Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

February, 2004

  • Brian Keller

    Marketing plastic


    Well, looks like everybody's favorite couple Barbie and Ken are no longer an item after 43 years. Well, this is the 21st century, so I guess with 40% of first marriages ending in a divorce this should not be too surprising.

    Also, it looks like Barbie is now dating a new guy named River! And she's getting him an MP3 player for Valentine's day. I hope it plays WMA's. Pretty weird to see Barbie blogging about a new guy though after all of these years with Ken. I hope he's taking it well.

    But - regardless of whether or not it was a smart move to split the couple up - it did get them numerous headlines and as they say, there's no such thing as bad PR.

    Which is a perfect segue into my announcement: J# and C# are dating! If anybody would like to do a story on this, please contact Waggener-Edstrom.

  • Brian Keller

    An Intense Lunch


    Recently I submitted two pieces of feedback to the MSDN Help team. Then I second guessed myself as to whether other customers feel the same way I do. So, I propose my feedback and you can tell me what you think.

    1) I feel that it's very difficult for a “green field” .NET developer to find the right help topics. Let's say I migrate 100% to Visual Basic .NET. Or assume that I'm starting out as a pro dev and begin with Visual Basic .NET (or any language for that matter). I install all of the MSDN Help like I think I'm supposed to. Then I go to the Help topic to learn my dims from my redims and I type in "Visual Basic". Whelp, low and behold here comes a blast from the past with everything from what I want (Visual Basic .NET) to what I don't (previous versions of Visual Basic, which are notably different). Suggestion: Make it easy to exclude legacy versions, or "interview me" based on what types of development I'll be doing.

    2) Elimate the "Stones Way" series (and anything else along those lines). I mean, seriously... enter "stupid" into an MSDN Library search and it's the first hit you get. Now this is the one that really made me second-guess myself. I went to the online MSDN Library collection and they were rated extremely high! 7, 8 out of 9 with a right-weighted distribution. Huh? Well, I guess customers actually like this material then.

    Here's the Stones Way article:

    So you tell me. Good ideas? Bad ideas? I promise to pass anything I get on to the MSDN Help team (unless you tell me not to).

  • Brian Keller

    J# Browser Controls v1.1b in Beta


    We just released the beta of J# Browser Controls v1.1b! Here are the new features:

    • Scripting support - allows your Browser Control to interact with JavaScript (or VBScript) on the Web page that is hosting it
    • Offline support means that your Browser Control will work without requiring it to be hosted on a Web server

    These are the top customer requests we've received for J# Browser Controls, and because of the great feedback we've receive on the first release we were able to make this happen for 1.1b.

    For those unfamiliar with J# Browser Controls, they provide the capability to migrate existing applets to run within the context of the .NET Framework - usually with no changes to the Java applet source code! This is really helpful for developers migrating applets away from the MSJVM.

    You can download the beta of 1.1b here:

    The beta is quite good, but if you'd prefer the “shipping“ version, version 1.1 is still available here:

    We invite you to provide feedback at the public newsgroup: microsoft.public.dotnet.vjsharp

  • Brian Keller

    Frequent Flyer Excise Charge


    Wow - long time no blog. I honestly never thought I'd be one of those people who starts blogging then stops all of a sudden, but one thing led to another and... well, let's see what happens. Looks like BGold and Dan are on the top 25 viewed blogs on Weblogs, so maybe I can be inspired.

    My post today comes to us from the Sprint Terms and Conditions of Service. So I signed up at for their promotion. I get 6000 United frequent flyer miles (which I can always use since my family lives down in Florida) and I got my welcome package yesterday. Well, I'm pretty deliberate about reading the fine print on these sorts of things, so I looked here:
    4.4 Frequent Flyer Excise Charge. If you participate in an Airlines/Sprint Partnership Program, you will incur a monthly Frequent Flyer Excise Charge calculated as follows:
    Total Frequent Flyer Miles Earned X $0.0010
    For example: 270 total frequent flyer miles earned from Sprint X $0.0010 = $0.27

    Are you kidding me?! Let's do the math... 25,000 miles to get a free ticket... 25,000 x $0.0010 = $25.00. Why on earth would I have to pay this? Nickle and dime me to death and soon it's not a free ticket any more. Obviously Sprint thought they could recoup the costs of the promotion by putting a hidden fee buried in the fine print. My girlfriend recently had a really, really bad experience with Sprint on her cell phone. It took her about 90 days to transfer her cell phone number from her Sprint phone to AT&T - meanwhile, Sprint shut off her phone so she had no cell phone for that time, yet Sprint was still charging her. Ugh. Ok, so not the most optimistic blog tonight but I needed an audience for my frustration. Off to Portland tomorrow for some R&R... that will be fun.

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