# 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