Category: Private

I got lucky this year, no end of the world.

This year has been seriously tough for me and my family, but finally we went beyond it successfully. So I guess it’s time for my first year review and new year proposals.

2012, relocation(s)

In Spring 2012 we moved away from Bermuda after almost 5 years. The relocation has not been easy, after few months in Netherlands I got sick and I had to quit my job and take a long break. Unfortunately I didn’t take a serious break between Bermuda and Netherlands and my body couldn’t afford it. So, we decided to move to Italy and kite surf for a couple of months (which was quite successful and pleasant …) and take a break from any type of technology (phone, mail, web …).

It was a good break and overall I am quite happy I took it, even if it cost us a lot of money, being on vacation and not getting a revenue. But I personally believe that life is one and health and family come before everything else. That’s it.
Btw I also cured my problem and now I am back in shape and ready for my daily activities, which include this blog.

In November we decided to move back to Netherlands and I successfully signed a new contract for a position of Software Architect for Mproof, a Dutch Software House. The environment is really Agile and friendly and this is making me an “happy coder”. Plus I am working remotely with a team in Ukraine, which I recently visited. It was a nice trip and I was able to share some Agile workshops about SOLID and TDD. I am also quite happy seeing new coders embracing Agile without prejudices.

Recently I also attended the XP days (Agile conference) in Netherlands and I had the pleasure to interact with some Europeans coders and architects. I guess I would speak about Agile and NET, next year and the next XP days, not sure about what yet.

Unfortunately I had to quit a lot of extra activities for a while, such as “blog”, “open source”, “studying”, “certifications” and so on … I had some health problems and the laptop was one of my first enemies during these months so I couldn’t interact with technologies for a while until I was fine. My wife was very helpful during this time and we found in the kite surf a good cure for stress.

Overall expectations

Well, if you ask me now, I can easily say that at the beginning of 2012 we were not planning to leave Bermuda yet, especially for the economical crisis around the world. The relocation was a shock for the family because we were almost used to Bermuda were everything is “another world”, so you can imagine the shock after few months of city living. After we left Bermuda we had some plans but sometimes reality is much different and you need to “adapt” your plans to reality.

  • I completed my IASA certification and in my backlog there is my third book.
  • I couldn’t complete the code of my previous books but my readers can now access all my code on TFS 2012.
  • I finally complete my learning process on kite surfing, even if I can’t jump yet, and I found it a really nice and cool sport.
  • We successfully relocated to Netherlands and this was my dream when I was a kid. I also got a new job which it’s quite challenging right now and of course well paid! Hot smile

Plans for 2013

I have few plans for 2013 but I will do my best to accomplish them. First of all learn Dutch, you can easily live in Netherlands without speaking Dutch, but you will never be “part of it” if you know what I mean. Because I am good European citizen I don’t regret to learn a new European language, even if I can say already that Dutch is a pretty damn difficult language to learn. Smile 

Move back to my blog and show a lot of Agile samples, complete my blog migration on WordPress because I am quite disappointed about Subtext roadmap at the moment.

Totally embrace Agile at my current employer.

Kite surf and be back to gym. Write my third book. Plus I have some private plans with my family that I can’t share with you… Smile

The plans over my blog will all be related to my new book, so you will be able to “taste” a little bit of it over my next blog’s posts. I got a free account on TFS 2012 and I am publishing all my projects over there so that anyone of you can simply go there and get the latest version of what’s available.

I am not sure yet, but I would like to re-start to speak at public conferences, I think the XP days would be a good re-start.

For now that’s it!

Speaking about Agile Architecture

The 9th of May 2012 at 2 p.m. (GMT +1) I will speak about Agile Architecture. The webinar will be registered and hosted by Typemock.

This is the address to register: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/427749090

Below is the Agenda and you are still in time to add some little changes:

What is Software Architecture
• What is Agile development
• How they can live together?
Discover principles of Agile architecture
• Lifecycle and process
• Modeling and development
• The right solution for the right problem
• How to deliver quality with (TDD)

If you want to listen about this topic or more feel free to drop me an e-mail (using my blog contact form) and I will be more than glad to expand it during the webinar. Of course it has to be something related to Agile Architecture … Winking smile

If you want to read more about it I would suggest you the following articles:

Agile Architect principles
http://www.agilearchitect.org/agile/principles.htm

J.D. Meier “Agile Architecture”
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jmeier/archive/2008/11/06/agile-architecture-method.aspx

PS: I guess if we are numerous I may get a Typemock license available for free to one of the attendee. Winking smile

Leaving Bermuda for good!

