PDC 2005 is here in Los Angeles again and I'm back here as well.
The LA Convention Center (next door to the Staples Center) is a monstrosity--
one can easily walk several miles attending sessions during just one day!

Link to the Microsoft page for PDC 2005: http://msdn.microsoft.com/events/pdc/

Link to my syndication:

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What about VSTO? [ 2005/12/09, 16:27:31 ]

VSTO...that thing I was writing about earlier for the session I was attending.

VSTO 2005 is definitely an improvement. The data binding/data mapping is cool. Still struggling with it in my mind as to how scalable a solution using VSTO/Excel with data binding can be. I suppose it could be more of a business-area solution. BUT, using VSTO requires VS.NET (VS 2005 for VSTO 2.0), and Visual Studio isn't something the typical business user will have or use.

Nevertheless, for some Office-centric development (InfoPath, linking Excel to Web Services or WinForm code (like we do with SOX404), VSTO does expose the COM object model for Office 2003 better than the PIA's (Primary Interop Assemblies) that come with a full Office load.

Skipped out of VSTO for the rest of the day so I could catch some ASP.NET 2.0 stuff -- WebParts.


Network, we don't need no Stinkin' Network [ 2005/12/09, 15:13:01 ]

Wireless down....yadda yadda yadda....

Users upset....blah blah blah...

I'm using Bluetooth from my laptop to connect to my SonyEricsson S710a phone and updating my blog over EDGE (115kbps)...


SOX code support [ 2005/12/09, 12:54:03 ]

Oh, yeah...forgot to mention Kristen. She IM'd me asking for help debugging a failed release of a SOX404 code update to the development server.

.NET coding (debugging) lesson learned:

"Always...... no, Never....... forget to check your references."

(anyone that can tell me the Movie that line comes from wins the prize)

When code uses shared assemblies with other projects, always suspect these first when trying to figure out why code that runs on a developer machine won't run on another machine.


Power outage update [ 2005/12/09, 14:48:50 ]

"Large portion of the Los Angeles area. Police say terrorism is not expected."

I guess it was actually pretty-much "City-Wide".

So much for my optimism (pessimism) that it couldn't have been that big of an incident.

Not much detail, but apparently there were two power surges which occurred within a short time of each other and caused an overload. Everything from Santa Monica FW north to Venice (something like that).

Huh. Go figure.


"That's the night the lights went out in ____" (insert favorite place) [ 2005/12/09, 14:29:07 ]

PDC...LA...city power grid power outage.

Yes, really. About 1pm today, just as the afternoon sessions were starting back up again after lunch, we experienced a power outage. Heard a 'bang', then the lights & projectors (& wireless network) go out.

Bummer! Wireless network access is out too!

OK...everyone funnels out of the rooms into the hallways and waits. Then I overhear a PDC network support person say "It's city-wide". WHAT?!? Couldn't be...that, in a city this size, would be a serious emergency. Tell you this: The cell phone network must have seen a huge flood of traffic once the power was out because everyone was on their phones either asking about the power drop or telling someone about it (I personally chose to SMS my wife).

Looking outside, yes, the stoplights within sight one and two blocks away were also not functioning. Oh, great. But, it wasn't city-wide. THAT would have been an extremely interesting scenario. My guess (since I haven't heard anything formal yet): city power net suffered a hit in this one grid (some number of square blocks). Dunno...have to check the evening news tonight to get word.

[another thought: rolling power outage? Naw...not in the middle of the business day, couldn't be, could it? Seems stupid if a rolling power outage takes out stop lights on busy city streets!]

About 50 minutes into the situation, power was back up. First we saw the stop lights come on...then the lights in the conference center. So, all in all, about an hour lost from the pre-conference session. Good thing laptops have battery power! (and thankfully I have my PowerPad with me).

On the up side, while wandering the hallways did run into Gary B. and Brian S. Can you believe it--we all happened to pick the same hotel (Wilshire Grand), and we're all on the same floor?!? Odd stuff sure does happen.

Oh, well, back to session. Once the wireless network comes back online, I'll try to post this blog update to the web site. Strangely, it was working at the (re)start of the session, but since then it's down. Maybe they're rebooting everything after the power outage (but wasn't it rebooted during the power outage?!?)


Oh, a comment about my connectivity... [ 2005/12/09, 10:16:12 ]

Even though I have wireless access here at the LA Convention Center, I probably won't be checking in to my APCI mail during the day. Because I run an exception approved Windows Server 2003 desktop as a developer solution for SharePoint 2003, I have chosen to run the Windows Server 2003 SP1 firewall because the Symantec Client Firewall isn't available for the server OS.

Because of how the VPN 'dialer' works with multiple transient tcp ports, it's difficult to get it to work with the Windows firewall. As such, my only solution today is to disable the firewall when I start the VPN 'dialer'. Given the crowd here at the PDC (techie geeks who might get a thrill from trying to hack other machines on this generally open wireless network), I'd prefer to not drop the firewall while here.

Maybe while I'm here in session I can try to tune the firewall settings to get everything to work just right.


And away we go... [ 2005/12/09, 10:05:36 ]

Today I start the conference with preconference sessions (the pre-conf stuff started yesterday, but I only wanted to cover one day of extra stuff). I'm starting with the VSTO stuff, then might hop over to other sessions as the day goes on.

VSTO (pronounced visto), for those who don't know, is the Visual Studio Tools for Office. It's an add-on to Visual Studio .NET to bright together managed code development with the Office suite of tools (primarily InfoPath, Outlook, Word and Excel). Office 11 (Office 2003) isn't 100% managed code, and it's primary code interface is still COM-based. By leveraging VSTO, a bridge is built between .NET managed code and Office 11.

The session is starting now, and we're covering a backgrounder (stuff like what VSTO is, how you can use it, blah blah). The focus is obviously about the new version of VSTO, VSTO 2.0, for Visual Studio 2005.

Side comment: so far we haven't leveraged VSTO in any of our internal solutions in the KM program. eMOC, SOX and WITS were all built without the models provided by VSTO, but in being aware of its existance, we did pattern these solutions in the style of VSTO. In my opinion VSTO 1 (for VS.NET 2003) really didn't add a lot of great capabilities, but VSTO 2.0 does look quite a bit improved, much is typically the case with 1.0 and 2.0 versions of products.


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