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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft

ILT MOC and E-Learning

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Yesterday I was talking with an ex-MSL employee about Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) and E-Learning. During our discussion the suggestion came up that ILT MOC doesn’t have to be really well presented (as opposed to E-Learning) because a good trainer/MCT can create a good experience regardless of the quality of the courseware.  With E-Learning what a student sees and hears in the course is their full experience so it has to shine(which I don’t think E-Learning achieves and it has struggled accordingly).

My take on this – I suspect that this opinion isn’t a spoken one at MSL, but can imagine that this attitude is prevalent regardless.  Labs are typically marginally relevant, they hit the right topic generally, but frequently don’t illustrate the concepts well.  Next Gen MOC seems to be stripping much out of the actual printed courseware and pushing it onto the CD. Personally I’m 10 times more likely to look at a book as opposed to loading up book CD content. 5 years down the road the CD might be a better choice if screen readers are more common.

So I agree that the MCT/trainer is 90% of the experience, but I don’t think that should ever be an excuse for producing less than excellent courseware.

Written by Chris Sutton

April 19, 2008 at 10:41 am

Posted in Learning

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Alt.Net – Friday Afternoon

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I made it to Seattle around noon and had lunch with Roy Osherove, Adam Tybor, Sergio, Ian Cooper and Tim.  We had some interesting conversations from mocking to mobile phones (until Roy said he was tired of that talk) to firing practices in the UK.

It was good to put some faces to blogs I have been reading for a quite awhile.

Written by Chris Sutton

April 18, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Twin Cities Code Camp MVC Session

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Thanks to everyone who attended my ASP.Net MVC session. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you get the opportunity to try out what the MVC framework has to offer. The slides have a lot more information than what I was able to get through in my talk. The project is still very young, but has so much potential.

Please leave comments here and let me know what you thought of the session. I’m trying to constantly improve it to make it the right fit.

More ASP.Net MVC Slides.

Written by Chris Sutton

April 8, 2008 at 11:41 am

Twin Cities Code Camp IV

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Yesterday, I was in the Cities at the fourth Twin Cities Code Camp.  It really was a fantastic experience, likely the the best one yet (I presented at the first two code camps as well). From the presentations I attended I would say that the quality of the presentations was very high. They easily would rival what you get at a paid conference. I also met a bunch of people I had never seen in person which is really cool.

Some of the Iowa crowd that went up was Javier Lozano, Bryan Sampica and Greg Wilson. There were several other attendees from Bryan’s company as well. The Iowa presenters and attendees have grown significantly since the first one where I was the sole Iowan as far as I know.

Some interesting people I met/saw were D’Arcy Lussier, Neil Iverson (Inetium), Brandy Favilla (New Horizons), Robert Boedigheimer, Chris Williams (Magenic), Aaron Erickson (Magenic), Kent Tegels (DevelopMentor), Jeff Ferguson, Chris Johnson, Saviz Artang, John Thurow, Kirstin (Magenic), Nicole and Kristen (New Horizons) and Justin Chase.

My favorite session was Neil Iverson’s PowerShell for Developers.  It was a fast paced live demo that kept incrementally building.  Rarely have I been so engaged in a session. D’Arcy’s MVC vs ASP.Net talk was also really interesting.  We only had about 6 people in the session, so we went around the room and said where we were coming from in our ASP.Net development experience. Then D’Arcy showed us how he typically structures his webforms applications, and we peppered him with questions.  I learned a lot from the session.

My talk was the second of the day in the large seminar room so we actually had about 50 people in the session.  One thing that was cool was that D’Arcy Lussier did an intro talk right before mine, so I got to build off of what he did in the session before. Mine seemed to go pretty well. There were a lot of questions and interest in what MVC brings to web development in the Microsoft space.

Jason Bock did a great job again bringing this all together.  It’s a lot of work coordinating an event like this.

If you liked what you got at the Twin Cities Code Camp you’ll definitely want to check out the Iowa Code Camp.  We’ll be a little bit smaller, but have some top notch presenters, a great facility and will have great prizes as well.  The registration is right on the home page and is as simple as it gets.

