Dallas TechFest 2014

Dallas TechFest is back! It’s organized by my friend and colleague, Tim Rayburn. This year you can expect excellent content focused on Bleeding-Edge Development, Wicked UX and Next-Gen Mobile Technologies. (including iOS, Windows Phone, NodejS, ASP.NET vNext and Xamarin), plus interesting insights on UX and Mobility from Jared Spool, CEO & Founding Principal of UIE. The ticket price includes the full conference and lunch. Consider attending and please feel free to pass this information on to others you think might benefit from it

2014 Dallas TechFest

Visual Studio 2013 Quality Tools

I’ve delivered a talk a couple of times recently covering the Quality Tools in Visual Studio 2013 and Microsoft Test Manager.  Specifically, this talk covers:Visual_Studio_2013_Logo_svg

  • Unit testing
  • TDD
  • Automatic Test Runner
  • Manual Testing in MTM
  • Recorded Manual Tests
  • Converting Test Recordings in Coded UI Tests (CUIT)
  • Recording CUIT directly in VS
  • Build automation with Tests
  • CUIT Test Automation

I’m uploading my Visual Studio 2013 Quality Tools presentation here, even though it’s not that useful without the product demos to go with it.  I guess it’s primarily reference materials for those who have actually seen the presentation.  Maybe I’ll do screen-shots later and embed them to make it more stand-alone.

Indicating Blocked Tasks in TFS 2012 & 2013

Here’s a nice little add-on to TFS that enhances the Task Board to visually show when a task is blocked, as well as a couple of other little goodies:


How to Delete a LinkedIn Contact

Today I accidentally touched the Accept button on a LinkedIn spam request.  Then I had to go searching for how to remove a contact, which is not obvious.  Here are the steps I found that worked:


  1. First, select the Network tab on the top menu bar.  This shows you the list of all of your contacts.
  2. Unfortunately, the list is in no particular order.  So the next step is to change the sort order by clicking the down arrow next to Sort by and selecting New.  This will put your latest connection at the top of the list.
  3. Now you have two options: (1) Check the box next to the contact you want to remove, then click the arrow next to the top More option.  There you can select Remove connection from the drop-down list. (2) Alternatively, when you hover over an individual contact, a menu of options appears at the bottom of the contact item. There you can click the arrow next to the lower More option and select Remove connection from the drop-down list.
    That’s it!  You have successfully removed your spam contact.

Windows 8 App Store Issues

Yesterday and today I had problems downloading new apps from the Windows App Store on my Windows 8 tablet.  I finally found a post in the Windows Forums about resetting the App Store Cache.  Basically, run this utility from the command line or Start | Run menu. 


Here’s the original article.  I had to use Method 3.  http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-windows_store/windows-store-error-0x80240436/8c7dca5a-8428-4170-987b-97f47dc35d39

Melissa Meeker Nominated for Top Female Executive Award

One of my awesome colleagues at Improving is up for an award.  If you know Melissa (often responsible for coordinating our community events and get-togethers, plus all of the awards that Improving wins) please go vote for her.


AgileDotNet and the ALM Workshop are coming to Dallas March 1 & 2

Looking for great agile training with industry experts? Hunting questions to help your everyday work? Climbing the agile mountain and stuck? Not to worry, AgileDotNet is coming to Dallas on March 1st, 2013!

AgileDotNet Dallas 2013

AgileDotNet unites the worlds of .NET development and Agile methods, delivered by agilists passionate about providing superior content in unique settings.

This will be the fourth year of AgileDotNet, and the content will rock you! AgileDotNet brings developers, QA, scrum masters, project managers, and business leaders with all levels of experience to empowering and unique sessions across four tracks. You’ll return to work with the tools, motivation, and support to be more agile – as an individual and as part of a team.

#ADN13 is different from those past. Despite maintaining a high bar for great workshops and discussions, we realized there was a common theme among many of the most steadfast agile coaches and leaders trying to bring change within their enterprise.  The organizations are difficult to change.  Budgets, risks, unfamiliar territory, and planning are all excuses that point to one thing. The enterprise has trust issues.

