Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog

Misc

New Job Search World In 2020

This year I got the worst April Fools joke. I was laid off. For the first time in my life I was without a job. I came to the rude awakening that things were much different than the last time I had search for a new position over 10 years ago. COVID-19 was in full force. It was shutting down many companies and causing hiring freezes. On top of that it seems that the IT industry as a whole has decided it is too risky to hire people directly and most opportunities are either contract or contract-to-hire. ......

Getting Back Into The Swing

It has been forever since I have posted to this blog.  Since I have spending all my time working on a revision of a .NET Windows Service and ASP.NET Web Forms application I have been feeling the need to start learning something new and get back to writing.  As this project approaches the point of winding down I am looking to get back to work on Azure and general cloud technologies.  Stay tuned …

Time To Reboot

It has been nearly six months since I blogged last. Thankfully this means I have been busy working on client projects. It is a new year and just back from spring break so I think it is time to start digging into technical topics again. This post will actually help to do some testing for an Azure Logic App POC that I am working on. Watch for a future post on this and other Azure topics. Until then … ......

Maintaining Blog Post Lists

I just don't know how other people do it. There are a number of individuals around the blogosphere who create lists on a daily or weekly basis which reflect what they think are hot topics. I have been creating a list that I email out to the members of the .NET community within my company for the last few months. For about the last three weeks I just have not been able to keep up with this effort. Part of the challenge is that I am not finding a lot that looks of interest to me. The raises a dilemma. ......

Quoted In Redmond Developer News

As a result of an earlier post on Krugle I got a correspondence from Michael Desmond at Redmond Developer News. The result of this got printed in the April 15, 2008 issue. Now he only picked a couple of sentences from my response, but in all I think it was pretty accurate. The one thing I would correct is that I was speaking more about the public site than the appliances that Krugle supplies, since that is what I have experience with. Either way the idea still holds true that reading other peoples ......

Can Sketch Noting Help You Keep Up With Technology?

I saw a post from someone who had created a Sketchnote of one of Scott Hanselman’s talks. It was the first time I had seen this as an defined process for note taking. As I get older and technology moves faster I am finding that it is getting harder to keep up and remember everything I need to learn. This approach looks like it could be part of the solution. This post documents my findings as I start to use sketchnoting. One of the things I noticed as I learned more about sketchnotes is that I have ......

Rejuvenate Your Career

We can all get in a rut after years in this industry. We get comfortable doing what we know. The problem is that technology does not stand still. If we don’t keep reinventing ourselves then we will eventually find that we don’t have the skills that the industry requires. This is so important an issue that I often ask prospective employment candidates how they keep up with technology. So what is my answer to rejuvenate your career? Because I spend most of my time developing solutions for the Microsoft ......

Windows 8 App Wish List

As I have been using Windows 8 more some of them apps that come with the system have been missing some features that I would like to see. So Microsoft, here is my wish list for some new features. Skydrive Copy files from one folder to another in Skydrive Get public and read only URLs of a file OneNote MX Print a page Mail Accept/Reject appointments Sort inbox Search inbox (use the search charm) Print email Store Keyword search (use the search charm) del.icio.us Tags: Windows 8 ......

Is It Time To Specialize?

Over my career I have made a living as a generalist. I have been a jack of all trades and a master of none. It has served me well in that I am able to move from one technology to the other quickly and make myself productive. Where it becomes a problem is deep knowledge. I am constantly digging for the things that aren’t basic knowledge. How do you make a product like WCF or Windows RT do more than just “Hello World”? As an architect I need to be a jack of all trades. This is what helps me to bring ......

Cookie Cutter Versus Custom Development

I recently had a potential client ask for an estimate of some work they wanted done. They already had a price in mind which I was pretty sure I couldn’t come close to. The reason for this is because they were comparing off the shelf, commodity type development to the custom development that it would require for my team to do the work. So does this mean that custom development can’t be the right answer if a subject area has commoditized? Not in the least. In many cases (but not all) these quick solutions ......

