Mar 04 2011

Funny Quote

Published by under Personal,Rant

Some one from the office passed around and I thought it was too funny not to pass along.

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.

Rick Cook

While it may be a hard to call some people (or your customer) an idiot as we make software easer to use less and less “sophisticated” people will try to use it. You can see this with Netflix they have made it so easy for people to use there service “Watch Instantly” feature that people who don’t understand how to set there XBOX, Wii etc. are trying to use it. I would like to see the numbers around there support calls I would bet dollars to doughnuts the questions have gotten less and less technical over the years.

So the question is should we as software developers not try to make our products more and more “idiot-proof”? The answer is for sure no the more friendly we make our applications work the larger the potential audience for your product. Yes you will have to deal with more and more less sophisticated customers but the market size will make it all worth it.

But yes I still feel the pain of this quote 😉

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Feb 19 2011

Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate

Published by under Personal,Review

Or for my fellow geeks IE9 RC…

For the last year or so I have been a Google Chrome fan before that I used Firefox and of course before that IE (I wont go in to my use Mosaic or others). The main reason I moved from Firefox to Chrome was it’s load speed the reason for going from IE to Firefox was the ability for it to spell check in textboxes (something Chrome dose as well). The question is will I ever go back to any version of IE that dose not have spell checking HECK NO!

That said I did want to point out what I do like, I have had IE9 installed as a beta and even then I liked many of it’s features.

IE9 has what Microsoft calls “Streamlined design” they have removed everything from the top of the window (menus etc.) and put the address box to the left of the tabs. if you want to access bookmarks or menus you use the buttons in the upper right of the window. Here is a screen capture with the “Tools” menu open.

IE9_Streamlined_design

Over all the look is quite nice much improved but note many of the UI features are similar to Chrome but I like how IE has implemented them.

A big win for me is the ability to “Pin” a site to the tacks bar, in the picture below I have pinned the SoCal Code Camp site to my task bar.

IE9_Pinning

The reason I like this feature is that as projects or events are coming up I may what to visit a site related to it frequently and this is the quickest way to do that without having the sites load every time I open the browser.

The thing I noticed when I started IE9 on a system that IE8 on to was that through it’s new

Notification Bar future it told me that some Add-ons may be adding time to the load time if IE9. I clicked a link in the Notification Bar and bam up came the new Add-on Performance Advisor. This thing rocked it showed a list of add-ons that were loading and how long they took to load. I turned almost all of them off and now I can’t the widows back to take a screen shot but trust me it’s cool and yes IE9 now loads as fast as Chrome!

The next thing I like is they have added something called “Caret Browsing” it allows you to have a caret in the web site and use the keyboard to move up and down the page and select and copy text. I have not seen this feature in another browser but I know next time I am copying stuff off a page I know I will use it.

IE9_Caret_Browsing

Here is an animated Gif that looks like crap at this size so click it to see it in full size. It show me making a selection with the mouse and then going in to Caret Browsing mode and making a selection with the keyboard.

There is also a bunch of security enhancements that I like for non-tech savvy people (read my mother-in-law etc.)

IA also glad to see that my DuckDuckGo and Tim’s update to my Wikipedia Accelerator add-on still works so I would guess all the add-on formats stayed the same from the IE8 versions. Though I have yet to see any developer documentation on them.

I don’t see any differences to the developer tools but if you are a HTML person you should check them out it’s a neat set of tools. I don’t think it will pull me away from Chromes tools, I love the chrome “Inspect element” right click menu. for testing of IE modes it’s great!

Over all I think MS has made another good improvement to IE and I have not event talked about HTML 5 support as it’s a bit soon for much HTML 5 content to be in the wiled but it is good stuff.

I will be putting it on many of my families systems when it ships and it has pushed Firefox to the third position web browser. It would be my first browser if it had built in spellchecking!

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Feb 17 2011

What A Great Customer Experience!

