Monthly Archives: May 2009

Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit – May Preview

Overview

The Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit includes presentations, hands-on labs, and demos. This content is designed to help you learn how to utilize the Visual Studio 2010 features and a variety of framework technologies including:

  • C# 4.0
  • Visual Basic 10
  • F#
  • Parallel Extensions
  • Windows Communication Foundation
  • Windows Workflow
  • Windows Presentation Foundation
  • ASP.NET 4
  • Entity Framework
  • ADO.NET Data Services
  • Managed Extensibility Framework
  • Visual Studio Team System

This version of the Training Kit works with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 and .NET Framework 4 Beta 1.
You can download the training kit here: http://tinyurl.com/86g5od
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Eminem’s Letter to Detroit

This originally aired on CBS in Detroit, back in April 2009 when the Final Four was in Detroit.  A lot of people never saw it and thought I’d share..

Apple OS Marketshare Growth

Apple Marketshare growth

Apple Marketshare growth

The latest computing survey results from the University of Virginia’s freshman class show evidence of continued Apple marketshare growth in the higher education market (via Daring Fireball). The chart above shows that Apple has made steady gains since 2003 in the percentage of incoming UVA freshman who own a Mac. The latest year (2008) shows that 37% of incoming students owned a Mac while the percentage owning a Windows computer had shrunk to 62% from a peak of 96% in 2001. The growth tracks closely with the trend towards laptop ownership amongst the Virginia freshman.

In 2008, 99% of the incoming students owned a laptop. The data adds to a number of anecdotal reports that Apple has been making major strides in higher educational marketshare. Last year, Tim Cook confirmed that Apple had become the #1 laptop supplier in higher education for 2007.

Windows 2008 Cluster says goodbye to Parallel SCSI

Late last year we began formally migrating over to Windows 2008, specifically addressing single points of failure.  In our production data center we’ve recently deployed a fibre channel SAN, whereas Windows 2008 clusters have played very nicely, enabling our SQL instances to benefit from a more robust storage subsystem.

Tonight however, I began migrating a slightly older system, HP DL560s with an HP Modular Storage Array 500.  After a brief six hours, tracking down updated drivers, firmware and iLOs + controller and array config utilities, I happen to find out Windows 2008 has dropped support for Parallel SCSI, in support for iSCSI, SAS and of course fibre channel.  More info can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/947710 

Therefore, if you’ve got legacy Direct Attached Storage (DAS) SCSI Arrays in use, they WILL NOT migrate to Windows 2008 clusters!  So now I must revert back to W2k3 R2 SP2 – which still provides support for Parallel SCSI.  Too bad, have really enjoyed my experience with W2K8 boxes of late, but it looks like W2K3 will have to live on for a while longer..

Four Stages of Twitter Adoption

Twitter can be an invaluable tool for business networking, but most new users don’t get it at first. Learn why in this look at the four stages that the average Twitter user traverses on the path from newbie to devotee. [Originally posted by Jason Hiner here.]


There’s a strange phenomenon that happens almost every time someone joins Twitter. They hate it. At least at first.But many of the people who once hated Twitter — or at least, didn’t quite get it in the beginning — are now many of its most active users and raving fans. So what’s going on here?

There seems to be four natural stages that the average Twitter user goes through from the point of first trying it until the point of fully embracing it and making it a part of daily life. Obviously, not everyone sticks with it and becomes a Twitter devotee, but there’s definitely a growing cadre of people who believe that there’s some magic happening in the Twittosphere

You can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/StevenRobert

Because Twitter can be used as a valuable business tool, it’s worth talking about the four Twitter stages in order to help recognize users in these stages when you’re choosing who to follow and to keep new Twitter users from getting discouraged and missing the opportunities available on Twitter. So here they are:

1. Confusion and indignation

When a person first signs up for Twitter, the first challenge is figuring out who to follow. Twitter now has its “Suggested Users” feature to help people get started. Jason put together a list of technology personalities worth following on Twitter to help new techies when they sign up for Twitter.

