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Saturday, October 08, 2005
Microsoft MVP Award for 2005-2006

This is good news: last night I've received an email from Microsoft saying I've received the Microsoft MVP Award one more time. This is the 4th year in a row I receive the award, and I'm pretty happy to know that my work with the software developers' community is still relevant.



Posted @ 2:14 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (20)


Friday, August 12, 2005
Starting some new blogs

Hello,

I'm starting two new blogs. Yeah, yeah, I've been bad posting to one blog... posting to three is going to be even worse, right? Well, we'll see.  :)

The idea is that I'll be posting in the following way:

1. For things that I think would be interesting for my friends at EPS to know about, I'll post to this blog you're just reading.

The other two blogs are public, so anybody out there can read it:

2. For things related to software development or technology in general, I'll post here: http://spaces.msn.com/members/claudiolassala/

3. For things related to anything else (like random thoughts or brain farts crossing my mind), I'll post here: http://spaces.msn.com/members/classala/



Posted @ 4:17 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (6)


Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Virtual Reality

Every now and then we find something interesting buried within all the junk we get every day. There's this one I came across recently that really touched me. Reason for that is because, as someone coming from a "third world" country, I can relate to that story, and I can attest on the veracity of stories like that. When we're busy working on our top-of-the-line computers or driving around with our fancy comfortable cars equipped with A/C, we end up not thinking about what's outside our small world.

 

 

Virtual Reality

 

I just walked in a restaurant. I was starving. I chose a table far from the crowded area, because I wanted to utilize the few minutes I had on that busy day to eat and fix some bugs on the application I was developing, besides doing some planning for my vacation (I almost forget what vacation is).

 

I’ve asked for salmon with salad and an orange juice, after all, being hungry is one thing, but being on a diet is another thing, right? I opened my laptop and got startled by a low voice behind me:

 

-         Sir, could you give me some change?

-         I don’t have any, kid!

-         Just a quarter so that I can by a bread!

-         Alright, I’ll buy you one!

 

As a matter of fact, my inbox was full with emails. I got distracted by the poems, the nice stationeries, the outrageous jokes. Ah! That song takes me to London and brings me good memories from long ago.

 

-         Sir, ask them to put butter and cheese on it too!

 

I realize the kid had stayed there.

 

-         Ok, I’ll ask it, but after that you’ll let me work, because I’m busy, alright?

 

Then, there comes my meal, and with it, comes my feeling of guilt. I place the kid’s order, and the waiter asks me whether I want him to kick the kid out of the place. The remains of my consciousness prevent me from saying yes. I tell him it’s alright. Let him stay. And instead of bring the bread, bring him a decent meal. Then, the kid sat down in from of me and asked:

 

-         Sir, what are you doing?

-         I’m reading my emails!

-         What are emails?

-         They are electronic messages sent by people through the internet!

 

I knew he would not understand that, but, just to keep myself out of more questioning, I said:

 

-         It’s like a letter, but coming from the internet!

-         What’s internet?

-         It’s a place on the computer, where we can see and listen to many things, news, music, meet people, read, write, dream, work, learn. There’s everything on the virtual world!

-         What’s virtual?

 

I decide to give him a simplified explanation, but again sure that he would understand just a little and free me up for my meal.

 

-         Virtual is a place of imagination that we can’t get, we can’t touch. It’s there where we create lots of things that we would like to do. We create our fantasies, transforming the world to something we’d like it to be.

-         That’s cool, Sir. I like it!

-         Kid, do you understand what virtual is?

-         Yes, I live in this virtual world too.

-         Do you have a computer?

-         Nope, but my world is just like that… virtual. My mom goes to work all day long, and only gets back late at night, and I can barely see her. I stay home taking care of my little brother, who’s always crying because he’s starving, and I give him water so that he thinks it is soup. My older daughter goes out every day, saying that she’s going to sell her body, but I don’t understand that because she always comes with her body back. My dad's been in jail for quite a long time. But I always imagine our family together at home, with lots of food, toys, Christmas day, and I going to the college to one day become a doctor. This is what virtual is, isn’t it, Sir?

 

I closed my laptop, not before my teardrops fell over the keyboard. I waited for the kid to finish literally “devouring” his meal, paid the bill, and gave the change to the kid, who rewarded me with one of the more beautiful and sincere smile I’ve ever received in life, and with a “Thanks, sir. You’re cool!”.

