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Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

What a week in Silicon Valley

Posted by Clayton James on February 15, 2008

Have I had one of the best working weeks of my life?

As previously mentioned I have been attending the Office Developer Conference in San Jose and I met Scott Hillier, Andrew Connell, and Ted Patterson. Well the following day I met John Holiday, Wouter Van Vugt, Chris Johnson (MSFT) and Paul Andrews (MSFT).

I attended the party at the Tech museum which was a lot of fun. But I decided to retire early and head back to the hotel lobby where I thought for my last night in the US I will grab a drink, sit down and reflect on the trip. I had been sitting by myself for a couple of minutes and then I was joined by Ted Patterson and Andrew Connell. It was lovely to sit down in a relaxed environment and have a chat outside the conference.

I caught Andrew’s talk the next morning on best practices in SharePoint performance. Again it was standing room only and he delivered another great presentation.

So at the end of the conference there was one more thing left to do. I will give you a quick recap. At the beginning of the conference Bill Gates gave a Key Note speech. Due to his retirement Fed Ex (one of the major sponsors) delivered Bill a special parcel (see pics below). It was s Xbox 360 guitar signed by Bill himself, and the Fed Ex package box was made by the same guy who made the Fed Ex boxes in the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks. So Bill was giving the guitar back to the conference so it could be raffled at the end of the conference.

So off I went to the crowded announcement area and guess what….Clayton James…is there a Clayton James here?

Suffice to say I jumped up and was in a state of amazement. After I settled down and the photos were taken (not with Bill) I was thinking how am I going to get it back to Australia as I was already overloaded with baggage and the last thing I wanted was to carry this parcel around with me? Then Paul Andrews saved the day by getting Fed Ex to send the parcel back to Australia for me, greatly appreciated.

So to answer the original question, a resounding yes!


Just to let you all know I am not making this up.



Posted in Rants | 8 Comments »

ODC Day 1

Posted by Clayton James on February 12, 2008

Ok….so did I have a good day today?

I am at the ODC in San Jose and opening the key note is Bill Gates himself. This was a great moment for me as a person that works in the IT industry listening to the person who has played a major role in the worlds past, present and future.

I went to three sessions today and by far my most enjoyable was Andrew Connell’s. He did a presentation on the differences between customising a SharePoint solution and developing a SharePoint solution. I won’t repeat what he said as you can download the slid deck and demos on his blog, but what I will say is this person is a true SharePoint pioneer. He is engaging and really passionate about making SharePoint deliver the best solution. His community work is second to none and I really enjoyed his presentation skills. Myself being an MCT and doing a lot of training in the SharePoint platform I am always watching how other people deliver material and I can certainly say he is person I can learn a lot from.

I also met Scott Hillierand had a great chat about many things SharePoint. He is also at the forefront..MVP…MCT…books. I actually put his SharePoint development environment (chapter 2) into practice which I love.

Did I say I met also met Ted Pattison?

Posted in Office 12, Rants | 1 Comment »

Moss workflow presentation

Posted by Clayton James on October 29, 2007

I recently did a Moss/Workflow presentation with a good friend Mark Daunt .

There wasn’t a need to blog about this before hand as it was sold out in a few days (I say sold out loosely due to it being a free event but you get the drift). It was great to see so much support for Moss and workflow in my home town in Brisbane, there were approximately 60-70 people each night. The event started out discussing workflows in general, workflow foundation, out-of-the-box workflows in Moss…with demo, SharePoint designer workflows…with demo, visual studio workflows…no time for demo and administering and reporting workflows inside Moss…with demo.

All of this jammed packed into one hour. (and a bit) I enjoyed the event and thought the content we covered was spot on for a general audience.

Posted in MOSS 2007, Rants | Leave a Comment »

My IPhone

Posted by Clayton James on October 3, 2007

Yes, I have brought an IPhone (8gb)! (Maybe one of the first in Australia)

I can be one of those people who procrastinate when purchasing technology gadgets. Gadgets become superseded very quickly and I always wonder if I should wait that extra couple of months for the new updated version. Thus, my procrastination.

However, this time is very different. I couldn’t be happier with my IPhone and consider it one of my best gadget purchases. From a usability perspective it is all class. The screen is crystal clear and using my fingers for navigation/data input is wonderful. The ticks on my list.

  • Make phone calls.
  • Sync contacts and calendar with outlook.
  • Download emails.
  • Ipod: music, videos and web casts
  • Camera. 2gb
  • Good battery life.

I do spend a bit of time travelling, so it was essential to have a device where I can watch a web cast, DNR TV/Podcast, listen to music or watch a movie.

