Charles Petzold on writing books, reading books, and exercising the internal UTM

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We Got Mangos And Bananas You Can Pick Right Off The Tree

May 19, 2011
Atlanta, Georgia

I suffer from an affliction where certain words trigger songs to start playing in my head. The word "summertime," for example, triggers the George Gershwin song from Porgy and Bess. (I once told my mother than "Summertime" was my favorite song, and she said "That's funny. I used to sing that song to you when you were an infant and I was carrying you around the apartment.")

Another one of these troublesome words is "mango," which for obvious reasons triggers the song "There is Nothing Like a Dame" from the musical South Pacific (music by Richard Rodgers; lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II). The word "bananas" doesn't do it, and neither does "volleyball" or "ping-pong." Just "mango."

Mango is also the code name for the next release of Windows Phone, and the word was mentioned quite a bit this past week at Tech Ed, so my Tech Ed experience incongrously featured lusty sailors singing and dancing and engaging in rowdy horseplay in my head.

The Mango development tools (it's happening again) are anticipated to be released before the end of this month, and Windows Phone users will get the upgrade by the end of the year. Whether that upgrade will be called Windows Phone 7.1 or something else, I suspect no one knows for sure right now.

I hope to be blogging about the Mango updates in the months ahead, and revising my Windows Phone book as well. But don't wait for that. Nothing that currently exists in the Windows Phone API will be changing — just more will be available and possible. You can start coding for Windows Phone right away without regrets.

I spent all week attending Windows Phone sessions at Tech Ed, and some of the presenters must have thought I was stalking them! I particularly want to thank Peter Torr, Maarten Struys, Shawn Oster, and Rob Cameron for their sessions revealing some of the new goodies in Mango (and bananas you can pick right off the tree).



It was great to meet you! No, you were definitely not stalking me during my sessions ;-). I really felt honored and liked it when you attended more of my sessions after the first one. I remember the first time I heard you speaking (way back in Davos, Switzerland, during one of the Win Summit conferences). I was blown away (and I still miss WinSummit, that would be something to get back)! My hero author, teaching me so much about programming Windows (way up to the fifth edition), followed by Programming Windows with C#, even followed further by Programming Windows Phone 7. I have only two whishes left right now. If, at any time, I can help you creating the best Programming Windows Phone Mango book (or update) I would feel honored. Also, this would really be a dream come true. If Microsoft wants to schedule a pre-conference session about Programming Windows Phone Mango during PDC in Anaheim, CA later this year, I would love to co-present with you, learn from you and sometimes throw in my lame jokes about developing applications for devices.

Maarten Struys, Mon, 23 May 2011 20:11:24 -0400

Thanks, Maarten! We all miss WinSummit. As you might recall, the WinSummit I spoke at was soon after 9/11, and apparently that event persuaded many European programmers to avoid travelling, which reduced the attendance to a point where financial problems were encountered by the people who ran the show. And that was the end of that. — Charles

'Another one of these troublesome words is "mango," which for obvious reasons triggers the song "There is Nothing Like a Dame" from the musical South Pacific (music by Richard Rodgers; lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II).'

For some readers the reasons weren't obvious but you explained them in the subsequent paragraph.

One of your postings last year mentioned how hearts and minds were lost by abusing the people whose hearts and minds were at issue. Insults are not as bad as some other kinds of abuse, but still, maybe you should think before you insult those hearts and minds.

— if deviceCap.GetCurrentCulture() <> theConstantWeWereExpecting, Mon, 23 May 2011 21:24:44 -0400

My apologies. I had intended the use of the word "obvious" to be ironic. I hardly expected many readers under the age of 80 to be familiar with such an obscure cultural reference, but I suspected that a quick session with a search engine might clear away any confusion.

Also, taking a cue from — Warning! Obscure Literary Reference Ahead! — Mark Twain's "A Literary Nightmare," I thought I might cure my own affliction by passing it on to someone else. — Charles

'I had intended the use of the word "obvious" to be ironic.'

OK. I apologize for missing the irony, but that wasn't the important part of my comment. If you think about hearts and minds, you might not post half of this posting. Sorry, I didn't want to repeat my complaint but I wanted to clear up that confusion too.

— deviceCap.GetCurrentCulture(), Wed, 25 May 2011 03:21:26 -0400

For many many years, only one other person in this world knew I had a problem with the word "mango," and that was my wife. Only my wife knew that whenever I hear the word "mango" the next thing I hear in my head is sailors singing the line "We got mangos and bananas you can pick right off the tree" followed by pretty much the whole rest of the song if I'm not careful to suppress it in some way.

After attending Tech Ed, and hearing the word "mango" "mango" "mango" "mango" "mango" all week long, I decided to share this little problem with the half dozen readers of this blog — to give everyone a taste of the real Charles Petzold, and a little insight into what goes on in my often deranged mind.

That's all. I'm sorry if it offended you in some way. I still don't get it. — Charles

"I still don't get it."

OK, I don't want to complain again but I'll try to explain.

To associate mangoes with lusty sailors just because mangoes don't grow in the colonial power where those sailors come from, and remembering that colonies weren't morally deserving (irony here) of more civilized kinds of emissaries, etc., wasn't your fault if Rogers and Hammerstein were the ones who presented those images. Of course the primary problem, the behaviour of colonial powers, also wasn't your fault.

I see now why you wanted to mention your affliction, but in your posting it looked like you were propagating the stereotype.

— Hope it's clear now, Wed, 25 May 2011 20:13:05 -0400

Well, what's really obvious is why you chose not to identify yourself with an actual name. — Charles

If the contents of this conversation trouble you, please delete it. Other readers will continue reading your posting on its own, as they always have done, and as I did with many of your postings.

— GetCurrentCulture().mangoes.association = food, not lusty sailors etc., Thu, 26 May 2011 23:18:33 -0400

It's not just mangos. There's actually another food — namely refried beans — that also triggers a song to start playing in my head, but this one is a real ear-worm by The Ramones ("Sitting here in Queens..." etc).

If I go to Tech Ed next year, and Microsoft is about to introduce another update to Windows Phone with the codename Refried Beans, I will truly go insane. — Charles

Dear GetCurrentCulture(),

My parents came from a former colonial-occupied country. What our cultures emphasise strongly is a respect for our elders.

Lighten up, please. ZS

ZS, Sat, 18 Jun 2011 23:30:13 -0400

Elders??? — Charles

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