Moving my blog to GoDaddy

11. February 2010 18:06

The short story…

I’ve decided to move my blog back over to a shared hosting account with GoDaddy hosting.  If you notice any issues (strange errors, broken links, missing images, etc), please let me know.  It will take a few days for the name server changes to propagate, but I’ve also updated my old host’s DNS to point to the IP address of my site on the GoDaddy server.  So, I would expect any issues to have already been noticed, but you never know.

 

The back story of the change for those that care…

For almost four years, my blog has been hosted at aspnix on one of their Virtual Private Server plans.  Ironically, I started out with my blog hosted on a GoDaddy shared hosting account, but I wanted to setup Community Server and had a lot of trouble getting it to work in their shared environment.  After a while, I finally decided to move elsewhere.  I stumbled onto aspnix and noticed they had very affordable VPS plans.  At the time, it was more than I needed, but I thought a VPS would be a good playground in the cloud for some ideas I wanted to try.  So, I pulled the trigger and migrated my blog to Community Server hosted on a VPS at aspnix.

The first few months were very painful and I almost moved again.  During early 2006, aspnix experienced some growing pains.  There was a good deal of sporadic downtime for a few months, performance issues on SQL Server, and their email infrastructure was practically unreliable.  Fortunately, I toughed it out.  Within a few months, the situation dramatically improved.  Although their email infrastructure continued to be an issue, I setup Google Apps for my domain and starting using the Gmail infrastructure for my email.  After that transition, I never had any more problems and remain a satisfied customer to this day.

So, if I am such a happy customer, why am I leaving aspnix?  At this point, I don’t need a VPS.  It is overkill for my situation.  After a relatively recent restructuring of their fees, I am now paying $57 per month (which is quite a bit more than I was originally paying).  While I consider it to be a good value for what I am getting, I could be getting by with a simple shared hosting account for less than $7 per month.  That is $600 a year back in my pocket just for changing hosts.

If I was happy with aspnix, why not use their shared hosting account?  My domain is registered with GoDaddy and there are some minor benefits to having my site hosted there as well since there is some integration between the domain registration and hosting.  While it may seem like a pitiful excuse, it is one less password for me to remember by having all of it with one company. 

GoDaddy has also changed quite a bit since I last used their services.  You can use a SQL Server database that is publicly accessible.  Previously, all of their databases were not exposed to the internet.  You had to go through their clunky tool to make changes, but it isn’t an issue anymore.  I’ve also moved away from Community Server to BlogEngine.NET, which seems to run smoothly in their shared hosting environment.

 

At any rate, I can still happily recommend aspnix for Virtual Private Server hosting.  Their prices are quite reasonable for what you get.  Actually, it is difficult to find anyone that is cheaper or even close to their range.  If you need a VPS, they are certainly worth a look, but I am still hesitant to recommend using their email infrastructure. 

About My Resharper Talk At AL Code Camp

24. January 2010 14:55

Yesterday, the eighth Alabama Code Camp was held in Mobile, AL.  I delivered three presentations at the event: an introduction to the SOLID principles, a talk on dependency injection and IoC Containers, and an overview of Resharper.  Based on some discussions after the event, I wanted to clarify a few things regarding my presentation about Resharper.

Apparently, I didn’t give enough thought to how the presentation could be perceived or interpreted by others.  Given the code camp series are free community events, it may seem a bit “shady” to have an entire session that promotes a commercial product.  However, it wasn’t my intent to try and sell licenses for JetBrains.  To be perfectly clear, I certainly don’t get anything out of the sale of licenses.  I was not sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise paid by JetBrains to deliver the presentation.  Apart from a free license for the product that I received for being a Microsoft MVP (and is offered to all MVPs), I have never “received” anything from JetBrains.

My only goal with the talk was to really demonstrate how developers can be much more efficient within Visual Studio via productivity and refactoring add-ins.  Since I prefer and really know how to use Resharper, it was the one that was highlighted in the presentation.  To be completely fair, I also pointed out that DevExpress offers CodeRush and Refactor! Pro.  I specifically told the audience that if they don’t already have a preference then it would be prudent to evaluate both products and determine which they like best.  Had I known that Telerik was now offering JustCode, I would have also recommended everyone to evaluate it as well…which brings me to my next point.

