Sunday, May 30, 2010

Geek Post Monthly Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 5

Geek Post

Volume 2 Issue 5

May 2010

Hippolite Musings

Tena Koutou Katoa,

This month I managed to:

  • Upgrade to VS2010;
  • Had a birthday;
  • Attended a wedding;
  • Saw a movie (Iron Man 2);
  • Presented a guest lecture at VUW;
  • Attended a committee meeting (or 2);
  • Played some squash;
  • Took ownership of another community web site (my third);
  • Indoctrinated my kids into programming (with Scratch); and
  • Moved my home wireless modem from downstairs to upstairs.


Developer News

This is where I continue the saga of documenting my learnings from actually putting a web site “out in the wild” (I usually code within a nice, safe, Intranet).

In May I took ownership of my third community web site.  The three are (in order of ownership):

This one follows a radically dissimilar structure to the other two, as it appears to be totally static and the web server doesn’t appear to be IIS.  This may hinder my ability to bring active (dynamic) content.  I’ll have to test the limits of what the Wellington Community Network are offering us web masters.

Ah well, at least I’m being versatile.

Telecom News

I upgraded to Visual Studio 2010 on my laptop at work.  Yay!  However, it means that my study for MCTS Exam 70-503 (Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Communication Foundation) has to be done on my desktop at work (yes, I have two workstations - don’t envy me – although it is not on my desk so it is used by a contractor) as the labs don’t work on VS2010.

I have recommenced study, after a particularly busy few months.  Enjoying the break, caused by many projects being negatively impacted by the recent job losses.

I learned a lot more about connecting telephone and broadband at home than I had intended this month.  I had invited my Team Leader (a man with 35 years experience with the company) around to my place to help me move my modem upstairs.  I thought it would be a simple matter of replacing my single telephone jack-box in the dining room with a double telephone and broadband jack.  Turns out the dining room was wired directly from the Point of Entry (roadside cable) with telephone only, and we didn’t possess the special triangular screwdriver to get into the POE box to enable BB to that node.  So, we followed the BB cable and found it went from POE to master bedroom to downstairs.  So we had to enable BB from master bedroom to secondary bedroom (where a telephone jack existed).  From there, we were able to extend the BB (and telephone) through the wall into the lounge.  Now the modem resides in the lounge and reception is sweet as.  It took us 4 hours!

I won’t say I’m a qualified Telecom engineer now, but I have a lot more respect for wiring diagrams than I did before!

Microsoft News

Presented my “Designing & Developing Applications to Ensure Quality Code” lecture to a class of third year “Software Engineering” students at Victoria University again this month.  Lecturer Hui Ma informed me that last year’s class highly rated me, which is rewarding.  How is this related to “Microsoft News”?  Because my talk is very much based around the Microsoft Foundations architecture training for Solution Developers.

Situations Vacant

Solutions Architect – DEV0207S

Want to join a company that is innovative, passionate and thrives on providing cutting edge solutions to suit our client's needs?

Join our growing Voice & Contact Centre team as a Contact Centre Solutions Architect leading, solutions and design in Enterprise Information Technology solutions, specific to the Contact Centre environment.  As a subject matter expert in your field you will be an innovative leader driving, mentoring others to deliver to customer outcomes.

You will scope and manage ICT strategies and translate business requirements into technical solutions.  Your experience in a similar capacity coupled with industry knowledge of Banking/Finance and Logistics, along with a strong consulting and design background, will secure you this position.

Contact James if interested.

Training News

Took my kids to ScratchDay

Scratch Day is a worldwide network of gatherings, where people come together to meet other Scratchers, share projects and experiences, and learn more about Scratch.

Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.

As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

My assessment of the day (a Saturday afternoon) was it was very worth-while.  And not just because a lot of home-schoolers that we knew were there.  The hands-on, collaborative, one-on-one training each kid received got them started on some very quick and easy and rewarding little script writing.


