Ok, I haven't been dead, I've just been time travelling. No, really. I jumped back in time to work on a big client project in Visual Studio 2005 using the Microsoft CAB and MVC pattern. While I did learn quite a bit about the client's business (which is not a bad thing), it wasn't technically challenging. In fact I slowed down on my reading of technical stuff, spent more of my free time (ok commute time), reading for fun, and writing for fun. Yes, writing can be fun too.
I also spent a lot more of my nights and weekends doing work for the project, which meant less tech reading as well. A lot of the changes I needed to make to the client systems in preparation for the rollout had to be done off hours to minimize impact on the user.
Sure, I learned a few tricks and tips in the last couple of months. I got very familiar with the Infragistics NetAdvantage Product Set, including the UltraWinGrid (very nice) and UltraWinSchedule (a little buggy in the version I had). But for the most part, I've been just churning code, doing database work, and doing rollouts.
That project is just about over now, with final rollout scheduled for this Saturday. My new project is all new technology, and I'm jumping in with both feet. I've spent the last few days watching videos, reading blogs, and running sample code.
What's got my attention, you ask? Windows Azure. Windows .NET Services. Microsoft SQL Data Services. WPF. Silverlight2. LiveMesh. Yep, 4 of those 6 things are still in CTP, and I'm jumping in with both feet. I'm not just going to be on the bleeding edge, I'm fully stabbed in the chest, in a full out ebola like blood letting.
We'll see how I feel about it in a couple of months, but right now, I'm really excited. My night stand reading is piling up with tech books and blogs. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to post, but I'll try to post hints, tips and other cool things to look at as I learn.
By the way, the current book I'm reading is Pro WPF in C# 2008. I'm just a chapter or so into it, but WPF is something I need to know inside and out for this project, so expect a few blogs on that.