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  def Softwaremaker() :
         return "William Tay", "<Challenging Conventions />"

  knownType_Serialize, about = Softwaremaker()
 

 Wednesday, September 13, 2006

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I remember it was very late last year / early this year when I had a conversation with Martin Kulov, who is the Director .NET Development of the National Academy for Software Development in Bulgaria.

Basically, Martin pinged me and we talked about his idea and dream of bringing a PDC/TechED-style event to the Balkans, where he sees an increasing demand.

He then proceeded to invite me to present in this conference in Sofia, Bulgaria this year. I cannot tell you how honoured I was to receive this invitation. However, I had to put this on hold due to heavy work and family committments. Lest you dont know, while Sofia is generally only 2 spots below Singapore in the usual Country dropdownbox due to its alphabetical legacies, both countries are very spaced apart geographically. To compound this, airlines dont usually fly direct between these 2 countries and therefore, the end-2-end flight map (that routes you to so many different places) will be a lot more mileage than what it appears on a point-2-point straight line on a map. Ultimately, this trip for me alone will cost the National Academy for Software Development in Bulgaria a lot of money and cost me a lot of time (which still equates to money)

I am a person trained and educated in Economics and this, obviously, doesnt make much economic sense. It is not like they have that much money in their coffers anyways since there were no sponsors. So I told him that if I could hook him up with other influential speakers nearer his region, it makes much more sense. With great content comes great value for the participants and that ultimately means that it will be a well-attended event. Who knows - someone may come along and drop their golden coin to sponsor it.

I then proceeded to ping my peer Microsoft Regional Directors / Speakers I know who would be interested in speaking in the Balkans. Of course, there were many. Sofia, is afterall, a beautiful city, so I was told. People like Richard Campbell, Stephen Forte, Ted Neward, Goskin Bakir, etc gave their full support.

My wonderful friend in New York, Stephen Forte, deserves full mention as an ultimate leader who was passionate enough to make sure this event becomes a success in the Balkans. He tried all ways, including trying to negotiate with the airlines for a cheaper fare in exchange for more travel awareness to the Balkans. In the end, his passion and hard bargaining and negotiation skills shone through and he won over MSFT Corp to be the main sponsor for this event by convincing them that this is THE event for Microsoft in that part of the world and this is THE time.

With Microsoft declaring themselves to be the main sponsor, other vendors, like Telerik, follow suit as well and voila - We have the birth of DevReach in the Balkans.

If you are interested, you may want to sign up here. The PR of this event can be found here.

I believe years later, when I move on to a new career path and DevReach becomes the de-facto PDC/TechED of the Balkans, I will look back at this episode and smile. I had a big hand to play to make this event and dream come for Martin and all the wonderful people of Bulgaria. The bulgarian software industry will grow, develop and mature and keep abreast of time and everyone is better because of it.

How did this happen: Through 2 friends who have never met (one in Sofia, the other in Singapore), using the power and the reach of the global community at work (and MSN Messenger), through extensive and collaborative networking, this event became a concrete reality.

Dont underestimate that power of reach and the community - It may make or break you.

Now, if you ask: "How did you and Martin know of each other again?"

Easy - through another reach for the community by the community, via my article on MSDN, he posted a comment on this blog (another collaborative community-driven tool) and we hooked up. The rest is history.

Martin, I am happy for you. You have done a great deal for your community and it is only fair that you see this dream of yours come true.

Make some time for me, I am sure we will catch up over coffee in beautiful Sofia one day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 1:40:52 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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  •  Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    So, after a massive HDD upgrading exercise, it is time to take stock of my own internal machines of notebooks and desktops and see how it fits into the arrival of Vista and Longhorn later.

    Lunch with some folks from Intel and Dell last week in Malaysia revealed some interesting lookouts for me. I am told to wait for the Dell Intel Core 2 Duo machines. This is unlike the Duo Core Intel chips that Dell is selling right now. The Core 2 Duo(s) are a lot better as one of the world's best processors and is a lot more powerful and power-efficient than the Duo Core ones.

    The main difference lies in the chip architecture, obviously. As put in the simplest way: "Duo Core chips are essentially 2 chips put together physically. The penalties (and constraints) lie in the bond that welds them together. Whereas, the Core 2 Duo chips is actually a single physical manifestation that is cut into 2"

    This will explain how much better, faster and efficient the Core 2 Duo chips are going to be.

    However, I was told during lunch that the Core 2 Duo chips are not available the DELL (APAC) online site yet - so I would have to wait.

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    However, I am well-known to be impatient and so decided to try my luck with my own special Dell connections back home in Singapore. As luck would have it, there are specific desktop and notebook models that are already equipped with a Core 2 Duo Intel chip. It is just not available online yet and the only way to get it today is to know someone in HELL (ooppps, I mean DELL) who can get it done for you.

    The specifications given to me looked awesome and the "special" price quoted to me by my own Dell connections take the cake - so it looks like I will be one of the first in my part of the world to own a Dell Latitude D620 / D820 that comes armed with a Core 2 Duo chip and the price I am getting for that is just sooooo GOOD !

