Insights and outlooks on software development


Open space discussions @ALT.NET Oresund

Saturday, January 31, 2009 by Thomas L

I attended to (and facilitated) two open space discussions at the ALT.NET Oresund meeting this Thursday. As I asked the facilitators to take notes and post them I had to do the same. The notes (from the discussions Migrations in the .NET world and Next meeting) are here.

ALT.NET Oresund

Friday, January 30, 2009 by Thomas L

So, now we've had the first ALT.NET Oresund meeting. There were some good things, some bad. First off was Johan Lindfors who did an informative, although a bit lengthy, presentation about some Microsoft things, like Windows 7 and Powershell, and a really interesting introduction on Azure. I love to see how Azure will be compared to Google's AppEngine and Amazon Web Services suite.

One thing is certain, though. I believe that Microsoft launching Azure is the entry point for the cloud into the mainstream. No matter which platform companies choose for hosting applications in the cloud, I think that Microsoft entering the cloud will point the normal mainstream companies into a scalable direction, instead of the cloud only being a place for the early adopters.

After Johan's presentation we had open space sessions. The attendees were in traditional Swedish fashion somewhat shy, so it was hard to get people to come forward with a subject and facilitate a session. But I think that we will gel together more and more. After a couple of meetings there most certainly will be more people putting energy into the community.

And if you know of a company in Copenhagen who are willing to let somewhere from ten to fourty geeks into a conference room, around the beginning-mid March, let me know. ALT.NET Oresund are looking for somewhere to be.

Tomorrow is the day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 by Thomas L

So, I've written about ALT.NET Oresund before, but now we are gearing up to the real deal; tomorrow, Thursday Jan 29th, is our first meeting. I believe there will be around 40 attendees; the meeting is fully booked and has a waiting list, which is super-exciting. I am thrilled for this and hope that there will be loads of buzz regarding this.

The thing that I look forward to the most is the Open Space session. I hope that this will be something of a platform for us to build upon in the coming meetings. I'll facilitate a session on version controlling your database using migrations. Nothing too technical, but more on a process level.

I'll naturally be there, and I hope that you will too. For all of you who won't (your reason better be medical); don't despair. There will be more meetings; I think that once a month is a good frequency. If you haven't yet signed up, but would like to attend, there is info on how to sign up to the waiting-list here.

On the maturity of the .NET community

Sunday, January 25, 2009 by Thomas L

Fredrik Normén writes about Improvements in the .NET community. I have the same experience; it seems as if the .NET developers are focusing more and more on the good stuff.

Going further, I hope that we in the .NET community will focus even more on the stuff that really matters, like maintainability, testability and dontrepeatyourselfility (it's all in the -ilities, you know) instead of spending all of our learning time on new tools from our vendor(s). This is one of the reasons why I'm a part of the Oresund ALT.NET community; I need to meet new people and discuss these things.

Devenv listens to connections

by Thomas L

Why does devenv.exe (Visual Studio) try to listen to incoming connections?


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On choosing words

Thursday, January 8, 2009 by Thomas L

From (my emphasis):

Harvard Berkman Center social media researcher John Kelly discusses how blogs -- often perceived as fracturing traditional media -- sometimes focus the net's attention back toward the best legacy journalism.

Legacy journalism? Jeez.

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On making habits stick

by Thomas L

As long as we are talking about Tim Ferriss, I read on his blog about Leo Babauta and his way to make habits stick. Besides from the usual tips like setting goals and committing to the project publically, he has one idea that sounds great: Commit for 30 days. After that the new habit has stuck. It is actually the same idea as behind the Scrum Shocktherapy talk made at Öredev this fall: Follow the plan and commitment slavishly in the beginning. After a while, you learn and start getting the benefits which come from following the plan, and since you have matured, you wouldn't trade away the new ways of working.

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On Scoble doing the good old Crowdsourcing

by Thomas L

Stumbled upon this some time ago: Help, I'm clueless about Web Service scalability. That is a great example of Crowdsourcing; Scoble is basically using his readers to get questions for an interview on Web Service scalability. I'm not sure of the outcome of the crowdsourcing, but he says:

Who is going in unprepared. Seems this blog post just prepared me in a BIG way for Thursday!

Gotta love it. Is Scoble trying to go to a 4-Hour Workweek, as described in the book by Timothy Ferriss?

