Dinner with the DEs

On Tuesday night I had a chance to eat dinner with a bunch of the Microsoft Developer Evangelists and Developer Community Champions. It’s great to be able to get together as a group from time to time to talk about how things are going, what exciting things are happening with the user groups we work with, what kind of problems we’re having. It’s like having a big group therapy session. MS has a bunch of talented folks with tremendous passion for the developer community. It’s easy to get jazzed from hanging around them and sharing stories.


Dove bars. They rule the world.

And they’re also very elusive here at TechEd.

I was able to snag one on Monday, but ever since then I’ve struck out. You have to be in the right place at the right time. By the time you see someone eating one, they’re all gone.

You make a mad dash (while still trying to look cool) in the opposite direction the Dove eater is walking. As you walk upstream you see others with Dove bars, in earlier stages of eating. You know you’re getting close and… NO! GONE!

All that are left are the frozen fruit bars. Tons of frozen fruit bars. Who wants a friggin frozen fruit bar when you can have a Dove bar? When you NEED a Dove bar? When your body can’t go on any longer without a Dove bar?

I have serious Dove bar envy.

Portland Nerd Dinner in San Diego – recap

I met a few new Portland nerds (well, they’ve been in Portland for a while, and they’re not new to Nerddom, but I’d never met them at a Nerd Dinner before, so that makes them a new Portland nerd (and no, that does not mean that the world revolves around me (although sometimes (OK frequently) it does (to me anyway)))) at the Portland Nerd Dinner – San Diego last night. The subject matter was the same – geekage. The food was similar – crappy food court mall food is crappy food court mall food, no matter where you are in the country.

But the atmosphere was completely different. The food court is outside. It wasn’t raining. What the hell is up with that? It was just too confusing for us folks with webbed feet.

Anyway, the discussions were fast and furious. One of the new guys I had fun talking to was Darren, IT Manager from Harry’s Fresh Foods. (He’s on the far right in the photo.)

Blown away by Visual Studio Team System

Attending the first Team System session…

Silos in the IT lifecycle
Infrastructure architect, business stakeholder, project manager, solution architect, developer, tester

Role-based features of VS Team System: architect, developer, tester
Integration with Microsoft Project

3 main goals of Visual Studio Team System
· Reduce complexity
· Facilitate communication
· Enable 3rd party ecosystem

Demo time. Here’s some of the stuff they showed off. They worked their way through a scenario with all the people who would be involved with a project: project manager, infrastructure architect, solution architect, developer and tester.

Enterprise source code control system. FINALLY! One scenario: Create a private branch in the source control tool – changes you’ve made can be stored on the source code repository without affecting the main source tree. They’ve made it VERY easy to put stuff into a private branch and pull it back out. Allows you to keep your source code safe without having to break the build.

There’s no built-in WinForm UI test tool. They demonstrated tight integration with a 3rd party GUI test tool though. Didn’t have to leave the Visual Studio environment to run the 3rd party tool. Results were displayed in VS environment. (The unit test and code coverage tools do come with Visual Studio Team System.)

The unit test tools allow developers to easily run unit tests. Allows the test team to dive deeper in the tests – the “easier” ones are already caught by the developer before they get to testing.

Very cool: Out of the box, the load test tool will highlight performance monitor counters that are out of “acceptable” range. You can tweak the thresholds, but the default values are threshold recommendations from MS based on best practices.

Good God! This is slick as snot!

Developers can easily add instrumentation for ASP.NET application through a wizard. The load test that the testing group is available to the developer through Team System. Dev runs the load test then can look at the result – graphic & tabular view. Easily jump to the code that might be causing performance problems from the view.

Management pack wizard allows you to easily create a Microsoft Operations Manager configuration pack. Can be included when you check in the source code. Operations folks can apply the management pack to help them monitor the production system.

Broad industry support – over 15 partners making announcements

Team System will be released in first half of 2005.

Where is a Team System build? Is it on the community tech preview? I want this NOW! I want to show this to enterprise development teams. They’re going to be blown away too. This is what enterprise developers have been asking Microsoft for for years.

YES! Most of the client tools demoed today are in the community build.

Eric Lee – demoed the developer portion of Team System

An offering to the blind god

My dog loves to look out the front window. He watches the kids playing. He watches the cars drive by. He watches the birds swoosh past. He loves that window.

He also loves rocks.

He must have over 100 rocks hidden in the ivy behind the fish pond in the back yard. He takes very good care of his rocks. He plays with them. He sniffs them. He carries a rock around in his mouth, head held high. He’ll drop one at my feet and back away, looking anxiously with anticipation – “will the human pick up the rock and throw it for me?” Most of the time I do.

The other day I had pulled down the blinds. A bit later I walked past the window and noticed a rock on the window sill.

Gizmo must have thought the offering would open the blinds.

It did.

Portland Nerd Dinner – San Diego style

Since nerds get hungry no matter where they are, let’s join Portland Nerd John Deal for a nerd dinner in San Diego.


What: Nerd Dinner

Where: Horton Plaza – Westfield (Food court Level 4)

When: Monday, May 24, starting around 7:30 PM

Why: Cause a nerd’s gotta eat


So if you’ve ever wondered what a nerd dinner is all about, this is your chance to find out first hand. (By the way, it’s all about eating crappy mall food and living to tell about it. Nothing special there.)

Be there and be square.

When mall security guards get nervous

Well, there was a tremendous turnout for the Portland Nerd Dinner last night. The MSDN folks came to see what all the hoopla is about. They even bought us some crappy mall food. (Boy, do they know they way to win the hearts of nerds.)

The MSDN’ers sprinkled themselves among the other nerds during the food-eating contest (the one to keep it down the longest wins!).

Afterwards they had a panel discussion / feedback session where the Portland nerds got to tell them what they like / don’t like about the MSDN site. (Needless to say, SEARCH was one of the first topics mentioned. :o) ) The MSDN group took lots of notes.

During the panel discussion a couple of nervous looking mall security guards started loitering nearby. I went on a preemptive strike. They just wanted to make sure we weren’t some fanatical religious group that was getting ready for an assault on all the people in the mall. Heh.

Other blog entries and photos are all over the web now.

Thanks to all who came. Hope you had a good time.