SQL Spatial with Virtual Earth talk – now includes 2 meetings in Hobart

BronwenWeeGo.jpgI blogged about a bit of a roadtrip of SQL User Groups for a presentation of SQL Spatial.  We’ve now added a second Hobart session to the list – Hobart .Net Usergroup. 

The blurb for our talk is:

SQL Spatial with Virtual Earth

In this visually interactive talk we explore the new spatial data types, functions and indexes directly related to the real world using the interactive browser based Virtual Earth control. We focus on the new Geography data type providing an overview of the new functionality as directly applied to mapping. This includes the storage of points, polylines and polygons as well as real world tasks like effective rendering to the map, geofencing and proximity searches. We explore the power of union and buffering. Finally we examine the new index specifically built for fast spatial lookup.

The talk will inform, teach and demonstrate. You will understand what this new functionality is all about, what data types and functions are needed, how they operate and how to add an effective spatial index to your project.

So the revised schedule is:

  • 9 January – Canberra
  • 10 January – Adelaide
  • 15 January – Melbourne
  • 29 January – Hobart
  • 29 January – Hobart .Net UserGroup – Wrest Point Hotel Casino
  • 12 February – Sydney
  • 14 February – Perth 
  • 20 March – Gold Coast .Net UserGroup  – Bond University, Theatre 3 (Building 6 Level 3 Room 29, BLD06_3_29).
  • 27 March – Brisbane

Soul Solutions – a year in review

BronwenWeeGo.jpgBeing the last day of the year, always a good time to review what we’ve done this year.  It’s been a big year and it has gone way too quickly.  Here’s a quick review of our year:

January – Saw the launch of Look up and Smile for Australia Day



We took some time off in Thailand, looked after some elephants, did some trekking and learned to cook



  • Bronwen is a guesteditor on Tech Talk Blogs.
  • We built a demo that was presented as part of the keynote at the World Wide Partner Conference.
  • We went and vistied some clients and friends in the UK






ViaWindowsLive – 2007 summary

BronwenWeeGo.jpgBeing the last day of 2007 and all, I thought I’d do a recap on the ViaWindowsLive community site.  Since we launched the Beta site on September 7, we’ve had 27 articles sumbitted by you..keep them coming.

Article Contributions

  • John O’Brien (7)
  • Bronwen Zande (4)
  • Derek Chan (3)
  • Daniel Wissa (2)
  • Vasudev Gurumurthy (2)
  • Beth Massi (1)
  • Robert McGrath(1)
  • Gfw (1)
  • Brian Peek (1)
  • Darren Neimke (1)
  • Marco Anastasi (1)
  • Mike McDougall (1)
  • Johannes Kebek (1)
  • Scott Lovegrove (1)

Top Content

  1. www.viawindowslive.com
  2. www.viawindowslive.com/VirtualEarth.aspx
  3. www.viawindowslive.com/Articles/VirtualEarth.aspx
  4. www.viawindowslive.com/Messenger.aspx
  5. www.viawindowslive.com/Blog.aspx

Top Articles

  1. Getting Started with VE 6
  2. What’s new in VE 6
  3. Messenger IM Control & Presence
  4. Clustering Virtual Earth 6
  5. Setting up Custom Domains for your Email

Top Traffic Sources

  1. google.com
  2. viavirtualearth.com
  3. forums.microsoft.com
  4. live.com
  5. blogs.msdn.com

Top Keyword searches

  1. virtual earth
  2. live spaces
  3. live id
  4. silverlight streaming account
  5. via windows live

Visitor Countries

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. India

Reseeding autonumber columns in SQL Server

BronwenWeeGo.jpgHere’s one I always have to look up. You’ve cleared out all the data in your tables and you want to set the autoid back to the beginning…or you want to start it at a particular number. DBCC CHECKIDENT is the command for you.


command signature: DBCC CHECKIDENT(table_name, RESEED, new_value)
usage: DBCC CHECKIDENT(Customers, RESEED, 0)

Using CutePDF to save some trees

BronwenWeeGo.jpgWhile helping out on a project, I ran a few unit tests.  When it ran, my collegue remarked, “There’s the letter coming out of the printer now”. I was a bit surprised and asked if there was a config setting to prevent it from printing everytime i ran the tests.  Unfortunaly no was the answer.

So in an effort to not kill as many trees I downloaded CUTEPDF which is a program that allows you to use it as a printer but saves the output to a pdf file.  I changed all the printer references in the tests to point to the newly installed “printer” and whoolaa…no more trees being kill, and tests still run fine.

