Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

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  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston XNA Developers Group Meeting Wednesday 2/27

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    bostonxna A reminder that the first meeting of the shiny new Boston XNA Developers Group (http://bostonxna.org) will be this Wednesday, February 27th, from 6-8 PM at the Microsoft offices at 201 Jones Road (6th Floor) in Waltham, MA.

    The group is open to everyone and no background in game development is required - just a passion for games and coding.

    The first meeting will center on a broad introduction to game development with XNA for Windows and Xbox 360.  We'll also have plenty of hot-off-the-press XNA news to discuss, straight from the Game Developers Conference.

    I look forward to seeing you there!

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Volunteers Needed for Connecticut .NET UG

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    SB Chatterjee of the Connecticut .NET User Group just sent the following across the wire:

    CTDOTNET is expanding - more events & more attendees need more organization.  Volunteer! 

     

    We need:

    • Treasurer - Keep track of donations & sponsorship payments & costs)
    • Event Management - New speakers, Sponsorships, Event Notifications, etc.
    • Survey Management - Feedback surveys from events.
    • Web-Master/Web-Goddess - Manage our website

    Drop us a line at (ctdotnet @at@ gmail .dot. com) if any of the above interests you.

    A great way to get involved, give back to the developer community, and make some great contacts along the way.  Believe me, I know of what I speak!

     

    -Chris

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    Albany Geek Gathering on September 24th

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    Attendees of the developer track of the "Heroes Happen Here" launch event in Albany know that Bob, Jim, and I discovered the Albany Pump Station on our visit and decided we must return again - soon.

    AlbanyPumpStationWell, since we've added a stop in the Albany area to our Fall Northeast Roadshow, what better way to celebrate than to gather there after the Roadshow?

    • Albany Geek Gathering - Roadshow Edition
    • 9/24/2008 - 5:00 PM till whenever...
    • Albany Pump Station
    • 19 Quackenbush Square, Albany, NY
    • [1-Click Directions]

    Nothing formal - Jim and I will be there grabbing some food and maybe a wee dram o' beer.

    Swing by if you can!

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Waltham Geek Gathering on Monday (12/15)

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    PIC-0031 We'll be descending upon Watch City Brewing in Waltham, MA on Monday (after running the 200+ reg. Northeast Roadshow developer event).  Just an informal chance to gather to chat with fellow developers and enjoy a brew.

    • When?  Monday, 12/15, starting around 4:30 until 6:30+
    • Where?  Watch City Brewing, 256 Moody Street, Waltham, MA [1-click directions]
    • Who?  Tech folks of all types are welcome.  Feel free to drop by, exchange thoughts, grab a beer, and network.

    We'll probably end up at the high tables in the back on the left-hand side when you come in.  Look for geeks, that'll be us.

    -Chris

    P.S.  Here's their current tap list.

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    The New Hampshire .NET User Group is Back!

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    Pat Tormey, who runs the New Hampshire .NET User Group, just sent word that the group has a new site and new plans:

    We're Re-Grouping New Hamphire DotNet User Group at our new site and we could use some advice from you.

    Could you drop in at http://www.nhdn.com and tell us where you'd like to meet, what evening works best for you, and what technology piques your interest these days.

    Then please register at www.nhdn.com for New Hamphire DotNet User Group. And stay tuned for our Grand Launch of VS 2008, SQL 2008 and Windows 2008.

    So check out the group's site and cast your vote to help determine the direction the group will take!

    -Chris

    P.S.  Pat also mentioned that he's created a series of Smart Client videos:

    I've also posted a whole series of SmartClient Videos at http://nhdn.com/DNN/VSVideoTraining/tabid/72/Default.aspx

    These videos were developed for http://windowsclient.net/ and there are dozens more free video training session with both VB and C# source code there.

    And if you want to hear more on this from Pat in person, check out his "WinForms and Smart Client Development" talk at Code Camp!

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing Microsoft's BizSpark Program for Startups

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    BizSparkLogo

    Some great news for the startup and entrepreneurial community - we've formally launched a new program, called BizSpark, designed to offer tools, mentorship, and support to early stage startups, with no upfront costs to enroll.

    Think DreamSpark (tools and platform software for students) but for startups, and you won't be far off.

