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Books to Read as a Programmer/Developer

1. May 2008 17:11 by scott in   //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

I think just about every programmer has a list of books they wish to read and since I am a programmer, I am no different.  Below will be my ever growing list of books that I suggest to read or want to read.  These books are things that will change the way I think on things in life and that's why I choose to read them.  No fairy tale novels or romance books here.  Its all books I can learn from.

Currently Reading

The Bible - All about Christian ideals. Okay, I know this book is slightly out of context, but it is something that teaches a lot of things for the regular person.

Books I have Read

  1. ASP.NET Unleashed - This book is an in depth study of everything ASP.NET.  It talks about all controls and the deep code it takes to build web sites and winforms.

Want to Read

  1. Code Complete - Steve McConnell - I first heard about this book on a weekly radio show I listen to called dotnetrocks.  I have not currently read this book, but it is supposed to cover the entire scope of Computer Science and coding.
  2. Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug - I forget where I read this book, probably from the same dotnetrocks interview that I heard for Code Complete.  This book details all items of usability.  How to make the best user interface that a person can create for the user.
  3. Mythical Man Month - Frederick P. Brooks - It is another book that I want to read about the human elements of software engineering.  If you write code, this book should be on your shelf from what I hear even though I have not gotten it yet.
  4. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information - Edward Tufte - By some this author is called a genius in all user experiences and just making life an easy flow of data.  This is a must for any programmer from what I understand.
  5. Visual Explanations - Edward Tufte - Another book by Tufte in which this one and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information are supposed to required reading for any person that develops Great UI's.
  6. Envisioning Information - Edward Tufte - The last and final book that is another must read for Tufte.  People say that it is not required to read all three, but highly recommended.
  7. Introduction to Algorithms - Something I need to read since I am way behind on the curve of programming real stuff.  I was a Computer Engineer in college and got hired up as a Computer Programmer! 
  8. Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software - Supposed to go in depth of why and when to use Object oriented programming and this is another book because I missed my core CS classes while in college.
  9. The Elements of Typographic Style - Lets see how to write and display text better in this world.  This book comes recommended from the highest sources and will not pass it up.

After I finish reading these books, I will move them to the "have read" section and make sure I give a good explanation of each of them.

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Heroes Happen in Orlando, Florida with Microsoft

25. April 2008 17:08 by scott in   //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (6)

So here I am attending the heroes happen conference in Orlando, Florida. I left about an hour and a half early knowing I would get there on time. I was driving down the road and the first toll I come to, they said they won't take a company Amex card. I told them I didn’t have any cash so what happens now “do you take me to jail”? Here I was thinking I would have to pull off the side of the road and be talked to by a cop. Oh-boy, but he then spoke up and gave me a small toll violation sheet that says don't do it again.

I pulled off at the next exit and got $20. So right before I was about to get off at the final exit, I go over this small bridge and a cop was waiting on the other side. Seeing  that I was late, I was trying to make up time by going 77 mph. The thing I didn't know was this 4 lane highway had a speed limit of 55 mph.

Oh boy, I got pulled over and I now have to pay $200 to an Orlando sheriff’s office. So I pull in to the convention center and now running about 30 minutes late and for those who haven't been to the Orange County convention center. It is huge, no doubt about it. So after driving around, I thought I arrived at the concourse, so I got my stuff together and started walking. I asked a staff person where Microsoft was and of course he had to say “not in this building”. Oh boy not again. I get back in my jeep and I find the Microsoft conference. I’m in the home stretch. Not ten minutes goes by and I have LOST MY WALLET! I drive back to the other parking lot to look and don't find it. I decide I’m wasting time and I guess I’ll call all my banks soon to cancel my cards. I go back to the convention center and found out they require $10 for parking. I don't have my wallet and therefore don't have cash. I decided to drive over the curb to get in. I’m not proud of it and will likely regret this for a while, but maybe ill mail the convention center $10. So I’m finally in. I arrive and the developer session is getting ready to start. I grab one of those Microsoft handy dandy lunch boxes and go into the session. So anyone want to donate $200 to my cause? Email me at spoiledtechie (at) gmail dot com.

Microsoft Lunch box

The sessions are brought to us by

Disclaimer: I was expecting to write an in depth article on what I learned, but these sessions were not able to go into learning new things, it was all about what Microsoft rolled out and so my points are brief.

Now on to the session:
They started off with a brief presentation and moved right into the changes with Visual Studio 2008.

Some features they listed off include:

Split view window
The split view allows for both your UI code and the UI display of the page to be displayed. It was one of those wonderful improvements that came with this upgrade.

JavaScript debugging
A big update for JavaScript which can let you go through the code and set breakpoints just like in your code behind page. This along with JavaScript intellisense is a HUGE improvement.

JavaScript intellisense
Just like the intellisense for the code behind page, they now have intellisense for JavaScript. This brings the entire library of JavaScript into our hands instead of looking through a book for them. Amazing!

Framework drilling
This feature allows you to change and upgrade your framework from 2.0 to 3.5 in just a few clicks. It is done by selecting the properties of the solution and clicking on the drop down in the display to select the framework.  Quite impressive.