    With that in tow, x64 Vista - Here I come, baby !!!

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006 4:08:34 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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  •  Monday, September 11, 2006

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    I will be speaking in The Enterprise Architecture Conference 2006 to be held in Singapore on 25-28 September 2006.

    And no - for once, I wont be speaking on Web Services or anything Service-Oriented. Instead, I will tackle head-on a topic that not many people would not like to go near: Enterprise Architecture Security

    I will be speaking on the second day (27 Sept 2006: 1430-1530) and quite a few of my governmental clients will be there as well in the audience.

    The title is: Security Planning and Strategies In An Enterprise Architecture. The agenda is as follows:

    • Outline of the key Enterprise-based security issues and counter-measures, that is technology-agnostic
    • An examination of general security threats and how to plan and implement security policies and controls for often-performed computer security activities
    • Key best practices in terms of security that can be applied to practical real-life scenarios and implemented solutions such as IP and Data security
    • Auditing and monitoring of systems within an Enterprise

    If you are in need to spend SGD2,000 , I hope to see you there.

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    Monday, September 11, 2006 9:15:18 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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  •  Saturday, September 09, 2006

    One of the topics presented during the Architecture Track in the just-concluded Microsoft TechED South East Asia 2006 was done by IASA.

    It was done via a very interactive session with the floor questioning the panel from the IASA Malaysian chapter about the value of being an architect and topics of the like.

    One of the questions from the floor was: "Do you believe that architects should be writing code ?"

    It seems that 3/4 of the panel members agree. Some even going on bragging that he is still doing it in assembly, C++ language. hmmm ... In the interest of keeping the session on time so that that the attendees can get home on time amidst the KL jams - I kept my mouth shut.

    Let me open them now.

    Architects shouldnt code. Period. My thoughts. Period. To prevent myself from rambling, which is what I always do when I have a strong opinion on something, let me list them in point forms.

    The term "architect" is a very nebulous term. The hype around it with all the wannabees printing it in bold font on their cards out there (I know a couple of them in Singapore who does them with no shame), who have no idea what is the difference between horizontal and vertical scaling, doesnt make it any better. For better or worse, I only believe in one type - and that is the all-emcompassing solution architect.

    Afterall, aint what all customers want is a solution ? Do you think they really care what is underneath the solution more than that this solution works well, is kept within their budget, perform effectively and efficiently within the constraints of their environment ? Therefore, in this context, I will speak in the context of Solution Architects.

     

    • In the past, code influenced architecture. The limitations of written-code in a chosen-platform in a defined-era is the damning evidence of the limitation of the architecture. VB3 anyone ?

     

    • Biasedness based on preference. A solution architect that has a decade long experience in writing code is usually one that doesnt see the other side of the fence, doesnt know that there are better solutions and worst - refuse to want to see it. Most of the people in this category are usually skilled in one platform over the other and it is very hard for people like that to sit down and analyze a problem without a pre-conceived notion in mind in a very neutral manner. Because of this, the likely solution they are going to propose will have the same limitations of the platform they have been so comfortable with. I dont question the depth. Where is the breadth ? These guys should remain what they are good in and be experts in their domains and probably be paid better than a solution architect. For those who argue that they are equally well-versed in both sides of the fence - Good for you. Stay there. It is very likely you are drawing a lot more than an architect. If you are not, you just need to sell yourself better.

     

    • It is all about the business. Solution Architects bridge the gap between (the returns of) the business with the (returns of) technology. So, yes, they should be just as apt with the Finanical Calculator as much as an Integrated Development Environment or a Installation Panel or Console. They understand the entire depreciation cycle of an enterprise solution much better than the differences between a thread and a process. So yes, the higher the level the language they used to code in (I am talking about 4GL), the better. Bragging how much you still do your work today in First or Second Level Programming Lanaguages doesnt do you any good. In fact, it makes you look bad. It shows the lack of touch you have with your business, how it is run, what are the constraints and the entire business and revenue model. Writing performance drivers, assemblers, kernels, runtimes has nothing to do with a company's business model in a world where Moore's Law still rules.

    It is all about the business, still.

     

    Saturday, September 09, 2006 3:18:43 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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  •  Friday, September 08, 2006

    What a great turnout and what a great rousing response I got for my 2nd Microsoft TechED South East Asia 2006 session titled: Developing Web Services: Tips and Tricks.

    I love the Malaysian crowd. It has shown so much technical maturity and passion over the years I have spoken there and I appreciate all of you very very very much.

    Thank you for all the mail you have sent me over the past few years

    • on your generous compliments for my presentations
    • on your Thank Yous for the topics I have taught and the issues I have raised that all of you could identify with
    • on your appreciation for my work I put in my topics and sessions because I work on the field - just like you and not just another Microsoftie
    • last but not least - on the numerous questions (via hands and emails) that were asked over the years - which I hope I have helped and answered.

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    I have received numerous requests for my code demos for this second session and here is the download for that.

    I hope this is NOT the last I hear and see from the Malaysian Tech.ED crowd. Thank you all again.

