November 2008 - Posts
On Saturday morning, November 15, just after 9:00 am we saw smoke in the distance (maybe 4 - 5 miles) straight behind our home. That was a real concern with the Santa Ana winds are blowing straight at us with gusts over 60 mph. We had our grand kids staying with us and I told them to get their stuff together in case we had to evacuate. I got the pet kennel from the garage for our cats, copied some important files to a portable hard drive and threw into my notebook bag along with some key financial docs, and quickly packed a bag with stuff for a couple of days for my wife and I.
At around 9:15 I went out to the hill behind our house. Our neighbor from the house behind us was there too. The smoke was getting really aggressive and coming right at us. Time to back the cars out to the driveway and load up. My wife was just rounding up our last cat when the flames came up the hill in back. They were at least 40 - 50 feet high! We were all out on on the road within a minute or two, I think it was about 9:30. The police were driving through giving evacuation orders as we left.
We were ahead of the evacuation crowd and early enough in run of the fire that we missed the traffic problems and blinding smoke. As we were leaving I said we might loose our home and everything in it but at least we are all safe. We drove to our daughter's house about 30 miles away and spent the rest of the day watching the fire storm on TV. At least 9 homes on the street above us were lost and three behind us. We watched as the firemen did their best to defend against the inferno, both on the ground and from water dropping helicopters. We were actually able to see that our home was still there as neighboring homes burned.
The fire rapidly spread, destroying several homes on the next ridge (Hidden Hills) down wind from us and jumping the 91 freeway into Anaheim Hills. It was really sad that there was a water pumping problem to the Hidden Hills area - firemen were without water in the hydrants. A lot of people are bringing the Yorba Linda Water District to task on this.
After four days of burning, it looks like the Freeway Complex Fire is under control. In Yorba Linda, 113 home were destroyed and 50 were seriously damaged. We were lucky. There is still a huge amount of monitoring and mop-up going on to make sure it is all out. Our home was still there with no structure damage when we returned on Sunday evening. The entire left side of our yard was burned from the hillside in back all the way to the street. Thanks to our next door neighbor who came back to check on Saturday morning and found our waterfall pump and filter burning. He was able to knock down the flames. And, thanks to the Orange County Fire Authority for knocking down the burning at least two more times. I had the opportunity to personally thank them on Monday. Talk about community, this is it. Here are a few photos.
On February 4th I'll be doing a GeekSpeak web cast on "What you didn't know about VSTS 2008"
On February 19th I'll be in San Francisco for the MSDN Developer Conference presenting "A Lap Around VSTS 2010"
TechDays was a hoot. Three days of free content fresh from PDC and a whole lot more. Lynn Langit kept everything moving with some social networking for attendee questions in addition to her own presentations. I had a great time helping to organize the architecture track. David Chou presented Microsoft Cloud Services Architecture, I did the Role of an Architect and we finished with an architecture panel discussion moderated by Tim Marshall (Neudesic) and included Patrick Neeman (speakTech), John Miller (CPU2), Curt Peterson (Neudesic), myself, and a last minute guest Mark Hindsbo (Microsoft).
Here's my deck from day 3 of Orange County TechDays 2008.
Last week at PDC 2008 there was a lot of great evening activity going on in addition to the daytime sessions. Coolest was the Underground @ PDC. Hosted at the Edison, a club located in the basement of what once was an old Edison power station, the event included a great mix of short technical discussions (Scott Guthrie, Don Box, Chris Sells, and more) food, drink and networking. Thanks to the sponsors including speakTech, Neudesic, Microsoft, INETA and Infragistics, and to Woody Pewitt and Daniel Egan for making it happen. I believe we had about 400 in attendance including a lot of local SoCal user group folks.
PDC 2008 finished up last Thursday. I had a very productive time, both attending sessions and networking. Here are some of the session highlights:
- Keynote on Day 1 - Windows Azure announcement by Ray Ozzie. The cloud is coming. With Windows Azure, Microsoft is beginning a new chapter of significant change where we will see more organizations using both on-premises and cloud based resources. We’re going to see really expanded SOA resources and will need to sharpen our distributed systems skills and apply some new principles to our development to best take advantage of Windows Azure.
- A Lap Around Visual Studio Team System 2010 by Cameron Skinner. A lot of great focus on Test and Architecture. Test case management, dealing with “it works on my box” with some really awesome recording capabilities to provide context with the new test runner. The Architecture Explorer allows easy visualization of code, UML diagrams are now first class citizens, and the Layer diagram lets you see and test multi-tier relationships.
