# Monday, May 4, 2009

I will be doing 11 sessions at TechEd in Los Angeles next week: four breakouts and one TLC, plus 6 panels. I will also be a speaker idol judge. Should be a lot of fun!

Here are the sessions, notice the 9am Monday morning session on stored procedures, should be a cool discussion:

Full Breakouts:

What's New in Microsoft SQL Server 2008
Stephen Forte and Richard Campbell
5/11/2009 1:00PM-2:15PM
Room 151

Solve Problems without Spending Money: Microsoft Office Access and Microsoft SQL Server
Mary Chipman; Stephen Forte
5/12/2009 2:45PM-4:00PM
Room 403A

Tech·Ed Daily Scrum
Stephen Forte
5/13/2009 10:15AM-11:30AM
Room 515B

Data Access Hacks and Shortcuts
Stephen Forte
5/15/2009 10:45AM-12:00PM
Room 502A

Technical Learning Center Session:

Tools and Agile Teams
Stephen Forte and Joel Semeniuk
5/11/2009 4:30PM-5:45PM
Blue Thr 2


On-Line Panels. If you are not attending TechEd, they usually post these online to view for free:

The Pros and Cons of Stored Procedures
Adam Machanic; Jeffrey Palermo; Maciej Pilecki; Michael Wang; Stephen Forte; Tobias Ternstrom
5/11/2009 9:00AM-10:00AM

Agile: A Process or an Excuse?
Chris Menegay; Joel Semeniuk; Richard Campbell; Stephen Forte
5/11/2009 11:00AM-12:00PM

The Most Persistent Microsoft SQL Server Myths (And Why They Are Wrong)
Adam Machanic; Maciej Pilecki; Michael Wang; Stephen Forte; Tobias Ternstrom
5/12/2009 9:00AM-10:00AM

The World Turned Upside Down: Development Strategies for Lean Times
Armen Stein; Kent Alstad; Luke Chung; Mary Chipman; Paul Sheriff; Rockford Lhotka; Stephen Forte
5/13/2009 1:00PM-2:00PM

Migrating Your Data Tier to SQL Server: Strategies for Survival
Armen Stein; Luke Chung; Mary Chipman; Richard Campbell; Stephen Forte
5/13/2009 9:00AM-10:00AM

The Data Access Menu: Making Intelligent Choices
Kent Alstad; Paul Sheriff; Richard Campbell; Rockford Lhotka; Stephen Forte
5/13/2009 2:00PM-3:00PM

posted on Monday, May 4, 2009 6:47:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, April 23, 2009

As we all know by now, I hate twitter. Why, why, why do you think I care about when you are picking your nose? Here is a really funny (and accurate!) list of reasons why twitter sucks.

With that backdrop, my good friend Mary Chipman is trying to trying to convince me that some people are twittering useful stuff. She is correct, she twitters here, mostly on SQL Server and other data related stuff. That said, I still won’t use twitter since there is still way too much noise.

Mary and I are doing a session at TechEd next month called “Access and SQL Server: Solve problems without spending money.” In this session we look at a few use cases where it makes sense from both a technological and business perspective to use the wiz-bang features of Access to augment your .NET and SQL Server solutions. We are not advocating using Access as a development platform, just as an augment to your solution. You do this with Excel all the time, why not use a relational engine with build in reporting as well?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have an enterprise application written in .NET with a SQL Server back end. You are a PR firm and the system takes inputs from some other systems of press and PR items. Then the data is transformed and put into data warehouse tables and viewed on the web via an ASP.NET app and SQL Server Reporting Services.

Now the boss tells you that you have to track twitter. You protest! But the boss insists. The problem is that twitter has so much junk in it and you can’t accept a raw feed into your enterprise application like you do for press releases, etc. You ask your developers to build an app that will pull in the twitter feeds via its RESTful API and store the tweets locally to give you the ability to rate the tweets relevant or irrelevant and then upload to the enterprise database to flow into the data warehouse and .NET app. They say, sure, but it will take a little while to build the app but they are busy on higher priority stuff, so they can’t get started.

So why not as a stop gap, just build a simple little Access app that uses VBA to call the twitter API and allow you to download the tweets into a local Access table, and then you can scroll through the data and click a “relevant” field as true/false. You can build this mini-solution in about 15 minutes. We’ll show you how.

Now just to be uber geeks, we also will want to get that data back into the enterprise system. The enterprise system has a locked down table structure (good!) so the only way to get data in is via a stored procedure. This stored procedure will only accept a table-valued parameter. Based on Mary’s MSDN white paper, we’ll show you how to do that too.

Hope to see you there, Tuesday May 12th after lunch. We have a few other scenarios to show you, some with Sharepoint (which are really cool), some with agile prototyping, and some using Access reporting for some solutions for annoying power users.

posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:27:03 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I am over in Bangalore, India speaking at the Great Indian Developer Conference, and as I get on stage for my first session my laptop does not project to the monitor. Oh well, I guess I have to reduce my five gazillion by one trillion screen resolution. Still not working. Tried the old reliable, rebooting. Still no dice. We try another laptop just to make sure it is me, not the monitor, sure enough it is me.

I was the first speaker at the conference and now the conference organizer is sweating. He offers his laptop and I say as long as you have SP1 on it. He said, Windows XP SP1? I was like, not that SP1, Visual Studio 2008 SP1. No dice. Now I was sweating (it was 40C/104F). Did I mention that my session is now 5 minutes late? I determine it is my Win7 video driver and give up trying.

