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Tag Archives: 5 minutes interview

5 minutes interview #29 – Aleksandr Narožnij

First time I met Aleksandr was my first visit to Klaipeda, Lithuania. He was kind enough to pick me up at the airport in Palanga (about 45 minutes by car), even though it was late at night. Before I met him, he had been on my team at Omega AS, and from day 1 I knew we’d be good friends. Aleksandr has been my guide every time I’ve been in Lithuania, taking me EVERYWHERE, helping me buy boxers (yes, believe it or not, this is REALLY hard to find when you’re out of clean ones) and generally just being awesome! Aleksandr joined Omega in 2006 as a trainee while finishing his studies. He finished these 1,5 years ago, and has been working with PIMS in the Products-team since then.

What did you study?
I’ve been studying Computer Science at Klaipeda University for six years. I have defended the thesis “Efficiency of database table’s indexes” for my bachelor and “Implementation of decision making process’ rules model in a software system based on models transformation” for the master degree. I got excellent grades on both – true story 🙂
Studies were mainly held at the faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics; so you can imagine how many additional “important” subjects did we have: ecology, math of all various types and even social behavior deviation 🙂 Of course, I don’t remember much of what I’ve been taught, but I’m grateful to all my tutors for helping me master the main skill – skill of studying on my own.

What’s the biggest difference between being a trainee and a full-time employee in Omega UAB?
Trainee position in UAB is a dream job. After passing the standard Certification Program you are normally given some real projects to work with, however you are free to use part of your working time for exploring how things work. I came to Omega with some basic theoretical knowledge and learnt pretty much everything in practice. Many thanks to Vidar – he spent much time and effort with us trainees.
I still “google” a lot, but now I don’t have enough time to go deep into details – that’s the main difference.

At work, what’s in and what’s out of your comfort zone?
I’m a kind of a SQL guy, if you like. Anything directly related to SQL Server is what I really like working with, especially when it comes to tricky data-model questions and realization. I believe that well modeled and strictly implemented database integrity is a basis of any system of a perfect sound. There is so much to learn in the field; therefore I’ve started preparing myself for Microsoft exams.
I’m not a Web-guy for sure. I guess Web is the future, but at the moment I do not like working with web-apps.

You’re good at focusing on your projects. What’s your secret?
There is no secret – I like what I do and I do it with all responsibility. My projects are most often quite interesting and challenging. When your job is interesting and gives you satisfaction – that’s all you need to do it well. Even if I happen to work with some routine tasks, I always try making it interesting for myself.

You like taking pictures. Any favorite genre(s)?
Oh, yeah – I like the process of taking pictures. Especially when you are lucky enough to “catch” the right moment or emotion. I am always happy when I succeed in sharing the mood of the moment via a picture.
I was planning to organize something similar to a photo-club, which guys are having in Ølensvåg. Still have a desire for it, so – coming soon 🙂

Take a look at Aleksandr’s flickr album here.


5 minutes interview #28 – Roger Gullhaug

Roger is one of the board members in NNUG Haugesund. He’s active both in the user group and on twitter, which I really like. In addition to being an active community member, Roger works at Hatteland Computer as one of the technical dudes, creating their new framework in Silverlight. Since he’s a Silverlight-guru, I’ve exploited his knowledge when I was testing out developing in Silverlight. Very helpful guy, and might I add; VERY patient with me 🙂

Can you give us a little insight on what you do at Hatteland Computer?
I’m working as a developer in Hatteland Computer. For the last 2 years I have mainly worked with Silverlight. I have been technical responsible for our Silverlight client framework which will be used for all Silverlight development in Hatteland Computer in the future. The framework is focusing on solving the challenges of writing a large system in Silverlight. We have a plugin-based architecture which makes it easy to split a large system up into small maintainable pieces which can be deployed independently. Other main areas of the framework are to make it easy to connect to the backend, make it easy to develop multi lingual applications and take care of everything which has to do with navigation. The framework also includes a Widget framework which makes us able to easy develop customizable dashboards. In addition to writing the framework I have also worked on developing a new user interface for our Rambase ERP system. Our framework is built according to the needs for this new user interface. It has been a very interesting project, and we now have released the first beta version to some selected customers.

