Monthly Archives: August 2006

Google Apps for Your Domain – read the fine print!

I got sent a link to the Google Apps for Your Domain web-site overnight. It is an interesting service and a pretty strategic play by Google for your business. One thing that people should watch though is the fine print on this one – this attached to the word “free”:

“Organizations accepted by Google during the Google Apps for Your Domain beta period are eligible for free service for their approved beta users even beyond the end of the beta period, as described in the Terms of Service.”

That seems to imply that for each new user you bring online after the BETA period you will need to compensate Google. That’s not a problem, fair compensation for products and services is the cornerstone of commerce but the question is – how will Google derive that compensation?

I am concerned that the revenue will be generated off some form of advertising that might eventually reach your/my customers.The other issue with advertising based licensing is the impression that it is “free” and that impression can lead to poor support options when all that fancy JavaScript goes wrong. What really needs to happen with advertising supported software is that some kind of balance of support units needs to be maintained.

Running Windows Vista Pre-RC1 5536

I took the time to download and install build 5536 of Windows Vista today. Build 5536 is on the RC1 branch but isn’t quite RC1 yet (it should be here soon – I hope). This build is significantly more polished than the BETA 2 build that I had been running up until now.

I installed it on the same Dell Lattitude D820 that had been giving me a few video driver issues (it couldn’t take a screenshot properly). There are a few more gadgets installed by defaults but basically the platform is getting the feel like its just about ready to be shipped.

I doubt that we will see an SDK for this release, but hopefully we will for RC1 when it arrives. Looking good!

My Tech.Ed review scores…

One of the things that technical presenters always dread is reading their review scores and seeing that they got a bad review. I figured that my review scores would make good blog fodder and posting them would allow me to reflect on what I did well, and more importantly what I can improve on next time I present the same material.

MGT304

First up is my PowerShell session (MGT304). In this session I presented on the next generation command shell from Microsoft which will be shipped to manage Exchange twelve.

I was actually presenting someone elses deck in this one so I wasn’t quite as comfortable as I normally am, and standing up in front of an audience of IT pros is not something that I normally do – and the review scores showed.

Out of the possible score of 9 I scored 6.7 which was the second lowest in the Windows Servier, Management and Operations track. What could I have done better?

Well, I think one of the things that I should have done was scrap the slide deck. Its not that there was anything wrong with it, but based on the comments I don’t think I was presenting it well. If it had been my own deck I would have been a lot more at home.

The second thing that I could have done was anticipate the audience a lot better. Going into the session I thought that I might get a 50/50 mix of developers and IT professionals, it turns out that developers really only represented about 15–25% of the audience and I think I made the mistake of making the session more approachable to that minority group.

Third, I think that I was light on demos. One of the beautiful things about PowerShell the flexibility you get from composing cmdlets to do common (and not-so-common) tasks. I think that I may have failed to demonstrate this aspect and just assumed that the audience “got it”.

Finally, as a developer, one of the things that facinates me about PowerShell is some of the syntax, the problem is that discussion of all this stuff is common in the developer community but not so much in the IT pro community – so I think that I may have been talking a foreign language in some parts.

DEV303

Ouch! In this session on Concurrent Development with Branching in Team Foundation Server I scored sixth lowest in this session with 6.34. After the session I thought I had done reasonably well, but when I looked at the feedback I noticed a couple of stand out comments:

  1. My presentation skills are not really up to scratch for Tech.Ed (ouch!)
  2. Wanted to see more complete and full bodied demonstrations.
  3. I let the session get taken over by questions (was kind of intentional, but fair call).

I’ve presented at Tech.Ed a couple of times now and have generally had better reviews than this so I was a little bit surprised by the first piece of feedback. Having said that I was presenting more sessions this time, so it is possible that between this and the community project my preparation wasn’t as good as it normally is.

