Monthly Archives: March 2006

Australia wins double gold in Commonwealth Games basketball.

First some history. Back when Nicola and I were living in Melbourne were were fans of both the South East Melbourne Magic and the Victoria Titans (wikipedia pages need creating) basketball teams that played in the National Basketball League. The South East Melbourne Magic became the Victoria Titans when the club merged with the North Melbourne Giants. The union wasn’t that comfortable and many of the fans stop supporting the new team and eventually the club folded.

Brian Goorjian

As a Magic fan the common thread running through the teams was a core of good team players recruited by coach Brian Goorjian. Brian was originally a US-import player for the Melbourne Tigers before he moved on to coaching.

After the Titans folded he replaced Brett Brown (former coach of the Giants) as coach of the Sydney Kings who led the team to victory three years running (except for this year where they lost the final to the Tigers). Many of the Titans/Magic fans followed Goorjian to the Kings for his ability to build a quality team you could really get behind.

Good Thing Phil Smyth was Sacked

It was Brian’s recruiting ability and general reputation amongst the players that made him the ideal replacement for the national coach position after Phil Smyth (coach of the 36ers) disgraced himself as the national coach when Australia last met New Zealand in the World Cup qualifiers (we lost, and it was widely attributed to Phil’s coaching abilities).

So – last night was extra special for fans of the Magic, Titans and Kings as the Boomers took home gold from the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games (the first and possibly the last time Basketball has been played at the games). Those who know the history must have known how hard it would have been for Phil Smyth, who was on the commentary team watch his replacement do what he couldn’t do.

In all fairness, it was an extremely close game and it came down to the last minute and I have the utmost respect for the Tall Blacks (the New Zealand team). They lead by a narrow margin for most of the game and really out-classed us in the defensive and offensive rebounding stakes for most of the game.

Anstey is no Patriot

One of the challenges that the Australian team faced was the absence of our really big men, not because of injury, but because of greed. Chris Anstey bailed on the games because he had just signed a contract with Caja San Fernando in spain, presumably he didn’t want to injure himself playing for Australia and risk the big dollars he was going to get playing for two months overseas (apparently in that two months he will earn as much as he did for the entire season here in Australia). The thing that really burns is that Anstey was one of Goorjian’s recruits back in the Magic days so I would have thought that the combined loyalty to his former NBL coach and to his country would have gotten him to change his mind.

Team Effort

Still – its a testament to the depth of the Australian side that we were able to enlist the support of Paul Rogers and Tony Ronaldson (formerly of the Magic and Titans) to play the role of center during the game. Of course, it wasn’t Ronaldson or Rogers that won the match, it was a true team effort with some very tense moments during the closing stages of the match.

I really enjoyed watching many of the former Magic and Titans (like Jason Smith – who turned down an overseas contract to play – how about that Chris) play as well as some of the new and upcoming stars like Newley (although why he kept trying to hit threes when he was missing so many mystified me).

Symmetry

If you stand back and look at the overall basketball results you can see the symmetry between the mens and womens competition. The night before the Opals (Australian womens team) beat the New Zealand team in a bit of a walk over, but the final medal placings across both competitions were:

  • Gold to Australia
  • Silver to New Zealand
  • Bronze to England

I think that England is probably happy with the result, but this really builds on the general level of sports rivalry between Australia and New Zealand. The next international is going to be interesting to watch.

Getting Into Basketball?

After the Titans folded it was hard to stay enthusiastic about basketball, but this win has renewed my interest (Nic’s as well – she was a more hardcore fan than me anyway) and its a shame that there is no longer a local team here in Canberra (the Canons folded years ago).

While we have an emotional tie to the Sydney Kings team, we don’t have any association with where they are playing – we don’t live in Sydney. Maybe this win will spark enough interest in Basketball to get another Canberra team up, I believe that there has been some discussion about it already but it could be all rumours.