There’s a few other programs out there that are similar, I’ve used CutePDF a few times now when i’m doing development and process testing.  I find it great when your building reports/generating files that need to be printed but you don’t actually want to waste paper until you think you have it “just right”.

Maybank – Live Agent

BronwenWeeGo.jpgCame across “Agent M” today on this blog.  “Agent M” is a Windows Live Agent to help it’s banking customers with enquiries, faqs etc.  If you want to have a play with it just add m.m2u@maybank.com.my to you Live Messenger friends list and start asking questions etc.

I love seeing new examples of agets.  I’ve played with smarterchild and encarta for a few years now..they can be very addictive…and earlier this year wrote a Live Agent for a demo.  Improving and extending the words/phrases/questions etc. can be very addictive.

Unit for Rent – Auchenflower, Brisbane, Australia

BronwenWeeGo.jpgOur unit will be vacant soon..so we went in search of a realestate agent that does LET ONLY.  Let me tell you it was SO hard to find.  All seem to only do with property management.  After calling about a dozen agents I found 1 that would do it!  Pretty amazing hey?

Renovated 2brm Unit close to transport and shops


This 2 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom unit with 1 carspace and offstreet parking is close to public transport and Rosalie shops.

This renovated unit features combined lounge/dining with airconditioning, bathroom with a shower and clothes dryer, kitchen has gas stove and dishwasher, bedrooms with built-ins, security bars on all windows, and undercover car parking.

Available 28/01/2008

  • Built-In Wardrobes
  • Renovated
  • dryer
  • dishwasher
  • Airconditioning


BronwenWeeGo.jpgAfter working at home, for ourselves, on fixed priced work for over 12 months I’m finding it difficult to work in an office again.  It’s not just feeling cut off from the world…it the change in mentality.

In an environment where everything is measured in time and not deliverables your focus quickly changes. Instead of getting something finished by x date, new rules appear:
– don’t work more than 40hrs in a week
– don’t work later than 6pm
– needing to “build up hours” to leave early

So to make sure you’re fitting into these timing rules you become a clock watcher..well a minor one at least..what time did you get to work, how long for lunch, how long till i have to be out of the building, have i done enough or too many hours in the week.

So instead of people concentrating on what they need to get done and working the hours they need when they need to, they falsly structure their day around how many hours they need to do.  While I’ve been in this environment previously it’s a much more apparent shift after working when i wanted/needed to achieve a goal and not having to justify that to anyone bar myself (if i get the work done in time).  Having said that, doing a 40 hour week is pretty novel atm.

Who would you give up your seat for?

BronwenWeeGo.jpgSo in this day and age is it considered polite or an insult for a guy to give up his seat on a bus to a gal?

Now that I have temporarily rejoined the crowd of cummuters it’s interesting to watch those around you.  Most days I’m pretty lucky to get a seat..the buses are always packed.  While I stand I would never expect someone to give up their rightful seating position and offer it to me.  About once a week this offer seems to present itself..thus far I have thanked the “kind gentleman” and sat..cause hey…if he wants to stand, I’ll happily sit.

When it happens to someone else it is quite often amusing to watch the results which are either:
(a) very similar to mine and nab the seat
(b) the lady looks REALLY insulted, makes a fuss and the guy sits back down
(c) the lady looks REALLY insulted, the guy then feels stupid and refuses to sit down.  This is my favorite option..where it becomes a standoff and a matter of principal..both parties now refusing to take the seat.  Quite often the seat will go unoccupied the whole distance on a jam packed bus..quite a site….or like yesterday morning a fellow commuter ends the struggle by just taking the seat.

Personally, I only give up my seat for someone in need..ie. the old/frail, disabled/injured, or obviously pregnant.  So who do you give your seat to?

Tafiti Search Visualisation Released as QuickApp

johnWeeGo.jpgBored this Christmas and looking for something cool to play with? How about playing with some very new code that combines Silverlight and Windows Live Services. If you haven’t played with it you should:


And the big announcment today is the source code is available for you sink your teeth into:



So if you keen to see what Silverlight and Windows Live Services are all about and have a few spare hours over the break I highly recommend checking this out. I’m sure it will generate some ideas for you in 2008.

Picked up a wireless xbox 360 controller for VE3D

johnWeeGo.jpgDell has some great Christmas deals out and while looking at their catalogue I noticed they have some wireless xbox 360 controllers for windows. I had always wanted to pick one of these up and now wireless – even better!


