Hurry up and Wait!

Don’t you hate that? Playing the hurry up and wait game?  I do.  It seems like the story of my life sometimes :), but alas sometimes there is nothing you can do about it.

For instance, over the past few years, I’ve become extremely dependent on Multi-Mon.  At my previous employers, I had a 3 monitor multimon setup.

On my left monitor, I ran an instance of IE 7 with multiple tabs pointing to an instance of virtual server down in the lab with my VM’s, separate TABS with those instances if needed…etc.  It was basically dedicated to IE. :).  An extremely cheap video card, and some leftover CRT monitor that someone didn’t want was used here.

On my center monitor was Outlook, the necessary but evil support tools, 20 IM sessions going on, and my task bar, and maybe a terminal server session to someone else’s box where I was assisting them with some kind of SharePoint support issue.  This was generally an LCD monitor connected to the machines primary video card.  But of course I ran Windows Server 2003 on this box for running SharePoint here as well, so I could never get decent drivers for the monitor to get it to work “Right”, so it was sort of a set back.

On my right monitor, ran a terminal service connection to my dev box, where  I would constantly be going back and forth updating code on whatever tool I was working on, or testing code snippets to try to diagnose a problem.  Again here, an extremely cheap video card, and some leftover CRT monitor that someone didn’t want was used here.

I loved this setup, and actually wish I had a couple more monitors 🙂  I mean, I did need one for north and south. :).

At home, I only have two monitors right now, but this was fine for what I was using it for.  I.e., custom Audio/Video editing etc.  I used the left monitor for email, etc, etc.  The center monitor for Sonar, Vegas, etc.  Sometimes I would switch the use of each around, just for fun :).  I would usually hook up a DV device or a NTSC monitor on the right for previewing.

I used an ATI Radeon 9800 all in wonder pro for my primary monitor (The one center), and I had a pretty standard ATI card for the right monitor (It’s wasn’t a 9800, and that plays an important note here in a minute).

Before Vista RTM’ d, I was able to run multi-mon on this setup, albeit without Aero.  I really didn’t care about Aero in my multimon setup though.   I figured if I wanted to wizbang someone with cool extensive Vista prettiness, I could…but quite honestly, just didn’t see a big need for it.  Once Vista RTM’ d, like a good citizen, I purchased my copy of Ultimate.  Put it on, and guess what.  I can no longer run multimon at all.  In fact, the secondary ATI card I had can’t even be enabled. 

DO WHAT????

Yep, apparently you can’t even run multimon unless the cards are running the same driver model. 

See http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/display/multimonVista.mspx

Well, I knew I was going to be dual booting for a while anyway’s, as I can’t afford and I have to wait for all my A/V software to be updated with Vista compatible versions, but I had planned on using Vista as my “Non AV” instance to 1) Continue getting familiar with it and 2) Enhanced security.

I put Office 2007 Ultimate (Activated) on my Vista partition, and use it primarily for “Work” as needed, email etc.  But the lack of the secondary monitor is killing me.   My 9800 All in wonder is an AGP, and trying to find a PCI 9800 these days for a decent cost is troublesome.  I don’t want to spend a fortune on a second card just to get the 9800 chipset, just to get my dual mon back, so I’m still debating.  I’m not at home right this moment, but the exact chipset used in my secondary card, turns out to be a chipset that ATI is no longer going to support, nor will their be WDDM drivers released for it.

Also, I spent a huge chunk of money last year on a very recent model HP color laser printer.  Guess what, they’ve yet to release updated drivers for it.  Of course I can still print to it, but of all the flood of stupid auxiliary software that some devices manufacturers want you to install, the HP software for this puppy was actually pretty groovy, and worth installing.

Obviously I know it takes time for all vendors to get things updated for a new OS, I’ve been down this path many, many times…but it just blows me away, that some of the leading manufacturers are seemingly behind in the game, especially with some pretty popular hardware.

Oh well, I really don’t have a choice but to wait.  I’ve hurried up, now I have to wait.

I’ve also got some great blog posts I want to make in regards to SharePoint, describing some VERY interesting Security scenarios that can bite you in the butt if you’re not careful.  (No, I don’t mean Security Holes, just things to take into consideration when rolling out you SharePoint Groups, use of Domain Groups/User Accounts, FBA Groups/Accounts, etc), as well as some weird funky OM behavior…but I’m going to have to wait for the time :).

Not to mention tons of things that I’m having to wait for :).

What do I do, when the hurry up and wait game is weighing on me?  I take a moment and listen to one of my all time favorite CD’s, Pacific Coast Highway by Christopher Franke.  And probably my two favorite tracks on this release are Crystal Tree followed by Purple Waves.

Ok, I’m done complaining..I think my code synch is done, and I have to return to work :).

– Keith

Administrivia – But I found my life again!

Yes, I did see a previous internal company blog posting with a similar title, but it is very fitting to what I’m currently doing, and where I’m at since starting Life 2.0.  Therefore, I “borrow” the title for my own Administrivia posting :).

