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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here. March 2008 Entries
Jumping on the Sharepoint bandwagon
Tomorrow I start down the path of becoming a Sharepoint Geek.

I'm taking a 4 day class (Developing Solutions with SharePoint Server 2007) here in town.  Wish me luck.

I've only ever used Sharepoint as an end user, so I'm actually really looking forward to the class.

Posted On Monday, March 31, 2008 10:58 PM

Another month gone by...
Well, in my time zone, there's about 5 minutes left in March and then we're on to April.

Currently I'm in the lead on  (I think.)

Fingers crossed.

Posted On Monday, March 31, 2008 10:55 PM

WoW Judging
Yesterday (Sunday) I had an opportunity to judge a marquee event for the World of Warcraft TCG at a local game store (Outpost 2000 in Brooklyn Park.) It's been a few months since I'd done any regular judging, so after reviewing the latest updates and release, Boy #1 and I got our stuff together and headed over that way. Unfortunately, the turnout was pretty low, but we eventually had enough for a sanctioned tournament. 3 hours later, we wrapped things up... everyone had a good time, and we gave out ......

Posted On Monday, March 31, 2008 10:50 PM

If you're reading this, you're probably not at IMGDC right now. Why not? If you're in the Twin Cities and interested in Massively Multiplayer Online Game Development, then close your laptop and head over to the Minneapolis Convention Center RIGHT NOW, before it's too late! This is the second year of the Indie MMO Game Developers Conference, and it's got an even better lineup than last year. Check out THIS schedule! It's loaded with industry veterans. I mean, seriously... Richard Bartle pretty much ......

Posted On Saturday, March 29, 2008 9:39 AM

Out of my league...

I consider myself a pretty serious geek and collector, and I have a significant amount of hard to find, pricey stuff that would do well on ebay, but... THIS is completely out of my league.

Not that I wasn't tempted, when it was about $500... but damn.

Posted On Friday, March 28, 2008 3:37 PM

Just in case you need another reason to hate the airlines...
Dear Christopher Williams, As you may know, Northwest Airlines has announced a new checked luggage policy. Customers who purchase nonrefundable domestic Coach Class tickets may check one piece of luggage for free and a second piece for $25. As if travelling by air didn't suck quite enough... We want to assure you that as a highly-valued Silver Elite member, you and all of the travelers in your reservation are exempt from this policy change. Yikes... thank god I suffered countless hours in crappy ......

Posted On Friday, March 28, 2008 3:24 PM

So... what did you do last night? I spent my evening killing zombies and keeping the world safe for democracy. My awesome employer, Magenic, decided we hadn't had a decent party in a while... so off we went to Gameworks. I spent about 3 1/2 hours pumping bullets into a neverending supply of Zombies and Giant Spiders (House of the Dead III) and fighting spies and terrorists (Time Crisis II.) There was also some Zombie game that featured a shotgun, but the pump kept sticking, so I didn't survive that ......

Posted On Thursday, March 27, 2008 10:09 AM

VS2008 Webinar
I did my first Magenic Webinar (webcast) today, and I think it went really well. Andy Schwarz (my co-presenter) does a great job of covering all the non-demo parts and definitely kept the pace right where it needed to be. The topic was Visual Studio 2008 in general, and LINQ / AJAX specifically. It was a lot of fun building the 3 demos and I'll probably do something similar again soon. We got some really good questions as well, including a couple I need to go research. I also saw at least one familiar ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 25, 2008 1:00 PM

Twin Cities XNA USer Group Newsletter #3
Hey everyone, I've got some an agenda change today along with info about upcoming meetings. Also, if you haven't RSVP'd for this week's (3/20/08) meeting, please do so ASAP so we can order enough pizza, etc. Unfortunately, Nick Landry is unable to join us this week, due to work demands. The good news is that INETA has managed to line up another speaker on very short notice (as of this morning.) The new speaker is Martin Shoemaker and the topic is "Voice-Enable Your Vista Games with MSAPI" and I realize ......

Posted On Thursday, March 20, 2008 6:51 PM

Tonight's the Twin Cities XNA User Group meeting.  Unfortunately, INETA speaker Nick Landry couldn't make it, but we were lucky enough that INETA was on the ball and quickly found a replacement.  Martin Shoemaker is doing a talk on "Speech Enabling Your Games On Vista."

I see much potential in using this for HA!  (more on that later.)

Posted On Thursday, March 20, 2008 6:26 PM

Deferred Execution in LINQ
Wanna see something neat? Create an ASPX page in Visual Studio and add a GridView Control. Leave the name as GridView1. (You can do this any number of ways, but I happened to do it in an aspx page.) In your codebehind page, add the following to the form.Load event: Protected Sub form1_Load(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles form1.Load Dim filter As String = "System" Dim query = From a In AppDomain.CurrentDomain.Get... _ Where a.GetName().Name.Contains(f... _ ......

