Monday, November 30, 2009

Gee, thanks Peterborough Railway

"cheapest single to Kings Cross"
"fast or slow?"
"what's the differrence?"
"about £3"
"OK, fast"

On arriving at platform all slow trains cancelled (no drivers), and all slow tickets valid.

What a bunch of $£€#$%#€@@s

Friday, November 27, 2009

#TEE09 You know Tech*Ed is finally over when...

you delete the WiFi settings from your phone.... :-(

Monday, November 23, 2009

Global warming

I have never been with happy with the the soothsayes who claim all gobal weather change is down to man. It does not explain previous ice ages, the mini ice age in the late medieval period, and many other things.

That does not mean i oppose cleaner energy, more self generation and so on. Just oppose the wholsale 'we're all doomed' philosophy.

And I have NEVER beleived that it was anthropogenic, and detested the vilification of any voices objecting - that's just scientific fascism. If you cannot bear to engage in proper argument, then your case is probably rubbish. I hope the details linked below will start to expose things for what they really are

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why hasn't anyone invented...

A cover for my steering wheel that is also a drum machine so I can join in with the music?

Monday, November 16, 2009

A return to reality #TEE09 #marillion

En route back to Blighty from Berlin and one of the better Tech*Ed of the last 16 years.

But it's tinged with immense sadness, for I return to a world without Jayne. Her funeral was last week and I already said how I feel about that.

On the plane I'm listening to tracks that were played at her funeral, and those to which I have a great emotional attachment:
The Great Escape
Made Again

And now a dose of King Crimson
These might get back into a less docile frame of mind.

Neverland is the live recording from the fanclub warm-up of 30th April 2004. The date's important because it carries with it my strongest memory of Jayne. Early that year I'd started an all or nothing diet that enabled me to lose about 4 stone or more. Jayne and Mark were at the gig (Aylesbury Civic Centre), but we'd not yet seen them. All of a sudden there came a loud shriek from across the bar area and blue jumpered and long black haired blur ran up to me shouting "OH MY GOD - WHAT'S HAPPENED TO YOU!!!!!", immediately followed by an enormous hug (both arms reaching round and meeting <g>). It was Jayne. It was the greatest possible affirmation of what I'd achieved, and really welcome.

Sadly, thanks to adverse reaction to statins, that achievement of mine is temporarily lost, but that happy memory of Jayne lives on.

So, to home, and a Yes gig tonight in Birmingham, boy am I going to be knackered in the morning :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The text for the Enigma not at #bpark

Twitpic downscaled this. In case blogspot does...

"Enigma coding and deciphering machine
With the Enigma texts could be encrypted by means of several interchageable rotors and additional plug settings. The extreemely high number of potentials coodes meant Wehrmacht messages almost impossible to decipher at first"

There's quite a bit to modify/correct here, but #bpark can probably do it better than me.

I'd have liked to see a reference to Bletchley Park with it...

I think Alan Turing and #bpark might have a view on this...

Blimey! #bpark #tnmoc

8 bit East German computer, one of only 21,000 made in the 80's.

Twin floppy and everything!

Wonder if there's one at The National Museumn Of Computing in Bletchley Park?

And in the German Hostory Musem... #bpark

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It really is amazing #TEE09

Eileen has blogged ( about how much goes into preparation for Tech*Ed. As ever it's a mammoth operation, and if you really stop to think about the implications of everything it is truly staggering.

That the 'noises off' about issues are so relatively muted is a real testament to the team that does it. I've had my share of complaints over the years, and I do always try to find suggestions for improvements rather than just bitch - at times it might not come over like it, but I really do care for Tech*Ed and it really pleases me to see it still here after all these years, and running so well.

This year's Tech*Ed has to have been that bit harder as it's the first time it's been to a new country and city in 7 years.

It's easy to complain, but I cannot think of any conference/event I've been to that caters as well for it's delegates, even ones 1/100th the size.

I challenge anyone to do as good a job as FITCHlive and Eileen. Hats off to you all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Britain to go all Stasi in their eyes

Disappointed that once he turned up and spoke (despite his attempts to get away from his Jonah reputation) the rebuilt Berlin Wall fell down exactly 20 years after the original; it is now clear that before catastrophically losing the next election Gordon Brown intends to set up a tribute act to the Stasi in the UK.

If Marillion made beer

It'd taste a lot better than Carlsberg.