Ajax control toolkit at
The toolkit now comes with both .NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. Both of which is old news, but still very cool.

Next session: creating an outlook form control.
They talked on how to implement our code into office products. They used a web service for communication along with LINQ. The front end was built with regions and WPF.

They went on to discuss Sharepoint workflow's which looked interesting. They hit on about 20 steps in visual studio 2005 that needed to be completed in order to create workflow's. It looked extremely tedious, but now with VS 2008 It was only 3 steps.

Side note: if you know Microsoft, you know they love blogger's and if you know me, you know I am not the one to hold back. So in this session, they were probably told by Microsoft just what to talk about and probably got a lot accomplished on those topics, but they definitely need to look for better speakers next time that can code and speak at the same time.

Next session: smart client applications.

Presented by Russ Fastino with Microsoft and John Goodyear with aspsoft.

They talked about how to make client applications with a better user experience.

They asked about the weaknesses of what Microsoft is doing with WPF. I had to speak up and tell tem that my MSDN license doesn't allow me to use the Expression Studio. It costs too much for the average developer to ask his boss to upgrade to a better user experience.

Interesting point: WPF is offered in Visual Studio express and that means average developers can code with it and have it rendered.

They then showed off the tech preview for Expression Blend 2008. Awesome stuff. I already played with it and used it, but its always fun to see it again. Expression Blend 2.5 has full Silverlight 2.0 support.

Free Stuff received:
Microsoft Lunch box
Vista Ultimate
SQL Server 2008
Windows Server 2008
Visual Studio Standard 2008

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I found my wallet and $20.00 when I went back to look for it where I got pulled over. Interestingly enough, I found $20.00 in the grass and the wallet on the passenger side of the jeep.

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Day 4 at DevConnections 2008

23. April 2008 17:34 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (10)

Boy am I tired.  I can literally say I am exhausted.  Now here is why. Sessions today were AMAZING and today was a good day because yesterday I found a programmer just like me who is as young as I am who wants to start up his own company just like I do.  I am not telling you his name, but I got his contact information and will be giving him a ring ding ding soon!  Anyone else interested in helping me with my ideas?  I am poor and don't pay until we actually produce something, but I am looking for some takers. I don't mind splitting 60-40 or even starting a small business with employees.  It will NOT be a consulting business, too many of those floating around.  I want to start a business with my own ideas and make them a reality.  Any takers?

Sessions Attended:

Building Custom AJAX Controls:
Taught by Dan Wahlin.  If you have ever met him, he is as tall as me and married.  One question I asked him personally is how he gets so much done and his wife be okay with it, when I have a girlfriend of my own.  He said she gets used to it. This guy is also pretty interesting and pretty informed on the subject of ASP.NET.  I enjoyed this session, because the JavaScript he taught was pretty much down to my level of understanding.  He hit the topics of web services and JavaScript debugging in Visual Studio.  He hit on the things to do when your starting up a new JavaScript file and make sure it talks to ASP.NET.  Cool session, but far too much to be explained here.

Building N-Tier Applications with LINQ:
Taught again by Dan Wahlin.  Another great session about how to implement LINQ into your projects and showed the easy parts of LINQ which only gets easier from T-SQL.   Thank you Dan for this great session.  It is a lot to implement in this short session.

Can you tell I am getting tired?

PLINQ: LINQ but faster:
Taught by the one and only Stephen Toub.  The same guy I met last night is now teaching a session.  I didn't know much about what he was talking about last night, but when he hit on it today in the session, I WAS BLOWN AWAY.  So, he has got this 24 CORE computer up in Washington that he ran demos for us on.  If you don't know what LINQ is I should ask that you check it out.  PLINQ is the next step up and which you can select and transfer data at tremendous speeds using the processors that a person has in their computer.  He completed a select statement with one processor with 256mbs worth of data and took about 20 seconds.  The second select statement was with PLINQ with the same amount of data and the select completed at .5 seconds.  Amazing STUFF.  This kind of data selects could be used for gaming and even the Folding@Home project where they use personal computers from all around the world to fold protein.  Amazing things if they only had their hands on this.

.NET Rocks:
Live interview with Dan Wahlin.  I screamed a few times and asked the first question. Great interview and good times thanks to Carl Franklin, Richard Campbell and Dan Wahlin.

Time to Go home.  Thanks for reading.  More to follow. 

Side Note: I am required by my company to do a "What I learned" white paper.  I will post it to this blog when done, because it will contain a lot of things that I thought would be too detailed to explain in these entries.

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Day 3 at DevConnections 2008

22. April 2008 17:32 by Scott in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (8)

The third day and almost done.  I wasn't happy that the third day was here, but I guess I have to live with it.  There is something about being around a bunch of nerds. All I can say is I did thoroughly enjoy my self on this day.  I got to meet a bunch of interesting fellows including Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell.  I will speak more on that later, but now lets get to what I learned.

