We were back again at SEI in Oaks, PA for another great Philly.Net meeting. 

 mark your calendars for the following upcoming events:

Wednesday May 16:  Philly.Net Pub night. Marc Ziss has set up the second pub night at the Great American Pub in Conshohocken.  Once again, Human Capital Management is coming through to sponsor the night.  Last time was a lot of fun.  Don’t miss this chance to have a beer or two with other members of Philly.Net.  No topics, no presentations.

Saturday May 19:  Code Camp is back!  Code Camp is a great way to learn a lot.  A whole day (8:30-5:30) including about 30 sessions on a variety of topics.  Bill is taking volunteers now for speakers.  Don’t miss this…you can’t beat this free event!


My Disclaimer:  The following is my summary of the presentations from the evening.  Hopefully I got the facts right.  I’ve included as many links to the topics as possible.  Check out the presenters blogs and websites for the most accurate information.  I’m happy to correct any mistakes. 

Note:  I’ll add the slides and content to this post as soon as I get them from the presenters.


Presenter:  Peter Laudati, Microsoft

Topic:  Windows CardSpace

Peter Laudati is the NY/NJ Developer Evangelist.  Since that job has been a vacant in the Philadelphia market for a while, Pete has been helping us out and supporting our user group.  Check out his blog for lots of information including postings about Microsoft events in the NY/NJ/PA area.  Pete started off with a quick overview of the different pieces of the .Net Framework 3.0CardSpace, formerly known as InfoCard, is one of those pieces.  To get the 3.0 Framework, you can download it from MSDN and run it on Windows XP or 2003.  But if you have Vista, it is already included.  CardSpace is part of a system that provides a digital identity designed to solve authentication issues that users experience.  It is meant to solve security issues on the internet such as phishing, fraud, password fatigue, and the multitude of authentication systems we must use.  Microsoft worked with several partners to create this system and they developed the Laws of Identity.  You can learn more about the that at:  www.identityblog.com.  Some of the key features they planned included consistent experience across contexts, it should be available on multiple platforms, and should have minimal disclosure for a defined use.  CardSpace is the client side identity selector piece that is implemented within applications.  The system includes self-issued (you create them yourself) and managed cards (such as credentials issued by a bank).

He showed a demo using CardSpace to login to the website www.sandbox.netfx3.com.  He also showed us an example in code of how to implement CardSpace.  Since there are only 4 key tasks to complete, implementation doesn’t look too difficult.  Peter also brought some great prizes to include in our raffle…Thanks Pete!



Presenter:  Robert Green, MCW Technologies

Topic: Using Windows Workflow Foundation to Build an Order Processing System

Rob started out with a little background.  He has two blogs.  The code samples will be on this blog but his more active blog is here.  He started out giving us the basics of Workflow Foundation.  After a few minutes he left the slides and jumped right into Visual Studio.  That’s a good presentation from my perspective!   In VS2005 he started dragging workflow items out of the toolbox, wrote a little code (yes, “Hello World”) , and showed just how quickly you can create a simple workflow.  He then explained the difference between a Sequential Workflow (basically, the steps all occur sequentially) and State Machine Workflow (the workflow does something, saves its state, and then waits for something else, maybe an external event, to happen).  He then walked us through a more complex example with a State Machine workflow.  This was a pretty complex sample with several steps and events.  But in spite of its complexity, Rob made it seem pretty easy to accomplish.  He summarized with his thoughts on the current State of Workflow.  To paraphrase, he really likes workflow but the tools through Visual Studio need some work but he is hopeful that it will all be resolved with the next version of VS code named “Orcas”.


Meeting Sponsor: 

   Provided excellent hoagies!  

