Scott Hanselman

Blue Badge

July 21, '07 Comments [177] Posted in Musings | Microsoft
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imageI'm going to work for Microsoft. There, I said it. I'm going to work for ScottGu's team in the Developer Division.

Someone once showed me a diagram that looked something like the one at right. Most of us spend our time over in the red circle doing stuff someone will pay us to do. If you're lucky, you spend your time in-between them, doing stuff you're good at also. Sometimes something comes along that puts you right in that sweet spot and you have to go for it. Will this be my dream job? Could be, I don't know, but if it's not, it might get me a lot closer.

What's this mean for this blog and the podcast?

Fortunately, nothing. The blog is still mine. The podcast is still Carl's and mine, and while having a Blue Badge will get me access to more interesting people to interview (Hopefully some smarties in Microsoft Research. Maybe Bill, or that elusive Ray Ozzie interview...he's only turned me down twice, and he was very nice about it) as well as, hopefully, some exclusives. I'm still going to talk about what I want to talk about. ScottGu and team were very cool and explicit that the blog and podcast are mine.

Will the voice of this blog change?

If it does, then I'm doing something wrong. I've been an advocate for some things Microsoft for years, while other things, not so much. That's why I'm going to work for the DevDiv (Developer Division) and not Marketing. I might be a fanboy, but I'm not evil.

All the blog stuff, the articles, the podcasting, screencasts, etc, that I've done over the years have been done on my own time, usually very late at night for no money save what I can get from Google Adsense and a few advertisers that pay for my hosting.

When someone is a starving artist, they paint for the love of it. They starve, and paint, and starve and paint, and lament that no one will pay them for their art. Then one day, a benefactor comes along and says, "You're brilliant! I'll give you $ if you paint me 10 more just like it, with these small changes, and have those done by Tuesday, m'kay?" And the painter sometimes regrets it. Everyone that I've talked to has been totally up front and cool about things and while my job will be to Spread the Good Word, it's not like I wasn't already doing that anyway. However, no one will be editorializing my content and I'll likely get into trouble occasionally.

What's my job?

The HR title is a nice generic one like "Program Manager" (I was thinking to get this on my business card - Scott Hanselman - progman.exe, what do you think? ;) ) but in essence I'm going to talk about .NET and Visual Studio - the whole of DevDiv, including ASP.NET, WinForms, WPF, Silverlight, CLR, LINQ, IIS, DLR, .NET CF, everything. This means videos, screencasts, podcasts, maybe some Channel 9 stuff, doing articles, wikis, speaking at conferences and large events (invite me!), creating starter kits, samples, as well as my regular hobby of plugging things into other things. I'll also be working on understanding our community (that means you, Dear Reader) thr  ough conversations, visits, and trying to bring some big picture analysis (the kind of stuff I do now, again) to the .NET 3.5 and .NET Futures stack. I am also obsessed with getting my new Apple Newton Messagepad 2000 to sync with Outlook 2007, so watch for that.

What about Corillian/Checkfree?

The combination of CheckFree and Corillian promises to change the way people manage their money online, and I gave careful and serious consideration to the opportunities I had to continue to contribute to that vision. There's rarely a good time to leave a company, especially one that you love, but this was as close to a "it's not you, it's me" kind of breakup as one can have. I've been spreading the Computer Zen on the side for five years now. I've been speaking as part of INETA, doing the MVP and RD thing for years. While there's huge opportunity at Corillian/Checkfree right now, the bosses (and my friends) made it clear that I could be a big part of the future, this opportunity just happened (at Foo Camp, actually) to come together in such a cool way that I decided I wanted to move out of my comfort zone and take a leap of faith.

I've grown to know ScottGu and many of the folks in MSFT Building 42 and have decided that they are good people. Sure, there are some odd decisions that are made in the big house, but now I'll be on the inside, trying to make sense of them, and hopefully I'll be able to influence things for the better.

What's next?

HanselborgStewardship is defined many ways, but I like these two:

"Taking responsibility for the survival and well-being of something that is valued, such as a natural resource" and "an individual's responsibility to exercise care over possessions entrusted to him or her"

If you trust me, you know that I'm not evil, and that I'm going to Microsoft in order to bring additional trust into the relationship between developer and platform. There needs to be a sense of stewardship and a deep valuing of the trust that developers put into their tools.

All this said, I've gone ahead, Dear Reader, by creating a Hanselborg image for you, in the interest of saving you the time of doing it yourself.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Task: Remove a Programmatic Crutch

July 21, '07 Comments [17] Posted in Musings | Programming
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Phil DeVeau left a great comment about Podcast 72 on Becoming a Better Developer in Six Months. He said:

Remove a Programmatic Crutch.  Everyone has programmatic crutches, maybe you can't code without coffee, or without music, or more likely you can't do anything without an IDE.