- NET Framework 4.0 – The Future of C# - Anders Hejlsberg. Declarative, dynamic, concurrent – the classic taxonomies are increasingly overlapping. We’re moving from imperative to declarative programming. Language innovations will fall into four broad categories:
- Dynamically typed objects
- Optional and named parameters
- Improved COM interoperability
- Co- and Contra-variance
- Deep Dive: Dynamic Languages in Microsoft .NET – Jim Hugunin. The DLR adds a shared dynamic type system, a standard hosting model and support for generating fast dynamic code on top of the CLR. Expressions trees, dynamic dispatch, and call site caching are the key features of the DLR. The DLR is open source to provide language access under MSPL plus availability in the commercial .NET stack.
- Iron Ruby: The Right Language for the Right Job – John Lam. IronRuby is a new dynamically-typed language for Microsoft .NET that offers more runtime flexibility at the expense of compile-time verification. John provided an introduction to Iron Ruby that demonstrated the interactive benefits. He leveraged a micro-framework named Sinatra to demonstrate several examples.
- A Lap Around “Oslo” – Vijaye Raji and Douglas Purdy. "Oslo" is the family of new technologies that enable model-driven development and execution of services and applications. So, “Oslo” is the platform for model driven applications. M (as in MVC - the language) is a textual language for building models and DSL’s. “Quadrant” is the tool for interacting with models and DSL’s. The Repository is the database for storing and sharing models.
- Architecting Services for Windows Azure – Yousef Khalidi. From design to deployment, building a scalable, highly available service is different from building other kinds of applications. This session discussed the impact that designing for the cloud has on all stages of the service lifecycle, and how the Microsoft cloud platform works for you to meet the scaling and availability goals of your service. This session showed how automation is used to free the developer from dealing with many hardware and networking issues. The session also covered how the cloud services platform is architected to enable a pay-for-use dynamic model.
- Parallel Programming for Managed Developers with Visual Studio 2010 – Daniel Moth. As Moore’s law continues to mature, processor speeds have leveled out but we’re getting more processors. Our software needs to harness this paradigm change. New .NET APIs, including the Task Parallel Library (TPL) and Parallel LINQ (PLINQ). Also, new features in the debugger will help us to quickly identify concurrency issues and visualize the internal state of our applications.
- The Future of Unit Testing, Panel Discussion. Unit testing means different things to different people. To Agile developers, it enables Test Driven Development. To researchers, it enables test generation from static and dynamic analysis. To others, it's a means to test protocols, APIs, and other functionality below the presentation layer. Others still see it as a means to do conformance testing. This panel discussion could have gone on for hours but was great even for the limited time available.
- Architecture Without Big Design Up Front – Peter Provost. Microsoft Visual Studio Team System (VSTS), code-name "Rosario" Architecture Edition, introduces new UML designers, use cases, activity diagrams, sequence diagrams that can visualize existing code, layering to enforce dependency rules, and physical designers to visualize, analyze, and refactor your software. The session showed how VSTS extends UML logical views into physical views of our code. We saw how to create relationships from these views to work items and project metrics, how to extend these designers, and how to programmatically transform models into patterns for other domains and disciplines.
- Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server: How We Use It at Microsoft – Stephanie Saad. This session gave us a detailed look at the present and future of Team Foundation Server (TFS). With close to 14,000 users, 2,000 projects, 33 million files, and over 2 million work items, Microsoft runs one of the largest known installations of TFS. Stephanie talked about internal best practices for version control, branching and merging, work item tracking, metrics, reporting, testing, and integrations with TFS.
In addition to the sessions, networking was great. I had an opportunity to meet up with many of my community and Microsoft friends plus meet a lot of new people. I got to spend some time each day with the VSTS team and really appreciated the opportunity to get to know them better and see what kinds of issues PDC attendees wanted to discuss. Huddled with Doug Seven to work out some details on a new forthcoming VSTS INETA program. Wednesday included a chance to hand out with Scott Guthrie at his open spaces session.
Sunday evening included Party with Palermo. Monday evening was multi-tasking two dinners - the C# and VB team dinner (socialized before everyone sat down to eat) was a great get together (a big thanks to Charlie Calvert and Lisa Feigenbaum for making this happen) of community and the development teams including Anders Hejlsberg, Scott Hanselman, Beth Massi, Alan Greiver (YAG). It was then down the street to Roy's for a great dinner with many of the community and DPE folks and community influentials. Tuesday was a jam packed evening including dinner with the VSTS team and the Universal Studios evening hanging out with the Accentient crew and some of the VSTS team. Wendesday was the http://underground.socalcodecamp.com, a really cool event.