Congrats Hugo!

Wow, Hugo Ortega has been awarded the title of Australia’s first Tablet PC MVP (though, I’d always thought Doc. Neil was the first. But, apparently not!).

Tablet PC Guy

Anyway, congratulations to Hugo!

A much deserved award to a very dedicated Tablet PC advocate.

I still remember about a year ago, Hugo left a comment on a post where I’d lamented about the difficulties of finding a Tablet PC in a retail outlet in Australia.

Also check out Hugo’s YouTube videos.

Oh, and thanks to Ber for the Tablet PC Guy. I got it from him at this years’ MEDC in Melbourne.

Photo taken using my Nikon D70s, and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Aussie blogs listing

Looks like there’s now an Aussie Blogs Index underway and has listed about 764 active Australian blogs.

Don’t really know too much about it at this stage, aside from being a listing of Australian blogs.

I think there will always be more Aussie blogs out there, than listed on any such list. Question is though, why is it important for us to have our very own corner of the web?

Well, for starters, there’s a lot of things that are uniquely Australian, and only fellow Australians would understand it.

And there’s also that Aussie (+Kiwi) Tech blog listing, Tech Talk Blogs.

So it looks like the Aussie blogosphere is slowly gathering up some momentum. Let’s see what happens aye? πŸ™‚

Google just keeps growing

Looks like Google just keeps on growing.

Michael Still mentioned in his blog that he’s moving to Mountain View to join Google.

Wow! Another smart Aussie aus-dotnet’ter moving to a big company in the US.

He’s probably best known for keeping an archive of the aus-dotnet mailing list on his linux server at home πŸ˜›

Let’s see now… Since I started in this industry almost 2 years ago, I’ve seen a few aus-dotnetters heading over to the US.
A few to Microsoft (Chris Garty, David Kean to name a few).

I think Michael’s the first aus-dotnetter I know of going to work at Google. Goodluck Michael!

Morfik Ajax IDE

Saw Morfik mentioned in a recent blog entry at the blog, and have finally had a bit more of a look.

First thing? Had a look at their About Morfik page. What did I see?

Morfik is located in Hobart, Australia.

Wow, innovation from that little island just south of Melbourne πŸ™‚
(And we share the same area code! Victorian numbers are +61 3, as is Tasmania)

Anyway, Morfik looks really interesting. The IDE seems to resemble Visual Studio .NET’s IDE. (Or at least it does to me! … To a certain extent)

They’ll be at the Web 2.0 conference next week, with more details about this app of theirs (they are a sponsor).

Ok, now onto the interesting stuff about this IDE and their JavaScript Synthesis Technology (JST)

From their page:

Morfik offers ground-breaking Javascript Synthesis Technology (Γ’β‚¬ΛœJSTÒ€ℒ) that allows developers to use a visual design environment and a high-level language of their choice to create applications comprised purely of HTML and Javascript. This revolutionary technology combined with its tight integration of the browser, a database and web server, uniquely offers developers the opportunity to create web applications that run on the desktop after being unplugged from the web.

Now that’s really blurring the lines between a desktop app and a web app which “lives” inside of a browser. This “JST” it seems gives Morfik the ability to work with an online/offline mode, akin to what’s offered by a Smart Client.

It says you can use an OO language of your choice to implement the business logic. There’s a bit more in this blog post. Which says the supported OO languages are: C++/C#/Java/Delphi.

This could be interesting. But i’ll reserve my judgement until I’ve seen it in action.

A look back at aus-dotnet

From Andrew Coates’ blog:

Aus-DotNet List moving Mail Servers
I just spoke to Dr Pete (Stanski), who runs the Aus-DotNet mailing list and, as per his note to the list a couple of days ago, he’s moved the list to a new ISP and a new server. It seems like the propagation of the MX record is taking longer than expected, but rest assured, there’ll be no requirement to resubscribe. It’ll all be “Seamless” as soon as the DNS system catches up.

On Monday Dr Pete wrote:

Hi Guys,

Yes. WeÒ€ℒve been experiencing a few problems with the mailing list.

The ISP we are using is running out of bandwidth on the server that we are hosting it – due to the size of the list.

During this week we shall be moving the list off to a new server and ISP so that we give you guys 100% uptime. If it all goes smoothly, you should not see any issues (i.e. no need for resubscribing). However, we will have to change the MX records to point to a new SMTP box so that might mean going off the air for about 1 day or so.

Sorry about the inconvenience over the last few days and last 3 weeks when the problems started. But the current ISP has not been the easiest to work with on this issue hence the migration to a different provider that can. Also since the MS Exchange server does not support mailing lists very well (Exchange feature request guys!) we had to find an ISP that could accommodate our mailing list needs. The good news is I think we have once – more details on this will be provided shortly.