There are also some cool features that need a mention:

  • Google maps. Find any location and car navigation. I can also assign a map location to a contact.
  • Internet. Easily the best mobile device I have used for browsing the Internet.
  • Weather forecasts.
  • YouTube. I was watching a couple of movies last night in wide screen. The screen is so clear.
  • Wide screen sensors.

I don’t mind having only 8gb storage (but time will tell). This should make sure I don’t keep forgotten crap on my phone like I do on every other storage device I own.

What makes this phone really stand out is the ability to touch your way around the phone. You see it, you touch it…simple.

The apple team should take a bow as they have put a great deal of research into navigation and functionality.

The IPhone and it is truly a pleasure to use.

Posted in Rants | 4 Comments »

Japan….where friendliness costs nothing!

Posted by Clayton James on June 9, 2007

The week has flown by and my time in Japan has been memorable and pleasurable. I was initially a bit hesitant in taking on this course as I am so busy back in Australia I knew that many hours (weeks) would be required to skill up and present an engaging and knowledgeable course. However, I am so glad I decided to go as not only did I skill up further in another area I was lucky enough to see some of the local sights, meet some amazing people and eat some tasty dishes.

One thing that stands out in Japan is the amazing service you receive. By service I mean the little things like a smile, politeness and general look of happiness. These simple gestures go a long way and don’t cost anything, but when I return to Australia it is very different scenario. I spoke with some guys from the US who are currently working in Japan and they said they actually become a little depressed when returning home as people are generally more self absorbed and this type of service is lost.

This is what I mean (this was a pattern for the whole trip):

  • Getting off the plane in Tokyo I caught a bus to my hotel. The baggage handlers who take your luggage and load the under carriage actually smile and laugh, treat your luggage with respect and just before the bus leaves they come aboard, bow and wish you a safe trip.
  • Going for a tourist walk through the town one morning I stopped in at a family bakery and bought a croissant and fish cake. I could see the baker in the back of the shop as his wife was serving me. As I handed over the money he came out with two curry pastry rolls (which were more expensive than the items I bought) to give to me. It was a great moment.

What makes an overseas trip memorable and pleasurable?

For me it is simple, it is all about culture (people and food). Treat people the way you would like to be treated and good things will happen, just you wait and see.

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Data Cogs in USA & Japan

Posted by Clayton James on June 3, 2007

Well, I am doing my first oversea’s training¬†course this coming week and it is all happening in Japan. I am flying out tomorrow morning heading straight to Tokyo.

I have never been to Japan so this is very exciting for me and to be able to meet and teach some IT students will be a very thrilling experience.

Japan is only¬†one hour behind Australia so communicating with my family back home should be fine, except I haven’t installed/setup skype or msn for phone communiction which is something I must do.

Funny thing is, the same week I am teaching in Japan my Data Cogs colleague and good friend Mark Daunt is working in the US at Tech.Ed Orlando.

Data Cogs is really going global ūüôā

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McNaught….is definately the brightest

Posted by Clayton James on January 18, 2007

I have just come home from watching Comet McNaught. It has just entered our southern hemisphere (two days ago) and is viewable over the next couple of days. I was able to see the Comet and its tail unaided and it is much brighter than Comet Halley’s which I also saw back in 1986. 

Comet McNaught was only discovered last year by an Australia Robert McNaught in the Coonabarabran observatory (NSW). I wonder what he is thinking at this moment watching a Comet pass by with his name attached. 

If you miss it don’t worry…you only have be around for another 2300 years before you might be able to see it again. I say might because there is some speculation that it may escape our solar system due to the speed it is travelling.

For those interested…you will need a clear flat view of the western horizon. It will only be a few degrees above the horizon , in a west-sout-west direction and within minutes after sunset while it is still twilight. It is to the left of, and lower than Venus. I was able to view the Comet for approximatley 20 minutes before it dissapeared into the horizon.

Great work Robert!

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It was a Christmas Vista

Posted by Clayton James on January 2, 2007

Over the holidays I thought it would be wise time to install Windows Vista on my Lattitude D820. This was a very straight forward process, required little time (approx 30 minutes) and I haven’t come across any issues …yet ūüėČ

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Well deserved recognition – MVP

Posted by Clayton James on January 2, 2007

I just found out today that a friend of mine has become an MVP in Visual Developer Team System.

Congratulation Anthony!

Anthony is based in the sunny state of Queensland, Australia and he runs the local VSTS user group. It takes a lot of hard work and many, many community hours to receive this type of recognition.

If you are in the VSTS space or are interested in learning more then I recommend feeding his blog and getting to a user group meeting.