Hatteland is famous for RamBase. Could you tell us a bit about it?
Rambase is an ERP system developed by Hatteland Computer. It is a complete business system made up of modules for sales, customers (CRM), purchasing, warehousing, production, auctions, economics, specialized trade (retail), human resources and web shops. In addition to being an ERP system, Rambase is also the name of the database used by the Rambase ERP system. It’s a database system developed by Hatteland Computer where all data is stored in RAM.

Hatteland Computer also has another product called Autostore. Before starting working with the Silverlight framework I worked on Autostore. I’m still a little involved in this, but not much anymore. It’s a very cool product. Take a look at this video.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyVDMp2bL9c%5D

What do you think about the community here in Haugesund?
The community in Haugesund is small, but good. When I was asked if I was interested in being part of NNUG Haugesund I didn’t hesitated. I hope the developer community will grow in the future. It’s really great to have someone like you Vidar in NNUG Haugesund, and I hope you will keep up the good work to bring NNUG Haugesund forward.

When are you going to have a session for us?
Hmm…. Suddenly it happens… but I’m a little shy when it comes to talking in front of many people. If I would hold a NNUG session it has to be on something I know really well.

What do you do when you’re not playing with Silverlight?
I have a wife and two children (3 and 6 years old) and I try to spend much time with them. I also got a new hobby – floor ball. I play together with some people from my neighborhood. Last summer I started cycling, and now that the spring is near I look forward to get on the bike again.

Links:
Blog
@RGullhaug

5 minutes interview #27 – Jan Ove Halvorsen

This is one of the most active guys in the community here in Haugesund. When I was thinking about starting a Microsoft-related User Group in the district, he had the same plans. He sent me an email asking if I was interested in starting it with him. That is now 3 years ago, and the UG is still up and running. Now I’m the chapter lead, and he’s the one responsible for communication with the other chapters in Norway etc. We might switch on these roles. He’s held several sessions both for NNUG and Omega AS, and we hope he’ll continue with this! Lately he joined a new company called Appex AS together with another board member of NNUG Haugesund; Tore Fremmersvik.

What’s your role in Appex?
My official title is “Technology Director”.  However, short-term I am first and foremost a fulltime consultant delivering system development services to pretty much the same customers I was already involved with before joining Appex.  Longer term it is our plan that my role will be gradually more and more in line with my title.  I will be responsible for the quality of our strategic decisions on technology and methodology.  It means I will not necessarily take the decisions, but will be responsible for the quality of the process leading up to a decision, and the implementation of decisions in these areas.  This also includes being responsible for our plans related to continuous improvement of our competence and knowledge.  Having said that, I anyway guess I will continue to do consulting in parallel for some years still.

What did you do before you joined Appex?
My education is actually within the areas (micro-)electronics, physics and mathematics.  However, all my professional life (20+ years) has been mostly about software.  I worked at Hatteland pretty much all through the 90’s, where I was involved in building the famous RamBase system.  In 2000 I joined Hydro Aluminium’s Rolled Products sector as a senior systems consultant.  During those years I was heavily involved in a major project called MACH2.  MACH2 is a production management system used by the two Norwegian rolling mills, at Karmøy and in Holmestrand.  In 2005 I took on the challenge as IS/IT-Director for these two plants, with full responsibility for the whole IS/IT domain.  But the geek in me conquered in the end.  I really enjoyed that position, but felt I drifted farther and farther away from what I love the most: programming.  So, in 2007 I left Hydro and set up my own consultancy, Halvorsen Consulting AS.  I had three nice years doing various software development tasks for a small number of clients, before I decided to join Appex less than half a year ago.

Why do you like being active in our community?
I have always been focused on and interested in knowledge sharing.  And the fact is that the process of diving deep into a new subject, build up insight on that subject and then share that insight with others is a remarkably giving thing to do.  I actually feel I get more back from doing something like that than I’m giving away.  This may sound like something I’m obliged to say, but it’s actually true.  However, I realize this takes some confidence to do.  I would never even consider doing that unless I feel the subject is something I could master.  If you asked me to learn to play the piano and have a NNUG session about it, I would shake my head wildly.  But ask me to have a NNUG session about LINQ (in C# !!), and you will see a big smile…

Are you planning any new sessions for NNUG?
Since I’m these days involved in a deep romance with a beauty called Silverlight, I can see something related to that on the horizon…  I’m also very excited about what is happening on the parallel programming area with .Net/C#, both in .Net/C# 4 and even more so in .Net/C# 5, so something related to that could also be coming up…

