Category Archives: Blogging

Yes, it’s been quiet around here…

It’s amazing how many viruses babies manage to bring into the house. I think we’ve been down with something pretty much continuously since we got back. Fortunately, we haven’t been all sick at once, but this is starting to get a bit old…

Things have also been extremely busy around work. I’ve been working on something that I’m hoping we’ll have at least a mention of at MIX07 and will probably have more to say about later in the year. I realize there are some threads that have been left hanging, so I’m going to try and tie them up in the coming weeks.

And, finally, the mail on my webserver is now working again, so if you’ve wanted to send me feedback on the Contact form and haven’t been able, you’re back in business. Sorry about that!

Writer’s block…?

Just for fun, as I was starting at the “Archives” in the left pane started working out what my “post per month” average was per year. It comes out to:

2003: 19.6 PPM (only 6 months of the year, though)
2004: 12.3 PPM
2005: 9.3 PPM
2006: 4.9 PPM (only 11 months so far)

As you can see, my average has dropped precipitously this year and I’m in danger of getting awfully close to zero next year if things continue as they have been. The real question is: why has my posting average gone down so much? I mean, I’m not surprised that my average dropped off after the first year or so–sooner or later the bloom has got to come off the rose–but why so anemic this year? Why was last year not particularly good either? Is there just nothing interesting left to talk about?

Well, no, for that last question. There’s lots of interesting stuff going on in VB. LINQ and Orcas is bubbling along. Lots of interesting thinking is happening.

I think I’ve been experiencing extended transition-induced writer’s block. By “transition-induced,” I mean that the 2005-2006 has been a period of a lot of various transitions for me. Obviously, I’m about to become a father, and that’s just a huge, major, massive transition in anyone’s life. And professionally, my role has shifted a lot over the past two years into something that I still feel like is a work-in-progress. (I think my next entry should be “What the Hell I Do,” since I’m not sure that’s clear anymore, least of all to myself at times.) And, even bigger than that at work, the product as a whole has been making a major transition into maturity. We’re not so far behind the design eight ball anymore that we can actually ponder a bit more where we’re going rather than just react to the next major thing that the .NET Framework is throwing at us. And .NET as a whole has been out there long enough to start to get a feel for what’s been working well and what hasn’t.

I’m hoping we’re far enough through the transition now for the writing mojo to return a bit. It feels like the writer’s block may be starting to loosen up, but I guess only time will really tell…

Yes, it’s been quieter than usual around here…

As some may have noticed, the quantity of my blogging output has dropped precipitously in the past few months. This hasn’t been due to a lack of interest in blogging, instead several big things have been going on in my life that have conspired to limit the available time for blogging.

One of the “big things” is some new stuff I’ve been heads-down on doing while I’m at work and which I’ll talk about over time as it becomes more solid and public. But work aside, there is also a “big thing” going on in my personal life that’s going to have some (understandably) far-reaching implications.

After a considerable amount of thought, my wife Andrea and I have decided to adopt. Although this is the first time I’ve discussed it here, we’re actually pretty far into the process–this past winter we decided we wanted to adopt internationally from Guatemala (Andrea’s mom is from Panama, and we originally wanted to adopt from there, but Guatemala was much more hospitable to international adoption than Panama). We started the considerable amount of paperwork required, figuring that we would be done with it by the early summer, which would result in a referral sometime in the late summer/early fall. However, things have moved a bit more quickly than that.

Our social worker (who did our home study to make sure we weren’t axe murderers) recommended that if we were even the slightest bit interested in adopting twins, we should go ahead and do all the paperwork twice so that we would be already approved in the unlikely event that twins became available. Since we were willing to consider it we did two of everything, notarized, certified, the works. Then, just as we were about 2/3rds the way through preparing our paperwork, we got an extremely unexpected call: twin boys had just been born, and we were the only couple that our lawyer was working with that were considering twins. (Also, the fact that they were two boys had something to do with it; according to several people I’ve talked to, international adoptions appear to heavily favor girls.)

