Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

It's all about community!

August, 2004

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    MSDN Updates in Western Sydney?


    We’re in the process of planning our November MSDN Update (Stay tuned for this quarter’s theme - it's all happenning here!)

    Would you be interested in a session in Parramatta as well as in the Sydney CBD – we’d probably run it the next day (Wednesday in Sydney, Thursday in Parramatta

    Let me know what you think!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Microsoft Speak


    I've been at Microsoft for just on 6 months now and I guess that's a reasonable amount of time to have settled in and got an impression of the place from the inside. One thing that's struck me (especially having been an independent contractor for the 7 years prior to starting here) is the localised version of the language spoken here. It's not just the TLAs and the code names that I'm talking about (although there are enough of those), it's mannerisms as well. The one that I notice most often (and that I've discovered that I've subconsciously adopted) is prefixing the answer to any question with the word "So". Here's an example:


    Q: What's Microsoft's roadmap for the release of Visual Studio 2005?


    A: So, what we've announce publicly is … < answer continues here >


    This seems to just happen, regardless of the context of the conversation or audience, but especially when resuming an inturrupted conversation.


    The next idiosyncrasy we adopt is the use of the word "right" to confirm that our interlocutor agrees with the position we've put forward. This might sound like fairly standard practice, but it seems we've made it into an art form. It generally gets used either when we're not sure of the position even though we're putting it forward as gospel (as in "I know it doesn't work that way yet, but that's going to be included in beta 2, right?") or when we're so sure of the position that the conversation probably shouldn't even be happening. It seems not to be used in the middle ground situation (where the speaker knows the answer, but doesn't expect the audience to know it as well).


    We speak a lot about things happening in the <insert product codeword here> timeframe. I guess this one makes some sense. It's much more accurate to say that "Object Spaces will be released in the Longhorn timeframe" than to try to give a month and year. It just strikes me as interesting every time this happens (and trust me, it happens a lot).


    I'm not from a very corporate background (I worked at a university for 3 years before my 7 years as an independent), so I'm not sure how widespread the phrase "going forward" is (as in, "that's our plan going forward). I would guess that it's generally not uncommon, but it's endemic where I work. It seems a little more "jargony" than something like "from now on" or "in the future". It's another phrase that I notice every time it's used, and one that makes me cringe whenever I catch myself using it.


    Finally the phrase that I hear most often is


    dramatically provide access to mission-critical leadership skills and assertively coordinate world-class paradigms for 100% customer satisfaction


    Only kidding -- I got that one from the Dilbert Mission Statement Generator.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    VFP User Groups in Sydney and Melbourne, and even more VFP Stuff


    Craig Bailey sends in the following email. One particular point to note:

    We'll be combining the Sydney and Melbourne VFP User Group meetings next month (29 September) through a Live Meeting conference. This means you'll be able to be at the meeting either live in Sydney (where it's being hosted), in the Melbourne Microsoft office, or anywhere else in the world via an internet connection. We're using this as a guinea pig run for a more general rollout of webcasting User Group meetings every month. Stay tuned for more info.

