Visual Studio Online Updates – January 22


Last week Team Foundation Services, by now renamed and added additional features called “Visual Studio Online”, had its first update for 2014.

Updated features:

  • Querying Tags
    You can add tags to your workitems, but what is the use if you cannot query on these tags to find your workitems. That has been solved for this update. With the January 22 Update you are now able to create queries with for instance the “Contains” or “Does Not Contain” operator to find the work items you were looking for.
  • Removing Weekends from Burndown
    Somewhere in the world are developers who are not working in weekends. I’m not one of them as I tend just to work in weekends, but that is maybe because I don’t see work as work. For all others it is now a new feature to be able to ‘uncheck’ resources in weekends on your team and allow your team to have a couple of days off in the weekend (or every other day if you like) to get a somewhat more realistic Burndown overview.
  • Configurable Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD) Dates
    Previously the start date of your project was the day you created the project. Not always true so now you are allowed to change the start date of your project. So now you can create your project beforehand and set the start date to the actual date, again a more realistic view on your project.

“Is that all?” you may wonder? Yes that is all, but you must keep in mind that the updates are now on a monthly release cycle, or so called Sprints. Given that December has been an overall Holiday Season month I actually expected that they would skip the monthly cycle for this time but they didn’t so it is a real achievement they were even able to ship this last week.

Showtime: Frozen by Disney


The “Showtime” section on my blog is a reminder, mostly for my own reference but maybe helpful for other film enthusiasts as well, to remember what movies I’ve seen lately, what it was about and how I rated it in general.

Just another great movie from the Disney animation studios. A familiar storyline, fight between good and evil, royalty, princesses and a good amount of humor.

The animation again is excellent, the storyline is touching and an enjoyable movie to go for young and old.

The story is about Anna and Elsa, two sisters who lost their parents and will now rule the kingdom. Elsa however has icy powers and as a kid almost killed her sister Anna in their play. Given that Elsa decides to move away from the castle to prevent her from doing harm to the community and most of all to keep her sister safe. In a search for her sister Anna meets Kristoff and his reindeer Sven and they try to get Anna to move back into the castle to be the new queen of their kingdom.

I always have been a huge fan of Disney and this again is a great piece of work they created to entertain us. It really does not matter if you have kids or don’t, you can go and watch the movie with or without kids, don’t be shy and just enjoy the story, the images and funny characters. Ten out of Ten (but hé, be aware,  I am biased as a Disney fan!)

Installing Visual Studio 2013 Update 1

Yesterday I received the notice on one of my machines for the update 1 from within Visual Studio 2013. So for your entertainment I recorded the steps and in this post I will show you how the process of installing Visual Studio 2013 Update 1 evolves.

What you see below is the notification in Visual Studio 2013. It shows you the information area containing the information that the Visual Studio 2013 Update 1 is available and that it includes security updates, critical updates, hotfixes and feature packs.


Once you start the process of installing the Update the Extensions and Updates dialog is displayed with the option to install the Update. Click the Update button to proceed.


As you started the update from within Visual Studio 2013, the Update process warns you and asks you to close Visual Studio. Close all instances of Visual Studio and click Continue to go on.


Next you’ll see the license terms and privacy policy dialog you’ll have to agree on and accept if you want to install Visual Studio. You won’t see the buttons to continue if you don’t check the checkbox to agree with the license terms. So check the checkbox.


The Install “button” will be added to the dialog. Click Install to continue and a security dialog will be launched to allow the installer to run in Admin Mode.


Now, sit back and relax … wait for the installer to do its work and install Update 1 for you. There is no more interaction needed until the Update is fully installed.


Done! If all went well you’ll now see the Setup Successful dialog and can launch Visual Studio 2013 Update 1. Click the Launch “Button”.


Step into the menu … Help – About Microsoft Visual Studio and check to see if it has the Update 1 in the version information.


That’s it, that was easy, not much to go wrong on,  the Update 1 is now installed and you can enjoy the fixes and other things added to the update (see my earlier blog post with references to what is updated in this version.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to share your feedback!

Showtime: 47 Ronin 3D

47 Ronin

The “Showtime” section on my blog is a reminder, mostly for my own reference but maybe helpful for other film enthusiasts as well, to remember what movies I’ve seen lately, what it was about and how I rated it in general.

47 Ronin is a highly computer generated graphical production (CGI) on the story of a group of samurai, the 47 Ronin that will take revenge of the loss of their leader who was forced into committing Seppuku (A tradition where someone is offered to take his own life instead of being ashamed and executed).

Not only does the movie contain a lot of special effects but also the legend was dramatized by additional witchcraft, spells and other special sauce to put more flavor to the whole of the movie.

Keanu Reeves plays the role of Kai, who as a boy was adopted and with the samurais sets out for revenge against the Shogun’s order responsible for the death of their leader.

The images in the movie are quite spectacular where the storyline in itself is not. The movie takes you into the world of Eastern rituals of the eighteenth century covered special effects from the twenty-first century. It all is entertaining to watch, especially on the big screen so definitely a candidate to go to and watch in the cinemas, you won’t enjoy the effects as much on DVD at home. The story isn’t all that great though so overall I think the number on this movie does not get higher than a Seven out of Ten.