What do you do when you’re not in front of your computer?
I have a family, who by the way is quite forgiving when it comes to romances like the one mentioned above, so most of the not-in-front-of-the-computer time takes place in the family domain.  I am also an online gamer (hmmm… that I guess in fact counts as in-front-of-the-computer time…).  Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) it is.  I have been playing the same elf character, a so-called “tank”, actually for 2-3 years now.  I love the social dimension of online gaming, although it in periods sadly has to get very low priority.  As a long-term admirer of J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world I just had to try when the game was launched, and I have since then been lost.  Quite interesting to be questing through Middle-Earth, fighting hordes of nasty orcs, goblins and worse creatures, at the age of 40+, together with people of all ages from all around Europe, and even beyond.

Links:
Appex AS
@JanOveH

5 minutes interview #26 – Matthew Velic

About a year ago I saw a video with a guy entering a “SQL Cruise contest” on twitter. At first I thought it was a joke, but it was well made and it made me smile. After that I kept seeing @mvelic and started reading his blog. He’s active in the SQL community (both on twitter and in real life), and has written several good blog-posts.

So, who are you Matt?
I’m a just a guy, originally from Cleveland, OH, and now living and working in Washington, DC. I moved here during college: I majored in Fine Art. I built sculptures and did installations with video and websites and even yarn. After graduation I made the conscious decision to not starve to death, and so I laid down my tools and went to work. I temped around DC, as is fairly average for graduates, but I was a step ahead of most because I had worked while in college. Most of my experience was in fund raising support and office administration.

How did you end up as a DBA?
Well, that’s where the story gets interesting. My final temp gig landed me at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. They needed help through a database conversion and when I showed some aptitude for that project, they hired me full time to do data entry and fund raising support. A little over a year into the position, the official DBA was let go and his database administration tasks fell to me. At first I really didn’t know what I was doing, but with the community’s help, I was able to overcome many of my shortcomings in a small timeframe.

How do you find time to be active in the community?
I won’t lie, it’s tough sometimes. There are nights (and weekends) where I want to pick up the Xbox controller rather than work on blog posts or troll the internet for new SQL Server resources. But I enjoy doing it. I like to write, and I like to teach, and I like to share what I find. I hope I can continually get better at all these things.
And I won’t claim to be unselfish either: sharing can be a career growing activity. But as I came from an untechnical, temp-job background, I’m so glad to have a career!

If you should pick one thing, what’s the best thing about an active community?
There are so many great things about an active SQL Server community. Based on where I’m at in my life right now, the Best Thing is the feeling of support and camaraderie. I’m a one-man shop covering our fund raising systems. But I have no support. No one to ask advice, kick around ideas, or make plans. Especially through Twitter, I can get this support from the community and it’s filled that vacuum.

What do you do when you’re not in front of your computer(s)?
There’s non-computer time? Lately I’ve been reading fiction again: finished The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, The Magicians by Lev Grossman and working on Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. If you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit of a sci-fi and fantasy nut. I’ve also been known to partake in strategic board games from time to time, and I do enjoy good food (home cooked or going out). And when things get heavy, I break out the acoustic.

Blog: http://mattvelic.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/mvelic

5 minutes interview #25–Petri Tapio Wilhelmsen

Petri has just taken over for Rune Grothaug at Microsoft, being NNUG’s contact inside of Microsoft. He’s been a developer for 3 years, and an MVP for 1 year.

What did you do before you started at Microsoft?
I was a consultant at Avanade Nordics where I worked with technologies like Silverlight, WPF, Microsoft Surface and SharePoint for three years, but my passion for technology started long before that. When I was 10 years old I got a Christmas gift from my father, a book named “Du og Dino lærer Basic”, basically a children book on how to program with Basic. Later I started doing graphics- and game programming using C++, and participating in communities. I was also in 2009 awarded the Microsoft MVP award on graphics programming.

What will be your main everyday tasks at Microsoft?
Well, right now I’m trying to learn what I should do. But, it will be mostly about helping- and building communities, MSDN Live and MSDN Flash. But, my main task will be to reach out to Norwegian developers, and be their contact-person in Microsoft.

Do you have any plans on how to make the community even stronger?
Right now, my focus has been to learn my new role. As I earlier mentioned, I haven’t been able to think too much about this yet, but I do have some plans. I will have to learn what communities we have and work from there.

