As of Monday, 10/1, I’m starting a new job for a Web 2.0 startup.  I’m really excited about this great opportunity, I think it will be a big challenge in many ways.  This new job has a very high technology “cool” factor in my book.  For instance, they’ve been using VS2008 since May!  In addition to ASP.Net, I’ll also use LINQ, AJAX, Silverlight and other cool stuff.  The team seems like a really smart group and I’ll have a lot of catching up to do. 

Did I mention that the office is 5 miles from my house?  I haven’t had that short a commute since I was 22!  For the past 3 years I’ve been in the car about 50 minutes each way commuting to and from work.  Many days were much longer.  I’m looking forward to getting that time back.  Also, this is much better, environmentally speaking.  This should make my personal carbon footprint much smaller!

I’ve enjoyed worked at Diamond for the past 3 years.  They’ve got a great team and I hope to stay in touch with many of them.  Leaving Diamond was not a simple decision but when a good opportunity presents itself, you have to take notice. 

Growing up, I had always heard people around me say “Where were you when it happened?”  The it was a variety of different events.  It was usually referring to when JFK was shot or another significant event in our history.  It seemed that each generation had it’s own events that brought on this question.  I always thought those conversations were weird.  Why couldn’t people just move on?  Why did they feel the need to dwell on that stuff?  What I hadn’t realized is how fortunate I was.  My generation was lucky, we didn’t really have any events that were so significant that we could never forget. 

Here it is, Sept 11, 2007.  And I can’t help myself from asking that very question.  Ever since September 11, 2001, I understand why people ask that question.  It’s not just that we can’t forget, it is that we don’t want to forget.  We shouldn’t forget. 

I’m typically not the kind of person that remembers all kinds of details about days in my life.  But 9/11 is completely clear in my head.  I remember waking up in North Carolina, I was there for a lengthy consulting assignment.  I had been having some remote connection problems with my laptop.  I needed to call the desktop support team after 9am and I needed to do it from my apartment so I could test the system.  If it were not for that situation, I would have been at work before it happened.  I had the TV on, I was watching Good Morning America.  After some typical morning stories, Charlie Gibson announced that they were going to a live shot of lower Manhattan, where a plane had hit one of the towers.  Of course, all of the information that Gibson gave out at this point was hearsay.  Maybe it was a commuter plane?  Maybe it was a suicide?  I remember watching that live shot when the second plane hit.  My jaw dropped.  Everything was obvious at that point, this was not an accident.  The newscasters were in just as much shock as I was, just as I’m sure everyone else was that was tuned in.  I immediately called my friend Steve.  He lived in Battery Park City.  Not only was his apartment a few short blocks from what we now call “ground zero” but I knew he took the subway from the World Trade Center each morning.  Luckily, he was already in his office up town and his wife was fine too. I watched the coverage for a while and of course, I saw the towers go down.  There was also the news of flight 93 and the Pentagon as well. The whole situation was surreal.  I was very sad.  I was very confused.  I called my friend/coworker Chris.  He was in the apartment downstairs and I knew he typically went to work late.  He came up for a while and we watched the coverage together.  Eventually I went to work for a few hours, just for a change of scenery.  I couldn’t watch the coverage any more.   Everyone was talking about it of course.  So many people were worried for someone they knew who lived or worked in lower Manhattan or the other affected areas.  Having recently lived in Hoboken, NJ (right across the river from Lower Manhattan) I served as source of information for many people in the office who had never visited the area.  My sad mood lasted for a long time, just as it did for many people.  Days later, Chris and I had to drive home to the Philly area because the airports were still closed.  My friend Steve’s apartment was a wreck.  His windows had all blown in.  The building had a lot of damage.  He never lived there again.  And of course, many people died or were badly hurt (none that I knew personally).

I’m not sure what is harder to comprehend, each obviously for a different reason – The will of man to execute such a plot against his fellow man,  the loss of life on that day, or the bravery of men and women who risked their own lives to help others?  Tragic events like 9/11 continue to prove the complexity and sadness of life.

With a child of my own on the way now, I really hope future generations never understand why we ask the question “Where were you when it happened?”  They should be so lucky.

I’ve got some speaking engagements coming up.  It almost sounds like an official tour is planned.

Presentation Topic: Developing Custom Controls for ASP.Net

Description:  In this demo I’ll show you how to get started creating your own custom server controls for  I’ll show how to create controls, expose public properties to make them easier for other developers to implement, and handle events from the control.  We’ll  create a ControlDesigner so Visual Studio can render the control at design time.  I’ll even build some extra features into the control using Ajax.


