May 2009 Archives

My Current Podcasts


In the days before I worked for Teamprise, I had a 3 hour, 120 mile commute. Luckily, at that time a new thing called “podcasting” was starting to take off and so my travels were filled listening to the few podcasts that were available back then.  We are talking pretty early in the history of podcasting.  Back then Dave Winer and Adam Curry were still on talking terms.  Rory Blyth was taking over from Mark Dunn as co-host of DotNetRocks with Carl Franklin and shows would be multiple hour epics, occasionally spilling over into .NET technology but with plenty of tangential discussions.  Interestingly, I’ve actually been a DotNetRocks listener longer than I have been into podcasts.  Back when I strarted listening to the show I had to burn episodes onto a CD-R (sometimes 2) and it was listening to one of these shows that I heard Carl talking about putting the shows into an RSS feed for automatic delivery to an MP3 player.  It was then I got my first iPod and my commute was much more enjoyable.

Times have changed.  My commute has gone from 3 hours to 3 seconds, however I find I still have plenty of time in the day (when doing chores around the house, or when exercising etc) to listen to an increasing number of podcasts.  Recently, Grant Holiday tweeted to ask what podcasts people would recommend and as I couldn’t reply with them all in 140 characters I thoughts I would write this post.  Below is my list of podcasts that I am currently subscribed to.

  • Apple Keynotes – All the Apple announcements the day after the event
  • Stack Overflow – Jeff and Joel talking about software development and the StackOverflow website with the occasional interesting guest.
  • Creative Screenwriters Magazine – Interviews with the Screenwriters behind many of the big Holywood films
  • David Mitchell’s Soapbox – Video monologues from British Comedian David Mitchell
  • Diggnation – Two men, two laptops and several beers
  • Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 – Topical satire comedy from Radio 4
  • gdgt Weekly – Peter and Ryan talk about gadgets even though they have both left Engadget and are busy not releasing their next site gdgt
  • Hanselminutes – Scott Hanselman’s podcast
  • The History of Microsoft – Channel 9 show going through the Microsoft archives
  • iPhone Application Programming – Standford University course on iPhone Application Development with Apple engineers taking the kids through the course.
  • MacBreak Weekly – Leo Laporte and the gang talking about Mac News if there is any, or speculating about stuff if there isn’t. This is actually my favourite of the TWiT shows.
  • Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo Film Reviews – Wittertainment at it’s best
  • .NET Rocks – The original .NET podcast. Richard and Carl talking about .NET technologies
  • Peter Day’s World of Business – Peter Day’s insights into the business world
  • Podcasts for Running – Couch to 5k training program
  • Radio TFS – Mickey, Paul and I talking about Team System occasionally with various special guests
  • Robert Llewellyn’s Car Pool – Bobby Llew giving his famous mates an entertaining drive in his Prius
  • RunAs Radio – The IT Pro angle from the PWOP gang, with good guests
  • Security Now – Leo Laporte talks to Steve Gibson about security news.  Sometime’s Steve’s attitudes to development and computers drives me to shout back at my iPod in frustration, but it still is a great way of keeping on top of what’s happening in the security area.
  • TED Talks – Talks from people cleverer than me about interesting things.  Not only that, they are all much better at presenting than I am
  • The Thirsty Developer – Microsoft evalgelists Dave Bost and Larry Clarkin talking about technologies interesting in the Microsoft space but mostly from an Architecture angle.
  • This Week in Tech – Unedited ramblings of various technology commentators, mostly interesting
  • This Week On Channel 9 – Dan and Brian’s round up of interesting goings on in the Microsoft technology space
  • Google TechTalks – Google gets interesting people in to talk and makes many of them available to the public
  • Windows Weekly – Paul Thurrott commentating on developments in the Microsoft space, focussing on the consumer side
  • 10-4 – Nice short screencasts highlighting areas in Visual Studio 2010 or .NET 4.0

OK, I admit that I have a problem, but still I find that listening to these podcasts helps me keep an idea of what is going on in the technology world in my spare time, but I also find them all genuinely entertaining as well as educational.  If you have any that you think I should be listening to then let me know.

