Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

It's all about community!

September, 2005

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Virtual Earth - Now available for Commercial Use


    Steve Lombardi’s VE Session has just finished and contained some cool announcements.

    Now available for commercial use.

    First and foremost, VE is now available for commercial use. The nitty-gritty details are available from the virtual earth developer site ( but, in essence, if you leave the What and Where fields visible, you can use the control provided for a commercial site for free. In Jan 2006, there will be an option to pay for use and remove those controls.

    Steve’s working on a demo site for this technology called – catchy huh? It’s not live yet, but when it is, it’ll allow you to mark a spot anywhere on the earth (or, more accurately at the moment, anywhere in the continental US) as a “significant site” and decorate it with the metadata to say why.

    More info on current features

    Steve explained how the Locate Me feature works. It finds all of the WiFi hot spots it can (whether or not it can connect to them) and their signal strength. It looks up their MAC address on a database they have server-side and does a triangulation to work out your location to within “50 to 100 feet”.

    There was another feature of the current release that I hadn’t twigged to – the ability to email or blog from your scratch pad. Check it out. It’s pretty neat.

    Beta 2 – Coming Soon

    I mentioned above that the data are only available for the US. This one of the things that will be remedied in the next release (called beta 2 and due out “this fall”). The new features of VE in this release that Steve disclosed today are:

    • Eagle Eye image view – photos taken from fairly low altitude at a 45° angle (as opposed to the 90° that the imagery currently uses). This makes for a really neat perspective view.
    • User pushpins and collections
    • Improved aerial and satellite imagery (of the 90° kind)
    • Driving directions
    • New content types – Traffic, Movies etc
    • Mobile – send to phone. This looks like you’ll be able to send details of a location or locations to your mobile (or someone else’s). Imagine being able to send a “meet me here …” SMS.
    • The big one (for me) is the geographic expansion – currently planned to be England and perhaps some more of Europe. More and more data will come on line as the team source and massage the data.

     VE and MapPoint Web Services – better together

    Today, VE and MWS are a great team (geolocate and address with the MWS API and chuck it up on VE, for example). In January, it will be even easier to combine their strengths as they will pretty much be merging around the time of MWS 4.0.

    Useful Sites – check out the gallery of VE applications – this is a testbed where you can play with the whole VE API. Well worth a look.



  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Aus-DotNet List moving Mail Servers

    I just spoke to Dr Pete (Stanski), who runs the Aus-DotNet mailing list and, as per his note to the list a couple of days ago, he's moved the list to a new ISP and a new server. It seems like the propagation of the MX record is taking longer than expected, but rest assured, there'll be no requirement to resubscribe. It'll all be "Seamless" as soon as the DNS system catches up.
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Dr Neil's Extreme .NET event back around Australia by popular demand - Discount for MSDN Connection Members


    Just got this note from John Pawlowski (of Canberra .NET User Group fame). Happy to help John!

    eXtreme .NET event

    MSDN Connection and dotNET solutions are bringing Dr. Neil Roodyn, leading .NET and XP mentor and author of eXtreme .NET, to a training venue near you. We are touring throughout Australia and New Zealand during October and November with an updated one day and a new advanced two day training session on eXtreme .NET. The cost for the one day session is AU$450 (inc GST) while the two day event is AU$850 (inc GST). As it is sponsored by MSDN Connection, members get a $50 discount if they quote their MSDN Connection membership number.

    Introductory eXtreme Programming Techniques for .NET Developers

    This one day course is designed to show developers and team leaders how to incorporate eXtreme Programming (XP) practices with .NET-connected technologies to create high-quality, low-cost code to build better software. This practical, realistic course systematically covers key elements of XP methodology in the specific context of the Microsoft .NET Framework, Visual Studio .NET, Visual C#, and related Microsoft .NET-enabled applications.

    Advanced eXtreme Programming Techniques for .NET Developers

    This two day course is designed to teach developers and team leaders how to take further advantage of eXtreme Programming (XP) practices with .NET-connected technologies. This practical, realistic course will help you to turbo-charge your development process. Over the two days Dr. Neil Roodyn will take a deep look at planning, team-play, advanced test-driven development, software architecture, code design, and much more.  The introductory one day course is a prerequisite to this course.

    Further details can be found at Dr Neil’s presentations were sold out earlier this year so ensure you book early to avoid disappointment.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Adelaide Developer Passes 4 MCP Exams in 2 Days at TechEd on the Gold Coast!


    I was chatting with Rob Farley at TechEd and he casually mentioned that he’d signed up for a couple of the Free MCP exams we had on offer. He went on to say that he’d finished the first one in such quick time on day 1 (and passed), that he asked the proctor whether he could sit the second in the same time slot. He did, and passed it too. He changed his booking for the next day to another 2 exams (in the one timeslot) and passed both those too!

    Great work Rob! There’s a special edition Microsoft eLearning cap on its way. I’ve got another cap waiting for the next best TechEd certification story I get (entries close 18 Sep).

    Updated – added some more hyperlinks

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    VSTO Session at TechEd NZ


    At TechEd in Auckland I delivered DSK312 – Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Office System: Building Office Solutions Using Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office. As promised in that session, I’ve posted my slides here. For those of you looking for the source code for the complex AI prediction engine I demoed, please contact me separately.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    PDC2005 Keynote - Search, RSS and Pretty UIs


    I’m sitting in the overflow room at PDC with Chuck watching the keynote (well, most of it at least). We’ve just seen some very nice (if not very developer-focused) demos of Windows Vista and Office 12. Highlights so far for me are the pervasive search (across both Vista and Office 12) and the ability to drop slides into a PPT presentation from a Sharepoint slide gallery and have the presentation kept up to date when the slide changes in the gallery. The other really neat thing is the tight integration of RSS throughout both Vista and Office 12.

    Jim Alchin’s just showed Window 1.0 on an old IBM XT! It booted very quickly, and the graphics are pretty much as I remember.

    Jim’s “very confident” of Vista broad availability by end of 2006

    Vista Superfetch  is pretty cool – remembering what the machine has opened in the past to anticipate what you’re going to open in the future and speed things up. The other really neat thing Jim showed was plugging in a USB key and adding 512 MB  “Ram” to the box. I’ll be interested to see how that USB key’s memory access performs as compared to, say, DDR2.

    AJAX implementation called “Atlas”.

    Nice Windows Presentation Foundation demo of an app (NetFlix) running on desktop, tablet, MCE and SmartPhone.

    More to follow …

    I’ve got a bunch of great sessions lined up for today and I’ll report on those as I go.

    Last night we caught up with a lot of the MS RDs at a great middle-eastern restaurant.

    Tonight I’ll be at the Aussie get together at PDC underground.


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