Published by under Personal

US-WIFI-MAIN._SX320_V188702410_[1]This last Christmas I told my wife that I wanted an Amazon Kindle and she came through for me (ok she always does). I have been ripping through books at a great pace now, it’s a great device, I have the next book I want to read with me all the time, the screen dose not shoot photons at me so it’s extremely easy on the eye… I could keep going on but I will stop because this is about the one problem I did have.

With my Kindle my brother-in-law got me the Amazon case for my Kindle, it’s a nice case that I liked to use to protect the device as it flops around in my bag. But this last trip I made to the South Florida Code Camp (a great event see my post on it) I forgot my little bag of cables witch included my Kindle charging cable and I could not charge it for the return trip. When I got home I looked on the web for what the expected life of a Kindle battery is and I saw that many people expected 2 weeks or some times better from there Kindle. I had at the most gotten 4 days out of mine so I send a message to Amazon and asked how we could resolve the issue. They asked that I call them to do some trouble shooting, I called and the representative asked about some of the indications and then asked what type of case I had for the device, when I told him the standard Amazon case he said that was most likely the problem the hooks in the case that hold the Kindle in place can drain the battery. My reaction was dam I am screwed remember I got Kindle and the case as a gift but to my shocked surprise he gave me a credit to purchase the Amazon case that has a light in it witch dose not have this problem. I was even more surprised when later that day I went to Amazon.com and ordered it for a total of $0 :). The agent was so nice during the call and the out come was so unexpected that Amazon now has a “Prime” member for life!

Good job Amazon!

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Nov 18 2010

Wow I have been under water

Published by under Devexpress,Personal

It has been a while since I have done a blog post for my own blog so here it goes. I have been way busy with the new job at DevExpress. The one big thing I have been up to is learning a whole new set of controls and concepts around data shaping. I am primarily working with the Pivot grid controls at DevExpress and wow there is a lot more to the concept then I realized. I would still say I do not have the level of expertise that I need to have on this but it’s coming along. I would love to get a great book on the subject, if you know of one please let me know.

I have not been on the job all that long but so far I have been able to do a lot with the job. I went to my first Silicon Valley Code Camp, DevConnections and Desert Code Camp. I had always wanted attend all three events in the past but I just could not justify it but DevExpress wants these type of events covered so I do my part.

I am really looking forward to the week after Thanksgiving as we will have our annual company meeting. A week long meeting in Las Vegas where all the product teams will meet and discuss the upcoming year and what we want to, need to and can accomplish in the next year. I am sure we will be sick of Vegas by the end but I am sure we will all manage to have a good time as well. The biggest reason I am looking forward to the meeting is it will be the first time I get to meet many of the other people on my team. It turns out that DevExpress goes back quite some time, the company grew out of the tools market for Delphi and has been around over 12 years. The Delphi tools market was quite small and some how DevExpress came out of a collaboration from those days. I have yet to get Ray to walk through the whole history with me but I am sure it’s an epic story.

Anyway that is it for now as I am gong to have to jump on the train in a minute and while my connection is good I want to get this posted.

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Oct 27 2010

SoCal Code Camp Los Angeles III

Published by under SoCal Code Camp

The third annual SoCal Code Camp Los Angeles was last weekend at USC and it was definately a huge success! The Steering Committee of myself, Art Villa, Janet Chung, James Lin, Adnan Masood, Tim Blek, Mike Vincent, Sean Turner, Mark Rosenberg, and Jeetu Maker did a fantastic job! If you did not make it to the event you really missed out! Make plans for the next SoCal Code Camp.

we had 98 great  sessions presented over the two day period with over 700 people who checked in overall! awesome! Only one presenter had to cancel due to a family emergency and a few no-show presenters but overall an amazing amount of knowledge was exchanged and all of it was free for all who participated.  Add the free lunch to that, and you have yourself a fine geeky weekend!

