Morning Coffee 84

There appear to be several posts from several blogs that have spawned from my discussion about REST with David. I’ll catch up on them and respond here in the next day or so. In the meantime…

  • Saw PotC: At World’s End over the weekend, due to a fluke last minute babysitter availability. It’s gotten mediocre reviews, but I liked it. Not as much as the first two, but certainly better than Spiderman 3. June looks fairly bleak @ the box office. We’ll probably take the kids to see Surf’s Up And Ratatouille. (Remember back when there was only one kids movie per summer?) Evan Almighty might be funny and I remember reading 1408, but I think they’re both rentals. The only thing I’m otherwise remotely interested in is Sunshine.
  • Speaking of storytelling, Lost and Heroes wrapped their seasons last week. While early on, it looked like Heroes was going to be the new Lost, Lost’s season finally was awesome. If you don’t watch Lost, you’re really missing out on the best show on TV right now. You have eight months to catch up before season four. Heroes may not be lost, but they’re keeping the interest up with their online comic book plus while Lost scales back to 16 episodes for each of three more seasons, Heroes is bulking up, adding six “Heroes: Origins” and bringing the total to 30 for next season.
  • Larry O’Brien fantasizes about his dream PDC. Aren’t there lots of conferences about learning how to “create great applications” on and for the Microsoft/Windows Platform? What about TechEd? (which is where I’ll be next week)
  • Sam Gentle continues to dig into WF, examining the various ways you can extend the WF runtime by replacing the persistence, loader and scheduler services. He’s also taking my advice to scrap ExternalDataService and work directly with the WorkflowQueuingService.
  • Steve Jones compares SOA to trains and I don’t get it. I mean, his advice on the value of batch processes makes sense, but his train/car analogy seems a bit strained, esp. when he calls the railway system “event based”. Can’t a car be “event based” too? There’s just a much smaller number of people who care about a given car’s events…
  • Ted Neward debated OR/M with Ayende on .NET Rocks. Based on Ted’s post, the show must have been a doozy. Sounds like Ted took some controversial positions, including advocating OO databases. Of course, “shies away from controversyisn’t how I would describe Ted.

Birthday Coffee 80

  • Saw Shrek the Third over the weekend with the kids. It’s gotten mixed reviews, but I liked it even though it wasn’t as good as the first two. Is it just me, or has sequel-itis reached an all time high? This month alone we’ve had Spiderman 328 Weeks Later, Shrek the Third and the new Pirates movie opens this week.
  • Hot on the heels of his post on anonymous types, Scott Guthrie starts to explain LINQ to SQL, which is where all these C#3/VB9 features have been headed. Lots of digital ink have been spilled on this topic since we announced LINQ @ PDC 05, so I’ll just point out that I think this is the first OR/M solution that really works well across the board.
  • David Ing sucks the fun out of PopFly by suggesting it might be a “nice data aggregation / reformatting service for technically-challenged managers [and] their business data”. Sounds like the next step of enterprise mashups.
  • Speaking of PopFly, Larry O’Brein thinks PopFly is helping restore ” the bridge between power users and programmers”. From the PopFly FAQ: “We’re going back to our roots in 1975 when Microsoft originally launched BASIC for the Altair 8080. Tools like BASIC and Visual Basic 1.0 democratized development by enabling users to easily build applications on DOS and Windows. We believe we can make Popfly a great tool for building and sharing applications on the Web.”
  • Scott Hanselman wonders if Microsoft is losing the Alpha Geeks. In a related vein, I wonder if MS should be learning more aggressively from the community. MS has been the source of many developer innovations, but certainly not all. For ideas pioneered elsewhere, we tend to eventually get it, but I think we could be better about it.
  • Apparently, I’m just a little younger than video games. Pong was born May of 1967, only three years to the month before me. (via Ozymandias)

Morning Coffee 74

Light on the geek factor this morning:

  • My daughter Rileyanne turned two Saturday so we had a little pool party. One of the major selling points when we bought the house was the double sized hot tub in the back deck. So even though it was only in the mid 60s, we could still get in and swim.
  • Saw Spiderman 3 yesterday. I liked the first two very much, but this one is iffy at best. The problem with these blockbuster movie series is the perceived need to be “bigger” than the previous installments. So we get more effects, more action, more villains. But that usually means less drama and less story. Spiderman 3 is no exception. Here’s hoping that Christopher Nolan’s Batman series doesn’t suffer the same fate.
  • Lost announces an end date. There will be three more shortened seasons for a grand total of 48 episodes (plus the three remaining this season). While I love Lost, I’m glad they’re going this route.
  • Politics 2.0 Watch: according to their blog, is “the conservatives’ answer to YouTube”. Two thoughts on this: First, Having a site of conservative videos for conservatives seems like preaching to the choir. Second, to quote Andrew Sullivan: “It’s not a good sign when a movement cannot engage the mainstream.”
  • John Shewchuk as more details of the connectivity service. Hybrid mode and Direct connect are nice optimizations, but don’t change the messaging semantics at all. But pub/sub eventing does, so I’m primarily interested in that capability.