A summary of Significant Dot Net User Group Chatter

  • 6-May, CSS Cruncher (10 replies)
  • 6-May, PDF creation (5 replies)
  • 11-May, TechEd2010 Registrations are open! (10 replies)
  • 13-May, Sharepoint 2010 local install licensing (8 replies)
  • 18-May, Visual Studio 2010 (34 replies)
  • 19-May, Nhibernate and filtered collections (6 replies)
  • 21-May, TFS 2010 question (4 replies)
  • 25-May, CITCON ANZ 2010 sponsorship (4 replies)
  • 28-May, Windows Phone 7 Developer Training (4 replies)


A summary of  Significant SQL Server User Group Chatter

  • 13-May, Report Builder 3.0 (4 replies)
  • 19-May, SQL Server 2008 R2 Management Studio (11 replies)
  • 19-May, Cannot open script editor in BIDS 2008 (3 replies)
  • 21-May, Error installing Sql Server 2008 R2 (4 replies)
  • 30-May, Job Vacancy – Senior DBA (2 replies)

Events Schedule

In this section, I highlight dates, times and venues of events either I am presenting at, or of interest to Geeks.  I’m available for bookings.

Date Event Venue Speaker
01-Jun-2010 Azure Boot Camp Microsoft, Auckland Chris Auld and Ryan CrawCour
02-Jun-2010 Azure Boot Camp Microsoft, Wellington Chris Auld and Ryan CrawCour
03-Jun-2010 Azure Boot Camp Intergen, Christchurch Chris Auld and Ryan CrawCour
15-Jun-2010 Windows 7 Phone Development Convention Centre, Christchurch Various
16-Jun-2010 Windows 7 Phone Development Microsoft, Wellington Various
17-Jun-2010 Windows 7 Phone Development Microsoft, Auckland Various
25-26 Jun 2010 Continuous Integration and Testing Conference Fronde, Queen’s Wharf, Wellington Various
29-Aug-10 Code Camp (TBA) SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland Lots
30-Aug-10 to 01-Sep-10 Microsoft TechEd 2010 SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland Lots
April 2011 ALM Conference Wellington Various


Great to be Kiwi

Young Rangi bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.

The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.

The next day he drove up and said, 'Sorry son, but I have some bad news. The donkey's died.'

Rangi replied, 'Well then just give me my money back.'

The farmer said, 'Can't do that. I've already spent it.'

Rangi said, 'OK, then, just bring me the dead donkey.'

The farmer asked, 'What are you going to do with him?'

Rangi said, 'I'm going to raffle him off.'

The farmer said, 'You can't raffle a dead donkey!'

Rangi said, 'Sure I can. Watch me.. I just won't tell anybody he's dead.'

A month later, the farmer met up with Rangi and asked, 'What happened with that dead donkey?'

Rangi said, 'I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $898'

The farmer said, 'Didn't anyone complain?'

Rangi said, 'Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.'

Rangi now works for Telecom selling the new XT Mobiles 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Geek Post Monthly Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 4

Geek Post

Volume 2 Issue 4

April 2010

Hippolite Musings

Tena Koutou Katoa,

Stake in the ground: the April issue should come out at the end of April, documenting what happened in April.  (That decision was never necessary, when the newsletter used to be weekly on a Sunday documenting what happened in the previous week.)  So far, I’ve failed this test!

This month I managed to:

  • wrangle some more training;
  • attended a launch event;
  • took some unplanned leave;
  • made some deliveries;
  • started a new church (and website).


Developer News

Grenada Village Online

This is where I continue the saga of documenting my learnings from actually putting a web site “out in the wild” (I usually code within a nice, safe, Intranet).

In April I launched my new church website: Align Church Online

Essentially follows very similar structure to Grenada Village Online, but I suspect I shall be putting more time into this one, as I have a close team of interested individuals giving me plenty of advice about what next needs to go up.

Discovered a quick way to send up only the necessary changes:

  • Make my edits locally
  • Publish to local folder
  • Zip the local folder, being careful to exclude the web.config file and images folder.  (Web.config,  because I don’t want to overwrite the different connection string between DEV and PROD, and images folder in order to decrease the size of the zip file.  Since the images don’t change from update to update, there is no need to continually send them up.)  However, the slightest HTML change (let alone code behind) requires a recompile and the entire BIN folder to be updated.
  • I also delete the SubSonic.dll file from the zip archive, because although it is in the BIN folder, it doesn’t change from version to version.  And it’s comparatively large.
  • My ISP admin website allows for me to upload and unzip files to a folder.  By uploading the entire zip file into the web site root folder, I overwrite all files there, thus a quick and easy way to update my site.

