Teaching Children to program

I was playing Robozzle with my oldest and he was having a blast and loved that he was programming like Dad does.  (He did let me know he wants to be policeman though. 🙂  It’s a fun way to introduce kids to programming and reminds me a little of the little logo turtle. 

I didn’t start out programming that way – I got into programming because my Dad was too busy to start the games I wanted to play on a computer.  Funny how one things leads to another – I ended up learning how to start the games, then I wanted more games which meant I had to program them from books (basic on the TI, don’t remember the other languages).  And eventually we learned how to make the computer do stuff (little Tron games on an apple IIe that my Grandpa had, that kind of thing).  We had a lot of fun with it, and I was way ahead when I took my first programming class – so much so that I finished very early and spent the time playing various computer games (full circle :).  So I’m a big believer in teaching kids skills through games (more fun for you, too).

What games have you found that do this for programming?  What really easy programming experiences are out there?  I would love to hear what you’ve found, and recommend that you give Robozzle a try (and contribute more easy puzzles so kids have more puzzles before things get too tricky).

[re-post from my MSDN blog]

Posted in Hobbies | Leave a comment

Dilbert on virtualization

Today’s Dilbert has been going around the Virtual Machine Manager team a bit this morning. 🙂

Posted in Funny | 2 Comments

Hyper-V review

The hypervisor support in Server 2008 is now out in beta and it’s great to see the product hitting the street.  Virtualization is a huge change for the industry that can do a lot for everyone from data-centers to software houses, to people who just want to be able to run programs without worrying as much (yes, yes, escape exploits would remain a concern).

Here’s a review from Windows IT Pro.  Of course, this isn’t what I actually work on – I work on the Virtual Machine Manager.  Sadly, our product is still behind closed doors – I can’t wait to get it out to customers.

To follow along until then, enjoy Rakesh’s blog, which explains such decisions as Why we decided to manage VMWare.



[crosspost from my msdn blog]

Posted in Virtualization | Leave a comment

Bill Gates on creative capitalism

I thought this was a fascinating presentation on how to meet the needs of the poor by generating recognition and profits for corporations.  I think the approaches were interesting.

Posted in News and politics | Leave a comment

Beginning again – and hiring

Well, fun times.  I’ve taken a position on the Virtual Machine Manager team.  I’ll be one of the lead developers working on the next version.  It’s an exciting space, with a lot of players and a lot of new technologies.

I’m also hiring.  So if you’re interested we have a number of interesting positions UI and non-UI related (as you might imagine :)). 

Here’s a link to a UI programmer position, but please feel free to send me a message if you’re interested.  And again, I’m hiring for non-UI positions as well – the link is just to show a little more information about the team and the direction that we’re headed.   (We are a C# shop.)

If you’re interested in hearing more, you can follow along on the team blog.

Technorati Tags: ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Windows Mobile Live Search Speech Recognition

Easy to use, and optimized for your phoneA wonderful thing finally happened.  The live search mobile app (in my opinion, one of the reasons to own a smartphone), now has speech recognition.  On my old Cingular 2125, it was a huge pain to type in addresses, businesses.  Even on my new Blackjack, it’s considerably better.

[ via Rob’s blog]

Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment

Foux da fa fa

For the french speakers (or not).  I’m not exactly sure what this is, but it made me laugh.  It reminds me of all the cheezy French class videos. http://update.videoegg.com/flash/proxy.swf?jsver=1.4

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Windows *Live* Photo Gallery

How about that – Vista’s Photo Gallery (which I love) is getting an update as a Live asset.  I suppose they believe that it makes sense to have a strong web connection for that feature.  It seems like we’re ending up with two versions for some features in Vista – the one that shipped with the OS, plus another version with Live in the name.  Window Mail; Windows Live Mail Desktop.  Windows Photo Gallery; Windows Live Photo Gallery.  More to come?

Other than edging into the Sentence Name area, this change includes easy photo publishing to spaces, panoramic stitching and more. 🙂

Posted in Hobbies | Leave a comment

3 new debugger tricks: continuous stepping applied (x2) and symbol typo protection

Posted in msdn crosspost | 1 Comment

Talking about RELEASE: Family.Show – a free Family Geneology application based on Windows Presentation Foundation



RELEASE: Family.Show – a free Family Geneology application based on Windows Presentation Foundation

Description taken from the web site:

"For a hobby that revolves around dead people, genealogy is remarkably popular: it’s the fastest growing scene in North America. And a perfect study for Vertigo’s next Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) reference application for Microsoft.

Our designers employed every trick in the WPF book– styles, resources, templates, data binding, animation, transforms– to present an innovative visualization of the classic family tree, freeing our developers to concentrate on behind-the-scenes features like XPS, P/Invoke wrapper for Windows Vista common dialogs, and ClickOnce for WPF."

A couple comments:

1)  1.63MBThis is once again, a tiny WPF-based application at only 1.63MB in download size for Windows Vista, demonstrating once again, how application libraries are built directly into the operating system making WPF applications slim and optimal by taking advantage of the native services and functions within the OS.

2)  DRAG & DROP PHOTOS:  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the developers designed drag & drop correctly:  All you have to do to bring in a photo into the program is drag and drop it onto the "blank" photo frame for an individual and you’re finished.

3)  XML & GEDCOM EXPORT:  Geek moment here, but all data is saved in XML making it very easy to read into other applications.  And what’s more, it will also export into GEDCOM format so that it can be read & displayed in basically any other geneology software.

4)  SAVE TO XPS:  Want to send your family tree to someone else to see?  Create a read-only XPS document out of it and have them view the content the way itwas meant to be viewed.

5)  BEAUTIFUL!:   This is just a gorgeous program.  The graphics are extremely scalable, the visuals and animations are smooth an appealing, and the overall program design is just so well done.  Good job, Vertigo.  Folks, if this doesn’t demonstrate to you how Windows Vista is simply an awesome platform for next generation applications, I don’t know what will. 


FREE DOWNLOAD:  http://www.vertigo.com/familyshow.aspx

(This isn’t the only application by Vertigo that leverages .NET and the Windows Presentation Foundation.  Check out there other creations at http://www.vertigo.com/lab.aspx)

Posted in Hobbies | Leave a comment