The blog of Eric Sibly; focusing on mountain biking, .NET development for the Desktop, Smartphone and PocketPC.

Monday, May 30, 2005


I just noticed today in trying to fix a problem that with .NET 2.0 we have the XmlWriter.Create method that is the new and preferred mechanism for creating XmlWriter instances.

There is also a new XmlWriterSettings class to specify which features to implement in the created XmlWriter. So what does this mean; basically, use this instead of creating the likes of an XmlTextWriter directly.

Would have been nice if there was a compiler warning/info message to say that there is a new and improved method – or do Microsoft expect us to re-read the entire MSDN documentation with each release to ensure we are up to speed with all the little subtle changes?

As predicted – Crusaders win...

As previously predicted the Crusaders beat the Waratahs this weekend 35-25 in the Super 12 final – yay for the NZ team :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Not much of a holiday...

On Tuesday last week my parents flew over to Brisbane from NZ to stay with some friends and to visit us. As it turns out my Dad had some problems last Wednesday with his heart and went into the hospital for a check up, and he has not been out since. He previously had a triple bypass a few years ago and things had been going pretty well, now it looks like he may need a defibrillator. Some further tests are required and then the final decision made; so fingers crossed all goes well for my Dad. At least it happened in Brisbane so we are around to help, as it would suck for this to happen when holidaying in a foreign country and you have no family or friends for support.

Monday, May 23, 2005

My wife is conversational putty...

What the? Yes, conversational putty – you read correctly! It is self-confessed. My wife is a very chatty out-going and funny person, and during a discussion the other day she informed us of this title for someone who is good at filling in the awkward silences, "gaps", within a conversation – hence, conversational putty :-)

I have discovered a further reference to this title, in slightly different context, here.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Star Wars: Episode III

On Wednesday, we had a company quarterly meeting in Canberra for all the software developers – it was actually pretty good, always good to catch up with everyone you don’t see very often. Had a number of presentations, the worst being a session from a Microsoft dude (name removed so as to not embarrass) on VS 2005 – he must have thought we were idiots. So if you click this, wow look it changes here – “hello, we professional software developers, we have read MSDN, we have downloaded the beta’s – give me a break!”

After that we went go-karting for a couple of hours – it rocked! I just love blasting around a track in a little car as fast as I can, bumping into those who get in your way (sorry MadDog - not!) – what a rush! Then we went onto a dinner at a pizza joint where the food was pretty average and the beer was great. Then someone had the brilliant idea, "let’s going see the opening of Star Wars Episode III tonight (12:10am)" - it seemed such a great idea after a few beers! Not so brilliant going to bed at 3:30am however with work the next day?

So how was the final chapter of Star Wars – not bad, but not great. It was better than the first two, some of the effects were good, some of the acting and dialogue dismal – but still enjoyable. Check this out for a full on review – not quite sure I agree with it all ;-)

Other highlights, funny seeing the uber Star Wars geeks dressed in the full gear enjoying their moment – haha! I see Darth Vader also has a blog – great to see!

This is how I rate the series (stars out of five), ordered my best to worst:

Epsiode V *****
Episode IV *****
Episode VI ****
Episode III ***
Episode II **
Episode I *

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone...

Here is a good writeup on the Windows Mobile 5.0 for the Smartphone. The frustrating part of being a software developer in an ever increasing world of technological change is the challenge of keeping pace; every time a new device or underlying software changes it means going out and purchasing the necessary device etc. to be able to play with it. I am ok with doing this; it is just that the on-going cost is becoming prohibitive :-(

For the Smartphone I am on to my second device within the space of a year (i-mate SP2 and SP3i) – and it seems these won’t be upgradeable – so a new device will need to be purchased to be able to enjoy Windows Mobile 5.0 :-(

I think I will wait a little longer this time until the right device comes along as I am really happy with the SP3i – it would be perfect for me if it had an FM radio like my old Nokia. So, until a new device comes out that has an integrated FM radio and at least a 2.0MP camera – I will not upgrade! I wonder how long I will have to wait?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Hurricanes, Hurricanes...

