Never go on a health food kick while your product team is launching - the pizza fumes alone are enough to make a grown woman cry. :-)

There is a leaning tower of pizza boxes in the kitchen, and the recycle bins full of soda cans, and the congratulatory emails are flying thicker than an Atkins protein shake. Why? Because....

Whidbey Beta 1 - OUT! Plus Beta docs!

Visual Studio Express Edition - (can you say FREE dev tools? I knew you could!) - OUT!

Also wild and free on the Internet....Whidbey Developer Center (aka Visual 2005 Developer Center) complete with personalized headlines, personalized community features, and the promise of a better photo of Kent Sharkey in the next rev!

....and of course the MSDN Product Feedback Center, aka “Ladybug“ - where you can file bugs, find workarounds for bugs, and essentially tell us what's what, and what for.

I know blogs.msdn.com is going to go wild with technical details. All I can do is offer my usual tiny ridiculous insights, being a bit player and a cheerleader in this fabulous tech drama.

I first met Hua, the pm for the MSDN Product Feedback Center  (aka “Ladybug“) in September perhaps a month after I started working here.  It was 10 p.m., and I was scribbling furiously on my whiteboard some  heady visions of community no doubt propelled by dry marker fumes affecting my brain, and I realized that the only other light burning in the hallway was hers.  

Even last year, Hua was staying late, figuring out the ins and outs of making “Ladybug“ work - an online service that would talk directly to product teams where they live - bug tracking. :-). The reward for our late night bonding is I got dragged into writing some emails to MVPs who tested the early versions of the Product Feedback Center this year. Never underestimate the power of working late at night to get you involved in more work. :-D (But of course, it was a privilege.)

My cohort John S., the bedeviled, ironic site manager who handled the Whidbey Developer center I met early on because he was the master of our internal publishing tools. He's the kind of person who can whip together a PowerPoint and, like PT Barnum, act  the unflappable master showman for concepts that start as handwaving and end as magical reality.  I got to pay back some karma I owed him  with last-minute code checking the community newsgroup components for this launch.  

(For those who wonder what John looks like, you first saw him in the Channel 9 video where you saw my officemate!) I salute his and Kent Sharkey's fortitude.

Personalization orchestration brought to you by ...Laura John, man about town  Sean “Mr. Personal“ Kollenkark, the fabulous Tina, who made me write a version of the MSDN Code of Conduct in a single sitting. (Any resemblance to the Gotdotnet Code of Conduct is completely accidental and I resent all those implications Senator.)

I can go on and on, actually. The truth of the matter is, there are tons of people behind any effort this big. The tireless MSDN dev and test teams, who were here on weekends. The Visual Studio folks killing bugs in the Whidbey beta and sending out status night after night. The war meetings and the triages. I do none of this effort justice - but then, that is a justice only you can do. Create your profile. Download the bits. Tell us what you think.

Live it vivid!

B