September, 2005

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    A Shirt Tale


    I got the following email this week from Rob Irwin. I met Rob earlier in the year when I participated in the Breakfast Bytes Panel. Anyways this was the email:

    From: rob irwin
    Sent: Wednesday, 21 September 2005 10:57 AM
    To: Frank Arrigo
    Subject: (frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger) : CRN
    Importance: High

    Hey Frank you might have already seen it, but there's an ENORMOUS photo of you on the back page of this weeks CRN :) RI

    Me in CRN?? That's pretty funny. Considering my sister Rita has recently featured too.

    Turns out it's the story about my shirt (as featured on the photo to the right)

    Quick recap for those of you who have missed this saga:

    Ok, we've caught up on the story yet?

    So, it turns out that this tale is featured in the Shadow Ram section of the 19 September edition of CRN. This is what Rob was on about. And yes, it's a true story.  But why isn't there a photo of the shirt. Shadow Ram your readers what to see it!!

    And yes Rod, that photo is enormous. Gotta love those PR head shots.

    I have a feeling it's time to update mine. Dave Lemphers doesn't like the photo either. He said to me "that picture is soo 1990's! Talk about airbrushing!". I think he was trying to be nice.

    Anyways, the article isn't online yet at the CRN site, but I'm sure it will be soon.

    *UPDATE* 25/09/2005 :  Story now online on CRN Site

    [ Currently Playing : (Nothing But) Flowers - Talking Heads - The Best of Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime (05:34) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Sensis deploys 400 Tablet PCs


    I spotted this article last night, while I was catching up on my email. Sensis is a leading Australian advertising and search company, owned by Telstra. They are the folks responsible for the White Pages & Yellow Pages, as well as Citysearch, Trading Post and WhereIs, and the recently launched "Search Engine for Australians" which has had some comments on blogs recently.

    But enough of that, this is a terrific story about a large Tablet PC deployment - 400 Tablets PC isn't a small number that's for sure.  I wonder if this make Sensis the largest Tablet PC user in Australia? I also wonder if there are any custom apps that have been developed for this deployment. Anyone know?

    Take one tablet before your visit
    By Adam Turner
    August 30, 2005

    Thomas Arthur, vertical business general manager at Sensis. Photo: Erin Slattery

    Telstra's online advertising and search engine arm, Sensis, put more than 400 Acer Tablet PCs in the hands of mobile salespeople this year. This allowed the road warriors who flog, among other things, space in the White and Yellow Pages to give customers on-screen proofs of their advertisements and then sign the contract right there and then on-screen.

    A third of the project's multimillion-dollar budget was spent on making representatives comfortable with the technology so the tablets could be a sales tool and not expensive paper weights, says Sensis vertical business general manager, Thomas Arthur.

    Training, scenario playing and interactive DVDs were used during the 15-month project to prepare for the move away from pen and paper. It included a large trial in Mildura. Staff could consult trainers for six weeks after they got their tablets.

    "We even had a competency exam, so at the end of the training we had an expectation that they would be competent in using this tool and if they weren't they went back and did the training again," Mr Arthur says.

    "It was very important that customers weren't being asked to amuse themselves for 10 minutes while sales staff figure out what they're doing."

    Another important consideration was that the technology did not get in the way of the salesmanship.

    "We needed a tool where the contract could be closed in front of the customer," Mr Arthur says.

    "Making sure the Tablet PC is a sales aid rather than just an order-taking process is the single most important thing we have to ensure. It's very easy to take an order, but that's not selling."

    Almost 90 per cent of customers sign electronically - one of Mr Arthur's key performance indicators. Sales staff are also successfully encouraging customers to buy bigger colour advertisements because they can quickly see how they will look.

    Pre-deployment training, followed by detailed analysis of their use, is vital in any large scale tablet or notebook deployment, says Acer national corporate sales manager Frank Ugolini.

    "One thing we push with our customers is not to just implement a new program and walk away, or else all you've done is just given staff a Tablet PC that's a great toy," Mr Ugolini says. "You've got to measure how they're using them, what value they're getting out of that and what the return on investment is. If you don't, it becomes a toy and it doesn't really provide value to the business."

    After considering several lightweight alternatives, Sensis elected to go with Acer's 2.74 kg TravelMate C302 Tablet PC, with a 14.1-inch display, full keyboard and 1.6 GHz processor running WindowsXP Tablet PC Edition.

    "Our view, and the advice we got from our legal people, was that in signing a contract it was very important that we could demonstrate that all relevant terms and conditions were available to the customer when they signed. It's very difficult to do that on screen smaller than 14 inches," Mr Arthur says.

