Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sam Gentile Tonight at NWNUG!

Tonight at the Northwest Ohio .NET User Group, we're hosting Sam Gentile, an internationally-known speaker and architect in the Microsoft space:


That's 6:00 PM at the HCR Manorcare building, if you're in the area. We're planning on going out to Tony Packo's (new stadium location) afterwards, and anyone interested in talking SOA/Agile/Groove/Life/Etc with Sam is invited to join us.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Look What Elder Won

While at TechEd, I was introduced to Keith Elder, who as it turns out, actually was one of my blog readers (small world). Not only did he have a good time every night, but he also came home to find that he won a mobility package from Cingular that includes an 8125 Pocket PC Phone, 2125 WM5 Smartphone, and a Sierra Aircard 860!


Maybe I should have signed up at the various vendor booths at TechEd instead of just walking past them...

Happy Birthday Greg

Greg Huber, Chairman of the Northwest Ohio .NET User Group, Microsoft MVP (ASP.NET), and all-around nice guy turns the big 30 in style:

Friday, June 16, 2006

TechEd 2006: See Ya!

It's over. There will never be another TechEd 2006. Did you make the most of it?

For me, it was all about getting exposed to things that I've only read about, but didn't have a chance to play with. Ok, it was really about the networking and conversations that take place at events like this, but we'll tell my boss that it was about the sessions. ;-)

I think that Sharepoint 2007 wins my vote for best product coming out of this event. Not only does it appear that they finally got the architecture right, but it appears that MS products will use Sharepoint whenever they need a server-based presence (i.e., I was in a session that talked about publishing InfoPath forms to the web, and Sharepoint came up as a requirement). So, whether you realize it or not, you'll likely be running Sharepoint services from here on out.

The other exciting thing about Sharepoint Portal Server was that they combined Content Management Server into the same SKU. This strategy falls inline with what the other portals out there do (Vignette, WebSphere/WCM, etc).

Thanks anyone and everyone that I had conversations with, whether you knew me or not, or whether you'll remember me or not (I swear that every time that Mark Miller sees me, he says "You look familiar. Do I know you?"). It's been a blast!

TechEd 2007: New Orleans

I just found this posted on the msteched.com site (has it been there all of the time???)

Save the Date for Tech·Ed 2007 in New Orleans

Join us next year in New Orleans, June 3–8! Tech·Ed 2007 will be held at
the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in the Big Easy. Sign up to receive e-mail related to next year's conference.

TechEd in New Orleans after the start of hurricane season. Could be interesting! Lightning never strikes twice at the same place, right?

TechEd Party: Train

Microsoft rented Finway Park last night for the Attendee Party. The main event was a concert put on by Train (you know, Drops of Jupiter, etc).

At one point, the lead singer (Patrick Monahan) invited women from the crowd to dance on the First Base dugout where the stage was set up. Two things were particularly interesting about this:

First, Josh's wife was one of the dancers (he promises that the dancing video will show up on his blog, which is probably a welcomed break for Drew Robbins, who usually gets that honor).

Secondly, towards the end of the song, two girls fell off of the side of the dugout and they had to stop the concert while medics attended to them! As Keith Elder and I were walking to a T-Stop last night, we stopped at a McDonalds and ran into some folks from Florida (Air Force) who had it on video. One of the guys emailed it to me this morning, so I'll take a look to see what exactly you can see, because I missed it myself.

(I've asked him to post the video to YouTube.com so that everyone can see it--if anyone else has video from last night, please do the same).

It was during that break in the concert that I ran into Keith while getting more to drink. Before that, I was sitting pretty far up in the stands. He invited me back to his section where everyone was standing anyways. It was on the center-left part of the stage, and only about 10-rows back, so I got a much better view of the show from that point forward. (So, in some kind of twisted way, I'd like to thank those girls for falling off of the stage... I certainly hope that they are okay, though).

UPDATE: ChavisC uploaded it to youtube!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Intellisense in VSTS for Data Professionals

I heard it brought up several times that there is no intellisense in VSTS for Data Professionals. One explanation from the product team was the complexity of writing SQL statements, and how you would efficiently gather and present the intellisense information.

This didn't seem right to me. I mean, only weeks ago, Red Gate released SQL Prompt, which gives you intellisense capabilities in Management Studio (and, I believe in Query Analyzer too). So, the problem's obviously been solved, so why can't MS just include in in VSTS?

I saw Matt Nunn in the TLC area, so I sat down to ask him. Matt was on the SQL team for the longest time, and then went to the VSTS team either late last year or early this year (which I now know was for this product).