This day gets stranger #20jmf

19 years ago I was in Berlin for the first time. Angie and I had gone to see Roger Waters fulfill his promise to play The Wall again only if the Berlin Wall came down.

After an amazing day: starting at the Reichstag; then some incredible scenes at the Brandenburg Gate (Russian and East German uniform on sale) to a brilliant concert in Potsdammer Platz we ended up back at the hotel, put on the TV and found the concert being broadcast.

Now, having come back from the Mauerfall commemorations from the Reichstag and striking scenes at the Brandenburg Gate and then back via Potsdammer Platz the Mauerfall is on BBC World in my hotel...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Microsoft #success #tee09

Microsoft, please, please, please keep Tech*Ed to 1 week.

It's great having the mix of presentations, and i like having blue or orange content to stress the choices i have to make, but it's better still have devs and pros together.

You may view us as two communities to talk to, but in the end we are one community back at the office.

Never ceases to amaze me #TEE09

When Tech*Ed starts i have in mind a few people i want to catch up with.

Yet again by close of day 1 I've bumped into them without even trying!!

I was there! Day 1 of Tech*Ed 2009 #TEE09

What a day.

Tech*Ed kicked off in full and it was a mixed day - as usual it difficult to predict how the sessions are going to go. I should pick out John Craddock who was predictably great on 2008 R2 AD improvements.

Emerging into the dark, very wet Berlin night I (and a couple of friends) made our way to Friederickstrasse Bahnhof, and walked down to the Reichstag building to join what I now find was a crowd of 100,000 people stand in the freezing rain to listen to the current leaders of the four former occupying powers, Angela Merkel, Mikhail Gorbachov, and local dignitaries make speeches; Jon Bon Jovi sing a song; and then watch the 1000 wall dominoes tumble to the ground.

As the dominoes followed the course of part of the wall is was not a bad way to commemorate the events of 20 years ago, and I'm pleased to say "I was there".

(I might have to rotate one or both of these photos when I get back)

Now for a hot bath to quench the shivering...!!

Oh dear, Tech*Ed keynote #TEE09

As I type people are leaving the keynote in significant numbers. It seems rude, but I can understand.

Keynotes at Tech*Ed have declined in power as the suits take over. Back in the old days <bg> keynotes were fun, silly, energising, and had a lot of WOW. And the smartest thing worn was a relatively fresh golf shirt.

This feels like the conclusion of the past few years. The Microsoft speakers are in suits and ties for heaven's sake; and the whole thing has a serious business to business tone, rather than techie to techie.

It might change in the next 50 minutes but I'm not hopeful. When you think of the opportunity:
Exchange 2010
Office 2010
Sharepoint 2010
Sql Server 2008 R2
Windows 7
Windows Server 2008 R2
Visual Studio 2010
Powershell 2
Project 2010
Forefront TMG 2010
That could have filled many hours of WOW demos.

Is it because Tech*Ed is in the early winter instead of the summer?

Ah, at last!!!!! Julia White is on after 45 minutes doing an exchange 2010 demo, but unfortunately a lot it's stuff that's been in the public domain for a while.
The biggest cheer was for the OWA demo using Firefox :-)

Now we've got 2008 r2 tools and eco being evangelised.

Overall I feel this keynote has been written by Redmond to sell to suits and to people watching on the web, not by techies to wow techies... Honestly - how many techies get excited by the bottom line?

#TEE09 Tech*Ed and feeling guilty

Over the years I've had several reasons to feel guilty whilst attending Tech*Ed. For many years the conference co-incided with both my wife's birthday and our wedding anniversary - I missed 7 or 8 of those. Although on others she came to Amsterdam or Barcelona to celebrate there.

Many years ago I declined a request to be someone's godfather because the christening was whilst I was at Tech*Ed. But to be fair it was also because I thought they were desperately seeking a Catholic (much lapsed as I am), and I have 1 special godson, and I wanted to keep it 1:1 special.

But this year scales new depths of guilt for me. Just over a week ago a special woman, a friend and fellow Marillion fan (along with her husband Mark); Jayne died. Today, Monday is her funeral, and I won't be there. I've spoken to Mark quite a bit since, he knows why, understands and thinks I should be here too.

But I feel such a shit for not being there. Mark knows I am there in spirit, but...

