Dying hard drives on new laptops SUX

Just a few weeks before devLink, I purchased a new laptop to replace my ASUS G51JX. I ended up getting a Dell Latitude E6520. Within the first few days of getting it, the laptop had a KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE blue screen and lost sight of the hard drive. After rebooting a few times and working with Dell ProSupport, it came back up. Unfortunately, we couldn’t identify what had caused the issue. We figured it would be a one-time deal, perhaps a fluke.

Fast forward to today… so the laptop made it through devLink without showing any adversity. However, this morning, while listening to Zune, reading emails in Outlook, and chatting with my husband on Lync Communicator, the laptop decided to spontaneously throw another KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE error. Unfortunately, this BSoD doesn’t log info or create minidumps and reboots quicker than you can say “Dude… don’t get a Dell!” So my frustration was back. Rebooted, couldn’t see the hard drive… rebooted again and the hard drive came back just fine.

This special 512e hard drive just doesn’t like me. I think it’s a 512evil hard drive for as stable as it has appeared. However, we’ll see if its replacement is any better.

After an hour and change of diagnostics with Dell ProSupport, I’m getting a new hard drive. I’m thankful for Dell ProSupport – support in English with a very knowledgable crew. I didn’t have to deal with a script, and Todd in Nashville was great at getting me what I needed.

Why am I Wi-flagged with laptops lately?

devLINK 2011 Recap – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 4

Last day of devLINK… I started off in Open Spaces, giving John Kellar and Leanna Baker live feedback on the conference.  It was great to hear how planning worked this year, and I gave them some suggestions for next year.

After giving feedback on the conference, I was off to the Mobile Smackdown.  First of all, Mobile Smackdown is the brainchild of my friend Jeff Blankenburg.  I’ve seen other versions of this at CodeMash and StirTrek, so I was curious to see how the devLINK version would be.  Add to it that I wanted to see how my friends Ben (on Android) and Sam (on Windows Phone) would fare, and I was curious to see John‘s approach to iPhone.  Little did I know, this was John Baker’s first time in front of a group – in my honest opinion, for the first time around, he did an amazing job.  It’s one thing to present in front of a group and totally different to live code in front of a group.  Ben was about one line of code away from finishing in the allotted 15-minute time period. Sam had it all written and just needed to run the code. John still had a feature to add.  I enjoyed seeing the Mobile Smackdown and seeing the different platforms.  It reminded me…

  • Windows Phone – C# – This makes sense.
  • Android – Java – Hey, I can read that! Maybe one day I could write it again…
  • iPhone – Objective C – Um… not a chance.  Reminded me sorta of my C++ days.  Don’t think I’d go back along that route.

Now that I’m on my own, I can finally look into building my Windows Phone apps that I’ve wanted to build for awhile.  But I gotta give the Windows Phone Mobile Smackdown veterans –  Samidip Basu, Jeff Fansler, and Jeff Blankenburg – a lot of credit.  That would be nerve-wracking to be live coding in front of a large group.   However, it did inspire me to get moving on some of these apps.

After Mobile Smackdown, a group of us caught lunch at Niko’s Southside Grill.  I had the avgolemono and stuffed grape leaves, which were delicious.

After lunch, I caught a couple more sessions.  Seeing StudioShell in action in Jim Christopher‘s presentation gave me some food for thought. It’s neat to see navigation of Visual Studio projects with PowerShell.  I also caught Kevin Griffin‘s jQuery Mobile talk, which showed how simple it was to use attributes to easily create a mobile version of a website.

By the end of Kevin’s session, I was truly exhausted.  I stopped at Chattanooga Cupcakes, based on a friend’s recommendation.  The red velvet cupcake I had was delicious, and I picked up a peanut butter & chocolate cupcake for another friend.  After cupcakes, I headed over to St. John’s Meeting Place to meet up with some friends for dinner.  Their Caprese salad with fresh heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella that melted in my mouth was to die for.

After dinner, I figured I’d get things on their chargers and start packing.  Instead, I fell asleep as soon as I made it back to my room.  I think the exhaustion of the week finally caught up with me.

Overall, it was a great week.  I learned a lot of stuff that I can apply to my new adventures.  I enjoyed my time with new and old friends, especially those who I only see at these events.  I look forward to devLINK 2012 and what lies ahead!

devLINK 2011 Recap – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 3

Standing room only at 8am… what a way to wake up!  Thanks to all of you who attended my “Develop IT – Intro to PowerShell” talk at 8am.  It was great to share my love of PowerShell and how to get started with those who wanted to learn more.  We started at the basics and then looked at some PowerShell building blocks.  My second session was less attended, but those who were there asked questions that showed they were interested.  We looked at script versus binary versus manifest versus dynamic modules.  Code samples were written in both C# and PowerShell.  Thanks to all of you who attended, and especially thanks to those who left feedback.  I’ve read through the feedback and look forward to expanding on these talks.  As I mentioned, there are some great resources for working with PowerShell:

The music video that I kicked off both sessions with was Highway to PowerShell – Part IV – A New Hope, as performed by Sean Kearney, a.k.a. energizedtech on Twitter:

In the afternoon, I caught my friend Michael Eaton‘s “Going Independent” talks.  Since I’m just starting out on my own with Cleveland Tech Consulting, LLC, I wanted to hear it from him and others as to what are some things I may need to account for.  While I may have talked with some of my friends who are company owners and independent consultants, I still wanted to see what I may have missed.  I learned a lot about myself and my decisions for going forward, including trusting my instinct and not being afraid to walk away if something doesn’t seem right.