    "Even a 10-inch screen just couldn't show all the terms and conditions and we were looking at a situation where, if we were challenged, somebody could point out that."

    Although the ability to write on the screen with a stylus is a useful annotation tool, a keyboard is still vital when out on the road.

    "The annotation and sketching is great, but there's a lot of data entry and when you're doing that you need a reliable, full-scale keyboard, which you're comfortable using," he says.

    "Even when they're modifying advertisements on screen, the sales reps increasingly use a pen to draw the line and the bubble, but the keyboard to enter the precise text. Why? Because then there's no mistake."

    [ Currently Playing : Talking Bout My Baby - Fatboy Slim - Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars (03:44) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    aus-dotnet mailing list has a new home


    The aus-dotnet mailing list, that wonder from downunder which is helping 1000's of local developers, has moved mail servers. The new mailing list is supported by the good folks at ICO - thanks Ben, you're a champ!

    Dr Pete sent a note out this evening to let the subscribers know about the new system

    From: Peter Stanski
    Sent: Thursday, 8 September 2005 9:14 PM
    Subject: [aus-dotnet] The List is FINALLY back online again! The story so far....

    Hi Guys!

    Yes we are live again! So what happened?

    Our previous ISP's systems were no longer able to cope with the levels of emails we generate on their server. Also, apparently we were clogging up their anti-spam systems which impacted on their other customers.
    Having 1000+ members means that every time you send an email out you touch someone's inbox. So each day if we have 30+ posts we're generating 30K+ emails. 

    Basically, we got told that we would have to get off their server onto a more higher end system which was going to cost 10x times more. AND, their new mail platform would not be able to support the mailing list - which was the deal breaker.  Also, the server became unstable over the last 4 weeks which explains why sometimes the mailing list would not deliver emails, and then deliver them all out in one hit causing more bottlenecks in their mail servers. So things started to spiral out of control. 

    In the last few days it got to the point where their system stopped several times and the SMTP service kept stopping as a result. And we got told to get off the platform, so much so that they shut down the mail system before they were supposed to.  I sent out an email a few days ago telling you all that we were moving to a new server, and that it would be seamless.

    As you know this was not the case. The ISP shut down the mail system without telling us about which resulted in the list stopping all together. Had they kept it going, you would have not seen any issues with the list. So we are no longer with them 8-)

    It just so happens that I had been chatting with Ben Sudbry from ICO the a few weeks ago about all things .Net and their hosting platform. Last week when things really hit the fan, I called Ben and we had a chat about their hosting infrastructure supporting locked down lists mailing - ie. can't post to list without being a subscriber. You'd be surprised how much spam we block every day.  AND while I am on the topic, there is someone in Singapore trying to send phishing emails to the list stating that Stanski Consulting wants you to give us your personal details. Please be careful should such email ever make their way onto the list.

    Back to the story, so Ben and I talked about the list and he kindly offered for to sponsor the mailing list. If you guys need a .Net hosting platform have a chat to them about it. My experience has been excellent and they have promised that if we ever start to need more grunt for the mailing list- they can crank it up for us.

    So we're on the new platform as of now. The DNS MX records are pointing at the correct SMTP mail server and life should be good for all.

    Finally, the list is going strong due to your involvement and I hope that you continue to gain benefit from its usage as a community as a whole.

    Happy Coding!
    Peter Stanski

    [ Currently Playing : The Unloved One - INXS - Stay Young 1979-1982 Disc 2 (03:58) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    ninemsn news has RSS Feeds


    Just noticed RSS feeds on ninemsn news. Pity they aren't full feed.









    [ Currently Playing : I'm So Stupid - Madonna - American Life [Limited Edition] (04:09) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Comments problem fixed : Thanks Geoff Appleby


    Big Shoutout to Geoff Appleby the master hax0r for solving my comments problem.  Seems like it's technorati's fault. First I can't get the tags to work, now this. What have I done to offend the Technorati gods???

    Again,thx for sorting this out mate!


    Hey Frank,

    I've been trying all day to leave a comment on one of your posts, but something weird was going on (yes, I got it sent in finally, but only because I'm a master hax0rs).

    When ever I was hitting the submit button for the comment, absolutely nothing was happening - nothing at all!

    I love a challenge, and I worked out the culprit. In all the stuff you have down the left hand side you're including a search box from technorati. And this was the problem.

    Time to get technical on your ass *grin* treats every single web page as a form. At the top of the page is a <form> element, and it's closed at the bottom. The technorati link (as inserted here: <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript"src=""> </script>) is rendering a new form partway down the page. It writes a whole new <form> element, and closes it again after the search box.