I decide to let fate take over. I make an announcement: “Anyone in the audience have a laptop that I can borrow? One that has a lot of ram and Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 installed?” Blank stares. Now I am getting nervous, brought me back to a time in 2001 where I demoed beta2 of .NET without .NET installed on my machine. Time to hand wave and make jokes about George Bush. (That always worked in Egypt.) Then my hero showed up. Prashant lent me his laptop and we got going and life was good. I had to borrow the generic AV laptop for my Scrum session later in the day and Satheesh lent me his for my last session on Data Access hacks and shortcuts. In Belgium at TechDays Joel did an agile talk with no slides: I wrote the slides on the fly (we were being agile!) Now I will start speaking at conferences without a laptop! (Er, maybe not.)

Last night in my hotel the TV talked about a prison riot. Don’t ask me why, but prison riots always get my attention. I watched the story and it turns out that the inmates were not complaining about the conditions, they were complaining that they were not allowed to watch cricket. Yes, cricket.

So I started to pay attention. The next story was about a huge win by Chennai in the Indian Premier League (IPL).  (Yes more cricket.) Then the next story was about a flamboyant bollywood star who owns a team. They were caught with Paris Hilton or something, but the point was the news wanted to know how this would affect his team. More cricket. Did I mention that there are major national elections going on in India tomorrow. These elections will determine who is the next Prime Minister, but the news can only talk about cricket.

So I did some more investigation. The IPL was started last year. It is an Indian professional league for cricket-club based, representing cities. This is a new concept in India and has been wildly successful. The opening matches were only played a few days ago and season two is under way. Talking to a finance guy about the IPL today, I discovered that the larger markets attracted larger investors who spent a ton of money and have huge payrolls (sounds like the Yankees.) So the smallest market, Rajasthan, the team with the smallest payroll, are the defending champions (sounds almost like the Tampa Bay Rays.)

I was about done with my IPL education when I came across this blog post by fellow Regional Director Vinod Unny. The IPL web site, a site with more hits than you can imagine, streams the matches using Silverlight. The site also has a pretty cool interactive Silverlight based scoreboard where you can get real time stats and drill down into a player’s history. There are even tons of photos using deep zoom. Pretty awesome stuff (even thought it is cricket!)

IPLT20.com is estimated to get over 400 million unique page views from 45 million visits and 10 million unique visitors during this tournament. A huge win for Silverlight and proof that i can’t get away from technology ever, even when investigating a prison riot….

posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 12:14:54 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Get it here.

posted on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 9:13:54 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, April 6, 2009


Let’s face it, going to a technical conference is good for your career but it’s not a whole lot of fun. You need an outlet. You need to have fun.

Cheap beer and lousy pizza.

We are bringing back GeekFest! Join us at Lucky Strikeclip_image003 for a night of pizza, beer, and bowling. There is limited invitations available, so what are you waiting for? If you are attending the TechEd 2009clip_image003[1] conference and you are a developer, you are invited. To register pick up your "duck" ticket (and wristband) in the TechEd Technical Learning Center (TLC) at the Developer Tools & Languages (DTL) information desk.

You must have wristband to get in.

Monday, May 11, 2009 from 8pm – 11pm
Lucky Strike Lanes at LA Live
800 W. Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90015

You must have a wristband to attend the party. Pick one up Monday at the Developer Tools and Languages TLC Info Counter.

posted on Monday, April 6, 2009 10:06:30 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, March 30, 2009

As you know I can’t say no to charity.  In the past I have traveled to Mt. Everest to raise money for schools in NYC, run marathons to raise money for cancer, helped Tim with the Scipps Cancer app, and of course lead the .NET Celebrity Auction for the tsunami victims of Banda Aceh.

But now I am involved in something very crazy. Two of my colleagues, Kal and blogging partner on steveandthetank.com, Tom (aka the Tank), will be headed to the North Pole to run a marathon. Tom needs to raise $5000 for Memorial Sloan-Kettering via Fred’s Team. (Kal, Tom and I have run two marathons together, one in Antarctica where we all met!)

Tom recently trained with Joel Semeniuk up in Winnipeg, since only up there can there be temperatures even close to the north pole.

I already contributed $500 as part of a bet on Mt. Everest where Tom was to shave his head on Everest. He did not (the bet was for $1000) but he did shave his head in Kathmandu. Now I am helping him raise the rest of his money, but the slow economy has dried up fundraising. Since Kal and Tom are techies too, I figured that fellow geeks will like to help. Here is the info:

Tom Djurdjevich is running his 14th and final marathon at the North Pole Marathon on April 7, 2009.  He is raising money for cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer as a member of Fred's Team.  He is about halfway, $2,580, of his $5,000 fundraising goal. 

To sponsor him, please go to the following secure fundraising link:


Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated. 

posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 10:41:47 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, March 22, 2009

I have been on the road since Feb 1, visiting customers, speaking at conferences, and attending the MVP summit. I am in-between flights and finally found *the* video, the video of Sasha and I singing “Baby one more time..” at the EMP in Seattle.

For those of you who where not there, there is a rock band called “rock and roll-aoke ” where you sing karaoke with a live rock band. So no matter how bad you are, you still sound ok. MVPs lined up to sing with the band.

I was trying to find folks to come sing Britney Spears with me. Only Sasha Krsmanovic was brave enough. Sasha signed us up to sing. But unfortunately we were like 10th on the list at 11pm when the EMP was closing. No Britney! :(

Enter Paulette Suddarth. Paulette runs the MVP summit and we drafted her to come sing. Somehow she was able to bribe the band to push our names up on the list and we were the closing act. Lots of RDs came up on stage to help! Thanks to Darcy for taking the video and posting it.


posted on Sunday, March 22, 2009 9:32:46 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback