'm in it, but that's been pointed out already. I wanted to be sure that nobody was so shocked to see my name in there that they just couldn't read it any more. But if you keep reading, you will see some intriguing and enlightening quotes from All Things Distributed blogger Werner Vogels. Werner has been using his tablet for quite some time and if you have been reading his blog,you'll know that he is doing some really interesting things with it. Read on....

  • web apps that might go too far

    A company in Vermont saw a great business opportunity in taking public data and putting it online. It is data that normally realtors and people in the real estate industry have to travel to town offices and drill through records to find. So they are trying to make it more accessible to the realtors and keep the realtors from being underfoot at the town offices. Sounds like a great business plan and a win-win, right? But it has caused an uproar in Vermont. It's tax data! One town that said “NO” got sued. So the selectboards (town government) in one town after another are reluctantly saying yes to the company.There is a great amount of control having people go to the offices to look up the data. I'm not sure what security will be in place or if it will be just wide open for the whole world to see. Even though this is the kind of thing I do for a living (i.e. software and web developer), the cons outweigh the pros for me, also. I'm not shy about telling the whole world how old I am. But having my property value and my tax information out their for the whole world to see is pretty intimate and a lot of people are worried about the implications in regards to becoming targets based on their apparent finances.

  • another Intellisense addict

    We all know what drudgery it is sometimes to work on OLD stuff and how much fun it is to work on new stuff. Here's a guy who's having some fun playing with new code and admitting to an addiction too.

  • Unix Girl takes on ...

    Holy Crap. I missed THIS when I was away at PDC. Kasia took on Dave Winer. And you should see the comments! I know hardly anthing about unix or linux -- except that I basically think you gotta be really damn smart to work with it (which was some of the point a few made in teh comments)--  so I am absolutely completely null on this debate. I'm just impressed with her ---ummmm , let's just say gumption, since the word I REALLY want to use is not physically possible (nor polite)!

  • Free on-line hands-on-labs for .NET from MSDN

    Being the editor of the INETA newsletter, I get some interesting tidbits sent my way to pass on to the subscribers of the newsletter (mostly User Group leaders but ANYONE can subscribe - here: Here's something from MSDN that's pretty cool and new. They have taken some of their most popular MOC training modules and put them on line for free. I have asked them why the phrase “low-cost“ is in there. From everything I see so far it is really is just FREE! (Why does this little word speak such volumes to computer geeks?) add: yes free is correct, low-cost was a misnomer

  • Librarian's look at the blogosphere

    I have been watching Liz Lawley's blog and she is at a conference (of Internet Librarians?) right now. I can't figure out what exactly the conference name is, but it's in Monterey CA and she spoke on TUesday . There have been a lot of discussions on rss and aggregators as used for research. Interestingly Liz has a hard time with desktop aggregators because they are not online and mobile, but she did finally sign up for an online aggregator, Bloglines.

  • Avalon/Graphics all about the GPU

    As I was looking at some of my horribly hand written notes from PDC (which I will type up one day) I was reminded of the importance of the use of the GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) in Longhorn.

  • Annotations on MSDN - collective information

    MSDN is also getting in on the concept of not trapping data in buckets which will also be implemented via WinFS. We got a sneak peak of annotations during Eric Rudder's Keynote. And it's already being implemented.  Check out Sara William's blog talking about annotations on MSDN. She is definitely excited that we can see the fruits of her efforts on this!

  • whidbey newsgroups are pretty quiet

    am I the only person trying to create sites in whidbey or is everyone else just having no problems. Or everyone else is too stubborn and your going to figure it out yourself!

  • my notes from Don Box's Transactions in Indigo Session

    They are still hiding here on my computer. I stopped taking notes part way through the session so I could focus. But I don't think I want to share them. Plenty of other people did anyway. Being a non-plumber is the reason. I think I really get what he was showing but I just know something in there (one thing? hah!) will be so off target that it might give people like Don or Clemens Vasters a big laugh if they ever happened to read it. So I'll just keep them here to myself, and just keep listening when it comes to Indigo for now. I don't want to just USE this stuff (which is what Indigo will enable programmers to do), I want to really understand it first.

  • VB.NET WILL get refactoring after all - go vote to keep the name the same!!!

    The explanation for C# getting refactoring support (eg highlight some code, click a menu item and poof that code gets wrapped in an if/end if statement, reorder parameters, etc.) and VB.NET doesn't because C# is so “code intensive“. (oh, yes, because us VBers only know how to drag and drop! -- oops sorry) Anyway, Paul Vick from the VB team says that VB.Net will infact get refactoring. Right now the plan is to call it something different becuase (my translation) MS thinks VB developers are too, what, stupid?, to understand what refactoring is. DOn't worry, I already gave Paul hell in his comments for that one. THat is NOT Paul's decision I”m sure - don't shoot the messenger. Anyway read all about it here  And go vote for calling it refactoring in VB just like it is in C#.

  • MSDN Labs: Longhorn SDK, Logidex.NET and Annotation Service

    Sorry if this is redundant. I must have missed previous refs to it. Definitely check out the MSDN Labs. It's where MSDN is experimenting with new methods of interacting with us developers. Right now it has the Longhorn SDK, the Logidex .NET Library and the Annotation Service. The annotation service must be what we are seeing in Whidbey where you can drill into the help system and add your own notes on line to a specific help topic.

  • finally - invited to the prom

    Hey, I'm a geek and I did NOT get invited to the prom in highschool. Oh well. I have been making up for it ever since! :-) Anyway, I just got invited to a prom, the Women in Tech Blog Prom hosted by meg at It's an invitation only prom and I was invited by my new pal, Shelley Powers. YOu may have seen us -- ahem -- meeting each other -- yesterday here, here or here. Well, we got over it, what can I say. Her invitation says it all. Anyway, it was really hard for me to decide who I would invite and I invited Joy Larkin from

  • installing the bits

    crack open a bottle of wine, uninstall the pre-alpha Whidbey bits (so nice to be able to talk about that finally) and then install the PDC bits for Whidbey and Yukon. Boy is my user group in for a treat next monday (11/10 - Here we go. I am glad to have warnings from Sam Gentile and Jeff Key that the Longhorn install takes forever. I think I will just show them screen shots of that from the web. I think I'll go listen to Robert Scoble on DotNetRocks while uninstall and install goes on.

  • in case you were wondering

    I noticed that there were almost 400 instances of people reading the “Who am I” (renamed “About Me“) article on my blogsite that just had a couple of pictures on it and nothing more. I just updated that in case you are curious about the gorey details of my life.

  • Chris Anderson says: don't forget about VB in Whidbey and in Longhorn

    Some people have been confused by this, yes - VB will ship with Longhorn. I'm not sure why people keeping thinking VB isn't loved by Microsoft. It was highlighted as a key way to target Longhorn in the technical keynote on Monday. VB is a great language - and it is good for way more than "just" drag and drop development... if you haven't seen the new RAD features that are getting added in Whidbey, you should definetly check it out!

  • updated my blog roll

    I know I am just SO politically incorrect, but I have added a section on my blog roll exclusively for blogs by other women. It's just easier to find them if I separate them out and also I really like to see how long the list is getting.