If you search inside an English dictionary the sentence “leaving for good” you will find the following explanation: “leaving for good means leave a place permanently, with no intention to return”. This is exactly what is going to happen to me and my wife, we are leaving Bermuda for good. It has been 4 years and a half (beginning of 2008) but now it is time to move to a new adventure.

Below I decided to post a brief history of why we moved to Bermuda, what it means live in Bermuda and why we are leaving.

Why did we move to Bermuda?

In 2008 I was working in Switzerland for a private bank and I decided with my wife to challenge our life. We were 28 years old and we were sick of living in a country (Italy) where the only way to have a decent career is to “know somebody …”, in the same time we were exhausted by the “frontaliere” (Italian term used to classify an Italian worker that cross the border with another country every day and comes back home in the evening) life we were having by crossing the border of Switzerland every morning at 7 a.m. and coming back home in the evening at 8 p.m.

I found an interesting offer in Bermuda for a public re-insurance company (Nasdaq company) and I applied for the position of CTO (Chief Technology Officer). Within a few weeks our life has completely changed. I got my job and I had to leave Italy in few weeks and my wife was able to reach me only after 6 months, due to the absolutely insane restrictions that Bermuda immigration department applies to work permit holders.

If somebody asks me now, why did I move to Bermuda? I would say because I was looking for something different, something new, something more challenging. Did I find it? Absolutely yes, even if I am still looking for new challenges and new adventures, I absolutely “realized” what I was looking for when I moved to Bermuda. And to answer to the classic question: “Would you do it again?”, I would say: “Yes I would but I would change some things in a different way”.

What is good about living in Bermuda?

caribbean-islands-snorkelingWell, I can’t say that the life in Bermuda was a bad experience.

  • First of all you save money, and this is probably the best thing you can do when you are married and your plan is to build a family. In Bermuda salaries are absolutely higher than any other place in the world, tax rate is almost 0% (there are taxes but they were all paid by the employer) and the criminality was very low.
  • The weather, it is absolutely nice especially from April to November/December you can easily have some spectacular sunny days and going in the office is really hard!
    In the summertime the humidity can reach insane levels and between July and September you live with the A/C on all day (humidity can reach 90%). The average temperature is 20 C in the spring, 25 C in the summer and 15 C in the winter.
    Of course you are in the Caribbean, more or less, so you can expect: Storms, Hurricanes, Heavy rain and more …
  • Meet people from all over the world. Even if Bermuda is a small island, we got the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. US, Europe, Australia, New Zeeland, you name it … This has been a fantastic experience, I made a lot of friends and even if I won’t see them anymore (maybe) I learned that the sex, the color of the skin and/or the nationality doesn’t really matter; you can find good and bad people coming from the same town. Winking smile

What is bad about living in Bermuda?

rantWow, do you really want me to open this Pandora Box? Seriously?

  • Bureaucracy simply too long. Bermuda is a small island, there is an average of 60,000 people and 4/5,000 expats some says 10,000. The amount of public employees, considered the size of the island, is big and every single public service has problems. It takes long to get paperwork’s and permits and as soon as there is a little issue it will just take more time. They are starting some telematics automation but it is still not enough, especially from a geek point of view.
  • Food quality is something that you have to deal with on a small island in the ocean, especially if you compare with the high price. One Apple may cost you around 1.5$,the water is very expensive, one bottle of sparkly water costs you almost 2.5$ … The meat and the fish are frozen and expensive too, because every single piece of food, or most of them must be imported by sea in the island. 
  • Cultural difference, living on a small Island is different than living in a big a city and local culture and approach to socialization and communication is very different; for example, Bermuda requires a special ceremony composed by “Good morning, how are you?” that needs to be included before any request or question to a local. It is not bad but if you don’t know the local culture you may risk to be misunderstood.
  • Infrastructure difference. If you come from a big city you may find fundamental to have high speed internet, cable TV, wireless everywhere and many other services. I had 3G and DSL in Bermuda but it was very expensive and not so high speed as I would like to have. Plus with bad weather conditions you may struggle in receiving good signals.

