Being away from home for the past five or so weeks has been pretty rough, and I have another month to go before I see any kind of let up. At the end of the day there is always a decision to be made about what to do with myself in the evenings.
The decision is made alot easier when there is a user group to attend! Last night I managed to make it to the Sydney Deep .NET User Group meeting for the first time and I am really glad I made the effort to walk down the AMP building on Bridge Street (number 50 if you were wondering).
I dragged along Robb Webb whom I am working with on some stuff at the Commonwealth Bank (here is a picture of the back of Robb’s head taken with my i-mate). When we arrived Nick, Chris and Troy (Illustrious Leader) were there setting up. There was a good turn-out with the room feeling quite full (sorry — I didn’t count heads).
Nick and Troy (Illustrious Leader) presented. Troy went first and gave a talk about the new nullable types feature in C#. I hadn’t heard anything about it so it was a complete surprise when I turned up because I was expecting a talk on that library that SourceForge project we know and love (NullableTypes). This new feature is so interesting from a syntax point of view (its using generics under the covers) that I think I am going to post about it seperately. There was certainly alot of discussion about it on the night – especially from those people that had some Java experience.
Nick followed up with a great coverage of the new features in Windows XP SP2. If you are an application developer delivering applications on the Windows XP platform you should go and download a copy of the BETA service pack. Because of the increased focus on Windows security it is likely that you may encounter a few problems. I had been close to downloading a few times but was having trouble finding the time to do a complete analysis – Nick has saved me the time. It raised enough concerns for me to stop off at a wireless cafe on the way home and pull it down and install it in a VM once I got back to the hotel room.
After Nick finished up his presentation a few (more than two, less than a dozen) of us made our way to a bar down the road for a beer (thanks Troy (Illustrious Leader), I owe you one!). It is this kind of social interaction that I really like about user groups. It an opportunity to have a laugh while completely geeking out – I couldn’t resist opening my clamshell showing off some of the cool stuff I have discovered about VS.NET designer internals in the last month or so.
I’m hoping that I will get a chance to make it out to the other user group meeting run by Adam Cogan out at Microsoft in North Ryde. I think I have found a bus that gets me from Wynyard station to the front door so it should be achievable.