Since coming on board to Barracuda Tools, I’ve been heads down porting DeliverPoint for an initial release for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and MOSS 2007 and have not come up for air all that often.   Starting last week however, I was finally able to get to the point where I feel my “Normal” daily routine will be at, and let me tell you how great a feeling it is.

My “Work” day begins pretty much when I get up in the mornings (Some days 5/6AM, someday’s a bit later).  After I’ve taken care of the necessary details and have had my first full cup of coffee, I immediately fire up my dev images and being working like a little beaver.  I generally stay in hard core coding mode till about 4PM (That is starting last week…before then, it was pretty late into the evenings almost every single evening).  At which point, I start phasing myself out.

What I mean by phasing myself out, is that I try to make sure I’ve got what ever major goal I needed to accomplish for the day taken care of; code checked in; any major internal emails made, etc so that at 4PM I’m basically “Done” with my “Day Job” for the day.  I then turn my focus to any household or honey do items I need to take care of, and “Monitor” work email and IM till about 6PM.   Sometimes I get my household chores done pretty quick, sometimes not, and sometimes I get involved in a work email thread or IM conversation for more than about 10 minutes or so, but the point is that after 4PM, I’m technically “Done” and the time between 4PM-6PM is really just tying any loose ends for anyone that may still be around.  I usually accomplish 1 major honey do item as well each day, but generally right at 6PM, I walk out of my home office, shut the door, and only go back in if I’m going to do something in regards to Music, or just fun personal projects etc.

Since I started doing this, I can’t express how much better its made me feel. 

Till 4PM It’s total work mode, and I would say on average I’ll still get roughly over 50 high quality work hours in each week.  (Yeah, there’s the occasional run out and perform a small errand during mid day or something, but I usually don’t take a “Lunch” break, and just eat as I work). 

The 4-6PM phase out is something I have to do…I’ve always found it very hard for me to “Disengage” from work, and actually “Enjoy” life outside of work.  Some days I can see an immediate phase out right at 4PM, some days it might be 6PM, but the point is, that my primary work day ends at roughly 4PM and I start to de-stress and think about things other than work during this time.  At 6PM for sure, I’m not even really thinking about work, or bogging myself down with what I need to get done, etc.

From 6PM thereon, I’m completely at the beck and call of my family.  I’m so disengaged from work and focused on my family at this point of time.  I’ve been able to take care of the little things that need to be taken care of at the house during my Phase Out time, that there isn’t much for me to do, but have dinner with the family; then relax; play with my 3 year old; take care of an errand for my wife; or whatever.  For the first time since I can remember, I’ve been at total peace with myself; relaxed; and thoroughly enjoying re-connecting with my family.  I have not been able to do this for a very; very; very long time.  I’ve finally found my work/life balance.

Now, mind you there will be days, in fact like today, where I don’t finish up at 4PM right on the dot.  In fact, I’ve been spending all day today with Administrivia, and due to a video driver glitch while rebuilding my laptop, it’s taken a bit longer today to get what I needed to accomplish done, but when things like this occur…I just open the door to my office to signal to my family that I can be disturbed.  Most of my administriva for today is a lot of hurry up and wait actions (Installs) so it’s no big deal, but by 6PM today, I guarantee that I will be walking out and won’t see it again till in the morning.

In this field, it’s pretty much impossible to not put in more than 40 hours a week doing your day job, and additional hours doing community type work, but it’s certainly possible to have a life outside of everything else too.  I thoughoughly enjoy what I do and with development against SharePoint.  Sometimes I just have way too much fun working into the evening on this cool new feature, but you also have to learn how to have fun outside of work.   I plan on learning how to have fun doing the following:

  1. I’ve got an XBOX 360 sitting upstairs that’s been basically collecting dust and I think I’m actually going to find some time to actually play it now these days :).
  2. I’m going to get caught up on “The Office“, and a couple other of my favorite shows. (I always watch BSG on Sunday evenings, no worries there :))
  3. I’m going to sit out on the front porch and watch the sunset often.
  4. I’m going to take my kid to the Park, and relax and not think about my troubles.

I’ve found my life, and I don’t plan on loosing it again.

– Keith Richie

SPPurgeList on CodePlex – Purging a SharePoint list of all items and folders

I previously mentioned and linked to sample code for

Purging a SharePoint list of all items and folders

I have since released this on CodePlex in the form of a built tool with documentation and source, and it is now published at

http://www.codeplex.com/sppurgelist

I had seen many requests for something like this on the microsoft.public.sharepoint.development_and_programming newsgroup. I could see a need for something simple to accomplish this, thus…here ya go J.

Allows you to purge the contents from any list or document library on WSS 2.0/SPS2003 or WSS 3.0/MOSS 2007.

If you need to retain a list/document library itself (Maintaining its original GUID) without completely deleting the entire list/document library and re-creating, this tool can help.

You could certainly use Web Folders (WebDAV) to clear the contents, but users stand the chance of accidentally deleting the contents of the forms folder which is not desirable. As well, you could script and automate the task using this tool if you desired.

Enjoy! and HTH!

– Keith Richie