 

There, at that moment, I’ve got the biggest prove of the daffy virtual world that we live every day, while the cruel reality truly surround us, and we pretend we don’t see it.

 

(Unknown author)

 



Posted @ 12:55 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (6)


Thursday, April 28, 2005
Wonders of the Portuguese language

I think this is darn interesting. The text below, written in Portuguese, only makes use of works beginning with the letter "p", and the text actually makes sense. I don't know how many other languages out there are rich enough to allow the writer to do something like this...

 
Pedro Paulo Pereira Pinto, pintor português, pintava portas, paredes, portais. Parou porém, porque preferia pintar panfletos. Partindo para Piracicaba, pintou prateleiras para poder progredir. Posteriormente, partiu para Pirapora. Pernoitando, prosseguiu para Paranavaí, pois pretendia praticar pinturas primitivas. Permaneceu por pequeno prazo pois, penalizado, percebeu: "Pouco pratico" (porque pintava principalmente panelas para posseiros e pratos, para poder pagar promessas).
 
Pálido, porém persuadido, planejou partir para Portugal. "Poderei pedir permissão para papai para permanecer praticando pinturas", pensou. Ponderando, porém, preferiu parar em Paris. Para Paris, passou pelos Pirineus, pois pretendia pintá-los. Pareciam plácidos. Porém, pesaroso, percebeu portentosos penhascos pedregosos. Precavido, procurou pintá-los parcialmente, pois perigosas pedras precipitavam-se, principalmente pelo pico, porque pastores passavam pelas picadas para pedir pousada, provocando provavelmente pequenas perfurações, pois, pelo passo percorriam, permanentemente, possantes potrancas.
 
Pisando Paris, planejava pintar palácios pomposos, procurando pontos pitorescos, pois, para pintar pobreza, precisaria percorrer pontos perigosos, pestilentos, perniciosos, preferindo Pedro Paulo precaver-se. Profundas privações passou. Prosseguia pintando, persistentemente. Porém, previsões pessimistas passavam-lhe pelo pensamento, provocando profundos pesares, principalmente por pretender partir prontamente para Portugal. Pensava: "Preciso preparar-me. Partirei para prestigiar patrícios, pintando principalmente portos portugueses".
 
- Paris! Prodigiosa Paris! Proferiu Pedro Paulo pasmado.- Pintura perene, permanecerás por pensamento!
 
Pisando Portugal, Pedro Paulo procurou pelos pais, porém Papai Procópio partira para província. Providenciando provisões, partiu prontamente. Profundamente perplexo, perfez percurso percorrido pelo pai. Parcimoniosamente, pediu passagem por pequena paróquia, penetrando pelo portão principal. Porém, Papai Procópio puxando-o pelo pescoço proferiu:
 
Pediste permissão para praticar pintura, porém, praticando, pintas pior. Primo Pinduca pintou perfeitamente prima Petúnia. Porque pintas porcarias?
Papai, - palavreou Pedro Paulo - pinto porque permitiste. Porém, preferindo, poderei procurar profissão própria para poder provar
perseverança, pois pretendo permanecer pelo Porto.
 
Pegando Pedro Paulo pelo pulso, penetrou pelo patamar, procurando pelos pertences, pois pretendia pôr Pedro Paulo para praticar profissão perfeita: pedreiro!
 
Puseram passo por pradarias e pastagens. Passando pela ponte precisaram pescar para poderem prosseguir peregrinando. Primeiro, pegaram peixes pequenos. Porém, passado pouco prazo, pegaram peixes parecendo pacus, piaparas, pirarucus. Partiram pela picada próxima, pois pretendiam pernoitar pertinho, para procurar primo Péricles primeiro. Pisando por pedras
pontudas, Papai Procópio procurava pelo primo. "Pá, pedreiro profissional perfeito!", pronunciou. Poucas palavras proferiram. Pelo pacto, papai Procópio prometeu pagar pequena parcela para Péricles profissionalizar Pedro Paulo.
 
Primeiramente Pedro Paulo pegava pedras. Posteriormente, Péricles pediu-lhe para pintar prédios, pois precisava pagar pintores práticos. Porém, Pedro Paulo precipitou-se perigosamente pelas paredes pintadas. Pena! Pobre Pedro Paulo, pereceu pintando...
 
Permita-me pedir perdão pela paciência, pois pretendo parar para pensar... Pois para parar, preciso pensar. Pensei: portanto, pronto pararei.
 


Posted @ 4:19 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (3)


Wednesday, November 17, 2004
What's up with Claudio's band?

