Longhorn Transformation Pack

 If you have Windows XP or Windows 2003 then you have got to download and apply the Longhorn Transformation Pack, the Plex theme include is way cool and makes your taskbar smaller giving you extra real-estate space on your screen. Some of my coworkers are green with envy over my desktop. (Remember to backup your data, the Transformation Pack has been reported to have screwed up a number of machines).

Busy

I've not been able to post regularly lately due to a couple of reasons.

Office Work

We have been getting a steady trickle of work and the tempo has started rising and I really love it. This means that we are steadily starting to move forward and have been signing up new clients to our platform as well as doing a lot of mini projects. Plus on the development side we have been refactoring and working on improving our 3+ year old codebase. [Refactoring is something that every developer needs to take seriously. The next version of Visual Studio.NET (Whideby) will have have refactoring options built into the IDE.] The bulk of our code is on ASP and VC++ and my goal is to eventually migrate all of them over to C#. I'll be starting to post on the approaches and decisions that we take so that it will be useful to anyone working on migrating.

Car

About two weeks ago I was finally able to buy my car. It's a lovely Honda Civic '98 model which has done about 56,000km. I was lucky enough to get such a low mileage one and it's been maintained well since the previous owner was a Dr., plus the pricing was very good considering that it cost me Rs. 1 million.

Along with the buying the car there are a number of other hassles such as insuring (Rs. 34k), registering it RMV (Rs. 8k), driving license (~8k)  and then I need to get started on servicing and all that. Guess having a car is really a luxury!

Thailand

I will be in Thailand Dec 4-9 to participate in the APICTA software competition as a part of the Gateway group. The School Online product developed by them (me being a consultant on the project) won first place in the Education category at the local BCS awards and will be one of the 12 companies representing Sri Lanka in the APICTA competition. The guys from my earlier company Atlantisone Technologies too will be coming to Thailand (they got Silver awards at the BCS competition).

The actual judging of the competition will be only be on two days so hopefully we'll get to see the cool stuff at the exhibition. I'll keep you all posted.

Session State

Steve talks about how we can make more efficient use of the Session state in ASP.NET.

It’s something that we as developers should try to follow as a guideline. The idea is to use a private SessionState object (struct) which has fields for each property you need to store in the session. This way you don’t need to use ugly strings when setting/accessing session variables and you get the advantage of the compiler doing early-bound checks for you.

Shake it off!

This got passed on to me by a colleague - good enough to pass on....

The best motivational message of the day!!!

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered anyway, it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first, the donkey realised what was happening and cried horribly.

Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone.  We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.

2. Free your mind from worries.

3. Live simply.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less.

Someone sent this to me to think about…  so here I am posting it for you.    SHAKE IT OFF!!

Hey, SQL Server DOES scale!

 

For the first time, Microsoft products made their way onto some of Winter's "All Environments" TopTen lists, which include Unix and mainframe systems. A massive SQL Server 2000 production database run by Verizon Communications placed sixth for overall OLTP database size and third for largest number of rows in an OLTP database. The Verizon database is 5.3 terabytes and has more than 33 billion rows of data.

Nifty!

World's Biggest Production Databases Now Include Windows [ENT News]


[WebLogs @ ASP.NET]

HSBC Internet Banking is Free!

 HSBC earlier used to charge Rs. 600/- annually for their internet banking service. But it looks like they are now providing it free of charge. Way to go! Click here for more information.

Getting Ahead in Your Career

 

Franklins.Net Sales Weasel Todd Follansbee has come up with what I think is a great read for all developers, and .NET developers in particular.  This can be found online at http://www.franklins.net/YourCareer/YourCareer.aspx

Knowing how to get the technology and training you need is an esssential skill 

You might question if .NET will help you financially. Here is a recent quote from Computer World

 “… there are certain IT skills for which companies are willing to pay a premium right now. On the technical side, .Net experience is perhaps the hottest skill, with network security experience running a close second” 

Below are a set of instructions on how to convince your boss/company about .NET and training. You will find these skills to be helpful in a variety of areas. After all, technical knowledge is only one part of career development in the IT world. You need more then just knowledge and these skills will be of tremendous help. This is all free, as is our support. All you need to do is ask. 

Traditionally developers make lousy salesmen so we offer a set of selling skills tailored for developers. We also provide the support tools to get training approved in your company. Here's how to figure out the pieces of the puzzle we offer. They all build upon each other, one piece alone will not get the job done. Most important is the PDF that describes sales methods which are perfect for developers. They are analytical, effective and require no hype or gimmicks. Download and print the PDF first and read it. The other support pieces follow:  

  • Selling Your Boss is a PDF that will that describes the sales method. Download and print the PDF and read it. When you understand the technique, review the two short PowerPoint slide shows
  • Selling .NET is PowerPoint slide show that a developer used to convince a multi-billion dollar comapny to adopt .NET.
  • Selling Training is a 3 slide study from that the American Society of Training and Development that compares the bottom lines of companies that support training versus ones that don't. The study makes dollar suggestions for training budgets based upon these successful companies.
  • To accompany the training document, we provide a zipped folder of success stories from companies who came to us for .NET Training and went on to develop great .NET Apps (picture yourself in the next batch of success stories!).
  • Lastly we recommend a number of .NET Rocks! Shows that: discuss .NET, compare it to other technologies, and review implementations and benefits.

If you spend the hour it takes to learn this content you will be well equipped. Call on us for suggestions and insights. We have much experience in the psychological side of selling to people. You may be surprised at the tools we can give you just over the phone. We won’t make a sales weasel out of you however understanding the psychological triggers of the people in authority can make all the difference. 

Besides it’s worth the trouble. If you don’t, sooner or later you’ll be asking us if we want fries with that...


[WebLogs @ ASP.NET]

Google Zeitgeist – Search patterns, trends, and surprises according to Google

For both breaking news and obscure information alike, people around the world search on Google at www.google.com. With a bit of analysis, this flurry of searches often exposes interesting trends, patterns, and surprises.

On a monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily basis, this Google Zeitgeist page will be updated to reflect lists, graphs, and other tidbits of information related to Google user search behavior. Click here to view.