After a bit of soul searching as to whether we were ready to take on twins, we decided we were and wanted to do it. What followed was a mad rush to finish the paperwork and get it off to Guatemala, which we did in early June. Now, it’s basically a waiting game as the paperwork wends its way through the legal system in Guatemala. Bureaucracy being what it is, it’s just a big question mark: could be the end of the year, could be into next year, just hard to know.

As you can imagine, though, once the paperwork was done, the second phase of work began in earnest: preparing the house for the arrival of two babies. This has been the major project of the summer and has meant that a lot of that discretionary time that I’d devote to blogging has been consumed elsewhere. (Of course, when the kids get here then the real work begins and who knows what time I’ll have for blogging!) So that’s a big reason why it’s been quiet here–I expect things will pick up in the fall until whenever we’re blessed with the chance to go pick the kids up!

All in all, it’s hugely exciting and we can’t wait to get them here. But between that and work, blogging may suffer for some time until things settle down into more of a routine. I appreciate everyone’s patience!

Testing separating my work life from my private life

My blog is syndicated on the MSDN Visual Basic developer center (, which is great because it drives traffic here but is bad because it means that all my personal posts show up there as well. I don’t think everyone who goes to the developer center really cares that much about my personal life… After a little hacking on .Text, I think I’ve got it set up properly such that only posts tagged as “Visual Basic” will show up in the VB developer center. So, I hope, this post won’t show up there. If it doesn’t, then I’ll test it the other way (i.e. make sure that my VB posts do show up there)…

Another round with the spammers…

Just an FYI, the spammers seem to be working around the laughably simple filters I’ve put in place manually, so I’m seeing if adding in the Akismet service will help turn the tide back. If, for some reason, you find you can’t leave a comment, please leave me a note in the Contact area. Thanks! 

I haven’t gone AWOL…

…life just went and got very complicated for a while. In particular:

  • My wife Andrea has had some strange medical symptoms over the past few months that our neurologist thought indicated pretty strongly she has MS. So the past month has been spent getting MRIs and lumbar punctures to try and narrow down the diagnosis. The good news? It’s pretty unlikely she has MS or any of the related types of diseases (RA, Lupus, etc.). The bad news? Still not sure what’s going on. Still, since none of the symptoms are extremely serious, I’ll take “don’t know” for now, given the alternatives.
  • We’re pushing to get another LINQ preview out in the near future and I’ve been on the hook to write a number of new features for the preview. It’s been great to get the chance to write a lot of code again, but since that’s not my day job any more, it has contributed to a real time crunch.
  • The whole question of scripting languages, dynamic languages, dynamic environments, loose typing, etc, etc, etc. which has been bubbling around in the background for well over two years seems, all of a sudden, to be coming to quite a boil. Nothing in particular to talk about yet, but lots of interesting and exciting stuff bouncing around and perhaps some quite interesting things to talk about in the near future.

Anyway, I think I should be back now, barring any unexpected surprises. Time to get back to that question of local variables, eh?

The trial is over…

You can read more about the details of the case in the Seattle Times, but, briefly, it was a trial for attempted first-degree murder. The first maybe two-thirds of the trial was not too hard to deal with, as it was sort of an extended episode of Law and Order crossed with CSI, which was quite interesting. However, the last third was quite difficult — between discussions of the impact of the shooting, the testimony of the defendant and the actual rendering of the verdict, there was a lot to process. Thankfully, the other people on the jury were just amazing, a very thoughtful, committed group of people, and the judge and bailiff were extremely supportive. I can’t say that I really enjoyed the experience, but it definitely gave me a much deeper appreciation as to how our justice system works and it’s something I’ll definitely remember for a long time. (And let me say, I have no idea how the people who serve on those really long trials for months and months do it. I have huge respect for them.)

After I’ve had a while to process, it might be interesting to post more thoughts about the jury and trial process. I doubt I’ll have a lot to say about the actual content of the trial itself, though. I think it’s been discussed in the media enough, and the verdicts do kind of speak for themselves. We’ll see, though.

Anyway, I’m definitely appreciating the holidays more this year…