I love the way he phrased it. A while back (do forgive me the self-quoting, you know you're an idiot when you start quoting yourself but...) I said If you're going to develop a habit, why not make it a best-practice-habit?

That was a true and pithy statement, but I was thinking about new habits. I often forget about all the old ones. Here's my "crutches" and I resolve to do something about them...even if that something means deciding that they, in fact, work for me and I decided to keep on doing them. At least I'll be able to say that I haven't lived an unexamined programmer-life.

  • Email Checking: I tend to roll directly out of bed and roll, roll, roll, down the hall, roll into my chair, and immediately check my email. This is insane. There's rarely something crucial that's happened between 2am and 7am that needs my attention.
  • Crackberry: I'm getting better with this one, but still, the "urgency addiction" is strong in this one. I'll try to embrace the freedom of only checking email forty, er, um, I mean, four, times a day.
  • Caffeine: I thought I kicked the junk, but I'm back on it. The Diet Coke is going to destroy me. In the words of Dennis Miller, do I need a soft drink with an undertow? I'll start reaching for water unless I really need a kick to get some code working. Actually, I think that Diet 7UP is probably an appropriate methadone for Diet Coke, no?
  • XM 150-154: I love my XM Radio, especially the four twenty-four hour comedy channels...I listen to them while I code...wait...why is this a crutch? Screw that, I'm keeping this one.

What programmatic crutch are you going to remove during your quest to be a better developer in the coming months?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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First Rule of Software Development

July 20, '07 Comments [19] Posted in Programming
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fight-club-dvd We had a great email go out today from Brian Windheim, one of the Architects here. He said I could share it. It was sent internally to his team. I like Brian's style.


Frank broke the First Rule of Fight Club Software Development yesterday:

Never commit code just before you leave for the day.

The CCNET (Continuous Integration) build subsequently broke – despite the fact that he ran a local build first – and team members who were still in the office had difficulty progressing with their work for several hours.

First, the remedy.  If this ever happens again, simply revert the source repository to the prior known-good state using SVN’s revert changes.  Don’t try to apply band-aids, and don’t waste time solving a problem that the original developer could probably solve in about two minutes.  Using the tools correctly saves oodles of time. 

Second, the reaction.  Folks, don’t panic.  Ever.  If a quick peek doesn’t find the answer, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call the dude who broke the build.  In 15 years of software development I have many times been the guy that broke the build, fixed the build, got mad when I was working at midnight to fix something broken by the guy that just went to Mexico on vacation for two weeks, reprimanded the guy the broke the build, been reprimanded for breaking the build, and so on.  Get used to it.

Third, the lesson.  Don’t commit things without waiting for CCNET to tell you that you can go home.  All the more reason to have a faster build, no?


Broken builds break hearts, I say.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 73 - The Interns

July 20, '07 Comments [2] Posted in Podcast
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My seventy-third podcast is up. I have two high-school interns working for me this summer. In this episode I talk to High School Seniors Eric and Shady about their experience working at Corillian and their thoughts about learning languages and the future of engineering.

If you have trouble downloading, or your download is slow, do try the torrent with µtorrent or another BitTorrent Downloader.

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Telerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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MUIs and LIPs - How to write in Chinese and localize Windows in your language

July 20, '07 Comments [10] Posted in Internationalization | Musings
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I saw this email on a mailing list today:

We have some Chinese exchange students in town (a couple at my house actually). Some of the host families are finding that Chinese characters don’t display in IE – just boxes.

I did some searching for Chinese language packs for IE, but apparently I’m missing something. I can find packs for Office, and alternate versions of Windows itself – but where’s the magic download location so IE can display Chinese characters?

And while I have your attention in this matter – does anyone know of a good way to get US keyboards to enter Chinese characters? Or a virtual keyboard or something?

I personally don't think it's easy enough in Windows to add another keyboard and there's still a lot of confusion about language and "language packs" because of pre-Vista versions of Windows. Even now, there are aspects of Vista that make a non-English experience more than a little confusing.

To start with, I run Windows in English, but I'm told that there are some option updates (15 in fact!) and I'm continually (constantly?) reminded of it. I hope there won't be 945 updates in 10 years, all option, but I'll be reminded every day...

image

What 15 updates are these, you ask? Why Language Packs they are...specifically "MUIs."

View available updates

There are two kinds of Language Packs for Vista:

Windows Vista Multilingual User Interface Pack (MUI).‌ Windows Vista MUIs provide a translated version of most of the user interface. MUIs require a license to be used and are only available with Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Enterprise. If you are using Windows Vista Ultimate, you can download MUIs by using Windows Update. If you are using Windows Vista Enterprise, contact your system administrator for information about installing additional languages.

