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i've been monitoring for a while now and if you aren't aware of it, it's essentially (well not really, it is) curt schilling's blog.  if you have no idea who he is, that's okay...you're likely a geek...and that is fine.

but curt's blog is bringing blogging to the mainstream.  go ahead and argue that scoble did that, or that news agencies did that, but i'll disagree.  curt is appealing to the sports fan...not the techno dweeb like you and me, but to the everyday joe.

for a minute, take a look at the number of comments he gets per post...unreal -- averages about 100, sometimes thousands...people are reading his blog.  people are commenting on his blog that they no longer read sports columns...they just go to his site.  i'm willing to bet it definitely isn't geeks reading his blog -- sports fans are loyal (nascar fans are the most loyal), so i'm sure it is fans (and haters) that are reading/responding...very cool.

curt is revolutionizing the way sports fans get information.  sure, you can listen to sportscenter, but if you want to hear how the pitching went down on a red sox game, go to curt's blog to get the dugout feel.

and he's apparently doing stuff for charity with his pitching and using the blog to communicate his donations to ALS...good idea.

if you take a look around the site you'll see that he invested in 38studios as well...a company building interactive games -- a baseball pitcher involved in creating an agency...wow.

oh, and with all the traffic am i the only one who is amazed there is no adsense there? 

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i had a great time at the day i attended at the portland code camp!  i'm sorry for those who couldn't make it, you missed out!  we also had a great time at the kennedy school afterwards on saturday (an old elementary school transformed into a bar, restaurant, movie theater, hotel, etc. -- very cool, all the insides of the school left in tact).

i delivered 3 presentations at the saturday session of code camp: virtual earth, sidebar gadgets and popfly.  first and foremost, thank you for those that attended my sessions (i apologize for the room changes again), i hope you learned at least one thing new...even if it was small.

as promised, i said i'd post my code/etc. after the sessions, so...

a lap around virtual earth

of all the , i really enjoy the most.  i'm not sure why, maybe it's the interactiveness (is that a word) of it...whatever it is, it makes me feel all fuzzy inside and i find myself trying to inject maps into everything i do...not really, but sometimes.  the code that i demonstrated in the session is included in the zip file below...both the web application code as well as the winform code we didn't get a chance to dig deeper into.  additionally, the slides are included (all 5 of them), and i'm sure 4 of them are not helpful, but included them for the resources slide mainly.  as i mentioned, for virtual earth, the #1 resource for virtual earth development is the in my opinion.

i hope i made it clear that virtual earth is something that can be leveraged in any application, not just asp.net or windows forms application.  because of the nature of the api, it can be used on any platform: .net, php, jsp, jsf, rails, plain-ol-html, whatever.  one thing that was also announced at the mix conference was the licensing terms of the live services platform.  the licenses have changed, making them very attractive for everyone to consume and confident to the app builder that there is stability behind the platform.  virtual earth is free (free as in read the license) to use in applications that are public facing...it really is a great platform and with the licensing makes it more attractive than some competitors...take a look.

i also briefly mentioned a provider framework i had monkeyed with a while back for geocode providers.  it is currently hosted on the gotdotnet platform (which is planned to be phased out), but there is a link on my blog describing it...see it here if you are interested.

i also demonstrated two applications that i participated in that make use of this technology in addition to asp.net ajax and the asp.net ajax control toolkit.  here they are here:

-- a new phenomena spreading like wildfire across the country...or it should.  allow me to explain the concept a little bit.  similar to nerd dinners (which those in portland should be familiar with), this was started by a group of entrepreneurs who met weekly for lunch to talk about small biz stuff, etc.  they decided it was good to involve the greater technical community.  now, once a week (on wednesdays), a bunch of geeks meet at a place for lunch and chat.  there aren't any presentations, nobody brings their laptops (not that you couldn't), no "topic" exists, it is simply a chance to socialize a bit more, and talk...a novel concept i know.  i've met a lot of new people this way and recommend you do it in your area -- lunch usually works better for most as well ... it likely isn't taking personal time away.  the site link above is a sample site only (not real data) to demonstrate technical stuff -- stay tuned for the official site where you can search/add your own lunch for your community area.