However, even when they find some people to follow, new Twitterers usually look at their Twitter stream and start wondering, “Why would I care what my colleagues are eating for lunch?” or “What’s interesting about a software engineer posting that she’s walking her dog?”

That experience usually leads people to shake their heads and not come back to Twitter for a few days, or even weeks or months.

2. The first “Aha!” moment

Eventually, the user comes back periodically to check Twitter out of pure curiosity. During those casual forays, the person often has a first “Aha!” moment, where they find something really interesting or timely on Twitter that wasn’t available from news, RSS feeds, or word of mouth from their friends.

This could be a piece of news that someone reported on Twitter before it actually hit the wires, it could be a rumor about something that a company like Apple is doing, or even something like NFL teams announcing their picks for the draft on Twitter before they even went up to the podium to make the official selection.

3. Remembering to tweet

After the first “Aha” moment, the user typically starts checking Twitter more often, but still tends to post very infrequently. The next stage of Twitter initiation comes when the user reads something useful online or makes a mental observation about something and then thinks, “I should post that Twitter!”

At this point, the user is still relying mostly on the twitter.com homepage to access Twitter but is starting to go there at least a couple times a day to check on the latest buzz, and has typically found a good mix of friends, news feeds, industry celebrities, and thought leaders to follow.

4. Thinking in 140 characters

Once the person becomes a daily Twitter user, it’s over. The person is almost always hooked, and is now on the path to becoming a power user. This is when most (though not all) users switch from using twitter.com to using a desktop Twitter client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic.

Meanwhile, the user also often has a mobile Twitter client like UberTwitter (for BlackBerry) or Tweetie (for iPhone) in order to stay connected to the Twitter stream on the go. Those that don’t have smartphone often use Twitter via SMS text messages. [Personally, I like 1.) Twitterrific or 2.) TwitterFon – both for the iPhone, of course.]

At this point, the person is a Twitter power user who regularly adds new people and brands to follow and also regularly unfollows people who post too many inane messages about their meals or just doesn’t post enough useful stuff.

The power user also tends to regularly think about and look for things to post on Twitter throughout the day, to the point of self-editing thoughts for brevity in order to fit into Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Final word

The beauty of Twitter is in its simplicity of use and the direct connection it provides to people whose activities and opinions you care about.

Apple recently wrote a case study about Twitter because Twitter uses a lot of Apple products. In the article, Apple wrote, “Twitter’s meteoric rise to ubiquity is proof positive that the world, in all its complexity, is eager to embrace simplicity.”

Twitter can be an very useful tool for business and technology professionals. For more articles by Jason, see:

And here are a couple external links worth looking at:

If you use Twitter, which of the four stages are you in?

MiFi Hotspot

Verizon is now the first carrier to launch Novatel’s MiFi personal hotspot gadget, and there’s no subscription required.

Yes, if you want to, you can pay $99.99 for the hotspot and $59.99 a month for 5GB of data. But to me, the killer combination for occasional travelers is $269.99 for the device and $15 for an unlimited use ‘day pass’ – no commitment required. There’s also a 250MB plan for $39.99/month.

The MiFi is a Wi-Fi router with a twist: it’s battery powered and has a cellular modem built in. So just turn it on anywhere Verizon has a signal, and pow, you’re broadcasting Wi-Fi to up to five PCs. The battery lasts for about four hours of use and 40 hours of standby on a charge, according to Verizon Wireless. And the MiFi is pretty tiny: only 3.5″ x 2.3″ x .4″ and 2.05 oz.

All five computers will share one EVDO Rev A connection, so you’ll be splitting about a megabit down and 500 kilobits up between whomever’s on the hotspot. And they’ll all contribute to filling the monthly data quota. But still, this makes getting online with Verizon’s network easier than ever.

 When originally announced last December, Novatel pointed out that the router is actually a tiny Linux PC, capable of running its own software. The router could check e-mail and store messages on a memory card without a PC, in theory. But Verizon’s version looks like it’s just a Wi-Fi router – for now, at least.

The MiFi will go on sale May 17. This post originally appeared on Gearlog.