Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

  • Brian Keller

    Come Experience the Visual Studio Hosted Experience


    I've been so busy working on the Visual Studio Hosted Experience (VSHE) that I've been slack about blogging our new release. It's time!

    The Visual Studio Hosted Experience allows you to access your own hosted server, loaded with Visual Studio .NET 2003, SQL Server 2000, and lots of other dev goodies. We've recently added lots of new functionality, streamlined the UI, and beefed up the server capacity. Some of the features include:
    - Virtual Labs: We have dozens of Hands-on Labs which can each be completed in under an hour. Perfect for a lunch break. These map to almost every popular technology, including Windows Forms, ASP.NET Web forms and Web services, language topics, and more. We're always adding new labs; send me your suggestions for topics and I'll do what I can. WSE 2.0 labs are right around the corner...
    - 3-hour Hosted Trial. New to Visual Studio .NET? Just want to check it out? Use the Hosted Trial image for a free-form, 3-hour session. No lab manuals, just pure coding. Have fun and build whatever you want.
    - "Single-sign-on." Ok, so I'm borrowing this term from Passport. We don't use Passport here but we do allow you to sign in once to access as many Virtual Labs and Hosted Trial sessions as you want. Come back over and over, we'll leave the light on for you.
    - Increased capacity. In the past we've been too popular for our own good sometimes. Thanks to our friends in the BMO (one of the marketing groups here at Microsoft) we have more money to host even more concurrent users. Crank it up.
    - 100% Free. (Ok, the lawyers require that we remind you connection fees may apply for your Internet service provider... but you already know that.)

    Please check it out, let me know how it is and if you have any ideas for making it better.

    Also, for those of you on the IT side of the house, TechNet has a similar "Virtual Labs" experience with Windows Server 2003:

  • Brian Keller interview


    **10/8 Update to fix links.
    I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Ted Neward of which was recently posted for streaming. Ted and I discuss Visual J# .NET, the Java Language Conversion Assistant, the Sun / Microsoft agreement, and more.

    Video Interview: 56k | DSL

  • Brian Keller

    XBox: So many titles, so little time...

    I am itching to play Star Wars: Battlefront, and Fable has peaked my interest as well. Of course, Halo 2 is right around the corner as well. Unfortunately I've picked up a lot of interesting projects at work recently, so I have to resist buying these games right now... sometimes I wish I was 12 again with no responsibility! There's never been a better time to be a kid. :-)
  • Brian Keller

    C# 'that' keyword


    My younger brother, Danny, is doing the same graduate program that I did at the University of Florida. Recently he was given a pop quiz from one of my favorite professors where he was asked to describe what the that keyword does in C#. I must admit - I was also initially stumped because I didn't expect it to be a trick question... I figured maybe, since I focus on J#, I just hadn't encountered the C# keyword (perhaps it was part of C# 2.0 and I hadn't noticed). Ok, ok, so really I have no good excuse...

    But my question for the readers of my blog: If there was a that keyword for C#, what would it be used for? Accepting all answers, real or absurd. I'll post the best ones here. BrianKel at Microsoft dot com. Who knows, maybe I'll ask Dan to champion the best responses with Anders to consider for C# 3.0? :-)

  • Brian Keller

    Back off, Jeanne!


    That's right! Turn tail and go back to the ocean. We've had enough of your kind...

  • Brian Keller

    The Monetary Economics of Thurston Howell III


    This is a really amusing - and educational - article about the use of the Millionaire's (and his wife) money on Gilligan's Island. Which begs the question... how did it become Gilligan's island? Gilligan seems the least likely candidate to be the namesake of the island... but I digress. Here's the article:

  • Brian Keller

    .NET Framework 1.1 SP1 and .NET Framework 1.0 SP3 now available


    This is an exciting month for service packs. Note the separate download for Windows Server 2003


    Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1 [for Windows 2000/XP] <>


    Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003 <>


    Microsoft .NET Framework 1.0 Service Pack 3 [for Windows 2000/XP] <>

  • Brian Keller

    DevDays 2004 Content Available Online


    Couldn't make it to DevDays 2004? Don't worry - now you can download streaming videos of all of the sessions straight to your desktop. You can even download the sample code, such as the IssueVision application developed for the Smart Client track or Microsoft's submission to eWEEK's OpenHack competition which was referenced in the Web track. Enjoy!

  • Brian Keller

    Hurricane coming after my hometown...


    I am glued to MSNBC watching Hurricane Charley updates. Last night I figured it would be a relatively mild storm - category 2, or maybe category 3 they were saying. Well now it's a category 4 and it's coming straight for where my Mom and brother live. They don't seem to be too worried, but given that I live in Seattle and I can only see the scary pictures coming across the news I'm getting pretty worried.

    On a lighter note, my friend's Web design and development company changed their home page for today to reflect the hurricane.

  • Brian Keller

    "False Positives" on Google


    Recently I was talking to my friend about Googling for people's names. She's dating a few people right now and trying to get the low-down on them before she gets any more involved. So I started wondering: What would people find if they were digging for dirt on me?

    Luckily for me the #1 hit for my name is still this blog. But go down a few Google hits and you start to blur the line between me and my same-name-counterparts. For instance:

    Of course, I'm really not smart or married - so these are other Brian Keller's out there. But I am from Florida, so if I was an unscrupulous person I could pass myself off as a Marine Biology expert. Did you know that a whale is actually not a fish? (See - I play the part well)

    Another interesting experiment is Googlism ( They have an engine which looks for nouns and tries to come up with descriptions of them. For example, you might type in "whale" to learn that a whale is "not actually a fish". Type in "Brian Keller" and you get some weird results. Given that I live just outside of Seattle, somebody could easily think that I was "accused of stealing weapons from the base at seatac." Ouch.

    On Google Images, 2 of the first 5 hits for "Brian Keller" are pictures of cemetaries. Hmm...

    I think this is a good excercise for anybody to run, because c'mon let's face it - like it or not, we live in an age where people are going to Google you before entering into a trust relationship (employers, dating, etc.) or just for fun, so you should be ready to defend potential bad press (or change your name!). Of course, you may also need to take more aggressive and proactive measures to protecting your reputation. That's why I made this shirt... (click the image to buy yours today!)

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