Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog

April 2008 Entries

Interesting Blog Titles

Ok, it is time for random thoughts.  I was going through my blog reader and suddenly became aware of some of the more interesting post titles.  Below is a list of a few recent ones.  What would you think if you only had the title?

  • Nothing to blog
  • Are we living in Nazi Germany
  • Dumb Stuff about Smart Clients
  • Let me sleep on it
  • Aha!
  • You've been 'Creamed
  • Surprised? No, not really ...
  • Connecting women and men
  • Addicted to blog love

Maintaining Blog Post Lists

I just don't know how other people do it.  There are a number of individuals around the blogosphere who create lists on a daily or weekly basis which reflect what they think are hot topics.  I have been creating a list that I email out to the members of the .NET community within my company for the last few months.  For about the last three weeks I just have not been able to keep up with this effort.

Part of the challenge is that I am not finding a lot that looks of interest to me.  The raises a dilemma.  What if there is material that I don't find useful,  but others in my community would see as jewels?

In the end, time is the major issue.  We all have too little of it and a lot is needed to cull the massive amount posts generated every day.  You could easily lose half a day just going through your blog reader.

So to those of you who manage to maintain such lists and still get your work done I tip my hat to you.

DevConnections - Wrap Up

DevConnections was a whirl-wind four days filled with learning and fun.  So what did I take away from this trip?

There were a lot of smart people who presented as well as attended.  Unfortunately I was disappointed with about half of the sessions I attended.

Luckily that leaves half of the sessions which were inspiring.  The last day's highlights were Brian Noyes and Kathleen Dollard.

Kathleen Dollard seemed to have a way of presenting pieces of code that just made you get the whole concept behind a language feature.  She also explained that the reason that software is so much harder today is that there are so many of the language features which are possible ways to implement software.

In the end if you get a chance to attend one of these events jump on it.  If nothing else it recharges the batteries and gets you out of the daily grind.

Quoted In Redmond Developer News

As a result of an earlier post on Krugle I got a correspondence from Michael Desmond at Redmond Developer News.  The result of this got printed in the April 15, 2008 issue.  Now he only picked a couple of sentences from my response, but in all I think it was pretty accurate.  The one thing I would correct is that I was speaking more about the public site than the appliances that Krugle supplies, since that is what I have experience with.  Either way the idea still holds true that reading other peoples code is a great way to get ideas.  Here is a link to the article.

Krugle Improves Code Search

DevConnections - Day 3

Today was a mixed bag of disappointing session by some supposedly smart people who will remain nameless (unless I think better of it later).  This was balanced out by some great sessions by Mark Miller and Dan Appleman.

I'll start with Mark's session on Science of Great UIs.  It was great how he showed how UIs can be built objectively.  That and his sense of hurmor would have been reason enough to get your money's worth.  But then ...

In the middle of his presentation Mark's laptop died.  I don't mean hung, threw an error or gave a blue screen of death.  It went blank and wouldn't restart.  OW!

Of course this didn't stop him.  First he grabbed and print-out of the slide and kept going.  In the mean time he asked someone from the audience to lend him their laptop, found a back-up of his slides and finished the presentation like nothing ever happened.  Wow!

Dan Appleman's session wasn't as eventful, but it was refreshing.  He covered how to implement architecture in a small organization.  There was nothing in his presentation earth shattering but it was a solid reminder of things we run into every day and how best to handle them.  You also can't argue with someone who starts off their presentation with a Dilbert cartoon.

One more day to go ...

DevConnections - Day 2

All I can say is my mind has been fired up!  I started the day by attendeing Pat Helland's first session.  It was looking like we were just getting a lesson in the history of computer hardware.  Where that lesson lead opened my eyes to some of the issues and possible solutions we face in the IT industry going forward.  This includes making our applications more granular and keeping less data on a particular machine and giving the application access to its from anywhere. 

He also covered the need to have looser control of data in most situations.  This means that you may not have an authoritative source for your data.  I understand the concept Pat is leading to but, I have a hard time internalizing this given how long we have worked with databases designed to be the system of record.

If you know who Pat is you have probably heard his concept of software fortresses.  The afternoon talk he gave was on something he called Metropolis.  Although it didn't sound like it was a new topic for him, it was new to me.  Ultimately, after another history lesson in manufacturing the discussion turned to Domain Specific Languages and how they will help with the benefits of scale.

The day was topped off with a devCentral party which included a cell phone scavenger hunt.

In all this week is shaping up to be a recharging, mind expanding adventure.

IASA Connections?

So it is the first partial day of DevConnections.  Of course I am taking the Architect Connections track.  As I am going through my materials this evening I noticed an insert for IASA Connections in San Francisco this October.  Since I am here now I doubt that I will make this event, but I would suggest anyone who can should attend.  When I tried this web site it didn't respond, but check back soon.

An Adventure Not To Be Repeated

Last weekend I had to travel out of town for a funeral and the flight out was one I don't want experience again.  So what happened?

I got to the airport early, but evidently that isn't a requirement for the flight crew.  We were told they were coming in on another flight and hadn't arrived yet.  Oh, and by the way the maintenance crew is looking at the breaks of our plane.  Great!

The crew finally arrived, but they decided it would be better if we didn't fly this particular aircraft.  So an hour later we load onto a new plane only to be told they need to replace a seal and we are stuck for another 15 minutes.  This is where the trip becomes interesting.

We finally pushed back from the gate and the plane lifted us into the sky.  Very quickly the passengers started looking around and sniffing the air.  About that time the plane started banking back around and the flight crew told us we were returning to the airport.  When we landing we got a fire truck escort back to the gate.  The story we were given was that they had accidentally gotten deicer into the air conditioning system.

A couple hours later we are on the third aircraft about to land at our destination.  We were only a couple hundred feet off the ground when the engines increased power, the wheels came up with a thud and the flaps were retracted.  It seems the runway wasn't clear and we had to go around.

Here is the kicker.  This weekend I have to fly again on this same wonderful airline.  Wish me luck.


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Off To DevConnections

It is unusual that I get to go to conferences.  I think I am really going to enjoy this one.  The speaker list is top notch and it looks like the weather is going to be beautiful.  See you when I get back.