Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

October, 2004

  • Brian Keller

    The grinch of Halloween


    No, I'm not the grinch of Halloween. I love Halloween. It's probably my second favorite holiday. My favorite is Thanksgiving (read: lots of great food, little commercialization).

    But Major Nelson - my friend over in XBox Live - just wrote a post about how he hates Halloween. How can you hate Halloween? I have some theories:

    - Somebody toilet papered Major Nelson's house last year
    - Major Nelson, as a young Cadet Nelson, had his candy stolen by a pack of neighorhood punks. Unfortunately in real life you can't send feedback and have their accounts banned. :-)
    - Major Nelson doesn't like trick-or-treaters interrupting his XBox Live sessions (I can understand this!)
    - Major Nelson is diabetic and therefore can't experience the sweet side of Halloween. Mmmm... candy...

    Of course, there is one aspect of Halloween that I hate as well. And that's candy corn. Check out Dan's blog from our discussion yesterday!

    Now if you'll excuse me I have to go get the finishing touches for my Borat costume. Jagshemash!

  • Brian Keller

    What's Google going to do with Keyhole?


    I'm wondering what Google intends to do with Keyhole? The press release simply says, "Keyhole users will benefit from the expanded resources and operational scale made possible by the integration into Google."

    Ok, so Google's cash pile brings some capital into the Keyhole operations. Well, lots of capital. But how does this leverage the synergies of the two companies? Google = Search. Yes, there is a search element to mapping. But in a mapping environment, the metadata is very limited (addresses, landmarks, roads, etc.). But on the Internet, there are a million ways of slicing a result set and Google does a very good job at quickly helping me find what I want. Rarely do I go to MapPoint and have any problem narrowing my search to the location I want. So funding aside, why would Google acquire Keyhole? How does 1 + 1 = 3 in this scenario? I don't get it yet.

    Granted... I've been a big fan of Keyhole every since David Weller introduced me to them, so if nothing else it's good to see the annual subscription price was slashed.

  • Brian Keller

    Voicemail SPAM and other election woes...


    Virtually every phone call I get at home nowadays is a 30-second political ad. I've lost track of how many I've received but I think it's approaching double digits. I for one can't wait until the election is over if for nothing else to stop the barrage of these SPAM-calls. Are there really people out there who are swayed to vote a particular way based on these calls? If so, it's a sad testament to our voting community... I'm even on the Do Not Call registry but I guess it doesn't apply if you have a political message. What's the number for the "Do Not Call Even If You Have a Political Message" registry?

    Oh, and in other news, I got a call from one of those polling organizations conducting a survey of voting preferences. Now since I'm in marketing and we rely on such information regularly, I feel it's good karma to participate so I gave up 10 minutes of my time. But after a few minutes I could tell how offensive it was to me - a registerted libertarian - since all of their choices relied on me responding either Republican or Democrat! A few of the answers gave Green Party as an option, but none of them listed any of the Libertarian candidates. Before this turns into a blog about how biased our two-party system is I should cut it short... but I think I'm going to stop answering my phone until November 3rd.</rant>

  • Brian Keller

    Come Experience the Visual Studio Hosted Experience


    I've been so busy working on the Visual Studio Hosted Experience (VSHE) that I've been slack about blogging our new release. It's time!

    The Visual Studio Hosted Experience allows you to access your own hosted server, loaded with Visual Studio .NET 2003, SQL Server 2000, and lots of other dev goodies. We've recently added lots of new functionality, streamlined the UI, and beefed up the server capacity. Some of the features include:
    - Virtual Labs: We have dozens of Hands-on Labs which can each be completed in under an hour. Perfect for a lunch break. These map to almost every popular technology, including Windows Forms, ASP.NET Web forms and Web services, language topics, and more. We're always adding new labs; send me your suggestions for topics and I'll do what I can. WSE 2.0 labs are right around the corner...
    - 3-hour Hosted Trial. New to Visual Studio .NET? Just want to check it out? Use the Hosted Trial image for a free-form, 3-hour session. No lab manuals, just pure coding. Have fun and build whatever you want.
    - "Single-sign-on." Ok, so I'm borrowing this term from Passport. We don't use Passport here but we do allow you to sign in once to access as many Virtual Labs and Hosted Trial sessions as you want. Come back over and over, we'll leave the light on for you.
    - Increased capacity. In the past we've been too popular for our own good sometimes. Thanks to our friends in the BMO (one of the marketing groups here at Microsoft) we have more money to host even more concurrent users. Crank it up.
    - 100% Free. (Ok, the lawyers require that we remind you connection fees may apply for your Internet service provider... but you already know that.)

    Please check it out, let me know how it is and if you have any ideas for making it better.

    Also, for those of you on the IT side of the house, TechNet has a similar "Virtual Labs" experience with Windows Server 2003:

  • Brian Keller interview


    **10/8 Update to fix links.
    I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Ted Neward of which was recently posted for streaming. Ted and I discuss Visual J# .NET, the Java Language Conversion Assistant, the Sun / Microsoft agreement, and more.

    Video Interview: 56k | DSL

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