.NET User Group: Smart Client Deep Dive

The Sri Lankan .NET developer community will be given a rare treat today when Dr. Nitin Paranjape an Office MVP does a talk on Developing VSTO Application at the NDB Auditorium at Navam Mawatha.

I have seen Dr. Nitin in action before and this guy is a truly gifted trainer and a great orator. You will understand what I mean when you see for yourself today. He follows a mantra of ‘teaching people to learn’ and his sessions are thought provoking. No wonder then that he was picked as the best MCT trainer worldwide by Microsoft.

I will be going to the session today more because I want to see and learn from how he teaches than for his session on VSTO, which undoubtely is going to be fabulous on its own.

The other speakers at the Deep Dive will include Wela on ClickOnce and Prasanna on DataBinding. If you are a Smart Client developer you owe it to yourself and your company to be there today.

This being our very first INETA meeting we’ll also get to meet Howard Lo from Microsoft Singapore (he’s also a star in Singapore). Howard Lo is also the MVP Lead for Sri Lanka, so do definitely have a chat with him when you meet up today. He’ll give you the low down on the MVP program and what plans he has for the Sri Lankan community.

This event is a brainchild Jinath who relentlessly kept on banging doors to get the event going. Kudos to him and the rest of the team which included Dinesh, Prasanna and the ever reliable Wela for pulling this off in such a very short time.

.NET User Group: Smart Client Deep Dive

Imagine Cup 06 Sri Lanka Finalists Announced

Jina just started announcing the five finalists for the Imagine Cup ‘06 so I guess I can blog about it. The shortlisted teams in no particular order are:

  • Perfect Sleep & Energetic Wake Up (P Mahanthege, K Jeewantha, B Balasooriya & H Kumara of Colombo University)
  • My Plant (Sudesh, Prabath, Amila & Kosala of Colombo University)
  • Panchayudha (Yasith, Shanaka, Prasad & Chathurika of Moratuwa University)
  • Smart Buddy (D Abeywickrama, J Liyanaarachchi, K Peiris & D Perera of Colombo University)
  • Amity (Y Hettiarachchi, J Liyanapathirana, K Karunanayake & G Perera of Colombo University)

Congralutions guys! So what happens next is that each team will be assigned a mentor (one of the MVPs) and then each finalist will present their entry at the grand final which will be held on the 31st of May. There’s going to be a whole lot of tension and excitement since the presentations will be live in front of the judges as well as all the invitees and the winning entry will be announced immediately.

I also need to congratulate all the other teams that sent in entries as well, believe it or not, you too are a winner for the simple fact that you did compete.

Imagine Cup 06 Sri Lanka Finalists Announced

IE7 Feature #1: Reopen Closed Tabs

I’ve been using IE7 since the Beta 2 Preview was released a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been discovering a few gems which I feel needs to be shared. So here’s my first one.

The #1 reason why Maxthon has been my default browser is for the tabs and the fact that I can configure it to remember all the tabs that I was browsing. So in case I needed to restart (usually due to a power outage on my neck of the woods) my machine I could get back all the web pages I had open before.

Ever since I installed IE7, the geek in me made me search high and low through all the options to figure out if this feature was available when infact it was right there in front of my eyes. This has been so elegantly implemented that it’s not a geeky feature at all.

So here’s how simply it works.

Do your usually browsing and open up a bazillion windows. Close off IE and the next time you startup or start IE simply right-click on the tab and choose ‘Restore Last Tab Group’ and pronto you’ve got your IE state back.

If your new to IE each time you close a window with multiple tabs your introduced to this feature. My dear fellow developers, now this is how you write elegant software.

IE7 Feature #1: Reopen Closed Tabs

Re-training graduates and the Imagine Cup 06

Towards the end of last year I was involved in training a batch of non-IT graduates on .NET. The specific program was a pilot project with Moratuwa University funded by USAID where the goal was to pick a group of deserving graduates who were un-employed and skill them up to be employable in the IT field.

My joy was to see the students so taken up with .NET that most of them chose to do their final project on .NET and I’m happy to note that all those who completed the program are now employed [LBO]. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the graduation ceremony last evening as I was held up with the Imagine Cup judging.

Speaking of the Imagine Cup, last evening we had a tough time picking the top five finalists for the national round given the wealth of innovative ideas and solutions from among the 40 odd proposals that came in. Over 200 undergrads from a number of local universites took part, I was happy to see entries coming in from Ruhuna and Wayamba as well. The teams should be announced shortly so keep an eye out for an email from Jina.