Matt's official marketing-speak response was that the capability exists, and even was in Management Studio at one time. But, it can't be released to the public because it needs far more QA/regression testing first. This is actually a satisfactory answer to me, because saying that "we have a quirky version in the lab" is more logical than "we're still thinking about how to do it".

I would have to think that the regression testing for VSTS is several multitudes harder than what Red Gate had to do, so I'll just wait for further word.

TechEd Day 3 Update

The days are actually starting to blend together. Despite my every intention to blog often, it just doesn't work that way when you are here.

So, I'm writing this on Thursday morning, trying to remember what I did yesterday or even the day before that I didn't blog about yet.

One thing that stands out in my mind was Scott Hanselman and Patrick Cauldwell's presentation on Dirty SOAP. It rocked! Scott added the perfect amount of humor, which totally rounded out the whole session. There are only a couple of sessions that I watched all the way through, and this was one of them (the others, I'll catch on the DVD).

Speaking of Scott, one other thing that stands out was watching him and Clemens Vasters hash out some new architecture details for DasBlog on a whiteboard in the TLC area. (Where else besides TechEd could a commoner like myself have a chance to see Scott and Clemens bouncing ideas off one another and a small audience). Totally fascinating. A flash mob started to form, but I didn't think to take a picture. [Disclaimer, whether it is appropriate or not: DasBlog is what we use for nwnug.com]

I was also fortunate to attend the Influencer Party last night, and met quite a few of the other influencers/bloggers/rock stars who I've only known by name: ActiveNick, Sahil, Julie, Michele, and others who I can't recall this very second.

To add to my NetFX 3.0 surveying, I found out from Tim Landgrave (RD out of Louisville, KY) that the WinFX stuff does do some magic under the hood to redirect calls into the 2.0 assemblies to elsewhere, so in his mind, the 3.0 version number might be justified because it's not the exact same 2.0 framework that we're used to using. While I followed what he was saying last night, I have yet to verify it personally in order to totally grok how it works, so I'll leave it at that.

Oh, and the obligatory mention of talking to Carl for more than 1 minute (10-15 actually) goes here... ;-)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Teamsters Could Make Riding the Bus at TechEd Interesting

Hmm, seems that the Teamsters who drove our shuttle busses for the first few days of the conference walked out at midnight last night in protest of "a terrible contract". They have been using managers and other non-union employees to keep the lines going.

My hotel is about 10 miles out of the city (Quincy Marriott), so I kind of need the bus to get to and from the convention center. Luckily, there's a T-Stop nearby, so in the worst case, I can take the train.

But, I wonder if a contingency plan exists???

NetFX 3.0 Kool-Aid

It's funny what kind of reactions you get when you casually bring up the whole "WinFX is now combined with the .NET Framework, and now it's going to be version 3.0" thing.

Now, this is in no way scientific, but in all of the conversations that I've had with people on this subject, it's overwhelmingly obvious that the blue badges are drinking the company's Kool-Aid, while the folks in the field that I've talked to (MVPs, RDs, fellow developers) are not as convinced about the merits of this move.

Bill Evjen (which I learned is pronounced EH-vee-on, like the water Evian) said last night that he doesn't support the move of the WinFX APIs into the Framework at all. Jeff Julian is thinking more like me in that the major version number change is inappropriate, regardless of what level of additional functionality that the new APIs add to the BCL. There were other opinions from the floor, but to my point, I haven't found a non-MS developer that has said that this was a great idea (but I'll continue to ask people today).

I'm not 21 Any More

Long story made short:

1-2 beers: a good thing.
Whatever number that I had last night: most definitely a BAD thing.....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

TechEd Day 2 Update

Just a handful of updates:

  • Last evening, there was a reception in the Exhibit area. Microsoft planted food and beverages all throughout the event sponsors, so you had to walk through the maze of booths in order to get food.

  • Something that is particularly funny is that Mark Miller of Developer Express had lost his voice, yet was still at the DevEx booth giving the CodeRush/Refactor! demo. His booth babe was providing the voice while Mark provided the keystrokes. But, Mark would always want the presentation to go a certain way, so he was constantly whispering commands to the other guy. It was HALARIOUS! (Might not be funny if you don't know who Mark Miller is, but just be aware that he likes to talk).
    This morning, I hit a Sharepoint session that Ted Pattison gave. Wow, what an excellent presenter. It also made me a little more excited about the new features of 3.0 (Sharepoint 2007).

  • I'm doing a lot of walking around the convention, popping in and out of different sessions and chalk-talks. For the second day in a row, I caught the tail end of Scott Hanselman's powershell talk (what a powerful shell that thing is!).

  • I met up with Chuck Boyce today, and we talked for a bit and then ate lunch together (the food here is not all that great, for those playing along at home).

  • I have a few sessions this afternoon that I'm going to hit, not so much for the content as for the opportunity to see certain presenters.