okay, rant over -- the techlunch site uses asp.net ajax and the control toolkit, virtual earth (v5), sql 2005 proximity searching, etc.  one thing i failed to demonstrate in that sample was that as you move the map around, it is responding to events to start showing you relevant data to the map view.  for example, if you search on 85281, you'll see some lunch points...but if you scroll the map north, you'll start to see a few more appear...showing relevant point information as it comes into a view that makes sense to the user.

-- a prototype that i build for the area where i live to search publically available sex offender information.  this mashup makes use of virtual earth (version 4), custom pushpins/hovers, sql server 2005 and proximity searching, my geocode provider for asp.net (geocode information provided by yahoo apis), asp.net ajax for web service communication and json object parsing.  you can use 85242 as a sample zip code

presentation materials: VE-PDX.zip

developing sidebar gadgets

i'm also attaching my slides here (again, all few of them, none of which helpful but the resources).  in the session we didn't really create one from scratch (but i hope it was still informative in the sporadic nature :-)), so there wasn't a chance of walking through some of the gadget-specific javascript api's.  allow me to take a moment and give you an example, maybe a lame one, but one nonetheless.  first, install my gadget template for visual studio, then create a new gadget (remember the tip, create it in the <user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets folder and let's call it "ContactEmitter.gadget" (remember to include .gadget for easy debugging).  once you've done that, change nothing, but go into en-US\gadget.html and put this line of code after the javascript where it is setting the settingsUI line (which is line 7 in the template):

   1:  function showContacts()
   2:  {
   3:      var colc = System.ContactManager.Contacts;
   4:      var listing = document.getElementById("list");
   5:      listing.innerHTML = "";
   7:      for (i=0; i<colc.count; i++)
   8:      {
   9:          listing.innerHTML += colc.item(i).name + "<br/>";  
  10:      }
  12:      colc = null;
  13:      listing = null;
  14:  }

then in the "undocked" <div> element add this:

   1:  <div id="list"></div>
   2:  <input type="button" value="iterate" onclick="showContacts();" />

then add the gadget to your sidebar and move to undocked state...<borat_voice>so nice</borat_voice> -- now you have a sample that integrates with the Windows Contacts of Vista (like me, you probably have none in there -- but play around with adding, etc. and click the button again, you'll see it working, trust me) -- if you don't believe me, it should look something like this:

i hope that helps -- take a look at the gadget sources, look at http://gallery.live.com for some more samples...remember CASE ;-)!

presentation materials: Developing Gadgets.zip

microsoft popfly

thanks for sticking around as well for the bonus session.  i am really excited about popfly for a few reasons.  it really demonstrates some of the power of in an application that mixes ajax, html, input controls, animation, etc. in one.  it also enables very rapid mashup creation.  visit the microsoft site for more information and to view some videos if you missed our session (we emulated building twittervision.com in about < 30 seconds -- and as someone pointed out with me talking -- using popfly).  the sdk is also on the site.  thanks to those who requested an invite and i'm promising to do the best i can to distribute (and get more) invites!

a special thanks to the community leaders

the best part of my job is interacting with the technical communities...this is where it is at...people sharing, collaborating, and learning.  the mechanism of user groups, tech talk lunches, nerd dinners, code camps, bar camps, and whatever have, in my opinion, proven very valuable to the communities.  i appreciated those who took the time to help be a part of this code camp (and others) by volunteering, organizing, sponsoring, flying in and presenting, and simply being there.  you are doing a great service to the greater technical community by participating and sharing.  sure, code camps, etc. don't have the massive organizations behind them (and there likely won't be plates in between breaks with snickers and sodas), but that is sorta the point...for the community, by the community.  that is what makes it great.  if you have complaints about community interaction and organization, there is a simple solution to that -- get involved!  if you don't, then i politely ask you to shut your trap -- and i mean that in the nicest way :-)  but seriously, mad props to those who donate their personal times away from friends, family and work to help out for us all -- big ups to you all.