SDN Event Speaker Request

SDN Event Banner

For our quarterly Dutch SDN Events we are always looking for people with interesting presentation proposals. March 28th of 2014 is our next SDN Event and already have received several proposals. To name a few topics (preliminary, subject to change):

  • Team Foundation Server
  • Azure Mobile Services
  • Roslyn
  • Windows 8/8,1
  • Windows Phone
  • Delphi
  • HTML5
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV
    If you want to share your knowledge with your peer developers contact us: @MarcelMeijer or @aafvstam (me) and we will put you on the list to do your talk at the next SDN Event (or if that is a better fit for you one of the following SDN Events). We would like to schedule about twenty session slots with a wide variation of topics related to the complete software lifecycle so that means your topics can cover everything from initialization, design, deployment, marketing and end user support. In other words covering the complete ALM cycle of your software development projects including best practices, design patterns etcetera.
    Don’t hesitate, contact us … share your knowledge to the world!

Showtime: Paranormal Activity, The Marked Ones

Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones

The “Showtime” section on my blog is a reminder, mostly for my own reference but maybe helpful for other film enthusiasts as well, to remember what movies I’ve seen lately, what it was about and how I rated it in general.

Paranormal Activity, The Marked Ones is not part of the other Paranormal Activity series (Paranormal Activity 1,2,3,4 and 5 on its way to arrive this year) although it does include some hidden footage from Paranormal Activity 3 but is a so called spinoff.

The story is about high school graduate Jesse and he is experiencing weird things after his neighbor was found dead. He is curious to see what happened there and investigates the abandoned home of his neighbor. Not long after that he appears to be marked for possession and affecting the people around him.

The movie feels a bit low budget (the actual budget was $5,000,000 so what is low) and to me was not that thrilling. As with the other Paranormal Activity movies this one was also captured as if it was recorded using a home video camera (as seen in the The Blair Witch Project) and gives you a messy interpretation of what is happening. Overall not the best horror movie available and I wouldn’t recommend spending your money on going to the cinemas. Instead wait for the TV, DVD or VOD and watch it at home with a bag of chips and get on with your life. Four out of Ten I’d say …

Visual Studio 2013 Update 1


January 20th Microsoft released Visual Studio 2013 Update 1, the first update for Visual Studio 2013 containing feature additions and bug fixes. This way of working started with Visual Studio 2012 and that version already has four updates of this kind.

The latest Update for Visual Studio 2012, Update 4 van be found here: Visual Studio 2012 Update 4

But today is today and now is now so here we talk about Visual Studio 2013 Update 1, the first update for the 2013 version of Visual Studio. The periodic updates enables Microsoft to enhance and expand Visual Studio at a somewhat higher pace than the ‘big’ version releases allowing you to get the latest software earlier and no need to wait for another three years before getting new features of fixes.

Not only Visual Studio 2013 was updated but also:

The list of fixes for this update can be found on a separate KB Article: Description of Visual Studio 2013 Update 1

You can either wait for the notifications from within Visual Studio 2013 or go out today and get the update by downloading it from Visual Studio 2013 Update 1

Showtime: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


Walter Mitty is a kind of a day dreamer type of a guy dozing off in his fantasies but in real life Walter really didn’t do much more that maintaining the stock photos for the the company he is working for. When his job is about to be canceled and something simple like hitting a like button fails he decides to go out into the real world and start hunting for the one missing photo his boss decided to put on the cover of a magazine.

Crazy things happen on his hunt that I won’t get into telling you here in this Showtime item as I found that the movie trailer alone already spoils many of the ‘experiences’ he is about to get over with. And that is my main complaint concerning the movie. Although the movie is light, fun to watch I thought it was a bit shallow. The movie, produced and performed by Ben Stiller is entertaining though, nice scenery on many locations most of you (or Walter in this case) never imagined to go to. I liked the soundtrack of the movie, especially David Bowie’s Space Oddity implementation so overall my rate on the movie would be seven out of ten.

Last call for SDN Magazine Copy

SDN Magazine

If you would like to see your article in print, this is your chance. We are about to close the gate and getting ready to assemble the next SDN Magazine so if you have some copy to print on your desk still hot enough to put in print in the magazine contact @MarcelMeijer or @aafvstam (me) to get your article in.

Obviously when you miss the deadline, we are always looking for new articles, we just shift ‘em to the next one if you are too late :-).

The SDN Magazine is mostly Dutch but if you want to provide an English article that is OK too, as long as the article is Software Development related we are happy to serve that to our readers.

Showtime: The Wolf of Wall Street

Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street is this crazy movie based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo diCaprio) working his way up on Wall Street from nothing to a successful stockbroker. It completely gets out of hand and turns into a world full of drugs, corruption, crimes and fighting the federal system.

