BorCon, install hell, and BorCon

published: Thu, 30-Oct-2003   |   updated: Thu, 27-Oct-2005
Turnstone's open space

I've had a hectic life recently, which explains the dearth of programming articles and general news.

At work, amongst other things, I've been preparing for my talk at BorCon, the Borland Conference, in San Jose next week (1-Nov to 5-Nov inclusive). I'm doing a talk on the new language features in C# on Tuesday at 5:00pm. Those of you who haven't been to the massive PDC this week and seen Anders do the same talk will see me make essentially the same presentation but with a different demo! Yes, there has been no expense spared, I tell you. So I've been slaving over a hot keyboard to show you how code looks now and how it will look in the not so distant future.

I also (finally) bought myself a 60Gb hard disk for my faithful Dell Inspiron 8000. I can assure you that I know Dell are selling a new wide-screen version, but to be honest I can't afford it. After tweaking our finances in Money ad nauseam, I've come to the conclusion that I'm pretty broke, and so a $240 disk is going to be easier to swallow than a $3000 computer. Even though it would have been faster, has a beautiful screen, etc.

Now that I have some room to spare on my hard drive, I partitioned it so that I can boot into a test system instead of my main system. The reason for this is that testing Whidbey (the next version of Visual Studio) can be a pain in the proverbials. You see, the uninstall doesn't work properly. Some bit of the .NET Framework 2.0 that's in development always seems to be left behind and when you try a new install the later build, boom, something dies. Hence, the only way around it is to reinstall Windows XP, and then the build du jour of Whidbey (and, believe me, there is a new build chaque jour. No, I don't reinstall every day, about once a fortnight, on average.

And, yes, it's true, I'm becoming a whizz at installing the operating system. Actually at Microsoft, it's pretty easy. You boot onto the network (a boot option I've never used before) and use a install server to install the OS onto your machine. You don't mess around installing a bunch of crap either, since it'll be wiped in two weeks or less. Lean and mean. Just the OS, all the security updates, our corporate virus checker, and then Whidbey. About a morning's worth.

I also have a confession to make: I managed to get infected with two (yes, two!) of the MSBLAST variants earlier on this week. Essentially I was too slow at installing the patches (as in, about half an hour too slow). The network kicked me off, until I'd fixed it. Luckily, removing the worms wasn't too hard, but it was weird, I felt so unclean and angry.

Every time I install two operating systems onto one machine I wish I'd read the manual. It was the same two odd years ago when I bought my 30Gb disk for the Dell. I blazed away and, lo, one of my partitions became unbootable. I eventually had to reinstall everything last time. This time? I came real close to losing my main partition, the partition onto which I'd spent the better part of 24 hours over four days installing software. After much gnashing of teeth, some dampness in the eyes, and the inordinate desire to throw something at my LCD screen, I managed to fix it. Phew.

So, I have a demo partition for the talk, loaded with Whidbey, my cool demo app, and PowerPoint 2003. Although the demo app needs more love and attention, I'm ready. If you want to see generics, anonymous methods, iterators in action and not having seen the PDC talk this week, come by next Tuesday and be blown away. This stuff is fabulous.