Archives / 2004
  • PayPal for Aceh Aid Bucket Brigade

    Robert and Julie have already mentioned this. I've been hard at work all week helping a good friend in Bali - Susi Johnston - put together an immediate relief effort for the Aceh province called the "Aceh Aid Bucket Brigade". Susi credits me with the name, but let's just say it was a group effort. One of the things I can take credit for was setting up her blog on MSN spaces (good suggestion Robert!) to which she can post via email (they have embarassingly slow connections over there). I still have to do the pictures manually though...

  • Visual Studio Server?

    Somebody left these "ASK ME about Visual Studio Server" buttons in the VIP lounge at VSLive/NYC in July. Nobody confessed to knowing what they referred to, so nobody would actual wear one (which sort of defeats their purpose, right?). Six months later, Google only turns up references to "Visual Studio Server Explorer". Hmm.

  • A New Perspective on Architecture?

    These two posters went up around Microsoft's Redmond campus a few months ago. I was part of the team that designed the (then-new) Architecture portal ( but - even with that "perspective" - I think these posters can be difficult to grok. I like the mountain image, but if I understand the symbolism here - is a physical architecture that is literally "carved in stone" a good thing?

  • What is SOA?

    I've been spending the week at a "peer" retreat on Enterprise Architecture in Crested Butte (Colorado). The small event (there are 16 people this year) is organized by Martin Fowler and Bruce Eckel and has been running for several years now.

  • Collaboration Design Pattern?

    A couple of months ago I wrote about the difficulty I was having with project collaboration. Mike Sax referred to that post (scroll down a way), saying that I should send everyone I work with a copy of “Getting Things Done“. Well, I bought the book, read it, and in fact - yes - it is changing the way I work. However, the book doesn't really say anything about collaboration and when I mentioned this to Mike at TechEd last month he said “well, I only read part of it“!

  • The "best" thing at TechEd (a little late...)

    The “best” thing at TechEd 2004 San Diego was undoubtedly the cabanas. It was like an extended “Ask The Experts”, except that - confusingly - the sessions were actually caled “Meet The Technologist”. The a/v support was abysmal, which lead to some creative solutions:

  • Whither WSE?

    Yesterday I did a workshop on “Best Practices for .NET Enterprise Architecture” at the Enterprise Architecture Summit 2004 in Palm Springs. One of the questions I asked the 30 people in my workshop was “How many of you are familiar with WSE?”. About 10 hands. Then, “How many of you are using or are planning to use WSE”? Zero hands. Whoa! Then, “How many of you are not going to use it because of something the Indigo team has told you?” The same ten hands. Which pretty much confirms what I heard at TechEd, which was customers telling me that the Indigo team had told them to “hold off“ on WSE.

  • TechEd "Architect Road Rally" Party

    Since there are two architecture precons at TechEd this year - our GAPP (Guidance about patterns & practices) and another about Identity Management - one of the Microsoft architecture teams I work with has put together a Sunday evening party at the San Diego Automotive Museum. Registration for the party is first-come, first-served using the following link:

  • "Brutal" Architecture

    We have all heard about the parallels between physical architecture and software architecture. How “design patterns” were first expressed by Christopher Alexander to describe things in buildings. And, because building architecture is such a mature industry - relatively speaking - that we should be able to learn from them. This is all familiar ground, isn't it? Well, maybe we need to question this obvious association...

  • Collaboration

    I've been working on a few collaborative projects recently, and I've had to update my expectations to keep up with current “conditions“. In the “good old days“, if I sent an email to a dozen people, I'd expect a response from half of them within a day. Now it's more like 1 or 2, and these are for issues that clearly benefit them.So I have to nag the others, badger them by phone, threaten to have Microsoft cut off their MSDN subscriptions (just kidding! really! <g>) just to get a response.

  • Corporate .NET User Groups?

    Everyone knows about INETA and how it supports public .NET user groups. In fact, according to the counter on the up left corner of the INETA home page, there are currently 522 registered user groups with 196,658 users worldwide.

  • patterns & practices Summit

    I try not to over-promote myself (I'm sure there are others who would disagree, perhaps violently <g>) but - in the words of a friend who forwarded me this link, this is like “shooting fish in a barrel”. Kent Tegels posted in his SqlJunkies blog about the upcoming “patterns & practice Summit”, asking “Anybody going? presenting? blogging about? Got Details?”

  • New .NET Architecture Center on MSDN

    The new “.NET Architecture Center” just went live about 5 minutes ago on MSDN. I've been working with the team putting it together (including Steve Kirk at MSDN and Harry Pierson of the .NET Enterprise Architecture Team (aka “.NEAT“, which is one of the better plays on the .NET moniker). It's nice to finally see the results of the overhaul, which makes the architecture site consistent with the other major developer centers (developers are already familiar eith the VB and C# dev centers managed by Duncan Mackenzie, who works with Steve).

  • "Critical Update" to remove a symbol?

    Wow, do we live in strange times, or what? I just received notification of a “Critical Update” to remove a symbol from the Bookshelf Symbol 7 font. Turns out it's to remove a swastika, one of the oldest known symbols. The “Typographica” journal has an interesting thread on this issue. It also made the Business 2.0 “Dumb and dumber moments in tech” list for 2003, so I'm assuming this issue isn't news to many people. But as someone who has managed to avoid all the PC stupidity, I thought I was immune to this stuff. <sigh>

  • Are Canadians, um, different?

    I'm planning FTP's first show in Canada (Toronto, first week of May) and am sitting here wondering if developers “up” there have different interests than those in the US. Offhand, I'm thinking there are more multi-language issues (which is fine, because resource localization in .NET is so darned cool) but is there anything else? Devices? Industrial usage (like RFID tracking tags for mooses)?

  • Computer Use and Productivity Growth

    The December 2003 issue of “National Economic Trends” from the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis included a cover story entitled “Computer Use and Productivity Growth”, which is only available online as a 1MB PDF. I got hooked on this publication while in graduate school studying Economics at the UW many years ago, and sometimes they have something interesting. It's a variable reinforement principle kind of thing.

  • The Future

    I just read a Reason magazine interview of Bruce Sterling (mentioned on SlashDot) that really got me thinking. The pessimistic chord in me rang to Sterling saying “Socially, policy makers have made a series of choices very similar to what preceded the collapse into World War I.”. And the optimist in me (in this week of hype over the CES) vibrated when he said “I think the real revolution is in industrial production. It’s about manipulating factory processes, it’s about mass customization, it’s about a revolution in industry that gets the toxins out of the air and is more efficient by, say, a factor of four than what we had. When that happens we’ll have a genuinely new world. Playing movies off handhelds, that’s not really that big of a deal.”