I completely agree about the demonstrations. What I was trying to show was concepts, so if there were some very experienced configuration managers in the audience a lot of this stuff would be second nature and boring to them. I think that the next time I do the session I will definately have a more complex code base and I will actually execute the scenarios that I mentioned rather than just talking about them – my only issue then will be fitting in the alotted time.

In order to get my presentation skills back up to scratch I’m going to take advantage of some training that we sometimes do at Readify to make sure that my preparation and delivery is as it should be. Hopefully I can do better next year if I am invited back.

DEV309

This was a general TFS session that I presented with Joe Sango. It scored higher than my DEV303 and my MGT304 sessions at 6.61. The comments for this one were kind of all over the place but were mostly negative, I’ll try to summarise here:

  • I’m not a fluid presenter.
  • There was too much coding and filling in of work items on the fly.
  • They didn’t like the simplistic demonstration code and the tag team presentation style (sorry, this was my idea).
  • Too slow and shallow, and too much time on Agile vs. CMMI.

I need to sit down and think on how to present this session some more because we need to try to give an overview of the lifecycle of the project. I’m thinking that rather than trying to weave MSF Agile and CMMI into it Joe and I should have just focused on MSF Agile and done a little bit of role playing as we defined scenarios, tasks and bugs. I think that CMMI is so rarely used that its not even worth discussing.

DEV316

This was my best session and was on extending Team Foundation Server. I scored 7.64 on this one – there were just five respondants and only two comments, both were positive. Having said that I would have liked to spend about ten minutes bashing out a fully featured sample rather than relying on preprepared code – but it seemed to work.

Maybe the second incredient was that I had Grant Holliday and Chris Burrows come up on stage and show people TFS Bug Snapper and TFS Integrator?

Next Steps

Well, this blog post is the first next step. I’ve acknowledged that I could do better, and even suggested some strategies for how, I’m going to go back over my session materials and see if I can structure a better one, and if I can I’m going to do a Camtasia of the session and publish it out there on the web.

An idea for the Dell/Apple Notebook Battery Recall

I had an idea when I was in Sydney last week about how Dell and Apple could win back some brownie points with their customers, especially those that are dealing with security at airports. Rather than it being a negative experience they could have a Dell or Apple representative waiting offering to replace affected batteries right there and then.

The representative could then issue the traveller with a card that indicates that their battery is OK.

Dell Batteries: In the Sydney Morning Herald!

On Wednesday last week I got interviewed by Louisa Hern from the Sydney Morning Herald. She had found out about my blog post about being stopped at the security gate because I was carrying a Dell laptop and wrote an article about that and other similar incidents around the country.

That same day Louisa got published on the SMH web-site with some of the details that I gave through the interview.

Since then its been discovered that the problem with Dell battries also affects Apple who both use Sony batteries. Interestingly when I got onto the plane yesterday evening I wasn’t asked about the Dell laptop that I had in the X-ray tray – after this, am I to assume that now that Qantas didn’t want to piss off comuters using Apple computers (maybe Apple is the hardware platform of choice for Windows?), either that or the dangerous situation has suddenly abated (insert extreme sarcasm here).

Airport time with Geoff . . .

I was stuck in Sydney Airport on Saturday evening like Geoff. I was so tired I kept on nodding off so it was lucky that Geoff was there otherwise I think I would have snored through the call for passengers to come forward for the flight.

For some reason the peer-to-peer wireless link that we had going between our laptops kept dropping out. I’m not sure what the problem was but it must have been pretty frustraiting for Geoff.

The other frustrating thing that happened was that I couldn’t recover a copy of my OPML file that I had uploaded to share.opml.org. I don’t quite get it, surely one of the killer features of a site like that is the ability to grab an OPML file containing a copy of all the RSS feeds that are visible on a page?

Rather than try to reconstruct my feed from the page, Geoff gave me a copy of his OPML file and I loaded it up into Bloglines which I am going to give a shot at using based on several peoples recommendations.