Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The official unofficial MIX09 Tweetup

February 23, 2009 Comments off

We’ve started to see the rumblings like this one popup a few times now:

John’s tweet garnered some excitement and conversation and as a fan of Twitter and MIX, we thought we should help make this happen. 

So here’s our plan.

The MIX09 Attendee Party is Wednesday night the 18th from 6pm – 10pm.  This will be tons of fun, but you’ll be in Vegas, where the party keeps moving.  At 9:09pm, the location of the Tweetup will be tweeted by @MIX09.

It will be up to you to then find the location and be one of the first ones to arrive.  Early birds will enjoy free drinks and 140 character-based conversation.  Late birds buy their own drinks, but can still spout 140 characters at a time.

Appropriate links for this event:

  • MIX09 – the reason most of us will be in Vegas at the time
  • @MIX09 – the location giver
  • Upcoming Event page – rsvp/reminder purposes
  • Facebook Event page – rsvp/reminder purposes for f’bookians
  • @adkinn – myself, who you can send location suggestions to
  • @amyrc – be nice to her, she’ll be the one with the credit card

This will be the first day of the conference and with the keynotes that day there should be plenty to talk about.  And if we get bored we can always complain about Twitter clients or joke about fail whales.

Just published TCSWeekly episodes 4, 5 and 6

February 21, 2009 Comments off

What is TCSWeekly?

A weekly video podcast where I feature the top news, tutorials and demos in the Microsoft Client World.  Audio only would be easier but given the nature of Client technologies consisting of the frameworks that stand between you and raw data, the visual aspect helps.

Why were three episodes published all together?

There was a drain.  The drain hadn’t been cleaned out for 3 years and a bunch of hair and soap had accumulated and… Well, no, actually I got behind and wanted to fall under the “better late then never” principle.

Weekly shows can be difficult, but I’ve figured out a better workflow and am enjoying producing each episode more and more.  There are just a ton of feature worthy Client-focused items out there that worth broadcasting to the Netizens.

(Did Netizen ever make it as a term?   Seems concise but maybe its not trendy enough.)

Here are the last three shows posted:

TCSWeekly 006 – Silverlight is fizzing along with Moonlight and Contests
TCSWeekly 005 – a UX Pattern Explorer and more Designer-ready content
TCSWeekly 004 – amazing visuals and one monster MVVM article

Now to work on Episode 7, no need to get behind again 🙂

MIX09 10k Contest Winners

February 20, 2009 Comments off

The question was simple – "What can you build with Silverlight or WPF in 10k?"

Many attempted to dazzle the judges and the community, but only few could win and only one would be granted a trip to MIX09.

To spoil the video and read who won, check out the official Announcement.
To see all of the entries check out the 10k Gallery.

This contest was a lot of fun to be involved with because of the creativity of the submissions and the excitement of the participants.  For a few people this was their first attempt at using Silverlight including the Community Choice winner!

The race between the judges favorites were close because there were so many good choices.  No entry was voted in the top 5 more than twice.  Turtle# garnered the most point by ranking highest among the judges lists by those who picked them.

The Community Choice winner went above and beyond to campaign for his entry including:

  • emailed everyone he knew, even writing bilingual emails in French to pals in France in Switzerland.
  • printed out leaflets and passed them out to parents at his daughter’s school and their church.
  • wrote a freeware native OS X version and put it on
  • went door to door in his neighborhood passing out leaflets
  • printed out a bunch of leaflets and took a train to Chicago to stand in front of the Sears Tower to hand out to people

Its an impressive story with a great ending, he’s donating his winnings to charity.

People are already asking about when 10k contest part 2 will be, which is a good feeling 🙂

Would you like to see 10k contest remain a MIX event contest only or would you want to see it run for both PDC and MIX?


Prism v2 now supports WPF and Silverlight

February 17, 2009 Comments off

Composite Application Guidance, affectionately known as Prism, version 2 has been released.  Prism provides guidance and code that can help you build modular applications that can adapt to constant changing requirements. In this video, Blaine Wastell provides a quick overview and demonstrates a Silverlight and WPF application using shared code.

One of the questions that’s often asked is how to develop Silverlight and WPF applications that share the same code.  Prism v2 provides a tool called ProjectLinker that manages some of the bookkeeping Blaine mentions in the video.  You simply create a class file in one project, link it to the other and the tool will keep them synchronized as you edit.

Prism is also available on CodePlex, where you can download the code and discuss the guidance in the forums.

Tell a Fairy tale in Silverlight or WPF and win a FREE PASS TO MIX

February 16, 2009 Comments off

Following along in Giorgio’s footsteps, here’s my free pass to MIX giveaway…

I have had the opportunity to attend and be involved with MIX since the beginning and it has quickly become my favorite conference to attend.  If you live and work in the Microsoft world anywhere from 100% to 10% of the time and have some involvement with the Web, User Experience Design or Creativity this is the place to be.

Now, as hinted by the title of this post, I have the opportunity to help you attend.  I will be giving away 1 Free Pass to MIX09 (includes the conference ticket, meals, party, but not the flight and hotel).

