Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

It's all about community!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    ClickOnce Webcast Session Posted

    My Security Summit session on Deploying Applications with ClickOnce is now available to view online or offline. Access it from here. To view it offline, you'll need to download the free LiveMeeting replay application.
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    1 RU Of Raw SDLC Power!


    I’ve been meaning to set up a TFS install at home for some time. Up to now, I’ve been running TFS Beta 3 Refresh in a Virtual Machine, but it was on a borrowed box and came with the bits pre-installed. Other issues were that it was configured as a domain controller and although it played nicely with my network, it couldn’t be a member of my home domain without some serious reconfiguration. Finally, I wanted to go through the install process again to see how much better it had got since Beta 3 (hint: the answer is “a lot!”)

    I had a look at the recommended system configurations for TFS and decided that, as it’s mainly going to be only me accessing this box I probably fall into the “Small Team”category. I wanted a box that’d fit in my rack (and not take up too much space so that I didn’t have to move my stereo out of there). Dell have a couple of great 1 RU servers so I convinced the CFO that we really needed to invest in a PoweEdge 850. I went for a PentiumD chip but pretty much min specs on all the rest (it’s probably going to be easier to add HDD and RAM than do a processor upgrade later).

    I run Small Business Server at home (my wife finds it easiest to schedule time with me if our calendars can talk, so Exchange is sensational). Adding another server to the domain is fine. In fact, Mark Stanfil has just blogged about Two New White Papers for SBS - Multiple Servers on The Official SBS Support Blog.

    Installing the box was painless. The Dell units are really nicely engineered, no mucking around with cage nuts etc in the rack. In addition, even I can manhandle a 1 RU server without too much trouble. The engineering really shows in the little things. Opening up the box shows that even though I only got 1 SATA drive pre-installed, the cage for another was there, with all of the cabling (power and SATA) terminating just behind that. The only small complaint I have is that the folks who assembled the box had their torque setting too high on the screwdriver, so the “toolless thumbscrews” weren’t.

    On to the install process. Win2k3 Standard with SP1 is simple, Next, Next, Next … Grabbed all of the critical updates.

    Now for the TFS itself. There’s a great step-by-step guide and the install process has become almost completely painless. I’d love to see this completely wizard-driven – at the moment it’s a series of manual steps, but the instructions are very comprehensive.

    Once I had done all of the install steps (about 4 hours total I think), including the Team Explorer client on the TFS box, I created a team project. Hey, it just worked!

    I installed the new Team Explorer client on my dev box and connected to the server. Again, it just worked!

    I did the survey and sent in my install logs, but there’s probably not much to gain from them – “Nothing to see here. Move along.”

    Next steps for me:

    • Work out a reasonable backup regime
    • Hang out for the new MSSCCI provider release so I can use TFS for my VFP projects too
    • Get a fixed IP address and configure the system so I can access the server from external sites. The offline experience is still not sensational
    • Drop Dave a note to compare experiences with his DevGarten setup
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Online Study group for Beta Exam 71-528


    A bunch of us (keen, or is that masochistic, local developers) have signed up for the beta version of the 70-528 exam — TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 - Web-based Client Development (called 71-528 while it's in Beta).

    Exam 70-528, is one of two exams required for the "Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications" credential. To achieve this credential you will also need to pass exam "70-536: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 - Application Development Foundation". After achieving the Technology Specialist credential for Web applications, you will be able to achieve the "Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Web Developer" credential by passing one additional exam: "70-547: PRO: Designing and Developing Web Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework."

    All of the new exams will be Beta tested prior to general release.

    The problem with doing a Beta exam is that there’s not a lot of material to study from. To help with the study process, Tatham Oddie has set up an irc server and we’ll be chatting twice a week for a couple of hours in a study session for the next couple of weeks. I’ve done beta exams in the past (back in the days of VFP 6.0) and the chat format worked very well. It’s also great to have the chat transcript to review and for others to use as an aide.

    Update: Andrew Higginbottom points out that:

    there are some online MS courses for VS2005 (4 for webforms dev) that are free if you sign up before 8 nov and once downloaded the content is valid until feb 2006.
    I'm yet to do any but they seem OK from a quick look...

    The schedule for study (all times Australian Eastern Daylight Time [UTC+11])

    Monday 31 October 1930 – 2130

    Wednesday 2 November 1930 – 2130

    Monday 7 November 1930 – 2130

    Wednesday 9 November 1930 – 2130

    Monday 14 November 1930 – 2130

    Wednesday 16 November 1930 – 2130

    Chat server details

    • Server:
    • Port: 6667 (standard)
    • Channel: #Exam71-528

    So, if you're signed up for the beta exam, or if you just want to get a head start on the new certs, please join us next Monday

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Free MCP Testing at TechEd Australia


    I only found out today (yes, maybe I have been living under a rock) that you’ll be able to do Free MCP exams at TechEd Australia.

    I’d suggest the approach I took a couple of weeks ago at our internal training conference in Seattle, TechReady. Sign up now (with the attitude “well, it costs nothing, so I may as well sit the exam”) and then as the date approaches, spend more and more of your waking hours studying for the exam. It’s amazing how much you learn, even about topics you might think you’re pretty familiar with. (I passed 70–305 BTW).