Sessions Taken:

Programming SQL Reporting Services:
Taught by Paul Litwin which is the director and coordinator of sessions at DevConnections.  He was extremely knowledgeable in Reporting Services and one area of development that I needed more time in.  I specifically need this for my job more and so any Reporting services sessions I saw at DevConnections, I made it mandatory for me to go to. This session along with the other reporting session I took, were very informative.  They talked about how to make very good looking reports along with the ability of drilling down to more detailed reports when you clicked on a certain data item.  The reports are coded on the back end with vb 6 and so this causes a slight problem when a developer works in C# or VB.NET and they have to convert to the old ways of vb 6.  I also learned a few things about configuration manger and how to access the web.config files information.  This was a rather valuable session and I must say that if you haven't already, meet Paul Litwin personally.  He is quite a character and was a great help on a personal level.

The Science of Great UI: A MUST see session!
Instructed by Mark Miller.  This was one of those sessions you take a lot of information in and only remember it for a small amount of time unless you implement it.  This session was taught by the same guy who invented and is the Chief architect of CodeRush.  Mark presented extremely well and talked about all the UI problems in many programs he sees out there in the real world.  To give you an example, the SAVE button is an old "A:" floppy drive, but who uses those anymore?  Another would be not to have keyboard shortcuts in any program you create. Shortcuts are essential to great UI because it lets you get around the program faster.  I must note that half way through the session, Marks computer went down and instead of saying "oh my god, the session is over" he pulled out his thumb drive and asked for another computer from the audience.  He is a great speaker and presenter which knows a lot about UI.  One session I would like to see over again.

ASP.NET Internals:
Taught by Rob Howard.  When I was done with this session, I was immersed in the amount of stuff I didn't know and the amount of stuff I will try and remember.  He described a lot to do with why the ASP.NET team built things the way they did.  Why the Update panel does a full page update, the need for sessions and caching, the underlying structure of the framework, the IIS advances with ASP.NET.  He also showed information about the HTTP Runtime and the underlying way to create a scheduled task. For Example:lets say you are on a virtual network and don't own the box so therefor you can't create a scheduled windows tasks.  He showed us how to do it using the Global ASAX and how to speed up our box by caching a lot of data.  I admire this man.  He has done exactly what I wanted to do with my life.  I went up to him at the end of the session and let him know he was my hero. He built a application that is free to non-profit organizations.  Its called Community Server and after quitting Microsoft he has turned a profit and is continuously working on it day in and day out.  He had an idea and went with it.  That is why he is my hero.  I have plenty of ideas and I am currently running with one of them, but finding the time is the issue. haha.  Thank you Rob for a wonderful job.

Building "Pure" Ajax Applications with ASP.NET Ajax:
Taught by Stephen Walther. This session went into a DEEP DIVE into JavaScript and how it could be made without full page posts backs.  I must say that I did drop out of this session half way through because it was more about politics and why using JavaScript over ASP.NET controls was better than the other.  It didn't take a deep dive into how to functionally use it which is what I would have wanted.  After dipping out I went to ASP.NET search engine optimization tips and tricks by Rob Howard.  This session after enjoying the first of Rob's sessions was also very cool.  I enjoyed understanding how to better suite my online application for the search engine these days.  Thanks again Rob for another wonderful half a session.

Building a LINQ-Based Business layer for ASP.NET application:
Instructed by Rick Strahl.  I must say I am a frequent visitor to Ricks site and the picture on the left hand side doesn't do him justice for the way he looks in person.  Sorry for being blunt, but he is an overall very cool and nice guy.  Sometimes after reading his blog posts, I think he is a bit too smart for his own good and after meeting him in person, I must say he is wicked smart and has a good sense of street smarts. heh.  In this session, he completed a lot of things I didn't know. Background "I have only been programming professionally for a year and a couple of months and he taught me through his code how to really set up an application or multiple applications with one code block." I also must say, because of this mans session, I have started my own framework called the STFramework for SpoiledTechie which builds off of the ASP.NET Framework with my own personal code. heh. He taught us how to set up an application layer, business layer, data layer and a UI layer for starters.  Then he went deep into how fast LINQ was compared to other data selects and I must say, it does become a bit slower, but over all LINQ is an awesome language to deal with.

Extra things I learned:
Bill Gates is genuine and has a good character.  I was talking to Julie Lerman which did an interview with Bill Gates and published it in Code Magazine.  Thank you Julie, and which if you haven't met her, she is a great person.  We chatted for a good 30 minutes all about what I was learning, how ASP.NET was evolving, how much people make on book deals heh, and which she introduced me to a guy up at Microsoft named Stephen Toub who works on Parallel Computing up at Microsoft's R&D labs.  Pretty impressive stuff he is working on and which I will explain more in my next post about DevConnections Day 4.

Google has an Achilles heel.  More to come on this topic in my next blog posts, but it is an interesting topic.

I got to spend an evening with Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin who run the Internet radio show DotNetRocks in which their fun an entertaining interviews of ASP.NET superstars are informative and topic related.  Richard, and Paul Litwin and I talked about various things until Carl and Mark Dunn came stumbling in from a Irish pub.  We had great conversation over Microsoft, good drinks and what are Gets:Sets in the programming language.  I did ask the question of what Gets and Sets are and out of Paul and Mark, I will have to say that Mark answered the question better.  Thanks for the great night guys.  I truly enjoyed your company and hope for many other nights like it in the future. heh. Pictures below. Also, Rob Howard was there for a few minutes, but he stepped up as I sat down because it was getting late of course.