It was dead simple to install, little peice of software on the supplied CD and then plug in the usb dongle. Instantly I can now fly around, badly mind you, in Virtual Earth 3D.

You have 3 controls, the LT and RT (trigger fingers at the front of the controller) control zooming in and out. The multidirectional pad in the top left (left thumb) pans the map while the multidirectional pad on the right (for the right thumb) controls the point of view, rotating and tilting the map. The “A” button puts everything back to north if you get a little lost. All these controls are analogue so it appears you have control over the speed as well.

It will take me a little while to get use to it but it is pretty cool to show of your latest project standing back 5m and flying around the location. No doubt you will see it in action at any VE presentations I do in the future! So if your not sure what gadget you need for Christmas pick one of these up.


C# developer in a VB.Net world

BronwenWeeGo.jpgWhat do you do when you’re a C# developer plunged into a world of VB.Net? 

The project I’m working on requires me to use VB.Net.  Which isn’t too bad most of the time but the syntax can be quite different.  My new best friend is this online converter: http://labs.developerfusion.co.uk/convert/csharp-to-vb.aspx. Put in how you’d do things in C#, hit convert and whoola..VB.Net code.  Or if you’re reading some VB.Net and what to work out what it actually does..paste it into the vb.net window and hit convert.

I’ve found this site really good so far..saved me lots of time 🙂

HDDVD Player – nothing is EVER simple

BronwenWeeGo.jpgSo I did a dash out to BestBuy when i was in Seattle and picked me up a HDDVD player.  Get it home only to discover that the US players don’t have the switch to change from 110 to 240 + the Hz is wrong..doh! 

So we do a run out to DickSmith and bought a transformer…hoping it’ll work.  It’s $100 but we can take it back if it didn’t solve our problem..only thing is .. i’d end up with a very expensive “box” if it doesn’t.

So with the transformer + major firmware update all is good YAAAYYYY!!!  So now we have blu ray and HDDVD..so can watch which ever movies we like.

Thu 6 – Sat 8 The long journey home

BronwenWeeGo.jpgKnow it’s like a week later but thought it was still worth writing about the trip home…

Got kicked out of the hotel at 2pm so wander the streets for awhile..well as long as i could stand the cold which was about an hour..so then i headed to the airport early so i’d be warm.

Obviously I get to my gate STUPIDLY early..so I find a comfy spot and read my book.  About 1/2 hour before we’re due to board our flight is delayed..so I freak that i’m going to miss my flight out of LA! The people on the desk tell me I can either choose ot get on the plane and hope to get my flight .. and if i miss it i have to look after my own accom etc. and go on standby for tomorrow as all the flights are full OR i can choose to not leave now, they pay “some” of my accomodation in seatlle and I still go on standby.  As there’s 18 of us about to miss our flights..we decide to catch the flight.

Towards the end of the flight they announce that they are taking us to our terminal and could everyone please stay seated so we can make our flights.  As soon as seatbelt sign is off, everyone gets up and jams up the front worse than normal..nice hey!

Eventually we get taken down the flight of stairs, put on a bus and driven across the airport..quite an experience..there are SO MANY planes and cars driving around the runways all the time it’s quite scary.  They let us off the bus and tell us to run up the stairs to our flight due to leave in 5 mins.  So we all bolt up the stairs and we’re at our gate (skipped immigration..yay) only to see the flight has been delayed till 1:15am!

Eventually we board about 2am, flight is chockas as the early flight was cancelled..I end up with the seat with the stupid metal box AGAIN! The have to reconfigure fuel etc due to change in passengers/weight etc.  An hour later..we take off.

Get to Sydney and have well and truly missed my connection..so I do a dash through customs about 12:30 and then they want to put me on a 3pm flight home! I enquire if there’s anything earlier as it’s not even 1pm to find out there’s a 2pm flight..after some persuading I get on that flight..yay.

The fill the plane right up..every seat taken except a few empty rows at the back..odd…so i grab a row, and lay down and crash as soon as the seat belt sign goes off.  I wake up to a thud as we land…oops..

Was so glad to be home after such a long flight..then stay awake a few hours before crashing.

Wed 5 – Exam review and buying toys

BronwenWeeGo.jpgToday was my big adventure out to Microsoft campus..started off not so well when my cabbie had no idea where to go and drove around in circles.  Lucky a nice catering lady showed us the way…otherwise i may still be driving in circles 🙂

The VE exam review was really interesting and glad I took part..though not allowed to actually say anything about it…

The place is MASSIVE! There’s shuttles running around all the time to move people between buildings..the driver of one said there were 200 drivers and 100 vehicles for the task!

