Plip's Weblog

Phil Winstanley - British .NET chap based in Lancashire. Enjoys tea and tech. Working for Microsoft.

February 2007 - Posts


It's been absolutley ages since I've done any gaming (about a year I suppose). Tonight I installed and have been playing Elder Scrolls IV on the PC and after a while my left hand started to hurt across the top of my wrist and up the back of my hand.

It took me a while to realise what it was, but I think my WASD muscles have become weak from a lack of exercise!

Anyway, now my left hand is sore, so I'm going to stop typing and get some sleep.

Cross site scripting - LOVEFiLM

It still worries me that so many sites are still vulnerable to cross site scripting attacks!

I use an online DVD rental service and today I needed to go and discover my password, only to be presented with a screen which took querstring values and directly places them onto the page.

What's worse is this page is running on a https connection meaning users could be lulled into a viciously false sense of security.<script>alert('This%20is%20a%20malicious%20script%20injection,%20potentially.')</script>

SQL Server team - Are you smoking crack?

Okay, so rule number one of user interface design is consistency - make sure people don't have to learn new things too often and be sure to use the same design (bad or otherwise) everywhere.

So why in gods name did the SQL Server team feel the need to replace the File Browser with their own mess of an implementation?



The windows one is fine, it's what I'm used to, it's like an old pair of slippers, it's comfortable ...



Microsoft, once again I say ...


Off to a Ruby Usergroup tonight

I'm off to a Ruby usergroup in about half an hour to see how they do things - I am really enjoying stretching my legs in the other tech communities and seeing what they do.

So far I've come to the conclusion none of the communities are as mature as the Microsoft community, they seem to come and go as the "next cool thing" is established.

Some might say that's because the OSS world move faster and the people move with it whilst the Microsoft world is much larger and slower to change but I am not sure I agree with that.

Anyway - Ruby tonight and a session on REST which as far as I can see is qhat you and I call URL's with querystring parameters but without the question mark or web services. (Rather REST solves a problem which doesn't exist - how do we send structured data to and from remote points with HTTP). Hopefully I've misunderstood what REST is and the session this evening will put me right, I doubt it though ;-)

This is the second meeting of the North West Ruby Users Group.

In addition to the REST session there's going to be a talk on "Women in Tecnology" which I'm really looking forward to - I'm lucky if I get a single woman (i.e. more than one, not a unmarried woman) to show up for the .NET usergroups and I'm pretty sure it's not my personality!

Imagine Cup 2007 - Round 1 - Sample Document


I've put together a sample document for the Round 1 submission which you can find here: -

Your document should show off what you want to do and how you're going to innovate.

Pay special attention at dazzling the reader - but bear in mind - you need to be able to build the application in round two!

Remember to check out my post on the Judging criteria we're looking for too.

If you have any questions, don't hesistate to ask here or in the forums: -

Sample Round 1 Document



Posted: Feb 20 2007, 04:22 PM by Plip | with no comments
Filed under:
"Into the Future" - UK - 23rd May 2007

[Read in the voice of a movie trailer narrator]

On the 23rd May 2007 in the sleepy Village of Reading, England (For our overseas readers that's in Europeland), there will be an event unlike any event you've ever attended before.

Developers from around the world are in termoil, their tools and languages give them unlimited choice leaving them bewildered and lost. Only two men have the answer to this technological dilemma, and that answer is NxtGGenUK Fest07.

Yes folks, the chuckle brothers are about to embark on their most extravegant outing yet - they're running a conference in Reading this coming May!

The day has a theme: “Into the future …”. We start the day looking at current technologies such as Vista, then we move into the ‘Orcas’ timeframe, then to 12 months hence or so, probably taking a look at dynamic languages and then really moving out into ‘who knows’ with a session from Microsoft Research. There will be a keynote, with an appearance from UK DPE manager Kevin McDaniel and words from the NxtGenUG crew and finally the day will finish with a new ‘Game Show’ style session courtesy of NxtGenUG featuring a lot of ‘swag’!