Monday, June 12, 2006

TechEd Update

This is the first chance that I've gotten to actually blog. My laptop battery was completely drained this morning, and I haven't had a chance to park myself near a power outlet until now...

First off, Boston: Tell me why people live here? The traffic on a good day is like the worst construction traffic in Ohio. Stop and go for miles on end. For instance, this morning, it took my shuttle bus an hour to travel from the hotel to the conference (a 10-mile trip). It definitely explains why public transportation, like subways, is an important idea here (and why we just don't need it in Toledo, OH).

Anyways, last night's keynote was pretty so-so. Chloe from 24 (Mary Lynn Rajskub - a Detroit native) was the highlight IMHO. Then there was also a bunch of stuff about people being the reason behind software, or something like that... ;-) All that I could think about, though, as 20,000 people were crammed into the conference hall, was that there were 4x as many people there than were in the town that I grew up in.

Today (Monday), I attended an Infopath 2007 session (takeaway: there's a neat import tool that can generate Infopath forms from a Word document), Richard Campbell's Querying presentation (takeaway: I cover the right amount of information in my SQL Server 2005 T-SQL Enhancements talk), and the live taping of .NET Rocks! (takeaway: VSTS for Data Professionals is the first VSTS SKU that I see value in).

After DNR, I talked with Richard for a minute, and also shook Carl's hand, but I have the feeling that he either didn't recognize me (and didn't read my badge), or still thinks that I'm a little obsessed: He was kind of stand-off'ish, like he wanted to get away. ;-)

At the moment, I'm in Hans-Peter Haberlandner and Wolfgang Portugaller's session on storing complex object graphs in SQL Server. These are the folks from Austria that I met in San Francisco last November as part of the Connected Systems Developer Competition. I spoke to them briefly before the talk, and so far, they're doing pretty good (for German being their native language).

More later when I get a chance.

Oh, I've set up a Flickr tag for my photos:


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Leaving for Boston this morning!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Ooops, They Did It Again: WinFX Confusion

Now the story coming out of Redmond is that having WinFX as a separate brand was confusing people who thought that it was totally unrelated to .NET.

In reality, the WinFX is a set APIs that currently bolt onto the .NET 2.0 framework to enhance the Windows platform (things like communications/web services, workflow, presentation, XAML, etc). That is, the architects and developers who actually put systems together knew what WinFX was, and we also knew what was in the .NET Framework 2.0.

Well, in their infinite wisdom, the folks in Washington decided to drop the WinFX brand, and bring everything into the .NET Framework itself. That, by the way, is fine by me. But, then they decided to version this new framework as 3.0.

What's the problem with this? Well, included in the 3.0 framework will be all of the 2.0 APIs, like CLR 2.0, C# 2.0, VB.NET 2.0, ADO.NET 2.0, etc., plus the new WinFX stuff. They have just broken the continuity that we knew to expect in framework version numbers.

Now, when Orcas (next version of Visual Studio) comes out, they'll probably version the new framework as 4.0. What would be included? CLR 3.0, C# 3.0, VB.NET 3.0, ADO.NET 3.0, and WinFX 2.0 (speculating). Where's the 4's in this list?

Versioning the new framework as 2.5 would have been far more appropriate than a whole new version number. I know it's semantics, but their whole reasoning behind doing this was to eliminate confusion, but I think it caused more problems than it fixed.



Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Grid Computing Next Week on DNR

The .NET Rocks homepage currently shows next week's (6/13/2006 UPDATE: Now 6/27/2006) show topic as:

Dan Ciruli shows us Grid Computing with .NET!

Cool! Dan, I believe, still reads this blog (and I'm still trying to figure out why...).

Of course, I was interviewed by Carl and Richard once:


(look at the dramatic recreation about 80% through this long post). :-)

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Carberator Synchronizer

Ok, I didn't invent this--the design comes from:


In my case, I took a couple of baby bottles (we've got plenty laying around) that had screw on caps (not nipples, but caps that seal the bottle for transport, etc).

Cut two 3/16" holes in each cap. 1/4" vinyl tubing will be fed through each hole (the slightly larger but pliable tubing will seal the hole).

Tape the bottles together. Feed a length of tubing from one cap to another, but make sure that when the caps are on the bottles, that the tubing inside is long enough to go to the bottom of each bottle.

Feed two more lengths of tubing into each of the remaining holes. These only need to penetrate about 1/2 to 1 inch into the bottle. The other ends of this tubing is what will be connected to the vacuum ports of your carberator.

Fill each bottle about 1/3 full of liquid. I used 5w30 motor oil because it was onhand. Other people have tried water, ATF, or 2-stroke oil. I think any liquid will work, but you have to consider the "what if" scenario of having the liquid sucked into the carb.

