Juval Lowy talk tonight

Juval Lowy A quick reminder for Juval Lowy’s community talk that is happening tonight at Microsoft’s offices in Bryanston. If you have been dabbling with WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) or you would just like to learn more about what it is, then make sure you register and come on through to meet a Software Legend and one of the world’s top .NET experts.

[tags]Juval Lowy,WCF,event[/tags]

27 Dinner by candlelight

27 dinner powered by StormhoekTonight’s 27 Dinner, 27-15 Jozi, was by no means the usual affair. A bumper crowd was expected but unfortunately our lovely power utility company Eskom decided that its the night to start doing some more load shedding. So sometime after 7pm when the event was just getting underway, the power went out in Melrose Arch. It took a little under two hours until the power was finally restored but it seems that hunger and possibly fear of the dark got the better of most of the people as only about thirty people remained.

Nevertheless it was a wonderful evening with David Theron sharing his new J2ME based mobile phone product called iMob. Justin Hartman revealed the new beta version of Afrigator which aims to categorise and aggregate more social media content like news, podcasts, videos and images over and above blogs. You should be able to try the new beta out over here.

As per usual Stormhoek supplied an ample supply of their awesome wines to get the dinner going. I really enjoyed the bottle of Stormhoek Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2003 which complimented my lamb shank to perfection.

[tags]27 Dinner,Afrigator,iMob,Eskom,Stormhoek[/tags]

Xbox LIVE Friends of Friends

Xbox 360 Just got word of a new feature that will be included in the Xbox 360 Dashboard update next week. Its called Friends of Friends and it seems to an interesting step from Microsoft into the social networking market. Basically the new setting allows users to take a peek at your friends list so they have done the good thing and exposed a way for you to control who can see your friends list, if at all.

I wonder where Microsoft is going on the social networking front. Could there be a Facebook and Xbox LIVE integration coming along next year perhaps?  Who knows.

Check out the official press release below:

Microsoft is making it even easier to expand your Friends network on Xbox LIVE, starting with the year end Dashboard Update on December 4th. Members will now be able to check out the friends lists of fellow Xbox LIVE members right from the Dashboard. With this new feature, members can find old friends or connect with new ones within the community of more than 8 million people on Xbox LIVE around the globe and send messages and game invites, as well as compare games and Achievements.

With the prevalence of social media websites such as MySpace and FaceBook, this type of capability has largely come to be expected from consumers as a means to relate in an online community.  Xbox LIVE continually seeks new ways to better serve the expectations of its members, which often result in enhancements made available for free through the bi-annual Dashboard updates. 

When the Dashboard update is distributed on December 4th, the new default setting on Xbox LIVE will be active enabling members to see the Friends lists of other Xbox LIVE members. Members who would like to keep their friends list private can take the following steps to change their settings beginning today:

Log in to www.xbox.com/fof and select one of the three options available for your Gamertag:

  • Everyone (only available to members 18 and older)
  • Friends only (available to members 13 and older)           
  • Blocked (available to all members, and automatic for anyone under the age of 13)

Stay tuned for more information about the Xbox 360 Dashboard Update later this month!

[tags]Xbox LIVE,press release[/tags]

Visual Studio 2008 released

Yeah its official, Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 was officially released today. You can read Somasegar’s announcement post over here. If you have been chomping on the bit waiting for the release then head on over and download 90-day trial editions, the Express editions and the full ISOs which are available to MSDN Subscribers from here.

Congratulations to the Visual Studio and .NET Framework teams, they have certainly delivered great product this time around.

[tags]Visual Studio 2008,Orcas[/tags]

SQL Server 2008 November CTP

Its about time that the long awaited CTP5 of SQL Server 2008 (code-named Katmai) was released. I’ve been seeing blog posts about MVP only builds for the last couple of days and now finally I got an e-mail notification of the November CTP that is available to download from here.

I can’t wait for my download to complete so that I can try out the new GEOMETRY and GEOGRAPHIC data types.

[tags]Katmai,CTP,SQL Server[/tags]

It’s plane stupid

What’s up with the South African airline industry lately? All I see lately are reports of problems and I’m considering staying on the ground for the near future. Just take a look at the following headlines taken from The Times over the last couple of days:

Looking a few months back there seems to be at most one incident reported in South Africa per month, oh and one in Thailand which had some major fatalities.

So how come have we had four incidents in November alone? It doesn’t make me feel too good when the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reports in their annual report for 2006/2007 that there were 174 aviation incidents resulting in 50 fatalities – an average of over 14 incidents per month.

