Joining Microsoft Canada as a Developer Advisor

I've recently accepted an offer to join the great team at Microsoft Canada in the role of Developer Advisor! This new position will be a great challenge and a lot of fun as far as I can tell. I'll be bringing in my experience as a former Microsoft MVP and user group leader in the role, and I'm looking forward getting deeply involved with the developer community in Canada!Update: Noah Coad has posted about my new position here. 

Posted by on 11 August 2006 | 1:11 pm

Status Update

In case you were wondering, I'm still alive and posting (although not as prolifically as my good friend Noah). I've been up to a few cool things - here is a status update:Professional Team Foundation Server: I got word that my first book Professional Visual Studio 2005 Team System is a great success (we sold a higher than average number of copies at TechEd 2006 and our sales rank on Amazon is pretty darn good). Mickey Gousset and I are hard at work writing Professional Team Foundation Server, the follow up book. The first book is very comprehensive and provides good information about the features end to end. The follow up book is more scenario based. We tried to stuff as much pragmatic information into this follow up book - if you are asking questions on how to use Team System in a real world context, this book is for you. If I get permission from the publisher, I'll try to post the table of contents. In the meantime, check out the details page right here.Team System Courseware: Brian Harry blogged about some Team System courseware that is being developed. I am directly involved in developing the official 300 level content. Microsoft has a very interesting way of categorizing levels of content as it relates to Team System. 200 Level means that you will get a working level of knowledge of Team System - how to checkin code, create basic build types, and so forth. 300 Level content deals with topics such as migration, advanced administration, customization and extensibility. 400 Level content is over the top extensibility - you are creating APIs and adding functionality to Team System that wasn't there before. Speaking: I've been speaking quite a bit in the last few months. Last month, I did a Western Canada speaking tour on behalf of the MSDN Speakers Bureau. I had a blast and got a chance to meet a lot of great people. I'll go deeper in detail in a separate blog posting. The topic of most of the talks was Atlas. At TechEd, I led a Birds of a Feather on the topic of "Switching to Team System". The BOF went off without a hitch and was well received (as far as I can tell).Work: As of December 2005, I joined ObjectSharp Consulting. I'm lucky to be surrounded by a brilliant bunch of folks such as Barry Gervin, Bruce Johnson, John Lam, and Dave Lloyd - the collective brainpower in that one company is awe inspiring. I've been involved in many Team System deployments that have been both enjoyable and technically challenging. Personal: Two months ago, my wife and I made the tough decision to move in an apartment in Toronto. The fun part (and I use the term "fun" loosely) is unpacking the fifty or so bins filled with papers, electronics, and so forth. The struggle is ongoing and getting more "fun" by the minute. Thank goodness for CSI episodes on DVD (thanks Matt). I also attended the Molson Indy - check out these photos I took posted on Flickr.Now consider yourself up to date...for now. :)

Posted by on 4 August 2006 | 1:08 pm

Fix: Guidance Automation Toolkit Uninstall Error - The File Mvp.Xml, Version=2.0.2158.1055 cannot be found

I installed the Guidance Automation Toolkit, The Guidance Automation Extensions and the NUnit Converter to do some testing. When it was time to uninstall the application, I got the following error: "The File Mvp.Xml, Version=2.0.2158.1055 cannot be found". The order in which I installed the application was as follows:(1) Guidance Automation Extensions(2) Guidance Automation Toolkit(3) NUnit ConverterWhen it came time to uninstall the application, I did the reverse order and got the error when trying to uninstall the Guidance Automation Toolkit. After playing around a bit, I figured out the problem. NUnit Converter removes some of the .dlls that are required for the removal of the Guidance Automation Toolkit! I had to repair the Guidance Automation Toolkit install (because it aborted mid-way), and re-installed the NUnit Converter. The following is the correct uninstall order:(1) Guidance Automation Toolkit(2) NUnit Converter(3) Guidance Automation ExtensionsI thought I would post about this because the uninstall order isn't intuitive, and there may be others experiencing the same problems. 

Posted by on 3 August 2006 | 5:27 pm

Vote for my TechEd 2006 BOF Session - "Switching Over to Team System?"