Since I left the hotel in a hurry that morning, I needed to take the evening off to bounce back from my rushed morning.  I caught dinner with a group of friends – including Jeff x 3 (Jeff Blankenburg, Jeff Fansler, and Jeff McWherter) and a few others – at The Terminal Brewhouse.  Pizza π Rolls and Mr. Frog’s Super Happy Fun Journey are both very tasty appetizers.

It was also great that Jeff McWherter brought some of his Gravity Works Design & Development employees with him to devLINK.  I really enjoyed hanging out with them!

After dinner, I spent some of the evening hanging out with friends and the rest just resting.  It’s been a great event so far, and I’m already eager to see what devLINK 2012 will have in store for us!

devLINK 2011 Recap – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 2

After spending time with friends yesterday, I needed to take the morning off to catch up on my talks.  After reading my abstracts, I realized that my first presentation wasn’t setup right – it was more setup for a .NET developer user group and not purely intro level.  I reworked that talk to be purely intro level, in hopes that it’d be well-received.  I ran through both talks to make sure that they’d be fine for Thursday morning.  After catching lunch with one of my friends named Jeff, I made my way to the convention center.

Now I noticed on the devLINK site that there was something about the FREE Electric Shuttle through downtown.  Riding it reminded me of my days of riding the local buses here in Cleveland long ago.  It was nice to walk right across the driveway to catch the shuttle and take it to the convention center.

Once at the convention center, I figured out the lay of the land, visited with some of the sponsors including checking out the ComponentOne booth, and headed into a couple sessions.  The first session I caught was “Making (More) Money with Phone 7” by Russell Fustino of GrapeCity.  I enjoyed seeing some tips and tricks for marketing apps on the Windows Phone marketplace – including tips for trial apps, globalization, and other ways to get your app noticed. I was really excited to see the  Runtime Intelligence Service instrumentation in action – some of my friends are at PreEmptive Solutions, which is around the corner from me in Cleveland. The second session I caught was “Managing the mentoring process”, facilitated by Randy Walker.  It was a great discussion with those attending the session on mentoring versus teaching versus managing and what our experiences have taught us.  I really enjoyed this discussion.

At the end of the day, a group of friends stopped for dinner before catching some of the attendee party at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel.  We ended up at Urban Stack – which specializes in burgers.  The Italian burger with sweet potato fries was messy, yet delicious.   Afterwards, I spent some time winding down by playing games with some of my friends.  Overall, it’s been a fun experience so far.

devLINK 2011 Recap – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 1

While planning for devLINK this year, I figured that I’d get there a day early to meet up with friends for lunch, maybe catch a summit in the afternoon, and then head to the VIP dinner on Tuesday. Well some of that happened and some didn’t – for me, meeting up with friends started with meeting up with Kevin Griffin in Atlanta, before our flight from ATL to CHA. We had breakfast before our flight and then, once settled into the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, we met up with friends and headed to The Terminal Brewhouse for lunch.

After catching lunch with friends, a group of us met up and played Killer Bunnies in the hotel lobby. There ended up not being a summit this devLINK, so we just hung out instead. Eventually, we moved on to the VIP dinner at Blue Orleans. It was great to discover that one of the guys I worked with in college – Travis Smith – was also speaking at devLINK – great chance to catch up with him. If there’s something this day showed me, it’s that Chattanooga has food places to find and enjoy and that this week will involve good times with friends.

Starting a New Chapter in my Career…

753,120 minutes… 753,120 moments so dear
753,120 minutes… how do you measure, measure a career?

Today marks my 4 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days anniversary at OverDrive, Inc.  This is the longest I’ve been at any company, and it will hold that record for at least another 4 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days.  That’s because today also marks my last day there.

Growing as a Developer

In my time at OverDrive, I’ve really grown as a developer. This was where I honed my C# developing chops and really started understanding my architectural and user experience points of view. I also had the privilege of working with some of Cleveland’s most talented developers. It was great pair programming with some, sharing lunch’n’learns with some, and just working with all of them. Not only did I work with great developers, but I really enjoyed working with everyone in the company as a whole. OverDrive staffers are friendly, knowledgeable, and fun to work with.

It was a great place for me to go 4 years ago. I escaped the brick wall of no growth and found a home in a company that let me explore technology and put it to use. Each project was a learning experience, and each of those experiences have helped me to become the person that I am today.

However, in those 4 years, I uncovered my passion for technology and let it run. I’ve gotten involved in various developer communities, speaking at events – including user groups and a national conference, and have found how to channel that passion for the good. I’ve found that I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and helping others out when I can. However, an 8-to-5 job has been getting in the way of me putting my technology to use for the greater good. So it’s time for me to move on.

