I just changed my RSS preference to only display the past 25 items, instead of the past 75 items. I'm seeing a lot more traffic on RSS lately, and hope that helps make bandwidth usage for UserLand lighter. I have more than 2500 subscribers on Bloglines alone.
Buzz Bruggeman continues doing great blogging from Orlando in the aftermath of the hurricane. It'll be two to five more days before he gets power.
Someone, a developer, at the dinner last night pointed out why he likes Google better than MSN. Turns out if you search Google for an API name, it almost always takes you to the correct page on MSDN. Here, try both engines for "DestroyWindow:"
Translation: this developer doesn't believe that MSN is giving better results than Google is. So, he is still a Google fanatic. MSN's searches are getting better at a rapid rate. Just shows that I'll point out when a competitor of Microsoft does something better than we do.
Mike D is wondering if I'd be willing to have a contest for redesigning my blog.
I'm hip to that, but with one rule. You gotta just change my CSS file. I need to be able to simply reupload a new CSS file and see your new design. If it requires doing more than that, then I'm not willing to put the time in to make it work. Call me bad, but I worked on making my site readable and that's what I care about.
If someone comes up with a design that I end up using, I'll buy you something cool from the company store. I can afford $100 or so. Keep in mind that'll buy you something really nice in the store. I'll also put your name on my home page, and link to your blog.
My CSS file is here: http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/stylecss.css
D. Keith Robinson challenges me to get an about page. OK. But I wrote it in his comments. Let me know what I should add to it and I'll put it up here.
Mike Sax in Visual Studio Magazine: Position Yourself Wisely.
Interesting. One of the attendees at the ASP Insider thing in building 20 who didn't want to be named said he was looking for architects who are familiar with Microsoft technologies. He says that there aren't any good architects on the market right now. The ones who really know their stuff, he says, get hired within minutes.
Does that vibe with your experience?
I guess this is as good an opportunity as any to remind you of Microsoft's Architect Journal.
Speaking of cool geek stuff, sometimes over at weblogs.asp.net you see the coolest source code go by. Man, is it only me, or does that site go by really quickly? I guess that's what happens when 1300+ people can post to one URL.
Anyway, speaking of that, Jeremy Rule's demo of using ASP.NET to dynamically create images caught my eye as something fun to do.
Oh, Chris Sells, the Geek Milkshake is just too much. Here's the opening snippet. After you check this out, scroll up and see Rory's ink IM.
My web log brings all the nerds to the yard,
and I'm like: "mine's better than yours".
Damn right, it's better than yours!
I can link you, but I have to charge!
Scott Gutherie, product unit manager of Web tools at Microsoft (the folks that make IIS and ASP.NET), gave me a tour of building 20 today after he presented the state of ASP.NET to a group of ASP Insiders that were visiting.
This is one of the smaller buildings on campus. It's a one-story affair. But don't let its small size fool you: it's one of the key tools that Microsoft has to designing better products.
What's so special about it? Well, Microsoft flies customers in from all over the world to have conversations about upcoming products.
Anyway, over there right now are the group of the top ASP.NET customers. I went back and had dinner over there and sat in on a group that was chatting with Scott about what they like and hate about ASP.NET and IIS.
I wish I could bring everyone into these sessions because you'd get to see directly how one person's comment on a blog, or in a meeting like this, can -- and does -- lead to better products.
On the customer's side of it, I heard Scott explain the development process that his team is going through. Why it takes a frustratingly long time to get a feature added to the product.
What kind of customers get invited in? A diverse group of developers. Some influentials. Some picked just because they represent a segment of the market well. Scott told me about one time that he invited a bunch of PHP programmers into building 20 to start a conversation and learn about why they chose PHP. The ASP.NET team is one of the best users of building 20 -- Scott tells me they are over there every month or so with a different group of customers. In his presentation today he showed market share numbers. Definitely have gone up quite a bit and Scott says that's due in no small part to building 20 (I won't reveal how much, cause I'm sure Scott would love to share all that stuff on his blog someday).
Today I ran into a ton of people I know from the ASP Insider's group. Folks like Dave Wanta, the guy who does the kbAlertz site, among others are getting early looks at plans for the next few years and helping the teams improve the design choices in those products.
Each person/company who is invited to building 20 gets an office of their own and they are given machines so they can try out the software and build things with Microsoft's top engineer's help. During one Longhorn building 20 session, I watched as the .NET team improved the usability of an API right in the hallway based on this feedback.
By the way, building 20 is used by a lot of teams, not just ASP.NET. Every week another group is over there meeting with customers. I'm looking for interesting building 20 stories. I'll report the best ones. I'm also filming for Channel 9 over there, so in a few weeks you'll get a look at building 20 too.