Since that's a question I'm always asked, let me post an update about it:

Our last gig was back in May, and every since we had a bunch of setbacks, such as:

1. Changing drummers twice (the old drummer had to quit because of his schedule at work, and the last drummer just didn't work out the way the band wanted).
2. Alex, my guitar mate, had to be gone for Europe for over 2 months.
3. I've been gone to Brazil for a month.

Last week we found a new drummer, which we are still testing to see whether he's gonna fit. So far, it looks like he will. Bottom line is: we gotta get the new drummer up to speed on our existent songs, as we also work on new material (and we have plenty, but haven't been able to work on because of all the setbacks).



Posted @ 12:57 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (12)


Monday, November 08, 2004
The American president election

I've always said that there are three worthless type of discussions: politics, football (either american football in America or Soccer wherever else), and religion. Anyways, while I was in Brazil, I was trying to keep informed about the president election in America. There was this night when I turned on the TV on the news, and I heard something along these lines: "It's now official: George W. Bush is going to be the american president for 4 more years.". The one thing that crossed my mind was: That's unbelievable!! As of now, I think that's ranking at the top of my list on "things I'll never understand in life".

 



Posted @ 5:03 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (5)


Monday, November 08, 2004
Back from Brazil

Hey all, I just got back from Brazil this morning. 3.405 emails have been downloaded through MS-Outlook this morning (yup, two thirds of it were just junkie stuff), and I'm catching up with them. I have some things to blog about my trip, but I'll only do that when I get some chance. It seems like Markus has been posting some stories, and I'll have to post my side of it.  ;)



Posted @ 3:59 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (3)


Wednesday, October 20, 2004
A quick hello!

Hey, just a quick update since my last post:

On the last week and on this current week, I've been working remotely, using the internet connection of an internet cafe owned by a friend of mine. On the weekends we've had some good food, and hung out with some friends and family.

Tonight we're going to a go-kart track (they claim to be the world's biggest in-door track... the track is over 1Km long!). Looking forward to it.

Tomorrow in the afternoon, Markus and I will be presenting some .NET sessions at Microsoft Brazil, and on Friday we'll be presenting our VFP DevCon sessions at a Brazilian VFP conference. For the next two weeks, I'll be on vacation, traveling to some nice beaches in Sao Paulo, so I'll only be able to post anything new when I'm back to Houston.



Posted @ 12:37 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (10)


Monday, October 11, 2004
Hi from Brazil!

Hey there!

We had a good flight to Brazil. Of course, I couldn't sleep on the plane, even though I was really tired... there's no way I can find a comfortable position to sleep. As we got here, I rented a car and we went out to hang out with some of the friends and family. We stayed awaken all Saturday long and only went to sleep 4am on Sunday.  :)

Sunday we had some barbecue with neighbors, and on the evening, we went to visit Aline's God's parents.

Everything went very good so far. I just to go the cyber cafe of a friend where I'll be using his space and Internet connection. Hopefully I'll be able to post some short updates to my blog.  ;)



Posted @ 9:03 AM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (1)


Sunday, October 03, 2004
VFP DevCon Recap

Saturday night... the guys (and gals) went to the strip... I chose to stay at the hotel, do some work on Midas, and go to sleep not too late since my flight takes off at 7am, and I've been told I should leave the hotel 3 hours in advance because the security line at the Vegas airport is crazy, even at that time of the day.

The conference went alright for me... my pre-conference session (Intro to OOP and Design Patterns) was packed (I think there were 60 people or so in there...), and the two times I've presented my "VFP and .NET together" session, I think there were also anything between 50 to 60 people (hard to count when you're presenting). Since there were only three sessions concurrently, almost every session was well attended. Judging by the reaction of the attendees and by the feedback I've got from people coming to me saying they've enjoyed my sessions and though they were really useful, I think I've done a good job, so that's great.

I've got two VFP 9 posters with autographs from the Fox Team, and I'll take these posters to the Brazilian conference and give them away... I guess the guys down there will like it.

I've been only one night to the strip (it's too far from the hotel we stay)... even though I'm not into gambling, that's definitely an entertanining place to visit, and I'm looking forward to come back someday with Ana to take a walk around... I'm sure she's gonna love it.

Between sessions and other conference activities, I stayed at the hotel room, working on Midas... I'm just concerned by the fact that there are still some pieces left that I thought we'd have ready by now... unfortunately, getting around the business objects and some UI stuff has been kicking my butt as we're still putting some classes together.

