Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Geek Post Monthly Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 11

Geek Post

Volume 2 Issue 11

November 2010

Hippolite Musings

Tena Koutou Katoa,

In November, I:

    1. Conquered the Project Management tool which Telecom uses by entering 3 months actuals and 1 months forecast work for the 8 staff in my team.  I’m a trainee Team Lead!
    2. Attended another Vex Robotics Scrimmage.
    3. Received direction on how to maximise My Personal Performance (MPP) reporting.  This is corporate-speak for complying with my quarterly performance reviews.
    4. Fixed up WHEN library database in preparation for handing it over to somebody else.  Yippee!
    5. Sat and failed my Windows Communication Foundation exam.  Ah, well, there’s always next month!
    6. Studied (before and after exam) materials for said exam.
    7. Took final minutes as Secretary for Grenada Village Community Association at AGM.  Presented finances as acting Treasurer.
    8. Assisted Fiona to handover Membership Secretary duties of WHEN.
    9. Delivered one project.  Picked up three more.  Christmas is always busy (people trying to get stuff finished before the shutdown period).


Community Development

Grenada Village Online

  • My former manager read last months blog; found out I needed training in how to give a logo a transparent background; sent me an email explaining how to do it; and now Grenada Village has a better look and feel. 
  • Here’s how:
    • Downloaded IrfanView.
    • Load the graphic.
    • Save As…
    • Specify JPG
    • Click on background
    • Specify Transparent.

Align Church Online

  • Reorganised home page and master page so that Search Widget and Login Widget are both Web Parts in the right pane. 
  • Implemented Top 5 News Items (as per Grenada Village Online).
  • Reduced size of logo.
  • Looks much better.

Wellington Home Education Network

  • Handed over Fiona’s Membership Secretary role.
  • Still to hand over my Treasurer’s role.

Wellington SQL Server Users Group

Wellington Dot Net Users Group

Developer News

Top Stories

  • Show off your Azure skills using New Zealand Digital Content
    If you want a good incentive to learn more about Windows Azure then check out the "Best use of Windows Azure cloud computing services" category in the Mix 'n Mash competition that opened today. The competition is a chance to show the world what you can do with New Zealand digital content and data. All you need to do for a chance to win $1,000 is to build a mashup hosted on Windows Azure (there are other competition categories as well).
  • PDC On Demand: The Future of C# and Visual Basic
    Technical fellow Anders Hejlsberg talks about the roadmap for C# and Visual Basic in vNext and beyond. Plus: Asynchrony in C# 5. Part II: Whence await. Part III: Composition.
  • New Release: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tools
    A set of extensions to Visual Studio Professional (and above) which improves developer productivity. In this third major release of the Power Tools we have made significant improvements to the Solution Navigator and the Tab Well to address our top customer requests.
  • ASP.NET MVC 3 Release Candidate
    Backwards compatible with ASP.NET MVC V1 and V2, this release adds a ton of new functionality and refinements.


  • Complete Conference Session Schedule Now Online!
    The virtual Microsoft Certified Career Conference is almost here, and it will be packed with valuable information you won’t want to miss! Join highly respected leaders in the industry for technical and career development sessions and network with other professionals during and after the event. Check out the Conference Schedule and Register today. Microsoft Certified Professionals can use the code MCP50 for a 50 percent discount.
  • Add the MCT & Educator Virtual Summit to Your Calendar
    MCTs and registered academic educators can join us for the MCT & Educator Virtual Summit—a complimentary readiness event on November 17. To make sure you do not miss this event, add it to your Outlook calendar.
  • Certification/Exams - Save up to 20 Percent on Microsoft Certification Exam Packs with Second Shots
    Get the certification you need to keep your career on track. Find guidance on the training you’ll need, chart your training course, and save up to 20 percent when you purchase Microsoft Certification Packs of two to five exams.
  • Training - MOC/Courseware/Exams/Clinics - New Microsoft Official Courses Mean New OneNote Trainer Packs
    Eight new OneNote trainer packs are available—bringing the total number to 40. All are available at the MCT Download Center. Check them out today!
  • New IT Fundamentals Course for Windows Server 2008/R2
    Microsoft Learning is proud to announce the release of Course 6420B: Fundamentals of Windows Server 2008. This five-day course covers the fundamental concepts and skills of server administration, Active Directory, networking, and security of Windows Server 2008 servers (including Windows Server 2008 R2) for students who are new to IT.

Study News

As per last month, I finished studying Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 - Windows Communication Foundation.  I booked my MCTS exam 70-503 for Tuesday 9 November at Auldhouse.  I failed.  Now I’m doing the Skill Port on-line training (freebie offering via Telecom).  Will re-sit in the new year.

What I have learned from this experience

WCF is tricky, real tricky to get right.  And by virtue of its very nature, debugging it is hard, real hard.  For example, I had a real-life example to code.  I had a successful Web Service running inside an existing web site.  So I thought, “here’s a perfect candidate to switch over to WCF.”  Wrong.  I tried and failed for 3 days:

  • First, I discovered that because the DEV & PROD servers are Windows Server 2003 and not 2008, that therefore I can’t use WsHttpBinding but have to use BasicHttpBinding.
  • Then I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to decipher what combination of binding and address (HTTPS was not available to me) was giving me the really unhelpful “Service actively refused connection” error message.
  • Turned out that I had altered my DEV code some time back from System.Oracle.Client to Oracle.Data.Client and the DEV server didn’t have the correct Oracle client installed.  Nowhere did WCF tell me this.

I will keep trying.  I will succeed.  My success has merely been delayed.

Telecom News

Project Marley

It’s no secret that a strategic decision has been made to bring in-house as much IT work as possible.  This was caused by a number of factors, not least because of the government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative will probably force structural separation of the Chorus business off from the rest of Telecom.  This will mean the requirement for some IT resources to be split off separately to Chorus.

So, Project Marley is all about offering those HP staff who work exclusively on the Telecom account, to come over to permanent Telecom jobs.  This will be done sensitively, I have no doubt.  It doesn’t directly impact my small team, but what it does impact is that the appetite for increased permanent head count means my manager can now hire just about as many .NET developers as he would like.  So any of my Geek friends, if you’re reading this and desiring a change, let me know and I’ll see if I can arrange you an interview!

Situations Vacant


See my paragraph above.


A summary of Significant Dot Net User Group Chatter


A summary of  Significant SQL Server User Group Chatter

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
1-Dec-2010 LINQ to Async: An Introduction to the Reactive Extensions Xero, Wellington Ivan Towlson
2-Dec-2010 SilverLight Firestarter Redmond or Online Lots
11-Dec-2010 SharePoint Saturday Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology Lots
12-Dec-2010 VEX Robotics Scrimmage Hutt Valley High School N/A
15-Dec-2010 MonoTouch and MonoDroid Xero, Wellington Nic Wise
12-13 Feb 2011 VEX Robotics Regional Competitions St Peter’s College, Palmerston Northq N/A
April 2011 ALM Conference Wellington Various


Web Designers vs. Web Developers

An infographic of the differences between them.