Voting ends at 5PM today! If you are interested in Team System and would like to hear how it is being deployed. Here is the link to vote:   Switching Over to Team System?Have you or your company considered (or made the move) to adopt Team System? This session will allow participants to discuss and share the challenges and success stories in extending, customizing and migrating existing assets and code to this new SDLC suite of tools.Intended Audience: DeveloperSubmitted By: Jean-Luc David, ObjectSharp Consulting

Posted by on 31 March 2006 | 7:17 am

Team System MSDN Public Chat

Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Developer &Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Testers When: Wednesday March 15th @ 10am PST What: Join us to discuss the Profiler, Test Tools (Unit, Generic, Manual), Web & Load Testing, and Code Analysis (FxCop & PREFast).  Come prepped w/ all your tough questions! Where:

Posted by on 14 March 2006 | 9:45 pm

XBOX 360 Madness

I woke up early to pick up an XBOX 360 this morning. I started by going to a Tim Hortons to buy a large coffee - my change was $3.60. I thought that was a good omen. Man was I ever wrong. Arrived in Ajax, Ontario. The Best Buy had a line-up of over a hundred people. There were kids that had been shivering outside, waiting since 5AM and didn't get a console. People in the crowd were using their cellphones to call family and friends to "butt" into the line. It was a madhouse. If you had pre-ordered a unit in June, you were fine. Otherwise, the store only had 30 consoles in stock (which were all accounted for by very early morning). I then went over to Future Shop - they had 10 units in stock which were all accounted for. Some of the people in line were reporting that pre-ordered XBOX units were selling on eBay for $700+. The sales people were handing out pre-order forms and said that I might be able to get a 360 before Xmas. I dutifully filled out a form and moved over to a Zellers. There was a lineup of eight kids in front of me - all had been waiting since 5AM (the store opens at 9AM). A manager came out with coupons for six units - they were snatched up in seconds by the early comers. From an ROI perspective, I realized at that point that I wasn't going to get a unit today. I'm not a hardcore "gamer" by any stretch of the imagination - I can wait until my FutureShop order comes in (I learned that they are one of the largest supplier of XBOX 360's in Canada). Went home and checked the Microsoft stock price - not surprisingly, it went up this morning.

Posted by on 22 November 2005 | 8:07 am

Chat with the Team System Developer and Test Tools Team

If you are working with the Team System test tools and would like to ask questions to the product team, here is your opportunity! The chat is happening at 10AM PST/1PM EST. Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Developer & Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Testers When: Wednesday, November 16th @ 10am PST What: Join us to discuss the Profiler, Test Tools (Unit, Generic, Manual), Web & Load Testing, and Code Analysis (FxCop & PREFast).  We have questions for you, will answer questions from you, and will chat about the exciting new technology. Where:

Posted by on 16 November 2005 | 2:12 am

East of Toronto .NET User Group - Moving C++ Applications to the Common Language Runtime

Our very own Kate Gregory will show you how to effortlessly move your C++ applications to the CLR. Here is a description of the talk: Come and see how real C++ projects are moving to the CLR without a full port or rewrite. Learn how to easily migrate existing native code -- including MFC applications -- to run under the CLR. Strategies for choosing which parts of the application remain native and which are managed will be discussed. See how to take advantage of the power of the framework libraries. Finally, this session will provide guidance on how to build high-performance managed "wrappers" enabling reuse of native libraries. The event will be taking place at the Whitby Public Library on November 30th. For more information, visit:

Posted by on 14 November 2005 | 10:46 am

Free Copies of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 in Toronto!

On November 7th, Microsoft will be launching Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and Biztalk Server 2006 in Toronto! It promises to be a huge event with two tracks (IT Pro and Developer), Cabanas, the works. If that wasn't enough, Microsoft will be giving everyone fully functional "non-evaluation" software - including Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005! The Toronto Windows Server User Group will have a pod, you'll get an opportunity to connect with your local Regional Directors, MVPs and other local experts. If you haven't signed up - do so now! Here is the link: Here is Mark Relph's announcement about the free software:

Posted by on 31 October 2005 | 11:43 pm

Two great ways to interact with the Team System product team!

Cross posted with my Team System blog: I've got two great opportunities if you would like to interact with the VSTS team and help shape V2 of the product. The first opportunity is a chat this Wednesday with the Dev & Test tools team. The chat starts at 10:00 AM PST (1:00 PM EST) - bring your questions and comments about Team System features such as the Profiler, Test Tools (Unit, Generic, Manual), Web & Load Testing, (and my personal favorite) the Code Analysis tools (FxCop & PREFast). Bring your really challenging questions - they can handle it (honest). Here are the details: Team System MSDN Public ChatVisual Studio Team System for Software Developer & Visual Studio Team System for Software TestersWhen: Wednesday 10/19/05 @ 10am PST (FYI, the one hour long Team System chats happens on the third Wednesday of every month @ 10am PST). The next opportunity comes via Rob Caron - have you had a really good (or bad) experience installing Team Foundation Server? If so, the Team System group wants to hear from you to improve the overall experience. Take the Team Foundation Server Setup Experience survey and let them know how you feel about the product. Here is a direct link to the survey:

Posted by on 17 October 2005 | 11:14 pm

Flash Obfuscation

A while ago, I wrote an article on Flash obfuscation. One of my readers pointed out that I forgot to mention SWFGuard. Looks like a good product based on the specs - I'll have to give it a spin once I get a moment's rest. Flash movies are now getting ridiculously easy to break into. I recently lost the ActionScript code from one of my Flash movies and found that a product such as Sothink's SWF Decompiler produced the source code in seconds flat! I wasn't too worried - but I can imagine that Flash content producers have to constantly test their movies against piracy and theft. Anyhow, if you are interested in the topic of Flash obfuscation, check out my article here:

Posted by on 16 October 2005 | 10:44 pm

I'm a Team System MVP!