Other than computers, do you have any hobbies?
During the winters I usually go snowboarding with my friends, and even snow kiting when I have that possibility. During the summers I’m kite surfing around Oslo and sometimes out of the country. Other than that I like to play games on my Xbox360 and my computer.

5 minutes interview #24 – Anders Borchsenius (Microsoft)

Anders is MTUG’s contact in Microsoft. June 10th he and Børge Hansen are coming to town (Haugesund) to visit both NNUG and MTUG, and talk about the Windows Azure Platform. Register here for the event.

When did you start in Microsoft and what do you do?
I started in Microsoft January 2010, so I’m quite fresh, but have already found Microsoft a very exciting place to work. I currently in the Server & Tools department and I’m responsible for the day-to-day contact with Norwegian IT-professionals. Everything that Microsoft does towards IT-pro’s in Norway is my responsibility. So, shortly said, I’m working with letting you guys know what we are up to that concerns us geeks. Let me give you some examples. Many of you know MSDN& TechNet Live. This is a joint conference between MSDN and TechNet. I am responsible for the TechNet part. That is, making sure we have the right speakers, and of course making sure guys like you visit and enjoy the seminar. More, I am the contact for any IT-Pro community in Microsoft. It’s my job to help communities focused on Microsoft technology grow and prosper. I am also responsible for the Norwegian TechNet site and TechNet flash. Short said, I’m employed in Microsoft to talk to you, so if there are any questions just email me! If it’s to technical it’s not sure I’m able to answer, but I’ll surely find the answer for you 🙂

What are your goals for MTUG and the community in general?
Make friends! That is my personal goal. As the Community Manager in Microsoft it is my goal to make sure that MTUG reaches its own goals. It is many positive effects for Microsoft of having a large IT-pro community. First of all, it enables Microsoft to communicate directly to our users. And hopefully achieve a good two-way-dialogue. That was cheesy, I know, but it’s sort of the truth. It’s also my job to make sure other Microsoft employees see the value, competence and importance of having good relation with the community.

Other than computers, do you have any hobbies?
I really like to Scuba dive! I got my scuba license in 2004 and have loved it ever since. But it’s the recent 3 years that I have gotten some gear of my own and started diving here in Norway. Even though Oslo is limited in terms of dive locations, I still get to dive other places in Norway. Other than that, I love to spend time at my summer house in Bamble, Telemark. I have this small place by the sea, which my grandfather built. No summer without that place. Other than that, I’ve found myself involved in a conspiracy to steal all my spear time. Yupp, gotten a girlfriend, so not much spare time, but it has its charm 🙂

Links:
v-andbo@microsoft.com
http://blogs.technet.com/anders
@/anders_borch

5 minutes interview #23 – Børge Hansen (Microsoft)

Børge Hansen has been working as a developer on Microsoft technology since 1996. The last few years he’s been working as a technology adviser for Microsoft. He’s also been a speaker at several MSDN and NNUG events. He is also the speaker at our next NNUG and MTUG Haugesund meeting!

What have you worked on before you started in Microsoft?
I have previously worked in companies with in-house development for telecom and logistics solutions, as a general dev consultant and I have also been involved in several startups. Being able to work in different industries has led me into many different project types. I have done projects with GIS enabled data warehouses for analyzing mobile networks, I have tried to compete with Amazon.com with Bokkilden and created several types of data entry/reporting solutions. The last few years before I joined Microsoft worked with developing a new supply chain/ERP solution for health care sector. We were early adopters of DDD and TDD on the Microsoft platform. We wrote a complete platform for an ASP.Net 2.0 based MVP architecture. This is still one of my proudest moments. Especially now when I see that the rest of the industry has also taken on a focus on the established design patterns. Even today I would point to our framework as more productive than most of the frameworks out there. I would love to create a new open sourced version of this I could find the time.

What have you been working on in Microsoft?
I have been working in several roles. I started out as an Architect advisor, or evangelist as the Microsoft term is. Advising the big consulting companies and customers was a major part of my work. We also helped TV2 establish TV2 Sumo on a Silverlight based smooth streaming platform. Later on I have worked with SQL Server stuff, mostly working on problem solving for customers and helping with Oracle compete situations.  These days I am on my last few days as Product Manager for SQL Server and BizTalk. During this summer I will go back to the Architect role and shift my focus to new “early adopter” technologies and cloud development stuff.

