Don’t be too quick to judge

When reading my rss feeds this morning, I came across this posting from the Sydney Morning Herald:

While reading posts in the headlines about murders, etc., it's easy to become quite numb to it all. However, this one nearly had me in tears, not just for the young guy that's been killed, but for the parents involved.

Those that know me well know I have a disabled daughter with nowhere near the problems that this young guy had. Every time I used to feel bad about our situation, all I needed to do was to think about the other parents I had seen at the special school that my daughter attended and suddenly I didn't feel so bad at all. I then felt lucky to only have the issues we had. I just couldn't understand how some of those other parents coped at all. And it's not a short-term thing. They live with their situations every day of their lives, often with very little assistance.

The headline story is about a family with a young guy 28 years old that can't see, has part of his face missing and the only external input to his life is his hearing. He was faced with needing to have an operation that would have removed his hearing for at least three months, if not permanently. The accusation seem to be that the parents have spent some time letting him enjoy the things they know he loves, tranquilised him and smothered him.

It's easy to just say "that's the wrong thing to do" but don't be too quick to judge unless you've ever walked in those shoes. I have no idea about the rights/wrongs in this case but I was left wondering whether the jury involved would be made up of people that have "been there". I hope for all involved in this tragic story that at least some of them have.

SQL Down Under Code Camp – now very soon

I was so pleased today that we passed the 100 mark for attendees for SQL Down Under Code Camp ( Given the short notice, I would have been happy with 60 or 70. I also loved the email I got today from Anthony Chan at Charles Sturt University. It showed the signs he's made to direct attendees to the building.

Outstanding effort Anthony ! Irfan Altas and the crew at Charles Sturt University are already outdoing themselves again.

VB Powerpacks

There is an interesting new team that is building "power packs" for VB. The first of the two power packs (the Windows Interop Forms Toolkit) allows you to migrate VB6 apps to VB.NET one form at a time. This can only help with large VB6 projects that have been too hard to migrate all at once. The second power pack offers a PrintForm component. Many developers had used the PrintForm method on VB6 forms and the lack of this method in VB.NET caused some migration difficulties for those forms.

Both of these are good news.

In addition, the team is looking for suggestions for new power packs. Details of all of these can be found at:

SQL Down Under Code Camp numbers growing daily

I've been really heartened by the flow of registrations for SQL Down Under Code Camp in Wagga Wagga on October 7th and 8th (next month). When I was picking the dates for this, I nearly waited for next year because I knew it wasn't much notice for people to get there but ended up deciding to let it run this year anyway. I was keen to at least start the tradition and have told people I'd have been happy to see 60 or 70 people register. Well, today we passed 90 and it's still growing. Thanks to all that have supported it so far. I can't wait to see it finally happen.

Details are at: Follow the "CodeCamp" link at the top.

Vale Steve Irwin

I was shocked and saddened (but I have to say not surprised) when my daughter Kirsty SMS'd me to say that Steve Irwin had died. Steve was a true Australian icon.

Australia Zoo is not far north of where I have been living in Brisbane. I recall many, many years ago visiting the reptile park run by Steve's parents. It was a sleepy friendly place. I recall being sad when it was destroyed by fire and a large number of their reptiles killed. Steve has done an amazing job of transforming that place into what is now Australia Zoo.

If you never saw him working in person, you missed one of life's wonders. I have seen the show at the zoo when he was there and I've seen it when he wasn't, and it was two very different shows. I used to describe it to people as that his staff were very game and did excellent work but that Steve was plain crazy. When he was working, you couldn't stop watching.

What impressed me more than all was how down to earth he was as a person. Even though he had amassed an amazing fortune, he didn't act like someone that had. I recall being at Universal Studios a few years ago, at the time the Crocodile Hunter movie came out, and I remember they were selling Steve and Terri dolls there. It's hard for people in Australia to realise how significant that is. Yet he still lived in a basic little house near the zoo and still drove his ute.

He will be sadly missed even by those that didn't agree with him. The world has lost a real character and I for one, am feeling very privileged to have seen him while he was with us.


TechEd New Zealand and Australia done and dusted

I'm finally back on deck properly after TechEd. It certainly was a hectic week for me.

Overall, I think the shows in Auckland and Sydney were both very good. Congratulations to the organisers in both places.

I found I couldn't quite do the level of preparation I normally do because of the number of sessions I was presenting. I think most of them were ok though. I hope you thought so.

One thing I'd like to canvas opinions on though is the material you'd like to see at TechEd. One change this year is that most of the presenters were redelivering someone else's material that was previously created for TechEd Boston. The up-side of this is that you get to see material that was already known to be popular at the U.S. TechEd. The downside is that the presenters don't have the same feel for (or perhaps passion for) the material they are delivering, as they didn't create it. Also, locally-produced materials that weren't presented at U.S. TechEd don't then see the light of day.


Also, for those who follow my travel-related posts, it will come as no surprise that when I arrived in Auckland, my luggage didn't.  Mai and I were on QF400 from Melbourne to Sydney at 6am and it was cancelled at 6:20am and we had to get back off because of a fuel cell problem. We were moved to the 7am flight and then had much less connection time in Sydney before the flight to Auckland. What was annoying was that even though there were 3 more QF flights from SYD to AKL on Saturday, my bag didn't get to me till 4pm Sunday.

Gotta love VS.NET

Recently while working with a client on a VB.NET project, we had the need to create an application that would:

1. Automatically open up if not already open

2. Only ever have a single instance open

3. Automatically open a child window based upon a command line parameter.

So, if the program wasn't already open and we said:

C:\> MyApp.exe SomeCustomer

you'd end up with the app opening and the details for that customer shown in a sub-window. However if the app was already open, the same command would just launch sub window.

It ended up quite easy. All that was needed was:

1. Create a module (to put a global reference to the app's startup form)
2. In the form load for the startup form, set the global reference to Me and launch the child form if there was a command line parm.
3. Set the project properties to Single Instance Application.
4. In the application NextInstance event handler, use the global reference to the main form to call a method to launch the child form based on the command line parms.