Unfortunately, I had never even heard of their product until later in the day when I was talking with Chris Eargle (another presenter and Microsoft MVP).  Chris came down and delivered a couple of talks.  One of them was entitled C# Ninjitsu and it highlighted some of the features in JustCode, which is now in beta.  Coincidentally, my presentation was called “Code Like a Ninja: An Introduction to Resharper”.  Telerik seems to have embraced a “ninja theme” for some of their products.  As such, it may seem a bit deliberate that i chose a “ninja theme” for my presentation in an effort to get in a dig against Telerik.  However, I assure you this is purely coincidental.

Back in June 2009, I gave the same Resharper presentation to the Birmingham .NET User Group with the same title for the presentation.  I just wanted a catchy title to make people more interested.  So, I first used the “Code Like a Ninja” title well before JustCode was ever unveiled.

At any rate, I just wanted to set the record straight from my perspective.  For what it is worth, I apologize to anyone that took offense.  In the future, I’m going to refrain from giving any talks that could be perceived to endorse a particular product at the code camp and INETA user group venues, but I still consider it to be fair game for internal company user groups.

Professional Resolutions for 2010

6. January 2010 10:19

I feel compelled to write the obligatory New Years Resolutions post.  Honestly, I doubt anyone really cares about my resolutions other than me.  However, it helps with holding myself accountable when I state them publicly.  While I do have some personal resolutions as well, I’m going to keep this focused on professional issues as I attempt to keep personal items out of my technical blog. 

In previous years, I had a tendency to make unrealistic resolutions that I would never meet.  I feel as though it is important to set resolutions that will cause you to stretch yourself, but they shouldn’t be completely unattainable to the point you are setting yourself up for failure.  With that in mind, here are my professional resolutions for 2010:

  • Write at least 50 quality blog posts with technical content.  Rather than setting some goal to blog x number of times a week, I’m shooting for a cumulative goal by end of the year.  I’m also specifying the context.  Posting about events and such doesn’t count.  I want to do a better job of writing technical content…even if it is only for myself.
  • Make at least 5 OSS contributions.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve taken a much greater interest in OSS.  For the most part, this has been limited to using various OSS projects and studying the code.  Going forward, I would like to ease into steadily making contributions.  Next year, I hope to get very involved in a project or two, but I have existing commitments through the end of 2010 that will limit my availability to do so.
  • Write at least 3 articles for Code Project.  It has been nearly two years since I wrote my WCF article on callbacks.  Although it has been relatively well received, I haven’t done the best job of answering questions.  I also have dramatically changed my approach to using WCF during that time.  I want to write a few articles this year (not necessarily related to WCF) and try to provide responses for those with questions.
  • Deliver at least 15 presentations for community events.  I usually do 8 to 10 in a year anyway, but I want to push myself a bit harder this year.  Furthermore, I want to use these presentations as an opportunity to evangelize development principles that have become important to me.  Over the last couple of years, I started my journey into the world of ALT.NET.  It has made a fundamental impact on my approach to software development.  Although I was initially very skeptical, I have come to embrace many of the ALT.NET values.  I want to use these presentations as opportunities to share my perspective.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I hope to persuade some people to at least consider other alternatives by effectively demonstrating how these alternatives can be useful. 
  • Write a Ruby on Rails web application (at least a simple one).  I want to get more familiar with Ruby…at least enough so that I can have quality conversations with other developers about it.  We are currently using Ruby for a lot of our build scripts, but I would like to be more comfortable with the language so that I can apply it in various ways.
  • Become proficient in F# (and functional programming in general).  F# is a very intriguing language.  As I start to ease more and more into the world of functional programming, it has opened a whole new way of thinking about how to solve certain types of problems.  I want to get better acquainted with the language and understand how it can be applied.
  • Gain a solid understanding of the new toys added in NET 4.0 since it will be officially released this year.  I’ve already played around with it some in the betas, but I need to really dig into some areas.  The new support for parallel programming is of particular interest to me.  I want to acquire a deep understanding of what it can do and how it works.

Those are quite a few goals, but I feel none of them are unattainable.  As intended, they should force me to stretch myself a bit, but I feel as though I can pull them off.  We will see how well I did in a year from now.

