Darth Reed

Now that I have a place to put my quasi-technical babble over at MSDN, the space is reserved for me to spew my political bile and enjoy all things sci-fi. Heh.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

It's time to eat.

Time: Friday 08 October 2004 @ 20:30 CST
Place: Houston Aquarium

Houston Nerd Dinner Numero Uno

What else could you possible need to know?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Microsoft Assimilating Open Source Movement

Yeehaw! The Emperor has seen the dark power of open source and has made yet another bold move in the eventually assimilation of all things Open Source.

TheServerSide has a nice post about it: Microsoft Releases FlexWiki on SourceForge.NET under CPL

FlexWiki rocks. For agile teams, it's the best zero to useful in 30-seconds knowledge base out there.

It is heart-warming (for those of you who have one) to see the .NET storm troopers on the march.


Monday, September 27, 2004

One of my personal favorites.

I made Steve McConnell an honorary Sith Lord long ago (for the original Code Complete and for his willingness to point out other peoples' stupidity in person). CC2 is a definite must-buy, even for long-time owners of the first edition.

This excellent review covers the subject, so read it:

Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine Online | Column: A Classic Revised

An invoice is in the mail to you as you read this for my sage advice.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

Interview & Hiring Practices: The Quiz

I'm just wondering how many other companies out there use a hands-on approach to screening developer candidates. I mean actually taking the candidate and putting him or her in front of Visual Studio or Eclipse to see if they're as cool under fire as they claim. I've never interviewed with a company that takes the approach that I do, but I haven't interviewed with every software shop out there, yet. Heh.

I put every candidate in front of a computer with Visual Studio .NET 2003, MSDN Library, SQL Server Developer Edition and everything else they're likely to need (including internet access for the budding Sith Lords who can sneak out to Google for quick answers during the test) for an hour with a single sheet of paper that has better requirements on it than they are ever likely to get "on the job" in order to see what they do with it. I want to know about:

  1. the kind of code they write,
  2. the assumptions they make without further guidance, and
  3. whether they can sling ASP.NET, C#, XML and T-SQL with the skill that their resumes claim.

The Quiz is then reviewed by me and peer-reviewed by the team to make sure that:

  1. they write code we think we can maintain, and
  2. they will understand the code we write.

In the four years that I've been doing this, I have had to continually revise The Quiz (there are several different versions) to provide a variety of options for returning candidates (some people really want to work here) and to make it easier because so few people have been able to hack it. All the codeslingers here can do the whole thing, quick and dirty, in an hour, so I know that it's possible...

I have discovered that many .NET jedi simply can't hack this real world screening mechanism. I've even had candidates read over The Quiz and simply hand it back to me and leave without further ado.

But we've also had candidates who did well on The Quiz be exposed as complete non-hackers later in the process, so The Quiz (like reading a resume) isn't foolproof. Fortunately, the interrogation droid is.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Insane Phil didn't realize who he was messing with.

Heh! Revenge of the nerds in the new millennium. Poor Phil didn't realize that he was messing with the whole Internet when he decide to harass a web geek that he was trying to avoid paying $400.

Despite the fact that it sounds like a message that I might leave for a recalcitrant vendor, I doubt poor Phil is going to get anyone in the ‘net community to help him with his website. If I were Tim, I would have my way with Phil’s credit report and enhance his calm. Heh.

Listen to the Insane Phil Remix.

Don't mess with the geeks, people. You have no idea the power of the dark side, Phil. Welcome to the generation geek.

A good, frequently asked question about distributed transactions.

Quite often the person asking the questions simply doesn't know that they're trying to implement a distributed transaction. The truly sad part is that it is asked so often. Too many employers try to get their enterprise development done on a baby developer budget. It can't happen, folks.

You get what you pay for. If you can't afford a Sith Lord, you might as well close up shop and stop trying to whip your puny jedi into accomplishing tasks that are impossible for them. Especially if they can't even spell "transaction" properly!!!

Multiple Connection in Same Transcation (Spelling error was left intentionally. -DR)

All the more reason why the weak-minded jedi have no business writing software. You need to leave the enterprise software development to the Sith, little jedi. You're in over your head. Just send me your entire salary and I won't try to get you fired for being incompetent.


Does Microsoft plan to rework the IE in the near future?

This is an interesting thread about the browser wasteland left behind in the aftermath of the browser wars.

Does Microsoft plan to rework the IE in the near future?

The interesting part, to me, is that often the same people who "don't want to go back to the days of writting different sets of pages for different browsers" are often the same people who want to re-fight browser wars!!

There's only one browser now with any widespread adoption, get over it and write for just IE. (Firefox is a great browser and all, but only we geeks will be using it for quite a while.) Not to lampoon a great game or anything, but the graffiti on the wall in ten-foot letters sez: "All your browsers are belong to us. -BG"

Check out the quasi-official Internet Explorer Blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

While I'm thinking about DotNetNuke (DNN)

This little article The SOA Cash-In Begins... reminded me of a project that I commissioned a study of at the day job a couple months ago to integrate DNN into our SOA architecture and CTS security requirements (web servers have to be firewalled and may not communicate directly with any database).

Project in a Nutshell: What would it take to make DNN n-tier using web services to abstract the data access? Since the security nerds will permit the web servers to talk to the application servers only on port 443 without all kinds of wacky code reviews and such to get custom remoting approved, it was the obvious choice.

Consultant's Answer: Several weeks of (re)work to essentially replace the guts of DNN (due to its use of DataReaders internally, instead of DataSets).

My Decision: I haven't had time to dig into the DNN code myself and evaluate the problem, so... We bypassed DNN and continue with the custom, homegrown n-tier solution and hope to find a better portal framework horse to ride later. (Which was sad, because I like 'Nuke. :) The likelihood of being permitted to put ASP.NET 2.0 in production until it's RTM is virtually zero. *pout*

I'm wondering if anybody else out there has wondered about the choice of DataReaders in the DNN core. Is there a solid .NET portal infrastructure out there that already has a web service tier?

I might like a DotNetNuke Job

Not that I terribly dislike my current day job... but one should always keep an open mind, right, boss? Heh. With the current market uptick in Houston, we're having a little trouble finding (competent) people willing to sling C# for us. Most have competing offers, which is a huge change from this time last year...

DotNetNuke Job Demand

Maybe it is time to start looking around. Anybody out there need a former .NET Jedi turned Sith Lord? I am much more powerful now than you could possibly imagine.

If the Force isn't with you, just hand over your lunch money now... It'll go a lot easier on you that way.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Power of the Dark Side

Needed somewhere else to put random, unrelated thoughts on my quest for world domination. This seemed like as good a place as any other.