All you have to do is tell the best story possible using either Silverlight or WPF.  The story can portray any message, anecdote or story but it must be done in the format of a fairy tale. The more traditional fairy tale elements that appear the better.  If fairy tales aren’t your thing, then you can choose the alternate theme of Aesop’s Fables.  Stories will most likely be told using graphics, movement and colors, but I’ll leave that part up to you.

The following rules apply:

  • You create the story-telling application using Silverlight or WPF.
  • You find somewhere to host the application to be viewed by the public.
  • The application must be original.
  • Post a comment on this post that points to your entry and some way to contact you.
  • Submission deadline: February 23rd, 23:00 pm PST

On February 24th, I will review the entries and choose the best one. My criteria will be:

  • Originality – How creative was your message
  • Skills displayed – This covers both technical merit as well as graphic and animation design
  • Appropriate – How well did you fit into the fairy tale or Aesop’s fable theme

If you are looking for inspiration on what can be accomplished with Silverlight and WPF, check out the 10k gallery.

Have fun!

The History of Microsoft – a new Show on Channel 9

February 13, 2009 Comments off

Tina Wood Summerford has started a new show on Channel 9 entitled The History of Microsoft, described as:

A video series that gives you a rare glimpse into the story behind the software giant.  Using rare footage and never-before-seen photos we break down Microsoft’s history by year. Every Thursday we will air a brand new episode beginning with 1975 where The History of Microsoft begins when the ALTAIR 8800 appeared on the cover of Popular Electronics inspiring two young men Bill Gates and Paul Allen to develop BASIC language software for it.  Tune in.

Love the old footage and the added perspective of the company’s roots.  This is definitely one worth subscribing too, if only to keep tabs on the old commercials from the 70s.

The History of Microsoft – 1975 (7:02)

Get Microsoft Silverlight

The History of Microsoft – 1976 (4:11)

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Descry, data and information visualization using Silverlight

February 10, 2009 Comments off

The MIX Online team has released their latest issue covering the topic of data and information visualization. Along with two articles, the issue includes a lab named Descry consisting of four example infographics created with HTML, JavaScript, Silverlight and a reasonably-sized chunk of LINQ.  In this video, Nishant Kothary and Hans Hugli explain the thought process and the work behind creating Descry.

The Descry project is made up of the following four visualizations:

The Obesity Epidemic The Obesity Epidemic – Colorado wins the Most Fit award. Everyone else…
Their First Words Their First Words – An analysis machine for all of the President of the United States inaugural speeches.
A Site Named Desire A Website Named Desire – now enhanced with a custom power loss scaling technique for integrating elements within a DeepZoom image
Social Timeline Social Timeline – FriendFeed visualization that makes of virtualization to keep performance, especially when you’re looking at someone like Scoble and his 13000+ subscriptions.

The MIX Online team is rocking and from what was hinted in the video, I can’t wait to see issue #4.

Microsoft Teams and Products on Twitter

February 6, 2009 3 comments
Microsoft on Twitter

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I’ve been enjoying Twitter for awhile, watching the participation grow along with the value from time spent there.

Recently I noticed a tweet from someone asking @Scobleizer if the @MSWindows account was real or not.  Thinking that would be interesting if it was from the product team, I sent a few emails which resulted in the confirmation that it was a real account from the Windows Outreach Team.

I’ve always been interested in tracking Microsoft’s participation as a whole on Twitter, but this was a new area of focus.  This was a product team using a twitter account as a somewhat official line of communication.

One of my first experiments on Twitter was to create @MSTweeters, an account which would follow any confirmed Microsoft Employee Twitter account.  I thought this was interesting back in the old days when Twitter had the “with_friends” feature.  Anyone could quickly see what was buzzing amongst those who held blue badges.

This quickly became very time-intensive once MS Twitter accounts increased rapidly and the removal of the “with_friends” feature which I meant I would have to take the pulse of the MSTweeters and republish it.

This experiment, or bit of research, is simpler.

Which product teams or groups have Twitter accounts?

The interesting part is the prevalence of Twitter Squatting. Many brand name or technology aliases have already been grabbed, including silverlight, aspnet, wpf, microsoft, xbox, xboxlive, zune, aspnetmvc, oslo, visitmix, visualstudio, ie8.  Hopefully though this list may be useful to you as a Twitter user and the teams publishing news via this medium.