    There are 100 spots available in total, so sign up today!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    How do you become a "Successful Developer"?


    Fin asked a few of us inside and outside Microsoft for tips in becoming a successful developer. I’m not sure that she expected the deluge (or verbosity) of responses – I think she only had about 300 words to fill in total – she asked 15 people so it turns out 20 words each was the target. I’m going to post my full response here and will link to the others' if they post their full responses as well.

    For me, the most important characteristic of a successful developer is an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Take the time to deeply understand the tools and technologies you use. Read blogs from the people who develop and maintain the tools. Take a course from a visiting expert. Ask questions in online forums. Read in-depth books about the field.

    Unfortunately though, this deep knowledge will only get you so far. Equally important for a successful developer is a broad knowledge of the tools and technologies only peripherally related to your area of expertise and even some completely unrelated fields. In some ways, this knowledge is harder to acquire than the deep knowledge The first hurdle is to think about what peripheral knowledge would be useful. There are some obvious candidates like a broad understanding of the industry in which you’re working, but for the rest, I’d recommend attending a community group of some sort, for example one of the local developer user groups. Regardless of the topic, make a point of attending every one of these you can. It’s incredible how often you’ll have an "Ah Ha!" moment sitting in a session in which you have ostensibly no interest at all.

    Last, but by no means least, learn to enjoy sharing knowledge. Take every opportunity you have to present to a group, engage with other developers and generally socialise. The benefits are huge.

    So, what do you think makes a successful developer?

    Of course, you should got to TechEd :)

    Update – Craig’s posted his response. One word – Practice.

    Update 2 – Andrew’s response: "Be Humble"

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Windows 7 on my Mac Mini


    Back in the day, Dave and I bought (intel) Mac Minis (there was a retail outlet which had apparently decided to stop selling them and they were going pretty cheap). It’s been my main Vista machine at home for 18 months or so now (running bootcamp), I never boot into OSX, the machine was a member of my SBS domain and all was well with the world. Of course, I just can’t leave well enough alone (in addition to the fact that I’d “wasted” 40 of the 80GB HD on an OSX partition that I never use). I decided to take the plunge and see what the Win7 experience was like.

    First I tried an upgrade – running setup.exe from the DVD and choosing the upgrade option. Initial results were poor because of a lack of drive space on the Win partition,  but even after getting the available space up to 10GB (lose VS, Office and some games), the setup would get most of the way through and then just roll back. By the way, the rollback experience is great – there’s nothing left of the install afterwards except a note on the desktop as to what’s gone wrong – Vista is as it’s always been.

    Today I took the plunge and started a clean install.

    I inserted a Win7 x86 beta DVD, shutdown Vista, held down the alt key and turned the Mini on. After some time (after I released the alt key), the mac boot screen came up offering to boot from either of the partitions on the hard drive or the DVD. I chose the DVD and the rest was exactly like any other Win7 install experience I’ve had to date, that is to say seamless. Within 30 min I was at a Win7 desktop starring the Beta fish and was informed that Windows was already 65% of the way through downloading 4 updates. One more restart and I was in business.

    There are three devices showing up as problems in Device Manager, one USB device, the TPM and “Performance Counters” in the Other Devices node.

    No mucking around with bootcamp drivers, none of the insidious Apple updates.

    Next, I downloaded and installed Windows Live Essentials, and then I’ll do the rest of my standard install stuff – Office2007, VS2008, Acrobat Reader etc.

    Win7 Beta on Mac Mini – Big Thumbs-Up from me.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    MS Press Online Store now open in Australia with discounts for UG members until the end of May


    I got this note from Tania Netterfield, our partner manager for CPLS and the local MS Press representative.

    Hello all,

    I’m delighted to advise you that our press distributor Woodslane in conjunction with MS has developed an Microsoft Online Press Store which is now LIVE!

    To help us launch the Store during the month of May we’ve created a special User Group Members offer of 50% discount on all books on the site. We’d love your help to promote the store to your community by blogging about the site and including the URL in your newsletters and other communication to your User Group Members.

    Some of the great advantages of include:

    • Express delivery
    • Competitive pricing
    • Easy Keyword Search facility
    • Latest titles and Books of the Month
    • Large inventory
    • Newsletter sign-up

    And until the end of May on

    • All User Group Members will receive a 50% discount by using this Code at Checkout <purged>
    • Plus go in the draw for a chance to win an XBOX by providing feedback on the site

    We are planning to keep improving the site in the future and I’ll keep you updated as these improvements are made.

    Thank you for your support

    If you want to know the code I <purged> above, you'll have to get along to your local User Group (or contact your User Group leader)

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Rehearsals for Ready! Launch Tour


    Updated – Added Hobart Community Launch
    Updated II – Corrected the Adelaide Venue – thanks Frank

    I'm off to Melbourne tomorrow morning to rehearse with Dave Glover and smokin’ Joe Sango for the developer track for our Ready! tour launching VS 2005, SQL 2005 and BTS 2006. Rob Caron, who will be down here for some of the launch tour, will be joining us via Live Meeting for some of the morning.

