Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Year’s Technical Resolutions – 2010

I’m a goal oriented person.  Always have been.  I hear management really likes that in developers, and now that I am more management than developer, I know I like that in my developers.   The key is to make sure that the developer and management have the same goals.

To that end,  I’ve spent some time over the past few weeks looking forward to 2010 and planning the technology goals for the company for 2010, so that we can take those goals and make sure that they both mesh with the vision for the company’s growth in 2010, and with the career goals of the developers for 2010 and beyond.

Personally, I want to maintain my technical edge over the next few years, to delay the inevitable full time move to management.  It’s not just my backup plan.  As an architect, I need to be able to see around the next corner.  I may not have to delve deep into how exactly JQuery Validators work, but I’d better at least be able to read JQuery and know what it’s capable of doing.

To that end, here are my technical goals for 2010:

  1. Visual Studio 2010 / TFS 2010 – I can’t wait for this release.  I believe this will have the single biggest impact of any technology on my day to day work life in 2010.  We have already identified major areas where our processes fall short, and hope that technology can help to address those issues.
  2. Entity Framework 4 – After spending the last two days debugging a large project written with EF 1.0, I really hope that this version justifies the immense amount of time we’ve invested into EF and fixes the many aspects of EF that I would currently give a score of' ‘WTF’ to.
  3. Azure – 2010 should be a huge year for Azure, with the full production release, and the stabilization of the environment.  As an early adopter, I’ve seen a lot of breaking changes smack me in the face every Thursday morning, and I’m hoping that the pace of these slow (stop would be nice) so I can begin to recommend this platform to my customers as a viable solution for their products.  I will also be doing deep dives into SQL Azure, the Service Bus, AppFabric and WIF as part of extending my Azure expertise
  4. SharePoint 2010 – I really liked what I saw at PDC, and we’re champing at the bit to get going.
  5. Windows Mobile 7 – I’ve never done mobile device work before, but I have high expectations of WM7.  I’ve actually had some great ideas for IPhone apps that’s I’ve had to discard because I have no access to a Mac to do the development, and the more I work with Apple products (and their inability to work with anything else), the more I despise them.  If WM7 delivers, I can see dropping my IPhone and going to a Windows based phone so I can actually work with it.  I’d have to pry my wife’s IPhone from her hands with a crowbar, but we’ll see what options come out before I even suggest it.
  6. RIA – I think this is a year away from being Prod ready, but there’s definitely power there, and something I want to play with in 2010
  7. WCF Data Services – Ditto above
  8. Learn JQuery - I was supposed to do that this year, didn’t make it.

My technical reading list has been fairly vacant the last few months as I put the finishing touches on my novel “The Forgotten Road” and the sequel “Nowhere Home”.  But with the release of VS2010 coming up in the 2nd quarter of 2010, I expect that the list will fill back up.  Here are some of the titles I’m looking forward to reading:

Introducing .NET 4.0- with Visual Studio 2010

Pro C# 2010 and the .NET 4.0 Platform, Fifth Edition

Pro ASP.NET 4.0 in C# 2010, Fourth Edition

Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010

SharePoint 2010 as a Development Platform

Pro SharePoint 2010 Solution Development- Combining .NET, SharePoint, and Office

I should also be able to blog more often.  Most of the NDA’s I’ve been working under will expire with the production release of Azure, so hopefully I will have topics to write about that are both timely and interesting.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ACER 1420P - Another Review

After using this PC for a few weeks now, I have the following thoughts.

1. The screen is so freakin glare prone that it's almost unusable while commuting with overhead flourescent lights on the train. I mean, you eventually get used to it, but it's like a railroad spike being slowly driven through your brain. You can't find a position for the screen where the view is still good, and the lights aren't right in your eyes.

2. I really dislike the keyboard. I'm not the greatest typist in the world, and the sharp edges on the keys really catch my fingers and make bad typing worse. Combine that with the really small cursor keys in the right hand lower corner, and navigating a long Word document is pretty painful.

3. I still get occasional character repetitions for no apparent reason, despite having turned down the character repeat speed in the configuration significantly, to the point where if you are using the aforementioned cursor keys, you have to wait almost a second for them to repeat, and by then, you've gone past where you wanted to go.

4. On the plus side, I love the weight and the battery life. Definitely better than my Toshiba U405.

5. I haven't tried to make use of any of the advanced features of the system, partially because I don't want to spend any more time staring at that screen than I absolutely have to.

Based on the monitor, and the keyboard, and the fact that I never use the Touch screen, I would never buy this machine for myself or my family, and really miss my Toshiba, though I would probably buy the Toshiba T-135 if given a do-over. Maybe in the new year.