PDC 2008 Is Approaching

20. October 2008 22:14

It is getting close to time for PDC, and I have been giving some thought to the sessions that I want to attend.  There are too many scheduling conflicts to make all of the ones that interest me.  So, I have tried to strike a balance between my focus areas and some things a little outside of my comfort zone.  Given the breadth of the technologies that will be presented, I wanted to get a broad mix to try and understand the vision of where things are going over the next year or two.  Considering all of the pending announcements, it is certainly promising to be a very exciting week.

For those that are interested, I will be blogging and using twitter quite a bit for the duration of the event.  If you want to meet up and talk tech for a while, feel free to ping me.  Here is my tentative schedule of sessions that I plan to attend, but it is certainly subject to change.

Sunday, October 26
Sunday Evening Party with Palermo

Monday, October 27
8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
 
8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Keynote
 
 
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Under the Hood: Advances in the .NET Type System
151
 
 
12:45 PM - 1:30 PM
Microsoft Expression Blend: Tips & Tricks
408B
 
 
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
Microsoft Visual Studio: Bringing out the Best in Multicore Systems
502A
 
 
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
ASP.NET MVC: A New Framework for Building Web Applications
153
 
 
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM
WF 4.0: A First Look
151
 
 

Tuesday, October 28
8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
 
8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Keynote
 
 
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Keynote
 
 
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
 
12:45 PM - 1:30 PM
WCF: Zen of Performance and Scale
515B
 
 
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
SQL Server 2008: Beyond Relational
406A
 
 
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Microsoft Silverlight Futures: Building Business Focused Applications
153
 
 
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM
Entity Framework Futures
151
 
 

Wednesday, October 29
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
 
8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Keynote
 
 
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
WCF 4.0: Building WCF Services with WF in Microsoft .NET 4.0
151
 
 
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM
Improving Code Quality with Code Analysis
409A
 
 
1:15 PM - 2:30 PM
Modeling Data for Efficient Access at Scale
403AB
 
 
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
The Future of C#
502A
 
 
4:45 PM - 6:00 PM
WF 4.0: Extending with Custom Activities
408B
 
 

Thursday, October 30
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Parallel Symposium: Addressing the Hard Problems with Concurrency
515A
 
 
8:30 AM - 9:45 AM
 
10:15 AM - 11:30 AM
Microsoft .NET Framework: CLR Futures
153
 
 
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
 
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
"Oslo": Building Textual DSLs
502A
 
 
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
 
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
An Introduction to Microsoft F#
502A
 
 

MVP++

1. October 2008 15:58

I was just informed that I have been awarded again as an MVP for 2009 in Connected Systems.  This is something that I certainly regard as an honor considering the extent of distinguished talent in the ranks of the MVP program.

It is going to be an exciting year for Connected Systems with Oslo around the corner among many other advancements in areas such as BizTalk, WCF, and WF.  Even outside of Connected Systems, there is a plethora of interesting topics: Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4.0, F#, Parallel LINQ, Iron Ruby, Iron Python, etc.

It is an exciting time to be a developer on the Microsoft platform, and I am honored to be in a privileged position where I can leverage additional resources to engage and assist the community. 

Dell XPS M1530 - Finally Loaded and Ready

12. March 2008 13:20

The last time that I purchased a computer was 2003.  I bought all the parts and built my own gargantuan desktop, which has been my faithful servant for the nearly five years.  Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.  Although my old desktop would still get the job done, it was becoming noticeably outdated.  During the last few years, I have also found myself becoming more and more dependent upon the need for a laptop.  It is a little difficult to drag around a mammoth desktop to code camps and user groups when I'm doing a presentation.  While my employer issued laptop was adequate, it certainly left a lot to be desired. 

After debating for some time as to whether I wanted another desktop or a kick ass laptop, I finally decided it was time to say good bye to my desktop.  It is difficult for me to come up with many valid reasons for going the desktop route again.  Five years ago, I was a fairly intense MMORPG gamer, but I have finally beaten that addiction and have no desire to return to such a waste of time (albeit a fun waste of time).  My gaming itch is now satisfied via XBox 360.  Games that can be paused are much more attractive to me these days.  Since PC gaming is removed from the picture, a laptop was the logical choice.