Additional Door Prizes courtesy of:  ,    and Microsoft

Nope, this is not a commentary on my employer, just a review of the last movie I saw.  Netflix continues to be an easy way to get our movies.  With our terrible weather on Sunday, a movie was the perfect distraction.  I’ve been pretty lucky and enjoyed almost everything we’ve watched lately.  Blood Diamond was a pretty exciting tale of the civil war and illegal diamond trade in 1990’s Sierra Leone.  I don’t think this specific story is true but the overall background story is true and pretty upsetting.  These rebels are crazy.  They kill and/or torture innocent civilians.  They kidnap, then brainwash men (mostly young men) and hook them on drugs in order to “convert” them to their way of thinking.  The official army is corrupt (at least the group in this movie) too so the whole situation is pretty bad and it is never really clear who the “good guys” are in some scenes.  Leonardo DiCaprio has another good role here and I think he does a nice job with this complex character.  One of those gritty bad side with a decent heart underneath it all. I am not a fan of Titanic but I liked him in Catch Me If You Can.  Djimon Hounsou put in a great performance as a local fishermen who gets kidnapped and forced to work in the diamond mine which ends up driving the whole plot.  I recognized his face but didn’t know his name.  I looked him up on IMDB, he has been in a lot of stuff but I think this is probably his biggest role.  His character has a lot of emotion and rage which he delivers well.  He is the true hero in the movie, doing anything and everything to rescue his family.  Jennifer Connelly is in there too.  I guess they needed a love interest to bring out Leo’s character’s softer side.  The story is confusing in the beginning but if you stick with it, it makes sense.  Be prepared for a lot of violence.  And the ladies will look at their diamond rings in a whole new way.

Hopefully you have noticed that I changed the style for my blog.  Hopefully you like the results.  I am finding that after the change things aren’t always showing up right.  That has something to do with the way browsers cache web pages.  If things look weird (or don’t appear) it may be due to a conflict with the “old” page that your browser has saved.  You may need to clear your browser’s cache but I think the pages in the cache will expire in time and it will fix itself.  I’m not 100% sure about that.

Why Change?  I recently discovered that my blog seemed to be missing a few features.  For example, there were no trackback links available and I didn’t like the category cloud.  I was using a nice theme named Kubrick that I found out on John Forsythe’s site.  I don’t know John but his site/blog has a lot of good information about dasBlog on it!  I liked the Kubrick theme because it was nice and clean with better colors.  But the default theme “DasBlog” seemed to have more “features” so I wanted to change back.  The problem is that I added my avatar (the caricature of me) to the  Kubrick theme.  I don’t think the standard themes support avatars, although I don’t know why.  So anyway, I needed to revise the dasBlog theme to include a place for my avatar and while I was at it, I changed a few other little things and created my own theme.  It was a good lesson in how dasBlog themes and macros work. 

All in all it is not that difficult to modify this stuff.  Of course, it helps if you are good at CSS.  Unfortunately, I am not.  So I had to cheat a bit.  I hope you like it.  It will probably change again as I find out about more available features.

If you have any issues viewing my blog now, I would REALLY like to know.  Please comment on this post if possible or contact me via email.

I am planning to install Vista on my home PC.  While I am really excited about it, I keep hearing about “little problems” that people are having and it is making me nervous.  My friend Jeff had a post on his blog about the problem he had – he couldn’t hook up his Cannon Powershot camera to his computer because there were no drivers for Vista.  He found a work around for the time being and it is no big deal.  But it makes me wonder, if I have a bunch of these little problems, will it all add up to be a big problem for me?

An actual “large” concern of mine is that I occasionally support an app created with Visual Studio 2003.  I have no plans to convert this application to work with 2005.  But Vista doesn’t support VS2003.  Again, I can work around this by setting up a Virtual PC with Windows XP and VS2003 but you know that is a pain.

Stay tuned, when I install Vista I’ll be blogging about the experience.  Hopefully the features will out-way the issues!

Peter Laudati has a good post on his blog about the Microsoft on-line mapping service.  I really agree with the point he makes.  I don’t know what the mapping service is really called but you can check it out here.  I’ve used this service before.  If you haven’t used it, it is Microsoft’s answer to MapQuest or Google Maps.  The product is pretty slick and the aerial photos on it may be the best on the web.  And it has some great 3D features.  But I am not going to debate the pros and cons of one mapping service vs another.  The biggest problem with the Microsoft service is the name.  The website says “Live Search” at the top and “Microsoft Virtual Earth” at the bottom.  And the URL is any of the many url’s that you used to find the site. So which is it?  And what does Live Search mean?  How would I know that has anything to do with maps?  Plus they changed the name a bunch of times including local.live.com (or was it live.local.com?  Who can remember?) and maps.msn.com, etc.  You would think a monster company like Microsoft would have a better idea of how to brand products properly.  No one has to wonder what “Google Maps” or “MapQuest” means. 

In my opinion, this is not the first similar mistake Microsoft has made.  I am a happy C# developer and I love .Net, but I hate the name!  .Net???  What were they thinking?  What does that mean?

There is definitely a lesson to be learned here.  I hate to say it but no matter how great are code is, without good marketing guys we are screwed!