    1. Next meeting: 25 August 2004

    A reminder about next week's meeting of the Sydney VFP User Group on Wednesday 25 August 2004 at 6:30pm:
    Craig Franklin will be discussing the new reporting features in VFP9, and
    John Burrows will be presenting more details on Business objects
    Please see for more details.
    2. OzFox 2004 - Australia's biggest VFP conference - 29 November
    Don't forget to register for OzFox 2004, see for details.
    Be there for 3 days of intensive VFP input with Rick Strahl, Ken Levy, Doug Hennig, Cathi Gero, David Stevenson and Mike Helland.
    Visit the site to see what Eric Rudder had to say about OzFox!
    3. Other conferences
    Don't forget the other VFP conferences this year.
    Visual FoxPro Devcon - 29 September - Las Vegas -
    Southwest Fox - 22 October - Arizona -
    If you are over that way, please support these conferences.
    4. Melbourne VFP user group
    Did you know the Melbourne VFP user group has restarted?
    David Wilson, Sunny Chandra and others met last week (11 August) and will joining the Sydney VFP user group in a teleconference session on 29 September!
    For details of the group please email David Wilson at
    Please forward this to any of your developer friends in Melbourne.
    5. September Sydney VFP User Group meeting
    As mentioned above, the Melbourne VFP user group will be joining the Sydney group via teleconference on Wed 29 September 2004!
    I am organising speakers for this meeting now. If you are interested in presenting please let me know asap. Let's make it a great meeting.
    6. Call to VFP developers
    Sometimes it seems as though Microsoft isn't pushing VFP enough. I personally can vouch for how much Microsoft has been helping the Sydney group with facilities, access to support personel, industry events, free press etc. However, you can help. The more we get together as a community, the more notice Microsoft will take, and in turn the more help they will give us.
    Let's all make a big effort to attend the user groups, promote our businesses and products with VFP, and be supportive to the community. If we get a huge turn out at OzFox, not only will there be additional exposure for VFP, but it means we can continue to get the best speakers out here in future years. We will all reap the benefits.
    Can I ask you to please promote both the user groups and OzFox to any VFP developers you know.
    7. Feedback
    I'm always looking for ways to improve the user group. If you have any suggestions (or gripes) I am keen to hear them.
    What talks do you want to hear? What Pizza varieties do you want? Are there extra services the User group can provide?
    8. Sydney VFP user group members list
    There is now a members list - email me your details and perhaps a small bio or company summary and I will add it to the page.
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Pros and Cons of re-writing, or "If it ain't broke ..."


    Rick Strahl, formerly a VFP MVP and now a .NET MVP (in C# I think, but with Rick it would just have been a matter of choosing a category) has a great post on why he's not re-writing one of his flagship applications (currently written in VFP) in .NET. Well worth a read. While you're there, have a look at some of the very neat things Rick is doing with both VFP and .NET.

    BTW, Rick will be out here in Australia at the end of November to speak at OzFox, along with Ken Levy and a bevy of great speakers.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Online Chat: Visual C++ 2005 Library and Runtime Enhancements (5am - 6am Sep 17 AEST)


    The next release of Visual C++ includes many new and enhanced libraries which improve security, support managed code and integrate existing applications and components. The CRT and STL fully support managed applications. There is a new secure CRT and STL that offer safe interfaces to familiar functionality. The managed support library provides conveniences such as lock patterns, COM interface wrapping and type marshaling templates. MFC has new support for integration with .NET Windows Forms to enable incremental migration of existing UI to incorporate .NET controls and forms. Bring your questions about new and existing application development to find out more on the next generation of libraries in Visual C++.

    September 16, 2004
    12:00 - 1:00 P.M. Pacific time
    3:00 - 4:00 P.M. Eastern time
    19:00 - 20:00 GMT

    Chat time for cities world-wide:

    To add this chat to you calendar:

    For more info on MSDN chats, including other upcoming developer chats, chat archives, and other info see

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Online chat: Upgrading COM Applications to .NET with Visual C++ 2005 (5am-6am Sep 3 AEST)


    There are some great webcasts coming out of the US, albeit at not great times. This one follows on very nicely from our July MSDN Update.

    Are there webcast topics you'd like to see delivered by local presenters at ANZ friendly times? We have world-class developers and presenters among the .NET community here in the region and we're planning to leverage them this financial year. Chuck's already lining up plans for a couple of great topics, but we're after more suggestions for topics, presenters and so on. Let us know!

    Many applications consume and expose COM interfaces as their object models today. And .NET has tools such as tlbimp, tlbexp and COM Interop support for RCWs and CCWs to help integrate managed code with COM objects. In addition, there are also a number of options in C++ unavailable to other languages such as C# or VB. Some mechanisms are simpler to code, while others provide deeper control over aspects such as data and interface marshaling, custom interface support and performance tuning. What are these options and when do I use them? What conveniences does Visual C++ provide to "go deep" but retain the simplicity of a tool like tlbimp? What goes on under the hood that I need to be aware of when I provide my own interface wrapping, and why might I do this? How is the COM apartment model honored when I recompile as managed code? What AppDomain and threading issues should I be aware of and how do I avoid any pitfalls? What is the fine-print surrounding areas like using interface sinks, object lifetime control, and COM capabilities in mixed or pure images? If you expose or consume COM interfaces in your C/C++ applications today and need to know your options moving forward in .NET then this chat is for you.