I must say that I’m not surprised that there are so many air incidents when you consider how the airports and airlines are run. Have you ever caught a Kulula flight that wasn’t delayed? I haven’t. Every time I climb onboard a local flight I wonder when last the plane was serviced and how many flights its flown since.

I suppose the air fatalities are nothing compared to the road fatalities but come on, what’s going on here?

[tags]South Africa,airline[/tags]

SQL Server 2008 Compression

Jonathan Allen and Chad Boyd have interest blog posts on the new SQL Server 2008 compression features.

Row level compression drastically reduces the meta-data needed for variable length columns. Instead of storing the length of each field in 2 bytes, it now takes a mere 3 bits. Fields themselves are also smaller. Storing a 1 in an int field now only takes a single byte, though of course larger values may use up to 4 bytes.

In my opinion the new feature shouldn’t really be called compression but rather removal of wasted space. Although the concept of sharing common data from multiple rows in the same page is a form of compression and I suppose where the true value lies. It should make for some really interesting indexing strategies and could even motivate some edge use cases for denormalized data.

I really like the built-in backup compression and the idea that pages will only be compressed when its nearly full. I think the decreased physical data storage I/O will have a significant performance benefit over the CPU performance penalty introduced by the compression and decompression of data.

[tags]SQL Server 2008[/tags]

BizTalk Server User Group Launch

BizTalk Server User Group LaunchRecently a couple of BizTalk developers got together on the SA Developer .NET forums and put together the idea of forming a BizTalk user group and it seems to be happening. I got word from Ryan CrawCour that Microsoft is getting involved and together they are launching the new user group starting off with the first event on the 5th of December.

Calling all BizTalkers!

Discover and share with fellow colleagues how BizTalk Server allows diverse systems inside and outside your business to talk to each other without complex and costly integration – enabling you to achieve a true Service Oriented Architecture, and achieve pervasive business process automation.

Connect with other BizTalkers and share best practices and methodologies around BizTalk Server design and implementations.

Microsoft South Africa will be launching the first BizTalk Server User Group on 5 December 2007 at Microsoft’s Campus in Bryanston. To register please click here.

[tags]South Africa,BizTalk,community,SA Developer .NET[/tags]

Juval Lowy to present WCF for the South African community

Juval Lowy Thanks to Dariel Solutions who are bringing Juval Lowy out to South Africa to present a 5-day master class. Juval is recognised by Microsoft as a Software Legend and one of the world’s top .NET experts. For those that are not so lucky to be able to make it to the 5-day course will be pleased to hear that Juval will be giving a free presentation to the SA Developer .NET community on the evening of the 29th of November as well. His talk is titled “Demonstrating Windows Communication Foundation – Beyond the Endpoints, An evening with Juval Lowy”. Make sure you book your seat early as I’m sure this event is likely to be very popular.

[tags]Juval Lowy,WCF,South Africa,SA Developer .NET,Dariel Solutions,event[/tags]

Net60 Beta 1 released

Red Five Labs logo Local mobile innovation company, Red Five Labs, has today released a beta 1 build of their of implementation of the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 which runs on Symbian S60 3rd edition devices like the Nokia N95 series of mobile phones. This is an important product for enterprise developers that would like to deploy on both Windows Mobile and Symbian mobile devices. The official press release follows.

Johannesburg, South Africa, November 14th, 2007 – Red Five Labs, a leading mobile technology company, releases Net60 (beta 1) for immediate download. Net60 is a ground breaking implementation of the .NET Compact Framework running on S60 3rd edition devices.

Net60 enables managed Windows Mobile applications to run unchanged on S60 devices. Using C# and Visual Basic .NET in Visual Studio, developers can now use the .NET Compact Framework environment to build applications for Symbian devices.

Symbian developers can now also write applications for S60 and benefit from the RAD capabilities which .NET development offers.

This beta release is intended for System Integrators and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who are interested in exploring the possibilities of Net60 ahead of the commercial release later this year. User feedback is highly encouraged.

For download instructions and an application to join the beta program, please visit the download beta page at http://www.redfivelabs.com/content/download.aspx

Applications will be approved as efficiently as possible by the team at Red Five Labs so that beta testers are able to gain rapid access to the download. Managed support is provided by an integrated support ticket system and public forums.

Any questions  regarding the sign-up of the beta can be directed to support@redfivelabs.com

[tags].NET Compact Framework,Red Five Labs,Symbian[/tags]