Road to TFS2010 Now that TFS 2010 Beta 1 is publically available, I thought it would make sense to share our plans with everyone.  Teamprise has been working closely with Microsoft on the TFS 2010 release.  First of all, can I quickly thank all the people at Microsoft who have been helping us so far. All the way from the individual developers working on features all the way up to the very highest leadership, we have had nothing put fantastic support and rapid responses to our questions.

I remember attending meetings almost two years ago now with many of the Teamprise developers at the Microsoft offices to talk about this version back when it was known only with the codename Rosario.  We’ve been actively working on builds since last year and in fact Brian Harry demonstrated Teamprise talking to TFS2010 at PDC in October 2008.

But we have a long way to go.  The current plan is that Teamprise 4.0 will be our “TFS 2010 compatible release”, including many of the new TFS 2010 features.  We aim to ship Teamprise 4.0 with-in a couple of weeks of when Microsoft launches TFS 2010.  Before that date we will have previews of Teamprise 4.0 for people wanting to test our clients against their TFS 2010 beta environments.  The current plan is to ramp up our preview program around the Beta 2 timeframe of TFS 2010.  We will also have TFS2010 Beta 2 compatible versions of our Teamprise Build Extensions.  If anyone is on Microsoft’s early adopter programs and is blocked from being able to provide Microsoft with TFS feedback until they also have Teamprise clients to test with, then please drop a line to so we know about you as soon as possible.  We plan to be dogfooding against TFS2010 beta’s here at Teamprise very early.

If you want to use current versions of Teamprise today with TFS 2010 Beta 1, then there are several known issues.  However the basics of version control and work item tracking are both operational.  That said, using TFS 2010 Beta 1 with Teamprise is not supported so use it at your own risk.

First of all, you must be running the latest version of Teamprise (3.2.2) for anything to work.  We had to make some changes to the 3.2 release to allow check-ins to work against a TFS2010 server and we included those in the 3.2.1 public release.

Next, Team Foundation Server must be configured to not be in a virtual directory.  By default, a fresh install of TFS 2010 Beta 1 will exist at http://server:8080/tfs where “tfs” is the virtual directory for the TFS application.  This makes TFS much easier to host inside an existing web site (i.e. on a single port shared with Sharepoint etc) – however Teamprise 3.X doesn’t know about virtual directories.  Therefore when you install TFS 2010 Beta 1 you will have to do a customised installation and blank out the Virtual Directory text box in the Application Tier settings.

Application Tier settings for TFS2010 

Teamprise 3.X (like Visual Studio 2008) also doesn’t know about Project Collections.  Therefore you will only be able to access the default project collection on each TFS instance using Teamprise 3.X.  Once you have this configured – the TFS 2010 beta 1 server will look much the same as accessing a TFS 2010 server does from Visual Studio 2008.

 Eclipse 3.4 with Teamprise 3.2.2 talking to TFS 2010 Beta 1

And there you have it.  The next few weeks and months are shaping up to be great fun as we all get to test out this massive new version of the Team System products.  Visual Studio Team System 2010 is a huge release, but one that addresses many adoption issues that people have today with the product.  I’m incredibly excited now that the Beta of VSTS is publically available so we can all start talking about it and figuring out new best practises etc.  If you thought adoption of Team System was going well up until now, the adoption of this 2010 release is going to be huge.  With all the new stuff to learn, and the potential even this early beta of the product is showing – now is a very exciting time to be in the Team System space :-)

If you have any questions or comments about Teamprise and TFS 2010 then please drop the support team a line, or contact me.

Last week at TechEd 2009 North America, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Brian Keller to discuss Teamprise past, present and future. If you have Silverlight installed you can watch the interview or you can download the video from the TechEd site.

Cross-Platform Development with Team Foundation Server and Teamprise

Rock The Build with TFS

If bunnies are just a little bit too cute and fluffy for you, then you might be interested in a little side project that reader Terry Humphries just got in touch with me about.  You see Terry had no love for robotic rabbits in the build process – but an electric guitar was something that he and the other developers in his team would pay attention to. So he hooked up a vintage 1990’s Warlock Electric guitar made by B.C.Rich to TFS and let that rock their world.  I thought this was a cool project so asked permission to share his email with you all. If you want to get in touch with Terry, drop me a line and I’ll send your details on to him.


