VBForums Photography Contest–Results

The results for the seventh VBForums Photography Contest are now in…


Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but I did get some first place votes, for the two photos of my kitten Aiden, so that is something to be happy about!!  I am happy to say that DeanMc did win the competition with his entry, which I voted for.

Congratulations to all the winners!!!

1st Place: DeanMc

2nd Place: mattneed

3rd Place: lone_REBEL and Jordan (tie)

My New Kindle

Yesterday I got my shiny new Amazon Kindle Smile

First up, credit where credit is due, I ordered the Kindle from the Amazon website late Sunday afternoon, and it was in my hands on Tuesday morning.  Very impressive, thanks Amazon!

In addition to ordering the Kindle, I also opted to buy the leather case, which includes a built in light (powered from the Kindle battery) to allow reading in the dark.

Here is how it looks:


I opted to go for the standard wifi version, rather than the 3G one.  This was for a couple reasons:

  • I have heard reports about significant differences in battery life between the two.
  • I don’t think I would ever be in a situation where I was somewhere where I “had” to buy a book.  I could happily wait to get back to the house/work where I could hook up to the wireless

After powering the device on, I hooked it up to the wireless and made sure that it was registered to me (when you purchase the Kindle, it is automatically registered to the Amazon account that is purchased by, this can be changed though), and it was.

With that in place, I set about trying to get some of my existing eBooks on to the device.  The question is, how do you do that?  Short answer, easily!!

You can either:

  • plug the Kindle into your computer and copy files onto the device
  • send an email with the book as an attachment to the Kindles built in email address (you can find this address in the “Manage My Kindle” section of the Amazon website
  • purchase a book directly from the Amazon store and “send” it to the device

Because I wanted to see how it would work, I opted to go for the second option.  I fired up Outlook, attached the book and sent it.  Within a few minutes, the book was on the Kindle, so very clever!!  I sent a few eBooks with a couple different formats, namely PDF and mobi, as I wanted to see how both would work.  The results are shown here:


They both work very well!! 

In fairness, the PDF version is “slightly” harder to read, due to the text size, and the only real way to read it is to turn the display into landscape mode.  I am going to play with converting the PDF into another format using something like Calibre to see how that works out, and I will post back to say how well it works.

Next up?  Social Networking interaction.  Again, simply because I wanted to see how it worked, I set up my Twitter and Facebook account within the Kindle.  When reading a book, if you find a passage that is very interesting, you can bookmark it, and once bookmarked, you can share the selected passage on Twitter and Facebook.  I didn’t this earlier, and this was the result:


So, to wrap up, I am VERY happy with the Kindle so far!  It does exactly what it says on the tin, and it does it well.  I still have to look into reading newspapers and magazines on it, but if it is anything like reading a book, then it should again work very well.

If you don’t have a Kindle, and you do a lot of reading (like I do on the commute to work) I would highly recommend that you get one.

LearnVisualStudio.Net 9th Anniversary Discount

As some of you may know, I have been a big fan of LearnVisualStudio.net for some time now, and I have a Lifetime Subscription with them.  Basically, this means that every time a new video gets created, I can download them free of charge. 

They have recently released some new series of videos on such topics as Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight 4, so they are certainly not behind in their technology.

I just received an email informing me that it is their 9th Anniversary, and because of this, they are now offering a 30% discount on there subscriptions, so if you don’t already have one, I would highly recommend that you take advantage of the offer.

With the discount, a 1 Year Membership is coming in at $48.97, and a lifetime subscription for $139.97.


You can take advantage of the offer here:


Happy viewing!!

I have been promoted…

Unfortunately, it is not at work, and it also doesn’t involved a pay rise, but…

I have been promoted from a “Moderator” to a “Super Moderator” over at VBForums.  I have been a member of this forum since 2004, and primarily I post in the ASP.Net Forum, trying to help people where I can, but with the creation of a Silverlight, ASP.Net and WPF/WCF/WF Forums, I think I will be posting in these forums on a more regular basis.

I was given the title of Moderator back in December, and I guess I have been doing a good job, as I have been given the role of Super Moderator (admittedly, I had asked to become a Moderator in the above mentioned Forums, but I wasn’t expecting to be given the elevated title).

Still trying to work out exactly what additional capabilities this gives me on the site, but I am sure that I will figure it out as I go Smile.

Upcoming DDD Events

Hot on the heels of DDD9 in Reading, there are other DDD related events coming up in the near future.

DDD Belfast – March 2011

DDD Scotland – May 7th 2011

DDD South West – June 11th 2011

(The home page for the DDD Events is here)

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard too much about DDD Belfast, and there doesn’t seem to be any information on the DDD site.  I am not going to be able to make this event anyway, but it would still be nice to see what I will be missing out on.

DDD Scotland is at the stage that speakers have submitted there proposed sessions, and the community is now voting on them.  For your chance to have a say about what sessions get included, make sure you vote for your favourites.  I am really hoping to attend this event, as there are a number of proposed sessions, which if picked, I will be very interested in attending!!

DDD South West is at the stage of looking for speakers.  I would love to think that I am at the stage that I could think about submitting a session, but I know I am not.  This is an area that I am hoping to move into, and with the help of Guy Smith-Ferrier’s video series here, maybe I will think about submitting a session next year.  Again, looking at some of the proposed sessions, I can see a lot of benefit in attending this event.  It is obviously slightly further away, but would still be worth it.