Written by Chris Sutton

April 6, 2008 at 9:27 pm

PowerShell File Search

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If you are looking for a file or directory in your file system try something simple like this:

dir -recurse -filter *power* | sort name | ft directory, name

dir is an alias to the Get-ChildItem cmdlet – it does pretty much what it did in the DOS world (and more). The -recurse parameter looks in subdirectories as you might expect. -filter lets you pass in a file or directory name or pattern. sort name … well you can figure this out.  ft directory, name is an alias to the Format-Table cmdlet and it lets you decide what columns you want in the table that gets outputted.

Here is a slightly more powerful expression:

dir -recurse | ?{$_.name -match “^*.jpg|gif$”} | sort name | ft directory, name

With this expression you can do comparisons on specific fields. Here I’m doing a regex pattern match for all files that end with jpg or gif. ? is an alias to the Where-Object cmdlet. where is also an alias to Where-Object and might be more readable than ?.

Written by Chris Sutton

April 1, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Posted in Technology

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Team System 2008 VPC

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If you would like to experiment with the new Team System bits you can just download the vpc here. The bonus here is that there are 38 hands-on labs right in the vpc.

Written by Chris Sutton

March 31, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Technology

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TechEd 2008 – Developers

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This year for the first time TechEd is spanning two weeks. The first week is for developers and the second week is for the “other” people – the IT Pro crowd :)

I’ll be working at TechEd as a Technical Learning Guide(TLG) in the Hands on Labs area and may do an Instructor Led Lab. It’ll take 32 hours of the week, but I’m hoping to catch some of the other sessions as well.

The word on the street is that all of the TLG’s will be wearing sexy black shirts, so it should be pretty easy to find us. 

The conference is in Orlando the first week of June. It might be worth checking it out if you have a week to spare and want to get some insight on the latest technologies from Microsoft.

Written by Chris Sutton

March 31, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Technology

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A well-used string extension method

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James-Newton King posted an interesting extension method called FormatWith() that you can call from any string literal or variable.

There are two useful aspects to this function.  1) You can format a string inline instead of wrapping your string with String.Format():

string Name = “Chris”;

“My name is {0}”.FormatWith(Name);

In my opinion, the less you have to nest items – String.Format(“…{0}”) – the easier it will be to read. Chaining items together could be abused, but over all it is simpler for the reader and writer.

2) It allows for named placeholders like this:

Person aPerson = new Person();

aPerson.FirstName = “Chris”;

aPerson.LastName = “Sutton”;

“My full name is {FirstName} {LastName}”.FormatWith(aPerson);

Check out James’ post to see his implementation, its surprisingly simple.

Much of what C# 3.0 brought us was simplified syntax and the potential for code that is easier to read and write (more fluent). This use of extension methods is more natural and expressive and will certainly make my coding cleaner.

Written by Chris Sutton

March 28, 2008 at 8:58 am

Posted in Technology

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PowerShell del

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del is an alias to the Remove-Item cmdlet and you can use it pretty much like you did in a DOS shell. But there are some additions.  It can delete more than just files and directories. It can now delete certificates, registry keys, aliases and more.

One of the nicest features is that you can issue a del command with the -whatif parameter and it won’t run the command, but will tell you what would be deleted if you really did issue the command. So del *.zip -whatif would give you a list of .zip files in your current directory, but wouldn’t actually delete them.

If you haven’t tried PowerShell yet and you work from the command line a lot, you really should check it out.  It is a pretty easy transition from cmd.exe, but there is way more power under the hood if you want to dig deeper.

I’ll likely blog more on PowerShell in the future and will link to many of the resources out on the web to help you learn how to use it.

Written by Chris Sutton

March 26, 2008 at 7:39 am

Posted in Learning, Technology

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Cedar Rapids 2008 Launch Event

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This Monday, March 17th, is our CRIneta.org Visual Studio/SQL Server 2008 Launch Event.  If you want to learn about the new products and you want to have a great time and win from a huge pool of excellent prizes, then go to CRIneta.org and RSVP to be a part of this event.

Tim Barcz, Greg Sohl, Arian Kulp and I are presenting sessions on Visual Studio enhancements, Linq, IIS 7, C# 3, the new .Net Framework features and the new SQL data types.

We have room for 50 people and 38 are RSVP’d already, so don’t wait too long. We are doing the Launch at the Marriott on Collins road in Cedar Rapids. Check the website for more details.

Written by Chris Sutton

March 13, 2008 at 9:18 pm


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