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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Universal Studios Party

The Universal Studios party was a lot of fun. I have not been there since the 70s. Jaws and the Six Million Dollar Man were the exciting things to see then. Now, I think the highlights are The Mummy Returns ride and the Jurassic Park ride.

They are not kidding when they say you get wet on Jurassic Park. The guys I went with weren’t too keen on getting wet, but I went straight for the front of the boat. The attendant told us the front-left was the worst on the boat. That is where I sat. I could tell what was coming because once I sat down (before the ride left) my pants were already quite wet. Anyway, it was a blast.

We brought a prospective customer with us to the party. He only recently began coding for the Microsoft OS. at one point, out of the blue, he said “Man, I have to tell you, that Visual Studio absolutely rocks!” He was talking about Visual Studio 2003.

Thanks to Microsoft for a great party and a great !

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The LINQ Project

I forgot to mention the LINQ project yesterday.  Integrating query into the language is such an incredible productivity enhancement.  Of all of the new technologies I have seen at this PDC, this is the one that resonates the most with me as a developer.  The ability to create strongly typed data representations and queries integrated into the compiler for ensuring language semantics is huge.  I think of all the code that we have written in .NET for which we have to translate data in and out of SQL; all of the queries that we have written that cannot be effectively validated until runtime; and the numbers of places in our code where changes must be kept in sync.  With LINQ, the initial development time will be greatly reduced, but almost more important, the future maintenance cost will also greatly reduced.

I got into a discussion with Dan about the posting by Paul Mooney   about the Google/Microsoft judgment was bigger news then the Bill Gates keynote (as indicated by the relative placement of these news items in a newspaper).  This doesn’t really surprise me (everyone wants to know if Ballmer really threw that chair).  Seriously, though, I think that a lot of the technologies that are being unveiled at PDC05 fall into two camps:

1. Vista and Office 12.  I fear that the delays in Vista and perception of Office (see my earlier post) may make these stories not “sexy” to the mainstream press.

2. Really cool technology for developers.  The typical business person has heard this story a million times already.  In fact, above I post that LINQ will allow me to develop better software more quickly and that it will be easier to maintain.  That is an obvious cost benefit to companies of all kinds.  But is saving money with better tools an interesting story?  Hasn’t the press written thousands of stories just like this before?  I’m not arguing that it isn’t cool or that it isn’t revolutionary technology.  I’m just arguing that your typical reader doesn’t get it.

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Radisson / LA Metro

It turns out we aren’t in one of the conference hotels. No shuttle service for us, but it did give us the chance to ride the LA metro. Pretty much door to door from the Wilshire Radisson to PDC05. I wish we were carrying a camera, because it was kind of cool to get off of the Metro and see the south hall of the LA Convention Center with the big Microsoft PDC sign.

The other bonus of the Radisson is the free upgrade to the Ambassador suite. While we will be scrambling for the shuttle to the Universal Studios party tomorrow night, at least there is a nice room to come back to.

Sweet suite.


Update to VPN/SSH @ PDC05

I posted that we were having trouble with our VPN and SSH clients.  I was right – in principle, there is no problem using these services at PDC05.

Unfortunately, our VPN doesn’t support NATT so we won’t be getting our email while were here.  And one of our remote SSH boxes won’t reply to us if we run SSH2, but SSH1 works OK.  Not ideal, but it will have to do.

I hope.  Otherwise we’re going to make a grid out of four laptops.  That might be cool anyway.

Thanks to Chris Craig in network support for helping us diagnose the problem.


Tech @ PDC05

Microsoft is presenting on and / or announcing a lot of new technologies at PDC05 that are interesting for us:

Windows Communications Framework (was Indigo) The more integrated the communications services are with Windows and the more transports-independent they are, the better. I look forward to giving our customers more options on how our components communicate (regarding protocols, transport, and security) to best fit their specific operating environment. Of course, a lot has already been written on WCF. I look forward to hearing more about future directions.

Windows Workflow Framework and Windows Workflow Services (was Windows Orchestration Engine): while we plan the enhancements in the workflow capabilities of the Digipede Network, integrating with existing systems is always a requirement. A no-brainer for us was/is to build a BizTalk adapter. WWS looks interesting (as it looks to replace the existing BizTalk Orchestration services) – it will allow us to integrate with BizTalk 2006 as well as Office 12. This means that Microsoft has just reduced the number of integration points we need while increasing the flexibility of the entire solution. Very cool.

Windows Server Compute Cluster Edition (CCE) This product is going to make a big splash in the growing 64-bit clustering market. The work that that team is doing to improve the platform for distributed computing is all good. As Dan said in a recent post, this is a critical move. I look forward to Kyril’s talk and to catching up with him on their plans.

And more. I’ll blog on that later . . .

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Cabbing to the PDC

I am sitting in the cab on the way to the LA convention center for PDC05. Dan is there now having some issues with network connectivity from our booth (#123). SSH and VPN ports blocked? Can’t be – I’m sure he’ll figure it out.

A few weeks ago, I was at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with my family. I found out that my 4-year old has a stronger stomach than I do.

And I’ve just realized I cannot blog while in the back of an LA taxi.


Going to PDC05

My company, Digipede Technologies, will be promoting our new SDK at PDC05 next week. At the same time we will be announcing and giving away free licenses to the Digipede Network Developer Edition.

I am looking forward to the trip. In my past companies, the clientele was often not technical outside of their particular vertical experience. As software developers are one of the primary targets for the Digipede Network, I’m happy that our customers and prospective customers are highly technical. This makes the customer meetings much more interesting for me and productive on many different levels.

Basically: We’ll get to talk to lots of smart people about what we are doing. And that is always fun.

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