Devs and Data Dudes Oh My!

Microsoft has made a big announcement regarding the next version of Visual Studio, Visual Studio 2010. Among other welcome news is that the Developer Edition and Database Editions of Team System will be merging into a single product. This is great news for folks like me (and I suspect many developers) who do a lot of work on both the database side as well as the application side.

The really great news though is that we don’t have to wait for 2010 to take advantage of this. As part of the announcement Microsoft said that effective October 1st, 2008 people who are MSDN Licensed for the 2008 (or 2005) version of Visual Studio Team System Developer will now have access to the Database version, and vice versa.

Database Edition has some great features. One of the ones I use the most is the database comparison tool. It lets me compare data in one database with another and get them into sync. This is great for keeping my local development database that sits on my computer identical with our production system.

I’m sure Database Edition will be new to many developers, so I’d like to mention to books that will help you get up and running with “Data Dude” (as Database Edition is often called).

masteringvstsde The first I have mentioned before, it is SQL MVP Andy Leonard’s Mastering Visual Studio Team System Database Edition Volume 1. This is a great book that focuses exclusively on the database edition. It’s a great resource and one of my favorite books on the subject, I can’t wait for the next volume to come out.

 

 

 

 

apressprovsts The other book is from APress, Pro Visual Studio Team System with Team Edition for Database Professionals. This book covers all aspects of VSTS, including the database tools. I think too often we make life harder on ourselves than we have to, if we took some time to learn the tools available to us, we could be much more productive. I’ve found this book to be a good aid to help me do just that.

Bug.Net meeting on SQL Server Compact Edition

A few months ago I did a presentation to the Birmingham .Net Users Group (BUG.NET). The subject was SQL Server Compact Edition, in it I discuss both the ‘traditional’ way of accessing a SSCE file as well as using LinqToSQL.

This is a recording of a live presentation, so the audio quality may not be as good as some of the previous presentations I’ve done, it was my first experiment in recording a session live. Let me know how it works for you, I did make every attempt to clean up where I could and ensure the audience was understandable as well.

The wmv is about 76 meg, you can download the wmv directly or watch streaming below.

LifeCam VX-5000

livecamvx5000 I decided to extend my web presence by getting a web camera. This will add to what I can post, plus let me start doing more video conferencing using tools like Live Messenger and Skype. After looking I decided on the Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000. I’ve only had it a few days but I have been really impressed. It does really great at very low light. It also has a built in microphone, so for travel I don’t have to lug around a separate headset or microphone to use with it.

So far I have tested with both Windows Live Messenger and Skype, and had no issues. I’m looking forward to doing some more experiments, and seeing what else I can do with it. I might try some vidoes on 12seconds.tv (if I can get in), or try using with with Camtasia.

I selected the VX-5000 for several reasons.

  1. The size. It’s quite small, for someone who moves around it’s nice and compact, doesn’t take up a lot of space in my backpack.
  2. Low light. I read it did well in low light, that was an understatement. This thing is great even in very dim light.
  3. Built in mic. As I mentioned, it has a built in mic, so I don’t have to use an external one (although I can). That’s great in travel situations where space is at a premium in my already over stuffed backpack.
  4. Price. This was less than 40 bucks, so it was a really good deal.

Well, don’t want to come off like an advertisement, I just had a cool new geek toy and thought I’d share. Hope to have some videos up in the future as I work with the product and learn it’s ins and outs.

Arcane Fun Fridays – There be Pirates!

Avast ye mateys, hoist the missen mast and scrub the poop deck, it’s Talk Like A Pirate Day! Blogs all over the web be pirateized. So hoist the jolly roger, we be sailin’ for trouble. And beware, if I catch ya slippin ye may be walkin the plank!

Now where’d I leave that peg leg?

Posted in Fun. 1 Comment »

SQL Saturday – Orlando – October 25th

Just a note for my friends in and near Orlando, I have agreed to come down and speak at the SQL Saturday event on October 25th. Just follow the link and pick SQL Saturday #8 for more details. My presentation will be on Full Text Searching. A big thanks to Andy Warren of End To End Training for inviting me and helping to make this possible.

