Happy New Year! It's a tiny bit late, but the last year ended and this year started with a flurry of activities that didn't leave me with much energy to blog. Before Christmas I went to New York to see my friend Stephen Forte and his wonderful girlfriend Kathleen, and right after Christmas I flew out to spend a few days with Steve Swartz and his fabulous wife Allison in Venice, Italy where they spent 3 weeks experiencing the wealth of Venetian culture and history (Allison is a scientific authority in Renaissance art history, which makes this even more fun).

And after these little tours I had to lots and lots of intense learning for the German "Whidbey Ascend" training series I am doing with Christian Weyer and Christian Nagel of thinktecture. In this series, which is hosted by Microsoft Germany and open to invited partners, we present a quite complete overview on the Visual Studio 2005 innovations. Of course, if you know me and Christian and Christian, you might be aware that we are all "server guys". So, of course it turned out in a way that I ended up with the complete Smart Client part of the schedule in my hands: Windows Forms, Visual Studio Tools for Office and Device Development. All these topics weren't exactly in my comfort zone for presenting in front of an audience when I committed to do them, but the time investment really paid off last week when we did the training for the first time. And I am actually quite glad that I had to force myself to learn all these things, because I was quite surprised bythe power of much of the new tooling, especially by Visual Studio Tools for Office. My first impression is that with these tools, Office really becomes a viable Smart Client platform.  

My other topic on that training I feel much more comfortable with: Visual Studio Team System. That stuff is good. You'll hear lots more about Team System and the architecture features of Visual Studio here in the upcoming weeks and months.

Next weekend and the beginning of next week I will be spending over in Seattle to play with some new distributed systems technologies at a friend's house and office.

Other developments:

  • Omar Shahine and Scott Hanselman put a heroic effort into completing "newtelligence dasBlog 1.7 Community Edition". I will have to set up the Wiki or a redirect to his Wiki some time this week. Omar and Scott practically own the dasBlog development effort now, since I just couldn't make time in recent months. There are still features I would like to add, but Omar and Scott run the shop now. Hence the "Community Edition" moniker. The new version (which I still need to install here) has dramatically improved performance, scores of fixes and a set of subtle, but good new features. A first shot at referral spam blocking is a regex based exclusion filter.
  • Werner Vogels has been named CTO of Amazon.com, which is amazing (and Amazon could hardly find anybody better).
  • My company has a new web site design. Much simpler and hopefully clearer. It's still a bit of a construction site, but which site isn't.

More later.