After researching quite a few options and waiting for the right deal to come along, I finally went with the Dell XPS M1530.  It was the perfect balance between price and power.  I have spent many hours over the last several nights trying to get it setup with all of my software and various tweaks.  Finally, it is beginning to feel like home rather than a stranger's computer.

Here is a photo of the model that I bought as well as the specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7500 (2.2Ghz / 800Mhz FSB / 4MB L2 Cache)
  • 4GB DDR2 667Mhz
  • 200GB 7200RPM SATA (with Free Fall Sensor)
  • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT
  • 8X DVD+/-RW Slot Load Drive
  • Intel 4965AGN Wireless N Mini-Card
  • 85 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
  • Integrated Biometric Finger Print Reader
  • Integrated Web Camera

As I write this post, my old desktop is being reformatted and reinstalled with Windows Server 2003.  It will now become a file server for my wife and me, and it will probably serve a few other experimental purposes as well.  I would love to have loaded Windows Server 2008 on it, but the hardware isn't 64 bit.  At least, my old companion will continue to live on in some other capacity rather than being sent to the big hardware dumpster in the sky.

Return to Twitter

26. February 2008 15:36

Due to the persistence of Keith Elder, he has managed to convince several of the speakers at Alabama Code Camp to either sign up for Twitter or start using it again.  Some of the suckers that fell into the trap include Robert Cain (Arcane Code), Todd Miranda, and Doug Turnure

Several months ago, I signed up for Twitter and managed to stick with it for a little while, but it became too much effort.  One of the biggest gripes that I had with it was the limited abilities to send updates.  At the time, you were restricted to the web site or text messages from your phone.  Personally, I'm not a huge fan of text messaging, especially when I'm sitting at the computer.  There was supposedly an IM interface, but it never worked.

Fast forward to present day and it appears as though their web site has been greatly improved.  Twitter has opened up some web services that have enabled a number of custom clients to be created.  Keith was a big advocate of Witty, which is a WPF smart client.  (What a shocker...Keith evangelizing a smart client application).  After getting it downloaded and setup, I have to admit that it is quite nice.  The application has that smooth WPF look and it appears to be fairly responsive.

So, I have made my return to Twitter.  For the last couple of days, I have been sending periodic updates.  Admittedly, I can feel it becoming somewhat addictive.  When there is a moron at the office causing the day to suck tremendously, it provides a nice little outlet to let everyone know about it.  If you are interested in following stalking me, here is the link to my twitter feed: http://twitter.com/jeff_barnes.

Google Apps - A Rather Nice Solution

30. January 2008 05:37

Over the last week or so, my hosting provider has been suffering with a lot of problems on their mail servers.  When it comes to my virtual private server, it has been a smooth ride for the last two years.  However, it seems like they have mail server issues on a monthly basis.  So, I finally decided to pull the plug and use a different solution for email. 

Recently, Scott Hanselman described the process of moving his family to Google Apps.  After reading how well it worked for him and some of the benefits, I was already leaning that direction.  However, I wanted to see what Microsoft Live Custom Domains had to offer.  In case you aren't familiar with either of these, they offer the ability to use a custom domain as an email address, but it is actually serviced by the Google or Microsoft Live email infrastructure.  For example, Google Apps allows me to create email addresses for jeffbarnes.net, but they are actually facilitated by the GMail system.  Live Custom Domains does the same thing, but it uses the Windows Live Mail system.

It turns out that Custom Domains has recently been renamed to Windows Live Admin Center.  From what I can tell, the features are relatively comparable to those of Google Apps, but it was really difficult to find a page with consolidated information about exactly what their service provides.  Instead, it requires quite a bit of searching and digging through their Help Center to try and find answers to what I would consider to be common questions.  They really are doing themselves a disservice in that regard (IMHO). 

The real showstopper for me was that you essentially have to purchase an MSN account in order to check your email from Outlook.  Of course, it is free to check the accounts from the web interface, but I demand the ability to use Outlook as well.  In order to use Outlook, an MSN premium account is required, which costs $9.95 per month.  I was really disappointed with Microsoft's decision to go that route.  It seems to be justified by the fact that you can get desktop client access to your email, but you have to use the Windows Live Mail client, which is basically a new edition of Outlook Express with advertisements.  I can appreciate the fact that advertising is a means for recouping the costs associated with the free email accounts, but I'm not paying $9.95 per month to get Outlook access.