Sorry about the lighting, Taken with my AT&T Tilt. From Left to Right (Richard Campbell, Me, Paul Litwin, Carl Franklin).

Ahh, before I forget, I won over $300,000 dollars in PLAY money at the craps table tonight! Too bad it didn't win me anything at the raffle the next day.

I can't think of anything else and I hope this was a good read.
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Day 2 at DevConnections 2008

21. April 2008 18:56 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments (10)

The second day at DevConnections was a bit more exciting than the first. On the first day, we had just basic keynote addresses from some pretty popular people.  On the second were a bit more hardcore and real sessions.  I was happy with the sessions I took, but clearly some developers cannot present well.  Before I talk about these sessions, please understand that these are my unique views and no one else's.  I know I will be giving a harsh critic on one presenter.

Sessions Taken:

A Lap around Visual Studio Team System:  Taught by Neelesh Kamkolkar, which is the Senior Project manager for Team System.  This is the only harsh critic I will give in this post and I am sorry for doing so, but in order for Microsoft to give better sessions, they must learn from their mistakes.  Neelesh spoke about the ins and outs of Team System.  He spoke in an extremely general topic which was dissatisfying.  It seemed to me that Neelesh wasn't prepared at all for this session.  Every test or application he tried to run, failed on him and not only did he NOT try to work on the problem and get it fixed so he can show us a working example, but every time he failed; he said okay lets move on to something else because of time.  I was just upset that we didn't see Team System work at all.  This to me was a very poor planned session and I hope Microsoft sees that he is a better manager than a presenter.  I do want to give him the benefit of the doubt seeing that he said he traveled to three different parts of the world in 7 days, but I imagine he can test app's on his laptop while on the plane. Am I correct?  The only true thing he got done was getting advice from one of his friends in the back (probably a developer at Microsoft) to tell him what to do on Team System.  It almost seemed to me that he had less than 20 hours on the actual application.  I would have rather had the person in crowd that was helping him present and fix his mistakes than him up there as the project manager.  Hopefully Microsoft will learn.

LINQ Deep Dives and Best Practices: This session was taught by Colin Meek.  Now let me tell you about an extremely intelligent programmer at such a young age.  This is your man.  He presented LINQ which didn't hold very many best practices actually he used bad practices, but I must say that he forewarned us that this is not a session on best practices.  The idea behind the session was to take about 15 lines of code to query a database and shorten it down to only 2.  Quiet an impressive goal if I may say and what's awesome is that he did it even with parameters for the query.  He started out going into pretty complex stuff which was a bit beyond me having not come from a CS background, but with a CE background.  He demonstrated what they do to get LINQ to actually work and example code of how they create LINQ. He then went on to actually show us a very basic LINQ query which if you used LINQ at all, you would have done these types of queries.  One thing I did take away from the Session if nothing else, was the point he made was the reason why they switched up the "from and select" syntax in LINQ from SQL. He said it was because they can't actually help you with intellisense against the query if they have the "select" first.  If the "from" is first, they can pull the information from the database and have it work with intellisense.  Pretty smart move if I must say so. Overall, I liked it a lot.

Introduction to the New ASP.NET MVC Framework: Taught by the one and only Scott Guthrie which many consider is an icon in to software industry.  From his keynotes, I saw people trying to get pictures with him and saying that he was a big talking point around the office.  As VP of Microsoft and in charge of ASP.NET, Silverlight, WPF, WCF, MVC and a few other off the top of my head, he is the man to talk to if you want a developers prospective.  At the session he discussed the things MVC framework has in store for developers.  He compared it to a "Car v.s. a Motorcycle" and he truly believed in that. Some people like the car and some like the motorcycle. he said, By no way do we need to switch over from webforms.  I saw only 2 truly real advantages over webforms.  MVC currently can be used for that avid testing bed of developers. It also has URL Re-writing built into it.  He said that ASP.NET will be implementing URL re-writing in the coming future so then the only difference will be the fact that it is easier to test in. That's it ladies and gents, that's the gist of it.  I hope you take that to heart, because that is the only difference.  I for one am glad to know that MVC will not be a new type of language I will have to continue in.

SQL Reporting Services: Advanced Report Design: Taught by Jason Carlson (Doesn't have a online profile).   This is one of the best sessions I have been to so far except for the MVC with Scott Guthrie.  I still think I am taking more from this session than any session so far.  Jason took a DEEP dive into Reporting Services and showed us how to create some pretty good looking reports which I am extremely happy with what I have taken back from this session because the reports I currently have on my application smell like a bad woman's perfume.  I could not say thank you more for showing me the light on reporting services.  I wish I could explain the depth we took, but it is too much information to be explained in one short paragraph.  Maybe later.