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Kids and Christmas

Posted by Clayton James on January 2, 2007

  What a great Christmas. I know it is such a cliche but watching Christmas through your children’s eyes brings such pleasure. For those of you that don’t know I have two girls (3.5 years, 1 year) and they certainly rule the house. Listening to Christmas carols, leaving out the glass of milk and carrots, kids santa sacks, exploring street Christmas lights…it all makes for a special time in a family’s life.  

It was also our turn this year to host the family Christmas hot lunch. Kids were inundated with presents and the whole day was filled with excitement and happiness.

After Christmas we spent a few days at the beach. I really enjoyed this family time together. I guess I have been working long hours and appreciated time well spent.

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I’m donating my red oil again!

Posted by Clayton James on December 21, 2006

I use to be a regular blood donor a couple of years ago. I would give it pretty much every 12 weeks (you have to wait 12 weeks between donations) and it was a really rewarding experience.

For a bit of fun also,¬†mum and I were in competition to see¬†who could dontate the most times. I know…I know…small things…

For one reason or another I stopped donating. I can’t put my finger on exactly why this happened, but it did.¬†

About eight weeks ago I was reading a post from a regular blog that I read, and he was talking about his first time donating. It got me thinking as to why I stopped and invigerated the passion in me again to begin.

So I am proud to say that two days ago I saw the blood bank van and donated my red oil. Donating is very satisfying, I was on a high for the whole day.

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Posted by Clayton James on December 20, 2006


Is this the end of the click as we know it?

Go to http://dontclick.it and test it out.

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Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

Posted by Clayton James on December 15, 2006

Well it is here for download .

It is great to see the MSDN Product Feedback Centre become a valuable communication channel.

“In some areas, more than 50% of the bugs addressed were reported by customers through the MSDN Product Feedback Center and Microsoft Connect. Overall, Service Pack 1 offers customers improvements in responsiveness, stability and performance for Visual Studio 2005.”

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BizTalk Boot Camp

Posted by Clayton James on December 14, 2006

Here is some great news if you work in the BizTalk areana.

Breeze Training and DDLS are offering a public training course in Sydney (Apr 2007) and Melbourne (May 2007).

Book in early as spots will fill quickly.

BizTalk 2006 R2 Upgrading your skills and Beyond….

Designed by BizTalk Experts for those that want to be Experts. Learn experiences and common challenges faced in the field. This workshop is designed for BizTalk developers and aspiring BizTalk Architects. (Level 300/400) 

Discover the changes from Biztalk 2004, and go under the covers in BizTalk 2006!!!  Not intended for those who want standard MOC training.

***Public Boot Camp Scheduled*** Breeze have partnered with DDLS for this public offering.

Register NOW  BizTalk 2006 R2 Developer Boot Camp

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Minor vulnerability in Mozilla FireFox 1.5 & 2.0

Posted by Clayton James on November 28, 2006

CIS has found a vulnerability in FF. What I hear you say…surely they are confused and are talking about IE.

This is only a minor vulnerability that exposes passwords ūüėČ


CIS has also provided a Proof of Concept on their site for those non-believers.

Posted in Rants | 1 Comment »

Free Microsoft spyware software

Posted by Clayton James on November 28, 2006

Microsoft is offering their Windows Defender software for free…..yes FREE.

This is pretty cool product that will protect your XP or Windows Server 2003 computer from unwanted software.


Read about it and download it here.

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Taking anti-spam features to the next level……human unreadable

Posted by Clayton James on November 23, 2006


I am all for putting processes in place to stop unwanted emails creating fake accounts or spamming, but come on…..this is taking it a little too far.

I love the blurb “Letters are not case-sensitive“…..I think I can¬†see a and t but what is in between is a mystery.

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Vista is here….well for msdn subscribers anyway

Posted by Clayton James on November 20, 2006

If you are one of the lucky ones that has access to msdn then you can start the Vista experience. Office 2007 is also available. Oh……and so is .Net 3.0, but that has been out for a while now (2 weeks) ūüôā

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The Vista start up sound

Posted by Clayton James on November 20, 2006

If you haven’t heard the new Vista startup sound then you can listen to it here.

You also get a little information on past and present startup sounds dating back to Windows 95. The funny thing is they ask the question if anyone listens to the startup sound, and when I heard the 95 startup it definately hit a few cords in the memory bank.

Posted in Rants | 4 Comments »

Mozilla 2 vs IE7

Posted by Clayton James on October 27, 2006

Mozilla Firefox 2 is a winner, beating Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 on security, features, and overall cool factor and deserving our Editors’ Choice award.


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