Windows Live Writer 2011

The new WLW 2011 has been a shock to the system. I am used to having my history/drafts and and plug-ins at the ready down the right side of the window. Plug-ins are now under the insert tag on the ribbon. The history and drafts are now under a drop-down file menu in the ribbon. I’ll have to see if this configuration works for me. There doesn’t seem to be an option for a “classic” setup so I may end up looking for a new blog editor that is more efficient for me. I realize to some people these may ......

To Start Or Not To Start

On a recent Windows Weekly podcast Mary Jo Foley and Leo Laporte had me talking to my Zune HD (practically yelling) as they discussed if Microsoft got it wrong with Windows 8 by taking away the start button and forcing Metro full screen apps on users. Leo’s main argument was around the fact that the reason people buy big screens is so that they can have multiple windows open at the same time on the same screen. I really took exception to this. Even with every version of Windows leading up to Windows ......

Blogging Withdrawal

Did you know that blogging is a drug and that if you go too long without posting something you actually go into withdrawal? It turns out to be the case, at least for me. Whatever the excuse may be, when I go for a long stretch without a significant topic posted I feel anxious, almost as if I had abandoned my child. Lately the IT consulting business has been so busy it just doesn’t leave much time to blog. Working a full day at one client and then doing support work for others in the evening is seems ......

Why Does Bing Not Have Blog Search

This is more of a short rant than anything. For the most part I like Bing. Once in a while I still find I get better results from Google. The main thing I find myself missing that I had with Google is the blog search feature. All to often I can filter out a lot of garbage just by using that option. So my request is “when will Bing implement blogsearch”? del.icio.us Tags: Bing,Google,blogsearch ......

Thunking Anyone?

Now how many people understand the reference in the title. I don't know if it something that is still done today, but it was a big deal when we moved from Win16 to Win32. I essentially allowed 16bit applications to run on a 32bit Windows machine. Today I was reminded of this as I removed Windows 7 64bit from my machine because certain applications still do not work on that platform. Event through 64bit processors and even operating systems have been around for a while they still haven't achieved ......

Gaming Keeps The Family Together

Years ago I used to spend a fair amount of time playing computer games. The problem is that I found it to be quite a time suck. Fast forward to this Christmas and my children got a Wii as a present. I never thought that a game could increase quality time with your kids. I found that it gives me an opportunity to interact with them on a more relaxed basis than just helping them with their homework. Multi-player video games are the board games of the 21st century. Who needs Candy Land when you have ......

Curating Employee Blogs

I’m not sure if it is ego or a desire to inform our community, but many of us try to post to blogs on a regular basis. Many companies choose to have their own blog server to host content from their employees. But this doesn’t always work, especially when your employees already have a community presence before joining the team. Recently our company has been trying to conquer this very issue. The first question is “what are your goals”. For us it is to aggregate blog postings/articles that could be ......

Why Twitter Needs Third Party Apps

Yesterday Twitter released their Windows 8 native application. This is just a short time after releasing an update for Windows Phone. It took my all of two minutes determine that these applications are unusable for the way I use Twitter and their web site doesn’t cut it either. Now I admit that my usage may not be the same as the majority of Twitter subscribers, but I don’t think it is entirely outside the norm either. I use multiple accounts because of user groups that I work with and employer accounts. ......

Platform Religion Leads To Bad Business Decisions

I have been accused of being a Microsoft fanboy which has probably become more true as the years go by. Of course this is due in great part to the fact that developing for Microsoft technologies allows me to feed my family. In truth though, despite my reservations about other platforms, I am pragmatic when it comes to recommending implementations for clients. You should always take into account things like existing installed technologies, development team capabilities and ROI when determining the ......

Be Honest With Product Reviews

As you gain attention in the technology community you will get asked to review books and products from time to time. In doing so you are going to find that not everything that you are asked to review will be something you believe is useful or agree with the author. I have found that being honest with the person who asked for the review is the best thing that you can do for both yourself and them. Contact them and explain your reservations and ask if they still want you to publish the review. While ......