The movie starts where Jordan starts to make big money and building his little empire of stockbrokers and at a point making millions in just minutes. Not knowing what to do with all the money he and his buddies try to think of all sorts of crazy things to do just to get rid of the money as it comes in faster than they can spend.

To be honest, the registration of all of this crazy stuff tends to be a bit boring after some time. You get used to all the crazy things, naked people running around, parties and other weird stuff and start waiting to get to the second part of the movie where Jordan actually gets into trouble with the federal government as some of the ways to earn more money wasn’t exactly done how it should be done.

The story was mostly told by Jordan and you are experiencing the things he is doing from within his head hearing his thoughts (somewhat like Stranger than Fiction, did you get to see that one?). One of the nice aspects in the movie is showing the differences between what Jordan thinks and what is compared to what happened in ‘the real -sober- world’. Martin Scorsese did a great job making this a movie with a lot of extravaganza in the world of excessive stockbrokers. Not a thrill but a joy to watch and spend a couple of hours in another space. I rate the movie Eight out of Ten, but maybe just a bit jealous seeing all that money :-).

A new year with new opportunities


2014 Is almost in its second week now and already I am so busy doing things, work related but also in my personal space, that I didn’t get to even write an opening blog post for 2014 up to now. And that has to change. 2013 has been a rollercoaster of events where I allowed myself to get only a couple of hours of sleep each day to get things at least going in the right direction (except my work-life balance of course).

Some of the 2013 event highlights:

  • Re-awarded Microsoft MVP for VSTO for 2013
  • Two (!) MVP Global Summits
  • Spent a month in Orlando, Florida
  • Build 2013 Conference
  • At work moved thousands, all of the NL firm, laptops from Windows 7/Office 2010 to Windows 8/Office 2013

Especially the last item kicked in hard. Moving from Office 2010 to Office 2013 wasn’t (and still isn’t) a smooth ride. One of our biggest projects was depending on XMLNode structures in Office but that feature was all the sudden removed from Office due to a lost legal issue between Microsoft and a third party from Canada. As this happened we were now forced to do a complete rewrite of our code to get around this.

What’s up for 2014?

Of course the air hasn’t completely cleared yet from the fireworks smoke, so obviously not all that will happen in 2014 is known or pre-announced, always the element of surprise – that’s life, but here are some things to be expected for 2014:

  • Re-awarded Microsoft MVP for VSTO for 2014
    Already happened, I received a message from Microsoft congratulating me with the 2014 MVP Award!
  • MVP Global Summit (I think only one this year…)
  • Build 2014 Conference
  • Still a lot to do at work projects, getting feature complete and extend, add new features on the new platform
  • Move most of my home servers into the cloud
    I still have a lot of servers running at home giving me headaches for either the management of all servers (they always tend to break when I’m traveling) or the energy bills from the utility services so it is about time to move it all to Windows Azure if possible.
  • Try to act a bit more healthy
    In 2013 I started, supported by the FitBit Flex, to walk a daily amount of 10K steps. That was a good start, I still do that every day and lost about 11 kilos (24lbs) in weight. There is however the issue of not getting enough sleep! Hopefully there is somewhat less pressure on our projects to get closer to about 8 hours of sleep a day.
  • Roslyn integration in Visual Studio?
    We’ve seen the first signs from Roslyn for VB.NET and C# in public presentations at the end of 2013. Will 2014 be the big year for Roslyn to be deployed to general public?
  • Visual Studio 2014?
  • SDN Events and Magazines
    Also for the Dutch Software Development Network another year of events and magazines we want to hand to the developer community. Always looking for new articles and presentations so if you want to share, let me know!
  • Learn! Always continue to learn something new, if you stop learning you stop living. Some great resources: WintellectNow, PluralSight, Channel 9, Microsoft Virtual Academy and many more!


As a reminder for my own benefit, but hopefully also interesting enough for others to read I want to add to each blog post a small section on movies I’ve seen at the time of writing the blog post.

Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips
In 2014 our local cinema introduced for the first time a fixed subscription to visit the movies for a monthly price. A so called all you can watch subscription that I have been bugging them for for years so I had to jump in once the opportunity arrived.

The first movie that I did go to with my new ‘Platinum Pas’ was Captain Phillips. A movie about the true story of Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) about the 2009 hijacking of his cargo ship while crossing international waters next to Africa by a couple of Somali pirates.

The movie is an absolute thriller and while ‘under the command’ of the Somali pirates there was no way to expect what these guys had in mind with the US crew and/or with the cargo ship. With help of the US Navy they tried to get the ship back and get away from the African risk areas.

Besides being a thrilling movie there also was this excellent part in the movie that was showing the human side of the event, eventually finishing in the emotional breakdown of Captain Phillips releasing all his emotions that he so far kept for himself. Usually these movies stop after being released from the bad guys but this one did continue for another twenty minutes to ‘get it all in the open’. Nine points out of Ten.

Give feedback!

If I haven’t told you before, let me know what you think! If you think things are completely off – different – or have another opinion? Sure, always an option… write it in the comments and get a discussion started. It’s a free world (at least I tend to think so) so let me hear from you all!