MVP Insider – Q & A with David Woods


David Woods is the President of Solidhouse, A software consulting and website hosting company in Edmonton, Alberta. Dave has been programming since he was a kid on his Apple II and currently works on developing enterprise applications.

Dave has been a security enthusiast for many years. In former jobs he was responsible for the performing network security audits and server security before he took programming from a hobby to a profession. Now he has decided to focus his efforts on raising awareness and knowledge of software security in the community.

1. What does being a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) mean to you?

That I need to work harder. I received the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in developer security as I talk and blog about subjects that interest me. Now that I have the award though, people look at me as an expert in all areas of security! This is a good thing though as it motivates me to do more research into other areas of security I would normally not know about which makes me a better developer and a better Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP).

2. If you could ask Steve Ballmer one question about Microsoft, what would it be?

It seems like the company tries to get into everything they possibly can now which can stretch out a company and weaken what made it good in the first place. Why does Microsoft go in so many different directions rather than focusing on some core products and innovating to make those core items even better?

3. What do you think the best software ever written was?

I don't think of anything as the best software ever written. Every application written always has something that can be improved upon. If you were to ask my favorite software written it would have to be Visual Studio. Once I started using it I knew I could not easily go back to coding in a text editor and then compiling.

4. If you were the manager of Visual Studio, what would you change?

Performance. I find that most of my wasted time now is due to waiting on the IDE to load, add a reference, opening projects/solutions, closing the application. It seems that with every new version that a bunch of features I don't use are added and performance suffers.

5. What are the best features/improvements of Visual Studio?

The addition of the [ASP.NET] development web server for sure is the best feature for me. It has made development of projects so much easier, especially in the team environment as developers no longer have to mess around with Internet Information Services (IIS). Just get the project from source control and go! I also like the mobile device emulator as it really does a good emulation job to enable faster development without having to sync it to the device and try your application on the device every build.

6. What was the last book you read?

The last book I finished was "Mostly Harmless" by Douglas Adams from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series.

7. What music CD do you recommend?

Well I have to recommend my favorite Canadian punkers: "Propagandhi - Where Quantity Is Job Number 1". I love music that educates or informs and punk music seems to be the only scene that still occurs in.

8. What makes you a great Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP)?

Who said I was a great Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP)? I guess if someone DID say that, then it is my desire to help developers realize and embrace that there is more to our industry than what you learn in school and that continual learning and improvement is a good thing! In fact, I think that developers who resist change are the bane of our industry and they are what really holds back progress in our industry. We need to encourage continual improvement of all developers so that our industry can keep improving.

9. What is in your computer bag?

My Macbook Air and 50 Taiwanese dollars left over from my recent trip there (seriously, go to Taiwan... it is such a great place).

10. What is the best thing that has happened since you have become a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP)?

Not much really. I have some stickers? Not that I don't like being an MVP but it's not like I suddenly live in a magical land filled with rainbows and candy.

11. What is your motto?

Whine, kick and scream until everyone has everything they need.

12. Who is your hero?

I would probably have to say that Henry Rollins is my hero. He is a person who is quite grounded and quite honest about things. I wish there were more people out there like him that take a critical eye to things and approach things in a sensible manner. I admire that he does not accept what he is told as absolute fact and investigates things for himself.

13. What does success mean to you?

Not having to help yourself anymore and being able to help others.

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