Related Links:

Key Points:

  • It was a close game.
  • The Boomers won.
  • The Boomers rock.
  • Brian Goorjian rocks.
  • Phil Smyth blows.
  • Chris Anstey could be a better Patriot.
  • Phil Smyth blows.

Jeff and Chuck do Team Foundation Server

I am sitting here in the Microsoft office in Canberra watching Jeff Beehler and Charles Sterling talk to the local .NET developer crowd on Team Foundation Server. It is really an awareness session for a lot of people.

The exciting thing is that this stuff is no longer pre-release and people can go out and deploy it into their environments now. I just hope that the developers in Canberra feel strongly enough about using good tools to get this stuff up and running.

Taking back your workspace, one cubicle at a time.

I picked up this link to a Fortune magazine article on Cubicles from this post by MrDee. The article looks at the history of the Cubicle, some of the challenges to its dominance and how its inventor thinks that its use has turned what might have been a great idea into a failure.

One of the gripes that I have with the current enterprise working environment is that it isolates people that are supposed to be working as a team from each other and it encourages a culture where people put up arbitrary process walls between them and the outside world. It wouldn’t be so bad if the cubicle was a comfortable space that allowed you to get into the zone.

Joel Spolsky tried to tackle this problem at FogCreek software, and while I think they did a good job (hell, I’d work there) my personal tastes are somewhat more casual. At the moment I am doing some work for Microsoft, and when I am in the office I have the first cubicle in a group of three (the entrance to all three goes past my desk). As far as cubicles go its pretty good, there is lots of desk space of which I only use about a quarter, and there is power within easy reach (what idiot puts the power rails below the desk?).

CurrentDesk

What I would prefer is for the desk not to be there at all and just have a couple of very low set shelves (to hold my laptop/devices when I am not using them, and my cup of coffee). A slide in table when I do need a work surface would be useful, but when I need that kind of stuff I am normally collaborating directly with someone, so I would rather go find a shared space.

Of course – at Readify we don’t have offices so we really only use them when they are required by our customers. I much more comfortable working out of Starbucks than just about anywhere else. Actually my perfect office would be something like the Qantas Club lounge in Sydney where instead of a bar (OK – the Bar can be there after 5pm) they just had a service counter/locker room facility.

Seasons changing in Canberra.

It’s 7am and I am waiting at the stop for the number 67 bus that will take me into the city. I’m wearing a long sleve shirt which I am happy of because if I wasn’t I think that I would be a little bit cold.

It looks like we are close to the tur of the seasons here in Canberra and its one of my favourite times of year. In the various valleys you can see the night fog beginning to burn off and some of the leaves on the trees are turning.

In a few months the fog will start lasting well into mid-morning and the temperature will start dropping to the point where I’ll start looking to the surrounding mountains for signs of snow.

Watching the seasons change is part of the joy of living in Canberra.

Do you trust your PDA?

Just under two years ago I wrote a blog post just like this one where I comment on the level of trust that I have in my mobile device. Unfortunately I have not yet reached that level of trust, but tonight it begins its trials.

I spent quite a few hours installing Team Foundation Server (RTM) tonight into the Readify production environment, the installation went quite well but its now late and I need to be up around 6–6:30 tomorrow so I can catch the bus I want.

Last week I was having a bit of trouble waking up in the morning because I didn’t have my SmartPhone and my JasJar kept beeping through the night as it kept itself up to date with e-mails. What it meant is that I couldn’t get to sleep without muting the sound on the device, but I required the sound for the alarm to wake me up.

This weekend I installed the AKU2 update for the JasJar which includes a new Communications Manager component (it was there before, but this one is significantly better from a usability point of view). Anyway – it basically allows me to turn off all the external connectivity to the device except for an actual phone call. This way I can rest assured that the device won’t wake me up in the middle of the night, but it will still be able to scream at me in the morning to help get me out the door.

If it behaves this week then I think I’ll be able to trust it while I am on the road.