    Program Details

    BS_Sunburst There are plenty of details on the Microsoft Startup Zone site, but in summary, the program connects startups with Network Partners, organizations in the software community who can provide assistance and guidance to the startups.  Microsoft provides the BizSpark startups with:

    Software - Lots of it, along with production licenses.  From the Startup Zone site:

  • All the software included in the Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System Team Suite (VSTS) with MSDN® Premium subscription
  • Expression® Studio Version 2
  • VSTS Team Foundation Server (standard edition)
  • Production use rights to host a “software as a service” solution (developed during participation in the BizSpark Program, on any platform) over the Internet, with regard to products including:
    • Microsoft Windows Server® (all versions up to and including Enterprise)
    • Microsoft SQL Server® (all versions)
    • Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server
    • Microsoft System Center
    • Microsoft BizTalk® Server
    • Microsoft Dynamics® CRM (coming soon)
  • In addition to the core program offering, BizSpark startups will be eligible for other Microsoft offerings, such as:
    • Microsoft Azure Services Platform

    Support - Software support from MSDN (groups, incidents, concierge, etc.), BizSpark program support, and guidance through Network Partners (incubators, investors, advisors, agencies, hosters, etc.

    Visibility - Through the program and the BizSpark DB, increased exposure to the potential investors, partners, and customers.

    What Does it Cost?

    From the BizSpark FAQ:

    As part of Microsoft’s commitment to Startup success, there is no upfront cost to enroll in the program. Startups will be responsible for a USD$100 program offering fee when they exit the program

    Who Qualifies?

    How are startups eligible? [excepted from source]:

    Your startup must be:

    • Actively engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of its current or intended business
    • Privately held
    • In business for less than 3 years
    • Generating less than USD $1 million in annual revenue

    To be eligible to use the software for production and deployment of hosted solutions, startups must also be developing a new "software as a service" solution (on any platform) to be delivered over the Internet.

    BTW, if you're an ISV, but don't qualify for BizSpark, take a look at Empower for ISVs, which may be another way to get additional support from Microsoft.

    What Next?

    I'm excited that we're offering this program!  If you're a startup, read through the program details on the Microsoft Startup Zone, then find a Network Partner, who can help connect you with the BizSpark program.

    If you're in the Northeast, and think your organization could be potential Network Partner, drop me a line and I'll be glad to chat with you.

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    PDC 2009 Registration Now Open

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    PDC09 A quick post to let you know that registration has just opened for the 2009 PDC (Professional Developer Conference) November 17-19 in Los Angeles.

    http://microsoftpdc.com

    You get $500 off if you register by Sept. 15th.

    There’s a lot to talk about at this PDC, and I hope to be able to attend as well!

    -Chris

    P.S.  You can also follow PDC updates on Twitter @PDC09.

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Speaking on Enterprise Library at Beantown .NET UG on 10/4

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    I'll be in Boston tomorrow night (10/4), giving a talk about the Patterns & Practices group and Enterprise Library for the Beantown .NET User Group.  If you're in the Boston area and are interested in learning about how Enterprise Library can help with your development efforts, drop by for a listen!

    The meeting runs from 6-8:00 PM.

    More details and directions are at http://www.beantowndotnet.org

    See you there!

    -Chris

    Technorati tags: , , ,
  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston XNA Developers Group June 24 Meeting – XNA Game Studio 3.1

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    bostonxna Tonight’s meeting of the Boston XNA Developers Group (6:00 in Waltham) will feature Michael Cummings speaking on what’s in the newly-released XNA Game Studio 3.1.  XNA Game Studio helps you create games that can run on PCs, XBox 360, and Zune, all on top of the .NET Framework.

    Some of the new features in 3.1 include:

    • cco_home_gameStudio31_feature_bannerFINALAvatar Support
    • Xbox LIVE Party Support
    • Video Playback
    • Audio API
    • Content Pipeline Enhancements
    • XACT3 Support

    Resources:

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Huge XNA News at GDC '08

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    XNA_3The XNA team made two very big announcements at the Game Developers' Conference

    Cutting right to the chase, the biggest news is that the wait will be over for community XNA games on Xbox LIVE!  Coming this holiday season, people will be able to share, peer review, and play user-created games!

    From the announcement on the XNA Team Blog:

    The Xbox LIVE community games brings to life the community-driven gaming vision we have talked about in the past.  This offering gives the opportunity to share, peer review, download and play games created by the community, for the community.  Starting with the beta launch of the service later this Spring, XNA Creators Club subscribers will be able to submit their own game creations for self-publishing through to Xbox LIVE Marketplace. 

    Read the post for the full details, and here for more, but another important note is that yes, this will lead to the ability to make money by writing XNA games for XBOX Live (details still to come)!

    The second announcement is of one of the first new features coming with Game Studio v3.0 - the ability to create games for the Zune!