    September 2, 2004
    12:00 - 1:00 P.M. Pacific time
    3:00 - 4:00 P.M. Eastern time
    19:00 - 20:00 GMT

    Chat time for cities world-wide:

    To add this chat to you calendar:

    For more info on MSDN chats, including other upcoming developer chats, chat archives, and other info see
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Route64 Comes To Sydney


    Well, I've finally got around to blogging about the Route64 event that happened here in Sydney on July 8. We had about 85 keen developers come to the Microsoft offices in Sydney to hear Volker Will and James Smith give a great introduction to our approach to 64-bit. The day started with an overview of the Windows 64-bit roadmap and a review of the architecture of porting applications to 64-bit. This was followed by a brief introduction to SQL Server 64-bit.

    During the lunch break, the delegates mingled in the partner exhibition area and chatted with representatives from HP, Intel, AMD and MSDN. Each of the partners had technical staff on hand to answer some of the curly questions delegates had about their hardware, as well as marketing folk to answer availability and roadmap questions. The hit give-away had to be the great Hoodies from HP (a hooded fleece jacket).

    After lunch, we had the meat of the developer information, with presentations on developing 64-bit applications in C/C++ and then using .NET managed code.

    All of the presentations are available at, including the slides themselves, sample code used and videos of the sessions in streaming or download format.

    If you've got questions about 64-bit development on the Microsoft platform , please let me know.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    QMSDNUG August Meeting Notice


    Greg Low Sends me the following great news:

    Hi Folks,

    Our meeting this month will be Tuesday, the 17th August.

    Thanks to Joseph Cooney for his assistance with the session in July. This month we have another real treat. Dave Apelt is back in town and will


    Rapid N-Tier development in .Net

    N-Tier architecture is considered the premier design in creating scalable applications. Despite n-tier's benefits many .Net based software engineering projects fall short full n-tier architecture due to an array of issues.

    David Apelt recently had an opportunity to research these issues and a solution developed that allows .Net developers to rapidly create and maintain n-Tier applications.

    The presentation will be of most interest to people involved in the development of new .Net applications irrespective of their platform. It will cover a broad range of topics and will be of interest to the beginner as well as experienced developers.


    David Apelt provides software engineering solutions to small and medium sized enterprises around Australia. He writes several shareware applications that can be seen on his web site at A precursor to 'Line Speed Meter' was developed for a QMSDNUG presentation three years ago.

    I got to see Dave's ideas on the first version of this and I'm certain it will provide an interesting topic for the meeting and will raise a lot of discussion.

    As usual, an early RSVP will help with planning pizzas, etc. Please RSVP by email to

    Be there: 5:45pm for 6:00pm start Tuesday, 17th August 2004

    Finish: around 7:30pm

    Location: Microsoft Brisbane Office, Level 9, Waterfront Place, 1 Eagle St, Brisbane.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Tech•Ed Channel9 Video


    Probably the most fun I had at Tech•Ed was shooting and editing footage for Channel9. Michael Kleef and I went around with a DV camera and basically shoved it into people's faces, talking to them about Tech•Ed, what they thought about the conference, and so on. Each night I streamed the footage down to my laptop over Firewire and edited it using Windows Movie Maker -- a very neat bit of software. I then uploaded the result to the corporate network the next day for the Channel9 crew to review and post on the site.

    The results will be up on Channel9 some time pretty soon. When they're there I'll put a note up here, along with the details of a little exercise you might find rewarding.

    Stay Tuned!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Dinners at Tech•Ed


    SplaTT, Frank and Mark all started a rumour that there would be a Geek Dinner on the Wednesday night. It turns out that the chosen venue was closed (perhaps someone warned them). We moved up the mall to an Irish Pub and proceeded to consume Geek Guiness. I chatted with Phil Beadle (who is, along with Scott McCulloch, one of the core DotNet Nuke team) from Byte and a bunch of other people. Great fun.

    Wednesday night, before the Tech•Ed party, a heap of us went to dinner with Microsoft Senior VP, Eric Rudder. We found ourselves at a local Pizza establishment and geeks of all descriptions bent Eric's ear about topics near and dear to their hearts. Craig Bailey even managed to convince Eric to give OzFox 2004 a plug.

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