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Change of Scenery

by Steve Syfuhs / November 29, 2011 12:56 PM

Every once in a while you need to make a life-altering decision.

Last night I sent an email to the ObjectSharp team telling them I had resigned (I had spoken to the bosses in person prior).

Boy, talk about blunt, eh?

Every once in a while you are offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something pretty amazing. I’ve had three of these opportunities. The first was Woodbine Entertainment where I got my start in the Toronto development world. The second was ObjectSharp where I have been able to learn so much from some of the brightest minds in the industry. The third was two weeks ago in Vancouver.

Two weeks ago I was offered a position to lead development of a product for an ISV in BC.

Me? A leader? Wait. Huh?

Well okay, not quite. Cue the screeching cut-away-from-sappy noise.

So what's the deal? I'm not saying, yet. At this point I'm sure a few people could guess though. Smile

Suffice to say I'll be moving to BC at the end of the year. I'll be at ObjectSharp until December 16th and then will be moving right around the new year.

I'm not sure I can really describe how excited I am about this new position. I'll be working on an awesome product with an awesome group of people.

Of course, it's a little sad leaving ObjectSharp. They have a such a great team of people, and some of the smartest people in the industry.

So it should be an interesting experience.

The Known Universe

by Steve Syfuhs / February 09, 2010 04:00 PM

Holy crap this is cool:

> > >

A Trip to the Microsoft Store

by Steve Syfuhs / January 03, 2010 04:00 PM

While I was in California last week I decided to visit the new Microsoft Store in Mission Viejo.  While there, the managers graciously allowed me to take pictures of the store.  Frankly, they probably thought it was a little creepy.  But nevertheless, they said go for it, and I did.

Now, Microsoft did one hell of a job making it known that the store existed while I was at the mall.  While I was grabbing coffee in the food court, these stickers were on each table:

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Following that, as you head towards the store you see two large LCD screens in the centre of the walkway.  On one side you have a Rock Band - Beatles installation running XBox 360 over HD.

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On the other side was a promotional video.

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Microsoft designed their store quite well.  Large floor to ceiling windows for the storefront, with an inviting light wood flooring to create a very warm atmosphere.  While there were hundreds of people in the store, it was very welcoming.

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Along the three walls (because the 4th is glass) is a breathtaking video panorama.  I’m not quite sure how to really describe it.  It’s as if the entire wall was a single display, running in full HD.

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In the center of the store is a collection of laptops and assorted electronics like the Zune’s.  There’s probably a logical layout, perhaps by price, or performance.  I wasn’t paying too much attention to that unfortunately.

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At the center-back of the store is Microsoft’s Answers desk.  Much like the Apple Genius Bar, except not so arrogant.  Yes, I said it.  Ironically, the display for customer names looked very iPod-ish here, and in the Apple Store, the equivalent display looked like XP Media Center.  Go figure.

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One of the things I couldn’t quite believe was the XBox 360 being displayed overlay the video panorama video.  The video engine for that must have been extremely powerful.  That had to be a 1080P display for the XBox.  As a developer, I was astonished (and wondered where I could get that app!)  A few of the employee’s mentioned that it was driven by Windows 7.  Pretty freakin’ sweet.

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Also in the store were a couple Surfaces!  This was the first time I actually had the opportunity to play with one.  They are pretty cool.

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And that in a few pictures was my trip to the Microsoft store.  There was also a couple pamphlets in store describing training sessions and schedules for quick how-to’s in Windows 7 that I walked away with.

Microsoft did well.

Presenting at Techdays 2009!

by Steve Syfuhs / July 15, 2009 04:00 PM

Still working out session details, but it looks like I will be presenting in Ottawa and Montreal for Techdays 2009.  I will be loitering around at the Toronto event soaking up all the techie-goodness, so come find me at any of the three events.  We can talk shop, shoot the breeze, or just mill about having a good time.

I promise I won’t embarrass anyone.  Except maybe myself.  But that’s a warning for all occasions.

Here are the dates of the events across Canada.  Buy your tickets before the early-bird deal runs out!

City Date Venue
VANCOUVER SEPTEMBER 14-15 Vancouver Convention Centre
TORONTO SEPTEMBER 29-30 Metro Toronto Convention Centre
HALIFAX NOVEMBER 2-3 World Trade & Convention Centre
CALGARY NOVEMBER 17-18 Calgary Stampede
MONTREAL DECEMBER 2-3 Mont-Royal Centre
OTTAWA DECEMBER 9-10 Hampton Inn & Convention Centre
WINNIPEG DECEMBER 15-16 Winnipeg Convention Centre

The Early Bird price is $299.  The regular Price is $599.

I will post more on the sessions I will be presenting at a later date when I get the full details.

See you there!

Reminder! Windows 7 Beta Expiration

by Steve Syfuhs / June 24, 2009 04:00 PM

Reposted without* permission from the Canadian IT Pro blog.

Windows 7 UltimateI just wanted to post a reminder that the Windows 7 Beta is set to expire on July 1st, 2009.  What does that mean?  Well it isn’t going to explode, eat your data or lock you out.  What is going to happen is that the PC will force you to reboot every two hours.  But have no fear there is a way to fix this, simply install the Windows 7 Release Candidate which you can still download.

While an upgrade isn’t supported, and I strongly recommend a clean install, you can find a workaround that will allow you to do an in place upgrade.

Grab the Release Candidate here!

 

* I never asked.  I doubt they will care.  Correct me if I am wrong, Rodney! 

Bing Search Provider

by Steve Syfuhs / June 20, 2009 04:00 PM

Seems it automatically updates itself in IE.

bing

Cool.