Why Netherlands?

We have been in the Netherlands few times and visited the entire country, we love the flat landscape because is simple and well organized, Dutch are  friendly people and even if you speak only English you can easily communicate with everybody. The social system is expensive but works pretty well, so I prefer to pay more taxes but live in a system where everything works properly. The food is not too expensive and the quality is good. Traffic with the car is more complicated but if you ride a bicycle is the perfect place for you!

It is absolutely organized, consider that we found an apartment from internet, we saw it and we liked and when we moved in it was absolutely perfect. Every single paperwork has been done from internet and we received in the new location all the documents we needed.

Below I want to share some nice shot (not mine) taken from www.flickr.com. They represent where I was and I where we are now! Enjoy. Smile  

Bermuda photos

Den Haag photos

A Devil in the house …

Just a little OT to keep you up to date also about my private life (if anyone of you cares … Winking smile).

Last Friday we got a new member in our family, after we lost our precious Doberman after 10 years, we decided to move forward and forget the drama by getting a new dog. This time we bought a Jack Russell Terrier … what a Devil!

Her name is Sophie, she is now 3 months old and she is the alpha of her litter … so a little bit a “devil dog”. Really energetic and with a strong character! A nice challenge for me and my wife.

The first thing we want to teach her is to jump on a surf board and surf! I will publish a video of her soon.

For now, enjoy this:

Bye bye Morgana!

This is an off-topic post and I want to spend a space on my wall to my dog, the best “friend” I ever had in my life and probably the best I will ever have.150245_1694100553588_1270026602_31873922_1816636_n

Morgana has been my dog since the end of 2001, as soon as I ended the school and I got the first job I left my parents house and I started to live with my actual wife. I always had the dream of having a Doberman and I decided with Debbie to go to a Doberman breeding farm and get one.

Morgana was there, in a corner, very shy. She didn’t want to leave the farm and at that time she probably didn’t like us at all; she was only 2 months old and we were taking her away from her mother …

After few weeks she got quickly used to us and I would say that we both felt in love. A love that never ended and that will never end.

I cannot tell you how many adventures and misadventures I had with my dog, you wouldn’t even imagine. I can just tell you that she was there when I got married, she was there when I lost my job and she was there when I left Italy to move to Bermuda! She was here in Bermuda and she was ready to come back with me in Italy when I lost my job in Bermuda 2 years ago. She has always been with me, she was part of the family!

75825_1694100353583_1270026602_31873920_6957437_n

Every person that met us (friends, parents, relatives or simply neighbors) knows how nice, sweet and smart Morgana was. She never gave us any problem, she was the perfect dog, the one that every person would like to have. The family dog, smart, sweet and dutiful but in the same time spiteful if I was not giving her the time she deserved!

Now she is not with us anymore, unfortunately. The pain is still big for me and I feel I am missing something now, like a piece of my life is now empty, gone. When I got her my father was not happy because he had a dog and he told me: “Raf, you can’t even imagine the pain you will have when your dog will die”  and he was absolutely right! The pain is a lot and I still do not know how to fill the gap she left.

I just want to write this post to remember her, to let her know that she will be always in my heart and that I will never, ever forget her!

Bye bye Morgana!

Winking smile

Symposium 2010 – Redmond

Last week, or better this week that just ended Smile I have been to the Microsoft Patterns and Practices Symposium summit which is a very cool 7 days Summit for Software architects, Microsoft and non.

Redmond and Seattle

It was the first time for me also to be in Redmond, or better to visit Seattle and the suburbs like Redmond, Bellevue and Seattle city. What can I say? It’s really a cool and nice place, it remembers me home ( I am from the north of Italy) with all these trees and mountains but in the same way a techy and commercial place.100_7929 Really enjoyed. For example if you ever been in Bellevue which is a nice suburb of Seattle, you get free internet wireless all over the city and the service is provided by the city administration, really nice!

