Brian Johnson's Startup Developer Blog

December, 2008


    Sparks will Fly | 2009 Challenge


    This seems like a great opportunity for some creative thinking over the holidays. Only 17 days left in Round 1.

    Sparks will Fly | 2009 Challenge image

    Sparks will Fly
    2009 Challenge

    Show us your “home of the future” and win $15,000, plus a trip to TechEd 2009!

    We know you've got great ideas – and we want to see them in action. So go to your quiet place, think big and enter the Sparks will Fly 2009 Challenge. Here’s how the contest works:

    ROUND 1

    Submit a 1-3-page paper that outlines an embedded project that will help realize the home of the future. Maybe you envision a thermostat that sets itself according to the latest weather forecast, or a refrigerator that re-orders groceries. Be creative, but make sure it’s an embedded device that you could actually build.

    Deadline: January 7, 2009

    On January 9, 2009, we’ll announce the 50 participants who will advance to round two.

    ROUND 2

    It’s time to put your skills to the test. All 50 finalists will receive a free SPARK Your Imagination kit, based on the VIA Artigo Pico-ITX board. Build a working prototype of your idea and submit a 4-5-page paper that describes your solution. You’ll also need to create a 3-minute video that summarizes your project.

    Deadline: March 11, 2009

    ROUND 3

    On March 13, 2009, we’ll reveal the top 3 finalists. Each of the 3 finalists will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a flight to ESC Silicon Valley, where they’ll demonstrate their project during the Microsoft keynote.

    The winner will be announced at the end of the keynote, and will receive an additional cash prize of $15,000 and a trip to TechEd 2009 in Los Angeles.


    Free e-book Writing Secure Code for Windows Vista


    I was technical editor of the second edition of Writing Secure Code and I'm really proud of that fact. This is a great offer. Enjoy! 

    Microsoft Press - Writing Secure Code for Windows Vista

    Celebrating 25 years

    For 25 years, Microsoft Press books have focused on helping you take your skills and knowledge to the next level. Celebrate our 25th Anniversary with a "Free E-Book of the Month" offer! Simply sign up for the Microsoft Press Book Connection Newsletter for notification of offers, register, and download the selection of the month.

    Writing Secure Code for Windows Vista

    By Michael Howard and David LeBlanc
    ISBN: 9780735623934

    This reference is ideal for developers who understand the fundamentals of Windows programming and APIs. It complements Writing Secure Code, examining the delta between Windows XP and Windows Vista security. For more information or to buy the print version of this title, visit the Microsoft Learning website .


    Dec 17th geekSpeak: Silverlight and ADO.NET Data Services with John Papa


     Update: Sorry, it turns out we need to move our geekSpeak to January 8th. Sorry for any inconvenience.

    If you get a chance, check out the geekSpeak today (Dec 17, 3:00 EST/12:00 PST) with John Papa. He's got a new book on Silverlight 2 coming out and he's going to talk about data services with Silverlight.

    MSDN Webcast: geekSpeak: Silverlight and ADO.NET Data Services with John Papa (Level 200)

    Event OverviewData-Driven Services with Silverlight 2

    In this geekSpeak, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) John Papa explores how to consume ADO.NET Data Services from a Microsoft Silverlight 2 application. Be sure to bring your questions about Silverlight for John. The geekSpeak webcast series brings you industry experts in a "talk-radio" format hosted by developer evangelists from Microsoft. These experts share their knowledge and experience about a particular developer technology and are ready to answer your questions in real time during the webcast.

    Guest Presenter: John Papa, Trainer, ASPSOFT
    John Papa is a Microsoft Visual C# Most Valuable Professional (MVP), International .NET Association (INETA) speaker, member of the WPF and Silverlight Insiders, consultant, speaker, author, and trainer for ASPSOFT. He specializes in professional application development with Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft Visual Basic, Visual C#, Microsoft .NET, and Microsoft SQL Server. John has written over 60 articles and authored several books on data access technologies, including ASP.NET, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Microsoft Silverlight, ADO.NET, XML, and SQL Server. He can often be found speaking at industry conferences such as VSLive and DevConnections and viewed on MSDN webcasts. John is currently working on his upcoming book Data-Driven Services with Silverlight 2 (O'Reilly, 2009). You can always find John at


    Sayed Hashimi on MS Build | brianjo | Channel 9

    Posted to my video blog on Channel 9:
    Sayed Hashimi on MS Build

    This weekend I visited the Tampa Code Camp, where I was able to talk to Sayed Hashimi. Sayed is the co-author of the upcoming MS Press book title, Inside the Microsoft Build Engine. In this short talk, Sayed describes some of the features of MS Build and shows how MS Build can be used to deploy an app as part of the build process. Inside the Microsoft Build Engine is scheduled to be released in January.

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