User group meeting last night, Web services conference closing in...

Jason Beres (of INETA and Infragistics fame) came an spoke at the San Diego .NET User Group.

Always willing to make huge, selfless sacrifices for the good of the community, Jason left the winter wonderland of New Jersey to make the trek to San Diego.

It was a great presentation. The first part was on Tablet PC from a developers persepctive. I didn't want to stop him because the presentation was so interesting, but had to shut him down so we could take a quick break and he could do Whidbey. I rec'd so much positive response from mebers about the Tablet PC presentation, it was great content and subject matter, and very well delivered. We bolted out of there at 9:00 and made it to the airport in record time. I got call from him 45 minutes later saying his flight had been canceled due to bad weather back east, so he was force to endure another night in San Diego. Poor guy :)

So, here we are the day before the big San Diego Software Industry Council Web services event I'm chairing. It looksw like it will be a HUGE success. I've put together a program of 17 speakers and panelists from all over the country (even the cold parts!), and from companies like IBM/MSFT/BEA and Computer Associates. I think we sold out this morning.

I'll be delivering my first public (non-client) BizTalk 2004 presentation. Am I ready? Not a chance. I'm about half way there, and stressing pretty good.

Will I be ready? Sure (I hope).

Aside from that presentation and M/C-ing the event, I also get to moderate the IBM/MSFT/BEA/CA closing panel. I did one of these about 1.5 years ago, and it was a lovefest, no casualties or mud whatsoever. We'll see how this one goes. Is that a rift I see in the standards process over WS-Eventing and WS-Notification? Could it be? Nahhh....

Stay tuned dear reader to see how this ends...


Busy busy busy

Yikes. I have a lot going on over the next couple of months. In addition to several writing commitments and being at the early stages of a complex and interesting “Microsoft Poster Child” project through Neudesic, and my INETA responsibilities, I have:

1. Conference chair, plus moderating the IBM/MSFT/BEA panel and maybe other panels, plus doing a presentation on BizTalk 2004 Orchestration and Web services
San Diego Software Industry Council Web Services Conference
Jan 29th, UCSD Supercomputer Center

2. Speaking at my own San Diego .NET User Group (I only actually present there every 2 years) presenting an Intro to BizTalk 2004
San Diego, Feb 24th

3. Speaking at the Edge 2004 conference presenting BizTalk 2004 and Web Services
Boston, Feb 26th

Julie Lerman, also of INETA, will be there too:

So, I'm fully focused on BizTalk 2004, and am "hitting the speaker circuit". I've done this before:

- Approx 1990, when I started doing some strange stuff called "Object-Oriented Programming" (yes, in DOS-based Clipper, and I wrote a commercial class library!)
- About 4 years or so ago, when there was this new thing that some of us were getting excited about. It was called "XML", perhaps you've heard of it by now? :)
- A couple of years ago, when SOAP V 0.7 (or was it .1?) was circulating in draft form, which of course led to Web Services.

Man, I wish I could call it like this in Vegas! It also bodes VERY well for the future of BizTalk Server 2004...


Special User Group meeting

A couple of weeks ago I found out that my buddy Andrew Filev (from Saint Petersburg Russia) was going to be in the area, so I persuaded him to come down to San Diego (never a hard thing to do) and speak to the user group. So, last Wednesday, we called a special meeting just for him, which is the first time in the history of the group that we've done such a thing.

We had ~50 folks, and Andrew's re-factoring talk went over very well. A good time was had by all (before, during and after the meeting). He also drew out strong support from the area's Russian community... :-)

Thanks Andrew, you ROCK!


Gasp.... a full time job??

For the second time in 18 years, I have started a fulltime job (rest of time was running my own practice, running a component company, developing commercial products, being a consultant, etc).

