Archives / 2007 / August
  • One year at Intergen

    Maybe we should tell the big secret: that all those chimps we sent into space came back super-intelligent.

    It is nearly a year to the day that I started at Intergen and it is fitting that I'm giving personal presentation to the office (sort of an Intergen tradition) at the same time.

    Below are the highlights of my year at Intergen:


    • Meeting a lot of cool people, both at Intergen and in the wider MS software development community. At my previous job I was pretty isolated from the local software scene and working at Intergen has definitely changed that.
    • Working with a lot of new technologies: SQL Server 2005, WCF, WF, SSIS, Silverlight.
    • Learning that writing good code isn't just about getting it to work, but that it also has to be maintainable and extensible. I had already done some work using unit tests with Json.NET but while at Intergen I've learn't a lot about using unit testing with larger software projects and designing for testability.
    • Working in larger teams and combining TFS, build servers and unit testing. Continuous integration seems so natural now I'm suprised that we're the exception, not the norm.
    • Having a great time at TechEd 2007. TechEd is something every developer needs to experience at least once. Bug your boss (or come work for Intergen [;)])
    • Making great strides in my Halo skills (really looking forward to Halo 3 [:)])
  • Delicious

    Going cold turkey isn't as delicious a it sounds. A red letter day in the history of the Internets: I now have over 500 bookmarks on

    About for those of you who aren't familiar with it is an online social bookmarking website. Essentially what does is it allows you to save your bookmarks onto its website instead of local on your computer like a browser does.

    Another cool feature is it can tag bookmarks with words you define. For example you might tag with .NET, Testing and Tool because it is to do with .NET development, it is used in testing and it is a tool you download. These tags then become very useful when searching for a bookmark. You can use them to filter you bookmarks, which is quite useful when you have over 500 [:)]

    Why I Like It

    I started using about 2 1/2 years ago and while it hasn't revolutionized my life and brought fame and fortune (yet...), its improved the way I work. When I encounter a problem I know I've solved in the past, I always check my bookmarks. Chances are I had googled the issue and then saved a webpage with the answer. If a webpage is there, tag filtering makes finding it a breeze. is also useful when you work on multiple computers. Bookmarks created on my work computer are available on my home computer and vice versa. Using also means you don't need to worry about losing bookmarks. If my computer needs to be rebuilt I can just reimport my bookmarks from the website once I am back up and running.

    Browser Integration 

    A number of Firefox extensions allow you to access bookmarks directly from the browser UI. has an official plugin that completely replaces Firefox's builtin bookmarks with bookmarks. Personally I prefer a third party extension called Foxylicious. It is a lot less invasive and works side by side with any existing Firefox bookmarks. All you do is point it at a bookmark folder and then it simply creates a new folder inside it for every tag you have and then creates bookmarks in that folder that belong to that tag. Foxylicious also adds a menu item to Firefox for quickly adding new bookmarks.

    You know, Fox turned into a hard-core sex channel so gradually, I didn’t even notice.

    Final tip

    If you can't remember where the dots go in, try instead.

  • TechEd.Close();

    Time flies when you're having fun. The past three days have been busy as I went to pretty much every session I could in between running the hands on labs with fellow Intergenites. Interestingly it was the sessions that I chose at the last minute and knew nothing about that I tended to enjoyed the most. Greg Low's talk on Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals stands out. It has some really useful features that I knew nothing about. If you work with databases (who doesn't?) I recommend you take a look at what it has to offer.

    The hands on labs themselves went really smoothly. We put a lot of work in before TechEd started testing them and ensuring the manuals were easy to follow and that definitely paid off.

    Finally here I am striking a pose in the Intergen TechEd 07 gear:

    Lucite...hardening! Must end classic Lorne Green pose...from 'Battlestar Galactica'! 

    Bright yellow camo pants not in view unfortunately [:)]

    Update: Expert at work...

    Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm a Viking!

  • TechEd 2007

    TechEd is starting in a couple of days and I'm heading up with some fellow Intergenites to run the hands on labs. I tutored and ran lab workshops while at University so it should be a fun blast from the past. Look out for us in the yellow camo pants.

    Oh, they have the Internet on computers now.

    As well as the HOL crew, a number of people from Intergen are going to be giving presentations this year: Andrew Tokeley will be talking about the new dynamic data controls in ASP.NET, Mark Orange will be talking about SharePoint document management and content management, and Chris Auld will be talking about developing applications with office and this ActionThis thing.

    See you there!