     

    Friday, September 08, 2006 2:53:12 PM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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  •  Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Apache Axis2/C version 0.93 is released. This should please the REST camp and highlights the momentum of how REST can be implemented in Web Services. If you are in KL next week, I will be briefly touching base on the REST-vs-SOAP style of implementing Web Services.

    Key Features

    1. AXIOM, an XML object model optimized for SOAP 1.1/1.2 Messages.
      This has complete XML infoset support.
    2. Support for one-way messaging (In-Only) and request response
      messaging (In-Out)
    3. Description hierarchy (configuration, service groups, services,
      operations and messages)
    4. Directory based deployment model
    5. Archive based deployment model
    6. Context hierarchy (corresponding contexts to map to each level of
      description hierarchy)
    7. Raw XML message receiver
    8. Module architecture, mechanism to extend the SOAP processing model
    9. Module version support
    10. Transports supports: HTTP\
      1. Both simple axis server and Apache2 httpd module for server side
      2. Client transport with ability to enable SSL support
    11. Service client and operation client APIs
    12. REST support (HTTP POST case)
    13. WS-Addressing, both the submission (2004/08) and final (2005/08) versions
    14. MTOM/XOP support
    15. Code generation tool for stub and skeleton generation for a given
      WSDL (based on Java tool)
      1. Axis Data Binding (ADB) support
    16. Security module with UsernameToken support
    17. REST support (HTTP GET case) - New
    18. Dynamic invocation support (based on XML schema and WSDL
      implementations) - New

    Major Changes Since Last Release

    1. REST support for HTTP GET case
    2. XML Schema implementation
    3. Woden/C implementation that supports both WSDL 1.1 and WSDL 2.0
    4. Dynamic client invocation (given a WSDL, consume services dynamically)
    5. Numerous improvements to API and API documentation
    6. Many bug fixes, especially, many paths of execution previously untouched were tested along with Sandesha2/C implementation

    Download the above release here.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006 8:41:45 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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  •  Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Almost 2 years after I upgraded the HDD of all my machines in my own internal network (2 Servers, 3 Desktops, 3 Laptops), I decided to do some HDD shopping and do another upgrade exercise at Sim Lim Square (Singapore) to replenish the dwindling space I have been noticing in my network.

    This time, I came back with:

    • 2 x 500GB/7200 3.5''
    • 1 x 320GB/7200 3.5''
    • 1 x 120GB/5400 2.5''

    I now have almost 3TB !!! of HDD running supporting all my machines - all run within a one-man-operation. Armed with all my data backup and an amazing Acronis TrueImage Enterprise Server software for cloning all my old partitions for restoring to my brand new shiny disks, I should be able to get all the new data transitions and migrations going in no time.

    What does all these HDD space support ? Besides the usual VPCs for my cutting-edge demos, disk-images for clones, I have also tons of pictures, videos and music media for my jukeboxes. If I tell you the other operations my HDD is supporting, then I would have to kill you .

    Here I am, hearing the hum of all the spinning HDD spindle motors at work. Ah - The sound of geek heaven.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006 9:03:00 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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  •  Monday, August 21, 2006

    For the 4th year in a row, I will be speaking in Microsoft TechED 2006 Asia. This time, the event will return to its original roots back in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Unlike the previous rounds, I wont touch base on any Level 400 topics and going nitty-gritty into details of <angleBrackets/> messaging or gnarly-XSD'isms. From previous experiences, it doesnt sit too well with the asian crowd. Instead, I am going with a couple of very interesting topics. One focuses on a specific implementation of identity and service-orientation, the other is for the audience to have a better idea on what Web Services are all about first before embarking on that journey.

    • ARC323 Federated Identities and the Metasystem \ Architecture & Team Development Track

    This session, I will explain the basis forces driving the concepts of the Identity Metasystem that has the world watching and waiting. How do we plug the missing gaps of the Transactional Internet? Imagine the WWW without passwords. Not only that, I will explain how this infrastructure setup can be used for business transactions other than for authentication. See demos that are not  seen anywhere yet in this region. [Level 300]

    • DEV243 Developing Web Services: Tips & Tricks \ Developer Technology Track

    What exactly are Web Services and When and Why do we use them? William explains the basis of SOAP in clear concise terms and coins up some tips to help you in your Web Services Development today and tomorrow. [Level 200]

    Of course, there are a whole hosts of reasons for you to attend this mega-event with tons of great speakers talking on some great topics gracing this event. KL has always been a very dynamic city and it should be a good time for all.

    And even if browsing through the event site doesnt attract you enough yet, how about this?

    I will be giving away 2 FREE MSDN Premium Subscription with Visual Studio Team Suite that is worth US Dollars 30,000 each to 2 lucky souls who will be attending my sessions. I may also give away other goodies like cannot-find and hard-to-get Microsoft Product Platform T-Shirts and NEW books.

    So - c'mon - what are you waiting for ? Sign up today and "Change your Destiny" ...

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    Monday, August 21, 2006 8:56:10 AM (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Disclaimer 
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