Creating Presentations

I recently did something I do quite often, namely created a series of PowerPoints for a presentation.  I try to use graphics where appropriate or more accurately, pictures consisting of drawn boxes with arrows and other lines.

I find that in some ways my presentations are better for lack of slick, overdone graphics, but I still cling to the bulleted points formula.  If someone other than me has to present the slides I don’t see much of a way out of this, but an article on the zen of presentations pointed out by my friend and tech idol Scott Hanselman really drives home the right way to think about this task.

If you ever have to create presentation or training slides and have any of the story teller in your blood then use the advice provided to focus on the story and not the points.  I will be working on this in the future (a little at a time perhaps).

Languages with purpose

A number of the Microsoft Regional Directors and I have been posting back and forth all day about the C# vs. VB.Net issue, but not in the way that contentious bone usually plays out.

Rocky Lhotka not only started the thread, but he also was the first to bring it into public space with his post and quote from one my my analogies.

The point I would like MS to get is that while C# and VB.Net are very useful and powerful each in their own right, they work to cross purposes.  The biggest problem is that in spite of vastly different syntax and heritages there is a little difference between them to the effect that you can’t walk into a development shop and say “you will save 30% of your time coding in C# because your projects are mostly X type”. That is the type of distinctive purpose I want and that is what my customers by and large want. A decision point, a clear guideline, a stated objective.

At the moment I think both language are trying to do the same thing but for people with different prejudices vaguely based on their backgrounds. While choice is generally good it can be bad when it leads to paralysis. Jim Allchin once said that having brought NT to market, if he had it to do over again he would remove every single user configurable setting as they were the source of all the heartache.

The analogy that comes to mind for this situation (and the one borrowed by Rocky) is that as a commander in combat I know when to use a Tank (plodding and durable lethality) and I know when to use a A-10 (fast, manueverable and vulnerable lethality), but if you make tanks fly and add a few feet of armor on an A-10 then you get the same muddy water we have between C# and VB.Net. Those that know me will forgive the military analogy ;)

AD Security Feature you should know about

As the title of this site states, it is a real battle to keep up with the technology and an even bigger challenge to have a life along with that effort.  On a fairly regular basis now I realize this when a standard feature of a widely available tool or technology is virtually unknown and therefore unused.  I am pretty sure that queries in Active Directory falls into this catagory.

In Active Directory Users and Computers you can create custom queries through the MMC that can help you track down security problems that are very work intensive to do manually.  In the Common Quesries dialog you can even check a box to search for Non expiring passwords and disabled accounts.  Disabled accounts aren’t very interesting since the UI gives you that list in a browsable AD, but accounts set to bypass the password expiration rules are a perfect way for an outgoing administrator to create and preserve a backdoor.

Check it out, who knows what else you might find in there!

New Cannot Miss Tech Show Premieres

Carl Franklin has done it again by teaming up with Scott Hanselman to bring us the podcast called HanselMinutes.  HanselMinutes is a deep technology podcast that I find very compelling as well as informative.  The combination of personalities (both of whom I am very happy to know well) is just easy to listen to.  I learned more than I expected in just the first show.

I often listen to Carl’s other shows including .Net Rocks, but I will be adding this to my Outlook schedule as new editions come out.

Spyware is coming from all directions

Mark Russinovich has posted another excellent article on Spyware, this time pointing out the anti-spyware program as spyware strategem.

If you hoped that Spyware would just go out of fashion sometime this year, you are deluded.  The advent of better Rootkits, bogus anti-spyware programs (like the ones Mark points to) and the underlying profit makes this the cocaine of the Internet.  The problem is that all the victims are truly innocent in this case.

I want to thank my buddy Dan Krhla (DanK) for pointing it out for me.  He is a very good source of what is good on the Internet.