Step Away From the Keyboard

My career has been undergoing a sea change lately. I am doing much less programming and more SharePoint. Not just SharePoint as a technology but applications/solutions built on SharePoint. Sure I may need a little code to pull something together, but not as much as I once was writing. Not to mention that I am being asked to take on more management responsibilities. On one hand this feels like a bit of a “promotion” on the other hand I feel myself slipping further away from the truly technical side of things. Which is kinda scary.

Up until the last year or so; I have been pretty technical. But now I find those MSDN magazines piling up on the nightstand. I just read some of my favorite programmer blogs and just scan the code. Sure I understand what and why these guys are doing, but I am not doing it myself. I used to be coming up with patterns like this myself and now I just read about them.

Being technical is a great security blanket; don’t like what your doing or where you are doing it? Just leave and go someplace better.

It does not feel like that now; things are starting to pass me by. Ouch. It’s chilly without my binky.

Since I have a lot to learn in this new role, whatever you want to call it; I will probably have to be with my current position for some time while I figure out the patterns for doing this job. Doh! What do you mean I can’t leave? I have to stay and learn this stuff no matter what? Doh! Doh!

MSDN Magazine Part 2

As I was scrolling down through my previous posts; I noticed the one I did about MSDN magazine. The three most recent issues (which all arrived at once) did not have the outside folding cover. I don’t pretend that I had anything to do with it, but it does make me wonder if others complained. We may never know.

TechEd: Something new, Something old

I am in Orlando, FL at TechEd. I have not attended that many TechEd conferences in my career; I was mostly a PDC bigot. I think this is my third or forth TechEd conference. There is another guy from my division here who is all of about 25 years old and I can’t help but notice the difference in how we approach the conference. The first thing of note is where each of us is at this moment – about 10pm on Monday night.

I am in my hotel room typing this entry and getting ready for bed. He is out partaking of the different events being sponsored by Microsoft and/or the different vendors here at the conference. I think I heard that there are things going until 1am tonight. There was a time when I would be out until the wee hours, stumble back into my hotel room for a couple hours of sleep and a shower and make the first session of the morning. On more than one occasion I was still a little (OK allot) intoxicated in that first session I have this image that my colleague is doing just that – but I don’t want to incriminate him .

Ahhh, youth.

I tend to go to sessions that fall into one of two categories; either ones on topics that I know very little about or where I want network with the presenter and/or other attendees. My expectation is that any detail I see here I will have forgotten by the time I leave. So I am just trying to get the gist of something. My colleague, on the other hand, seems to be focusing on WPF in hopes that he learns enough to start using it when he returns to the office. Part of the rationale I think is that I have to bring big concepts together and understand paradigm changes; whereas he needs to just bang out code.

Lastly, the food. I just can’t eat that conference food anymore. I am convinced that it’s the reason I ended up sleeping through a couple post lunch presentations. I realize that may be hard to believe after reading that I was still blitzed at breakfast. I have experimented enough with the permutations of this enough to know that the food was certainly the nail in the coffin. I think at 25 I could eat just about anything. Now 15 years later, it’s another story altogether. I think there should be a special dietary line for guys like me – I don’t know what to call it but I know what it would look like. Hey I know what you’re thinking – not it’s not a can of Ensure. It is much lighter; less pasta and meat more vegi’s and sustaining foods; you get the picture.

Anyway, times have certainly changed – at least for me. Maybe I can find the retirement room.

Annoyed with MSDN Magazine

My reading habits around MSDN magazine changed recently and now I am back to getting the print version of the magazine – I have a complaint about the cover. For the past couple of years I have been trying to exclusively read MSDN magazine online and so I let the print subscription expire. Well that was just not working for me since I rarely read an MSDN article in one sitting. So I turned my print subscription on and I have a small bone to pick. But first a little more back-story.

As the number of products and technologies available to build applications has grown I have found that I can no longer be an expert in everything. Rather I have had to focus my depth on a few technologies and be at the 100/200 level on the remaining ones. You might be scratching your head going “then why is the depth of MSDN magazine a problem?” Simply because the intersection of what I am going deep on and articles in MSDN is smaller [which, by the way, is exactly what it feels like the editors are striving for and is a good thing]. So my typical MSDN experience is reading 1, maybe 2 articles in depth and skimming the rest.

Well that is not exactly my typical MSDN experience; which brings me to why I feel like venting a little today. In actuality, the first thing I do when I get any magazine is to rip out all the marking stuff. You know the stuff I am talking about all those things from vendors and subscription blow-ins. I hate them because I can’t flip through the pages without stopping on one of these. They are like bookmarks someone else put in a book – they are never what I am looking for. Only after removing all these obstructions do I feel that I can actually absorb the content.

Well, this is the second month I have noticed a new cover style for MSDN – the cover that folds back over the outside. It has been my experience that on most magazine covers when the fold-out that the fold out actually tucks into the magazine. Given my routine of cleaning up my magazines before I read them I would open the front cover, flip open the fold-out and see if it was anything interesting. Why a fold-out? Sometimes I have been rewarded with some nice panoramic nature scene and I don’t mind so much. But I digress…regardless my next step is to rip off the fold-out part.

In comes MSDN with the fold-out cover that folds outward; back across the front of the magazine. So in this case if I rip off the fold-out part then I am removing the cover of the magazine. For MSDN, more than other magazines I get this is unacceptable since I use the cover to find articles I want. So I left the cover the way it was.

Here is the problem; once I open the darn thing now the cover becomes an absolute annoyance. It keeps getting caught on things. Torn. Battered and otherwise abused. Which leaves me no other solution then to rip off the fold-out (and be left with this faceless magazine) or to just toss the magazine [hey I used to be the kind of guy who would buy a new car when the windshield wipers needed to be changed].

This leads me to one of two conclusions; either the folks at Microsoft have been spying on me in my favorite reading location (very gross). Or I am not the only one that has this cleanup ritual (almost as scary).

Or it could be I just needed something to write about. I don’t have much time before my next meeting so this is best I could do on short notice. Don’t worry I am not loosing any sleep over this one.