Jayne's favourite Marillion song Beautiful is being played at her service. I'll be listening to that a few times today. If you are reading this do me a favour - hop over to Spotify or iTunes or or whatever, find Beautiful (from Afraid of Sunlight) and hit play. And say a prayer for Jayne and her husband Mark. He'll be having a really shit day today - and I can't help feeling guilty for making it just a smidge worse...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

What a time to be in Berlin! #TEE09

I arrived early for some prep work. The last 2 evenings I've spent some time wandering around the Reichstag to Potsdammer Platz area.

Nineteen years ago when I first visited Berlin the Wall had only just come down and Roger Waters and a stellar cast were performing the classic Floyd album The Wall in Potsdammer Platz. A year earlier we'd have been shot just for being there; a few weeks earlier we might have been killed or maimed by the many landmines that had yet to be cleared. Instead nigh on 300,000 fans had quite a day.

This part of town is now a bundle of high rise smart office and shopping complexes and you'd never have known the Berlin Wall used to be there. Except you do. To celebrate (commemorate?) the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall the authorities have closed the roads and set up 100's of 'wall blocks' 8 feet high or so as a new wall. But this time the wall is not solid, they are setup like dominoes, and tomorrow night they fall! I will be there, and if you are at Tech*Ed, then you should be too.

And now as I write, there's a program on BBC World all about it.


PS is it a cultural thing, but i wonder why it's the 20th that counts. I'm sure at home in England it would have been the 25th that was the big one?

One thing I'll never do again!!!! #TEE09

I blogged that I did some filming yesterday for a Tech*Ed 101 session for people who are attending for the first time.

Being free just now I thought I'd attend one of those sessions.

I feel ill. Watching my ugly mug about 6' wide on the giant screen and all I can see is the stuff I don't like (me!)

Strangely the better clips were the ones that were hardest to do and took the most takes. I can now see the 2 I thought were OK were in fact rushed.

And the thing I won't do again? Watch any film with me in it, I'll do the recording again (if they want me that is!).

What's the best thing about using #TEE09?

I've been to loads of conferences, and in recent times organisers have used Twitter hashtags to monitor feedback. Most #fail as all they do is tweet you later with a follow up.

But Tech*Ed is different. Use #TEE09 and the organiser WILL read it. And if they can, they will act on it. I can guarantee it, because I know from personal experience that it happens. Even better, they'll engage with you to find out more - name me another conference on this scale where that will happen?

Every year Tech*Ed is changed by it's delegates; and that's avgreat thing to experience.

So, go ahead. Use #TEE09 and get YOUR conference improved. It feels good :-)

Day -1 at Tech*Ed #tee09

Updated 12th Nov: I've been made aware that some people have taken this post as an overall criticism of Tech*Ed 2009 and it's organisation.  It most definitely is NOT.  Having been many times there are plenty of things to be positive about, and the list below is only those things that I thought could improve.  A posting on what was good, would go on for ages :-)

Registration but also some sessions. But despite the usual high standards some worrying #fail issues:
* no feedback forms on the website
* no ppt slidedecks on the session details, i evaluate sessions by the number of slides, this seriously handicaps me
* the session rooms I've seen so far feel small. I am worried this will turn into Hamburg '95 again when you ended up queuing for 30 mins before, or missing out. It seems there were some full sessions (there always are!), but not like '95
* S-Bahn station walkway to the venue was locked
* session rooms are all to one side of the venue, therefore there's no natural transition via CommNet or the Exhibition (or the coffee facilities)
* the schedule tool does not load the speaker name, so if you've selected a session because of the speaker you cannot see that in your calendar
* the website sucks on a mobile phone. Because of java and stuff i cannot use it to plan sessions. This is a bigger issue as in the past we've even had a mobile app that had ppt and sessions abstracts to browse offline !!!

Good changes though:
* Not Barcelona again!
* no wasted water bottles, instead we get a jerrycan and use water coolers
* i'm back in a comfort zone

Don't get me wrong, I'm not upset or angry, just disappointed that my start to Tech*Ed was harder than it should have been

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Well. I've done the site safety briefing

That's a novelty for an delegate :-)

Fire is internal 110, suggest delegates don't call that!

I particlarly like the "power off electrical equipment" in the event of a fire. How's that going to happen with about 4GW of computing and presentation equipment powered on!!!

Tech*Ed number 19...

New venue, new (well revisted) format, new manager, new content.

Off to film some inserts for the Tech*Ed 101 sessions (tomorrow for you Tech*Ed virgins) with Hyper-T and Hyper-D