Posted On Thursday, March 20, 2008 6:04 PM

LINQ & AJAX Webinar
As you can no doubt see below, I'm doing a free webinar for Magenic this coming Tuesday (3/25/08) highlighting what's new in Visual Studio 2008. It's a little under an hour, including some marketingese, so I'll be doing some (2-3) demos specifically addressing LINQ and AJAX. If you want to check it out, here's the link: See you then ......

Posted On Thursday, March 20, 2008 2:08 PM

I don't care if it sucks, it looks too cool to pass up. I want this game. On the bloody fields of Pennsylvania in 1863, two great armies collided to decide the fate of a nation. The South rose, and the North responded with fervent mettle. As every schoolchild knows, at the forefront of the battle stood the mighty Yetis, white-furred giants imported from the wilds of Canada to shred the opposing front lines. From the rear, powerful mastodons hurled boulders into the fray. From even further to the ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 18, 2008 1:56 PM

Friday Afternoon excitement
It started as a fairly routine day... Get up, shower, take meds, eat bagel, drive to client site, stare at code for 8-9 hours, go home. I got about half-way through step 6 and then drove over to Magenic to do an interview. The interview went well and as I was about to head back to the client site, I started having chest pains and a little trouble breathing. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't drive, so I went home and called my doctor. She wasn't in today, and the clinic was booked solid, so the nurse ......

Posted On Friday, March 14, 2008 6:51 PM

For the love of all that is holy... Let the boy go to Dev Teach already!!
My buddy D'Arcy is doing something pretty darn cool. Basically, he knows this college kid who won a ticket to Dev Teach but can't come up with cash for the airfare and hotel. So D'Arcy has rallied the troops and is trying to raise enough money to get the guy a plane ticket and hotel for 4 nights. So far, D'Arcy has pledged to cover half the roundtrip fare, but money is still needed for a place to stay, and to get home. (Personally, I think $250 a night is a bit extravagant for the hotel, and I've ......

Posted On Thursday, March 13, 2008 11:16 PM

Twin Cities XNA User Group site updated
I added a calendar to the Twin Cities XNA User Group website.  Check it out, here:

Now you can see brief details for previous events as well as upcoming events.

And of course, if you're in the Twin Cities area, there's a meeting next week. Be sure to RSVP via the site.

Posted On Thursday, March 13, 2008 4:45 PM

Minneapolis Developers Roundtable podcast
The February podcast from the Minneapolis Developers Roundtable is now available over at SlickThought.Net. I'm not in this one (because I'm totally lame and forgot about it even though it was on my calendar), but it's still worth listening to. Good stuff. Sorry Jeff, I'll make the next one, promise ......

Posted On Thursday, March 13, 2008 1:50 PM

Party with Palermo
Registration is open for Party with Palermo.

Last year was a total blast.

Posted On Wednesday, March 12, 2008 2:51 PM

YouTube takes a page from the FaceBook and opens up their APIs
as seen on Contentinople... In case you haven't had enough of yarn-ball videos, exploding Mentos, bad folk music, and amateur soft porn, YouTube says it will now be spreading it further into the world. Following the successful Facebook model, YouTube is providing APIs that allow developers to build small applications or "widgets" that would embed YouTube just about anywhere on the Web. The company says using the APIs, users will be able to (I am quoting form the YouTube Website): Upload videos and ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 12, 2008 11:15 AM

Tech-editing, revisited.
The last few months have been some of my busiest since moving to Minnesota back in August. (Wow... has it really been 7 months already?) In addition to my various "for fun" side projects, I've also been doing some tech-editing. First, I worked with O'Reilly on a VB 2008 book, and that was a pretty positive experience. Not only did I manage to learn a fair amount about the newest version of my language of choice (I'd honestly been too busy to spend much time in the 3.5 stuff) but I also found an author ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 11, 2008 2:41 PM

Surprised? No, not really...
I'm not the first to blog this, and likely not the last, but here goes: WalMart has stopped selling the Linux PCs in their stores, but will continue to sell them online. Allow me to quote the article: "This really wasn't what our customers were looking for," said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien. Well... duh. No offense to Wal-Mart (although I'm not a fan) but what genius seriously thought this would be a runaway hit? Sure the price point is acceptable (for a low end machine) at $199, ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:26 AM

Option Strict
This may be the funniest thing I've heard in ages...

"option strict?  No way, we don't use that here. It causes too many errors."

See, it's funny because it's.... oh nevermind. If I have to explain it, you still won't get it.


Somebody's getting a More On Alert.