Passion For What You Do

The most recent Polymorphic Podcast does not have a lot of technical content, but I found it very interesting all the same. I am sure the most people go through times in their career where they wonder why they doing the job they are. Putting it another way, "what do you want to do when you grow up"? Of course we know that people in IT never grow up, but that is besides the point. Since this is the beginning of a new year it is a great time to get fired up about goals. Mine for this year include stepping ......

Toshiba FlashCards Annoying

I have been dealing with an annoying feature with my Toshiba laptop since I got it back in October. There is a drop down, auto-hide menu at the the top of the screen that doesn't seem to hide very well and covers up you title bar controls when it is active. It didn't even give an indication of what it is called so it took a while to locate the way to turn it of. It is call FlashCards and here is how to turn it off. Run msconfig On the startup tab deselct the Toshiba FlashCards application Click Ok. ......

Scratch–Programming For Kids Or Going Old School

I was watching the TED session on Scratch after seeing it linked to in the DZone newsletter. I was interested to find out what it was and see if my kids might be interested in playing with it. Of course I also needed to find a new programming language to learn for the year (ok, couldn’t resist a little dry humor). The Scratch programming environment can be downloaded from MIT’s site here if you want to give it a try. Scratch is an interesting little drag-n-drop language that is great for understanding ......

DZone MVB Goody Box Arrives

There are small perks that go along with blogging. In this case it looks like it is cubical war time. I got home yesterday to find that DZone had sent a goody box including stickers, post cards, a cozy, ref cards, note pad, a thumb drive and best of all ICBMs (Inter-Cubical Ballistic Missiles). Very cool. So what is all this for. This blog is reposed on a regular basis on DZone where I am part of the MVB (Most Valuable Blogger) program. Be sure to check out my posts and all the content on DZone. ......

Learn A New Programming Language Every Year?

I heard someone mention the other day that they have forgotten more programming languages than most developers have learned and it made me remember all the suggestions to learn a new language every year. I have probably even made this suggestion before. As I thought about it I realized that it isn’t important for it to be a language that your learn, it is just important that you learn something new. Experiment with a new platform, study data theory, join the enemy’s camp and understand their point ......

The Importance Of R&D For Consultants

In most companies it is important to keep up with the latest technologies. In a consulting firm it is critical because what you are selling is knowledge and experience. The ability for a consultant to advise a client both from a business perspective and from a technology perspective adds to the value of your people. The business knowledge relies on real world experience, but the technology knowledge mean many hours of research and prototyping with betas. A company needs to look at the time and money ......

Blog Goals For 2013

It is the beginning of a new year. No better time to take a look what we want to accomplish over the next year. My first goal is to have more Windows 8 and Windows Phone development content. This is a technology that I really enjoy developing for and I see challenges that every developer would like answers to. Things are also evolving on a daily basis which gives us a lot to discover and discuss. I am also looking to have more architecture topics. These will be both high level concepts and integration ......

To Link List Or Not To Link List

In the past I have had an aversion to link list posts. I have picked up a large number of blog subscriptions and most of these lists just contain what I have already seen. Lately my opinion has changed slightly. I am trying to evangelize within the company that I work for. In order to grow awareness of what is going on in the community as a whole I have started sending out emails with a distilled list of blog links. I figure if I have already found what I think are the jewels I can save others the ......

Impressive Product Support

This has happened before with but it still impresses me when a company is scanning the blogosphere to see what is being said about there product and help out people with questions. Today I got a comment from the Sr. Product Manager at Corel to give a tip on my previous post. All I can say is that this is the way you gain and keep customers. We can all learn from this example ......

Nokia Windows Phone 8 App Collection

I recently upgraded to a Nokia Lumia 920. Along with it came the availability of a number of Nokia developed apps or apps that Nokia has made available from other developers. Below is a summary of some of the ones that I have used to this point. There are quite a few of them so I won’t be covering everything that is available. Nokia Maps I am quite pleased with the accuracy of Nokia Maps and not having to tap the screen for each turn any more. The information on the screen is quite good as well. ......