I am now officially a Principal Consultant with Neudesic. Based in Southern California, Neudesic is a Managed/Gold partner of Microsoft. We are a small, but growing explosively, firm. The people in Neudesic are among the best and brightest I've ever had the pleasure of working with, and I'm very excited about our prospects.We are technology leaders and “go to“ partners for a broad range of technologies, including my current focal point: BizTalk Server 2004.

We had lengthy discussions about my community involvement. They understand my affliction, that I have this obsessive compulsion that makes me want to bring developers together and build a strong community. It's in my blood, and seems to be incurable. I am sincerely hoping I'll be able to continue to balance these two halves of my life, just as I have been for years.

And so begins a new chapter in my life...

Happy US Thanksgiving all!


INETA interview from PDC

Dave Noderer and I were interviewed by Jon Box as part of the Sys-con Radio shows from PDC. It has just become available. Complete list of interviews is, a direct link to our interview is We talk about what INETA is, as well as some of the inititives and programs we have in place.


That was a "scoop"....

[Updated July 2009: of course, we know now that what I saw was actually the Windows Orchestration Engine, which, nowadays, we call "Windows Workflow Foundation". I really was very early with this post!!]

I didn't know it at the time, but heard from someone on the BizTalk team that the article I wrote last week for .NET Developer's Journal was the first piece that had been written about the post-BizTalk Server 2004 orchestration prototype.

A global scoop, and you heard it here first folks!


San Diego Firestorm 2003

Well, I'm back home from PDC now, and am trying to absorb the magnitude of what happened while I was gone.

I wasn't able to get current reliable news while in L.A., as most stations fixated on L.A.-area fires and gave minimal airtime to what was going on in San Diego. The little snippets on CNN weren't terribly informative either, as they never went into the detail needed to fully grasp what happened here.

Some stats as of yesterday:

  • Cedar Fire: 280,293 acres burned, 2,232 homes lost, 22 businesses lost, 14 deaths, 91 injuries
  • Paradise Fire: 56,700 acres burned, 179 homes lost, 2 deaths, 20 firefighters injured
  • Otay Fire: 46,291 acres burned, 1 home lost

I live on the coast, so my home was never threatened, but all of these are local fires, ranging from a few miles away to a couple of hours drive. When you see a fire map, it's staggering how much of the countryside around here has burned. The Cedar fire actually caused evacuations and many homes lost in a San Diego suburb, and jumped a major freeway to start encroaching on the Miramar Marine base.

I'm a hiker/camper/geocacher (see, so I know some beautiful landscape has been lost. I have memories of sitting on some big rocks creek-side with my family, under an impossibly blue sky, in an Oak shrouded valley on one of my favorite local hikes. We have a couple of caches in that area. That area was dead center of the Paradise fire, and must be a charred lunar landscape now.

Last year we had the massive Pines fire near the historic/scenic mountain community of Julian. I drove through there a few times this year on my way to the dessert, and was blown away by the extent of the damage. Based on the reports I've seen, the Cedar fire (much much bigger than last year's massive fire) took out a lot of what did not burn last year. Downtown Julian itself was saved thanks to a massive firefighting effort, but a lot of homes were lost.

We know several people that were evacuated, one of who lost some trees as the fires burned to within feet of their home, but we don't know anyone directly that lost a home. More stories of loss and sorrow, and heroism and survival, are emerging every day.

The cause of the fires is under investigation. One sounds like it was caused by human stupidity. Others may have been arson (who I think should be dealt with following the “eye for an eye“ approach, Salem-style!). Years of fire suppresion led to an abundance of brush and fuel, drought-weakened trees were succeptible and killed by the thousands by Pine bark beetles, so there was lots of standing deadwood. The photos of the 200ft walls of flame are unbelievable.

We will bounce back, but it will take many years for landscape to heal.

We're going to be heading off desert camping over Thanksgiving in a few weeks, and will probably end up driving though Julian. I don't know how many dry eyes there will be as we drive through the devastation.

I had to get this out of my system, I'll try to keep future posts more technical!

Teach your kids not to play with matches...