What i’m surprised about the most is that there wasn’t any bandwidth issues last year. Both years had quite heavy traffic. But on reflection, this years’ Friday topics had a bit more “bite” to them πŸ™‚

Pretty amazing though, I think the list has been going now for over 3 years (I joined the list in 2002).

The first 5 emails I got from the list were all written by Dr Pete.

Here are the 5 subject titles:

[16/10/2002 6:58pm] 1. XML Spy for VS.NET
[17/10/2002 9:09am] 2. VS.NET six months on – Where are we now?
[17/10/2002 9:29pm] 3. Who needs an Xbox
[17/10/2002 5:42pm] 4. Yet another IDE for ASP.Net
[17/10/2002 6:33pm] 5. Yet another IDE for ASP.Net

As you can see, there was substantial quiet time in between the posts, which would be a bit of a rarity at times these days on the list (except for this current down time).

Just reading through some of the really old posts and I noticed Frank Arrigo‘s old email signature. Below is a comparison with a recent and the oldest one I could find (shortened them both a bit):

Date: Thursday, 31 October 2002 9:04 AM

frank arrigo

group manager, .NET ecosystem

developer and platform strategy group

microsoft australia

Date: Thursday, 18 August 2005 10:47 AM

Frank Arrigo | Microsoft Pty | Group Manager | Developer Platform Evangelism
“Have you hugged a developer today?”


So “Developer and Platform Strategy Group” has been updated to “Developer Platform Evangelism” (DPE).

Pure lowercase has been replaced.

I like the “.NET ecosystem” part though. I reckon it should be used to describe the .NET community environment.

And from the archives in my inbox, it looks like the signature change occured sometime between October 2, 2003 and December 2, 2003.

Over the years I’ve learnt a lot from the list, and i’m sure others have too. I’ve answered a few questions, here and there. Been helped by others on the list. And have gotten to know a few of those on the list via the Melbourne .NET User Group.

Also realised there was a substantial amount of Dr Pete’s former students on there (especially during the early days).

Much thanks to Dr Pete for putting the list up and maintaining it over the years. Well done! πŸ™‚

Ajax talk at VDNUG

I’m presenting this month at the newly formed Victoria .NET User Group (that’s MDNUG+AusDev+Victoria.NET Cluster).

My talk is on Ajax and apart from the general Ajax stuff, i’ll be talking about how to make use of it in ASP.NET applications.

This will be my first presentation at the user group and my first proper presentation since I graduated from uni (end of 2003).

It’ll be on the 21st of September at the Microsoft Melbourne Como Office. And looks like i’ll be the “first on stage”. Or so says the website.

At this point in time, my focus will most likely be around the most “mature” Ajax library available for ASP.NET apps, which is Ajax.NET.
Unsure how much detail I’ll go into. We’ll just have to wait and see on that.

I remember Chris Garty last year before he left was encouraging me to pick a topic and volunteer to give a presentation on the topic. Well Chris, i’m finally going to give my first presentation at the UG. I’ve learnt a lot from the user group, and I guess it’s my turn to give something back to the UG community.

Well the idea for this presentation came about when I was talking with Matt and Elaine about Ajax (after the Sharepoint User Group meeting) and whether they’d done anything using it. Both said no, and wanted to know more about it, so I said I’d see if I can do a presentation for September on it.

Looking forward to giving this presentation to see how I go. I’m sure i’ll be fine. Already have a fairly good idea what I want to talk about. Just need to put all that into a powerpoint deck of some sort. Think i’ll keep the slides to a minimum with brief points that i’ll elaborate on as I go along and planning to have a few demos. (Haven’t decided how many demos i’ll do).

Hello Melbourne!

It’s now been a few months since I’ve joined the Melbourne Metroblogging team (RSS), but i’m still there and blogging. (If you don’t see me blogging here, there’s a chance that i’ll probably be posting on the Melbourne Metroblog!)

We’re currently looking for more bloggers to get involved in our Melbourne blog, which is a part of a huge blogging network connecting many cities around the world. So if you’re interested in posting about Melbourne, about your Melbourne experiences and perhaps your day to day observations about Melbourne, do consider signing up. Have a look at the signup page if you’re interested πŸ™‚

A new blogging engine?

I admit i’ve given this a little thought, but not too much. But i’m sure i’m not the only one with this viewpoint.

There’s not enough choices when it comes to blogging engines based on ASP.NET.

There’s ComminityServer’s blogging engine. And there’s dasBlogs, and then there’s a few other ones people have written themselves for their own purposes. (And i’m aware of the .Text fork or Sub Text that was announced.)

When I look “over the fence” at what the other guys are doing using other technology, I see two quite mature in the market blogging engines in WordPress and MovableType.

