I've got to apologize for the lack of blogging this last week. When I got back from TechEd I basically spent the entire weekend asleep (and playing Links on the XBox - cool game), and then this week just flew by. Time flies, and it FLIES. I had to do a big sharepoint presentation to some other peeps at Edenbrook yesterday and so much of the week till that point was spent getting the presentation together. There were less people at the thing than I had originally thought there would be, but I had a lot of fun all the same, not least because I got to spend a few more days really focussed on learning the ins and outs of Sharepoint.
I got handed a VMWare Workstation 4 CD at TechEd so I thought this presentation would be a great opportunity to put it to the test. I've run virtual machines before in Virtual PC, but I've always had a bit of a nightmare sorting networking out so that the host machine can chat with the virtual machine, without letting the virtual machine loose on the Internet. VMWare absolutely rocks in that area. You can set up something called Host Only Networking just with a flick of an option switch. VMWare then builds a virtual network inside the machine. The host machine gets a virtual network adapter, connected to a virtual switch which in turn is connected to the virtual machine. It works like a charm. One really cool feature that I really like about any virtual machine environment is the safety net it provides. I considered setting up the Thinkpad with Windows Server 2003, Exchange, SQL Server and Sharepoint Portal Server for the demo, but if I screwed something up along the way I'd have to reinstall the whole thing all over again, and that's a royal pain. With a virtual machine environment like VMWare though you can just take snapshots of the machine as a whole at any point and roll back whenever you feel you need to. The machine is a lot slower than a real machine of course, but the benefits you get from the ability to tweak and configure anything in completely safety far outweigh that particular point.
Anyways, on Thursday, I had an early start driving Heather, Ethan and my Dad to the airport. All three of them have jetted off to Florida for a couple of weeks to visit my in-laws and generally just look around and have some fun. I get to stay here (long story - those of you that know me from way back will know why). That's cool though. After a thoroughly frantic day today helping out a project team with an infrastructure change impact assessment 5pm came around, my work was done and I was able to update Messenger to say "Pete - ON HOLIDAY!". Fantastic. I have two weeks now of bliss. No deadlines. No pressures. Lots of peace and quiet.
In a mad moment I even set about cleaning the bathroom to celebrate.Weird huh. I never do that. I think I've developed a thing now for rubber gloves.
So,what's planned for the coming two weeks? Writing. I've got the tools installed that I'm writing about, and I've got a pretty good idea now of the book's structure and contents. I just need to tweak that up a little and then start knocking it about with my editor Dominic and I'm away. In the meantime I'm writing a couple of test apps to really make sure I'm completely up to speed with the tools I'm writing about, and I'm all set. I hate cryptic. I'm writing about VS 2005, kinda. You'll see.
Two whole weeks of uninterrupted quiet study, code, writing intermingled with the occasional fly fishing trip and visits to friends. Fantastic.