Things I learned today outside the sessions:

  1. runs completely on ASP.NET and has now for two years - Confirmed by Scott Guthrie after chatting with him for a few minutes, MySpace still has the CFM tags, but they made the switch over to ASP.NET 2 years ago. Scott told me to email him about a case study they did on the MySpace switch over so I did and will post that valuable information on my blog once I get it.  For a Stat, MySpace saw a 500% reduction of server resources when they switched over from ColdFusion to ASP.NET.  I was happy to hear that because its hard to find any facts on ColdFusion v.s. ASP.NET. This stat is comes from Scott Guthrie.
  2. ASP.NET, Silverlight, MVC, XAML and all the new technologies Scott's Team is coming out with are INTERCHANGEABLE! - What does this mean?  I can upgrade to ASP.NET 3.5 and already have a fully fledged application in production and I can add a XAML page developed in Expression Blend, a full Silverlight page and a complete MVC page running all on the same application with ASP.NET 3.5.  This is Impressive!  I can run all the developer technologies and integrate every single one, into one application that is already in production.
  3. is a MUST visit site for an awesome Silverlight application! - Hard Rock wanted to categorize all their memorabilia they had collected over the years so they brought it all together for a photo shoot using a 500MP Camera!  I ask you to just go check this site out.  When you Zoom in on the pictures, Really Zoom IN and when you zoom out, really zoom OUT. It is extremely impressive with what they did. I hope you enjoy it for I know I did.

Free Stuff:

  1. Everyone received a free copy of Visual Studio Standard.
  2. AT&T had a developer party and people walked away with LCD big screen TVs, AT&T Tilts and shirts along with free beer and food.

I think that's it and I hope I helped you out with what happened today at DEV Connections 2008.

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First day of DevConnections 2008

21. April 2008 12:18 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (38)

I thought I would tell you what the first day was like.  I am writing this at 1:30 am (too much fun and just kind of happened with the amount of knowledge obtained tonight).

I arrived around 5:30pm, running a little late doing errands and saying goodbye to my girlfriend before I left.  I arrived at one of the largest and finest hotels I have seen in my life I think.  On the shuttle from the parking garage to the hotel, I was told that this is the biggest Marriott in the world complete with 7 pools and a water slide.

From there, I checked in and got settled for about 10 minutes until I had to go downstairs for the keynote speaker of the night.  A guy named Norman (forget the last name) spoke on Visual Studio Team system.  I listened to these things and it is more like they are trying to sell you something than educate you on things, but they did provide some great examples.  If you can, imagine one company with a few hundred software applications currently in development and production.  Visual Studio Team System can bring together and allow for the Developers, Managers, Customers, Designers, etc access to each and every application that comes out of the company.  So like the project I am working on, I would be developing in Visual Studio and the customer and my boss would login to a web based portal and review the current bugs, changes, updates, check-in's, nightly builds etc and see what I am accomplishing.  At Microsoft, the Team system they are using is greatly expanding month by month and they have well over 11,000 users with over 1,000 software projects being built.  If my boss wanted to look at my project and see how it is coming along, all he would have to do is log into this web portal and review every intricate detail in my application.  He wouldn't log out either, he would stay logged in and visit another application in the company and see how it is coming along at the same time.  And then the customer would log in, and submit a change request.  That means no more time spent on developing an SCC workflow for change request from the customer!  From there, Team system dives into the testing the application.  Team System can record movements with the mouse and key strokes to have a live maintainable test.  This allows for automated tests to be completed with a save.  So let’s say I build a workflow and it runs for 5 years, but then I make a software change. Instead of making a new test, I would run the old test over night and see if it passes or fails.  Team system then has the intelligence to tell you all the tests that failed and succeeded over night.  It also has an amazing bug tracking tool that can only be built on.  (Getting more tired)

From there, Scott Rizzo came up and talked about SharePoint.  I have only used it as a web portal application, but it has the ability to create a web application with very little development time.  It blew my mind that I could be up and running with a intranet site in minutes that could be flexed out to thousands of users.  SharePoint definitely should be looked into by all companies more.  This one has the power and development turnaround time to beat out all the other intranet portals that have been built throughout the years.  I was impressed.

Free stuff:  So like I said, If I win the Harley, I will give it to my boss.  I have kept up my end of the bargain and so after the key notes we had to visit about 50 booths and get a card stamped to enter it for the Harley. Sure was interesting, because it actually made people stop and look at each product which I must say is pretty impressive.  80% of the floor was taken up by SharePoint add-ons and the other spots were taken by guys that have some awesome controls.

I have about 100 business cards, a free backpack with registration, a few cozies for bottled beverages, a bunch of hand outs, a bobble head that AT&T was giving out (by the way they are throwing a developers party tomorrow night and are pushing big for teaching developers to develop for the AT&T mobile apps), two note taking binders, and I think that is it so far.  Also, I had a chance to win a Wii, but of course I am unlucky.

At the end of the night, a free beer with a ticket and after some pie; I headed over to the computer lab and met a guy named Jason Carlson.  He is speaking about SQL Reporting services which I do fully intend on attending.
So far, I have had a blast and kind of wished there would have been some hard core software guys playing around in the lobby tonight, but I was wrong.  Instead I found a bunch of Microsoft guys to hang out with. (I guess I am somewhat of a farm boy "Fan boy")

Internet is $15.00 a day here also, so Instead I decided to just hook my laptop up to my phone and use its Internet so I don't waste money, therefore I don't think I will be online that much but still will see email on my phone after checking it periodically.  Hope you guys are having as much fun reading as I did type.  Later!

