Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Countdown to Microsoft PDC 2009 – part 2

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image In the first installment of this pre-PDC blog post series, I published the list of the sessions I’ll likely attend and a list of sessions that would be cool to see, but that isn’t really target material (for me).

Microsoft has now published the time & location of each session, and I must say that I’m (at least at the moment) quite disappointed that lacks two important features:

  • Export to Outlook / ICS. Both for single sessions and the possibility to link the whole My Sessions view into Outlook.
  • An Outlook-ish calendar view, that visualize conflicting sessions (Just like my normal Outlook calendar – when my coworkers book me for three different meetings at the same time ;-) ).

That said, I hope Microsoft hasn’t revealed all features of the PDC website yet.

Since I haven’t found the floor map for LACC on (yet), I’ve scanned the floor plans from PDC ‘08. Click the picture to bring up a larger version. Note that the layout of stands/booths in the Expo area are probably different from what it will be this year.


Since it’s getting closer to my departure, I’ll put up a list of stuff I’m bringing both for the trip and stay – hopefully, there may be a trick or two for a first-timer travelling to a large conference.

  • Be sure to bring your passport if you’re traveling in from another country. If you’re a resident of a country in the European Union, or another country that is covered by the ESTA Visa waiver “program”, you need to register yourself here before you travel.
  • Business Cards – network, share and LinkedIn later.
  • Money / credit cards – Mo’ money, mo’ problems? Tips: bring at least two major credit/debit cards (VISA, Eurocard, Amex) and leave one your hotel room’s safe.
  • Sun glasses / Hat / Sunscreen. Here in Norway it’s mostly dark at this time of the year, but in LA, the sun is hot – protect yourself from those nasty UV rays.
  • Pocket camera / phone: voice/txt/twitter et cetera.
  • Computer(s): I’m bringing my Dell Precision M4400 and Latitude E4300. The latter is perfect to bring to the LACC at daytime – the first one is my portable workstation. I have a US power chord to my laptop’s power supplies – it’s always a hassle to bring an extra power converter to the conference center.
  • Fiber, fiber, fiber. Well – how should I put it? The American (conference) diet SUCKS. No fiber – and a lot of sugar. I need my fiber, or I’ll turn up constipated and grumpy.
  • Omega-3, Ginseng, vitamins: when traveling, remember to super charge on extra vitamins etc. An exhaustive week with jet lag and activities from 6 in the morning to late night does something to your body.
  • Sleeping aids; I’ve found some prescription-free sleeping aids that are available in the drug stores (in the US). Be sure to buy some before you leave.
  • NoDoz caffeine pills. Generally, I don’t like to pop these – but I bring them for emergency situations.
  • A good carry-on laptop bag that you can’t stuff more than a tiny computer in is at least vital to me. I’m not sure if it is to you – YMMV.

Warning: coming up is an ugly formatted HTML table with some pictures to give you a mental note if some of the items you shouldn’t forget at home :-) Mouse-over will give you a description of each item.

US power chord to your laptop's power supply. Passport - here's mine. NoDoz caffeine pills & Antibac disinfection fluid My favorite laptop carry-on from my friends in Microsoft
OMEGA-3, Melatonine, Prescription-free Sleeping Aid, Ginseng Crisp bread - FIBER!    Nutrition additive: more FIBER! Multi-power converters - shielded & unshielded


A last note before I end this blog post; I love TripIt as a tool to organize my trips – it’s also great for sharing information with people you’re traveling with – or people that may be in the neighborhood during your stay.

Countdown to Microsoft PDC 2009 – part 1

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imageSo, we’ve reached November 1st – the day after Halloween and it’s only 15 days to the PDC! (Woohoo! :-) )

I’m travelling with two of my colleagues and we’re staying at the Omni from the 14th, send me a message (typically on Twitter: larsw) if you want to hang out before / during the conference.

A couple of days ago (give or take) Microsoft enabled the “My Sessions” feature at, and today I’m presenting my first draft of my planned session list. I’m already sure of two things; a) I’ve overbooked, and b) during in the “fog of war” I won’t make it to all of the sessions.

Since I’m a Connected Systems guy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone that my session list is very CS-centric, but my #2 priority is to attend sessions about features/technology that I really want to learn more about (e.g. where I’m more or less a n00b now :-)

Since the sessions aren’t “mapped out” yet (at least not on the public site) I’ll have to wait a bit before I can do the hard prioritization.

