Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't speed up your code, make it do less instead

I just read an extremely insightful blog post here. It's about speeding up your code, and the author makes an interesting point that he learned long ago from a mentor of his:

So there is no way, really, to make code go faster, because there is no way to
make instructions execute faster. There is only such a thing as making the
machine do less.

This is fscking brilliant advice. I never thought about code this way, but upon reflection I think he's absolutely correct. I can think of 1000 ways to accomplish this in both managed and unmanaged code, but ultimately it comes from knowing how your code is being built and what instructions are being created from it. As I think about some of the general principles of OO design (i.e. SOLID and such) I really am starting to see how efficient, extensible code improves this. Maybe the right thing to do in managed or unmanaged code when you start analyzing your code for performance is to actually look at the assembly or MSIL that is being generated instead of staring at it and trying to think of ways to optimize. Read the article and learn.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Alt.Net Seattle reflections

I always have a hard time with my reflection blog post. Many great things happened, many great conversations were had, and a lot of great ideas were shared.


First off, this was my first time as an organizer for anything, so that was a completely new experience for me. One of my first thoughts when we started planning this thing was that for a conference that is self organizing, we sure were doing a lot of work! Ultimately, it really is quite a challenge to pulling this thing off but I think that everyone did a great job. I would especially like to recognize Glenn Block for his outstanding leadership in getting this whole thing going. Finally, I would like to thank Digipen for graciously hosting the event again and for giving us access to their wireless network, as well as Joel and Wesley who were outstandingly helpful as well in making sure that rooms were set up and that everything with the facilities was running smoothly (sorry about the fire alarm).

Everyone still has something to contribute

I said this last year and it definitely proved to be true this year again. There was a lot of diversity in the background, experience, and knowledge of the attendees and when all of them get together to discuss something, I always find that everyone has something valuable to contribute. It is important to remember that we are all leaders

Lots of n00bs!

It was also great to see a lot of new people to Alt .Net this year. There were lots of new faces and I think it's important that we continually encourage people to join the community. If we don't, I fear that we would just become an echo chamber which would not be good. I am glad that we were able to have so many new people attend this year and that we opened registration up a bit more to give as many people as possible a chance to attend. We also had a great conversation at the Alt .Net pedagogy discussion and I hope that we're able to get going on some of the ideas that we talked about, although I think that's going to have to wait for a future blog post for me to really do it justice.

And good to see you all again

It was great to meet all of you whom I met for the first time and great to see everyone that I met last year again. We had a lot of good hallway conversations everywhere and it was always hard for me to go back home for the night as I felt like there was always something else to be said, someone else to talk to, or something new to learn (I had a great conversation at 13 coins at 3:00am on Sunday). I'm looking forward to the next conference or to wherever I see you. Feel free to tweet me (, email me, or otherwise contact me any time about anything interesting (most of you have my phone number now and don't realize it as it was posted on the door of Digipen for two days).

Videos and stuff

There's a lot of video out there from the conference. Several people were recording and streaming. I think Scott Hanselman has the most complete list of the videos that I've yet seen here. You can also check out the wiki for the event here.

Finally, I'd like to join the staff of the Redmond Town Center Red Robin in wishing Justin Angel a very happy birthday!