Scott Pio
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Emotionally inspiring movies that could change your life

16. April 2008 23:42 by sam in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (4)


I am a movie going fanatic.  I love movies right down to my bones.  The movies that I love the most are ones that can be learned from.  Something that you can take back and say wow, "My Life has just been changed".  I adore those kinds of movies and I must admit, I have seen quite a few in my 24 years of life.  Though, what modernized countries haven't?  These movies, I feel have actually made me a better person in some way or another. Listed in alphabetical order.

  1. 300 - Based on a true story about the battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas and 300 of his famous Spartans fight to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian Army. This movie is very graphic, but gives us extremely valuable lessons.
    • One can never try to hard - The Spartans are bread and made for war.  They grew up each and everyday training for war and defensible combat.  They were the cream of the crop when it came to men of war.  The lesson is to keep striving, keep pushing for once you get there.  You will be at the top of your totem pole.  Don't stop pushing, don't stop changing.  Adapt and become a better person. I know every time I see something wrong with me, I try my best to change it and become a better person.
    • Teams are essential in a Team oriented event - The Spartans were able to push back hundreds of thousands of men with a small niche in the rock carved out for about 10 men.  They were a team and every time they got tired, they switched up.  They worked in one of the best team environments that were capable at that time.
  2. American Beauty - A middle aged man confronts the reality of his suburban life.  He finds the fire in his life when his daughters friend comes into the picture.  The story is not about a romance between the friend and the father, but the fathers fire being re-ignited in his life.
    • Live every day like its your last - The man was able to become stronger and start living for what he wanted in his life.  He decided that life was too short for him.  He started doing things he wanted to do and was then happy for it.  Don't stop pushing for each day. A famous quote goes "You can sleep when your dead".  Take that to the heart.  Do things you have never done before and always wanted to do.
    • Love your kids - The man finds out he has a poor life and his daughter hates him.  The movie never truly explains why, but it is evident that she does.  Don't grow apart from your kids.  They are your only link in the future and will be there when your on your death bed.
  3. American History X - This is a racially motivated movie and not for the faint of heart, but if your willing to watch it you will see a neo-Nazi become reformed.
    • People can always change - This lesson in it self is extremely important.  Life can always turn around.  If you know a famous quote that starts like "Once a ....  Always a ....", you need to rethink what is going through your mind.  People can change, but they do have to want it.  We are all taught different things in different ways which forces some of us to think harsher than others.  If the person wants it enough and they see the mistake they committed, they can change.  I know my Girlfriend has caused a lot of change in me for the better.  Every time she sees a problem, she points it out to me, I waddle it in my head and take a step backwards then step forward again a changed man.  The fact is, I love my girlfriend and if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't commit to changes like I do.
    • People can be forgiven - "I am dead and I am alive again, I was lost and now I am found".  One of my favorite quotes in life.  The Neo-Nazi went to jail, he was lost and changed himself inside jail and then he was forgiven by the state which some could call rehabilitation.  Forgiveness is one of those cardinal rules that we can all live with.  Forgive more and you will love your self more.
  4. Beauty and the Beast - Everyone knows this one, but if you didn't.  An enchanted prince takes a maiden to his castle where she falls desperately in love with him.  He is willing to die for her.
    • Love more - This goes without saying that in a perfect world, everyone would love one another, but we are not in a perfect world and we don't live in peace.  If everyone in the world though, read this blog post; I know we would love each other more in the world.
  5. Boondock Saints - Two brothers change a city by committing sins that help the citizens live safer at night.
    • Stand up for what's right - The brothers stand up for the people not able to take action.  They see rapists getting free, cocaine dealers getting off on a technicality and men who beat their wives get out and do it again until she dies.  I always told my girlfriend that if I was ever on my last leg and I had nothing to live for in this world, I would sign up to what these men did.  There are critics out there, but these two brothers truly supported the freedom of others while pushing them selves into hell.  They made the world a safer place by standing up for what is right.
  6. Chasing Amy - A man decides to love a bisexual woman and then loses everything, even his best friend.
    • Find the love of your life and settle down - There are plenty of songs out there about going over the fence to see what's on the other side, but don't do it.  Once you step on the other side, you will not be able to return.  You will have lost your Amy.  This is another movie that sends chills down your back when you listen to silent Bob describe how he lost the love of his life, Amy.
  7. Dead Poets Society - About a teacher who touches the minds of men and makes them enjoy the world. Carpe Diem.
    • Carpe Diem - "Seize the Day" was the motto of this movie and it rings so true in all of life.  I hope every day you make it great. Strive for everything for you only have so long on this planet.  People before you are pushing up daisies.  Do you want to be on your death bed before you have completed everything you wanted in life?
  8. Freedom Writers - Another teacher movie which teaches both the kids and the teacher to strive for excellence and to love one another.
    • You can't tell a book by its cover - These kids grow up in a dangerous life right after the  L.A. riots.  They are the gang bangers and the thugs of the street, but in the end you see that they possess intellect and love.  They send chills down your back by the idea's that bad people can come up with.
    • Everyone can grow and has potential - Everyone in the world can experience personal growth and has the potential to do good.  These kids showed that by going to college and experience things that they never dreamed of.
    • Anyone can make a difference - If you remember the teacher was always told that she could never change the kids.  That they just needed to get out and graduate and then move on.  She showed us that anyone can inspire and make a difference to such a small group of people, but something that can change the lives of millions.
  9. Saving Private Ryan - A soldiers life in World War 2 that is awe inspiring, but is gruesome at some points.
    • Make your life worth it - Every soldier that died in wars before died for a reason.  They died so their can be freedom in this world.  Live your life so you make their lives worth it. Help others at all times. Open the door for some lady. Say please and Thank you.  Make your life worth their death.  Truly Inspiring.
  10. Scent of a Woman - From the name it might sound risqué, but once you sit down and watch it you find that a boy out of college fights for someone else's life. He helps a person find a reason to live again.
    • Fight for it - Fight for what you believe in. The kid is prosecuted and destroyed at school, but out of school he still has the morals and character of a great man.  It is this man that brings that chills down my back. Fight for it!
  11. The Day the Earth Stood Still - One of the best movies in the world.  The idea behind this movie is an alien and his robot come to earth to deliver a message of the other planets that could bring peace to the world.
    • Bring Peace to all around you - If we had world peace like what is required in the movie.  The trillions that are spent on military could be used to officially remove world hunger.  It would make it a thing of the past.  I would be out of a job, but It would be absolutely amazing feat to see what the world and human beings can think of and invent in a world without conflict.  It will never be a reality, but we can dream.

