My wife is the best...

My wife is simply the most wonderful creature on the planet, and not just because I got an 80GB Video iPod for Christmas. :)I am not exactly the easiest person to buy for.  I enjoy my gadgets, but I tend to supply myself with those on a regular basis.  As such knowing just what to get me is very difficult.  Recently I've been all torn up about what I wanted to do for a MP3 player, either an iPod or a Zune.I love the concept behind the Zune, but despite the great potential of the hardware, the software for it just doesn't give me what I want.  Wifi integrated, great!  Download podcasts on the fly? Nope.  Organize podcasts differently than music? Nope.  Audible support? Nope.The last of those, support, was in the end the deal breaker on Zune. is the best source for Audiobooks on the web and they have fabulous support across all sorts of MP3 players for their codecs and DRM scheme.  Apple of course works very well with them, but the Zune doesn't.  Why? Got me, my PocketPC can play Audible books, it can even download them directly using the data link.  But Zune can't even play them.I've had the iPod for about 24 hours and I can say, I am beginning to understand what all the fuss is about.  First of all it feels more solid and well manufactured than any device I've ever owned.  The user interface is well organized and intuitive.  And then there are the little things, like how it auto-pauses when the headphones are unplugged.  How it came fully charged and ready to run.  And the fabulous iTunes Store which has tons of free podcasts listed, including several I've never heard of before despite being an avid listener of them.So consider this post my thumbs up for the iPod and yet another thank you to my beautiful wife for getting me such a great gift.

Dallas .NET User Group Presentation - Black Belt XML

I had the privilege tonight to speak at the Dallas .NET User Group.  While December meetings are normally lightly attended, we had a good crowd who was very engaged on the subject matter.  The talk reviewed XML namespaces, XPath syntax, and closed with a review of the XmlReader object in the .NET Framework.The slides and code samples can be found here. I appreciate everyone giving me some of their time and I hope you learned something.

What a crazy month!

So what does it take to get me from blogging every day to not blogging for a month?  Quite alot actually! Major Product Release : What started it all without a doubt was the release at the end of October of a major update to my client's software.  It meant alot of crazy hours to make that happen. Problems with the Release : This was followed on by a wide variety of problems with the production release, some related to code, many more related to humans.  That resulted in 50-60 hours weeks for a month. Trip to South Dakota : I had the pleasure to visit a client's site in South Dakota and give 3 days of training on Service Oriented Architecture to some very bright folks.  The trip went well but preparing my slides for that and then presenting those at the client's site took yet more time. All that said I'm back and will be posting much more regularly.  There are some major problems with the CustomFunctoids that need to be addressed thanks to a commenter for pointing that out.  There is work to be done on the BizTalk Users Group and more.