    On Thursday, I'll be heading up to Brisbane to rehearse the same stuff with Chuck and Anthony Borton.

    Of course, Frank and Dave (complete with mo, at least for the first 3 cities) will be on the road with us as well, as will Jeffa and Kleefy. In short, we’re putting the band back together.

    In each city, we’ll be doing a community launch event and a business launch event. At the community event you can enjoy a night of networking opportunities with speakers, your peers in the industry, speakers at the next day’s presentations and the Microsoft team. The night will consist of impromptu presentations, plus great food and drinks. We will also distribute lots of resources to get you started with the soon to be launched products.

    The next day, we’ll be running a full day event we’re calling the business launch (to distinguish it from the community launch). We’ll have a keynote (which will look very similar to this, but delivered by people with significantly more hair) followed by 3 tracks of technical presentations focusing on the technologies that we’re launching. These will be much more formal presentations than the events the night before.

    Here's where we'll be and when:

    Date Event Time Location Registration Link
    21-Nov-05 Adelaide Community Launch 18:00-21:00 Adelaide Innovation Centre
    Level 2 Santos House
    91 King William St
    ADELAIDE SA 5000
    22-Nov-05 Adelaide Business Launch 10:00-17:45 Hilton Adelaide
    233 Victoria Square
    Adelaide South Australia 5000
    23-Nov-05 Melbourne Community Launch 18:00-21:00 Microsoft Melbourne
    9th floor
    644 Chapel Street
    Melbourne VIC 3141
    24-Nov-05 Melbourne Business Launch 10:00-17:45 Sofitel Melbourne
    25 Collins Street
    Melbourne Vic 3000
    28-Nov-05 Sydney Community Launch 18:00-21:00 Microsoft Sydney
    1 Epping Rd
    29-Nov-05 Sydney Business Launch
    Note that this is Day 1 of VSLive!
    10:00-17:45 Hilton Sydney
    488 George Street
    Sydney NSW 2000
    30-Nov-05 Canberra Community Launch 18:00-21:00 Microsoft Canberra
    Level 2
    44 Sydney Avenue
    Barton ACT 2600
    1-Dec-05 Canberra Business Launch 10:00-17:45 National Convention Centre
    31 Constitution Avenue
    Canberra City ACT 2601
    5-Dec-05 Perth Community Launch 18:00-21:00 Microsoft Perth
    QV1 Building
    Level 14 250 St George Terrace
    Perth WA 6000
    6-Dec-05 Perth Business Launch 10:00-17:45 Duxton Perth
    1 St Georges Terrace
    PERTH WA 6000
    7-Dec-05 Brisbane Community Launch 18:00-21:00 Microsoft Brisbane
    1 Eagle Street
    9th Floor
    Waterfront Place
    Brisbane QLD 4000
    8-Dec-05 Brisbane Business Launch 10:00-17:45 Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
    Cnr Merivale and Glenelg Streets
    12-Dec-05 Hobart Community Launch 18:00-21:00 The Old Woolstore
    Marrino Room
    1 Macquarie Street
    Hobart Tasmania 7000
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    2-Day VSTS Training available in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane


    Frederique Dennison, the Microsoft Australia Partner Readiness Manager (until next week, that is) sent me a note about some VSTS training being delivered by local expert Anthony Borton (of Ready! tour fame). This is a great way to get up to speed fast with the new features of Team System and Team Foundation Server.

    Visual Studio 2005 Team System – KickStart 2 day workshop This fast-paced two day course provides partners with a solid overview of Visual Studio Team System 2005 and Team Foundation Server. The course combines instructor led sessions with hands-on exercises designed around real-world scenarios to ensure that participants are able to get up and running with VSTS rapidly.


    Register now



    I would like to ensure you are across the 2 day workshop we are currently offering as apart of partner readiness. This subsidised 2 day workshop ($715 inc GST) will be delivered by Anthony Borton and is scheduled in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane over the next few weeks.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Why I Love Server-Side E-Mail (and contacts and appointments)


    I'm on holidays in Far North Queensland (I got special permission from my wife to come to the internet cafe as long as I wasn't doing work - it's a good thing I love technology for technology's sake isn't it). I was wandering down the main drag in Port Douglas when I realised that my HP6315 had experienced a Hard Reset. Not a great situation as all of my holiday details were in there including car hire, accommodation, contact numbers and so on. However, after bringing the machine back up (and setting the date to the correct year!) I was able to connect to the Exchange Server in Singapore and re-sync 600 contacts, all my future appointments (and all of my email) just by filling in two bits of information - the server name (FQDN) and my domain credentials. 10-15 minutes of furious GPRS transfer later and bingo! I was back.

    Barrirer Reef, here I come

    The really cool thing about this is not that I managed to hard reset the device (DUH), but if I'd lost the device (say, while on a cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef), re-provisioning a new one would have been just as easy.

    BTW, this gets even easier with Exchange SP2 and the new Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5

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