February 2006 - Posts
Ever since I started getting screwed by... oops I mean testing... Windows Vista, I've been tired of dual-booting or re-installing VS2005 all the time. So I decided to move my entire development system to a virtual machine. It has made my life A TON easier, and now that I have more RAM, it's been fantastic.
So, recently a lots of people have been talking about Invirtus' VM Optimizer 2.0. I heard so many great things about it, I decided to check it out. My dev VM had swelled to about 9GB, which made it really hard to deftagment the rest of my hard drive with. I had to keep copying it to an external drive, defrag it there, and then copy it back. What a pain. So I gave VMO a shot, and I was very happy with it overall.
It took less than an hour to run on my VM, rebooting at least 2x along the way. By the time it was done, and I ran the VPC compactor wizard, my VHD was compacted down to about 3.5GB... a much more manageable size. That's with VS2005, SQL 2005, all the docs, Office 2003, and a bunch of other crap. Very impressive, to say the least.
When I ran it on a clean WS2003 R2 virtual install, it took the VHD size from 3.2GB to 950MB... which made it far easier to upload to my servers.
But, my impression was not all positive. I didn't like the fact that the trial is basically one-run only. It says "14-day trial", but you can only run it once per VM, which I think is a bad call. There's technology out there to let you time-limit trials, and I should be able to run it as many times as I want within that 14 days. I e-mailed them to give them that feedback, and they said they'd look into it.
Other than that, I'm pretty happy with it. I wish it supported Vista yet (a clean Vista VPC install on 5270 weighed in at almost 9GB, uncompressed). I'm definitely buying the product, especially since we'll be making heavy use of VMs for Homentum's staging environment. If you work with VPCs a lot, you should definitely check it out.
I just upgraded to those 64bit servers that ServerBeach has in their new datacenter... but they're only running the 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003. I've been trying to find info, but have been unable thus far... does anyone have benchmark data on 32-bit on 32-bit, 32-bit on 64-bit, and 64-bit on 64-bit OS comparisons? I'd like to know if I'm getting screwed on performance or not.
Also, if anyone has a workaround for the WS2003 x64 limitation that I HAVE to install from a CD at boot time, that would be much appreciated as well. I can get around all this crap if I can do a clean install from inside the 32-bit WS2003. Thanks guys!
As I just blogged about a few minutes ago, my business partners annd I are starting a tech-based real estate brokerage called Homentum™. We're currently looking for a paid intern or part-time developer, with the opportunity to go full time in the next few months. While we're ramping up for launch, the job will consist of performance tuning the APIs I've written, and cleaning up the web application code... but will rapidly move into innovative work with Atlas, WF, WCF, Windows Live Local, SQL Notification Services, and mobile device applications. The ideal candidate will live in Phoenix, have extensive experience with VS2005, SQL 2005, etc, and wants to do innovative things at a fast-paced startup. Living ikn Phoenix is not mandatory for the right person, but is greatly desired, as you will be our first employee hire and a key part of the team.
If you're interested, please use my contact form to get in touch with me, and then I'll have you send me your resume. Thanks a bunch, guys!
Many of you may have noticed that I've been awfully quuiet that last few months. Just wanted to let you know, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.
The last 18 months, I've been working with my business partners as real estate agents in Phoenix. We've been with a brokerage called Windermere (Redmondites will know them well), and have enjoyed great successes. Together, we sold nearly $10M in homes in the area, where most agents are lucky to break $1M. As you might imagine, that has taken up most of my time. In that time, I also got a girlfriend. Between a business and a woman, I've hardly had the free time to screw around writing utilities like I used to.
Then six months ago, during PDC and my sister's accident, my partners came up with a new idea. When I got back the following week, they sprung yet another change in direction on me. They wanted to start a technology-based real estate brokerage.. and "oh yeah, we're completely dependent on you to get the software off the ground."
So for the last six months, I've been working on helping my business partners get our latest venture off the ground. It's based on the concept of using technology to seemlessly integrate the buying and selling process for real estate. The existing tools around managing a brokerage are terrible, and the tools around managing an agent's business are far worse. So we wanted to build a toolset that not only helped us manage our client load internally, but extended many of those tools directly to our clients. The end result is a really cool business model in which we can save our clients thousands of dollars, all while handling far more clients with far fewer agents.
I was really excited to dive into the project, because we're able to use the absolute latest technologies available. The platforms used in real estate software design are so archaic it's almost laughable. We'll be able to leverage the types of technologies typically seen in massive start-ups for a fraction of the price, which is a lot of fun for me. And so many new technologies are on the horizon, it will be a lot of fun to experiment with them to see how to put them to use to benefit this industry.
We paid a big chunk of change to have a professional firm craft our image, branding, and website design. A couple weeks ago, we got a name. Last week, we got our logo and tagline. Over the next several weeks, we'll be finalizing our design as we wrap up the first version of the platform. We're wrapping up our first round of investment now (contact me if you want a piece of the action), and should be getting into our first real office soon.
So my new company's name is Homentum™, and we're on track to launch our service for the Phoenix area in late March, early April. We're still getting the servers set up, but we should have a website up before then.
So what does that mean for Interscape? Well, you might have noticed that 90% of the site has been broken for quite some time now. We shut down our component development a long time ago, but never got around to taking all the stuff down. Interscape will be re-focusing on building Microsoft-related communities, such as LonghornBlogs.com. All references to ASP.NET components will be taken off InterscapeUSA.com, and all downloads will be moved to my new personal website instead. That should happen about the same time as our launch.
I'm really excited about this new venture. It's our first real start-up, and we've put a lot of time into building a business model that will make serious money. The margins are quie a bit higher than my days of selling scrollable DataGrids at $20 a pop. We have big plans for the future, and I'm looking forward to many exciting days ahead.
Hope all is well with you guys. I'm excited to get back into the swing of things.