Go the mighty Hurricanes! Whew, they have just made it into the semi-finals of the 2005 Super 12, finishing fourth on the table. They are the second of the New Zealand teams with the Crusaders qualifying first, followed by Waratahs (Australia) and the Bulls (South Africa). So it will be 1 plays 4 and 2 plays 3 in the semis, so the two NZ teams will battle it out next week. I don't hold out too much hope for the Hurricanes as the Crusaders are a real class unit.

Next year the competition will be expanded and will become the Super 14, with a new team added from Australia and South Africa respectively. My concerns with this are related to whether this will mean for these coutries that their talent will be spread a little too thin - especially South Africa, as their other 3 teams were all in the bottom 4!

My pick for the finals will be Crusaders vs. Waratahs, with the Crusaders winning the final.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

He shoots, he scores...

Caleb, my youngest (age 5), scored his very first goal at soccer today - yay! I was so proud :-) Man, I just love watching under 6 soccer - it rocks! If I were to write this up for a local newspaper I think I would go something like this:

"Bardon Latrobe White defeated Bardon Latrobe Blue in an intensely fought battle that ended with a 1-0 result this morning. Caleb Sibly scored the only goal at the 10 minute mark after he tackled an opposition player near the halfway line, sprinting away from the opposing defenders, up the field showing great pace and flair. His shot from just outside of the 'D' scorched past the goal keeper, deflecting off the left hand post into the goal. Members of the press were likening his efforts to a young David Beckham."

So that is 3 wins, 1 draw and a loss so far this season; GO TEAM!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Windows Mobile 5.0

What a week, Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 is finally released. Lots of reading to be had to see what is in this new version.

Highlights for me include a lot of the new API's, especially the managed versions - to enable an application to better integrate with the standard phone, camera, media and PIM functions. The new ARM emulator will provide a better runtime and debugging experience which will mean that applications will work exactly the same on the device and within the emulator - no more weird behaviour between the two.

I have downloaded the SDK to install at some stage - just need to find a chunk of time to play. (Note: VS 2005 Beta 2 is a pre-requisite). Enjoy :-)

Situational Leadership...

This past week, well Monday to Wednesday, I was on a management training course titled Situational Leadership. I had done this course a couple of years ago and just didn't get - didn't see the relevance – possibly due to irrelevant case studies and poor instruction. However, this time around it was a vast/huge improvement; the content and workshopping was a lot more relevant to our organisation, the instructor was excellent, and we had a fantastic group involved.

So what is Situational Leadership; here is my summary of what I learned:

  • Democratic versus Autocratic – there is an appropriate time and place for each, the situation must be accessed and the correct style used.
  • Assessment of a follower’s readiness is to be job/task specific and can be different depending on the task. It is measured by their ability and willingness. There are then 4 readiness cues:
    - Unable/Unwilling
    - Unable/Willing
    - Able/Unwilling
    - Able/Willing
  • The leader after accessing the readiness must adopt an appropriate leadership style, with each corresponding to the respective readiness above:
    - Telling (directive)
    - Selling (directive)
    - Participating (supportive)
    - Delegating (supportive)

The was also some stuff on active listening and conflict resolution.

On the Thursday we had a session with our lawyers who went through the legal side of management, what can and can not be said, performance management, OHS, bullying, and other managerial responsibilities under the law – some very scary in that a manager can be found liable and fined independent of the organisation.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable and informative 4 days.

Mr. Sketch stinks... a really nice way. It was funny I was on this leadership course (which I'll blog about later) and they had these markers, which had a smell associated with each of the colors. It was funny seeing all these senior IT nerds smelling all the markers, then handing them around and discussing which was the best - there were also the guys you were just too mature for this sort of thing and made fun of us - ah well!

Then today, I am catching up on reading my blogs and coincidently there is someone else having the very same experience :-)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Beware the killer sheep...

"Only a New Zealand filmmaker could come up with a story that turns the cute and cuddly into the evil and menacing," Icon Australia chief executive Mark Gooder said. Follow this link for more information.