OneNote 2010 – Create a note from anywhere

This is the second in a series of blog posts I’m doing on the features that I now find invaluable within Microsoft OneNote 2010.

The Situation:

Sitting at your computer, you are happily coding away on your project and you get a visit from your project manager, and he is pissed!!!  You are not expecting him, and you are not ready for the barrage of questions that he is throwing at you.  You need time to think, so you ask to have a meeting with him later that day, to which he says “That’s fine, but make sure you have all the information that I asked for!!!”

The Problem:

Due to the fact that you were completely unprepared for this impromptu meeting, you didn’t write down any notes from the discussion that you just had, and you are now struggling to remember everything that was asked of you.  Since your manager was pissed, you can’t really go and ask him to recap the questions that he asked of you (well, yes, you could, and that is actually what you would do, but let me try to illustrate my point).  You should have started writing things down as he started asking them but you can never find any paper when you need it, and your pen never works!!  Argh!!

The OneNote Solution:

Once OneNote is up installed on your machine, it is always available, for any application.  Simply by pressing the “Windows Key + N” you will be presented with an area into which you can start writing notes, shown here:


This isn’t the full OneNote application, but rather a stripped down version of it, with some rudimentary formatting options, and a space to start entering text.  As a result, it opens almost immediately, and you can literally start typing directly into it. 

To follow on from the situation above, as your manager is harassing you with questions, you can quickly jot down some notes from the discussion, and then expand on them later, once he has gone. 

Everything you type into this note is saved straight away, with no need for you to do anything else, just type the text, and then close the note.  To get the note back later, fire open OneNote, and you will see a section called “Unfiled Notes” at the bottom left hand side:


This is where all your “quick” notes end up.  The idea being that you either delete them once you are finished with them, or you add them into one of your other Notebooks or sections.

So, the next time you see your Manager storming your way, all you need to do are two things…

  1. Hit “Windows Key + M” – you don’t want him to see you sitting with Twitter or FaceBook open
  2. Hit “Windows Key + N” – ready to start writing notes for the discussion you are about to have.

Hope this helps!

Time to vote for the VB Forums Photography Contest

All of the entries are now in for the VB Forums photography contest.  You can see all the entries here:


The final deadline for votes is the 25th February.  Fingers crossed some of my photos do well, this is my first entry into the contest, although I have a sneaking suspicion that DeanMc will do quite well with his entry:

OneNote 2010 – Make Text in Image Searchable

This is the first in a series of blog posts I’m doing on the features that I now find invaluable within Microsoft OneNote 2010.

The Situation:

At work we use SharePoint to store pretty much all of our Project Documents.  This includes the use of Blogs, Wikis, Document Libraries, Lists, Sites, Site Collections, and Technical Discussion Boards to capture all of the day to day information about a Project. 

When it comes to finding an error, or tracking down a problem within a particular piece of software, I want to capture the run up to the problem, the steps to reproduce it, screenshots, attempts to fix, the resolution, etc., so that if it happens again, I would be able to remember what I did before.

9 times out of 10, this would end up as an internal blog post which I could search at a later date to look up the problem.

The Problem:

As with most software problems, you typically get some sort of error message…


Here is one I created earlier….

In order to be useful, and searchable, I would normally type out the entire contents of the error message into the blog post, so that when it happens again, I can take the text from the error message and search for it directly within my blog.  Sounds simple right?  Now, imagine that you have a very long error message, or perhaps a stack trace included within the prompt.  Typing all this out by hand can be quite tedious.

The OneNote Solution:

By default, when you insert an image into a OneNote Note, the text within that picture (if there is any) is automatically made searchable.  You can verify this by right clicking on the image and looking at “Make Text in Image Searchable”


From within this menu you have the option of turning this feature off, as well as selecting the language that you want to use for the text recognition.

When it comes to searching for the text of interest, just hit “CTRL+F”, type the text you want, and then click through the results:


In the above, notice how the text that was searched for in the top right hand corner immediately became highlighted within the image that had been pasted into the Note.

Reasons to love OneNote 2010 Series

Following an introduction to Microsoft OneNote 2007 by a colleague at work, I find myself using OneNote more and more things within my work day.  Taking minutes of meetings, writing ToDo lists, capturing information about products that I am using, bugs that I am finding, etc.  There are so many things that OneNote “just does”, that I now find invaluable.

Now, thanks to the Microsoft Home Use Program I am the proud owner of Microsoft Office Professional 2010, including OneNote 2010, and I now find myself using OneNote both at home, and on my Windows Phone 7.

This post is going to be the parent post for a series of posts where I am going to describe the features that I have come to rely on within OneNote 2010 (some of these features are not going to be specific to OneNote 2010, they may have existed within earlier versions, but any screenshots and descriptions that are provided will be based on OneNote 2010).

I will update this page with links to the individual posts I do as I publish them:

Number 1 – Make Text in Image Searchable

Number 2 – Create a note from anywhere

Hope you find these features as useful as I have!

Free eBooks

There have been a number of free eBooks making the rounds lately, so rather than forget where I got them from, I thought I would start a list here.  I will update this blog post with any new eBooks that I find.