I just got word last night that: 1) My MVP status has been renewed for a third year, and2) I am now officially a Team System MVP! Thanks to Noah Coad, everyone on the product team and everyone in the MVP program for your support! Interestingly enough, Etienne Tremblay and I appear to be the only Team System MVPs in Canada (there are 8 MVPs currently listed on the website). What's on the horizon? Here are a few projects in the works: A French radio interview on the topic of MSF Agile and CMMI on the Visual Studio Talk Show (formerly BlaBlaDotNet - I'll be posting about it very shortly) A Team System presentation in January as part of the Toronto Code Camp (which I am organizing alongside Chris Dufour from the East of Toronto .NET User Group) Professional Visual Studio 2005 Team System, which will be released later this year by Wiley Publishing Some VSTS involvement for the Toronto Visual Studio 2005 launch this November A few new books in the works on Team System (that I can't quite talk about at this moment). Team System training two weeks from now in Redmond More blogging on - blog posts in both French and English. Stay tuned...

Posted by on 9 October 2005 | 2:22 am

The Toronto Code Camp Website is Live!

The Toronto Code Camp 2006 website is now online! ( The event is slated for January 14th, 2006 and promises to be very exciting. If we can pull this event off, you can bet there will be many others in the near future. The new website has many features including: General registration: We only have 160 spaces for attendees so if you want to register for the event you have to do so right away! To register for the Toronto Code Camp 2006, simply click on the Register button at the top right of the website. Or you can click on the following link: Call for Speakers: Do you live in the GTA and you would like to speak on a .NET development topic? Then feel free to download our speaker registration form and send it over to us. Read the menu bar on the left side of this page for more details: are looking for both experienced speakers and new speakers to fill in the slots. The four categories are quite broad to accommodate a wide variety of topics. The main categories include: .NET, Futures, Service Oriented Architecture and ASP.NET 2.0. Some of the hot topics we would like to see includes application and code security, mobile device development, and case studies of real applications you've built. Send an email along with the registration form to the following email address: Call for Volunteers: Any large scale event requires volunteers to make it happen. Some of the tasks may include setting up the location, helping out the speakers, helping bring food to the event, helping out at the registration desk and much more. To register as a volunteer, send an email to Visit the website, send in your feedback and participate! Thanks.

Posted by on 5 October 2005 | 12:03 pm

Back From the MVP Summit

I'm finally back from the MVP Summit. I had a great time but it was exhausting - kind of a "sleep-deprivation experiment gone wrong" and jetlag. I'll blog some more about the trip but first I thought I would share some of the pictures from the event: Rob Caron has also posted some great pics from the event here: Or you can view everyone's photos by Flickr tag:

Posted by on 4 October 2005 | 12:52 am

Open Registration For The Canadian Launch Tour 2005

As reported by Mark Relph (and as a follow up to my previous blog post here), you can now sign up for the official Canadian product launch of Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006. Here are the primary sites to visit for more information: Canadian Launch Tour Blog Canadian Launch Tour Website Signup link for Toronto Launch Event

Posted by on 23 September 2005 | 1:26 am

Download the PDC 2005 Slide Decks

Via Sam Gentile, Thom Robbins and Chris Bowen: The PDC 2005 slides are now officially available for download!Here is the link:

Posted by on 20 September 2005 | 12:41 pm

New Team System Blog

Thanks to Mickey Gousset, I have a new blog on Team System Rocks! As my new book, Professional Visual Studio 2005 Team System gets closer to the publishing date, I'll be posting new articles on how to use the features I've discovered within Team System. My first post is about AppVerifier - check it out here: If you would like to subscribe to this new blog, here is the address:

Posted by on 18 September 2005 | 1:38 pm

PDC 2005 Resources for Non-Attendees

If you are like me, you didn't get the opportunity to go to the 2005 Professional Developers Conference (my own reason for missing the PDC was to save up for the upcoming MVP Summit in Redmond). Want to feel like you've been there? I've compiled a list of resources and downloads to satisfy everyone who missed out: First, check out the PDC website for general information about the event. You can decorate your desktop with PDC wallpaper (Links: here and here). In fact, the DeveloperPowered website has plenty of bling: IM icons, flair and t-shirt transfers (with sayings such as I Love Code, BOF Bandit, <HOLLYWOOD> and my favorite, Developer Powers Activate (if you have no clue as to the meaning of the last reference, you obviously never watched the Wonder Twins). Grab this collateral before the site goes offline! Wondering how it was like on the first day of PDC? Here are some pictures at Flikr. First, watch the "Change the World" video (shown before the keynote). You can then watch Bill Gates PDC Keynote (featuring Jim Allchin and Chris Capossela) and the hilarious Napoleon Dynamite parody that was edited out. There are more PDC 2005 videos online - check out this full PDC presentation by Raymond Chen (entitled "Five Things Every Win32 Programmer Needs to Know" - FUN412). Both Channel 9 and Paul Thurrott's 2005 PDC site has some good photos/video/podcast content. Also don't miss this cool XAML demo presentation by The North Face. All attendees got a little foam Channel 9 guy - you can also get one by sending the Channel 9 team a postcard. What about Windows Vista ballcaps? You can sometimes find them on eBay. Want to buy stuff from the Microsoft Store (including the PDC 2005 DVD)? Check out the Microsoft eCompanyStore website (they appear only to ship to the US). Next (and most importantly) is content. has some solid information. Also check out the newly revamped Windows Vista website. What about slides? First, download the complete session guide in text format or Excel format. Then search for the presentation slides on Google (and of course, you can purchase my book "Professional WinFX Beta" *shameless plug alert* which sold out at the PDC). What about the technology itself? You can download the PDC version of WinFX (and associated tools) from the Microsoft website. Want to get Windows Vista? You must currently be a Beta tester or a MSDN (or TechNet) Subscriber to get direct access to the bits. However, there are other channels. For example, the Toronto Windows Server User Group recently held a Windows Vista Install Fest where we gave away the Beta 1 bits to our members! We are looking at doing a second event for Windows Vista Beta 2 later this year. Look out for upcoming Microsoft TechNet and Developer events for other opportunities. Also download Microsoft Max (much cooler than Microsoft Bob).

Posted by on 18 September 2005 | 12:53 am

How a Book Gets Written: Professional WinFX Beta

I just read a fantastic post by Jim Minatel outlining the process of developing and writing Professional WinFX Beta. The entire story is true - it was quite a challenge to keep up with the changes affecting Longhorn at the time. I recently got a physical copy of the book in my hands and I'm really pleased with the results! A huge thanks goes out to Bill Ryan, Ron DeSerranno and Alexandra Young for helping co-write it. One of the lessons learned is that the success of a book project not only hinges on the quality of writing and the authors but also the support of the editorial team! I'm in the process of updating my source code to work with the PDC version of WinFX (aka the WinFX Sept CTP) - you'll be able to download full working versions of the apps outlined in the book and the updated source code in the near future. I'll post the links once my chapters are ready! (FYI, the code and information in the book is based on Beta 1). In the meantime, you may want to download the PDC builds of WinFX. Download the WinFX SDK here (rename the file extension from ".img" to ".iso" - 452 MB): You can also download different flavors of the SDK (x86, x64 & ia-64) at the following site: WinFX Runtime Components are available here: Visual Studio Extensions for WinFX are available here: you have installed everything, the next step is to check out the online September CTP WinFX SDK documentation (including great new information about the Windows Workflow Foundation): recently gave a presentation at the East of Toronto .NET User group on the Windows Communication Foundation. As luck would have it, my demos failed again! (see this post more background). Fortunately, the talk went well overall - a few of us resumed the meeting at the local Tim Horton's where I finally revived one of my planned demos. In case you are wondering, I followed my own advice from the previous blog entry. Lessons learned: next time, if it's a pre-Beta or Beta technology I will do a canned demo no matter what! The presentation deck will soon appear on the user group website. A few cool WinFX related items I have noticed over the weekend:- Channel 9 has an amazing XAML Demo created by North Face: Here is the video: is an explanation on how they did it: - Some of the 2005 PDC slides are available on the web:

Posted by on 17 September 2005 | 11:15 pm

Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite - RC Now Available

The Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite Release Candidate is now available on MSDN Subscriber Downloads. I'm sure this will be one of the many downloads I'll be doing in the next couple of days, including BillG's keynote tomorrow morning (11:30 AM Toronto time). To view a more candid, relaxed Bill Gates, check out this intimate interview with Robert Scoble on Channel 9.

Posted by on 12 September 2005 | 8:28 pm