Posted On Monday, March 10, 2008 1:17 PM

So, I've been avoiding this whole ASP.NET Model View Controller (MVC pattern) thing for a while. That it, until late last week, when it landed squarely in my lap. We're going to be using it at a client, so I better get familiar with it. I had read a few articles online about the Model View Presenter (MVP pattern), and those read like stereo instructions, only not as exciting. So, as you can probably imagine, I was less than enthused at having to pick up YANT*. Fortunately, fate was smiling upon me ......

Posted On Monday, March 10, 2008 12:01 PM

The Gygax
I've been struggling with how to properly pay my respects to someone I never met in person, but that had such a tremendous impact on my life. I've looked at all the various tributes and cartoons, and I've heard the stories about people getting together in WoW and City of Heroes (and even City of Villains), setting aside their weapons and talking about what a huge effect Gary Gygax and D&D had on their lives. 3 days later, I'm still at a loss for words. You know, how to really express how unbelievably ......

Posted On Friday, March 7, 2008 10:55 AM

Twin Cities Code Camp 4
Coming April 5th, the Twin Cities Code Camp IV is going to be awesome! I've been emailing and calling practically everyone I know, helping Jason line up speakers and lining up some killer swag. We got loot from Infragistics, Sourcegear, Pearson Ed., O'Reilly, Magenic, Microsoft and much much more. I'm doing a talk again this time around (only one this time) on Game AI basics. Should be a blast. We've also got some great surprises planned. (I'm still trying to get a hold of Red Bull, so if you know ......

Posted On Friday, March 7, 2008 8:46 AM

another Gary Gygax tribute
Game on, Gary... game on.

Find the original strip, and many more at

As my friend Steven put it, "if he brings out Unearthed Arcana, it's all over."

Posted On Friday, March 7, 2008 8:25 AM

Twin Cities .NET User Group
Twin Cities .NET User Group 3/6/2008. 5PM-7PM Topic: Model-based testing with NMode Presenter: Tom Fischer Abstract: Model-based testing is more than another testing tool. It allows architects to assess the logic of their designs before the implementation. This presentation explores the basic concepts of model-based testing with the recently NModel framework. About Speaker Tom Fischer helps Magenic ( clients design and build applications using Microsoft tools and technologies. And ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 5, 2008 2:29 PM

Zune API
Hidden Zune API?

Read this for more details...  I'm too busy to fully digest this right now, but I'll be back.

Thanks to fellow Magenic Consultant Justin Chase for passing this along.

Posted On Wednesday, March 5, 2008 10:39 AM
If you're a blogger here at GWB, you probably already know about If you aren't, or you're new, or you just read a few blogs here and there and not the main feed, then you might not have heard about If you're active in your local (or larger) developer community, then you definitely need to check out since they give actual cool geeky (can those two words really go next to each other??) rewards to people for doing what they already love ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 5, 2008 10:08 AM

TCXNAUG March Speaker
Twin Cities XNA User Group - March 20, 2008 3D Game Development March Guest Speaker: Nick Landry This session quickly skims over the basics and takes you through an iterative approach towards building your first 3D game: a remake of the Space Invaders classic! Using live demos we’ll discuss the structure of a game, including the game loop, game time, initialization and workflow, explore the managed code libraries that form the XNA Framework, work with the XNA Framework Content Pipeline that allows ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 5, 2008 9:45 AM

All my heroes are dying...
I haven't been this sad since Johnny Cash died. I think I listened to Hurt about 50 times that day. I think maybe an all day classic D&D session might be in order. This sucks. I met Dave Arneson, and always wanted to meet Gary Gygax. Now I'll have to wait a while longer. The publisher of D&D co-founder Gary Gygax, Troll Lord games, reports that Mr. Gygax died today in his home at age 69. For more information, go to: ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 4, 2008 1:21 PM

Justice is blind...
Boy #2 is on his Daredevil kick again. He's got a birthday coming up and wants Daredevil bedding pretty bad. (So far, I have found Spiderman, and plenty of other heroes, but sadly no Daredevil.) Today has been a mostly lazy Sunday, with me catching up on a few side projects like HA! and Tech-Editing another VB 2008 book, this time for Deitel. Both were "beginner's" books, but this one especially so. While I've been in my office working, the kids have been playing pretty well downstairs... within ......

Posted On Sunday, March 2, 2008 6:02 PM

Goodbye Childhood
So... I'm thinking about selling off my D&D collection. For those of you who don't know me, I've been playing Dungeons & Dragons pretty much since the beginning. (I started in 1978, about 4 years after the game was first published in the little brown pamphlets. I have all of those, and nearly everything published since.) For me, this was the one that started it all. So now, I've got 4 bookcases full of the stuff, and a few piles of overflow here and there. I've got about $6000 worth of D&D ......

Posted On Sunday, March 2, 2008 12:33 PM

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