The caffeteria near where i was located was very cool..big range of food and really cheap!

After it was over went and said hello to Angus..good to see a familiar face 🙂

Then it was off to Best Buy to pick me up a HD DVD player.

Had a good deal on..comes with 2 movies (300 and Bourne Identiy) + you pick 3 in-store (grabbed Transformers, Next, and Fast & Furious as there wasn’t a lot to choose from that i’d like) + you fill out a form to get another 5 on rebate from a selection list.

I must say I like the rule in Aus where they have to quote prices inclusive of GST..least you know how much the item will be.  Here you always have to wait until you get processed to know the total.

I brought my big bag so it would fit..good thing too..the box is actually quite large..lucky i didn’t bring a lot of stuff 🙂

So tomorrow I have a few things to do and then i start the long journey home…been quick and hopefully i’ll get back before my body changes timezones.

Tues 4 – Being a tourist in Seattle

BronwenWeeGo.jpgWell after yesterday’s long journey I fell asleep about 7pm only to wake up about midnight wide awake..stayed that way till about 4am when I crashed and re-work at 10am!  Dammit..missed the free brekkie and early start to the morning.

So on my one full free day I became a tourist.  First  stop, the Space Needle.

seattle 018_small.jpg

It was very overcast when i got there at about 10:30..so i wandered around and took some pics of it on a grey, cloudy background.  Didn’t bother paying the $14US to go up as peole coming down said visibility was bad.  However, just before I had to make my way back to other side of town..the sun came out, kinda.., so i manage to get a pici with some blue sky.

Next stop was the Underground Tour.  Wandered around under the sidewalk to Seattle for 90 mins.  Not lots to see so good there’s a tour guide to give you the history.

seattle 042.JPG

Lots of old bits and pieces under the streets.  Kinda creepy when you go back on what is now street level (previously woulda been Level 2) and walk on the pavement and realise underneath is hollow.  Hard to take pics with so many people and there not being lots of light.

Last stop was Pike Street Markets..my mission to find the Gum Wall.

seattle 044_small.jpg

It’s the line outside the old theatre…covered in gum.  Very cool..yet gross at the same time.

It gets dark really early so had to head back to hotel at 4ish to avoid wandering around in the dark.  Was suprised at the lack of people on the streets..was expecting to have to dodge and weave everywhere but they were only scattered along all the streets..not like trying to walk through town in Brisbane.

Be good to come back in summer and get some good shots of needle, view and maybe check out Mt Rainer.

Must set an alarm so i can get to my meeting at Microsoft tomorrow on time and not sleep in till 10!

Mon 3 – Made it to Seattle

BronwenWeeGo.jpgAfter lots of flying and waiting in airports I made it to Seattle.  Almost came without a jacket and my ipod but John was really nice and went home and back to grab it for me.

Qantas has got lounges in the gate waiting lounges now…really good when you get there early and just want to lay down before a long flight.

Had a really full flight ang got an aisle row next to the galley behind an exit row.  So it was loud, lots of people bumping me and the seat in front had this massive grey, metal box attached so i couldn’t stretch out my legs.  So glad when that flight was over…

3 hr wait to tranfer to next plane where i was struggling to keep my eyes open..hoping to not fall asleep and miss my plane.  Got lots of leg-room on the flight to Seattle and dozed in and out of consciousness the whole way.

Then cab to hotel..Pike Street Suites which is pretty nice for the $112 AUS / night..free internet, buffet breakfast etc.

Cabbie didn’t want me to use my ccard..had to be pretty forceful…he wanted cash…wonder if that’s normal?  It was the old fashionded swipe thing with carbon paper.

It’s pretty cold and raining so not sure what i’ll get up to tomorrow.

Off to Redmond for s few days – anyone around?

BronwenWeeGo.jpgI’ll be in Seattle next week as part of the review panel for the Virtual Earth exam.  I took 71-544 Virtual Earth 6.0 Developing a few weeks ago.  Last week we received an email asking if we’d be interested in being part of the final review process.  Responded with a yes assuming there was no chance seeing we’r in Australia and the meeting was a week away.  Late Friday night I heard back that I’d been accepted so ran around yesterday booking flights, accommodation etc.

So I arrive on Monday afternoon, have the review on Wednesday, fly out Thursday arvo, get home Saturday.

So if you’re in Seattle and want to catch up and say hello, let me know.