Steve Lange @ Work

Steve Lange's thoughts on application lifecycle management, Visual Studio, and Team Foundation Server

September, 2008

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Calling all Denver Area Team System Users!!!


    vstsimage Have you ..

    • ever wondered what more you could get out of your Team System product? 
    • come up with a cool extension, add-in, or way of using Team System and wanted to talk about it?
    • ever wanted to swap war stories about your VSTS or TFS implementation with other Team System users?
    • wanted to learn more about what other cool stuff you could do with Team System?

    If you answered "Yes" to any of the above (or inserted your own!), then read on, this post is for you!

    Since I moved to Colorado several months ago, I've met several wonderful, passionate VSTS users who have asked me about a VSTS User Group.  The Denver VS User Group is enormously popular, and as a result there seem to be quite a few folks who would like to start something similar that focuses on Team System.

    To be clear, this proposed group is not to replace or compete with the VS User Group, but rather to offer a complement which gives a larger voice to the VSTS community.

    I'm envisioning either a monthly or bi-monthly meeting schedule, depending on demand, meeting in the evening.  Ideally, I'd love to see at least 20 people at each meeting, and grow membership organically.

    What does it take to get a user group started?

    Meeting Space I'm working to secure Microsoft office space at the Denver Tech Center.  We can hold roughly 100 people each meeting.
    Community Leadership We'd need a couple of folks from the community to take the lead in lining up meeting speakers and maintaining a member list.
    I'm happy to work to get this thing started and be the "official Microsoft sponsor", but UG's are most successful when driven by a community.
    Meeting Sponsors Typically, a vendor would "sponsor" a meeting, providing food, drinks, and maybe a door prize.  In return the vendor gets some floor time.  This helps keep membership dues FREE or at least dirt cheap.
    Money Per above, I hope to set this group up to minimize any dues.  The only reasons I could see needing any kind of dues would to pay for any web hosting or other service, or any potential labs or field trips.  At worst, dues would be extremely, extremely affordable.
    People This is where you come in!  We need people to not only attend, but speak/present.

    If you've ever met me or read this blog, you know how passionate I am about Visual Studio Team System.  What I've found is that the more people use it, the more passionate they become as well.  I'm not getting paid to start a user group, nor will I.  I just honestly think it could be a powerful medium for Team System users around the area to further enrich their value, and meet other great people in the process!

    Please let me know your thoughts either by leaving a comment to this post, or emailing me directly.  I'm interested in hearing insight on feasibility, willingness to participate and/or present, ideal meeting schedules, etc.



  • Steve Lange @ Work

    One-Click Check-in on Southwest Airlines with your Windows Mobile Phone


    NOTE:  Since this posting (about a year or two after), Southwest updated their mobile site so this no longer works..

    Okay, I just had to share this nugget of a time-saver (If you know about it already, then this won't seem very original..).  I got this tip from a colleague of mine, so I'm not taking credit here, but rather just passing it along.

    If you haven't flown Southwest Airlines before, it's open seating, first-come, first-serve based upon passengers order of check-in.  That means that if you check-in first, you board first. 

    First 60 to check-in.. ..get an A boarding pass (numbered 1-60)
    Second 60 to check-in.. .. get a B boarding pass (numbered 1-60)
    Everyone else.. .. gets a C boarding pass (numbered 1-60)

    You can check-in 24 hours before departure.  So what do you do if you want an "A" boarding pass but aren't at your computer to check-in online?

    Southwest Airlines has a mobile website which allows you to check-in via your phone and then print your boarding pass at the airport.  So that saves you some time.  You go to the site with your Windows Mobile phone, enter your first name, last name, and confirmation number, and you're all set.

    Check-in page on SWA's mobile site

    Fill in your information, and (assuming you're within the 24-hour check-in window) you'll arrive here:


    Click "Check In All", and you'll be checked into your flight:


    Then just either print your boarding pass later on your printer, or do it at a kiosk at the airport.

    But wait, there's more..

    But what if you don't have the confirmation handy, say, while you're driving in your car? 

    You can link to the check-in page's submission directly by embedding your name and confirmation number in the below URL:

    Following the link directly will take you to the "Checkin Availability" page where all you need to do is click the "Check In All"  button.

    What I do is save the "template" URL as part of my Outlook Contact entry for Southwest.  When I book a flight and add the flight to my calendar, I put the completed URL in the calendar entry, then set a 1 day (24 hour) reminder for the flight. 

    When I get the reminder, I simply open the calendar entry, click the link, and check-in.  It takes less than 30 seconds.

    Another way to store the completed URL is to create an Outlook task ("Check in for tomorrow's flight") with the URL, with a reminder or due date set for 24 hours before the flight.

    And since my Windows Mobile device automatically syncs with Exchange, my calendar and task entries, including their reminders, are readily accessible from my phone.

    Lastly, I also use TripIt to organize and share my travel itineraries with family and friends.  You can add the direct check-in URL to my itinerary and access on my mobile phone via TripIt's mobile site.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    New Page: (Semi-)consolidated calendar, UG meetings, events, etc.


    Follow the link in the red box to my events listing pageLook to the right of this blog, to the beginning of the "News" section.  I've added a page to this blog which contains links (by state), to the MSDN events, User Group sites, and other event listings.  States include Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern Nevada.  I've started trying to consolidate/aggregate the info from the various linked sites into a single Live calendar, found HERE.

    If you've ever tried searching online for event information, you've probably seen various community and Microsoft-based sites that show event listings, user groups, etc.  This is a stab at consolidating the proper results and data for the part of the US in which I work. 

    I hope you find it helpful!

    I'll let you know more as I add additional sites or find a better way of consolidating data.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    MSDN Events around the Region


    This is a little late of a post for Albuquerque, but hopefully you can take advantage of other ones!

