Monday, July 02, 2007

Going Deep with VSX


I'm taking some time off around the Independence Day holiday this week.  I have several projects queued up for attention.  One that has priority for me is an investigation of VSX.  I was introduced to the latest efforts by Don and Ken while I was at TechEd.  I don't have much to report yet, but I would like to share some resources that I'll be exploring:

That ought to keep me busy for a few days!  I've got some ideas that I would like to implement in the IDE, but I don't know how to get started as yet.  I'll report back when I've learned something.



 Thursday, June 28, 2007

Is LinkedIn Useful?


View Alan Stevens' profile on LinkedInYesterday, I responded to some requests for connections on LinkedIn.  I'm terribly lazy about this.  Both of these invites had languished in my inbox for over a week.

Once I logged into my account and accepted the invites, I began looking around for evidence of value.  I had a few connections with co-workers and people in the .NET community, but I couldn't see what good it had done me.

I added a link to my LinkedIn profile to this blog a while back during my blog renovations.  That allowed one person I met at Tech Ed to get in touch with me.   Because of that, I decided there may be value in this service.

I began searching all the connections of my connections, that I knew, and inviting them to connect directly to me.  I dug around for email address online of people I didn't have in my address book.  I added my address books from Outlook and Gmail, and invited anyone I thought might be interested.

On a roll, I installed the Outlook plugin for LinkedIn and had it search my archived mail for contacts. I have to admit that this became addictive.  I would send a batch of invites, and wait for email confirming that people had accepted.  I drooled like one of Pavlov's dogs every time I saw the blue toast in the corner of my screen.

This went on well into the evening.  I was very happy to get an email response from an old friend whom I hadn't seen in a few years.  We caught up.  I learned that he was in Memphis and engaged, while he learned about my marriage.  This was a very pleasant exchange, and one that I could have initiated with a simple email, but it resulted from inviting him to join my network.

This morning I moved on to collected business cards.  I was pretty bold by this point and I invited people whom I had barely been introduced to.  This surprised one person who asked how I got his email address!  I explained that I had interviewed for a job with him two years ago, and wanted to connect with him because he supervised many developers who might be interested in our user group.  He was pleased with this, and accepted the invitation.  He also asked me to send him information about the user group meetings, so he could distribute it to his employees.  Now, I was seeing some value.

I believe the best proof of value came when I connected with another user group leader I met at Tech Ed.  He responded to my invite by asking me to speak it their "Day of .NET" in November.  That was definitely a valuable connection.  Again, it was a circumstance that I could have initiated through simple email, but it happened by connecting on LinkedIn.

I still have a couple dozen invites pending.  I'm considering inviting all the regular attendees of the user group, so we can build a network for ETNUG on LinkedIn.  I'm also adding my LinkedIn profile to my email signature.  I'll report back in a month or so to let you know if any of this was worthwhile.  My fear is that LinkedIn is just another friendster dressed up to be appealing to us "professionals".

We shall see,


 Monday, June 25, 2007

My Birthday is Overdue?


Upon logging in at the office this morning, I was greeted with an Outlook reminder that Alan Stevens' Birthday is two days overdue.  Perish the thought!  My birthday is a commitment I always keep. :-)

Wally completed another circle of the sun yesterday.  Cheers mate!