I have been to the open market near downtown (Pike place market) which deserve really some time as it has nice fresh food and funny things and in the major malls in Seattle, bought stuff for me and my wife and enjoyed the company of a new friend coming from Nebraska. 100_7951
I also saw the first StarbucksSmile Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go up in the SpaceNeedle but I saw it from the street, pretty cool!

I met a lot of people from all over USA and there were also some people from the Europe, for example I worked in a open space workshop with 4 guys from Turkey, 1 guy from Kodak in USA and other people from other places which I don’t remember right now (sorry guys about that …).

Of course I also enjoyed some nice food. I tried for the first time the Cheesecake Factory which is a Restaurant chain (not fast food) that has a very price/quality ratio and got probably the biggest Strawberry cheesecake slice I ever had … Have been also the Sushi Line and to some very good Sushi restaurants too for less than 20 bucks! Forget about having such deal in Bermuda.

The Symposium

The Symposium conference and the Microsoft organization were simply amazing. I can’t say anything about that starting from the Check-in moving to the transportation facilities ending with the catering and the sessions. Everything was really well done.

I had the great opportunity to meet all the guys working at P&P and speaking directly with them; I am not going to mention any name specifically otherwise I will have to mention all of them as they are all great guys!

The conference was organized in 5 days plus nightly events and a pre-conference workshop which was on Prism V4 in my case.
Anyway, every day the conference was following a specific path, like Back-End, Front-End, Design and so on. I just attached a picture of the full schedule in order to make you understand better what you lost if you were not there with me!! Smile with tongue out If you are interested about the speakers you can find the full list at this address: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/practices/ff797017.aspx.
It was funny to see Robert Martin in the open key-note, he is also known as “Uncle Bob”. You may listen him for hours and hours it’s really an amazing man!

At the end we had a visit to the Patterns and Practices offices which are really designed ad AGILE offices and the guides was Michael Puleio. I can’t post pictures or anything like that (I believe there is an NDA about that, but I am not sure) but I can guarantee you that they have built a very nice a “developer oriented” workspace there! I am really envious for them Smile

Anyway, in conclusion, smart people, nice easy and very flexible and available; if you consider that they are all senior software/architect and most of them are MVP or work for Microsoft. Great time, new friends so for sure I will be there again next year!

What’s going on ..

It has been a long time since my last post, so I got some e-mails from my readers (really proud about it) wondering why I am not writing anymore on my blog.
Well you need to know what’s going on … It’s time for an update.
First of all I am very busy in the office, I am working hard right now and the time I come back home I am really tired. We had some busy week-ends here with bad weather, hurricane so I didn’t really have a lot of time for the blog.
Finally, probably the most amazing reason, I am writing a book!
Yes, you got it, all the tips and tricks I am sharing on this blog about WPF and MVVM will be available on a book before the end of the year. The writing process is almost done but as you can imagine that part is just a small part of the process.
As soon as I have few spare time I will be back on my posts. We will talk about the message broker and about some new feature available with Prism.
So, stay tuned!

WebHost4Life, the worst Hosting Service.

Oh, I am so glad that after 15 days of troubles and problems I am finally able to post again from my blog.

An this is just one of the new important news! But let’s start to shame on WebHost4Life.

I want to let you know that I am the owner of this domain, starting from the far 2003 and I had various Hosts in these years but I never had such a kind of problem.

Around January 2010 the crappy WebHost4Life started the tedious migration under the new Control Panel but this is not the true. They started to migrate manually user by user. I tried to post this migration until 15 days ago but then, when I renewed my subscription with them I started to have problems over problems.

First, the domain Raffaeu.com totally disappeared from my control panel, at that point I was not able anymore to receive e-mails, to host my blog and more … After 10 open tickets and a lot of money spent in calling them, I decided to block my payment with Paypal and open a formal claim.

You know what happened after that? They simply wiped everything. My files, my account, my e-mails and my SQL server. The only way to get back these files, that are mine, was to pay them an upfront of 143 USD.

