All posts by Craig Murphy

TechEd 2005 – Catching Up

These events are excellent for catching up with folks that I normally communicate with via e-mail.

This includes: TurboDemo, AutomatedQA and International Developer.

I’ve also found a few new products to consider for review. Without giving too much away, I found what looks like a great web service, SOAP, http testing framework that includes loadtesting…more later.

And I found Jason on the Borland stand! Borland were demonstrating Delphi 2005, StarTeam, Calibre RM and all your favourite Borland products. Cool stuff, Borland at a Microsoft conference.

TechEd 2005 – More SQL Server 2005

Good Lord! Take a look at the “open table” menu option…it used to have a row limit option. In SQL Server 2005, the row limit option has gone! If you do choose to use the open table menu option, make sure that you hit the ‘stop’ button very soon after the open table process starts…don’t go off to lunch: huge amounts of memory will be consumed in the process!

The afternoon session saw the introduction of the dynamic management object (associated with DMVs, dynamic management views). The DMO replaces some of the functionality of DBCC – it surfaces some of the performance events, disk usage, table usage, backup and restore activity and user statistics (to name a few). One really cool feature is the ability to copy the DMO, thus allowing time-based historical stats to be built up. Indeed, the ability to fire a SELECT * from … in order to gain access to what was previously locked inside DBCC is a real boon. And it can be exported to Excel too…this caught a few folks attention!

Whilst I’ve seen it before, Kimberly demo’d the help inside SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) – it’s rather neat: it will work off the locally installed help, online help comprising of (currently) Codezone, the MSDN and a Questions collection (more about this when I get to it).

TechEd 2005 – Misc

RFID
One interesting “feature” that I’ve got stuck to my name badge is a RFID tag…it claims to have a random number only and does not contain any personal data…

…the RFID is monitoring the flow of people in and out of the preconference session rooms (it’ll be switched off after the keynote demo). Neat. You can remove the RFID of course, should you wish to be excluded.

Lunch
And, lunch…was sponsored by Borland. The highlight of lunch, apart from the food and the Magnum white (ice-cream) was the “flooky” meeting with and dining with Michael Rys of W3C and XQuery fame.

TechEd 2005 – SQL Server Management Tools

Kimberly Tripp‘s doing an excellent job of showing off the new features in SQL Server 2005, and she’s making reference to SQL Server 2000 for comparison…

Well, here’s my first post from TechEd 2005, Amsterdam…I didn’t get much sleep last night, considering I was on the 0550 flight out of Edinburgh wasn’t a good idea, but, as they say “we are where we are”. And here I am blogging from a break in the session…

My first key takeaway revolves around upgrading from a SQL Server 2000 database to a SQL Server 2005 database. It’s something most of us, as SQL Server users, will have to do at some point (hopefully real soon). I was pleased to learn that Microsoft have set themselves a [stretch] target of 3 minutes for a 2000 to 2005 in-place upgrade. Kimberly also went to great lengths to explain the ins-and-outs of moving a database (she demo’d Northwind, which doesn’t ship with 2005) using detach and attach.

Further examples demonstrated the performance gains to be had from a 2005 upgrade, especially with regard to fast file initialisation: Kimberly created a 2gb database without fast file initialisation enabled…it took 103s. She then proceeded to create the same database with fast file initialisation enabled…the result: 12s. Wow.

One halleluhaj moment is the fact that 2005’s dialog boxes are now non-modal, i.e. you don’t need to open Enterprise Manager (or 2005’s SQL Server Management Studio, SSMS) in order to do more than one thing at a time!

Demos were in a Virtual PC window, with 1GB running XP-32 on an AMD-64…the VPC was very “performant”!

Off to TechEd 2005…

With any luck I’ll get some time to blog about what’s going on, etc. It’s going to be a busy week, apart from TechEd sessions there are evening events planned for Monday through to Thursday…it never was going to be a holiday!

The code is the design

It’s amazing how what was considered humour a few years ago suddenly becomes a working reality today.

In a December 2003 session in Edinburgh, Scotland, Martin Fowler discussed the subject of “the code is the design”, and made reference to Jack Reeves article What is Software Design? Basically, Martin stated that the most accurate form of design documentation that you have for your application is the code itself.

If you’re a first year university student, you can probably relate to this: write code first, then make the “design documentation” fit the code you’ve just written; voila, the code reflects the design.

Anyway, I was clearing out some 15-year old files and came across some interesting photocopies. Here’s the best one:

agile world

How prophetic. Assuming that we take “Software Specifications” on its own, we’re not far off the statement the code is the design…

“Nice” highlighting feature courtesy of Microsoft PowerPoint 2003.