We’re absolutely chuffed to bits to announce that the ‘headline’ speaker is top TechEd speaker Rafal Lukawiecki and we will also be joined by Daniel Moth and Mike Taulty (perhaps) of the UK DPE and also by Lorna Brown from Microsoft Research. We have one more speaker to announce too, which we hope to do next week.

At lunchtime there will be ‘Grok’ talks presented by NxtGenUG members, on a variety of subjects to be announced.

This event is FREE to all NxtGenUG members and a mere £54.99 for non-members until 1 March 2007, check out the URL for more details. Numbers are strictly limited ( I know everybody says that … but we really mean it this time - 230 tops!) so register early is our advice!

Sounds like it will be a good day out - nice and entertaining :-)

Wherefore art thou Trillian Astra

I am eagerly awaiting my entry into the Trillian Astra alpha, I've been a Trillian user for many years mainly because it allows me to be signed into multiple MSN accounts at the same time but also because it doesn't have all the fluff MSN has and it allows me to sign into my Google Talk account too.

Over on the Blog ( the Trillian chaps are leaking little bits of information on the new client and it looks amazingly pretty and tantalizing.

I really cannot wait until it's out - Trillian is the best IM client I've ever used.

Posted: Feb 11 2007, 05:00 PM by Plip | with 5 comment(s)
Filed under:
WebDD - the beginning of the end

I know this is a little late but I wanted to recap WebDD and go over a few bits and pieces.

Firstly I want to say a big thank you to the speakers, the sponsors, the delegates and to Dave Sussman. Without you guys the event would not have been the massive success it has been!

Now, what about the event? Well for those of you attended you were one of the lucky 300 who managed to get in and from the reviews you've all been leaving it sounds like you had a cracking event.

The day for me didn't start too well, I woke up at about 7am with a banging headache and about an hour to get to the Microsoft campus to start the event off. I was getting ready and I put on my shiny new WebDD shirt (which I might add is rather swish for a geeky conference shirt). Now, I'd arranged with Mr Sussman and Dave Verwer to meet them at reception at 07:45, they were however nowhere to be seen (apparently at their times of life waking up can be difficult - nothing to do with the copious amounts of alcohol they'd consumed the night before with myself and a group of other guys).

So I drove in alone and spent the entire journey worrying about wether we'd have enough people show up, would our speakers remember to come, would there be any travel problems, would the Microsoft security man on the gate let me in, generally I was rather worried and paniky. Whilst driving in I got a phone call from Dave Sussman who's first words were "Wake up you lazy git", he seemed rather deflated when I told him I was halfway there and had tried to wake him up but he was clearly too old to notice :-)

The night before the event myself and the Dave's (Sussman and Verwer) had visited the campus to make sure the internet connection was working in the rooms where the speakers would be speaking (long story but basically because of Microsoft security policies it's impossible to get internet connectivity unless there's divine intervention from god (or in our case Clare our contact at Microsoft)) which we'd managed to get working in all three rooms after some signifigant fiddling.

Once I was on campus on the morning of the event I rolled past security, parked up right outside the door and started to panic more as I realised there were only thee other cars there - would people turn up? Would it just be myself and Scott Guthrie in the presentation room? Was it the right day?? :-) I was flapping like an old woman.

Anyway, I grabbed my laptop and wandered into Building Three, the home for our event for the day only to walk straight into Alex Homer whom is one of the best ASP.NET people in the UK - at least there would be two of us there for the conference, things were looking up! John Allwright of Microsoft was there setting up his stand and there were a few people in the reception area waiting for the event to kick off.

After I'd picked up my badge (escort required don't you know), I bumped into Clare (our Microsoft contact who'd helped us organise the whole event) who gave me some last minute details. As we were chatting Simon Sergides of Elastic Brand turned up, Simon had kindly offered to film Scott Gutries tracks for the day and it a professional videographer (is that the right term? dunno - he's great with cameras though). So we showed Simon into Chicago 1 and got him all set up.

I think that's enough for one post, I'll follow this post up with the rest of the WebDD event a little later on, there's pleanty more where this came from ...

Posted: Feb 08 2007, 10:59 PM by Plip | with 1 comment(s)
Filed under:
More Posts