I wonder how 2009 will turn out for the companies who build their business model on crowdsourcing. At least it seems like threadless are doing well. Sadly JPG Magazine, a photo mag who let their readers upload images for usage in the magazine, shut down recently, but it seems as if they are trying to work out a scheme to keep going. I hope that JPG Magagzine will reopen as a good rss-enabled internet-only periodical. I'd love to get some superbly selected images to my bloglines reader for sure.

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VMware Fusion and Print Screen

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 by Thomas L

I have written about how to invoke the Print Screen key in VMware Fusion before, by using the F13 key on Mac keyboards. For some reason, that seems to be a hot topic on this blog, at least by judging from the google hits. The blog post ended with "Hmm, I only wonder how I'd do if I didn't have access to my full size mac keyboard (which only contains the F1-F12 keys)". This is just what happens when you buy one of those small Bluetooth Mac keyboards. Since they have the small form factor without a num pad, there is no F13 key, only F12 and the Eject key.

Here's how to make sure we can invoke print screen without having access to a F13 key.

In VMware Fusion 2, VMware has incorporated a keyboard mapping utility in the Preferences menu item. So, invoke Preferences and go to the Keyboard & Mouse option. Make sure you have Enabled Key Mappings and press the + button. Then configure Option-F12 to be mapped to Print Screen, like in the screen shot below.

VMware Fusion

Now you are able to do a screen shot of the full screen. However, when you want to do a screen shot of the current screen, you would normally press Alt-Print Screen with a Windows keyboard. Trying this, i.e. holding down the Apple key together with Option-F12 doesn't work. For that to work you need to configure Fusion to map Apple-Option-F12 to Alt-Print Screen, like in the screen shot below.

VMware Fusion-1

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On resizing VMware Fusion hard drives

by Thomas L

I had a problem with VMware Fusion protesting when I resized a virtual hard disk. Here's what I had to do to make it work.

Since version 2 of Fusion, VMware has incorporated the vmware-vdiskmanager resize program into the GUI, so in theory it's drag-and-drop-easy to resize a virtual hard disk. The only thing you need to do is:

  • Shut down the virtual machine
  • Open up the settings UI
  • Press Hard Disks
  • Change the Disk size and press apply

When I did this, I got an annoying error message saying "The file already exists". Nothing about which file doesn't exist or any other error information. So I had to start poking around the disk files in the virtual machine's folder.

I managed to find out that there were a number of files called MyMachine-s0XY.vmdk with a file size of 327680. I had files with the name s017 to s022, so I got the suspicion that these files were previously created and not removed correctly, and were blocking my resize. I then checked the contents of the MyMachine.vmdk and saw that there were only files up to s016 that were used.

To fix everything, I shut down VMware Fusion, backed everything up, moved the s017-s022 away and resized the virtual hard disk again, successfully this time.

Since the virtual machine is a Vista installation, I then only needed to boot the machine, go into Computer management->Disk management and extend the partition to the new size. (If it was a Windows XP machine, I'd have to boot the virtual machine using a Linux boot cd, e.g. a Ubuntu live cd, and use GParted to resize the partition.)

Oh, if you are going to try this stunt, make sure you do a back-up of your virtual machine before! It's easy; only a drag-drop of the .vmwarevm file in Finder, so there are no excuses.

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ALT.NET Öresund is live!

Monday, January 5, 2009 by Thomas L

For the past month or so, me and some other guys living here in the Oresund region of Scandinavia have been working to get a new community/usergroup out of the door: ALT.NET Oresund. The basic thought behind ALT.NET Oresund is that it's way too little communication crossing the tiny sound of Oresund, at least in the .NET arena, so why don't we meet up? The reason why we choose to meet discussing ALT.NET is simply that we met in the ALT.NET track in Oredev 2008 and the discussion continued from there.

The venue of the ALT.NET Oresund meetings will alternate between Sweden and Denmark in a brotherhood spirit. We will start Thursday January 29th in Malmö, Sweden with Johan Lindfors of Microsoft Sweden talking about the PDC announcements. After that there will be an Open Space session. Probably some time in late February we will be somewhere in the Copenhagen area.

Sounds interesting? The main page is here and the announcement is here. There is also a mailing list at google groups which I recommend that you join.

Haven't heard of ALT.NET? There is a good, although short, introduction to ALT.NET here.