At #ADN13, we will break the trust barrier down. With a wrecking ball. You will learn from passionate field-tested agilists how to establish trust amongst the team, with management, and throughout the organization as a whole. Regardless of the role you play.

And as if the conference is not cool enough already with agile experts, Scrum experts, and FOOD TRUCKS! Improving decided to up the game another notch. After the conference on Friday, there is a Saturday March 2nd workshop at the Improving Offices. This is just crazy!

What? You haven’t registered? Quick, jump over to the registration site, and

Register Now!

Improving Enterprises is pleased to offer an Agile ALM with Microsoft Team Foundation Server Workshop. In this hands-on, mentored workshop, we will dive into how Visual Studio supports the Development process, the Quality Assurance process, and the Project Management process. We will have a full TFS environment, interactive labs, and instructors on hand for questions.

We will be breaking the day into the three segments.  Each section will include a free form section to bring your problems to the ALM Team at Improving and get some much needed answers.

  • Development Lifecycle Management is all about getting a streamlined routine that doesn’t hinder velocity and contributes to quality code. We will guide through developing, developer-testing, and deploying an application.
  • Agile Project Management can be quite challenging, and managing multiple projects even more so. We will dive into how to set and measure effective KPIs, automate reporting, and manage work items in an effective, logical, and visible way.
  • Quality Assurance Management is encapsulated in an agile environment able to effectively and quickly report on the status of the product. We will walk through defining test cases, writing test steps, recording automation, and enabling regression testing.
      Join us on

March 2nd

    and discover best practices around Agile ALM using Microsoft® Visual Studio and TFS. And don’t forget to bring your real-world problems for our on-site mentors!

Hope to see you there!

Register Now!

Windows Azure Developer Knowledge

This seems like a great list and didn’t want to lose track of it, so thought I would post it here.

7217-windows-azure-logo-v_6556ef52Top 10 things to deepen your already existing knowledge on Windows Azure:

1. Windows Azure Training Kit: A comprehensive set of resources covering PaaS and IaaS workloads, including presentations, hands-on-labs, demos, and scripts so that you and your team may learn and re-deliver information to your customers about Windows Azure.

2. Windows Azure Track: A comprehensive set of online trainings broken down by role (sales, pre-sales, architect, developer)

3. Moving Applications to the Cloud: Provides an introduction to Windows Azure and discusses the cost model and application life cycle management for cloud-based applications, and describes how to migrate an existing ASP.NET application to the cloud.

4. Developing Applications for the Cloud: Discusses the design considerations and implementation details of applications that are designed from the beginning to run in the cloud.

5. Building Hybrid Applications on Windows Azure: Covers many topics related to architecting applications which rely on cloud AND on-premise technology (for example, an application that contains some components or features that cannot be located in the cloud, such as third-party services or sensitive data that must be maintained onsite under specialist control).

6. Building Elastic and Resilient Cloud Applications: Self-explanatory description.

7. A Guide to Claims-Based Identity and Access Control: Self-explanatory description.

8. Cloud Ninja: A comprehensive code sample on codeplex developed to demonstrate the design and implementation of key features in Windows Azure with emphasis on metering and automated scaling.

9. Fabrikam Shipping: Provides an in depth coverage of Identity Federation for multi-tenant applications. This is recommended to be reviewed in addition to Cloud Ninja.

10. Windows Azure Forums: An online community of very responsive Azure  users who help each other out with common questions, code samples, and other general technical support.

PowerPoint Broadcast Service

PowerPoint Broadcast ServiceI just accidentally discovered a very cool feature of Microsoft PowerPoint while practicing my presentation for Devscovery Houston

While trying to click Shift-F5 to start my presentation from the current page, I instead clicked Ctrl-F5 and stumbled upon the Broadcast Slide Show feature. 

This is a great way to share a presentation without a webcast if you’re already on a phone conference.

AMD Catalyst for Windows 8

AMD have finally released a beta Catalyst driver and control center app that works with Windows 8.  This solves the problem I’ve had for the last month of video not scaled to the whole size of my external monitor when running full resolution.