    There is a series of FREE MSDN events touring around the region, called "MSDN Events Unleashed". 

    Topics will include:

    • .NET 3.5 SP1
    • Entity Framework
    • Astoria
    • Dynamic Data
    • WPF/Silverlight

    Cities & Dates

    Albuquerque, NM 9/19
    Las Vegas, NV 9/23
    Phoenix, AZ 9/25
    Colorado Springs, CO 9/30
    Denver, CO 10/1
    Fort Collins, CO 10/2
    Salt Lake City, UT TBD, October

    Check out Rob Bagby's Blog for more details including registration here:

    Don't forget to visit the MSDN Events site.  You can subscribe to RSS feeds that will inform you of upcoming events in your area.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    RMWTUG: Special Virtualization Event


    If you're interested in learning more about virtualization technologies, I highly encourage you to check out this event, put on by the Rocky Mountain Windows Technology User Group!  Below is a copy/paste from the event page:


    The RMWTUG Virtualization mini-conference demonstrates the state-of-the-art with server virtualization technologies, including those from VMware and Microsoft. CIOs, CTOs, managers, developers and system and network administrators are invited to spend a half-day with the RMWTUG. A number of prizes will be given away at this event -- see below.

    "With the recent release of Microsoft’s Hyper-V technology, a new major player has entered the competitive landscape and a great number of questions about server virtualization have arisen in the minds of many IT professionals," said Dennis Martin, RMWTUG President. "Many want to compare the two technologies side-by-side, and this mini-conference is the perfect place to do this."

    Because this event is run by the non-profit RMWTUG, the general point of view of the presentations will be neutral with respect to the virtualization technologies. The focus of this event is to show how server virtualization configuration, usage and management tasks are performed on these differing technologies. Features and functions that are common to these technologies will be demonstrated, and features and functions that are unique to one or the other will also be demonstrated. Network and storage management functions will also be demonstrated.

    Technologies at this Mini-Conference

    The main presentation will be performed with real servers, networking and storage infrastructure on the stage, courtesy of Demartek. On the stage will be four identical, large, name-brand servers (dual-Xeon, quad-core, large memory) along with enterprise-class networking and storage infrastructure including iSCSI and Fibre Channel storage. Two of the servers will be running ESX and two will be running Hyper-V. The Gold and Silver sponsors have the opportunity to participate in the on-stage demonstration with their hardware and software.

    Some of the technology that will be used in the on-stage demonstrations includes 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) networking, 4- and 8-Gigabit Fibre Channel storage, and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) storage. This event may be the first public demonstration for some of this technology. Watch this space for other technologies that will be available at this event.

    This promises to provide an objective view and comparison of different virtualization technologies, including Microsoft technologies.

    The event & registration page is here:

    This mini-conference will be at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    OMG! Microsoft joins the Object Management Group


    It's official, Microsoft has "finally" solidified a modeling strategy and joined the Object Management Group (OMG) to add weight.  (The OMG is a group that focuses on setting modeling and model-based standards.)

    Read:  eWeek's Article

    To support Microsoft's forward direction the in modeling space, look for announcements about Oslo (MS new modeling platform) at PDC 2008.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    patterns & practices Summit: November 3-7, 2008



    Architecture & Design for .NET

    Here's the link:

    The link shows tentative agenda, logistics, registration, etc.  But here are some early thoughts on topics:

    • Extensibility Framework
    • Composite Application Patterns
    • EntLib Futures & Customization
    • MVC & Dynamic Data
    • Acceptance Testing
    • Getting Rules Out Of Code
    • Building Libraries for Testability
    • Unity, MEF, and Containers
    • Design Principles behind Prism
    • Porting CSLA .NET to Silverlight: Lessons Learned
    • ESB Guidance
    • Drowning In Complexity
    • Visual Studio Team System Futures
    • Advances in Unit Testing
    • Project Management
    • Why the Next 5 Years Will be About Languages
    • Agile Development EE
    • Agile Security
    • Fundamentalist Functional Programming
    • Pragmatic Architecture
    • Future of Languages
    • Future of p & p
    • Architecture - Simple or Hard?
    • MoQ Mocking Framework
    • Simplifying Software Complexity
  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Seinfeld & Gates - Together at Last



  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Fun Friday: Be the Brain at PDC 2008


    In case you need a little more ammunition to convince your boss to send you to PDC this year:

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    View<myWorld> - What's it like to Work at Microsoft


    Check out this great, candid site that talks about life at Microsoft.

    Be sure to watch a couple of the videos, too!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Welcome Back from Vacation - Here's Chrome!


    I just got back from my Labor Day vacation, and what is half of my inbox filled with?  "Hey, did you hear about Chrome?"  "Have you installed Chrome yet?"  "Should I try Chrome?"

    Chrome is a new web browser just released in test form by Google, in case you hadn't heard already.. 

    To all my friends, colleagues and customers asking me if I've played with Chrome yet, I'm going to wait for a while.  There are some interesting reads out there about how secure Chrome is, as well as end-user agreement concerns.  Below are some interesting posts that talk more about chrome, both good and bad.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Microsoft PDC: Extended Early-Bird Registration


    The early bird registration deadline has been extended until September 8th.  Save 200 bucks!

    The posted announcement reads:

    Due to popular demand, the PDC2008 Early Bird Discount has been extended three weeks. If you register by 11:59 PM, Monday, September 8th, you will save $200 off the Full Conference Registration $2395.  With many out for summer holidays, it just made sense to extend it out. Register today to attend the PDC and learn about the future of the Microsoft platform. You’ll hear about upcoming products, meet Microsoft’s leaders and top engineers, write some code, and be inspired!  Unplug for a few days and think about the future.

    I wish I could be going this year.  Maybe someone can let me know how it all turns out? 

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