As understood, I am a movie lover.  I ask that you post comments on what movies you think are amazing that can be learned from.  I am always in the mood for another GREAT movie.

Charity of the Month - Each Month I will sponsor a charity. At the end of each year, I will donate at LEAST 51% of the revenue of this blog equally out to all the charities I sponsored for that year. I hope you look at the charity and decide to donate.
  Blue Planet brings people in poorer countries fresh supplied water.  I hope each of you look at this site and decide to donate $30.00 at least.  I know you probably have an extra $30.00 sitting around.  Why not spend it on something that will save a persons life?

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Malicious Code in 2007

13. April 2008 23:50 by scott in   //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments (54)

Whenever I surf the web, I try to look for things to learn from. I try my best not to go to anything that can’t be learned from. I read news articles, I listen to audio books and some of my favorite movies are things that can be used in the real world. I specifically like the movie The Boondock Saints. But this blog isn’t about the Saints. Its about what I learn about the world and wish to share with others.

Today I found a white paper published by Symantec, the virus ware company. They listed off one of the most detailed papers about the overall Internet security threats that we were exposed to in 2007. I for one wasn’t going to read over the entire 105 page document. I just don’t have enough time in the day with all the other projects I am currently working on along with the countless hours of community service I try to do.

I did skim over it and pulled out the graphs (I love Graphs, Visual representations are amazing) which are represented below.

Below shows the amount of malicious activity by country which is extremely interesting. Not because United States is up on top, but because China which has the Great Firewall is second. It surprises me that a country that regulates an extremely large amount of Internet for its people isn’t able to hold back the amount of activity it produces. You would think that a web site that has malicious code on it would be blocked by the firewall, but from what these records show, is that hackers and phishers are thriving in this environment


Below shows the malicious activity per subscriber to broadband. This shows that the countries shown above on the top echelon that are on the bottom echelon of the image below have allot of open connections and are privy to wireless attacks. The countries above have a limited amount of Internet and the ones below have it spread throughout the country i.e. United States.


Below shows how much each person is worth on the black market, which if you think about it, its not much money when someone sells an email list. It is almost disgustingly low. Am I only worth $15.00 to capture my social security number and other information (row three)?


Patch Development

Below shows a breakdown of operating systems and how fast they can push a patch out. I am not going to argue for a particular operating system, but I am very happy to see with the amount of money Microsoft has, they do push out patches extremely fast compared to Apple, Red Hat and HP. I always knew that Apple had a large amount of vulnerabilities, but this graph shows that Apple can be vulnerable for an average of 79 days, which gives hackers a huge window to develop farms or computers from a large amount of user base. If they get control of these computers, they can then distrbute on going updates to their code which would allow them never to be detected.


Below shows browser vulnerabilities which is an awesome display of how fast companies work. Even though Internet explorer is so high on the list of days, 11 days is still a pretty quick turn around. But of course I do surf with Mozilla Firefox, so I am better off than most.


How many vulnerabilities were there in the past 6 months or a year? Looks like Firefox is high on the list, but I imagine they are getting a larger user base over the past 6 months and therefore are being exported allot more.


Plugins are not the best thing to run on your site unless required by a customer who shows a specific user community. Active X is definitely the worst in this case and that is enough said.


Below shows the amount of vulnerabilities in general for the passed year, which I am happy to say that they look like there overall decreasing.


Below is the graph showing that the code being written for malicious purposes is growing and not on a small scale. It looks like it is growing by 100% every 6 months. That is huge, and it also shows that more and more countries are coming online and creating more user communities that destroy and manipulate.


