Charles Petzold

How I'll Spend My Summer Vacation

June 21, 2006
Roscoe, NY

Happy Summer Solstice!

Writing a thousand-page book in ten months is not easy. It was a rough schedule, and I am exhausted. I still have some work to do correcting pages and writing the Introduction, but it's basically finished, and now I can perhaps read a book without feeling guilty that I'm not writing one.

I was thinking it would be nice to recuperate at an old-fashioned sanatorium in the Alps, but instead I picked up a copy of The Magic Mountain (Woods translation) for my first post-insanity long read. It'll have to do, and perhaps being in Deirdre's house in the Catskill Mountains will complete the atmosphere.

Whenever possible, Deirdre and I like to work half days in the summer — putting in four hours at our respective Windows boxes between breakfast and lunch, and then doing something else in the afternoon: hiking, swimming, antiquing (in the shopping sense of the word), and other stuff that I've forgotten because I haven't done it in so long. The idea is that we get some R&R but don't let our brains entirely rot.

Originally I was going to write a "Chapter Zero" for the WPF book that would bring C and C++ programmers up to speed with C# and .NET. Then I decided I wanted to presuppose that knowledge. (The first page of the book has a short C# program that creates Application and Window objects followed by the sentence "You're familiar with the System namespace, I assume.")

For those programmers who haven't ventured near .NET yet, I'm going to write a free on-line book entitled .NET Book Zero, perhaps 100 to 150 pages in length, that I hope to finish by the end of July.

When that's finished, I hope to resume work on an essay about Charles Babbage that I've been researching and writing at odd moments. I know I won't be able to finish it this summer because it's going to require logging some time at the library when we return to NYC in early September.

Despite the non-WPF work I have planned, WPF is going to remain a major part of my life and work. There's still lots of wacky XAML knocking around the inside of my head that's going to have to come out before it causes a tumor.