WordCamp Birmingham – September 27 and 28

WordCamp is coming to town! September 27th and 28th, Saturday and Sunday. You may be aware, my own blog is hosted on WordPress. I like it’s simplicity, ease of use, and low cost. Plus I admit to a bit of nepitism, my brother in law is Dougal, who contributed to WordPress and will be one of the speakers at the upcoming event. Check out their website for all the details, look forward to seeing you there!

MSDN Southern Fried Roadshow Comes To Alabama

bucketsmall Since there are so many events coming to Alabama, we decided to create an uber-post listing them all! MSDN Southern Fried Roadshow – September Edition The MSDN Southern Fried Roadshow is a half day free developer event with a southern flair, where you will learn about some of the latest developments in Microsoft technologies. For September, 2008 the Roadshow will be presented by Architect Evangelist Chad Brooks and Developer Evangelist Glen Gordon. Chad and Glen will be loading up a minivan with lots of goodies, and trying to hit 5 cities in 5 days. We’ll start the morning with a quick update on a variety of developer topics. The we’ll spend the rest of the morning exploring the impact that REST has had on solutions architecture and the Microsoft Technologies that you need to leverage it. Every attendee will receive an MS Press book (while supplies last) as well as pointers to tons of resources for further learning. Register today using the links below. We’re trying to finalize the last cities, so check back for more.

Join our Facebook group! Come join our Facebook group and stay up to date on our travel adventures. Chime in with questions or comments, or just cheer us on. Resources Stay tuned for links, downloads and more about the topics we’ll be presenting on. Agenda Microsoft Developer Update First, we will do a survey of the set of just-released products and how they will impact developers. See what’s new in Windows Server 2008: Hypervisor Technology, IIS7, and others. SQL 2008 is also packed with goodies for Developers; see the geospatial capabilities as well as the LINQ enhancements. And don’t forget the myriad of enhancements that come with the .Net Framework 3.5! REST with WCF, ADO.NET Data Services, and ASP.NET MVC The evolution of the web has seen many changes in patterns and standards for working with services. In a world of AJAX and other lightweight clients, not all services need to be implemented with the bells and whistles that SOAP and its many specifications allow for. And not all services need to be “transport-neutral”. An alternative architectural approach known as REST is well suited for many web-based scenarios. You can implement a RESTful architecture using a variety of current and future Microsoft technologies. But how do you decide which ones are the best choices for your scenarios? These sessions of technical deep dives helps to answer that question. We will examine implementing RESTful services with WCF 3.5, using ADO.NET Data Services, and introduce the ASP.NET MVC framework.

 

MSDN Southern Fried Roadshow MSDN Southern Fried Roadshow

Stop That Annoying Auto Reboot After Patch Tuesday Updates

More than any day of the month, I always dread the Wednesday morning after Patch Tuesday. Sure, I like the fact that Windows automatically keeps my system as secure as possible by automatically downloading updates during the night and applying them. But I get so frustrated the morning after. My system has restarted, and I have to go through the entire login and reload all my apps just to check my e-mail and grab my latest podcasts via the Zune software. Not a pleasant thing to go through before your first cup of coffee. But thanks to todays Tekzilla tip, no more!!!

Today’s Tekzilla tip of the day discloses just how to set your system to no longer automatically reboot, but instead wait for you. It was so good I’m going to pass it along. First, you need to open the Group Policy Editor. In XP do a Start, Run, and type GPEDIT. In Vista you can also run GPEDIT from the command line.

When Local Group Policy Editor opens, navigate to Local Computer Policy, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, then finally Windows Update.

StopWindowsReboot

The row you are looking for is “No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations”. Double click on it, then change it’s state to enabled, then click OK.

StopWindowsReboot2

You will have to reboot your computer for this to take effect. Then the horror of waking up Wednesday mornings, dreading the overnight reboot will be a thing of the past.

