Monday, 22 September 2008

Ja! Mein Das Keyboard ist sehr gut!

I took delivery of my Das Keyboard Ultimate on Saturday. Since then I've been in clicky-clacky-blank-key heaven.

I have to say that I'm smitten. As has been noted elsewhere, Das Keyboard is very similar to an old IBM Model M. I remember a coworker being very pleased with himself for rescuing a model M from a skip outside our office. I can now see why.

Is it worth €99 + P&P? If you type for a living, yes it probably is. Amortised over its expected lifetime it's potentially the least expensive computer thing money can buy.

What's good:
  1. Lovely responsive typing action.
  2. Nerd points. Your fellow geeks will be in awe.
  3. Your typing will probably improve as you'll be forced to touch-type.

What's bad:

  1. Passwords. We all try and make them as complex as possible right? Right? Well if you do, it can be a nightmare. I plugged in my old fingerprint reader to assist with that.
  2. The noise. I'm toying with getting another one of these for work, but I don't want to be an office hate figure.
  3. Upfront cost. The current exchange rate means buying stuff from Germany is more expensive than it was. €99 + P&P equated to £90 on my credit card statement.

It was a joy typing this post. I think I'll type some more.

The slow purple fox pole-vaulted over the resting dog.


ReMix UK 08

Microsoft ReMix 08 was held last week in my dear beloved Brighton. This was my first time at ReMix. In the main, I very much enjoyed it. The weather was nice, I knew plenty of people there and it was good to hear Scott Guthrie talk about ASP.NET MVC, .NET in general and Silverlight.

What was right:
  1. Brighton. Brighton is a splendid place to have a conference. It was held at the famous Brighton Centre, which is a tired old 60s bit of architecture, but is about 5 minutes walk from my flat which makes up for it.
  2. ScottGu. Great to hear about this stuff from the man himself.
  3. The other presenters. There were some really interesting talks.

What was wrong:

  1. Session were pitched a little low. Everything was fairly introductory. I would like to have seen a more in-depth discussion on MVC for instance.
  2. Catering. It was rubbish. Tea and coffee were only served twice a day for 10 minutes. It was like visiting a parsimonious relative. The food was crushingly mediocre. C'mon Microsoft. You have the cash plus the tickets were about £300! I couldn't see anyone getting away with such a poor showing in the US. England is no longer the country with the crap food. Have you learned nothing from Gordon, Jamie, Delia et al?
  3. 'Sneak Peaks'. There was nothing announced. Nothing. Bar a quite a nice table that takes pictures of things, there was nothing of any value. We all felt a bit cheated. If we wanted to watch adverts, we could've stayed at home and watched E4.

I will go back. Definitely. But if I was marking ReMix at school, it would be "6.5/10. ReMix has the potential to do well if it only concentrated a bit more on the details."

Also a special mention for Mike Hadlow who had Suteki Shop displayed by Scott Gu in his keynote as an example of a local MVC project. Go Mike!

Friday, 12 September 2008


I'm a huge fan of ReSharper from JetBrains. I've been using it for over three years now and I think I'd be lost without it. Take away my ReSharper and I might as well have notepad.

I think my top five most used features are:

  1. Ctrl+left mouse click. This takes you to the thing you clicked on's definition.
  2. Ctrl+E+C. Code cleanup. I have a custom rule that is called 'Everything but 'var'.
  3. The NUnit integration. If you use NUnit in Visual Studio, you need ReSharper.
  4. Find Usages
  5. Ctrl+R+R. For renaming.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. It's just probably what I use most day in, day out. Just go buy it. I promise that the first time you use a foreach snippet after defining something that's IEnumerable you will be smitten.