Windows Vista Language Interface Pack (LIP).‌ Windows Vista LIPs provide a translated version of the most widely used areas of the user interface. LIPs are freely available to download, and most LIPs can be installed and used on any edition of Windows Vista. Because not all of the user interface is translated, LIPs require at least one parent language. The parts of the user interface that are not translated into the LIP language are displayed in the parent language. When you download a LIP, you get the parent language requirements for that language. The parent language pack needs to be installed before the LIP can be installed. For more information, including a list of languages available for downloading, go to the Microsoft Local Language website.

Now, I'm no marketing guy, but I think MUIs (Moo-ies?) and LIPs are probably not very good names for these Language Packs and the differences are confusing.

The nutshell is that:

  • MUIs are more complete and are in Windows Update for the upper-Vista SKUs.
  • LIPs are partial translations (about 80%), and are free to download. They are also applied to all users on a machine.
    • This can be a free way to get your Mom or Grandma set up with "Chinese Windows" without much hassle. They usually install on top of XP English. There's 27 languages available.

You can get LIPs (Language Interface Packs) at the Local Language Website.

Language pack installation Where it can get confusing is that these packs are for localizing the interface. Showing the interface (output) is a different problem than inputting in another language. And all this is different from simply browsing in a foreign language.

Also, IE and other browsers are smart about fonts. This started around IE5, where you could visit a site in Chinese and IE would download the font automatically. Interesting, though, while you could see the Chinese inside the browser, if the <title> was also in Chinese, you'd see squares, because Windows didn't know enough about the font get render it in the Windows Title Bar.

When a language doesn't fit the English keyboard, there is usually a method - or many methods - to input the language. Windows includes IMEs or Input Method Editors for this purpose. I talked about the Ethiopian Amharic IME recently.

If you're running Vista, try this out. Go to the Control Panel and run the Regional and Language Options. Go to the Keyboards and Languages tab and click Change Keyboards. Notice the Installed Services tree view. This shows you the languages and keyboards you want available.

Text Services and Input Languages

Make sure you click over to the Language Bar tab and make sure that Docked in the Taskbar or Floating on the Desktop is checked. You'll see your existing culture appear in the Language Bar - mine is in the tray.

An IME will appear when you start typing in the foreign language. The IME for Chinese, specifically "Microsoft Pinyin" has many options for entry, depending on your style.

image

The Japanese IME is really nice, especially on a Tablet PC, as you can draw the strokes you want with the pen or mouse and it will narrow down your choice of characters.

image

As Ethiopian Amharic is a syllabary kind of like Katakana in Japanese, to enter Amharic you type the English letters that sound like what you want, and you get a list of choices as seen in this screenshot:

All of these IME's are available to you already in your current Vista installation. You just have to turn them on.

To summarize:

  • Regional and Language OptionsTo see your whole Windows Interface in a different language, look at a MUI or a LIP.
  •  To input a foreign language on your Windows machine, add a Keyboard and IME from Control Panel | Regional Settings.
  • To browse a website in a foreign language, make sure the fonts are installed. You can do it manually, or from Regional Settings. The XP example is at right. You don't need to do this on Vista, all the fonts come with it.

There's some confusing parts to this initially, but once it's setup, all you have to do is select the language from the Language Bar and it just works.

Cool stuff, I say.

Scott Hanselman 是 Corillian Corporation,一家提供電子金融服務的公司的首席設計師。他在以 C、C++、Visual Basic、COM 及目前的 Visual Basic .NET 和 C# 開發軟體方面擁有超過十年的相關經驗。Scott 非常榮幸在過去三年來受任 MSDN 俄勒岡州的波特蘭地區主管一職,並同時在波特蘭和西雅圖兩地發展 Developer Days 及 Visual Studio .NET 產品推出活動的內容並發表演說。Scott 另外還在四個城市的 Microsoft®Windows Server®2003 和 Visual Studio .NET 2003 產品推出活動中演講。他在國際間陸續發表跟 Microsoft 技術有關的演講,並與其他作者合著了兩本 Wrox Press 的書。在 2001 年,Scott 於全國 15 個城市巡迴演講有關 Microsoft、Compaq 和 Intel 採用 Microsoft 技術並傳佈良好的設計實例。今年 Scott 在太平洋西岸 4 個城市的 Windows Server 2003 產品推出活動、美國及馬來西亞的 TechED,以及奧蘭多的 ASPLive 中發表演說。有關他對於 .NET, 程式設計和 Web 服務的各項領悟,請參閱 http://www.computerzen.com/

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.