Archive for October, 2007

AJAX Style Image Cropper


This cool JavaScript image cropper came through my inbox this week.

Check it out – easily integrated with MS AJAX and the ACT.

Do you PASS ?


My buddy Steve Simon has recently formed an official PASS (Professional Association for SQL  Server) Chapter in Providence RI.

They meet on the second Wednesday of every month at the New England Institute of Technology in Warwick, Rhode Island from 6:00PM to 9:00PM. Click here to become a member.

Microsoft releases CTP SQL 2005 Drivers for PHP

Microsoft has released a Community Technology Preview of its new SQL 2005 driver for PHP.

Click HERE to get the bits.

Click HERE to leave comments for the team.

Russ Returns to Boston !


10/24 – Waltham, Mass Microsoft Office MPR, 6:30-8:30 pm (Pizza, Beverages & Giveaways.)


Topic: It’s All About The Tools – Episode 1

Organized by Ronald Thibeau, John Ross, Dan Stolts MVP and Microsoft’s Neal Wadhwani


Registration Link:


Location: Microsoft

201 Jones Road, 6th floor

Waltham, MA 02451


Also, don’t forget MSDN event (VS 2008, Silverlight/AJAX, Astoria) in Boston the next day on 10/25

Open Source does NOT exclude Windows ! has publoished an article / slide show: 10 Things You Should Know About Open Source.

Especially check out slide 5 and 7 !!!!

WANTA COOL JOB: Strategy Manager

This Strategy Manager will be part of a team driving high priority strategic initiatives, spanning growth and operations, directly contributing to significant positive changes for a HIGH PROFILE Technology Company.

The Corporate Strategy group strongly values teamwork, analytics, and executive-level engagement.

·         Deliver data-driven insights to support actionable strategic direction, corporate prioritization, and strategy communication (Board, investors, company)

·         Analyze industry trends, competitive threats, expansion opportunities and internal performance

·         Work in a team environment both within the Corporate Strategy team and with business unit partners/customers

·         Work collaboratively to help secure the commitment for cross-company efforts and fully leverage Microsoft’s assets

·         2+ year’s Post-Bachelor experience at a leading strategy consulting firm, investment bank, or the strategy and corporate development function within a Fortune 500 company.

·         Superior analytical skills and strong financial modeling capabilities

·         Demonstrated success in delivering results in a cross-functional team setting

·         Strong communications (written/verbal), presentation and facilitation skills

·         Results driven, flexible and agile

·         A team player

·         Ability to shape strategy and align the organization as an agent of change

·         Intuitive and analytical, while not sacrificing action

·         Genuine and credible, a strong communicator and a good listener

·         Ability to influence and negotiate

·         Able to influence key members of the organization

·         EE Education – Bachelor’s degree in a related field required.        

A competitive compensation package will be offered to the final candidate and will include a base salary and potential bonus.

If you’re interested please DO NOT CONTACT ME

Contact Jodie  Perelmutter at Futurestep (

This job is IN REDMOND WA !

Is Comcast censoring my internet content.

I read today this alarming report on Yahoo News that Comcast admits to censoring and blocking Internet use of its subscribers.

(Story here.)

My specific complaint is that where I live, Comcast is the only broadband provider. If there were an option that would provide me with the same speed, I’d consider switching. They are expensive, and their support varies widely (sometimes super – sometimes not).

So since they have a local monopoly, should they be restricted from dictating my USE ?

Or, shouldn’t I get a discount for packets I request and they refuse to send?

I pay over $100 a month for Internet access from Comcast and that’s WITH the multi-service discount (they are also the only cable TV provider I have access to.)

As an interesting side note. Early this week I saw a Television news clip about this web site

I went to the local Comcast where Bob Garfield and his readers and poster express their frustrations with the customer service quality at Comcast.

A couple days ago I went to the local Comcast service office because (without telling me) Comcast changed their protocols so that the Cable receiver boxes they lease to me can no longer order pay-per-view events (Like the UFC).

I’ve order, been charged for, and NOT been able to watch several shows and been told by Comcast customer service on each occasion, “Sometimes there is a problem with the feed”.

It was ONLY when I searched the web for other people having problems ordering the UFC on Comcast and called Comcast service that they admitted, “oh yea, those boxes are like 10 years old, they don’t work with our PPV network any more” that I knew I needed new boxes.

Since I had to make the drive anyway, I thought I’d get new cable modems. One of my Broad Band Comcast Internet connections was needing to be reset (un-plug the Cable Modem) once or twice an hour.

So I showed up to the Concord, NH Comcast service office with all my hardware.