From: Terry Humphries

guitarMy name is Terry Humphries and I work for EnGraph Software. I’ve been a developer for over 25 years the last three months at EnGraph. I came here to join a development team that was scaling up from a couple of developers to over 14 folks. Part of my job has been and continues to be leading EnGraph’s push into using Team System. I spend part of my time wearing a developer hat and part wearing the TFS admin, Build Sensei hat.

Having always been a strong believer in nightly builds and making sure everyone is aware of the status of the build, I’m always looking for ways to get the other developers invested in the status of the build.

Having seen Brain aka the Build Bunny and the Lava Lamp build indicator I decided it was time to create something unique for EnGraph to use.

I almost used a full size traffic light, but since all of the pcs here are named after guitar manufacturers, a Build Guitar seemed the way to go, and the search was on. It took me about three week to locate the used Warlock I used as the basis of the project. I didn’t want a run of the mill guitar, it need to be electric and it needed to have a unique look. When I got the Warlock it’s better years were behind it, the body was in bad shape. I had to end up stripping it, filling in a few dings and refinishing it with a purple undercoat and a bronze metallic pearlized overcoat.

I looked at several options for the switching mechanism for the LEDS. Basically, I wanted something that would provide the low dc power needed to drive the LEDS and a programmable interface for switching them on/off. I considered Ethernet based relays, Bluetooth based relays, Ethernet to parallel port converters, and USB controlled relays. Mostly because the other options were much more costly I settled on the USB controlled relay. I decided to mount this control circuit in its own box and use standard Ethernet cabling to get the power to the guitar from the relay. With this option the only things I had to mount in the guitar were the LEDs, the Ethernet jack, and wire connecting them.

Once I obtained everything I need I started build the controller. Wanting it to also be somewhat different I decided to mount the relay circuit old 3.5 diskette plastic case that was designed to hold 10 diskettes. After mounting the circuit board I added the ethernet jack and connected the power supply. Cut a few hole for the cables and bam the Build Guitar Controller was born.

Next, guitar time. I decided the best place to mount the LEDs was in one of the pickup coil frames, you see a Warlock comes with 2 Humbucker pickup coils each mounted in its own frame. I fashioned a piece of black plastic to fit the frame and drilled three holes for the LEDS. Then I wired the LEDS to the Ethernet jack I had placed in the jackplate.

Then I hooked everything up loaded the Phidgets drivers and using they’re control panel applet tested the wiring and after a few minutes I had everything working as planned.

The folks at Phidgets provide 2 way to interface with their devices, either directly or via a webservice, I used both. I couldn’t find a TFS event that fires when a build starts so I created a custom task that turned on the correct relay and hooked it into our build scripts via the BeforeEndToEndIteration target and then used Howard van Rooijen TFS Event Framework to react to the BuildCompletionEndpoint to set the red and green leds.

The basic code for manipulating the relays is only 9 lines:

InterfaceKit RelayPhidget = new InterfaceKit();"gibson", 5001);

System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(1000); //wait for the server to connect

RelayPhidget.outputs[0] = false;     //Set build start off

RelayPhidget.outputs[1] = true;      //Set build success on

RelayPhidget.outputs[2] = false;     //Set the other off

RelayPhidget.outputs[3] = false;


RelayPhidget = null;

I’m not sure what else I can tell you about it other that it’s a big hit with the other developers. As for more about EnGraph you can visit our web site at


  • Warlock Electric guitar made by B.C.Rich vintage 1990s
  • 10MM diffused LEDS in Blue, green and red
  • Phidget Interface Kit 0/0/4 available here
  • 5VDC 350milliamp wallwort power supply
  • Various bit of wire, tape glue paint, etc.


  • Team Foundation Server Notification Event project template from Howard van Rooijen
  • VS2008
  • Phidgets Driver


Thanks for sharing this with me Terry, and for allowing me to post your email.  For anyone interested, I’ll be talking more about integrating with Team Foundation Build API’s during my session at Tech·Ed North America 2009 next week.

DTL307 Brian the Build Bunny: Extending Team Foundation Server Build

Fri 5/15 | 9:00 AM-10:15 AM | Room 404

This session digs deep into customization of the Microsoft Visual Studio Team System Team Foundation Server Build system. Learn about the .NET API for Team Foundation Build and how to use it to create your own build status display or even have your team chastised about build failures by a robotic rabbit.


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