Ironing code, geek t-shirts and even presentations!


I’m a Microsoft MVP!

I’ve just received an email from Microsoft saying I’m a new Microsoft MVP!!!
The MVP award is officially in Visual C# but it is mainly for my IronRuby activities (there’s no specific IronRuby MVP award yet).

I'm a Microsoft MVP!

I’d like to thank Sela, Guy Burshtein, IronRuby and you for helping me in the process of becoming a Microsoft MVP.

I’m very excited and looking forward to MVPing!

All the best,

Rock Stars Vs. Programming Stars

Recently I thought about this comparison… In the programming world there is this level of people who are a kind of “celebrities” within the developer community - they’re widely known, they have thousands of readers of their blogs, they have thousands of followers on Twitter, they speak on public events in front of thousands of people around the world… All of that just screams for a comparison with the equivalent in the show biz world - rock stars!

So… I’m proud to present the first EVER comparison between rock stars and programming stars! afterwards judge for yourself what you wanna be.

Comparison Rock Star Programming Star
Look Rock stars (this is a picture of Motley Crue) Programming Stars (this is a picture of Microsoft's early days)
Shown in public on Concerts, TV, Radio, newspapers, magazines Conferences, podcasts, programming magazines
Known internationally Yes Yes
Chances of being recognized in the grocery store Almost with complete certainty Rarely
Charisma Yes Yes
Tools Microphone/Guitar/Drums/other instrument Microphone + computer + projector
Write Lyrics Code
Average annual salary Millions of dollars Hundreds of thousands of dollars
# of Twitter followers Millions Tens of thousands
# of people attending a single show/talk Tens of thousands Thousands
Way to the top Hard work for years/American Idol Hard work for years
(Simon Fuller, if you read this, what about a “Programming Idol” show?)
Sex So much that they’re sorry about that when they grow old. I don’t know. Unlike rock stars, they don’t share this information.
Drugs Yes. A lot. No. Geeks do not do drugs. Most of them at least.
Alcohol Yes Drink beer from time to time
Tour the world A few months a year A few days/weeks a year
Own A crib, a private jet, a collection of cool cars A powerful laptop with SSD and two 24’ screens
Can install Win7 No Of course, they’ve done that multiple times already
Eat bats during shows/talks Yes No
Have tattoos Yes Mostly not, it hurts to get them done.
Have two eyes, two ears, one mouth and one nose Yes Yes

And the winner is………… I don't know, do you?

Anyway in the end we’re all human and therefore have a chance to become stars.

Go ahead and shine!


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A List of Essential Tools for a new Computer

This week I got my new laptop and it’s AWESOME!

It is a 64-bit Dell Studio XPS 16 with the following specification (the main features):

  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-720QM Quad Core Processor 1.6GHz (2.8GHz Turbo Mode, 6MB Cache)
  • Screen: 16' inch RGBLED Full HD 1080p
  • RAM: 8Gb 1333Mhz DDR3 Dual channel
  • HD: 500Gb 7200RPM
  • Graphics: 1GB ATI Radeon  HD 4670

And this is how it looks like:

My new Dell Studio XPS 16 My new Dell Studio XPS 16

It’s so much fun to work like that! everything just works and you don’t need to wait for operations to get done. They just do.

So after praising my new laptop, let’s move on to the main subject of this post – the tools I take with me to every computer I work on:

  • Reflector – in my opinion, every .NET developer must have Reflector installed on his or her computer. There is no way you can understand the internals of the technologies you work with without going through their code, at least flutter through it. And if you don’t want to understand the internals, go to a shrink and figure out why do you settle for mediocrity.
  • IronRuby – I use IronRuby’s REPL console as my main method of doing quick POCs, check what methods return and how to use them, etc. I used to use Snippet Compiler but IronRuby is so much faster and much more fun so I moved to it.
  • GacView – I use it as a replacement to the “assembly” folder viewer that is provided by Windows Explorer. GacView shows you the assemblies in the Global Assembly Cache (GAC), provides information about them and most important – lets you copy them to a different location and to delete them.
  • ViewStateDecoder – let you view what your page stores inside its view state hidden fields.
  • Fiddler – A very simple to use and powerful network sniffer.
  • SciTE – A light-weight editor with syntax highlighting and a simple code completion mechanism. I use it to change C# code quickly instead of opening the heavy Visual Studio, to write IronRuby code and to edit XML files.
  • Process Explorer – I use it as a replacement to Windows Task Manager. I like the UI more and the ability to find handles and remove them becomes very helpful every now and then.
  • ZoomIt – An awesome tool for presentations. If you speak occasionally and use a projector or a big screen, this tool is a must for you.
  • PicPick – a light-weight tool to capture screenshots. Very easy to use and comes with some more handy features like a color picker.
  • foobar2000 – A very light-weight music player which does exactly what it needs – play music. It comes with an easy to use music library viewer and can even show a balloon tip with the current playing song.