What’s your favorite topic when it comes to being a speaker?
While I think of myself as a fairly competent techie or geek, I love mostly to speak of the soft skills of development projects. I believe these are the ones that make out great developers. You can be world’s greatest coder, but you only become a superhero if you master the soft skills. Building your skills and pride as an architect has been one of the favorite talks. I am in the board of IASA Norway and this is a recurring theme within that group.

Do you have any hobbies, except computer stuff?
Does family and home maintenance stuff count? He, he, seems that is all I can manage with these days.
But I do love the great outdoors. I go hunting/fishing for a couple of weeks every year. Often we go to locations without cellphone coverage with just a tent and a backpack. I love the feeling of being disconnected from the world a few days and only focus on being present in the wilderness. I also have a cabin in the mountains, just beside a lake. I try to get up there as often as I can. Either alone or with family and friends. This is a classic Norwegian style “hytte” with no electricity and water. It is back to basics. The really cool thing is that the kids love it as much as I do 🙂

Blog: http://www.borge3000.no
Twitter: @borge3000

5 minutes interview #22 – Rune Grothaug (Microsoft)

Rune is NNUG’s contact in Microsoft, since his title is "Developer Community Manager" in Microsoft Norway. He’s responsible for communication between developers and Microsoft and has been responsible for events such as MSDN Live and NDC (Norwegian Developer Conference). He’s leaving Microsoft soon, and I’m sure we’ll miss him. He’s been a great resource for NNUG, and has done a wonderful job with planning various tech-events. I bet this will be hard task for whoever’s replacing him!

What’s the coolest thing about working for Microsoft?
The coolest thing about working for Microsoft (and especially for the Developer Platform Evangelism team) is that we usually get to learn about new tech some time before it becomes publicly available. In addition I work with some pretty smart people who I learn a lot from. I do not think I’ve ever experienced the same amount of brain conditioning anywhere else in my life. Most of my coworkers work really hard and put in many hours to try to cover as much ground as possible. It’s not always easy being the world’s smallest DPE team, but we still deliver some of the best results in the world (really!). Working for Microsoft is different from many other jobs. Like Coca-Cola, Google, IBM and other large brands, most people have an opinion about Microsoft, and that allows for some really good discussions. Both when I’m officially working and on my own time. Especially after a few drinks people are VERY eager to come at me with all kinds of questions and weird allegations. I say bring it on!

Who’s your favorite speaker(s)?
Uh oh. This is tricky. I should definitely just point out all the speakers on this year’s NDC roster. I´m afraid it’s a bit more complicated. To be honest there are so many great speakers out there and I’ve been fortunate enough to have met many of them in person. If i have to mention a few, I´d like to point to Scott Hanselman for his incredible capacity, humor and being so knowledgeable about a huge variety of topics. Then there’s Bob Martin (Uncle Bob) for being able to make so many people really think about the effort they put into their work. Rafal Lukawiecki for his clarity and in-depth understanding of BI, Data Mining and Security (and being able to actually explain complex matters in a easy-to-understand way). I would have to point to both Luca Bolognese and Mads Torgersen for their supernatural understanding of programming languages and for explaining the choices made by the language team in Redmond in an engaging way. They both drew a good crowd at the last two NDC’s. Roy Osherove for being so focused on TDD and having inspired thousands of people to test better (and for playing a whole slew of geek songs during TechEd, NDC and in other conferences). David Chappell for being so eloquent and pleasant to listen to when he gives his renowned talks. Then there’s Ted Neward, Juval Löwy, Michele Bustamante and so many more who make our lives difficult by submitting a whopping >20 abstracts last year. Not easy to choose from that pile of great talks. Ian Griffiths is also a very good speaker and there are many more I should list up but this will have to suffice for now 🙂

