Interview with 2 WikiNinjas: Peter Laker & Ana Paula de Almeida (part 1 of 2)

Today I got something special for you....

First, I need to put a few things clear.
As you might know, a while a go I challenged the Wiki audience with a Win 8 app.

We actually got 2 interesting answers to that challenge; 1 of them by Pater Laker, the other by Ana Paula de Almeida.

Ana has had her minute of fame earlier this year: just click here to see the interview with Ana....
So first I wanted to introduce you to Peter.

Who are you? Peter Laker, Director of Digital Eyes Ltd.
Microsoft application/system development (design, develop & manage)


Where are you (from)?
I'm from the South of England, half an hour from Brighton beach, and an hour from London.

What do you do?
Develop client and server applications for many companies including Microsoft, IBM, Marconi, Guinness World Records and, oh so many more..

Besides your work on the Wiki, where do you contribute? (Forums, blog?)
I post projects to MSDN Samples and spend a lot of time on the MSDN forums. Whichever technology I am using the most, that is where you will find me. The WPF forums mostly, but increasingly interested in the Dev Center. I find the tech forums the best way to increase my own knowledge as well as pass some of it on. If I find a question I can't answer, I want to know what the answer is, I research (often TechNet has the answer), and code a solution. This way I learn AND contribute. It is easy for a developer to just code to what you know, you get less and less "eureka" moments as your knowledge levels out to "proficient". However with the forums I get to test myself and learn new technologies and methods. Constantly growing, from "proficient" to "expert". When I DO encounter a similar problem in my day job, I will already have learnt the solution!

What’s your favourite quote? "I know Kung Fu!" (Neo, The Matrix)

Why this quote?
Not just the quote obviously, but the sentiment. The look in his eyes in that clip above. That "eureka" feeling you get when you learn something new. I am very lucky that my job is also my hobby. I have many personal projects and fun web sites that I play with and practice my skills on, always looking for an excuse to learn something new, then obsessing over it. Until I turn to my beautiful wife and say "I know Kung Fu!", to which she dutifully replies "Show me!", as a cue for me to wax lyrical about my latest knowledge upgrade! XD

What are your specialty technologies? Name max 5.

  1. WPF/Silverlight
  3. WinRT
  4. SQL
  5. C#

What do you do with TechNet Wiki ? (Hey, keep it short!)
I consider myself a contributor, commenter and reader of the technologies mentioned above (short enough?)

How does your Wiki work fit into the rest of your job?
TechNet Wiki is a great way to compile my knowledge and interests. Effective use of tags allows me to quickly find information again. This way, TNWiki becomes almost a journal of knowledge throughout my career. I can't take anything with me, so I may as well document some of it for others. What we write today could be found by our children and even distant ancestors, researching their family tree, many generations later!

What is it about TechNet Wiki that interests you? Define it with a few key words.
Open access, collaborative, easy to contribute, whatever we make of it!

On what articles have you spend the most of your time?
Troubleshooting WPF
A growing article that I find useful to point people to, who are just starting out, or unaware how to catch their illusive bug.

Easy MVVM Examples (in extreme detail)
One that could go on forever, but trying to keep as an introduction/overview.

Software Design Patterns
A hub article for everything on software design patterns. As an old passion of mine, I figured TechNet was a more appropriate home for such a subject. But with so many other projects to split my time between, it may take a few years to complete, unless I can get others to help...

Blackboard Design Pattern: A Practical Example - Radar Defence System
A complete example of a useful, but under-documented design pattern.

What are your top 5 favourite articles?

  1. Troubleshooting WPF - (useful)
  2. Moving from WinForms to WPF - (helpful)
  3. Easy MVVM Examples (in extreme detail) - (current favourite pattern)
  4. How to Build, Manage and Navigate the User Interface of a WPF Application (popular download)
  5. WPF Printing Overview (look out for my homage to the Wiki Ninjas ;)

What are the top 5 topics that need more attention & development?

From my point of view, I will be working on predominantly on...

  • WPF, WinRT & Silverlight topics,
  • development topics in general (troubleshooting, best practices, solutions, etc) as well as
  • documenting my personal projects, like the Windows 8 TechNet Wiki Widget.

Who has impressed you in the Wiki community, and why?
Ed of course, for his tireless work and ablity to still share his time fairly between everything & everyone!
Many fellow Ninjas, like yourself Peter, Tony, Eric, Yuri, Luigi, Tord, Zoltan, Luciano & Horizon_Net have all caught my eye lately, for their commitment and dedication to the cause!

What does success look like for TechNet Wiki?
First choice in search results
More referrals from other sites.

Technet Wiki is (highlight 1 on each line)

1.  Job / Fun [I choose both]

2.  Easy / hard to work with

3.  Sharing Experience / Passion

4.  Teaching / Learning

5.  Sharing / gathering knowledge [undeniably both]

6.  Open / closed platform

7.  Personal / Community driven

8.  For newbies / specialists [one stop shop]

9.  Quick win / long term investment

10. Developer / ITPro

More to follow in a second post, later today.

[Ka-jah Shakaah!]
The Security & Identity Ninja.

Peter Geelen Premier Field Engineer - Security & Identity at Microsoft

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