It’s alive! Team Foundation Server at Readify

We’ve been running an instance of Team Foundation Server (BETA 3) up on a virtual machine at Readify for about five months and a few people – especially Darren, have taken full advantage of it. This evening I spent about four hours remotely installing Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition (RTM) into its production home on a non-virtual server.

The installation went smoothly as expected (I can almost do it in my sleep now) and it seems to be performing quite well. Now that we have the infrastructure setup there are a few housekeeping items that need to be dealt with and then we’ll open the gates.

Here is my TODO list over the next couple of days:

  1. Work with our fabulous infrastructure guys that aren’t at all the nasty draconian kinda guys that you find in most IT organisations to sort out our disaster recovery strategy (already having fun discussions around this).
  2. Figure out if we have a self-service story. I’m not going to give everyone the keys to the kingdom on this box, some of the assets that we are putting into it are going to be too valuable to risk this box being played around with. But – I still want people to be able to create their own team projects and this involves having some fairly heavy rights on the server. I’ll probably look at what is required to get the PCW kicked off via a web-based front-end which runs with elevated rights.
  3. Find out what we need to do as a partner, down here in Australia, to get a license for the full blown standard server edition. While the workgroup edition is a good start, we need to be able to support more than five users on this thing.
  4. Migrate existing projects across to the new box. I opted to do a fresh install onto a physical box rather than try and upgrade from BETA 3 to BETA 3 Refresh then to RTM, and then try to migrate the databases across. I know some people have been looking at what is required to migrate projects, and when we setup the BETA 3 environment we said that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to take the projects, I did say I would give it a good go. At the very least I should be able to dump out the source code and take the work item data across.

Of course, my first order of business tomorrow will be to take the above list of tasks and insert them into a TFS Team Project to manage adoption, issues and feature requests for TFS.

Team Foundation Server has shipped!

Team Foundation Server 1.0 shipped on St. Patricks day and if you have the right kind of subscription you should be able to download Team Foundation Server from MSDN Subscriber Downloads. If you are a configuration manager then you will probably be installing TFS in the coming weeks, so make sure you read these posts by Rob Caron.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Team Foundation Server and greater Team System team for getting this first release out the door. It is a very ambitous product which seeks to make all our lives better when working on mission critical software projects.

Congratulations on shipping guys!

Weddings and Anniversaries

Darren has blogged the news, Grant and Emma got married today. Congratulations to you both! Definitely a great couple. I’m sorry that I could make the wedding, but Nicola and I were celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary.

Five years ago Nicola and I were exchanging our wedding vows in Rye down on the Mornington Peninsula. We had actually met years earlier online in an IRC chat room. I was waiting for another friend to get online and Nicola logged in using the same alias. What followed was a somewhat confusing discussion.

I didn’t realise until our second chat session that I wasn’t talking to the person that I thought I was. After a few more chats and telephone calls we had become good friends and we decided that it was time to meet in person.

At the time I was living in Queensland and Nicola was in Melbourne so she caught a bus up and we met at Roma Street. Within a few weeks we were making plans for me to move down to Melbourne.

Our first place was a tiny two bedroom flat in Carnegie in the South Eastern suburbs. Eventually I popped the question and we got married.

The past five years has seen the birth of our beautiful daughter, who is now three and a half years old and of course we are now living here in Canberra.

Nicola – I know you are reading this, so if you don’t know already, the last five years have been wonderful and I am looking forward to to spending the next five with you.

My first blog post from a Windows Mobile 5.0 device.

I’ve been using my JasJar for about a week now fairly consistently (potentially why there haven’t been many blog posts). Anyway, I thought that it was about time that I took a stab at blogging directly from the device.

I recalled that Frank Arrigo was blogging from his K-JAM so I shot him an e-mail and asked him what program he was using. He told me that he was using “Diarist” by Kevin Daly who is based in New Zealand. The program was pretty staight forward to download and install (I’ve got it running against CF 2.0).

Because the editing surface is just a text box there is no way to hyperlink text, so I guess as I make a series of posts I’ll need to go back and touch them up to spread the GoogleJuice.