After that they simply putted online again an old version of my blog and a mess in the database. All the emails are gone! I am sure about that because I use Subtext 2.2 and the version they restored was the 1.9. I did the migration to the version 2 more than 6 months ago ….

Now everything is fine for the simple reason that I moved to a new provider. Now I am using Discountasp.net and it’s pretty cool. In less than 1 day they contacted the registrar, changed my DSN and made everything working. I have also a cool IMAP provider for my mail accounts.

I am trying now to open a formal claim with all the other users that had the same problem I had as WebHost4Life doesn’t deserve to be a web host for the crap they are doing all around.

What I can suggest to you, if you are under them is to look for a new host and try to postpone the migration to the new platform as far as you can. Also remember to backup everything as it seems that they are totally incompetent …

There is still plenty of work to do. I lost most of my screenshots and files so you will find some problems reading my articles but I have a lot of backups so don’t worry, I will replace everything in few weeks.

Stay tuned as we are going back to talk about WPF and Prism again in few days. I have plenty of posts to share with you.

2 Years of blog.raffaeu.com.

Today it’s 2 years that I have opened my blog in English and it’s two years that I moved to Bermuda web site.

I should do some considerations about it but it’s not the right time for me so I will try to be as less negative as I can.

Job and career.

I moved here 2 years ago as a Senior Software Developer working for a public Company as the IT Manager. In this company I was in charge of the entire (small) IT department. Unfortunately, after the Market Crisis of the 2009 I was ‘convinced’ to look for another job.

Actually I am working as a ‘real software architect’ for a pretty cool company also in the re-insurance business. In this company I am using all my knowledge (design architectures, .NET, latest technologies like WCF, WPF, WF) and I have also the luckiness to have the opportunity to mentor my colleagues with a weekly workshop. Trust me, for a community addicted like me it’s a huge satisfaction!

I got some new Microsoft Certifications and I am working hard to gain the complete set of MCPD certifications too.

Moving to Bermuda web site.

Bermuda web site is a small Island in the Atlantic Ocean. The size is around 50Kmq and the population size is around 60,000 people, more or less.

After the ‘first year honeymoon’ the life starts to be really hard here.

Honestly, is not an easy place for a lot of reasons, especially for someone like me that is coming from one of the nicest place in the North of Italy, the Lake Maggiore and that likes a lot mountain activities like skiing and walking in the forest. What I miss in order of importance are:

  • Friends, friendship in Italy is very different than in any other country, trust me! Smile
  • Food, also if me and my wife are decent cook, we still miss a lot of our traditional food here.
  • The environment. I miss the mountain, the snow, the lake and the quite winter we have in my town. I miss Milan and the shopping and I also miss the Switzerland where I spent the last 7 years.
  • NET Communities. Nothing like that in Bermuda web site, I also tried to open a workgroup a year ago but it seems to be a mission impossible.

Life is crazy expensive, just to give you a small idea, a normal rent is around 3, 4K a month and a decent dinner in a decent restaurant is around 150, 200 USD for two person.

Fortunately, I have here all my family (my wife, my sweetie dog and my cat) so I feel comfortable and for now I still don’t have the need to come back home; I also found some nice Italians friends that help me in the daily complains … Smile

Personal.

When I moved here two years ago I started an awesome sport called ‘Kite surfing’. Unfortunately, last year, I had a bad accident in Brazil, when I was on holiday with my wife, and I had a hernia surgery. After that I stopped to kite also because my wife won’t allow me to do that anymore. Wink

The plan for this year is pretty ambitious but I won’t mention anything yet. I am just planning to write a lot, articles, online tutorials, book and more. Of course everything will be related to .NET 4.

My blog has now a small but really interesting average of 150 feed readers and an average of 200 visits per day with at least 1 daily feedback. Trust me, it’s a huge satisfaction especially when your readers send you e-mail for business requests. Laughing

Off again, health problems.

Hi everybody, as you can see I am off again.

Unfortunately this time was not for my fault, directly.

I had a surgery last week here in Bermuda web site and now I have to stay on the bed for a while, so no PC and no nothing.

I can just spend my time for studying for the new certifications I am going to prepare.

I will be back soon and I will post a lot of SQL08 and Biztalk news, just wait and stay tuned!