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I recently found a good deal on a 7200 RPM 500GB latpop drive and decided to upgrade myself to that.  I’ve been operating on a 150GB drive for a long time and hadn’t been cleaning up old projects, encodings, etc. so it was running thin on space.  This was a cheap upgrade (< $90) so I opted for it.  I finally got a moment last evening to pop it in and start the fresh installs of everything.  Doing so reminded me of how long this process takes for us geeky people.  Luckily I do a backup first using my Home Server so that in the event I screw up, things are there.  Now most would say that I should just pop in the hard drive and do a restore.  I don’t do this for 2 reasons frankly.  First, I have to admit, the ‘restore’ process for me on Home Server hasn’t always been a consistent one.  Don’t be alarmed, there is no data loss, but I’ve found I had to mess with network connections, etc. blah blah…and sometimes it isn’t worth the hassle (emergencies? absolutely).  Second, and most important, I am paranoid of technical grout…or residue of install/uninstall/beta/alpha/etc versions of software.  Sometimes you just want a nice clean slate.

So after my backup I put in the new drive and booted to my network to install Windows 7 x64.  That process is the fastest of the bunch now, clocking in from start of install to workable desktop in about 30 minutes tops.  It’s the rest that I’m reminded of how long it takes.  Now I know I am not (nor likely are you) the ‘normal’ user.  Most would probably suffice with Office install after that, a few tweaks and be good.  Not me, I’m particular.  Here’s my list of what I install and some notes on them.

There are various other 3rd party components and frameworks for Visual Studio and Silverlight that I may install from time-to-time, but the above is my baseline dev machine.  For some this may be a lot, for others this may not be enough.  I don’t think I’m excessive, but somewhere in between.  Still looking (and doing) this is always daunting.

I know, I know…people will write comments below about disk imaging, Acronis, etc., etc.  I’ve tried all those methods before.  Call me paranoid, but I just like to be in control of my own stuff still.  Perhaps I’ll relinquish the control soon. 

It does feel good to have a clean machine though!

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one of the great things about being a part of a community is being able to affect other communities.  during these installfests that are happening around the country, some have remembered the time of year and thinking of ways to give back to other communities.

my counterpart in chicago, dave bost, set up accepting donations for toys for tots at some of his installfests.  when i read that i thought that was such a great idea.  we (the royal we as in the technical communities) often only think of our bits/bytes and i think this was a great inspiration to help others.

turns out my local user group is also already thinking in that way as well!  scott cate had partnered with interface technical training to do an eBay auction benefiting children and technology.  Interface is a managed gold training partner for microsoft (among other things they do as well) and a HUGE supporter of the local technical communities...all of them.  so this year they've donated 2 vouchers for training courses for the auction.  now, you might be thinking, "i can get training anywhere" and you might be right.  one thing i like about interface is they are never satisfied with the norm :-).  their dev trainers are names you might have heard of before: dan wahlin, mike Palermo, simon allardice, jennifer campion.  yeah, a few names on the circuit, authors, MVPs, and rockstars.  their content is specific and not canned.  this really is a great opportunity to learn from the best.

so scott set up an eBay auction for these vouchers.  the winner(s) will get some great training.  what does it benefit?  well, scott has chose to take the proceeds and purchase computers for children organizations to help replace older ones or perhaps introduce something new to these children.  great idea.  keeps the geek in all of us :-).

so if you want to bid on some great training and benefit some kids, bid on the auctions!

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pdc for 2008 has been announced so you can save the date.

the professional developer conference 2008 will be 27-30 OCTOBER at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  if you want the details (minimal now other than what i just said), you can visit the pdc2008 site.

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brad abrams kicked off some webcasts regarding silverlight over on msdn.  you should check out the on-demand as well as the upcoming webcast series...

Kickoff Webcast:



i love the title of the last one "how to work alongside a designer" -- makes it sound like it is going to be a therapy session.