At first it seemed strange to me that the lines of people waiting for service stood in front of bullet-proof glass barriers that went all the way to the ceiling (and I flashed back to the TV story about bad Comcast customer service.)

The woman who was at the counter (when it was finally my turn) was rude-as-could-be. She was apparently mad that I came in with multiple tasks that needed to be solved. But, we got all the changes done.

When I got home and plugged it all in. NOTHING WORKED.

None o the cable boxes worked (I have 3). All channels on all three TVs showed a message “Service Not Authorized”.

When I tried to browse to ANY web page, all my computers redirect to a Comcast page that said either:

“Your operating system is not supported.” (Linux)

“Click here to download software.” (Windows)

The “software” was this huge .exe. No one can tell me why I need it, what it contains completely, and no one will PROMISE me that it does not contain software that does not compromise my privacy in any way.

So, I called Comcast tech support.

The guys I got were AWESOME! I wish I could remember their names. (One for TV and one for Internet)

They’re fixed ALL my problems quickly and politely.

My Internet problem seems GONE and this weekend I’ll have UFC on PPV !

Now – how do I find out if they are censoring my Internet without trying to download something illegal ?

Maturing.NET Code Base

I saw my first preview of .NET in 1999 and that means to me that the code base of the .NET development community includes code that is approaching a decade old (not considering code that was pulled forward from pre .NET code.)

In the post DOT COM era where fiscal responsibility continues to increase and the software development life-cycle continues to DECREASE, there is a growing focus on re-tooling our existing intellectual assets.

One way to do this includes code-refactoring. (See Wikipedia Explanation here.)

Visual Studio 2005 includes some code-refactoring features (start here) and Visual Studio 2008 / ORCAS takes it to the next level (read here). 

There are even some cool FREE refactoring tools available like the one that Brad writes about here.


It’s called NDepend (a commercial product.)

You know that I’m a tools (really all software) junkie and I get lots of software to evaluate and provide feedback on.

I’ve been putting NDepend through its paces for a while and I think it ROCKS.

In addition to MASSIVE refactoring, it does things like Code Quality Audits, Build Comparisons, Naming Rules, Multi Thread rationalization (COOL !), and tons more.

One of my favorite features is Code Query Language (CQL).

CQL lets me use a SQL-Like vocabulary to ask semantically specific questions about my code base.

Things like “Tell me which public methods cold be private” or “Show me all the public methods with more than 30 lines of code.”

When I first started to use NDepend I approached it as a tool to understand and improve existing code (usually that someone else wrote), now that I’m learning more about what it can do I find myself using it to analyze and improve the new code that I’m writing.

You can even plug it into Visual Studio with Reflector.

You can download a trial or apply for Open Source use here.

Hope you’ll check it out.

Why are the How-Do-I Videos in Visual Basic ?

I get asked this question ALLOT !

Actually, the question usually comes wrapped in explicatives, or phrased less as a question and more as a command.

We actually do the recordings in VB for a few reasons.

1.) There are more VB programmers than C# developers (though the gap is narrowing.)

If we did them all in C#, I’d get even more email !

2.) VB is easier to read and understand.

We always provide the source code in BOTH VB & C# for your convenience.

Visual Basic is more verbose, so, though it may make C# purists a bit queasy, it should be easily understood by than. C# is more terse, therefore, perhaps a bit more difficult to understand (especially by folks who don’t program in it.)

3.) If we took time to record each video twice (once in C# and once in VB) we could only do half as many.

I’m asked: "Can you separate M$ lip service from fact for us? "

I’ve received a great number of emails in response to my “Scoble Gap” post.


The first that has prompted me to white included this question.


“Can you separate M$ lip service from fact for us?  That has to be the toughest part of your future.”


By this I assume the poster is refereeing to Microsoft MARKETING.

I’m not a fan of most marketing, ours or anyone else’s. But, it’s a necessary part of business. Marketing’s role is to advise the consuming audience of the potential benefits and values of the product they represent or “market”.

As geeks, we often see most marketing “collateral” as too many words containing little or no information.

It’s a hard balance, at Microsoft we have marketing folks that are really non-technical, and then we have folks that work in marketing capacity that are very technically competent (Brian Goldfarb).

It’s not what our marketing says that worries me. It’s when our people, especially our executive management are fully buying our own “stuff”.

MS Haters probably see this as arrogance. I see it more like a parent as he/she looks at their own children and have to work to set aside personal bias and proactively look for “areas that could use improvement”.

I have “that type of discussion” frequently inside Microsoft, now I’m just committing to make most of those opinions public.

So, call us out on what you think is “lip service” by emailing me though my blog – I won’t shy away from topics. J