I think what WordPress and MovableType had when they launched was a big community following. I’ve seen WordPress evolve since the later days of b2/cafepress when Michel Valdrighi took a break/went MIA (ok, I don’t remember what happened, but those who were involved didn’t have much contact from him for awhile).

And I know that MovableType had this sort of community following as well.

Each had their seperate “market” segments of the blogosphere. Both had their own benefits in regards to different things.

Earlier today I was catching up on my reading of the Australian .NET Mailing list and saw the following from William Barthlomew:

… I live and breath .NET but I don’t think the .NET blogging engines have the maturity that the non-.NET ones have yet. And I knew I’d never get round to writing my own plug-ins so the language it was written in didn’t really bother me πŸ˜‰

William actually uses WordPress for his blog, he used to be using .Text.

If there was a ASP.NET based blogging engine that could match what WordPress has to offer, then I’d seriously consider moving my blog over to it.

I wrote a reply to William’s post, but it doesn’t seem like it has actually gotten posted.

I think there could be a need for a new blogging engine, one written in such a way that it can evolve quickly and easily to meet the latest “trends” and what not in the blogosphere.

So it needs to be easily extensible through most likely plugins, a theming engine and several other things.

Thinking over this again, perhaps the best approach is not to start from scratch. Perhaps do what they are doing with Sub Text and build off of the “remains” of the .Text project.

A localised flavour, using Australian English πŸ™‚

Built mostly by Australian Developers.

Involve the Australian blogosphere.

Perhaps a reworking of many parts of the original .Text project. Keep the best, refactor and rewrite the rest. Strip it down to its’ core functionality. Allow the rest to be added/removed through plugins.

Because honestly, who wants to install things they don’t need?

  • Need a photo gallery? Install the photo gallery plugin. Don’t like the gallery plugin? Create your own!
  • Want a new way of viewing archived posts? Either install a user contributed posts archiving plugin, or create your own.
  • Want to change the way certain words in your posts behave? For example, a combination of certain words may automagically put an image into the blog in place of or next to those words

So how would a user create a plugin? Well, I haven’t thought that through too much yet. But perhaps either using VS.NET, or a simple custom made WYSIWYG plugin/theme composer that goes through the process of creating the different “parts” required for the plugin in a wizardy type way. But also allowing the user to escape from the wizard to perform more advanced customisations. Have some sort of gallery of user contributed plugins available would be good too. (A selection of the best/most popular of them to come with the default install. But allowing users to remove them if unrequired).

Would probably want the ability to run off several different datasources such as XML files, SQL Server, MySQL.

Perhaps also the ability to import data from different existing blogging engines such as Blogger, WordPress, .Text, CommunityServer, dasBlog and into whatever database the user has chosen to go with (as well as the ability to migrate from one datasource to another without the loss of any posts, or very much effort on the users’ behalf. Maybe all done via wizards?)

I think one of the keys of getting something like this going is having some form of community around it. So perhaps promote it as some form of community project. With several key figures governing the final decisions on what does and does not go in.

I know one of the big big things is community expectations. An example would be users in forums saying “hey, this would be one really cool feature”. So some form of commitment from the developers will perhaps be expected of initially. Not to say that we lock the developers into a project. I think once the core has been completed for the first time, that’s the most work that needs to be done. Thereafter it is mostly just maintenance and “rearchitecting”.

I just remembered something, and did a bit of a search. I remembered earlier this year Darren Neimke mentioned he was working on a blogging application. Hrm. I haven’t seen anything on his blog about this for awhile, wonder how it’s going?

So is there any interest out there in this? Adrian?, Jarrad? Geoff?

I think all this really needs is perhaps two or three developers to start off with, and then grow “organically” from there.

And “going forward” we will be able to go “onwards and upwards”. hahaha πŸ˜›

Whether this idea gains any momentum, I don’t know. Let’s wait and see πŸ™‚

Senator Bartlett analyses the PM

About to fall asleep right now, but briefly skimmed over this blog post by Senator Andrew Bartlett. (Just posting this so i’ll re-read it again when i’m more awake.)

He’s done a bit of a breakdown of John Howards’ interview on ABC Radi0’s AM program.

I’ll admit I haven’t really been following this issue too closely in the media. But it’s still an interesting read nonetheless.

Maybe we need more Australian politicians to follow the Senator’s lead in blogging. Many of his posts give you another view of what’s going on over in Federal parliament, as opposed to what we hear via the mainstream media.

I guess blogging has that more “personal” touch to it. Which is good. Makes him seem more accessible to another audience (blog readers). Something the mainstream media just doesn’t provide you with. (Oh, and there is that whole interaction thing via blog comments).