I’m really excited to get out to some of these other groups for these presentations.  If you live near any of these groups, check them out.  They’ve all got regular, monthly meetings with great .Net content.  I’ve also got calls in to Madison Square Garden, LA Coliseum, Wembley Stadium and others.  But I haven’t heard back from them yet.

Please, no brown M&M’s.

Update:  When I get some time I’ll be writing the demo out as a tutorial blog post.  In the mean time, if you are interested in the source code for this demo, here it is: (1.05 MB)

It’s official, I’m going to be a dad.  Of course, I am pretty excited about it but I am also pretty nervous.  Life as I know it is about to change. 

My wife and I have been telling our friends and family about our expected baby.  More then one person responded to me with “So you got one past the goalie!”  Goalie?  What goalie?  The goalie was already in the locker room.  If the goalie was anywhere near the goal she’d have been helping with rebounds! 

Telling the women we know is a lot of fun.  They all seem so sincere about how great it is to be parents and how much we’ll love our child, etc, etc.  Some of my male friends have a different response.  They say they are happy for me, but behind their words I hear a sort of sinister laugh.  The kind of laugh that says they can’t wait to watch me dealing with all of the issues.  A “misery loves company” kind of thing.  Thanks guys.  Maybe I shouldn’t have made fun of them all these years about how I can sleep late, do whatever I want do (spontaneously), and relax at will.  Maybe I shouldn’t have played with their kids until they were completely out of control and then, with a simple “See ya”, walk out the door.   What’s that they say about pay backs?

Na, nothing to worry about.  This is gonna be a piece of cake… Wink

In May I was tagged by by Pete Laudati.  Well it took me a while but it is time for my response.  Here are 5 things you may not know about me.


1.  I’ve had a significant career change.  I studied communications in college.  I had big plans to get into TV or Film productions.  Maybe even radio.  Throughout college and a few years afterwards too, I worked as a movie theater manager.  From there I moved on to Sony Pictures in NYC as a film booker and then Clearview Cinemas in NJ  as a film buyer.  As part of my job I got to watch a lot of movies and decide at which of our theatres they would play.  This was a great job with a lot of perks.  I even got to go to several movie premiers and parties in NYC.  But I was always interested in computers and after many years of debate, I made my move in 2000.  I took a significant pay cut but I knew that technology field was booming and I’d make the money up in a few years.  Do I need to remind you what happened next?  The dot-com bust.  Oh well, it took me a little longer to get my salary back up but I have never regretted it.  I love working in technology.  My inner (ok, and outer) geek can really shine.

2.  I love movies.  That helped make my previous career a lot of fun.  I like many different types of movies…comedies, dramas, sci-fi, action, etc.  I’m not really into horror, that stuff freaks me out a bit.  And I am a tough critic too.  I like good character development, a solid plot and many of the other components of a quality film.   Some favorites are Blazing Saddles, Stripes, Fletch, Shawshank Redemtion, the Lord of the Rings series, Star Wars and many more.

3.  I play guitar.  I’m not great, but I love to play and sing too.  I play rhythm guitar and prefer acoustic to electric.  I’ll only embarrass myself if I try to play a lead.  I taught myself to play (around age 24) with the help of some friends when I was getting started.  I was in a band named “Ale” for a while.  We played a bunch of parties for friends.   I’ve written a bunch of songs too.  I enjoy that and people seem to like some of them.  A few bands I like:  The Beatles, REM, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Grateful Dead and much more.

4.  I’m from NJ.  Since I was tagged by Peter and he mentioned NJ a lot in his post, I figured I’d better do the same.  The funny part is after we met we figured that we were from the same home town, Manalapan, only I was in High School a bit earlier then him.  I hate when people bad mouth NJ.  Sure, there are some bad parts and lots of traffic and (I’m sure) some toxic waste, and more then a few body buried in the pine barrens.  But NJ has many great features too.  Lots of farm land with the best tomatoes and corn, beautiful countryside, easy access to two of the best and largest cities in the country (no, not Camden and Newark) and much more.  What really gets me going is when people from Philadelphia (I live in the Philly suburbs now) sit on NJ beaches and bad mouth NJ!  If you don’t like it, go home!

5.  I love to be out in nature.  I love camping, hiking, backpacking, biking, skiing, boating, kayaking, exploring, site seeing, relaxing and a bunch of other similar stuff.  My wife and I share that passion and we have had some great times together checking out great, natural places.  This year we took an awesome vacation visiting several national parks


Now it is my time to tag a few people:  Dani Diaz , Steve Andrews, Jeff Deville, and Jeff Caterer (sending the tag up to Canada!)