Something really cool that happened during the conference: I've received from Microsoft the MVP award for the 4th year in a row!!

Well, I'm gonna go have some sleep and then wake up around 3:30am (yeah, that sucks, but it had to be this way...).



Posted @ 12:16 AM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (1)


Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Canadian INETA Speakers Bureau

Probably because of my good ratings for my presentations at DevTeach in Canada for 2003 and 2004, I've been invited to be part of the Canadian INETA Speakers Bureau:

http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/canada/speakers/

I think that's pretty cool.  :)



Posted @ 4:42 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (4)


Thursday, September 16, 2004
Speaking Engagements

Okay, I figured it was about time to post my monthly entry to my blog.  <s>

This week I've presented at the VFP SIG, what's probably gonna be my last talk at user groups this year. That was my sixth presentation at the VFP SIG this year, what means I've been there every other month. That's been invaluable for practicing my conference sessions, and for improving my English and presentation skills.

I still have three speaking engagements for year though: the next one is gonna be VFP DevCon in three weeks, then I'll be presenting a seminar at Microsoft Brazil with Markus (some .NET stuff), and finally we'll also be presenting at a Brazilian VFP conference.

I think that was good enough for my second year on the U.S. When I first got here, I was just wishing I could do a presentation here and there and see how that would work... I'm glad that's been working out very well.

 



Posted @ 12:49 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (1)


Friday, August 20, 2004
Aline's at the Pre-Kindergarten now!

Alright, I just saw that my last post was exactly one month ago... Dang, I should start posting more often.  :)

My good news of the week is that Aline has just completed her first week at school!!

After waiting more than 4 hours in order to get her enrolled at Bammel Elementary school, and filling out all the paperwork and interviewing with the school people, we've finally made through it. And the only reason we made it was because she doesn't speak English as primary language, so that qualified her. Otherwise, she wouldn't "because our household income is greater than the criteria established by the school system". What a BS.

Anyway, we're all very excited about this!

By the way, we've enrolled her at the regular course, because we want her speaking English, and not Spanish, because that's what would happen if we had put her into the "bi-lingual" course. Yes, there were people thrilled at the school because we didn't want to put her into the bi-lingual course.... "but Brazilians don't speak Spanish?!" (it sort of scares me that school people don't know that...). 



Posted @ 5:59 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (8)


Tuesday, July 20, 2004
The Aftermath of June's presentations

Ok, it's been a while since I've blogged the last time, so it's about time to post something new.  :)

At this point I'd like to post the results of my presentations during the month of June. Before those conferences I've been to last June, my first (and last) presentation in a conference outside Brazil had been in 2003, at DevTeach (Montreal), and to my surprise, I was voted the best speaker for both the VFP track and the Overall ranking at the conference. Not so bad for a non-native English speaker trying to find his way among the long-time gurus.

Now, one year after that, I was heading to two neat conferences, and below I'm posting the results and my feeling about them.

On June 4-7, I was presenting at DevEssentials (Kansas City). In both of my sessions ("VFP and .NET", and "N-Tier"), I've got a good number of attendees, and their reaction at the end of the sessions was really great. I've had people meeting me on the hallways, telling me how much they've appreciated my sessions, and also some other speakers came to me saying they've been hearing lots of good things about my talks. That was really nice.

On the Overall standing, I ended up ranking 17 of 31. Even though at first sight I though that was bad, I guess that was mostly due to their pointing system, since the best speaker's got an overall average of 3.94, and I've got 3.72. And it was not also really clear how many evaluations were turned in for each speaker (You know, it's normally easier to get better overall average when you have just a small number of evals turned in).

Anyways, here go some comments people posted about my sessions:

N-Tier: No More Tears


"The presentation was an amazing tour of the N-tier concept. Content related well to VFP and could easily be a double session. Congratulations on your mastery of English as a second language."

"Great session. Wish there was more time."

"Turned on the light on for something that seemed really hard before."

"Terrific - very clear and very useful. Great source code for later study."

VFP and .NET: The Best of Both Worlds


"Great session. One of my favorites. Good discussion on why not to be hard-headed not only with VFP and .NET but with any programming languages. Very fun."

"Very enthusiastic speaker."

"Eye opener! Very interesting."