We had some geek fun as well at the vender tables when my fellow Technical Evangelist at DevExpress Bryan Wood brought his iPhone controlled hovercraft (AR Drone) and buzzed random people as they walked by. I think I may need to get one of these things < but shhh,  don’t tell my wife she would kill me if I purchased a $300 toy>  Winking smile.

A  favorite SoCal Code Camp LA moment occured while a few of us were at the check-in desk while we were flying around the cool AR Drone I just told you about. A high school age young man approached and asked what was going on. Turned out, he and his dad were on the USC campus to check out the college. I explained what code camp was all about and he asked if he and his dad could join in any sessions. Of Course, welcome to geekville! We’ll even feed ya!  They wound up staying for 4 sessions and enjoyed a free lunch on us….  how’s that for a deluxe campus tour?

As for Sunday’s lunch,  Janet picked a fantastic taco vender, who prepared and served a great lunch in Founders park. I myself  had about 6 tacos. (Tums, anyone?) Everyone was definately well fed, for sure and the homemade fare was delicious.

Art posted some pictures from the weekend on his FaceBook photo album (20101023 SoCalCodeCamp LA). If you have photos you’d like to share of the weekend (no evidence of my 6 tacos, please)  send me the link and I will update this post with the  link and post  it to the SoCal Code Camp FaceBook page.

Here’s to a great weekend,  to everyone who made it possible, and to So-Cal Code Camp LA 2011! Look for the dates to be posted soon for SoCal Code Camp Fullerton VI on www.socalcodecamp.com.

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Oct 27 2010

Mobile Web Best Practices Webinar Follow-up

Published by under Devexpress,Webinar

Cross Posted from my DevExpress blog

The recording of my webinar session on Mobile Web Best Practices has been posted and I have uploaded my slides to SlideSare. Please let me know what you thought of the session and share your experiences so others can learn.

Mobile_Web_Best_Practices

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Oct 26 2010

Mobile Web Best Practices Webinar

Published by under Devexpress,Webinar

Cross Posted from my DevExpress blog

Tomorrow I will speaking on Mobile Web Best Practices this is  a session that I have given at a few code camps. The idea for speaking on this topic came during one of my sessions at a ASP.NET users group.  I got so many questions regarding  the fundamental questions of what can mobile web browsers reliably render so I came up with this content.  I have recieved some really good reactions and input to the session.

The formal description is:

I hope you will join me for this webinar and come with questions!

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Oct 21 2010

Getting Things Done For Geek–Webinar Wrap-up

Published by under Devexpress

 

Cross Posted from my DevExpress blog

The recording of my webinar on Getting Things Done or GTD has been posted so I’m following up with the slides and a few references that were discussed.

I can’t tell you how much the GTD mythology has done for me, huge!!  If you need this type of system, I hope that this webinar will inspire you to get control of your tasks also.

Slides

Books

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Mind Hacks: Tips & Tricks for Using Your Brain by Tom Stafford
Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber
Agile Software Development with Scrum by Ken Schwaber (this was the book I could not think of it’s name)
Take Back Your Life by Sally McGhee (did not talk about this book but if you use Outlook you need this book)

Resources

Note Taking & Collection Software:

Microsoft OneNote
Evernote
Simplenote

Mind mapping Software:

Mindjet
FreeMind
Wikipedias List of mind mapping software

And Finally my pen!

I hope you enjoyed the webinar, please let me know your thoughts on it and/or how you use GTD.

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Oct 14 2010

Hello World…

Published by under Devexpress

Cross posted from my work blog, this will likely be the only cross post so if you want to see what I am up to at work check it out Woody’s DevExpress Blog. I will keep blogging here as well just nor work related stuff.

Let’s face it… It’s still what we all start off when we’re writing something new, beginning a cyber-adventure, charting new territory… (language, platform or environment) so, that is how I am going to start my first blog here at DevExpress.