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so it's not really #137, but it sounded better than #1 and i didn't want to set myself up for a complete list, so my mental brain told me pick a number...(it's been a long morning)

a while back i read chris' travel tips/realizations (here and here)...a few of which i've adopted.  while on another trip with a while back, we were chatting about hotels and such and i had been woken up earlier than desired because of the light coming in through the window.  i was commenting on how no matter how much i try to close the drapes, i never seem to be able to get that one little sliver of light to disappear (you should know that i prefer total darkness for bedrooms...i've tried to convince my wife to black out our windows, but she hasn't gone for it yet).

woody told me about one of his tricks.  he reminded me that most hotels (unless you are staying at the homestead suites in redmond, which i recommend you don't) have closets that have pants hangers -- you know the ones with the clips.

you see where i'm going don't you...

woody's tip was using those clip hangars as, well, clips and hold the drapes shut -- maybe one will work, but two definitely.  i'm proud to report i had a chance to use this tip this weekend in portland.  boom.

thanks woody. (and chris)

oh, and my new favorite travel snack?  Quaker Chewy Lowfat Cinnamon Sugar granola bar -- yummy -- and only 90 calories (i guess that means i can eat ten of them?)

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my phone officially died today.  it's been ill for the past 3 days...it was in intensive care today...but didn't make it.  it's a brick (thin, small one).  anyhow, a trip to the store and i'm going to try to survive the weekend with a "normal" phone (text messaging is the most advanced it has.

anyhow, back to railsconf after a jaunt...

some of the sessions here have been PACKED.  i wasn't able to get in to some...shame on me for being late...namely "clean code" and "doing REST right" were packed to the gills -- to the point apparently that the fire code was violated in one (one of the security guards was freaking out as people were not listening to him and walking in)...too bad i missed those -- nobody was walking out, so i assume that == good.

i'm sitting in a session from the guys who are building codegear (a rails ide).  it's the 10 cool things i learned on the path to rails enlightenment.  it's not an effective message here.  lots of slides.

now he's talking about why i'm here, the ide. 

SIDEBAR: there are three companies here competing in the rails ide space: netbeans, codegear, komodo -- all seemingly (2 at least) eclipse-based ide's.

this is the PM for the project -- he's showing a lot of things but most falls into these categories so far: syntax coloring, code completion, project creation, etc.  what's funny is that so far what i've seen in a lot of these ide's are in sapphire in steel -- and you get some bonus stuff from that plugin as well.  now if you are a mac user, that might not help, but maybe these others will be to your liking...

seems like he's fumbling a bit through the demo (ah, beta code).  mozilla is embedded into the ide for some assisted debugging (looks like mainly for ajax development -- viewing dom, etc.)

well, not terribly exciting i have to say (and ending 20 minutes early doesn't give good impact)...i think i'm too geeky and not picking the right sessions...

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sitting in the "product and services" track for apollo.  this really has nothing to do with rails, but hey, adobe is a sponsor, so throw them a bone and give them a few sessions.

the html engine in an apollo app is webkit...interesting -- didn't know that.  the reason was that it is an open project and they wanted something to contribute to...

yawn...these guys don't have enough energy...their jokes aren't working...this is 100 level stuff...walking out now.

ooh, just heard one of them talk about using design mode in flex builder: don't be afraid of it, it works well, doesn't mess things up.  hmm...i remember another ide that has a great design mode implementation now (admittedly not in the past).

okay, now walking out -- this hello world stuff with simply putting html controls on a friggin app isn't sexy to me.