I highly recommend each of these tools because of my great experience with them. They make irritating tasks simpler and faster and eventually make me happier.

I hope they’ll make you happier too!

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A New Year, A New Beginning


It’s a new year and the wind of change is in the air. This year is a big year for me – IronRuby Unleashed will be published (est. FEB 15th), another big project is coming (more details in a few weeks) and I changed jobs!

In the last 4 years I worked at a startup named ActionBase. I learned a lot at this place and managed to work with various platforms – Office addins, WinForms, Silverlight and ASP.NET. After 4 years it was a time for a change and I decided to move on. Starting from 1/1/2010 I’m a .NET technologies consultant and instructor at Sela. My main field is dynamic languages but I’ll be doing other stuff too. I’m really thrilled and excited to get started, help customers and spread my knowledge.

If you want me to come to your company to run a course or consult, don’t hesitate to contact me. This is my job now, not a hobby anymore, so go ahead and use me! :)

I wish you all a wonderful and happy new year. May this year will be the one you were waiting and hoping for!

Peace and love,

We’re Living in an Unstandardized World

This post has started from my suffering from developing web sites differently to make them work in IE and in Firefox the same. That was everything I asked for…Currently, even with IE8 I still can’t develop on Firefox and remain calm and confident that the site works the same on IE.

The truth is that it is not entirely Microsoft’s fault. When they begun developing IE somewhere in 1995, standards were not that important – it was more about “please just work” kind of work. In addition, even if there were standards, we can assume that the guys at  Microsoft assumed that they would change the standards as they had done before in other fields. What Microsoft didn’t realize was that the Internet was stronger and that they were not going to win the standards battle this time.

Anyway, out of my suffering I came to a conclusion – even though we like to think of Microsoft as this big evil doer that doesn’t follow standards, it is just another brick in the wall of global un-standardization that started long long ago and still effects our everyday life.

Language – yes, language. Starting from the beginning of days, the very basic resource of our communication is a one big un-standard thing. Just visit the country near you (and sometimes even the district near you) and most likely you will run into a different language than yours. Think of how big it is – almost everything you create in one country, should be fixed in some way to fit a second country. TV shows, manuals, books, user interfaces, etc.

If you do not agree with me because language is related to culture and different cultures is a part of our nature (some would say that it’s a kind of un-standardization, too), the next bullet will be harder for you to disprove.

Signs – especially driving signs. This is something which is entirely unrelated to the local culture. We all should stop at the traffic light, slow when entering school perimeter and beware of rolling stones. As a result, driving rules across the globe are very similar indeed. However, every country uses a slightly different sign set. For example, look at the different Stop signs from across the globe:

Stop in the USAOld UK Stop SignIsraeli Stop SignStop sign in Zimbabwe

If we had to develop a globalized application that involves driving signs, we had to create local versions for each country – very similar to writing code for IE and for Firefox…

Driving direction – that always amazes me. The world is split to about 34% live in right hand traffic countries and 66% live in left hand traffic countries (according to Wikipedia). This is such a big historical standard failure! it forces car companies to produce different versions of cars to meet both standards!

Left hand car Right hand car
In London it’s funny to see drivers from other EU countries driving their right-sided cars and trying to understand how to enter the roundabout. Actually it’s not that funny if they enter the roundabout in the wrong direction – life can be lost! and it’s all because of un-standardization…

The IE vs. FF issue seems less important now, doesn’t it?

Electricitythe differences in electricity methods around the world is astonishing – 110W, 220W, plug with 2 holes, with 3 holes, with wide holes, with thin holes…… huh? why?

 Australia/New ZealandUKIndiaUSAItalyIsrael

It’s like every country developed electricity by itself and didn’t tell the others until they developed it as well. do I hear someone say “Microsoft  and Netscape!”?

In conclusion, our world is full of un-standardization – from the language we talk to Internet development. There are much more examples than the ones I’ve brought here – shoe and shirt sizes, Km and Miles, Kg and Pounds, Meters and Feet, money and more. Although it might be upsetting to meet all standards it also has one big advantage – it creates so many jobs! consequently it helps the world’s economy!

So Microsoft actually helps the world. Yes.

All the best,