Below shows what kind of code is being written for malicious attacks.

Trojan - is a piece of software which appears to perform a certain action but in fact performs another such as a Computer Virus. Wikipedia.
Back Door - is a method of bypassing normal authentication, securing remote access to a computer, obtaining access to plaintext, and so on, while attempting to remain undetected. Wikipedia
Worm - is a self-replicating computer program. It uses a network to send copies of itself to other nodes (computer terminals on the network) and it may do so without any user intervention. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Wikipedia
Virus - is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user. Wikipedia.


How do things propagate and spread to other systems? Well the answer is file sharing with executables or .EXE files. Most likely done through P2P systems that download and upload software along with other highly wanted software. A user could accidentally open a piece of software and never know it was a virus until it was too late.


For those P2P people out there who like sharing files, well I sure hope that you keep the directories closed and only share files through torrents. I know WinMX is still alive and kicking, but it has a hopefully robust detection system.


Who deals with advertising on P2C systems like Google or Yahoo? I know I am a publisher as seen on the side of the page, but there are Trojans out there that automate it for people allowing them to rake in allot of money. I know I used to be a part of a group that practiced in this activity when I was around 14 or 15 years old. I surfed the net while having banners displayed on my desktop, but during that time I was able to get around it because of a group of Angels I was associated with. I have left all that behind now after taking in a large amount of money and putting those companies into bankruptcy. I look back on it now and wish that I hadn’t.


On the last graph, I am also curious to see that China is one of the highest Phishing domains out there, but how is this possible with the Great Firewall?


I hope you now have a better understanding as I do of the problems with the net these days and the top contributors to malicious technology.

I have a Dream, what are your childhood dreams?

13. April 2008 23:07 by sam in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (9)

I went to the local CVS market place a few days ago to pick up some milk for home. I find my self drinking more and more of that stuff as the weeks go by. From what I have researched, there are no true harmful side affects from milk itself. This is definitely a good thing from a family of two who drink around 3 gallons a week. After picking up the milk I met an old college buddy at the register.


We haven’t seen each other for a few years and I said “hi”, he said “hi” back and we traded polite conversation. I asked him if he was happy with his job and he said “it was alright like others”. I then went on to ask him what was his dream? What did he want to become or do in his life that, if he achieved would be truly amazing to him. He said “He never reached his dreams”. We are both young in our lives and so we have plenty of time to reach our dreams. I then began to ask the cashier if he had achieved his dream and what was it. He said “it was to open a store of his own”. I was just amazed at people, because everyone has a dream, but not everyone has achieved their dreams in life. I know I sure haven’t. What are my childhood dreams? What are my adult dreams? I know I have them, so here I wish to post them. Dreams are supposed to be goals in life. Things you wish to aspire and achieve in life. I want to ask that in the comments section, you also post your dreams and aspirations. What have you dreamed about in life?

1. To be President of the United States. Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge dream and I mostly want to become president because of the amount of affect/good change I personally could have on the world.
2. To work overseas in a humanitarian effort for the underprivileged.
3. To go into Space.
4. To push peace throughout the world.
5. To own a business.
6. To achieve financial success where my family no longer needs to “work”. I want my family to live and to help others. It is extremely hard to do that with a 9-5 job.
7. To help others live free in the world.
8. To be a pizza delivery boy. (Completed)
9. To be remembered as a great, honest, loving, peaceful person who helped change the world. (This one won’t be completed until after I pass on.)
10. To have a loving family with my wife and kids.
11. To Die with a smile on my face.

I want to make clear that I will keep coming back to this list to update my dreams. I know I will accomplish them all. Now I ask you to post your dreams. Let everyone know them. Write them down once your done and work on accomplishing them. We only have so long in this world; why not make the best of it?

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Window Panels in Visual Studio 2008 (Dang-it, stop it!)

10. April 2008 23:30 by scott in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (17)

There is a small feature that is just wasting little seconds that add up! I started using Visual Studio 2008 and started to notice it as soon as I started making new projects.

So, what is my problem, well I will tell you. The windows in my Visual Studio keep closing when ‘the pin is not pushed’. Let’s say I want to put a bunch of new controls onto the ‘deck’ from the toolbox. I have to first ‘push the pin’ and then start moving them over to the deck. I can’t just keep the ‘pin un-pushed’ and drag over the items. It should at least stay open for a second or two, and if it gets a user action to grab another item or at least put the mouse inside the window it shouldn’t move away so fast.


I have even tried grabbing really fast when the window closes and I can barely even get my mouse inside the window before it closes. I know it sounds like it was built for the keyboard operator more, but sometimes I get controlling and want to use my mouse.

One more problem with the windows, if you open a CSS file via the Solution Explorer, the window stays open for eternity. I often find my self having to Alt + Tab or open another window before it closes. This is a design flaw that I have had to deal with for a little while.

Dear Scott Guthrie:

Since you have some sway at Microsoft, can you please put this on a future release or even something in the options that you can set? I would love to have the option to either close quickly or close after 2 seconds so it lets the user open multiple items in the window. Please help. How about releasing a quick fix? That would be awesome!

Respectfully a .NET guru.

Scott Pio