Welcome to COMFRAME

I admit to being remiss lately, my poor blog has been neglected for these past few weeks. I can only plead mea culpa and explain.

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity placed before me that I simply could not refuse. I’d been happy at my old job and wasn’t looking, but a good friend of mine works for a great company called COMFRAME. They are a consulting firm that does a variety of things, including Enterprise Project Management, .Net and Java development projects, SOA, and most important to me, Business Intelligence.

To make a long story short my friend took a lesson from the Godfather movies and “made me an offer I couldn’t refuse”. I am now a COMFRAME employee! The work is very exciting, I’ll be an architect on a BI project that is using Silverlight 3 for it’s front end. We are working with data from Microsoft Project, not only that but it’s the world’s biggest implementation of Project Server, so I’ll get to work with the fine folks at Microsoft even more closely. We’re also a Microsoft Partner, which will give me new avenues for relationships that will compliment my MVP.

I got to meet the customer this week, although brief they seemed very easy to work with, and nice as well. I also got to meet the development team I’ll be working with, I’m impressed with the work they’ve done so far and can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and dive in.

I’ve had a crazy time wrapping up my old job and starting my new one, hopefully I can get back to regular blogging soon. I’ve been doing a lot with SSIS and SSAS which will give me lots of good material to talk about, not to mention any Silverlight 3 work I get to explore.

Silverlight 2 to be Released October 14

Microsoft has just issued a press release announcing the release of Silverlight 2. This is fantastic news for web developers. Effective tomorrow, Tuesday October 14th users will be able to go to the Silverlight 2 site at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/ and download the new version.

The Virtual Meeting

We had an interesting event last week during our BSDA meeting. Doug Turnure from Microsoft was presenting at our BSDA group. I decided to Twitter the high points as Doug went through his presentation on SIlverlight. (I loved Doug’s line about the DLR being the Woodstock of programming languages.) During the event Shawn Wildermuth, The ADO Guy (who should probably take on the new name The Silverlight Guy) tweeted back with some interesting comments and links.

At the same time Doug was also recording the presentation using Camtasia. I’m hopeful the quality will be sufficient to distribute as we were using a new microphone in new surroundings.

My goal is to take as many of the BSDA’s meetings as I can to the virtual community. To record the presentations for later playback, and to provide an interactive experience for those who can’t attend. What about your user group?

Bug.Net, Zune TV, and My Sony MiniDV Handycam

Tonight’s Bug.Net meeting was sort of weird, when I got there I was the only one there. Not sure where everyone got to, but 3 other guys showed up while I was there, so we had an impromptu meeting. I wound up giving my “Developer Experience” presentation for the small group. I want to thank the three for hanging in there with me during the hastily put on demonstration. It was fun to do something for a small group.

When I got home I decided to give hooking my Zune up to my TV a try and see how it handled video. I don’t have my official Zune cable for hooking up the TV (yet), but I do have a cable that I got with my Sony Mini-DV Handicam. The two looked identical, at least from what I could see of the Zune cable on the web, so I decided to give it a try. Hooked up the various colors correctly, plugged the other end into the Zune and… nuthin. Butkis. Squat. Static filled the display. My first thought was “oh well I’ll need to wait”, but then some of the things I’d studied getting my ham radio license kicked in. Hmm, the cables LOOKED identical, and electrons flow the same, so perhaps the problem wasn’t with the cable exactly, maybe the Zune just used a different output than the Sony to carry the video signal.

So I unhooked the 3 RCA plugs, and this time plugged the red end of the Sony cable into the Yellow video In port of my TV. Eureka! I hooked up the other two to the audio and now I’m watching the Mix keynote on my small office TV, from the Zune. Sweet. My moral is if you have a spare cable from a Sony or other manufacturer, give it a try (at your own risk of course) and if it’s not working right off the bat, try swapping the ends as I suggested until you get some output.

Speaking of video, I already mentioned Doug Turnure will be speaking Thursday night (March 13) at the BSDA. We’re planning to record the session and make it available via the Silverlight Live site. Be patient with me, will likely be next week before I get the editing worked out and get it uploaded.