A Website Named Desire A Website Named Desire
@SiteNamedDesire – Want a copy of A Website Named Desire? This li’l birdie will tell you how. Wait for the tweets.
Accessibility team Accessibility Team
@MicrsftTech4All – News from Microsoft Accessibility team, which strives for technology to be usable by everyone & complements our physical & cognitive abilities.
Channel 8 Channel 8
@ch8 – Microsoft’s community for students
Channel 9 Channel 9
@ch9 – listen to the cockpit, help us fly the plane
Channel 10 Channel 10
@ch10 – Channel 10 is Microsoft’s online community for the technology enthusiast
CodePlex CodePlex
@codeplex – Microsoft’s open source project hosting site
Live Framework Live Framework
@liveframework – liveframework
Live Mesh Live Mesh
@livemesh – Sync, share, and access the information you care about—wherever you happen to be.
Live Search Live Search
@Live_Search – The Official Home of Live Search on Twitter—yes there are real people here. If you’re interested in who is posting:
Microsoft adCenter Microsoft adCenter
@adCenterBlog – News, Tips, Tricks & Best Practices From The Guys At Microsoft adCenter
Microsoft BizSpark Microsoft BizSpark
@bizspark – Microsoft BizSpark – Software, Support, Visibility
Microsoft Expression Microsoft Expression
@MSExpression – Microsoft Expression Community Site
Microsoft Office Labs Microsoft Office Labs
@officelabs – A merry band of innovators.
Microsoft Office Resource Kit Microsoft Office Resource Kit
@MSOfficeResKit – Microsoft Office Resource Kit Team. Information and tools for planning, deploying, and managing Microsoft Office.
Microsoft SharePoint Microsoft SharePoint
@SharePoint – The official tweetstream of the SharePoint product group – managed by @LLiu
Microsoft Store Microsoft Store
@MicrosoftStore – Buy and Download direct from Microsoft!
Microsoft Tag Microsoft Tag
@microsofttag – Microsoft Tag
Microsoft Unlimited Potential Microsoft Unlimited Potential
@MicrosoftUP – Microsoft Unlimited Potential is the company’s commitment to bring the social and economic benefits of technology to people around the world.
MIX Online MIX Online
@mixonline – Come check us out at
MIX09 Conference MIX09 Conference
@MIX09 – The Next Web Now
@MSDN – Updates from the MSDN site team.
MVP Award Program MVP Award Program
@MVPAwardProgram – Independent Experts. Real World Answers. Spreading Awareness of Microsoft MVPs
AskTechNetUK TechNet – UK
@AskTechNetUK – Have a question for the TechNet team? or just fancy a chat about TechNet, Microsoft or life in general?
Windows Windows
@MSWindows – Announcing Windows 7
Windows Live Windows Live
@WindowsLive – Official Twitter account of Microsoft Windows Live
Windows Live Messenger Windows Live Messenger
@wlmessenger – Connect instantly to the people who matter to you most — chat in text, hear their voices on a PC call, or see each other in video.
Windows Mobile Windows Mobile
XNA Creators Club XNA Creators Club
@XNACommunity – The official twitter of the XNA Community Team!
Zune Marketplace Zune Marketplace
@zunemarketplace – Zune Marketplace is a store for the way you love music, with brand-new releases every week and a huge selection of music in every style imaginable

If you know of more Microsoft Product Group/Team accounts, send them my way. I’d be happy to add them to the list.

Going along with the accounts above are few that I run as information channels for different projects I work on.

The Continuum Show
@ContinuumShow – Exploring the world of the Microsoft Client Continuum
Project Rosetta
@projectrosetta – Chronicling the trail from Flash to Silverlight
Silverlight News
@SilverlightNews – Populated by the tireless Dave Campbell
XAML Events
@XAMLEvents – Silverlight and WPF events

Twitter is like world-wide telepathy allowing you to listen as casually or as focused as you wish.  Tweet the words Silverlight or WPF and I’ll read your tweet.

follow me!

Robby Ingebretsen on Kaxaml and MIX09

February 2, 2009 Comments off

Robby Ingebretsen has been working with WPF for a long time.  Back in the days when it was still called Avalon and before it was public, Robby was toiling away as a Controls PM at Microsoft.  Since then he, has awakened his inner Designer and after 6+ years of work in the XAML world, he is still here and more active than ever.

In a rare moment of free time and “in town”-ness for Robby, he came by the studio to talk about his experiences and one of his tools for success, Kaxaml.

Kaxaml is a lightweight XAML editor that allows you to simply code and preview XAML content.  Robby has been working on Kaxaml for awhile now and has recently added Silverlight 2 support.  One of the really nice features shown in the video is Snippets.  You can write your own, but the existing are pretty useful.  One of those Snippets is SimpleStyles which allow you to easily create Styles for your WPF controls and templates by starting from a very basic theme with all of the typically used properties preset.

All of this designer and developer knowledge of WPF and Silverlight is occasionally released from Robby’s mind in the form of lecture, discussion and demonstration.  Not just once but twice Robby will be giving workshops at MIX this year. The first is Design Fundamentals for Developers and the second, with Jaime Rodriguez, Hiking Mt Avalon.

If you’re heading to MIX09, checkout his workshops.  If you’re going to be on the internet, check out his blog nerdplusart.

MIX09 10k has come to a close, now its time to vote

January 31, 2009 Comments off

Please put your pencils down and pass your papers forward…

As of 11:59 pm PST time, January 30 the MIX09 10k contest has closed the entry phase and moved onto the voting phase.  Total entry count is not ready yet as we have a large amount that was entered in the last 2 days, especially the last couple of hours.

Now its up to the judges to choose their favorite top 4 entries between now and February 13th.  The judges tasked with the job include:

Yes, you. The judges will select the grand prize winner and three runners-up, but the Community Choice prize is awarded by you. Go browse the gallery now and rate your favorites.

Good luck to all of the participants and thanks for making this a fun and full contest!