Microsoft and the Antitrust Browser...A Decade in the Making

by Steve Syfuhs / January 15, 2009 04:00 PM

It seems just like yesterday that some government was telling Microsoft that the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows was unbecoming of an industry leader, because it screwed other web browsers out of market share.

The European Union has made a decision stating Microsoft cannot bundle Internet Explorer with Windows anymore, if they want to sell in any European countries.  This decision was the result of Opera Software ASA, the people behind the Opera browser.  The complaints are two-fold.

  1. Market share is nearly seized completely by IE because it comes preinstalled with Windows, which is the dominant operating system.
  2. Because the majority of browsers are IE, websites need to conform to IE’s html rendering which is “non-standard”.

I’d agree with the first statement, but I find it bogus.  Regardless of whether or not IE has dominant market share, you still need a browser.  How would you get your hands on the installation files for the new browser?  Certainly not by downloading it from the internet…  You can get the software from the store.  Not likely.  That just means one more piece of software to worry about.  You can have the browser company mail it to you.  Is Firefox a company?  Do they have offices?  Seriously?  WTF?  Oooh, or maybe Microsoft can have a basic version of a web browser, that all it does is go to one specific site.  The site then has a list of all available web browsers on the market, which you can then download.  I’m actually at a loss to say for once.

With regards to the second point, Internet Explorer certainly does not have a great track record for sticking to HTML standards.  But I have to say Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc, don’t conform either.  None of them conform to the HTML standards completely.  With that being said, Internet Explorer 8 is supposed to be ACID 2 compliant, meaning it is compliant at least as much as everyone else.  In other words, it shows the face:

AcidTest2[1]

I’m going to keep an eye out for news from the EU, because I suspect they will overturn the ruling in some way or another.  Some people say Internet Explorer is only to be used to download Firefox.  Now that it’s not there, how the hell do you plan on downloading Firefox, eh?

Windows LiveID Almost OpenID

by Steve Syfuhs / January 12, 2009 04:00 PM

liveopenidThe Windows Live team announced a few months ago that their Live ID service will be a new provider for the OpenID system.  The Live team was quoted:

Beginning today, Windows Live™ ID is publicly committing to support the OpenID digital identity framework with the announcement of the public availability of a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the Windows Live ID OpenID Provider.

You will soon be able to use your Windows Live ID account to sign in to any OpenID Web site.

I saw the potential in OpenID a while ago, long before I heard about Microsoft’s intentions.  The only problem was that I didn’t really find a good way to implement such a system on my website.  Not only that, I didn’t really have a purpose for doing such a thing.  The only reason anyone would need to log into the site would be to administer it.  And seeing as I’m the only person who could log in, there was never a need.

Then a brilliant idea hit me.  Let users create accounts to make comment posting easier.  Originally, a user would leave a comment, and I would log in to verify comments, at which point the comment would actually show up.  Sometimes I wouldn’t log in for a couple days, which meant no comments.  So now, if a user wants to post a comment, all they have to do is log in with their openID, and the comment will appear.

Implementing OpenID

I used the ExtremeSwank OpenID Consumer for ASP.NET 2.0.  The beauty of this framework is that all I have to do is drop a control on a webform and OpenID functionality is there.  The control handles all the communications, and when the authenticating site returns it’s data, you access the data through the control’s properties.  To handle the authentication on my end, I tied the values returned from the control into my already in place Forms Authentication mechanism:

if (!(OpenIDControl1.UserObject
== null)) { if (Membership.GetUser(OpenIDControl1.UserObject.Identity)
== null) { string email = OpenIDControl1.UserObject
.GetValue(SimpleRegistrationFields.Email); string username = ""; if (HttpContext.Current.User.Identity != null) { username = HttpContext.Current.User.Identity.Name; } else { username = OpenIDControl1.UserObject.Identity; } MembershipCreateStatus membershipStatus; MembershipUser user = Membership.CreateUser( username, RandomString(12, false), email, "This is an OpenID Account. You should log in with your OpenID", RandomString(12, false), true, out membershipStatus ); if (membershipStatus != MembershipCreateStatus.Success) { lblError.Text
= "Cannot create account for OpenID Account: "
+ membershipStatus.ToString(); } } }
That’s all there is to it.

Open Source Windows

by Steve Syfuhs / December 30, 2008 04:00 PM
Some days you just have to shake your head and wonder. As it turns out, I'm a little late to hear about this, but nonetheless, I'm still shaking my head.

It turns out that Windows has gone open source. And (!!) it's not being made by Microsoft anymore. Well, Windows™ is still made by Microsoft. Windows is now made by a group under the gise of ReactOS.
ReactOS® is a free, modern operating system based on the design of Windows® XP/2003. Written completely from scratch, it aims to follow the Windows® architecture designed by Microsoft from the hardware level right through to the application level. This is not a Linux based system, and shares none of the unix architecture.
So essentially, these people are taking the Windows architecture (based on XP/2003), and redesigning it from scratch. Or rather, are re-coding it from scratch, because redesigning would imply making something different. Sounds vaguely familiar to, oh, something called Vista. Except uglier.



Now, that nagging feeling we are all getting right about now should be visualized as a pack of rabid lawyers. Isn't this considered copyright infringement? They outright define the product as a copy.

And what about the end users? Are all programs designed to run on Windows supposed to be able to run on this ReactOS? Why bother with testing? The XP architecture is now almost 8 years old by now. That means anything designed to run on Vista, or soon to be designed to run on Windows 7, wouldn't stand a snowballs chance in hell, running on ReactOS.

I would love to see how a .NET application runs on it.

// About

Steve is a renaissance kid when it comes to technology. He spends his time in the security stack.