    When the browser was encountering the new <form> tag, this was causing the previous form to close. Then when the technorati form was closed, everything remaining on the page was left dangling in nowhere land. All the forms had been closed, so the submit button for a comment was nto attached to anything - and so was doing nothing.

    Perhaps this was your intent to stop annoying people leaving comments :) But I figured if you wanted to do that you'd just turn comments off in your blog settings. So instead, I figured I'd let you know you have a problem, and how to fix it (stop giving the technorati search box).

    Have a good day (yes, I was bored this afternoon :)


    [ Currently Playing : Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf - A Full Tank Of Rock (03:29) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    ALL THE URLS are belong to us.


    Betsy sent me the urls mentioned from cabana session we held on Thursday. Apologies for formatting, it's how i got it from her.


           Technorati was tracking over 14.2M web logs, and over 1.3 billion links in July 2005 
           The blogosphere continues to double about every 5.5 months 
           A new blog is created about every second, there are over 80,000 created daily 
           About 55% of all blogs are active, and that has remained a consistent statistic for at least a year

           Community Server

           Free download at

           Source code available at the same site

           Setup information at:


           Read licensing restrictions if you use the free copy

           CSModules are configurable in the communityserver.config file (so you can add/remove to your liking) and require you implement a one method interface, ICSModule.

           In addition, all of the core community server post processing is now exposed as CSModules. So if you are happy with something like our HtmlScrubbing, you can remove (or replace it) without touching the CS-Core.





           Corporate Weblogger Manifesto

           Mary Hodder begins her 6-part series Blog Searching and RSS Tools Comparison


          Naked Conversations, Shel Israel and Robert Scoble’s forthcoming book on blogging)


           Gretchen Ledgard, Senior Recruiter



           Corporate Blogging Case Studies


           Robert Scoble’s Corporate Blogging Manifesto:

           Educators Debate Blogs :  Weblogg-Ed, Bud Hunt


  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Wanted : Developer for Brisbane based company


    Leon (AKA Secret Geek) has posted a job ad for a developer role at his company Advantech.

    It includes some intangible criteria - "You are a developer, not a programmer".

    I love it.

    This topic was hotly debated on the aus-dotnet mailing list recently. Some of the comments from the members of the list

    maybe based on Mike Gunderloy's "Coder to Developer" book : assuming of course that programmer == coder

    from his perspective it seems to boil down to "Developers need to know about planning and testing and source code
    control and teamwork and documentation and risk management and a raft of other things" personally I think its just playing semantic games and the two terms are basically interchangable.

    Developer = Creative Coder
    Programmer = Code Churner

    Most developers will do programming at some stage, but desire for development.
    Programmers are just 9-5'ers getting a weekly paycheque.

    hmm - after a bit of searching - lots of blog posts on this question ( Eric Sink of vault fame )

    so the consensus seems to be that a programmer just writes code while a developer does a bunch of other stuff like source control setup, build management, customer support when necessary etc etc.

    I liked this quote though :
    "When people ask me what I do, it depends who asks. If a non-techie type asks me, I say I'm a programmer - it's easy for them to understand and relate to that, If I say I'm a developer, they sometimes ask me if I'm a real estate developer :-) If the person is a techie-type, or works at a tech company I ususally say I'm a developer"

    FWIW my business card says "Software Developer"

    Just writes code?! By that token Davinci was just a painter!!

    A programmer is proud to write code, he/she aims to excel and better him/her self with every line of code.
    After end of the day he/she ponders what could have been done better and does research on new ideas/techniques/methodologies etc.
    A programmer ask better programmers how they would do something,welcomes criticism and improves him/herself.
    A programmer is NOT a 9-5 person, as once the working stops the learning begins.
    Please do not just anyone who can connect a DataGrid to a DataSource is a programmer.
    A programmer expands him/her self to learn about everything that can make his/her job and fellow colleagues job easier.
    A programmer work in not for money, he/she is a artist/technician that takes it on him/herself to improve everything that he/she is capable of improving.
    A programmer has passion and pride in his work. He/She is a craftsman of what that can neither be touched nor measured. Yet his/her work is admired by those who have no idea about intricacies or complexities of programming.
    Please have respect when talking about programmers. Consider yourself lucky if you know such individuals.
    Developer is a programmer who had time to flourish.

    Lots of passion shown in some of these responses.

    I hope Leon can find the right kind of person for the job

    [ Currently Playing : This Time - INXS - Live Baby Live (03:06) ]

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