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Simi Valley Fires

Posted in General at Thursday, September 29, 2005 5:22 AM Pacific Daylight Time

My wife had a hard time getting home from work yesterday due to the fires all around Simi (where I live). I'm out at a client so I haven't experienced them yet, but here are a few photos from my brother-in-law (that is his girlfriend Alison):

The fires are pretty close to where we live! Hopefully they will be put out soon.

Update: Fellow Simi Blog Greg has uploaded pictures of the fires as well.

Update2: My wife is also blogging the fires! I set her up with a .Text blog a couple of weeks ago and she has been blogging up a storm. :)

Update3: NBC has some great images up on their website. Click here for the full gallery. Below are some samples:

Topanga Wildfire - Image From jeff shewmon

Image from jeff shewmon

from simi valley, looking east 12:56am 9/29

Topanga Wildfire - Image From Antonia Pond
Antonia Pond

Image from Antonia Pond

Los Angeles Avenue in Simi Valley

Use your SmartPhone as a Modem

Posted in General | Avanade | Gadgets | Windows Mobile at Wednesday, September 28, 2005 4:14 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Today I needed an Internet connection on my laptop to send in my time report, but I couldn't plug it into the network at the client. After some searching I found this article on Smart Phone Thoughts which worked perfectly:

Smartphones, in spite of their small form factor, pack in a lot of power and functionality. And combine that with the unlimited Internet data plans that are now available from most carriers, you get a powerful mobile device that lets you check email and surf the Net. Sometimes you may run into the limitations of the small screen and the lack of keyboard/thumb-board. That's when the Bluetooth functionality and a laptop can come in handy. So the next time you're on vacation or on a business trip and want to reply to your emails, you can connect your laptop to the Internet using your Smartphone as the modem.

This will become even more useful as carriers upgrade their networks to support faster connections, but it worked great as it is for my purposes.

BillG and NapoleonD

Posted in General at Monday, September 19, 2005 6:26 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Via Patrick:

This video was probably one of the funniest moments at the PDC. Bill really has some talent as a movie actor.

That video was one of the highlights of the PDC. I thought it was one of the best BillG movies I've seen...

Some PDC Linqs

Posted in Sql and Xml | BizTalk | General | ASP.Net/Web Services | Avanade at Friday, September 16, 2005 3:07 AM Pacific Daylight Time

I am at the PDC have a great time. I haven't posted anything simply because I've been way too busy and so I'm just soaking everything in. I'm planning on posting my thoughts soon (if you care).

In the meantime here are a few links that point to things I've been checking out:

In addition I've been looking at the BizTalk 2006 talks, some of the WCF and WWF talks, and some of the Team System talks. Hopefully I'll have time to post more on all this later.

Update: A few more linqs:

My PDC 2005 Schedule

Posted in General | Avanade at Monday, September 12, 2005 9:29 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Here is my current schedule for the PDC. Most of the time slots have two sessions only because I either haven't had time to decide or I want to keep my options open. I'm hoping to take notes and post them here.

Schedule for Bryant Likes

Monday, September 12
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM  Search Free Source SharePoint Tools   501 B    
8:15 PM - 9:15 PM  Search
Using Enterprise Library in the Real World   518    

Tuesday, September 13
11:45 AM - 12:30 PM  Search
COML02 Tips & Tricks: System.NET   403 AB    
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM  Search
COM202 Windows Communications Foundation ("Indigo"): A Lap around the Windows Communications Foundation   Halls C & D (Petree Hall)    
TLN301 VSTS: Behind the Scenes of Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server   502 AB    
2:45 PM - 4:00 PM  Search
DAT303 SQL Server 2005: Building Distributed, Asynchronous Database Applications with the Service Broker   502 AB    
FUN302 Programming with Concurrency (Part 1): Concepts, Patterns, and Best Practices   515 AB    
4:15 PM - 5:30 PM  Search
DAT405 SQL Server 2005: Deep Dive on XML and XQuery   502 AB    
FUN405 Programming with Concurrency (Part 2): Multithreaded Programming with Shared Memory   403 AB    

Wednesday, September 14
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM  Search
DAT200 Future Directions for Data-Driven Applications: Storage, Applications, API’s   150/151 (Hall E)    
OFF405 Windows SharePoint Services: Using ASP.NET 2.0 Technology to Extend Pages, Sites, and Server Farms   409 AB    
12:30 PM - 1:15 PM  Search
PRSL02 Case Study: How Hotmail Used Atlas and ASP.NET to Build a Great User Experience   152/153 (Hall F)    
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM  Search
COM210 Introduction to Workflow in Windows Applications   150/151 (Hall E)    
COM303 IIS 7: Building More Powerful ASP.NET Applications with IIS 7   152/153 (Hall F)    
3:15 PM - 4:30 PM  Search
DAT310 "WinFS" Future Directions: Building Data Centric Applications Using Windows Presentation Foundation ("Avalon") and Windows Forms   408 AB    
DAT411 Advanced ETL: Embedding Integration Services   411    
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM  Search
DAT314 BizTalk Server 2006: Development and Adapters   403 AB    
PRS312 ASP.NET: Future Directions for Developing Rich Web Applications with Atlas (Part 1)   Halls C & D (Petree Hall)    