While you are here, you may also wish to change the “Delay restart for scheduled installations” setting. By default this is set to 5 minutes. This is the screen that pops up and says ‘hey I just installed some stuff, I need to reboot to finish’ and your two choices are ‘Restart Now’ and ‘Restart Later’. But if you hit ‘Restart Later’ you are annoyed again a mere five minutes later. Well this is where you can adjust this. Open up the dialog, click Enabled, then you can change the time from the default of 5 minutes up to 30 minutes.

As with any time you go mucking around in your registry or policy settings, you do so at your own risk. Make sure you understand what is going on before you go changing things.

All I know is I’ll be sleeping a whole lot more soundly on Tuesday nights now.

My Dev Kit

There’s a new meme of sorts on the web, folks talking about the tools they use to develop with. I first saw it on Shawn Wildermuth’s blog. Shawn’s a great guy, he co-wrote most of those .Net MCTS/MCPD study guides from MS Press, and does a lot of training on Silverlight. So I thought I would keep the meme alive and talk about my own tools.

Hardware

I do a lot on the road, so a laptop is essential. Mine’s getting up there in age, it’s an HP Pavillion dv8000. 2 gig ram, two internal 160 gig hard disks, 17 inch wide screen, single core 64 bit processor. It’s OK, but will hopefully get replaced next year with something with more cores and horsepower. I don’t care much for the keyboard, so I bought an external keyboard from Lenovo. It’s got a trackpoint so I don’t have to take my hands off the keyboard very often, and I use it with both my laptop and the Dell that work supplies me.

At home I use a larger wireless Microsoft mouse, on the road I use one of the smaller Microsoft travel mice. Also in my hardware list is an external Seagate 1TB drive. It hooks up via either firewire or USB, which is nice when my USB ports are all full.

Also in my list is my Zune. Yes my Zune. Cubical farms can get noisy at times, some good tunes on my Zune really help me to zone out and ignore my surroundings, focusing on my code. It’s also nice on my commute or daily walk, I listen to podcasts to keep up my technical knowledge. At night I hook it to my TV via my X-Box 360 to watch video podcasts, or sometimes I lay in bed before going to sleep and watch.

My final piece of hardware is my iPaq, it helps keep my appointments in line and my contacts, plus I have lots of e-books loaded on it for reading. I also used to use it for podcasts prior to getting my Zune.

Operating System and Dev Tools

My laptop currently runs 32 bit Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1. Since it maxes out at 2 gig, and some 64 bit drivers were not available when Vista first arrived, I saw no benefit to 64 bit and took the path of least resistance. I have quite a few virtual machines in a variety of OS (Server 2008, 2003, XP, Vista, and Ubuntu) for testing, development, and running Beta versions of programs. For a web browser, I bounce back and forth between FireFox and IE7. For a while I was using FF most of the time, but IE7 was a big improvement over 6, and I’m now using them about 50/50. I suspect when IE8 comes out I may be using it more, but will have to see.

Like Shawn I also use Outlook 2007 for my e-mail client. It’s so much easier to organize my mail in Outlook than the g-mail host. But I also use the other features, such as the calendar and task list to help manage my life. I also use the rest of the Office suite for my daily tasks.

I use SnagIt for grabbing still screen captures, awesome tool, and Camtasia for video screen captures. I’m working on several video tutorials now, which is fun but time consuming (which also explains while my blog posts have been off of late). I use Paint.Net for basic photo / image editing. For creating my blog posts, I write them originally in Word 2007, then use Windows Live Writer to post them to my blog.

For quick access to my daily programs, I use one of two things. I really like Bayden Systems SlickRun. I also create a shortcut menu using a technique I blogged about in February.

Developer Tools

As you might expect I use both SQL Server Management Studio and Visual Studio 2008 Team System for day to day development. My top add-ins are Red-Gates SQL Prompt bundle for SSMS and CodeRush for Visual Studio. For a text editor, I absolutely love UltraEdit. Since I have blogged a lot about my dev tools in the past, I will keep this section short.

The Cloud

I’m on a couple of social networking sites, in addition to this blog:

· Twitter

· Posterous

· LinkedIn

· MSDN Code Gallery – One site for SQL Server Full Text Searching and one for SQL Server Compact Edition.

Passing the Baton

OK, your turn, let’s see your blog with your tools!

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