There is one distinction I made between these two sites, which I think I need to retrofit into GVO:

  • When someone signs up with ACO, they are not granted any extra rights, until I go in as admin and assign them to a security group.
  • When someone signs up with GVO, they are automatically granted Membership.  I think this was a mistake.
  • Membership allows you to see the Directory of all other users.  Potentially, this is a security breach.

I made a couple of design decisions:

  • I had a number of photos and a video which we wanted to put up on our site.
  • I discovered that FaceBook has a 200 image limit per album.
  • I decided to upload approx. 600 images to FaceBook in 3 different albums for 3 different events, but make those images private to my friends.
  • Then I decided to upload only 12 of the best photos each for those 3 events and  make them public on the ACO website.
  • Then I converted the 90min video into 11 x 9 min (approx) clips.
  • Then I uploaded those clips to YouTube.
  • Then I created a page which lists, displays and names those 11 clips, on the ACO site.

Talk about using Social Media to our advantage!

Telecom News

Share Price Fell

Note: the following is my personal opinion.  I have no “extra” knowledge of Telecom business other than what is publicly known.

CEO made big announcement.  200 managers were going to lose their jobs in a massive scale-back.  That’s approximately 10% of the managerial layer, so expect management layoffs in May, and staff layoffs in June.

Personally, I’m not too concerned:

  1. Telecom sees itself as three components: Wholesale, Retail and Shared Services.
  2. I’m Shared Services.
  3. Whatever happens to the company, (i.e. apparently physical separation between Wholesale and Retail is a possibility), both will still need Shared Services.  We just might need to split up.
  4. My skills as a .NET Developer are still in demand elsewhere, if necessary.

Microsoft News

What I did for Microsoft this month

(I don’t work for them, but sometimes it feels like I do)

  • Attended Test Technologies Training event at Microsoft on Thursday 15 April.  Training by Jeremy Boyd.
  • Attended Visual Studio 2010 and Windows Azure launch event at Holiday Inn, Featherston Street on Friday 23 April with work colleagues.
  • Downloaded Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate edition.  I’ll install it next month.  Let you know how I get on.

Attempted to get to the bottom of why Telecom had a Team Foundation Server, but it’s only available in a Virtual Environment.  Let me explain:

  • Workgroup Solutions Team (WST, to which I belong) have exemption to be allowed to install and use Visual Studio IDE on our PCs in order to do our jobs.
  • However, Intranet Support (our sister team, with the same manager) do not have this exemption and must run Visual Studio in Virtual PCs.
  • Therefore, when they evaluated they had a need for Team Foundation Server (TFS), they were informed/advised the only way to achieve this was to install it on a separate domain from Telecom.
  • Therefore, they run this server on a separate domain, which is only accessible via wireless network on our floor of our building.
  • Therefore, they are unable to code from home.
  • Therefore, WST doesn’t want a bar of it.
  • But, WST does want TFS and wonders why we can’t install it on one of our servers.

But, if we were to install TFS on one of our servers would cause two issues:

  • Licensing, I imagine, because then there would be two instances of TFS. 
  • However, we can’t merely decommission the existing TFS because then Intranet Support wouldn’t be able to connect to our instance, because they’re all running Visual Studio on Virtual PCs!

Somehow, I surmise, somebody gave poor advice initially, and now we’re stuck with an untenable position.  Hopefully, Network Operations will hear of this, my tale of woe, take pity and remove restrictions from Intranet Support to be able to emulate the WST working environment.

Situations Vacant

Paradoxically, given the current restructure, there are plenty

Network Planner - Bring forward the future

Experience the challenges and complexities associated with working for New Zealand's largest access network services business.  As a key member of the Chorus team help manage our field services and access network (copper, fibre, ducts, radio, cabinets and exchanges) to better support our customers and give all service providers equal access to the local network through its exchanges.  Work alongside a team of true professionals responsible for developing projects to expand the capacity and the reach of the Chorus network.