Thursday, September 15
10:00 AM - 11:15 AM  Search
DAT408 ADO.NET 2.0: Advanced Data Access Patterns   152/153 (Hall F)    
TLN311 Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Architects and Future Directions in Modeling Tools   Halls C & D (Petree Hall)    
11:30 AM - 12:45 PM  Search
PRS420 ASP.NET: Future Directions for Developing Rich Web Applications with Atlas (Part 2)   Halls C & D (Petree Hall)    
TLN312 VSTS: Building More Reliable and Better Performing Web Applications with Visual Studio 2005 Team System   403 AB    
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM  Search
PRSL04 MSN: Extending Start.com Using Startlets   408 AB    
2:15 PM - 3:30 PM  Search
DAT319 Future Directions: Beyond BizTalk Server 2006   502 AB    
DAT323 Using the .NET Language Integrated Query Framework with Relational Data   152/153 (Hall F)    
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM  Search
COM325 Workflow + Messaging + Services: Developing Distributed Applications with Workflows   150/151 (Hall E)    
DAT321 XML Tools: Future Directions for Leveraging Advanced XML Tools and Building Custom XML Solutions   409 AB    
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM  Search
COM326 Windows Communications Foundation ("Indigo"): Web Services for XML Programmers   150/151 (Hall E)    
ILL04 Write Once, Display Anywhere: UI for Windows Mobile Devices   Labs (Big Room)    

Friday, September 16
8:30 AM - 9:45 AM  Search
COM432 Developing Web Services Using ASP.NET and WSE That Interoperate with the Windows Communications Foundation ("Indigo")   150/151 (Hall E)    
DAT323 Using the .NET Language Integrated Query Framework with Relational Data   408 AB    
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM  Search
DAT324 Using the .NET Language Integrated Query Framework with XML Data   408 AB    
DAT408 ADO.NET 2.0: Advanced Data Access Patterns   518    
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM  Search
DATL07 Tips & Tricks: 10 Tips for Extending Your System to Windows Mobile Devices   402 AB    
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM  Search
COM413 IIS and Windows Communications Foundation ("Indigo"): Hosting Services   408 AB    
FUN421 CLR: Garbage Collection Inside Out   150/151 (Hall E)    

Some Good News from New Orleans

Posted in General at Wednesday, September 7, 2005 4:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time

I used to live about 45 minutes from New Orleans, so it is nice to see some good news coming out of a city that could really use a lot more good news:

via AP:

Some lights are on in the city of New Orleans as shown in this night photo made late Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2005. Power is slowly being restored to the area still besieged by flood water. New Orleans officials said Tuesday that they would


via Reuters:

HOUSTON, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Three truckloads of fashion clothing seized by government agents for violating import quotas arrived at Houston's Astrodome on Wednesday so Hurricane Katrina refugees there can put it to use.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection delivered about 100,000 items of summer clothing, with an estimated value of $2.3 million, and said much more is on the way to evacuees elsewhere.

The items delivered on Tuesday, much of it with designer labels like Fubu and Code Blue, were handed to the Red Cross and local church officials who were to distribute it.

"They will be able to tell us specifically what they want and a personal shopper will go back and get it for them," said Mike Firenza of St. Luke's Methodist Church. "It will be one of the finest-dressed shelters that there's ever been."



Feed your Start Run Addiction

Posted in General at Thursday, September 1, 2005 11:11 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Check out this great post at Coding Horror:

In lieu of all these fancy solutions.. wouldn't it be nice if the Start, Run dialog was just a little bit smarter? That's when I stumbled across this blog post describing a very clever hack:

  1. Create a folder for your shortcuts under your user folder, eg, c:\documents and settings\username\shortcuts\
  2. Right click My Computer, click properties.
  3. Click the advanced tab.
  4. Click the Environment Variables button at the bottom of the tab.
  5. Under user variables, add a new variable named "Path".
  6. Enter %homedrive%%homepath%\shortcuts for the variable value.**
  7. Create shortcuts and plop them in the shortcuts folder you created.

The whole post is worth reading (as all of Jeff's stuff is) as it contains some great windows key short cuts along with other quick-app-launching tips.

Master of Some

Posted in Sql and Xml | Reporting Services | SharePoint | BizTalk | General | Avanade | Test-Driven Dev at Thursday, September 1, 2005 4:05 AM Pacific Daylight Time

From Clemmens talking about technology overload:

Enter VS2005 and the summary of trying to achieve the same knowledge density is: “Frustrating”.

I feel his frustration. I remember going to PDC 2003 and realizing that it was getting very hard to keep up on all the new stuff coming out of Microsoft. Clemmens continues...

For “generalists” like me, these are hard and frustrating times if they’re trying to stay generalists. Deep and consequent specialization is a great opportunity for everyone and the gamble is of course to pick the right technology to dig into and become “the expert” in. If that technology or problem space becomes the hottest thing everyone must have – you win your bet. Otherwise you might be in trouble.

This statement not only applies to technology in general, but also to specific technologies: think SQL Server 2005. As Kimberly Tripp says, you must become a “Jack of all trades, master of some”. The hard part, as Clemmens mentions, is chosing the some.

For me it all comes down to what I'm working with. For instance, I just found out today that I will not be getting renewed as a Microsoft MVP for SQL Server. I expected this because I haven't had the time to contribute much to the SQL Server community lately. I tend to contribute based on what I'm currently working on. I haven't been a project that used SQL Server 2005 yet, so I haven't had time to really dig into it. If you read this blog you can probably figure out what kind of projects I have been on recently: a SharePoint (and RS) project last year and mostly BizTalk projects this year. I learn based on need.

I'm sure at some point in the near future (at least I keep telling myself this) I'll have time to dig into the new SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 stuff (team system and all), but for now I'm pretty much focused on BizTalk 2004, test-driven development,  continuous integration, etc., since that is where I'm at.

I'll miss hanging out with the other SQL Server MVPs who are a great bunch of guys, but it has been fun being an MVP for the last five years.