You’re switching job. What are you going to do now, and what have you been doing before you started in Microsoft?
I recently decided to leave Microsoft. Not an easy choice but I´m taking on the role as team lead for the .NET guys in Avenir, one of Norway’s largest consultant businesses. I’ll have 35 directs so I’ll be busy busy. I´d have liked to stay with Microsoft longer but couldn’t pass up this great career opportunity. Maybe I’ll find me way back at some point – if they’ll have me 😉 Before I joined Microsoft I worked as a developer for 6+ years. First I did mostly web projects, like http://www.bmw.no and many other small and large portal solutions, working for a company called Electric Farm. It’s been out of business since 2004/2005 I think. Then I went on to do mostly Java programming with a company called Lawson. They had an ERP system huge as a house that needed continuous work and maintenance. I found it too boring in the end and started looking for a job that´d allow me to work more with people. That’s when I found the Microsoft job. The Developer Community Manager title is one I made up so people could understand better what it is I do. When I took on this job I had only one goal in my mind and that was to contribute to making it more fun to be a .NET developer in Norway. Some people say I’ve succeeded. I hope that is true. I will for sure miss all the good talks I’ve had with developers literally around the world, but first and foremost in Norway. I truly believe that the average Norwegian developer is very skilled. However I’ll still be part of the community as a NNUG member, so I won’t disappear completely. I´d like to thank everybody who’s been to MSDN Live, NDC and all the other events we’ve put on the last four years.

Do you have any hobbies, except computer stuff?
I’m an avid cook. Never get tired of pushing the limits. I love good food and don’t know anyone that’s as fixated as myself. So I had to start learning how to cook a good while back. Today I master many things in the kitchen but I am still work in progress. One can never learn enough. In addition I tend to geek out with just about everything. Lately cars and that’s kind of expensive. So maybe I should take to collecting match boxes or beer coasters to keep the cost down. My wife says I can’t buy everything just because they´re shiny objects. I beg to differ. Computers have always been on my mind, and these days my 1 year old is trying to write his first pieces of code. It doesn’t go as well as I had hoped. Today he sat himself down on the display – good thing it didn’t break. I think we currently have 8 PCs in our house (two are Macs). Oh yeah, and then I try to take pictures with my digital SLR camera. It sometimes turns out ok.

Links:
http//blogs.msdn.com/grothaug
@grothaug
@runegrothaug
http://flickr.
com/grothaug

5 minutes interview #21 – Einar Ingebrigtsen (Bouvet)

Einar has been a software developer since the mid-1990s. Now he’s working as a consultant at Bouvet with Microsoft .NET related technologies as is primary focus. 1st October 2008 he got awarded with the MVP title on XNA and DirectX. He’s been developing games for both PlayStation and Xbox and now 22nd March he’ll have a session for us at NNUG Haugesund about this topic. Click here to sign up for this event!

What have you been working on? Any projects we might have heard about?
I worked with gaming till late 90s and started doing Interactive TV applications for a couple of years for TV channels in Norway and abroad, the biggest installation was NRK and TV2 in Norway. In 2002 I started working with enterprise application development on the Microsoft .NET platform, and worked on an ERP product at Visma; shift management software called Turnusplan. Worked there for 6 years and then started in consulting and have been involved with quite a few projects / products during my now 2 year experience in the consulting business. The technology range I’ve been working with in the enterprise spans from .NET to SQL Server, BizTalk, Windows Forms, WPF and Silverlight to mention a few. Customers has been a few, but Nordea and Komplett is probably the most known.

Being rewarded with the MVP title, is there anything you get to do that you couldn’t do before?
One of the biggest benefits with the MVP title is that one gets a chance to work close with the product team one represents, in my case these days, the Silverlight team. Last week we got to go to the MVP summit, which is an annual summit that Microsoft holds for all its MVPs and we get to interact with the development teams at Microsoft. Holding the MVP title is certainly a door opener in other ways. Microsoft uses the MVP directory actively and once in a while you can get contacted by Microsoft offices in other countries if they are looking for a certain profile and you match that.

Any particular software releases you’re looking forward to the next year?
I guess Visual Studio 2010 is something I’m looking forward to. After using the Release Candidate for a couple of weeks now I must say I’m really impressed with what’s coming there.
The technology I hold dearest these days; Silverlight, will have a release this year – and I can’t wait for it to hit the global web – some amazing stuff has been done in this technology for version 4. With Silverlight 4 we are really seeing the full potential Silverlight in the enterprise; I am personally really excited about the new printing support, Webcam/Mic support and a lot of changes and improvements in data binding support.
Also, the out-of-browser experience that was introduced in SL3 has a lot more capabilities. For SL4 we’re getting an elevated security model, which enables us to do a lot more and make our applications richer on the desktop – such as more file access, both read and write COM access and more. In SL4 they are also putting the MEF (Managed Extensibility Framework) in there. There is a lot more, if you want more details, I have a post summarizing most of the features here: http://www.ingebrigtsen.info/post/2009/11/18/Silverlight-4-beta-announced.aspx.

