Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bill Steele... You Sir, Are Smarter than Me!

I just got back from attending a MSDN Event in Detroit where Bill Steele presented on ASP.NET 2.0, and a lot of the "drag/drop/configure and IJW" technologies being included in the next version of .NET (though, several of his demos did not Just Work). My conclusion: I really need to come up to speed on ASP.NET.

I mean, I've been on 3-4 ASP.NET projects since 1.0, with a couple of those being million dollar projects. But, whenever I stare at a blank project, I have no idea where to start (OSASPADO sites, on the other hand: I can crank those out without thinking).

Anyways, Bill is the "local" MSDN Evangelist (I believe that Developer Community Champion is his real title) for this region of the country. He actually lives 3 hours from me, and at least 4 hours from Detroit, so "local" is kind of used lightly. I've seen him present on 4-5 different occasions now.

He caught my interest recently when he started blogging on a flying car idea, or rather, a flying 3-wheeled motorcycle, which should have less stringent highway safety requirements than a car would. I think Rory Blyth put it best when he described Bill as being "freakishly smart", or something to that effect.

I introduced myself to Bill after the session, mainly so that he could put a face to the name of that annoying person who keeps leaving blog comments. We got to talking about the flying car (because frankly, there's little more that we really have in common at this point, so it was an obvious topic). To my surprise, he has this thing modeled out in X-Plane, and has already worked on some redesigns because he discovered that it has some stability problems when it flies! (X-Plane is able to take all of the aerodynamics of the model into consideration to provide a pretty accurate representation of how a real aircraft would perform)

He then proceeds to fire up X-Plane while I'm standing next to him, and takes off from an airport in his flying car, achieves straight and level flight (to show the instability issue), and returns back to the airport (and like a true pilot, he calls out his transitions while entering crosswind and downwind, as well as turning base and turning final--he probably didn't notice that, though).

To that, I say: Bill Steele, you flying car designing, X-Plane model building, ASP.NET teaching MSDN Presenter...You Sir, are Smarter than Me!

[Mark Miller/Mondays reference, should anyone not get it]

On a related note, Bill is taking time off of work between now and the PDC to fly his own plane down to Louisiana in order to help shuttle MREs into distribution points to help feed people in this time of disaster. As he described it to everyone in the session, the first trip will gross out his plane, and in the end, he hopes to deliver something like 20,000 meals total. Bravo, Bill.

UPDATE 9/9/2005: I see that William has just blogged about the experience: