Microsoft Office Advert

Andy Swan has an occassional “Todays blog was brought to you by” post that revolves around unicode characters. So if you want to blame anybody for my next wacky idea, blame Andy!

Wherever possible, I intend to take a photograph of any Microsoft advertising that I see. I don’t know why, I’ll ask Andy if he has a reason for his obsession.

Here’s the first photograph, seen at London’s Victoria railway station:

Microsoft Office advert

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For those who turned up at my DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper session about Managing Iterative Development Using Scrum you were privy to my ‘Scrum’ flavour of the Dr. Who trailer (found here).

I recreated all the sound clips such that I could put my own Scrum-isms in at the right points:

Do you wanna come with me?

‘Cos if you do, then I should warn you,

You’re gonna see all sorts of things: projects delivered on time, on budget, even ahead of time and under budget.

It won’t be traditional, it won’t be set-in-stone, and it won’t be waterfall.

But I’ll tell you what it will be, a change for the good.

Anyway, if you didn’t like it, please be grateful I didn’t do something that involves this video clip (26MB) – this is the one that took out the Ministry of Defence e-mail servers. Whilst on the subject of this video, Clarke has re-posted some directions that might be of use. (Mr. Thomson reminded me that he blogged about it before Clarke and that some editing might have taken place between the two versions…)

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DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper: it’s all about community – join a community or user group today!

Well, here I am eight days after the event itself finding the time to blog about it. Many others have got in before me, namely:

Benjamin Mitchell
Simon Software Stuff over at
BizTalk Benjy otherwise known as Santosh Benjamin (it might be the other way around!)
Charles Cook
Ian Cooper
Mike Pelton (ok, so it’s a pre-event post, but I liked Mike’s writing style!)
Ian Smith
Barry Dorrans
Jon Rowett – thanks for the positive feedback!
Dave Oliver – thanks for the positive feedback!
.net mobile blogs – thanks for the positive feedback!
And of course, the Channel 9 forum has some feedback that I’ll pick up on for next time!

I was very pleased with the day. I was especially pleased with all the support that Jonathan Hodgson provided – Jonathan set up the DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper web-site in record time (if I didn’t know better, I’d think Jonathan had too much time on his hands!) Incidentally, Jonathan gets married in the summer – congrats! Also worthy of a special mention are Sarah Brown, Melita Walton, Karen Allen and a whole host of backroom folks who rarely get thanked: chefs, security, audio-visual folks and hosts/hostesses.

Out of 250 registered attendees, 170+ turned up: to the other 70 or so who didn’t turn up, we know who you are!! (See you all at the next one!)

Volunteer to speak!
Whilst I didn’t actually make it to any sessions, except my own (which was kind of fortunate for the other attendees!), the feedback has been excellent. A follow-up event looks like it will happen (although I can’t tell you when just yet).

In preparation for a follow-up event, I will be happy to receive e-mails from “would-be speakers”, volunteer speakers, or any community member wishing to speak at a similar event. And if you happen to live in Scotland, I’m sure ScottishDevelopers will provide you with an equally relaxed and friendly speaking environment!

In both cases, drop me an e-mail to register your interest – let me know what topics you would be interested in speaking about. (My e-mail address can be found via here.)

Managing Iterative Development Using Scrum – slides and backlog
A lot of folks asked me (either in my session or afterwards) about tool support for Scrum. My slide deck made mention that most tools were either web-based, still in development or were rather expensive. So here’s an update:

VersionOne – VersionOne, built from the ground up to support iterative development, is the leading project planning and management tool designed specifically for agile software development. Enabling today’s most popular agile methodologies – Extreme Programming (XP), Scrum, DSDM, etc. – VersionOne has been helping teams simplify the process of planning, tracking, analyzing, and scaling their agile software development efforts since January 2003.

ScrumWorks – ScrumWorks™ is an Agile process automation tool that enables teams to self-organize and maximize productivity. ScrumWorks™ is based on the Scrum process, a leading Agile development method, and can be applied across industries including engineering, marketing and sales, new product development, and software development.

Older Scrum stuff.

Linda Rising had an excellent article in IEEE Software called The Scrum Software Development Process for Small Teams. She also had an article in STQE magazine about the Daily Scrum Meeting.

Bluebell Railway trip…

Our first visit to the Bluebell Railway was on Friday 13th May. Unluckily, it was a dreech (wet, miserable) day, a trip on a steam train was thoroughly unappealing. As a result, we found ourselves wandering around the shopping Mecca that Brighton isn’t (my wife can find shops anywhere, thankfully the rain slows her down!) I’m sure Brighton has its attractions and it’s probably a lovely place to visit when the weather is good. But, since the weather wasn’t nice, I didn’t think much of the fact we were out and about in a wet town that was unknown to me. Why couldn’t we just go to the pub, at least until the weather cleared? It was a Pizza Hut lunch, carefully discovered by my wife, despite my attempts to thwart her finding it…sometimes the stomach can be a marvelous motivator when it comes to walking long distances! C’est la vie!

Anyway, we returned to the Bluebell Railway on Sunday 15th May to find a re-enactment of our boys returning from The Second World War. The sun was shining, the jazz band were playing period tunes at just the right volume and all around us were guests wearing period outfits. The military, of course, took full control of the situation, ration books were issued, travel tickets and particulars were checked. We, the general public, became immersed in a drama that took us back to 1945, we became actors, we (all) helped make the day. Except for those of us with digital cameras…we took our 21st century technology back in time to capture the moment. The re-enactment made the day.

The Bluebell Railway offers you the chance to ride on authentic steam trains running on a timetabled schedule. Departing from Sheffield Park, briefly stopping at Horsted Keynes before terminating at Kingscote. There are some good pictures here.

The Bluebell Railway is definitely worth visiting if you are looking for something to do whilst here. I can strongly recommend visiting during a re-enactment…check their web-site for more details. Further information can be found here.

Actually, thinking back to the day itself, there was one thing missing: beer. I couldn’t find beer anywhere!

Here are a few photographs, trimmed for posting here…it seems that even text messaging was popular back then, as one of the photographs below demonstrates!


There are more photographs of the Bluebell Railway here.

Michael Taylor has some great pictures over here.

Book review – ADO.NET and System.Xml v 2.0: The Beta Version

I’m pleased to announce that my review of ADO.NET and System.Xml v 2.0: The Beta Version has made it from its original publisher, The Developers Group, to…and beyond.

You are free to publish this review on your web-site subject to the original author and original publisher being acknowledged and referred to.

Learn more about the book and read my review via this link:

How to “BlogCast”

Mark has some great BlogCast advice that links to the BlogCast repository. (Mark’s post is also available here.)

If you feel the need to add sound and movie clips to your blog posts, or simply wish to use small movie clips to demonstrate something or educate folks, Mark’s advice and links should prove very useful. I’ve created a small BlogCast myself and can confirm that it’s really easy to do.

Bandwidth permitting, watch out for BlogCasts on this site, “real soon now” as they say 🙂