net comments edit

While working on some Windows Workflow projects I was having some trouble getting ExternalDataExchangeServices to raise events. In searching for an answer, I came across this wiki that has the beginnings of some good material. I think the Windows Workflow community might want to contribute to efforts like this because, frankly, WF can be hard.

Incidentally, the reason my events weren’t getting raised was found right on the wiki: I was raising an event from a service where the event arguments were serializable but the sender was not. Everything has to be marked [Serializable], even the sender. Sounds obvious now, but let me tell you what a pain that was to try and track down.

I started feeling the onset of getting sick toward the end of last week, but it wasn’t really bothering me until Friday night when I started getting a pretty fierce fever. By Saturday morning, I had a full blown case of whatever has been going around work the last few weeks. Upper respiratory issues, stuffy head, fever, headache… ugh.

I spent Saturday in bed most of the day, and barely upright on the couch the rest of the day. Sunday was only different in the proportion of bed-time to couch-time: I made it out of bed a little earlier. I didn’t even really do much but watch TV. I tried to play some video games but my need to shut my eyes every few minutes sort of blew that out of the water and having to track all that movement on the screen made my head hurt.

I went to the doctor on Monday and told him all my symptoms.

Me: …fever, too. And I’ve got this headache behind my right eye that sort of hurts if I - Dr: Let me see your glasses. Me: [Handing over my glasses…] My prescription hasn’t really changed in years. I just had my eyes checked in - Dr: They’re crooked. Me: My glasses? Dr: Yeah, they’re crooked. See how this arm isn’t straight and the lenses aren’t even? Me: Oh, wow, yeah… I didn’t even notice that. I wonder how long it’s been. Would that cause my headache? Dr: No, but it makes you look funny. Take those in and get ‘em fixed.

So, you can see, that was helpful. Actually, he confessed that there really wasn’t much they could do for what I’ve got, that it’s common, and basically I just get to wait it out. I got some Tylenol with Codeine to manage my cough and was sent on my way.

I felt a lot better Tuesday - no fever, not much cough - but worked from home to ensure I wasn’t bringing this thing back to work to perpetuate the vicious cycle.

I’m feeling way better even today, but my back is sore from sitting on my not-remotely-ergonomic couch all day yesterday so I’m glad to be in my chair… even though my work chair is also not really my favorite. Looking forward to getting rid of this cough - it’s getting old.

General Ramblings comments edit

OK, conference organizers, listen up:

You never get the box lunch right. Ever. Even when I was in grade school and you were the field trip organizer, you still never got it right.

Not everyone wants a pre-made meat sandwich, and not everyone who doesn’t want meat is a vegetarian. Giving me the choice between soggy ham, limp turkey, or sprouts-on-rye isn’t a choice. I might consider the ham, but you made it six hours ago, threw a really moist tomato on there, and wrapped it tight as you could in plastic, thereby ensuring the tomato juice permeates the bread and makes it entirely inedible.

Normally I wouldn’t even complain, except you make the assumption everyone’s going to eat the box lunch so you don’t give me enough time to go somewhere and get something else - I eat your lunch, or I don’t eat at all.

I am tired of eating a lunch that consists of an undersized apple, a small bag of greasy chips, and a cookie. I’m tired of having people with lower food standards look at me with that pathetic gaze and offer me another bag of greasy chips.

There are ways you can fix this and still keep your precious box lunch. Seriously.

  • Stop pre-making the sandwiches. Put the individually packaged ingredients for each sandwich in the box instead so I can assemble it myself, ensuring the bread isn’t soggy and that I can entirely ignore that overripe tomato slice.
  • Offer the peanut butter and jelly option. Yeah, I know there are nut allergy people. I think they can figure out not to eat the PB&J.
  • Actually ask me what I want during conference registration. Not just a checkbox for the “vegetarian option,” but actually a menu of four or five different things you could package up that maybe aren’t sandwiches. Or let me select which ingredients go on my sandwich from the menu. It can’t be that hard.
  • Buffet.  I get a plate, I walk down the line of available items, I pick up what I want. Wow.
  • Give me the money you’d have spent on the box lunch and enough time to hit the Burger King down the street. I’ll come back happier and probably have change left over.

Conference organizers everywhere, heed my call! No more box lunches!

gists, net, testing comments edit

I use Snippet Compiler quite a bit for quick one-off testing to see if something will work. Something I’ve been doing a lot lately is doing little quick checks to see how you’d do certain things with TypeMock Isolator. Snippet Compiler basically starts you out with a very thin framework for a console application and when you hit the “Start” button, it builds and runs the app. (You could do the same thing in Visual Studio, but Snippet Compiler is very lightweight and is totally built for this sort of experimentation.)

To make my TypeMock experimentation easier, I created a template for a basic console app that will launch a separate process with TypeMock enabled and run the NUnit console test runner. The template starts you out with an empty class and an empty test fixture, ready to populate with tests. When you run the app, the NUnit console runner will execute any test fixtures you put in the current assembly.

Snippet Compiler showing the TypeMock
template.

Instructions on how to set up Snippet Compiler with this template are included. Basically, drop the template into your Snippet Compiler templates folder and add references to NUnit and TypeMock.

[Download TypeMockSnippetTemplate.zip]

GeekSpeak comments edit

I participate in agile projects where we have a daily standup meeting to discuss high-level task status and roadblocks. I’ve noticed that many times I find there is a general feel that if the manager is out sick or can’t otherwise make the daily standup that the team feels the standup is inherently canceled. When you run past their desks to find out where the missing members are to round them up, they’re astonished: “What? We’re still having a standup?”

Even if the manager is sick, even if one of the team members is out, yes, we are still having the standup. Why am I being so jerky about it? It’s just a standup, right?

Jason Yip wrote about patterns of daily standup meetings to address the more holistic concerns about what should and shouldn’t happen at a standup, so I won’t re-hash that. Go read that article - I’ll wait.

Good. Now let me tell you what the standup means to me and why I believe you shouldn’t skip the standup.

  1. The standup is for the team, not the manager. It’s great when the manager is there. And, yes, I know that in some projects you may not have a manager - it may be a peer scrummaster or some other leader. Regardless, the meeting isn’t for that leader - it’s for the team. You’re not reporting your status to the manager, you’re reporting to the team.
  2. The standup is a vestigial sign of discipline. In any team, it’s important to know that your peers can meet commitments and that you can trust them to have your back. If you can’t trust your team to make a simple standup, how can you trust that they’re on top of any of the other tasks they’re working on?

Now, it may be that the standup is at a bad time of day or that maybe it should be an every-other-day standup because there’s not enough developing to warrant daily updates. It may be that there are too many people (or too many uninvolved people). There are a lot of potential problems with a standup’s format, but those can be addressed - so address them. Again, the Yip article talks about some of these problems and potential solutions.

Regardless, it is not OK to skip the standup.