2012–The End Of The World Review

The end of the world must be coming. Not because the Mayan calendar says so, but because Microsoft is innovating more than Apple. It has been a crazy year, with pundits declaring not that the end of the world is coming, but that the end of Microsoft is coming. Let’s take a look at what 2012 has brought us. The beginning of year is a blur. I managed to get to TechEd in June which was the first time that I got to take a deep dive into Windows 8 and many other things that had been announced in 2011. ......

Interesting Blog Stats–What Sells

Just out of curiosity I decided to find out what the most frequently post were on my blog. I knew what number one would be just from checking daily stats from time to time. The main theme that I found in the data is that either pain or humor can really bring people to find your posts. My most viewed post is on turning off Toshiba Flashcards at over 54K views (I think Toshiba should take notice of this massive fail). The second highest is on Interesting Blog titles. This was nothing more than a post ......

Review: Windows 8 - Initial Experience

I originally started this post when I had the Windows 8 preview setup on VirtualBox image. I have since put the RTM bits on a Dell E6530 that is my new work laptop. It isn’t a table so I am not getting the touch experience, but as a developer this makes the most sense for the moment. This is the first Windows OS that I have had to spend much time exploring to even get started. The first thing I ran into was when I clicked on the desktop icon I was lost. Where is the Start menu? Where are my programs? ......

My Favorite Free Windows Phone Twitter App

Windows Phone 7 has been out for about two years now. In that time I have switched back and forth with different free Twitter apps. Mostly the has been because someone has mentioned one or another that they like. I figured I would give a quick run down of what I felt were the pros and cons of each. These are only the ones that I have used and your mileage may vary. So here we go. WP7 Built-In Twitter Functionality While it is great that Microsoft put this functionality in, it is extremely limited ......

Why Social Metrics Are Only As Good As Their Input

As more and more social media sites come online people are looking to see what kind of influence you have on the community. Some employers are even checking your Klout or PeerIndex scores before they go into an interview. My problem is that these sites don’t even come close to telling the whole story of a person’s influence in the community. The first thing is that they can’t measure things such as user group interaction. How many conferences do you attend or speak at? Are you responding to forums ......

Features I’d Like To See In Windows Phone 8

With Windows Phone 8 around the corner I figured I would get the wish list out. I am encouraged by what we have seen so far. This is a short list of the things that have bugged me over the last two years of using and developing for the platform. I realize that some of them are pure fantasy and will never happen, but we can dream. So here we go. Separate volume controls for phone and alerts Videos can be taken in portrait and will be saved that way Tweets created in the People Hub should be able to ......

Windows Phone 8 Announcement

As if the Surface announcement on Monday wasn’t exciting enough, today Microsoft announce that Windows Phone 8 will be coming this fall. That itself is great news, but the features coming were like confetti flying in all different directions. Given this speed I couldn’t capture every feature they covered. A summary of what I did capture is listed below starting with their eight main features. Common Core The first thing that they covered is that Windows Phone 8 will share a core OS with Windows 8. ......

3 Reasons You Need To Know Something About Every Technology

I make my living as a consultant and a general technologist. I credit my success to the fact that I have never been afraid to pick up any product, language or platform needed to get the job done. While Microsoft technologies I my mainstay, I have done work on mainframe and UNIX platforms and have worked with a wide variety of database engines. Each one has it’s use and most times it is less expensive to find a way to communicate with an existing system than to replace it. So what are the main benefits ......

Blogging After The Blog Boom

I have been blogging on Geeks With Blogs since 2005 and on other blogging sites before that. In this age of Twitter, Facebook and G+ it feels like we are in the post-blog age and yet here I continue. There are several reasons for this. The first is that I still find it to be the best place for self publishing long form thought that won’t fit well on Twitter or Facebook. Google+ allows for this type of content, but it suffers from the same scroll factor as the other social media platforms. If you ......

Preparing For TechEd

This being my first time going to TechEd and I want to make sure that I get the most out of it. The first goal is to make sure that I get to the sessions that cover as many topics as possible. This is important for me as a Solution Architect consultant specializing in Microsoft technologies. To this end I have spent some time going through the sessions on the myTechEd site. The other reason for the trip is to connect with the Microsoft development community. This includes both members of my local ......

Why Do Computer Scientists Need To Understand Software Developers

I saw a tweet asking why do we educate computer scientists to get developers and compared this to structural engineers and stone masons. I believe this is a good question with a flawed premise. The flaw is in thinking that a developer’s job is as simple and limited in variations as that of a mason. Almost every problem attacked by a developer requires that they bend their tools and materials in a new way. This requires that everyone on a team communicate and at least on some level understand each ......

The Hidden Costs Of Offshoring Your IT

While I am not a fan of offshoring IT development, I do understand the attraction. From a rate perspective they look very attractive, but in my experience that is the smallest part of the story when it comes to offshore resources. There are a number of hurdles you will have to deal with if you are going use developers that are half way around the world. The first obstacle is the language and cultural barrier. I am not talking about just understanding the words, but understanding the meaning behind ......

Choosing A Windows Based Web Hosting Service

Recently I have gone through the process of selecting a web hosting company for one of my clients. There are a lot of options out there and a number things you need to be cautious about. I will go over some of the decision points and questions you will want to ask a company before signing a contract. The first thing you need to do is define the features that make up you site. Is it made up purely of static content or does not use a database? If that is the case then you can choose just about any ......

Organizing Your Work With OneNote Page Templates

If you have seen the Windows Phone commercial where the father is in the grocery store with the shopping list in OneNote you have gotten you first taste of the flexibility that can be had with OneNote. I like most consultants have a lot of fires going and once and I am finding that the templates in OneNote are helping me to get a handle on the different projects and tasks I need to track. I started using OneNote to do simply what its name suggests: take and organize notes. Lately though I am finding ......

2011 Year In Review

2011 has been an amazing year in which I ended up working on an exciting number of projects. SharePoint has continued to be the hottest requested technology that I deal with. At the same time Windows Phone 7 has put Microsoft back in the mobile market and I will be finishing off the year additionally writing for this platform. At the same time the old standards of WinForms and ASP.NET have not left our market space. Ultimately, the IT market is still on fire and I am looking forward to great things ......

Ways To Pass Time On Window Phone – TouchDevelop

A co-worker was showing me an in phone scripting environment on the iPhone and I knew I had seen one mentioned for the Windows Phone before. TouchDevelop is an app from Microsoft Research that allows you to create small applications that do a wide variety of operations including using most of the capabilities of the device. So could this be a fun way for us geeks to waste some time while waiting for our oil to be change or a table to open up at your favorite restaurant? So what does this language ......

TweetMeme Button or Template Plug-In for WLW

In my search for a way to allow readers to tweet post that I put on GWB I have come across the TweetMeme plug-in for Windows Live Writer. It automatically puts a twitter button at either the top or bottom of your post depending on how you configure it. It comes with a warning that it does not work with blog servers that strip out script from posts which I made me afraid it was going to make it incompatible with GWB. This turned out to be the case so I figured we would need either an upgrade to the ......

Adding Tweet Button To GWB Post

I have wanted to have a Tweet button on my individual posts for a short while. So here is a test to see if the Twitter code for their button con work on Geeks With Blogs site via Windows Live Writer. Tweet del.icio.us Tags: Twitter,Tweet blog ......

SkyDrive and Consumer Cloud Services

Paul Thurrrott recently posted an article on the future of SkyDrive and I was asked what I thought about its future by @UserCommunity. So let’s take a look. The breakdown from Microsoft that Paul described I believe is an accurate representation of users and usages. While I can’t say that I leverage SkyDrive to the extent that it was meant to be I do enjoy having OneNote hosted their and being able to consult and edit it from the desktop, web and Windows Phone. Taking that one step further is the ......

GWB Influencer

I was pleasantly surprised to find out this week that I am now part of the Geeks With Blogs Influencers program. It is hard to believe that it has been 5 1/2 years since I started blogging here. It has always been a great community and it is great to be able to show off how much I appreciate having this soapbox here to share ideas. I look forward to being here a lot longer. Finally, thanks to Jeff and the crew for keeping the lights on and continued improvements. del.icio.us Tags: GWB,Geeks With ......

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