Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Benvenuti lettori italiani!

elcome Italian readers!

Update 2006-12-08 2:55 PST:
Vedo molti ospiti dall'Italia--dove è dopo la mezzanotte--grazie all'alberino del blog dello Stefan. Perchè state utilizzando i vostri calcolatori così in ritardo alla notte? ;-)

This morning I had the honor of participating in my first Italian webcast. Stefan Demetz, CEO of Decatec, had asked if we could support him in giving a webcast on grid computing for .NET. Decatec is a consulting firm that specializes in .NET development. Stefan is a very bright guy, so I was excited at the prospect of helping him.

The details proved to be a bit daunting.

Because I don't speak Italian (although my Spanish is passable), we decided that Stefan would do all the talking. However, because I have a grid of demo machines and a bunch of pre-baked code demos, we decided that I would perform all of the demonstrations. We rehearsed it, and everything went swimmingly.

This morning, however, Murphy's Law took effect.

First: I arrived at the office an hour before the webcast was scheduled to begin (7:00 AM Pacific Time), and I found that I had no internet access. As it turns out, this is a major problem when using LiveMeeting. I scrambled around for a while, rebooting things and getting help from our IT folks. We quickly realized that it was a DNS problem, but it still took awhile to resolve. In the end, I got internet access at 8:03 AM--3 minutes after the webcast had begun! It wasn't a problem for the attendees, because my demos weren't at the beginning of session.

Stefan had written a bunch of slides about grid computing for .NET, and he presented those. When it was time for the demonstrations, I took over LiveMeeting and conducted the demos while he narrated.

Even though I don't speak Italian, I could follow along with what he was saying (he pronounced all of the class names and programming terms in English, and I could recognize many Italian words are very similar to either English or Spanish).

However, here we hit our second glitch. I was listening to the internet audio broadcast of the narration; he was watching my desktop via LiveMeeting. As a result of all of the intrinsic delays, I was hearing audio that seemed to be about 30 seconds behind the action on my screen. So I had to keep my mouse about 30 seconds *ahead* of what I was hearing. For example, if I waited for him to say "Genero un nuovo oggetto" after I created a new object, there would end up being a 30 second lag.

So I attempted to move the demos forward at the correct pace--slow enough to be narrated properly, but quick enough to move along.

Stefan did an absolutely fantastic job of following along. A couple of times he was forced to "fill" a little bit when my pacing was too slow, and he never seemed to skip a beat.

The end of the session featured questions and answers; attendees submitted written questions. Stefan is very well versed in our system and was able to answer most of these, but I wanted to chip in. Again, the language barrier presented a problem--this time, technology had an answer. I had a browser window opened to Google Translate. I copied the questions in there, translated to English, then interpreted what the slightly-garbled result was supposed to ask.

For example, "il server digipeed può essere messo in cluster o load balance ?" translated to "the serveur digipeed can be put in cluster or load balance?", which I took to mean "Can you load balance or cluster the Digipede Server?" (The answer is "Of course, it can be clustered for failover or scalability [but unless you have thousands of agents, you don't need to cluster for scalability]).

In the end, the webcast went great. Stefan introduced Grid Computing for .NET to an entirely new audience, and he provoked a lot of interest (there were many good questions at the end of the session, which always indicates that the speaker was compelling). Thanks for putting up with the difficulties Stefan!

Photo credit: darnok

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