Screw the caps onto the bottles (you'll have to twist the tubings to keep everything straight).

Now, equalize the bottles. Blow into one side to force the liquid through the linking tube until all of the air is forced out. Then blow into the other side until the liquid in both bottles are level.

At this point, you can connect the tubes to your carberator and start the engine. If the carbs are not in sync, then the liquid level in one bottle will go higher than another. Make your adjustments, and see what happens to the levels.

This picture shows my #1 and #2 carbs in sync after adjustments were performed.

It's cheap, but a little bit of a hassle for 4 carbs. I had to do #1 and #2 (left screw), and then #3 and #4 (right screw), and then #1 and #4 (center screw), which required unhooking the tubes each time.


One word: VROOOM!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Connie Parts: Check Murphs First!

While tearing into my carbs to free up the stuck float needle valves, I ripped one of the rubber tips. In calling around for this part (16030-1007), I was getting prices in the neighborhood of $30! (If you can see this part, you might guess that it's worth $0.50, but never $30!).

Well, I was just about to hit Submit on an order with RonAyers.com, when I decided to see if MurphsKit.com would have it. As it turns out, they sell this part along with other parts in a Carb Rebuild kit. The price of an individual kit: $20 shipped! I opted for the 4-kit option, so that I can just replace parts in all 4 carbs. This was $65 shipped.

Unbelievable how the dealerships (or rather, their distributors) can screw you on this pricing. Thanks Murph!


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Concours Update

For those of you following along at home:

  • The rear end is finished, including new rubber, lube, and a caliper rebuild (which involves replacing all of the rubber parts and cleaning the piston down to just brass). For what it's worth, the mufflers are extremely easy to remove, and this is almost necessary in order to gain access to the rear wheel. Plus, it's a lot easier to shine up the mufflers off the bike!
  • A new battery has been installed. This led to the discovery that the fuel sender suffered the same fate as the petcock valve: it has to be replaced because the insides are basically gone! That part is on order, but I still haven't received the new petcock from Ron Ayers yet, which is disappointing because I could have had the part in hand by now if I went through my local Kaw dealer (Honda East in Maumee, OH).
  • Oil has been changed. Now, this one was interesting. I had never drained used synthetic oil before, so I was expecting some dirty sludge resembling pitch to slowly drain out. But, this 8-year old stuff was still very "watery", and almost reminded me of Automatic Transmission Fluid. I had to check twice to make sure that I opened the right drain!
  • The front end is finished, including new rubber and two rebuilt calipers. When I took my tire in to the dealer to have it mounted, they informed me that I had a 17" tire, but an 18" rim. Blah! So, I had to buy another front tire--no big deal... Except that 120/70R18 is not a common tire size, and it was 4:30 PM on a Friday before the Memorial Day weekend. Luckily, they did have a 130/70R18 onhand (Goldwing front tire), so I agreed to purchase that. Other people on the COG forums use this size, so I think I'll be okay.
  • Valve clearance was adjusted. The biggest pain about doing this is that you have to remove so much plastic to get to the valves. I used a 0.006" feeler for intake, 0.008" for exhaust, and every valve was tight. The books just tell you to adjust the clearance, but don't really describe what this means. What you're trying to do is allow the feeler to fit in between the valve adjuster stud (rocker arm) and the valve stem itself, and when it's there, there should be no play in the adjuster (i.e., you're setting the total play to the thickness of your feeler gauge). I also noticed that sometimes, when I would torque the locknut, that the adjuster stud would tighten a little (this only happened for a few of the valves, but still made me work a little bit for the proper adjustment). So, be sure to check the clearance after the locknut has been torqued.
  • The Fuel Tank IS FINISHED!!! This includes restoring the tank with the POR-15 kit, and replacing both the petcock valve and the fuel gauge sending unit. I'm a little peeved, though, because one time when I had the tank upside down, it slid off of the towel that it was sitting on and took some nice scratches from the concrete. >(

So, I went to start it up today. It just cranked, but never fired. Tested spark, and it was good. Squirted a little starting fluid into the airbox, and the engine ran on it, but stalled when the ether was used up. That means that it's a fuel problem, and that also means that I have to do something that I now dread: pull the carbs again.

Well, off came all of the plastic, and just before nightfall, the carbs were freed. The only carb that had gas in it's float bowl was #4, so this should be an easy fix: I just need to free up the stuck needle valves. While I'm in there, I'll make sure that all of the jets are open and that there's no residual varnish anywhere... Sigh... I knew I should have done this when the carbs were off before (putting them back on is a little challenging).

Fairings removed

Under the valve cover

Everything put back together

Allie on the bike