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as a host of home games and home game tournaments, i've been looking for a decent, full-featured package to make managing the tournament easier...rather than me have to worry about it.

i bring you: www.basementclubs.com -- a windows (and .NET developed) tournament software package for poker home games...it is a great tool for those of us who play/host games.

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i didn't get to stay long this day because of my flight plans, but i did manage to see the keynote from billg.  i enjoy watching him speak...he isn't as enthusiastic these days like steveb would be, but it is still interesting to hear him speak.

kudos to billg for poking fun at himself for the davos doodle incident.

overall the conference was a good experience i felt...i got more out of networking with people than most of the content, but from what i heard from people who may not have been aware of sharepoint and other office development, it was good content for them.

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off to a much better start (IMO).  yesterday i was able to meet some people i hadn't been able to put faces to, but have “met” online for the past year...that's been great...it is always good to network and i appreciate the opportunity to do so.

i decided to look at some of the non-sharepoint talks this morning...some of the things with office automation are pretty cool i have to admit.  i like the concept of word xml (wordML) to be able to create/assemble word docs without doing office automation on the server side...office has really made the right steps moving forward in this area.

infopath: yeah, you can't fool me.  it still “isn't there” yet based on how i see people really wanting to use it (as an application platform).  for basic data input it is awesome and i'd highly recommend it...for a real world scenario (workflow, security, offline capabilities) it presents challenges if it is seen as a platform rather than a tool...i could go on, but i don't want a headache.

information bridge framework (ibf): why are we calling it this? smart docs v2.  done.  the implementation is a lot better, but conceptually it is the same for me.  the demonstrations that they are showing are definitely cool...i just haven't been exposed to a scenario where i'd implement it over other solutions.

sharepoint: more of the same.  i feel bad for the presenters who aren't able to answer the questions of “why is customizing a site so cumbersome” (really it was asked as “this sucks, are you kidding me that we have to hack xml files to customize a site”) and “why does frontpage screw things up”, etc. -- the important thing to note is that they are here to help us learn, not give answers to why decisions were made...let's move forward with what we have.

workshare (www.workshare.com): um. cool. very cool.  did i mention this is cool.  these guys have a very well thought out application for document integrity and compliance (and some workflow).  by far one of the more innovative 3rd party products i've seen in the business solutions area in quite a long time...good job guys.

live communications server: forgive me, i kinda don't get it.  i already have msn messenger, etc.  okay, i guess it could be more secure from a corporate standpoint, but oh well.  and can we get a consolidated client instead of windows messenger, msn messenger, windows messenger for lcs, and then another (codename: istanbul)?  seriously, start talking to each other -- the target audiences aren't that different that you have to target specifically for the “home user” for msn messenger -- and btw, even at home i turn off all the msn crap -- i want an IM client, not a friggin newspaper.  feature request: can i set my own “status” -- why not?

k2 workflow (www.k2workflow.com): um, another cool product.  i've worked with this product for about a year now...awesome human workflow -- great tool...if you need workflow, you need k2.

more later...

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i'm at the first office developer conference microsoft is putting on this week at the mothership...

there are a lot of people here (or at least more than i expected) -- organizers are estimating around 800 attendees in total...and from 45 different countries...that should tell you the depth that office system development has gained.

i thought i'd give somewhat of a review of what i'm seeing in general...for specifics on some sessions, check out jamesa's blog -- he's been writing about individual sessions...i won't be doing that.

conference location:
awesome -- my first visit to the conference center...it is cool and well thought out.

great...mariott + free high speed internet = ability to get stuff done

sessions day 1:
well, not so positive things to say for me here...i decided to look at the sharepoint track since that's where i'm working most of these days.  most of the sessions are rehashes of PDC, TechEd, etc....same old stuff for me...nothing new...and no talk of “vnext” capabilities...that's a bit disappointing.  it is interesting, however, to see that people across the spectrum are facing the same challenges in sharepoint that we all face -- and it's good to hear that we are all approaching them from similar tactics.

ms company store:
um, been there done that...i walked in -- saw all the same stuff i didn't need and walked out...they didn't have the new notebook wireless mice in stock, which was the only thing i was looking for really.

look more for day 2 later...

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when developing sharepoint web parts and applications, we use the object model and implement the public functions, etc that are available to us...after all there is quite a bit that are available and most are very useful.

what the documentation doesn't always do a good job of, however, is telling us *who* can perform the task.  this is a common theme i see when working with customers and one i hit in my first sharepoint development project *way too late* in the game...we had to completely re-write areas because we made several key assumptions.

developers typically run under administrator privileges in their dev boxes and environments.  i'd imagine any sharepoint dev is an admin or at least a site owner on the sharepoint site they are working on...maybe this isn't always the best way of doing things in development (see andrew duthie's thoughts on least privilege).

similar development caution should be used when writing web parts.  patrick points to this article regarding some impersonation techniques to ensure that you can “get around” some of these issues.  i'd take it one step further and tell you that one thing we did in some instances was to make the sharepoint application pool account the administrator user (either a box admin or part of the portal admin group).  this way rather than maintain our security credentials for a domain user in clear text (in order to use impersonation of a named account in the example you have to), our impersonation code simply “reverts” to the process user (which just so happens to be a user with appropriate privileges), then when done...we just revert back.

good stuff.