I've told literally no one that I have started a blog, so if you're reading this anywhere close to the day it was posted, you have my admiration.
I have long resisted the blog trend, but have recently come to the conclusion that such resistance is futile. Within the world of tech writers and speakers, it has become the case that not having a blog is somewhat akin to not having a cell phone or an email address in the mainstream world: there are a few left who cling to such principles, but they seem to annoy or inconvenience everyone else. So although I find this whole process a bit self-indulgent, I am now a blogger, and will do my best not to whine about something I've decided to partake in.
I have just returned from VSLive! San Francisco where I carried out my duties as a conference chair and speaker. The show was unfortunately smaller than last year's, but still an excellent event, featuring separate sub-conferences on VB .NET, C#, ASP.NET, SQL Server, Windows Mobile/Tablet development and software architecture. I do wish more people would attend third-party (i.e. non-Microsoft) shows like VSLive! than seem to. On the other hand, there is something nice about the intimacy of a smaller show...I was able to socialize with a number of the speakers, touch base with friends at Kinitos and Business Objects, and at least say hi to old friends from Fawcette Technical Publications (who produce VSLive! and have done so --previously under the name VBITS -- since 1993).
I had a bona fide international happy hour on Thursday night with friend and customer Yukiko Ito of Zest in Tokyo, fellow RDs Malek Kemmou from Morocco and Goksin Bakir from Turkey, and a very nice fellow from Microsoft Finland named Juhani Vuorio. It was fascinating for me to watch three of my friends and a new acquaintance interact so passionately in a common second language. Also funny was how geekdom transcends cultural differences...we all debated the efficacy of SOAP even while extolling the virtues of Services Oriented Architecture. We also had a good chat about the upcoming Visual Studio Team System, a product of which I am still quite ignorant. I clearly have some homework to do.
We also found out from Juhani, who is an ISV Developer Evangelist, that about half the developers at his country's high tech breadwinner, Nokia, develop with Visual Studio, despite that company's anti-Microsoft bent. Quite the factoid, that.
Today was a serious back in New York day...Lauren, Miles (wife, son) and I went up to Central Park to witness "The Gates." For those who don't know, The Gates is a mega installation by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude of orange quasi curtains/banners throughout the entirety of Central Park. It just opened today and will be around for only two weeks, despite the fact that the project apparently began back in 1979!
One more geeky thing before I close...I had a brief moment to sit with former RD and current Microsoft Visual Studio data tools mucky-muck Steve Lasker. He showed me how Windows Forms Data Binding in Whidbey (.NET 2.0) can work harmoniously with objects, properties and generics. Cool stuff! And best of all, I was able to reproduce his demos from scratch on my laptop on the flight home. What I will tell you now is that the BindingSource, BindingNavigator, and bound controls, including the new DataGridView, integrate incredibly tightly with .NET classes, allowing complete "CRUD" style operations over objects, lists of objects, and hierarchical relationships in your object model. Imagine being able to add a new element to an object's child collection simply by typing a new row of data into a grid. The stuff works so well its mechanics almost seem obvious. I'll give more detail in a future post.