Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

It's all about community!

April, 2005

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Why would you go to a User Group?


    Recently I was asked, what is it that developers get out of belonging to a User Group? I listed three things. First is the opportunity to interact with other people with a similar set of interests and skills. Software development is an inherently solitary profession, but smart people (and pretty much all the software developers I've met fall into this category) like to both learn from and impart knowledge to others. Another way of saying this is that developers are vain and boastful and love showing off their stuff. However, it's no fun showing off your latest creation to people who only understand one word in every three you say. Either way, user groups are a great platform for this.

    Secondly, user groups provide excellent technical training, often covering topics that a developer may not have considered exploring on his or her own. Many developers have told me of an "ah-ha!" moment they've had when some obscure connection between the presentation they've been sitting in and a project they've been working on suddenly becomes apparent. User groups are an ideal forum for this cross-pollination.

    Finally (and somewhat related to the previous point), user groups provide a platform for professional networking. Being seen as an expert in a particular field, either by presenting on that topic or by answering questions on it at a user group, can be a great introduction next time someone is looking for such an expert.

    Do you belong to a User Group? If so, have I included the reasons you go along? If not, why not?

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    CodeCampOz Day 0


    What do you get when you add 200 Geeks to a town like Wagga Wagga? CodeCampOz, of course. I got into town on Friday morning and found the local amenities. Then I headed out to meet Irfan, Phillip, Anthony and the rest of the staff at Charles Sturt University. As soon as I got there, I knew we were set for a treat. There were signs up directing people to CodeCamp and even chalk messages and arrows on the footpaths to make sure noone lost their way! Irfan and Phillip made me feel very welcome, with lunch at the staff club and a guided tour of some of the campus. It's a very pleasant place indeed.

    I went back out to the airport to collect Chuck, Greg and anyone else who needed to come back into town. Craig and Castro were on the same flight, as well as a bunch of other folk. We ducked into town and played "spot the geek" -- folks wandering around with branded clothing were easy, but some required a little more work.

    Back out to the Uni again to check that everything was in place. No need to worry though - the CSU team had thought of everything, including setting up WAPs for us so there was enough wireless for even an auditorium full of geeks with 2 devices each. We met Mitch and Darren there, as well as Geoff.

    Back into town and get ready to go out to dinner. About 20 of us ended up at Montezumas which, coincidentally I think, served Mexican food. I had a great chat about things .NET and even managed to slip in a couple of plugs for VFP 9.0.

    I headed back to my room quite early and flaked out in preparation for the mayhem the next day.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Register Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2, get a free online book from MS Press


    Microsoft Learning has partnered with the Visual Studio team to provide developers with additional incentive for registering Beta 2.  Developers who register their copy of Beta 2 will have access to a free developer title from Microsoft Press.  After downloading the Beta they receive an email telling them about the benefit, and encouraging them to register their Beta. When a user completes the registration process they will receive an email with a link to the online books, and an access code.  Each user will have access to one book per code.  Developers who register multiple SKUs of the Beta will receive additional access codes, giving them access to more books.  The offer is available worldwide, books are English-only.

    Register by choosing Register Product from the Help menu.

    Detailed breakdown of free online books available for each VS Beta SKU:

    Visual Studio Beta2 Sku Free online eBooks 
    VWD Express Introducing ASP.NET 2.0, English
    Introducing Microsoft® Visual Basic® 2005, English
    Writing Secure Code, 2nd Edition, English
    VB Express
    J# Express Writing Secure Code, 2nd Edition, English
    C# Express
    C++ Express
    SQL Express
    Visual Studio Standard Introducing ASP.NET 2.0, English
    Introducing Microsoft® Visual Basic® 2005, English
    Writing Secure Code, 2nd Edition, English
    Visual Studio Professional
    Visual Studio Team Suite
    VS Premier Partner Edition

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    SQL Server 2005 Virtual Hands On Labs


    Are you ready to experience SQL Server 2005?

    Announcing the launch of the SQL Server 2005 Virtual Hands on labs. In these labs, you will get to experience many of the new features in SQL Server 2005 including CLR integration, XML support and deep business intelligence integration.

    Just follow the link and experience SQL Server 2005 for yourself

    Registration link:

    Update 11/11/2008 - new links.
    SQL 2005:
    SQL 2008:


  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Visual FoxPro Survey


    I received this note from Ken Levy this morning. 

    The Visual FoxPro Team at Microsoft invites you to participate in our brief survey for Visual FoxPro. This survey only takes a few minutes to complete and you will have the opportunity to win a great prize. This is also a great opportunity for you to provide important information to Microsoft about your needs and usage of Visual FoxPro.
    We encourage you to take a few moments and participate in the new survey at:

    As a thank you for your time, you will be entered in a prize drawing. There will be one prize of a free registration pass to Visual FoxPro DevCon 2005 worth over $1300, one cash prize of $500, and five cash prizes of $100. You must complete the survey by midnight on May 1st, 2005 to be eligible for the drawing. Winners will be notified by e-mail by May 13, 2005.
    Thank you for participating in this survey to assist Microsoft in better serving your needs of Visual FoxPro and other technologies.
    The Visual FoxPro Team
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    MS eLearning available NOW! Start with 64-bit.


    Are you a busy professional software developer? Do you want to set your own schedule for learning how to use the latest tools? Developer eLearning is all about features and functions – served up specifically for the developer audience. Rich content that targets your applications, your needs.

    The first course available is on 64-bit computing:

    Windows Server: Taking Advantage of 64-Bit Computing

    The Windows Server 2003: Taking Advantage of 64-Bit Computing course provides detailed information for ISVs, customers, and developers seeking to migrate existing applications and functionality from Windows 32-bit to Windows 64-bit.

    What is eLearning?

    eLearning is an effective and efficient system of self-paced personal training, available over the Internet. Microsoft has made courses available in eLearning form to cover several of the important new technologies in Visual Studio 2005, including Connected Systems and Smart Clients, plus Windows Server 2003. More courses are planned for the near future.

    eLearning Frequently Asked Questions

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    SQL Server 2005 Webcasts in April


    Discover how Microsoft SQL Server 2005 offers database developers the optimal combination of a tightly integrated development and data management platform. The rich and flexible programming environment in SQL Server 2005 allows you to leverage your existing skills and utilize familiar tools to build robust, secure, scalable applications.

    Register today to learn how the integration of the .NET Framework in SQL Server 2005 provides several major benefits, such as an enhanced programming model, enhanced safety and security, user defined types and aggregates, and a common development environment that integrates database development into the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 development environment. In this series, we cover:

    • .NET Framework Integration: Learn how you can now take full advantage of the Microsoft .NET Framework class library and modern programming languages to implement functionality within the server.
    • Transact-SQL and Managed Code: Find out how to decide between using traditional Transact-SQL or a programming language that is compatible with the .NET Framework, such as Visual Basic .NET or C#. Understand where each method provides benefits and how to design for this in the beginning.
    • Web Services: See how to develop XML Web services in the database tier, making SQL Server an HTTP listener.
    • XML: SQL Server 2005 contains deep native support for XML. Learn how this can significantly help as you develop applications that make use of XML.
    • Data Access: Discover how ADO.NET 2.0 not only supports all of the new SQL Server 2005 features but also enables productivity and performance gains for all developers.

    Register for the SQL Server 2005 webcast series to learn more.

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