Ultimately, I decided to go with Google Apps.  Not only is access to Outlook provided for free, but I also get slightly higher storage space as well.  I'm currently using the standard edition because it is 100% free and satisfies all of my needs.  However, there is a premiere edition also available for $50 per user per year.  This gives you a considerably higher amount of storage space, access to the APIs for programmatically integrating with Google Apps, and it enables various 3rd party tools.  For now, I'm content with the standard edition.  The setup process was incredibly easy.  If you are comfortable working with the DNS editor of your hosting provider, there shouldn't be any problems.  Google Apps also provides clear instructions to help you along the way.  When you get ready to migrate over existing email, I highly recommend Scott's post as he goes into detail about several of the possible methods for getting the job done.

So far, I'm quite pleased with the service and would quickly recommend it to anyone looking for a custom domain for your email without the hassle of hosting it yourself.

Planning for the New Year

7. January 2008 07:16

The beginning of a new year is always a time that seems to compel us to reflect about where we have been and where we are going.  At least, I seem to find myself in that position every time January rolls around.  So, I have been giving considerable thought about my successes and shortcomings during the previous year in order to plan my goals for the months ahead.  As such, I decided to post my "resolutions".  It seems like a great way to motivate myself on following through after confessing them to the web.

1) Managing My Time
Everyone is busy to some degree.  So, I'm not going to arrogantly presume to be busier than anyone else.  However, I certainly stay preoccupied with a lot of different things between work, going back to school, keeping up with the rate of technology changes, and trying to remain involved within the developer community...not to mention still make time to be a good husband and father.  Ideally, I should let one or two of the options things go, but I'm just not willing to do it.  So, I am going to make an effort to be exceedingly better with efficiently managing my time.  I already feel like I do a relatively good job of managing my time, but I could get much more accomplished in a shorter amount of time by being better at prioritizing and planning.

2) Blogging
It's no secret that my blogging has been dramatically reduced over the last few months.  This is partially due to the time of year.  I started this blog a little over three years ago.  During that time, my blogging has always slacked off during the October to December timeframe.  Regardless, this is an area where I want to start focusing more attention.  Given my ridiculous schedule, I am going to remain realistic and say that I want to write two posts per week.  It is important for me to focus on quality rather than quantity.

3) Personal Health
About 5 or 6 years ago, I was in the greatest shape of my life.  Between the gym and running, I was doing some form of exercise almost every day of the week.  Between getting married and having our first son, my weight has fluctuated a lot during the last few years.  I don't consider myself to be heavily overweight, but I am certainly not as "fit" as I used to be.  At any rate, I would like to drop about 15 to 20 pounds to peel back the blubber and start showing a hint of my abs again.

So, what is your resolution?

Community Credit Winner for October 2007

2. November 2007 05:18

Earlier this evening, I was notified that I  won 4th place in the October 2007 contest for Community Credit

In case you aren't familiar with Community Credit, it is a site operated by David Silverlight with the sole purpose of rewarding people actively involved in the developer community.  Essentially, people compete each month to earn points by blogging, attending technical events, giving technical presentations, participating in forums, etc.  Those with the highest number of points each month win a prize.  It is an awesome way to encourage community involvement.  To make things even more interesting, Community Credit is popular for the motto: "We give stupid prizes to smart people."  I love the wacky variety of prizes that are given out each month.

This time I won the Plasma Light Disk.  (Yes, I am a complete geek!)  Here is the excerpt and image from Community Credit:

Pocket Plasma Light Disk energizes wardrobe
With a Pocket Plasma Light Disk clipped to your pocket, belt, purse, hat or anywhere you need to add a little energy. Uses super bright LED technology and microchip circuitry to create an amazing light show in response to touch or sound that makes the light "dance”.

About Me

I'm a passionate software developer and advocate of the Microsoft .NET platform.  In my opinion, software development is a craft that necessitates a conscious effort to continually improve your skills rather than falling into the trap of complacency.  I was also awarded as a Microsoft MVP in Connected Systems in 2008, 2009, and 2010.


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Anything you read or see on this site is solely based on my own thoughts.  The material on this site does not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or anyone else.  In other words, I don't speak for anyone other than myself.  So, don't assume I am the official spokesperson for anyone.