"Lively and easy to understand, good examples. NEED MORE LIKE THIS - Claudio does an excellent job of showing _why_ and _how_ to use the right tool for the job. These concepts and attitude (coupled with SQL) are the key to building good solutions with MS technology. This session hit the sweet spot of 'learn about different things, use what is best' and better yet 'use everything together'".

"Humorous and informative."

"Great speaker and most valuable session so far."

"Speaker covered the material well in an engaging and entertaining manner. Can't say enough good things about Claudio. Want to see him again."

"I learned a lot about how to decide which product is the best for the job. He also made it clear that learning .net can help instead of hindering the VFP development. I enjoyed his added humor which helps with the overall boredom of sitting in sessions all day."

"EXCELLENT session! It opened my mind. I want to learn C# now. Claudio is a very good presenter."

"Funniest speaker here."

That was the tone for most of the comments. So I'm definitely glad.

The night right after I got back from KC, I was presenting the "VFP and .NET" session at the VFP SIG in Houston. From them I've got an awesome feedback as well, according to our fold Rich, who runs the SIG:

"That was an awesome job you did last night at the SIG.  Way to go! A very well done and entertaining presentation.  I am so happy to have you as one of our best contributors! One person said they thought that last night was the best session you have done so far in terms of excellent presentation and clarity.  The humorous pictures were very good too! Anyway, I havereceived lots of extremely positive feedback on your session and I am passing that along!"

Glad to know our VFP folks enjoyed the presentation under that topic.

The next step was going to Canada, for DevTeach. This year, instead of presenting only one technical session and a vendor's session for the Universal Thread, I was presenting 4 sessions, plus the UT's one. Lots of stuff to do.

Fortunately, one more time, I was voted the best speaker on the VFP track. That is quite interesting, considering that from my 4 sessions, three of them were related to "VFP and .NET" topics, as oppose to what most of the other speakers were presenting (pure VFP or "exciting new features of VFP 9" sessions).

On the Overall standing for the conference, I ranked 3rd (tied with the 2nd in 'average per eval', but he's got 3 evals more than I have). Also, the 1st has only got 2 evals turned in, so that's not really fair... but anyways... the conference web-site is still accepting evals through their web-site until the end of the month, so the rankings might change a bit until there. I'm definitely very happy with this anyway, since there were 49 speakers presenting over there.

Some comments that I've got from the evals:

"Fantastic, great, wonderful and at least five or six other positive adjetives of your choice. Claudio is an excellent speaker that keeps things moving along and interesting. Not to mention this was some of the most useful matter for me at the conference. Great job Claudio! Great session presented perfectly." - 'VFP and .NET' session

"Best class."
"Humorous, easy to understand, interesting." - both from 'Comparing OOP in VFP to OOP in .NET - Basics'

"Good examples and good knowledge of the material with a good manner of imparting it to the attendees."
"Amaaaaaaaaaaaaazing" - both from 'Comparing OOP in VFP to OOP in .NET - Advanced

Two of my sessions were covered at http://www.universalthread.com/Conferences/DevTeach/2004/.

Not just the feedback I've got was great, but it turns out that now people are looking forward to doing business with EPS because they've seen me doing a good job at those conferences.Summing up, I can't tell you how happy I am that I'm presenting topics relatively complex, and people can actually understand what I'm saying, AND have fun while learning (I've always thought that learning without having fun basically sucks...). And with potential clients coming out of it, I say there's no question that I'm looking forward to improve my skill in order to continue delivering presentations out there!! :)

Sorry, this is a long blog entry because I feel it might end up being motivating to someone else.  ;)



Posted @ 5:19 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (15)


Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Conferences in June

The month of June is going to be a pretty busy one for me. I'll be presenting some sessions in two major conferences. This weekend I'll be heading out to Kansas City, where I'll speak at DevEssentials conference (www.devessentials.com). The sessions I'll be doing there are:

- N-Tier: No More Tears!
- VFP and .NET: The Best of Both Worlds

Two weeks after that, it'll be time for me to head out to Montreal, Canada, where I'll be speaking for the second time at DevTeach conference (www.devteach.com). Sessions will be:

- N-Tier: No More Tears!
- VFP and .NET: The Best of Both Worlds
- Comparing OOP in VFP to OOP in .NET - Basics
- Comparing OOP in VFP to OOP in .NET - Advanced
- Universal Thread: An Awesome Community
- Introduction to Voodoo Web Controls

I am definitely looking forward to participating on both conferences.



Posted @ 6:11 PM by Lassala, Claudio (lassala@foxbrasil.com.br) -
Comments (26)


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