You were podcasting a while. Any chance you’ll continue with this?
I was, and I really enjoyed it – I had to put it on pause due to heavy workload with Balder, the open-source 3D engine for Silverlight, which got a bit of attention. And attention in software means responsibility, so I’ve been filling up my spare time with working on that project. I want to get more time for doing podcasts as well, but maybe in a different form than what I did and possibly targeting a Norwegian audience only. No guarantees though.

Do you have any hobbies, except computer stuff?
Well, I must admit that the last couple of years I really haven’t had time for any hobbies. But I love to do stuff with my hands and used to spend quite a few hours doing carpentry earlier. It’s the kind of work that really makes my brain relax, which is quite necessary when working in the software industry. I will be picking up my hammer again in a couple of months and find a project (usually too large) that I can work on, so I don’t get stuck in front of my computer. Also, I discovered bi-cycling – I have a few personal goals in that area.

Also, remember to check out Einar’s blog at http://www.ingebrigtsen.info

5 minutes interview #20 – Petter Aalvik

Let me present to you the CEO of Omega; Petter Aalvik. I haven’t had much to do with him, but from what I’ve heard he’s a cool guy. Petter have been interviewed several times. You can read some of the interviews here.

When did you start in Omega? Do you remember your first day?
It must have been 1998 or 1999. Oil price had bottomed out at USD 10 per barrel, and most companies in the oil sector were reviewing their strategies inclusive Omega. Despite the poor market, these guys had fun, they were full of energy, very enthusiastic and hard working.
I participated in evening brainstorming sessions with Arne Gunnar, Sigmund and Leif Arild in Ølen. If they got an idea in one meeting, it was already implemented before the next meeting. Their ability to get things done impressed me. I was grateful for an opportunity to join the Board; I think it was the winter 1999/2000.
My engagement with Omega increased gradually from the brainstorming sessions, to board position, to part time work, to full time work.

As the CEO of Omega, what do you fill your day with?
In Omega we have a flat organization, which means that I have 20 managers reporting to me, at several locations in Norway and abroad, each manager with their own business unit.
Two baskets of tasks fill my day. Basket 1 contains things that I need to produce which I can plan forward in time. Basket 2 contains tasks that need urgent attention, assistance and support, issues that need to be resolved immediately. Basket 2 should always be empty at the end of the day.
It is a good mix. I need a basket 1 in order to feel creative and productive, some documented proof on a daily basis that I am also producing and contributing. Also, in between basket 2 tasks, it is good to have something else to focus on that are my initiatives. But basket 2 makes the job more exciting, and to the extent that I can assist some of the other 20 managers to get their job done, it has impact, even though I sometimes need to ask myself after a heavy basket 2 day, what did I do today?
Basket 1 tasks are for instance issuing a new HSE manual, a management agreement with a daughter company, a presentation to a client, input to a tender, organizing a board meeting, and so forth. Some of the tasks have deadline each month, for instance monthly report to the board and management meetings. Then we have processes that we do annually or quarterly like for instance board meetings for Omega AS and various daughter companies, shareholder meetings, budget processes, preparations of annual reports, strategy processes.
Basket 2 tasks might be an agreement in Houston to be reviewed and approved, a personnel issue in a department which require special management attention, an employee in Vietnam that turns to me for resolving some issues because his manager is not available, a client enquiring about Omega and so forth.

Have you ever been programming?
In my final year project at the University I made a program in Fortran that calculated speed and power requirements of planning boats. Lots of variables to consider and some heavy differential equations. I had the opportunity to use a test tank where I could run models and take measurements to determine the equations.

Where do you see Omega in 5 years?
Clients’ number one choice for project consultants and project management systems. The company is recognized for its service mindedness and the high quality of the personnel and systems it provides. We have rounded 1000 employees and NOK 1 billion in revenue with good margins. The company has the capacity to serve our clients at all locations where they expect us to be present.

Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy taking care of my family. Cleaning and maintenance of house and car must be done whether I enjoy it or not. I am particularly fond of outdoor activities. I like to exercise and I am trying to keep my body reasonable fit and healthy. I have a small (15 ft) cheap plastic boat that requires no maintenance. The boat requires nothing from me, it is just lying there waiting for a trip on the fjord. Occasionally, during the summer, we take her out for an afternoon cruise and have a really good time.