Morning Coffee 73

  • The MSDN folks have a utility for creating custom help files from the online MSDN library. I didn’t realize MSDN even had a content service. This is tres useful.
  • Jeff Atwood explains how error-filled the web is and how error-tolerant modern web browsers are. I’ve often argued that one of the keys to the rise of Visual Basic was because it was tolerant of sloppiness. It’s hard to argue with Jeff’s conclusion that “forgiveness by default is what works”.
  • BizTalk Labs shipped an update to the Connectivity Service. It “now supports simple publish and subscribe eventing. This allows multiple clients to subscribe to a service and receive notifications.” Steve Maine has some details and a link to the MIX session he did with Don.
  • Larry O’Brein is happy about IronRuby, but was hoping to see a new Ruby/C# hybrid language. Even though it’s his “#1 administrative programming language”, he specifically hopes for a new language so would “have the flexibility to evolve the language.” But Larry, MSFT already had an dynamic administrative language that it can evolve! It’s called PowerShell…
  • The XNA folks have shipped a bunch of new content, including the Racing Game Starter Kit.
  • Machinima is growing up fast. I just discovered iClone, a real-time 3D animation filmmaking tool. You know, my birthday is coming up later this month…

Morning Coffee 12

  • According to Chris “Long Tail” Anderson (as opposed to Chris “Avalon Architect” Anderson), “Combined with the new low-cost distribution channels, from DVD to digital downloads, all you now need to be a filmmaker is talent.” Really? Based on the dreck Hollywood churns out, I thought talent was optional! 😄 Seriously, check out his post and the sites he points to (Four Eyed Monsters and DV Rebel’s Guide review on Cool Tools).
  • Speaking of Chris “Avalon” Anderson, he’s got a couple of WPF/E tests up on his blog. I wanted to see how it worked under the hood, so I checked out the HTML source for this page. It includes around 115kb of XAML! We’ve seen ViewState and JavaScript page bloat, is XAML bloat next?
  • Larry O’Brien and Alan Zeichick are talking about a Threading Maturity Model. Good ideas there, but frankly I think we need a language that recognizes concurrency as a first-order abstraction if we’re going to make much progress up the maturity model.
  • Dare Definitely worthy of a closer look.
  • The BTS training I’m in yesterday and today is being held on Microsoft’s Red West campus, home of MSN & Windows Live. It’s very nice looking and is a good size – five buildings – without being as huge as main campus. It even has a “ski-lodge” cafeteria, though given the slim pickings in my building’s cafe anything would be an improvement.
  • One thing I don’t miss about working on campus is the commute. Getting to my office takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the traffic lights. Getting to campus, even though it’s physically closer, takes 45-60 minutes, most of it spent sitting still. Every time I wish we’d move to campus, I remember the traffic and decide I like where I am just fine.
  • Two big learnings from BTS training yesterday:
    • Conceptually, BTS hasn’t changed much since the 2000/2002 releases that I was more familiar with. In practice, it has heavily embraced .NET which is a good thing. I didn’t realize how much of a difference having tools like the pipeline and map editor inside VS would make, but it does. (I realize the orchestration editor is inside VS as well, but we get to that module of the class today).
    • The MessageBox is a bigger deal than I remember or realized. Matt called it the “heart of BizTalk”. I know BTS has had a SQL based message store since day one, but I don’t remember it being called out explicitly.
  • I’ve said before that MessageBox is roughly analogous to SSB queues, though BTS wonks (like my teammates) typically jump down my throat when I do. MessageBox has a pub/sub design philosophy which SSB does not. However, I’m guessing pub/sub is used much more in messaging scenarios rather than orchestration scenarios. My efforts around SSB & WF are much more focused on orchestration scenarios, so I’m guessing SSB’s lack of pub/sub infrastructure is not a big deal.