Complex Provisioning Coordinator - Be the Oil in the Engine

Join this fun and supportive team responsible for handling managed provisioning requests for Chorus's customers and keep the pistons turning as you get to know all the latest network and data products.  You'll be an integral part of this team as you lead and develop end to end customer experience initiatives to achieve consistently superlative results!

Project Analyst - Portfolio Management Office

This position is being introduced within the Service Introduction Portfolio Management Office (PMO). The PMO is responsible for providing consistent management and reporting across all Service Introduction managed projects.

Training News

Learned all the new testing methodologies

Visual Studio 2010 integrates with a new tool for testers.  It looks sweet.  It’s not the VS IDE, so shouldn’t freak out non-coders, but it does integrate with TFS, so can create, edit, assign and close work items.

Also, it allows for very detailed recording of tests (including video!) so that developers can quickly see the error occurring and quickly diagnose it.

Also, it allows for testers to very easily set up a test harness and repeatable tests, so that regression testing is easier.

It’s got some instantly forgettable long name which I’ve been avoiding because I had to go look it up: Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional (remember: it has the name, but not the look and feel of the IDE).


A summary of Significant Dot Net User Group Chatter

  • 01-Apr-2010 - Entity Framework (V4) Use – 18 replies
  • 12-Apr-2010 – SilverLight – 34 replies
  • 13-Apr-2010 - VS2010 is RTM - 54 replies
  • 14-Apr-2010 – SharePoint mail list? – 10 replies
  • 25-Apr-2010 – New VS2010 IDE Features – 14 replies
  • 28-Apr-2010 – Silverstripe CMS – 11 replies
  • 29-Apr-2010 – VS2010 IntelliSense Drop-Down Size – 24 replies


A summary of  Significant SQL Server User Group Chatter

  • 07-Apr-2010 – Auckland SQL Saturday – 10 replies
  • 08-Apr-2010 – Wellington SQL Server User Group Meeting – Windows Azure – 6 replies
  • 09-Apr-2010 – Dynamics CRM – 5 replies
  • 21-Apr-2010 – What is the best alternates to avoid using Cursors? – 6 replies
  • 22-Apr-2010 – Protecting SQL Server Data – 4 replies

Events Schedule

In this section, I highlight dates, times and venues of events either I am presenting at, or of interest to Geeks.  I’m available for bookings.

Date Event Venue Speaker
06-May-10 BizTalk Roadmap DataCom Systems Myles Matheson
07-May-10 How to Code for Quality VUW Software Engineering class James Hippolite
18-May-10 NZ SharePoint Conference Bay of Plenty Lots
19-May-10 12:00 GMT 24 Hours of PASS Internet Lots
01-Jun-2010 Azure Boot Camp Microsoft, Auckland Chris Auld and Ryan CrawCour
02-Jun-2010 Azure Boot Camp Microsoft, Wellington Chris Auld and Ryan CrawCour
03-Jun-2010 Azure Boot Camp Intergen, Christchurch Chris Auld and Ryan CrawCour
29-Aug-10 Code Camp (TBA) SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland Lots
30-Aug-10 to 01-Sep-10 Microsoft TechEd 2010 SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland Lots


JACK was in the airport VIP lounge en route to Seattle some weeks ago when he noticed Bill Gates sitting comfortably in the corner, enjoying a drink.

Jack was meeting a very important client who was also flying to Seattle, but she was running a little bit late.

Well, being a straightforward kind of guy, he approached the Microsoft chairman, introduced himself, and said: “Mr Gates, I wonder if you would do me a favour.”


“I’m sitting right over there,” Jack said, pointing to his seat at the bar, “and I’m waiting on a very important client. Would you be so kind when she arrives as to come walk by and just say, ‘Hi, Jack?’”


He shook Bill Gates’ hand, thanked him and went back to his seat.

About 10 minutes later, Jack’s client showed up.

They ordered drinks and started to talk business.

A couple of minutes later, he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Bill Gates.

“Hi, Jack,” he said.

Jack replied: “Get lost Gates, I’m in a meeting.”