Now, I reckon there might be some copyright issues here, however since I never saw/owned the original book that this was published in, I can’t make reference to it. I’ve left the page footer logo in place, hopefully somebody might recognise it.

Is eBay broken?

I, well, my wife, has bid for a couple of things recently. This is my first experience with eBay, so I’m not sure that it’s working the way I expected.

The first bid was for a Robbie Williams doll (did I mention that it was for my wife?)…we were outbid by 50p on the last day.

The second bid was also for a Robbie Williams doll …we were outbid by 50p on the last day.

Amazing, 50p each time, different sellers. How did that happen?

Either eBay is outbidding by 50p for their benefit or the seller has another account for increasing the bid.

Heck, I don’t care, it’s a con either way in my opinion. Unless somebody from eBay e-mails me to confirm that this is not the case, that’s my bidding on eBay over…after two failed attempts.

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How to ensure that you never meet your future employer…

At my wife’s recommendation, I was watching Channel Four’s Big Brother television programme.

Now, there’s a programme you wouldn’t want your future employer to see you on. And if you’re Kitten, you should be worried. Very worried. Why? Well, it’s not hard, but before she even entered the house, her escapades guaranteed the fact that when my time comes to employ staff, she won’t be short-listed.

And tonight, she totally ignored the fact that the Big Brother staff called her to the diary room asking for a nomination. Not once, not twice, but three times. This was a nomination for the house-mate who could do without their suitcase for some of the 10-week duration. Rather unsurprisingly, Kitten received the most votes and ironically nominated herself. Joy of joys.

So, through stupidity and bloody-mindedness, she’ll have to make do for at least another week without her suitcase. May be, another nine weeks, if she’s lucky…little chance there I think.

Please don’t get me started about those house-mates who didn’t understand Big Brother’s question: “BB will deliver 11 (out of 12) suitcases tonight, please nominate the house-mate who you think shouldn’t receive their suitcase: state their name and why. ” It doesn’t get simpler than that, but these folks were confused by such a simple question. Even that goon with four A-levels. He’s 20 for crying out loud.

What are his four A-levels going to be worth in 10 years time? Nada, amigo, nada. (And on the off-chance you are reading this, and one of your A-levels isn’t Spanish, nada means nothing.)

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Google broke, but Clarke fixed it

I was glad to read Clarke’s mention of me here

But Clarke raised the important subject of Google being “broke”: Fame can be fleeting – especially for famous MBA graduates.

Of course, when Google indexes this page, Clarke will be even more famous, and Google won’t be broken any more. After all, searching for famous MBA graduates should take you to http://www.clarkeching.com. No doubt.

Craig Murphy XML SOAP Delphi C# XSLT Scrum XP TDD Test Driven Development available author writer speaker developer ScrumMaster .NET Hire.

There you go, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’ll check back later.

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Hidden Slippage

After reading this, I followed through to here, which meant I ended up here.

To summarise, Michael’s theory is this:

The amount of undetected slippage that can occur on a task that was scheduled to take X, where X is in the range of one hour to one week, is X.

Generally, I’ve found this to be true. However I have to augment it with my experience:

The amount of undetected slippage that can occur on a task that was scheduled to take X, where X is in the range of one hour to one week, is X. However, as X gets closer to one week, the amount of undetected slippage that can occur on a task that was scheduled to take X, is actually X + X.

Those folks who don’t understand this are the same folks who will ask you if you have a “quick minute”. A minute’s 60 seconds, no argument. There’s no such thing as a quick minute that doesn’t last 60 seconds.

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Prince 2 Foundation – Day 2

Day 2 of my 3 days of Prince 2 Foundation training…

Notable quote: “At some point you’ll need a detailed requirements document”. This was made in reference to selecting an “end date”.

I was a little surprised to learn that apparently, after requirements have been gathered, we’re supposed to work out an end date using estimating and scheduling. Of course, we all know that this is a luxury; end dates are frequently dictated and imposed upon us!

Page 239 of the Prince manual discusses Management of Risk. It was interesting to learn that risks can have a negative effect and a positive effect. In other words, a risk can be an opportunity. Amusingly the lecturer believed that the manual has “messed” with a good English word.

Equally amusingly, page 241 states that risks should be owned by the person best situated to keep an eye on it.

Fortunately, there is some overlap between Scrum and Prince 2. Both approaches advocate openness and honesty, never tell the Executive or Product Owner “what they want to hear”.

However, Prince 2 does take a moderately long time to “start producing the goods”, there’s a lot of up front documentation/design before production begins.

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