Finding Growth as a Business Owner

I’ve always had the dream of owning my own business. However, I’ve never had the time to do it. Then I realize something… if I want it to happen, I have to make the time to make it happen.

Now I’ve had friends ask me… “Why not Sadukie LLC?” or “Why not make Sarahwares Productions official?”. While I’m known as “Sadukie” everywhere, it just doesn’t sound professional. As for “Sarahwares Productions”, it’s another site of mine that’s for side projects, but again, it really doesn’t sound professional. When forming my own business, I wanted a professional sounding name. However, I had struggled a bit coming up with a name. Special thanks to my awesome husband Kevin, I now have Cleveland Tech Consulting, LLC.

So if you hear about Cleveland Tech Consulting, LLC, now you know who’s behind it. I hope to be doing business with many of you in the future!

1569 days * 8 hours per day * 60 minutes per hour

Zune Software SUX… Again

I’ve recently become the owner of a Dell Latitude E6520, and while reinstalling my software, I figured I’d get my Zune software installed so that my Zune HD could sync up with this laptop. And boy did I see one of my favorite “undocumented features” of the Zune software – barfing on playlists and throwing a lot of multiple copies, like this (click on the image for a larger, clearer picture):

Zune Fails at Playlists

So now… in addition to adding all of my music/videos/pictures libraries, I now have to clean up Zune software’s playlist crud. Really?!?

As much as I like the Zune hardware, I think it’s time for me to look at other portable audio/video devices. Their software leaves A LOT to be desired.

Cleveland GiveCamp 2011 – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 3 – This One Time At GiveCamp…

This past weekend, I saw how my project managing skills would fare at Cleveland GiveCamp.  First of all, if you aren’t familiar with GiveCamp, check out GiveCamp.org for a basic explanation.  Now for a basic overview of Cleveland GiveCamp, check out this post from Bob at Simplex-IT or even this video made by my favorite IT guy (my husband!):

As I mentioned, I had to manage 2 projects this year – a new website for ASL Advocates and a revamped website for the American Indian Education Center.  In both cases, our clients wanted sites that were easy to maintain.

I have to give a shoutout to my teams – they were awesome.  I got my team assignments on Friday night, and after giving them the notecards I made based on my discussions with the non-profits, I found them to be strong, self-organizing teams.  I walked away for the first standup, and when I got back, I found out that one team had relocated and the other was fine where they were.

Team ASL Advocates included Aoirthoir an Broc, Dave Shah, and Matthew Fousek.  Team American Indian Education Center included Kevin Solorio, Dan Schultz, Marco F Sanchez Chaires, and Gabe Keith.  Both of these teams were great to look after, as I really didn’t have a lot of heavy lifting for either team.  This allowed me to help Team AHRC with their Dreamhost DNS issues and Team Cleveland Rape Crisis Center with their SQL Server issues.  I also got to meet Adam Ryder, one of the GravityWorks guys who really enjoys GiveCamps.  He came in from Lansing, and this was his third GiveCamp this year.

I am very proud of my teams and their work.  Dave and Matt went out to take pictures of A-S-L being signed.  Matt’s hands really brought some life to the ASL Advocates logo on their page.  Gabe really rocked out his designer skills on the AIEC page and even had his daughter – a mini-designer – follow him out one day.  It was great to have a designer on at least one of the teams.

So without further ado, here are my teams’ pages:

ASL Advocates: http://asladvocates.org

American Indian Education Center: http://americanindianeducationcenter.org

I have to also give a shoutout to Kate Hawk and Pat Wolansky at Cinecraft.  They wanted to get involved with GiveCamp and help somehow.  They donated their video talents to one non-profit this year, and ASL Advocates happened to be the beneficiary of that.  They worked on a super short timeline… talked with ASL on Thursday, met at their offices Friday, shot the segment Saturday, and then video edited and had a video ready for us by early Sunday afternoon.  In the GiveCamps I’ve been to in the past, I’ve never seen a donation as awesome as this.  Kate and Pat were a pleasure to work with, and I would highly recommend doing business with them in the future.  You can see their promotional video here:

And to Sherrie Z. of Kiddie City Euclid – one of our 2010 Cleveland GiveCamp projects – thank you for coming out to help in the kitchen and help with snacks.  It’s always good to see when our non-profits come back to help.  This is truly what a community is about – offering our skills to help each other succeed and make it in the world.  Thank you!

Words can’t explain how awesome Cleveland’s community is for stepping up to help 22 non-profits over the weekend.  From organizers to sponsors to staff and volunteers, this event couldn’t have happened without everyone’s involvement.  This year’s Cleveland GiveCamp is yet another reason why Cleveland rocks!

Special thanks to the places that gave us a home this weekend – LeanDog and Burke Lakefront Airport!  Without you guys, we wouldn’t have such great “home”s during Cleveland GiveCamp.  And what other GiveCamp can make the claim of taking place both on a boat and at an airport?  None other than Cleveland!  Again… more reasons why Cleveland rocks!

This one time, at GiveCamp, I really had a lot of fun meeting new friends and seeing old friends.  I am overwhelmed by how supportive Cleveland is of its non-profit community and just who made an impact.