First priority (in no particular order)
Developing REST Applications with the .NET Framework

Don Box, Henrik Nielsen

ADO.NET Data Services: What’s New with the RESTful Data Services Framework

Pablo Castro

Application Server Extensibility with Microsoft Project Code Name “Dublin” and Microsoft .NET Framework 4

Nicholas Allen

Data Programming and Modeling for the Microsoft .NET Developer

Don Box, Chris Anderson

Windows Workflow Foundation 4 from the Inside Out

Bob Schmidt

What’s New for Windows Communication Foundation 4

Ed Pinto

Queuing and Publish/Subscribe in a Heterogeneous Environment

David Ingham, John O’Hara

Microsoft Project Code Name “M”: The Data and Modeling Language

Don Box, Jeff Pinkston

Building Data-Driven Applications Using Microsoft Project Code Name "Quadrant" and Microsoft Project Code Name "M"

Chris Sells, Douglas Purdy

Scaling Your Data Tier with Microsoft Project Code Name “Velocity”

Murali Krishnaprasad

Spice Up Your Applications with Windows Workflow Foundation 4

Matt Winkler

Workflow Services and “Dublin”

Mark Fussell

Second / lower priority (In no particular order)
Microsoft Semantic Engine

Naveen Garg, Duncan Davenport

Rx: Reactive Extensions for .NET

Erik Meijer

Infer.NET: Building Software with Intelligence

John Guiver, John Winn

Code Contracts and Pex: Power Charge Your Assertions and Unit Tests

Mike Barnett, Nikolai Tillmann

Axum: A .NET Language for Safe and Scalable Concurrency

Niklas Gustafsson

Introduction to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 StreamInsight

Torsten Grabs

Now, I’m pretty, pretty sure that when I sum up after the PDC, the list of sessions that I’ve actually attended will be quite different :-)

From browsing through the 22 pages of sessions, I’m a bit disappointed that we won’t see Anders Hejlsberg on stage (at least not in a normal session).

TFB210602: Failed to copy.


Build error: Value cannot be null. Parameter name: path1.

Now that’s a cryptic title, right?

First of all; a big thanks to Jason Barile/MSFT that set me in contact with Aaron Hallberg that in turned found a workaround for the bug I’m about to describe.

Second; The bug is fixed in MSFTs trunk version of TFS 2010, so you don’t need to run over to to report it.

With the release of the Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010, I thought it would be cool to check out the new TFS Basic mode running locally on one of my laptops.

I was amazed that the whole installation process took only about 20 minutes – something that is way better than the near-nightmare scenario of installing a full TFS 2005 or 2008 (I haven’t tried to setup a full scale TFS 2010 yet).

In addition to the TFS 2010 itself, I also installed the Team Build Controller and Team Build Agent locally on the same laptop (and of course Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate).

I imported a small pet project / demo I’m working on into the source control, and set up a build definition for it so that I could do continuous integration builds when checking in future changes.

Queue new build…
Bang. Build Error :-(

Now, I tried all sorts of things to try to figure out what caused the build failure, and I got some input from Jason Barile, that didn’t work out either (turned out that I’ve set the build server’s working directory to the same directory for it to drop the result to).

Luckily, I twittered my need for someone that could take a look at my problem, and that’s where Jason entered the scene; we did a SharedView session, and as I’ve already written, we didn’t get very far. But Jason works with a brilliant guy named Aaron, that was more than willing to take a look at the problem too.

We did a SharedView where we discussed what I’ve already tried, and tried to narrow down the possible things that could mess up my build. After checking up a bit internally, Aaron came back with a small piece of source code we checked out locally; a bit of code that tries to infer the location of MSBuild.

Well, it  turned out that when it parsed a value from the registry (or something) it took my current regional settings into account, and here in Norway we use , (comma) as a decimal separator – something that is different from the US standard; . (period.

The fix for it was to hardcode the path to msbuild in the BuildTemplate.xaml file that is actually the workflow that is used by the build server. Aaron sent me a version that I plugged in – and bam! Green build!

Thanks again Jason & Aaron – I love the openness a great attitude of every MSFT employee I’ve met so far :-)

The modified .xaml file can be downloaded from here.