Doug Turnure MS Developer Evangelist To Speak at BSDA on Silverlight 2.0

Just thought I’d share some exciting news, Doug Turnure the Microsoft Developer Evangelist for our South East area will be in Birmingham on Thursday, March 13th. He will be at the Birmingham Software Developers Association and will be telling us about Silverlight 2.0 and other cool stuff that was announced at Mix 08 this week. Afterward we’ll be having a geek dinner at Jim and Nicks on Oxmoor.

The BSDA meeting will take place at New Horizons in Homewood, beginning at 6:30 pm. I’d suggest getting there a bit early to get a good seat, then be sure to join us afterward for food and more geekery at Jim and Nicks.

The Arcane Internet

I know, I promised to get you up to speed with SQL Server 2008 after my Virtual PC post yesterday. Sadly a nasty thing called work got in the way, and I’ve had  couple of late nighters. It’s coming, I promise. Meanwhile, a few tidbits from around the web.

If you’re a developer, you’re probably aware that MIX 08 has kicked off in Vegas. Sadly, I ain’t there, and am insanely jealous of everyone who is, but that’s life. That doesn’t mean we can’t join in virtually though. The keynote was broadcast live, it was really cool to be able to watch it as it happened (or as much as I could, as I did have to work and wound up listening more than watching). If you did miss it, you can still catch the recording at http://visitmix.com/blogs/Joshua/Day-1-Keynote/ . There were a lot of big announcements, including the release of Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1 and talk about Silverlight for Mobile apps. In addition all the sessions will be available as videos 24 hours after they are presented, so tomorrow (Thursday) we should start seeing some content.

But Microsoft isn’t the only ones producing Mix video on the web. The folks at CodeBetter.com are using Qik to stream live video to the web. I watched a good interview with Miguel de Icaza earlier, I see another one since I left work. Check them out on their Qik site at http://qik.com/codebetter .

The Mix conference isn’t the only place producing video. Earlier tonight the North Dallas .Net Users Group streamed their meeting over the web. I got to watch a few minutes of it but needed to get back to my late night work. But wow, what a concept, a local user group streaming their sessions live over the net. Kudos to them for doing something cool. If I can get all the bugs worked out, and of course get the presenters consent I may very well stream our next Birmingham Software Developers Association meeting live on the web. No promises yet though, lots to work out.

Finally, you may ask how did I learn of all this wonderful content? Twitter! Boy I have to thank Keith Elder, I’ve picked up a lot of good tips since I started. From now on I’m going to be like Jeff Barnes and do everything The Elder says!

Hey, I guess they’re wrong. With all this great Mix content flowing out on the web, what happens in Vegas DOESN’T stay in Vegas!

.Net University – BizTalk

Earlier this week I was privilidged to attend the first .Net University for BizTalk. It was a very informative day long session, I feel like I now have a grasp on at least the fundementals of BizTalk and can talk intelligently about it. I have a long way to go, of course, but this was a great launching point.

If you are not familiar with .Net University, you need to check out their website http://www.dotnet-u.com/ . All of the slide decks, labs, and other courseware are availble not only for you to look at, but to use in doing your own presentation. Your user group or business could put on it’s very own .Net University using the supplied materials. Don’t worry if you are not a guru, they are even publishing videos of the sessions for you to watch and see how the “pros” did it. Currently courseware is available for .Net 3.0 and BizTalk, and the video sessions for .Net 3.0 were just released. They videoed the presentations at the BizTalk session I was in, so I would expect them to be released in the near future. Coming soon will be courseware for Sharepoint and Silverlight.

.Net University was the brainchild of Microsoft Developer Evangelist Doug Tunure ( http://blogs.msdn.com/dougturn/ ). Recently he and Mark Dunn of Dunn Training (http://www.dunntraining.com/) went to TechEd in Asia and used .Net U there. Mark Dunn recorded interviews and talked about it in a recent Dot Net Rocks episode (#288: http://www.dotnetrocks.com/default.aspx?showNum=288 ). Take a listen, they do a better job of explaining it than I can. Mark, by the way, was also one of the presenters at the BizTalk session I was in.

If your user group is looking for a good opportunity to reach out to the community, consider putting on your own .Net U. You can do it in one day, or break it into two or four sessions. Looks like there will be a lot of good material to get you started, and you can even get certificates to present to your attendees.

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