First, introductions… My name is Woody Pewitt and I’m excited to say I joined DevExpress last week! I have known DevExpress as well as some of the team for years but did not realize that they were based just up the coast from Sunny San Diego. When I heard that Steve Andrews had started with the company, it sparked my interest and once I knew they were based in Glendale and looked at some of their tools I emailed Mark Miller and asked if there were any opportunities at DevExpress. After a few long phone calls, researching the company more online, getting to some friends that knew of the company and a trip up to Glendale I joined the DevExpress team! w00t!

My role at DevExpress is as a Technical Evangelist covering Analytics for DevExpress. Just one problem… I didn’t know any of the DevExpress products! As an Evangelist at Microsoft, I did not feel comfortable using any third-party tools or components. ..I can’t believe what I was missing! Have you seen what they have ?? (ok I guess most of you have) but seriously, this stuff is crazy good! Yep, I’m really excited. As a geek, that’s a feat usually saved for creating amazing lines of code as well as finding a great BBQ place.

First thing I did when I started (ok about a week before I started) was to install Code Rush in to Visual Studio 2010. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about Code Rush and I can now stay I can’t see myself ever coding in Visual Studio without it! I have several large code bases that I work on and I have not noticed any performance impact, even on my wimpy personal laptop. I am enjoying the rich code visualizations and am starting to play with all the templates, there is soooo much to dig into!

Next, I began reading about the controls, starting with the Version History pages. Wow, I can’t believe the pace of innovation, functionality and quality that DevExpress has accomplished. While I was in the office last week I was shown the correct way to submit demo code and it seemed a little strange until they explained why… ready for it? The demo code gets integrated into the build process… [wait.. what did he just say?] yep, you read that correctly, if I want to post anything more than a blog post snip-it, I have to have it pass a few build cycles and it says to test for regressions. Wow, that just blew me away! Then, I began going over some of the demo code and was impressed at how well written it was. I can see how DevExpress can write good components and not look back, just keep moving forward. Awesome.

I had the opportunity to attend the Silicon Valley Code Camp last weekend, where I spoke to some of our customers directly for the first time. Their enthusiasm for our products was a big conformation to me that I had made the right decision joining DevExpress. While at the event, I let Mehul Harry talk me into doing two of my favorite code camp talks as webinars in the next few weeks. The two topics are on Getting Things Done (GTD) and Mobile Web Best Practices. See Mehul’s post New Webinars – GTD and Mobile Web Best Practices with Woody Pewitt for all the details I hope you can make it to them!

Last week Mehul also got me to do an interview with him for the DevExpress Channel you can see that interview check it out Say Hello to Woody Pewitt.

I am currently working on the new features and functions of the next volume for the Pivot table, look for posts from me soon discussing them. I would like to find out how our customers are currently using the Pivot table and gather feedback so if you have an application that you can share the details of, please contact me, I’d love to hear from you.

Woody Pewitt
woodyp@devexpress.com
twitter: @woodyp

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Oct 11 2010

Silicon Valley Code Camp 10

Published by under Personal

svcc 051-0001This past weekend I had the pleasure of going to Silicon Valley Code Camp v5.0. It was a a great event, the organizer Peter Kellner and all the supporting volunteers did a everything possible to make it a great event for everyone. I took a lot of notes on how SoCal Code Camp could be improved.

The Silicon Valley Code Camp takes place on the campus of Foothill College, it’s a beautiful place and housed the event quite well. I liked the campus had so many larger rooms available for Code Camp to use, I am not sure but the smallest room I saw could seat at lease 50 people and many 75+ seats rooms. This was important as there were around 1,300 to 1,500 people there.

I worked a sponsor table for DevExpress when I was not in sessions or talking at my session. It was great to get to talk to developers about the controls and tools we make. I learned a lot about the ways or products are being used. There is nothing like talking face to face to people about something to get the full understanding of what they thing.

If you stopped by and said hi thank you!

Mehul Harry did a great blog post “Silicon Valley Code Camp Sets A New Record” that dose even a better job of describing the event.

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