Re-training graduates and the Imagine Cup 06

Here’s to Linux

The very first posting to this blog from a Linux box! The lab
that I’m lecturing on .NET Compact Framework development for an
Advanced MSc batch has all these dual boot boxes with Ubuntu and XP, so
I thought I’d give it a go.
The text is crystal clear, even much more better than an XP box with ClearType turned on.
Hmm… maybe I should run Ubuntu on the box I have at home.

Here’s to Linux

Visual Studio Community Launch at Moratuwa

Wela and I had a blast at the University of Moratuwa last week where we hosted the Visual Studio Community Launch for about 200 odd students.

Wela started off with the session on Smart Clients which he claims he could now do in his sleep (he did the exact same sessions at the Microsoft launch for an audience of about 1400 and then at the University of Colombo for about 350 students).

My talk on ASP.NET went pretty well except for a small hiccup at the end. Given that the presentation was 80% demo with over a 100 steps plus I just prepared for it the previous day staying up will 2.00am.

We then broke away from launch theme and Wela showed off the Atlas stuff that had just been demoed at the MIX06 conference.

Thanks to Microsoft who sponsored the event with refreshments as well as loads of giveaways.

Events like these let me do my bit by giving back to the Sri Lankan community.  I get to talk about the tools and technologies that I’m passionate about as well as use day-in day-out. Plus I get to help make the next generation of graduates more prepard for the industry that they are going to enter.

We also have a few other universities that we are planning to hold the launches in the next month or so, if your university is interested feel free to leave a comment.

Now, I need to get back to judging those Imagine Cup proposals.

Visual Studio Community Launch at Moratuwa

Add Sri Lankan holidays to your Outlook calendar

How many times have you scheduled a meeting in Outlook only to find out later that it was a holiday? I just did today and here’s how I’m going to prevent myself from doing it again.

In Outlook you can add custom holidays so that they show up in your calendar like this.

So here’s how you do it.

– – – – – – – – –  Start Copy – – – – – – – – –

[Sri Lanka] 20
Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day,2006/1/13
Tamil Thai Pongal Day,2006/1/14
National Day,2006/2/4
Navam Full Moon Poya Day,2006/2/12
Medin Full Moon Poya Day,2006/3/14
Milad-Un-Nabi (Holy Prophet’s Birthday),2006/4/11
Bak Full Moon Poya Day,2006/4/13
Day Prior to Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day,2006/4/13
Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day,2006/4/14
May Day,2006/5/1
Vesak Full Moon Poya Day,2006/5/12
Day following Vesak Full Moon Poya Day,2006/5/13
Poson Full Moon Poya Day,2006/6/11
Esala Full Moon Poya Day,2006/7/10
Nikini Full Moon Poya Day,2006/8/9
Binara Full Moon Poya Day,2006/9/7
Vap Full Moon Poya Day,2006/10/6
Il Full Moon Poya Day,2006/11/5
Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day,2006/12/4
Christmas Day,2006/12/25

– – – – – – End Copy – – – – – – –

Update the current holiday file

To do so:

1.                   Exit Outlook if it is running.

2.                   In Microsoft Windows Explorer, locate the following file:

drive:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\1033\Outlook.hol

3.                   Open the file using notepad.

4.                   Add the contents of the above text (between Start Copy and End Copy) at the end of the Outlook.hol and save it.

Updating the Outlook calendar with customized events

The final step is for employees to update their calendar with the new holiday file.

To update the Outlook calendar:

1.                   Start Outlook.

2.                   On the Tools menu, click Options.

3.                   On the Preferences tab, under Calendar, click Calendar Options.

4.                   In the Calendar Options dialog box, under Calendar options, click Add Holidays.

5.                   Select the check box for your customized set of events and holidays, and then click OK. For this example, select the box labeled Sri Lanka.

Note  It’s possible that a set of holidays or events observed in your country/region has already been selected in the Add Holidays to Calendar dialog box. If you try to add the same country/region again, you see the message, “Holidays for country are already installed. Do you want to install them again?”

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
*                          Click No. If you click Yes, the holidays and events are installed a second time, and you will see duplicate holiday and event entries in your calendar.


Add Sri Lankan holidays to your Outlook calendar