The book shelf of a Connected Systems MVP


A few days ago, Gøran Hansen of Capgemini and a an active member of the Norwegian Microsoft scene – as well as active in the Twittersphere, wrote a blog post called “A Software Craftsman’s Bookshelf” containing a picture of his book shelf with Software Development-related books, as well as a brief review of the titles. He tagged a bunch of other people – including me, so here’s my contribution to this book shelf meme

(I actually wonder why a UI-geek like Gøran chose a dull jpeg for visualizing his book shelf, so I’m stepping up – to show off that Mr. Non-UI guy can use the Stitch functionality in Deep Zoom Composer. The final product is hosted on DeepZoomPix – a Microsoft site for hosting Deep Zoom pictures.)

Update: Seems like the stupid blog hosting strips javascripts and object tags, so until I’ll get around to move this blog to a more sane hosting provider, I’ll have to put up a preview picture that hyperlinks to the DeepZoomPix site :-(


(A click on the image will bring you to the real Deep Zoom image)

I actually thought about rotating the stitched picture counter-clockwise, so that the titles of the books would be easier to read, but I postphoned it to a moment when I have more time to stuff like this :-)

A description of the books + Amazon links, as well as a list of people I’d like to tag will be added later.

Microsoft Connected Systems MVP 2009!

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Microsoft MVP logo Yesterday, I received an email I have been hoping for (more than any of the Christmas gifts I got :-P) with the subject:

Congratulations 2009 Microsoft MVP!

I’ve known for some time that I was nominated for the Connected Systems Developer MVP, so I have really been anticipating the arrival of 2009 – 01 – 01.

The mail didn’t show up before 1520-something in the afternoon, so I went around with butterflies in my stomach all day trying to keep my thoughts elsewhere; my son need a lot of attention, so we rolled out a gymnastics mat in the living room and had some fun.

Since I’ve now received the Connected Systems MVP award I feel quite humbled; If you check out the MVP awardees website (my profile isn’t up yet) you will probably notice a lot of hotshots in that category – to namedrop a few; Juval Löwy, Michèle L. Bustamante, Christian Weyer, Aaron Skonnard, Pablo M. Cibraro, Dan Rigsby, Brian Noyes (and the list goes on and on and on…)

Hopefully I’ll persuade my boss so that I can attend the Global MVP Summit in Redmond in the start of March. I believe that would be a really epic experience. I know a couple of other MVPs & RDs that probably will go – Einar Ingebrigtsen of Objectware being one of them (DirectX/XNA MVP) (Thanks man for mentioning my MVP before I got to blog about it myself :-).

As a part of my continuing effort to put more time into community work, I would like to do more with this blog site, so I’ve decided to host it somewhere else, since my current host,, is quite limited. As of now, it looks like I’ll put up the site on one of my company’s servers.

Microsoft PDC '08 & Los Angeles; here I come!

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Today, August 15th, is the last day you get a discount when you sign up for the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference 2008, held in  Los Angeles, CA.

I have not been sure if I was going to make it to the PDC this year, giving that I’ve just started in a new company and I didn’t know on beforehand if the customer’s project manager would approve. I really thought TechEd EMEA would be more realistic, but today I actually managed to pull it off.

The answers was:

  • Miles: Of course, Lars! Go to the PDC.
  • Customer’s PM: Of course Lars! Go to the PDC.
  • @ home: Of course Lars! Go to the PDC.

So today I have signed up! Reserved a hotel room at the Miyako Hotel and ordered plane tickets through Seat24 with Continental Airlines. There’s a stop in Newark, NJ both to & from, but hopefully I’ll manage.

So, the thing to do now is to get an overview over the sessions that Microsoft has been announced.

New PDC’08 sessions published – 10 is the new 6!

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Found out through the PDC’08 Facebook group today that they have published 16 sessions. A couple of weeks ago, I read on Don Box’ blog that 10 is the new 6 but I didn’t exactly understand why. It is a mantra of the VC++ team and is refering to the long-living version 6 (with a lot of service packs) of Visual Studio. I am not sure if this is a signal that they want to stabilize around the upcoming (upcoming, like in next year or so) version 10 / Rosario of VSTS.

Read more here: