PDC2008

Jeff Atwood: A Very Brief Interview

by Joey deVilla on November 10, 2008

joey_devilla_jeff_atwood

Over at Canadian Developer Connection, we’ve got one more video from PDC in which Yours Truly conducted the interview: it’s with Jeff Atwood, the guy behind the blog Coding Horror and co-creator of Stack Overflow. It’s a brief interview; there were many people who wanted a slice of Jeff’s time, and we were lucky to even be able to buttonhole for as long as we did.

We’ll catch up for beers and Rock Band soon, Jeff!

Links

{ 1 comment }

Salmagundi for Friday, November 7th, 2008

by Joey deVilla on November 7, 2008

Interview with Chris Slemp, MSDN

joey_devilla_chris_slemp

Here’s another video interview featuring Yours Truly at the PDC: it’s with Chris Slemp, Program Manager for the Server and Tools Online group at Microsoft. In the interview, we talk about MSDN and its new social bookmarking feature.

Click here to watch the video.

“Grim Fandango’s” Puzzle Document

grim_fandango_puzzle_document

If you’re looking to get into the mind of a game designer and the design of one of the most highly-regarded computer adventures games, be sure to check out the Grim Fandango Puzzle Document. Tim Schafer, in “a temporary fit of Cake-induced Grim nostalgia,” decided to put the game’s puzzle design document online in PDF form (it’s 2.3MB in size).

Here’s a great summary of the Grim Fandango Puzzle Document, written by Andy Geers:

I use that word "crafted" because that’s exactly what this newly released document shows: true craftsmanship. We see the incredible attention to detail, the pacing of the narrative as it builds and as the puzzles get increasingly sophisticated, always coaxing the player along with them. As somebody whose spent the last few years trying to write my own adventure game, what struck me most about this document is the sheer simplicity of it – it’s well established that it takes a great deal of clarity and hard work to boil down something so vast as Grim Fandango into such a simple representation that conveys so much information in such a succinct way.

It’s a considerably more interesting read than most specs.

My Job-Related Reading List

Nothing gives you that frozen-caveman-thawed-in-modern-times feeling like returning to a software platform after not developing in it in seven years. Getting back into the swing of Microsoft’s development tools has been fun so far, but it is, as a lot of people have told me, like drinking from the firehose.

reading_list_nov_2008

To quickly get acclimated with C#, ASP.NET and XNA, I’m expensing the following books I bought today:

I’ll let you know what I think of these books as I read them.

“Zero Punctuation” Reviews

And finally, a couple of reviews from my all-time favourite game reviewer, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw. The first one’s for Saints Row 2, which includes a great argument for why it might actually be a better game than Grand Theft Auto IV as well as a brilliant concept for a new game:

and here’s the latest review, for Dead Space, which he summarizes as “competent but bland”. Luckily, his review is anything but…

{ 0 comments }

PDC2008 graphic

A number of people have asked me how many sessions I attended at last week’s Microsoft Professional Developers Conference; my answer was “I only attended the keynotes”. Since every session was recorded on video (with a split screen showing both presenter and presentation) and made available online, I decided to focus on what you can’t replicate outside the conference: getting to know people in the Windows developer community.

It’s standard procedure at Microsoft to assign “buddies” to new hires to help them get acclimated. I have the very good fortune of having John Bristowe as one of my buddies; not only is he a warm and friendly guy, but I also already know him (his sister Ashley and I went to Crazy Go Nuts University together). John’s big on podcasting and was very generous in sharing the interviewer’s chair; he let me do a lot of interviews as a way to both get podcasting practice and introduce myself to people in the Windows world. Thanks, John!

You’re going to need Silverlight to view these videos. If you’re rolling your eyes at the prospect of having to download yet another plugin, keep in mind that Silverlight is a pretty cool tool for writing rich internet apps, I’ll be covering it rather extensively soon, and it’s catching on. Besides, you can’t see the videos without it!

Don Box on My Joining the Dark Side, Demos, Oslo and M, Zombies and How to Pronounce “Azure”

Still from Joey deVilla's interview with Don Box
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

After introducing myself to Distinguished Engineer (yup, that’s really his title) Don Box as “Microsoft’s Newest Employee”, I told him about my coming to Microsoft from the F/OSS world and asked him to please tell me that I hadn’t made a tragic mistake and ruined my life by coming over to the Dark Side. We also talked about his preparation process for his keynote demo, the Oslo platform and the M programming platform, the proper way to pronounce “Azure” and whether or not Microsoft is ready for the zombie apocalypse.

Useful Don Box/Oslo Links

Miguel de Icaza on Mono

Still from Joey deVilla's interview with Miguel de Icaza
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

I had a great chat with Mono Project lead Miguel de Icaza about Mono, their answer to Silverlight, the number of people in the Mono Project and how you, as a Windows developer, can take Mono out for a spin. We also talked about how to pronounce “Azure”, and Miguel speculated that the name was a clever choice because the disagreement over its pronunciation is a great way to get people talking about it.

Useful Miguel de Icaza/Mono Links

John Lam on IronRuby

Still from Joey deVilla's interview with John Lam
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

It’s always good to catch up with Toronto-area guy turned Redmond guy and IronRuby creator John Lam. We had a quick chat about IronRuby and the current state of the project. In the interview, he reminds us that IronRuby is an open source project, talks about the Ruby standard implementation tests it’s currently passing and what to expect from IronRuby in the near future.

Useful John Lam/IronRuby Links

Phil Haack on ASP.NET MVC

Still from Joey deVilla's interview with Phil Haack
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

Phil Haack not only has the coolest surname for a techie, he’s also got an MVC framework for ASP.NET, just like the ones the Rails, Django and Cake people get to play with. In this interview, we talk about MVC web frameworks for the uninitiated, as well as get his take on how to pronounce “Azure”.

Useful Phil Haack/ASP.NET MVC Links

.NET Micro Framework

Still from Joey deVilla's ".NET Micro Framework" interview
Click the picture to see the video of the interview.

Believe it or not, there’s a .NET framework for embedded devices, the .NET Micro Framework. In this interview, I learn about .NET programming for small devices, the “Dare to Dream Different” contest (where you can win great prizes for coming up with new applications for the .NET Micro Framework) and about what donuts have to do with microcontrollers. Mmm…donuts!

Useful .NET Micro Framework Links

{ 0 comments }

Slice of Life from PDC, Part 4: My Crappy Hotel

by Joey deVilla on November 3, 2008

Night shot of the Cecil Hotel

Over on my personal blog, The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century, I’ve got a long (but entertaining) review of the hotel I stayed at while attending the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference titled A Dump with a Future.

{ 0 comments }

Slice of Life from PDC, Part 3: The Simpsons Ride

by Joey deVilla on October 30, 2008

Sign for Universal Studios' "The Simpsons Ride"

On Tuesday night, attendees of the PDC were treated to a night at the Universal Studios Hollywood amusement park, which was closed off to everyone but us. Everything was free: rides, food and drinks, and the park was dressed up for Hallowe’en, complete with horror movie characters including Freddy Krueger, skeletons and chainsaw-wielding zombies.

I’ll post more photos on the Accordion Guy blog later, but in the meantime, enjoy these photos featuring the new “Simpsons Ride”, which was very amusing. It’s one of those “ridefilms” or “simulator rides”, in which you’re placed in a ride car that seats 8 that gets jolted around in sync to an IMAX film. The basic plot:you’re trying out the new ride in “Krustyland” when suddenly, Sideshow Bob takes over the controls as an act of revenge, and hilarity ensues.

Entrance to "Krustyland"

One of the best things about the ride is that they try to keep you entertained in line with…you guess it, Simpsons cartoons. These new cartoons were made specifically for the ride, feature a number of Simpsons characters and best of all, feature writing that’s a lot funnier and sharper than the show has been lately.

{ 1 comment }

Interview with IronRuby’s John Lam at PDC2008

by Joey deVilla on October 29, 2008

I’m meeting up with a lot of interesting new people and catching up with old friends and collegaues here at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2008 in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Among the people I ran into was John Lam of the IronRuby project. This was the prefect opportunity for me to conduct my first podcast interview as a Microsoft Developer Evangelist. I asked John to explain IronRuby to people who’d never heard of it and to give us a quick summary of the current state of the project.

My thanks to John Bristowe for suggesting that I conduct the interview and for doing the camera and post-production work!

{ 1 comment }

Web Versions of Office: About Effing Time!

by Joey deVilla on October 28, 2008

This morning at the PDC keynote, one of the announcements made was about the online, web-based versions of the Office Apps we know and love: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. They look better than their Google Apps equivalents — so good that it’s quite hard to tell the web version from the desktop version. Take a look…

Word

Take a look at these two photos that I took at the keynote. Which one is the desktop Word and which one is the web Word?

word_for_office_14_web
Click the picture to see it on its Flickr page, where you can see it in larger sizes.

word_for_office_14_desktop
Click the picture to see it on its Flickr page, where you can see it in larger sizes.

The answer: The top one is the web version; the bottom one is the desktop version.

OneNote

Try the same thing again, this time as OneNote:

onenote_for_office_14_desktop
Click the picture to see it on its Flickr page, where you can see it in larger sizes.

onenote_for_office_14_web
Click the picture to see it on its Flickr page, where you can see it in larger sizes.

The answer: The top one is the desktop version; the bottom one is the web version.

Excel

One more time, with Excel:

excel_for_office_14_desktop
Click the picture to see it on its Flickr page, where you can see it in larger sizes.

excel_for_office_14_web
Click the picture to see it on its Flickr page, where you can see it in larger sizes.

The answer: The top one is the desktop version; the bottom one is the web version.

Live Collaboration

One more thing: in the demo, they were running the web, desktop and phone versions simultaneously on the same document, with each user’s edits updating the other two’s versions. There are some great collaborative possibilities here.

{ 2 comments }