Sunday, 24 February 2008

Recommended Daily Link Blog/Prepping for MIX08

It's been too long since my last blog post, but in the background I've been working on a few things. Technology wise I've been getting to grips with JQuery (which I prefer to Prototype/ and Castle Windsor, an interesting Inversion of Control system that looks more robust, agile and elegant than Microsoft's own upcoming Unity system, currently available as a CTP.

This time next week I'll be in Las Vegas for the Microsoft MIX08 conference event. I'm hoping to be video podcasting from the event on a daily basis in preparation for an eventual launch of The Daily.Net Show which will be a "daily news show" replacement for my daily .NET blog listing summaries that never really got off the ground. Throughout MIX08 video podcasts should be appearing on, so keep an eye on that!

For one of the show's "weekend extra's" it looks like I may also be able to cover the UK launch event for Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 in Birmingham on March 19th. Discussions with Microsoft's PR company are ongoing, so fingers crossed!

Although Mike Gunderloy's daily .NET link listing stopped at the end of last year, several other folks have risen to the challenge of providing a replacement, and are doing much better than my half-hearted attempt earlier this year. By far and away the best in my view is the one published on Jason Haley's blog - he seems to capture all the useful and important stuff from amongst the horrendous hundreds of brown-nosing "xxx is awesome" posts that pollute the MSDN blog space. If your 'research' time is as limited as mine Jason's blog should be at the top of your list if you want to make sure you don't miss some good stuff out there in the 'blogosphere'.

In the home office I've installed Vista Service Pack 1, which sneaked onto MSDN downloads a week or so ago, albeit hidden under a 'Top 10 Downloads' banner rather than in the main downloads area. This is a 'high risk' patch and is being held up by Microsoft pending lots of reported problems with certain drivers. However on my pre-installed Dell Vista system I was just getting too many blue screens of death, together with an annoying hotfix that kept failing and then re-attempting installation every boot up - problems which have plagued me for a year now! I have to say that for me SP1 for Vista has been a blessing. No blue screens since I installed it, and no "failed" hot fix reattempts either.

I've also got Windows Server 2008 installed in a virtual PC on my vista laptop and that's looking to be in good shape although I haven't really used it in anger yet. No doubt the anger will follow when I try and do real stuff in it, but for now I'm happy with how quickly and easily it installed - it's by far the easiest and most straightforward install experience I've had (and yes, that includes Apple's Leopard OS installation).

Although contract-wise things have been a disaster for me this year (when management keep using the phrase 'a challenging environment' while the troops on the ground repeat a different phrase 'denial of reality', you know you're in trouble) and wretched viruses have taken me down twice (stomach flu and then the 'ordinary' one), technology-wise things are getting exciting with new versions of the MVC framework for ASP.NET, the first look at Internet Explorer 8 and Silverlight 2.0, new Unity CTPs and no doubt some last-minute surprises due to be announced and demonstrated in Las Vegas the week after next. Stay tuned!