    [...] This will let you write one game and deploy it to all three platforms that XNA Game Studio 3.0 will support: the Xbox 360, Windows, and now the Zune. [...]  That means that XNA Game Studio 3.0 integration includes discoverability/access to the user's music - allowing the user to customize background soundtracks or create real-time visualizations at their discretion. 

     

    In addition, the XNA Community Games Platform team has announced the ability to have multiple Zunes wirelessly engage in an ad-hoc gaming experience (think of the possibilities!)

    Boston XNA Developers Group

    Now, what better place to discuss these announcements than at the new Boston XNA Developers Group?  The first meeting is on Wednesday of next week, February 27th at 6:00 in the Waltham Microsoft office.  No game development experience required.

    Details are on the Boston XNA Developers Group site.

    See you there!

    -Chris

     

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    June Boston XNA Meeting Canceled

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    Unfortunately, tonight's (6/23) meeting for the Boston XNA Developers Group will have to be canceled.  A last-minute scheduling problem has come up, so we're going to punt on this month's meeting.

    We'll continue as usual with the July meeting.

    If you're new to the group, the content of these meetings remains very approachable even if you're brand new to XNA and games development, so come on down!

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Building Windows Games with Unity - Online & In-Person Event

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    Building Windows Games with Unity

    Unity 4 Early Access for Windows Store appsHave you used Unity for game development?  As announced by Unity, you’ll be able to put your work to even more use with coming support for Windows 8 / Windows Store games:

    Unity Blog: "Unity 4 Early Access for Windows Store apps"

    To help Unity developers learn how to create or reuse projects to reach the Windows Store, Unity is teaming with Microsoft to run a free event in Mountain View, CA from April 8-10:

    • April 8 – Pre-event day for developers new to Unity (In-person only)
    • April 9 – Main conference
    • April 10 – Hackathon (In-person only)

    Can’t make it in person?  Not a problem.  The main conference day (April 9th) will be streamed live via Channel 9:

    • Live Stream: Building Windows Games with Unity (No registration necessary)
    • April 9, 9 AM – 4:30 PM PDT / 12 PM – 7:30 PM EDT
      • Introduction to the Windows 8 platform and the Windows Store
      • End-to-End: Develop, debug and deploy a Unity game for the Windows Store
      • Deep dive:  Tips & tricks for porting games from other platforms to Windows 8
      • Differentiate: Integrate your game with Windows 8 platform features (such as contracts, notifications, and live tiles)
      • Sharing code:  Learn how to reuse all this new knowledge on the Windows Phone platform
      • Partner sessions: Hear the lessons learned from those that have already done it
      • Discussions and Q&A with Microsoft and Unity engineering and product specialists

    For fellow Boston-area devs, a quick pointer to the Boston Unity Group, meeting monthly to network and share game development goodness.

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Greater Buffalo IT/Dev Day – July 21

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    As Northeast Roadshow attendees know, our usual stop in western NY is Rochester (in fact we just returned from a great event there on Friday!)  It’s always good to see the people who make the trip from Buffalo to attend, so I’m glad to say we have an event where Buffalo is the center of attention!

    BuffaloITDevMSDN and TechNet, in partnership with the Western NY .NET Users Group, are running a free Greater Buffalo IT/Dev Day on July 21st at Daemen College in Amherst, NY.

    Shamelessly copied from Jim’s post:

    This IT/Dev Day comprises separate TechNet Unleashed and MSDN Unleashed events, with morning TechNet sessions focused on the IT Professional audience, and afternoon MSDN sessions geared toward the .NET developer audience.  Attendees at either event (or both events!) are welcome to stay - or come early as the case may be - for a light lunch courtesy of our sponsor, PSI Professional Support Inc.

    In addition to the great content outlined below, all attendees will receive a copy of the Windows 7 Release Candidate media!!

    Greater Buffalo IT/Dev Day
    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    107 Schenck Hall
    Daemen College
    4380 Main Street
    Amherst, NY 14226

    TechNet

            

    MSDN

    8:30am - 12pm
    Lunch 12pm - 1pm

    Register Here

     

    1pm - 4:30pm
    Lunch 12pm - 1pm

    Register Here

     

    Moving to the Modern OS Roadmap

    In this welcome session, we will discuss some of the key challenges IT professionals face in today’s economy.  We’ll talk about scenarios with Windows 2000 and Windows XP and the importance of moving to a modern OS.  In addition, we will cover Windows Vista and improvements that have been made with SP2 as well as review guidance concerning Windows Vista deployments.

     

     

    Developing Cloud Applications with Windows Azure

    Cloud computing is one of more recent buzzwords in software development, and Microsoft has thrown its hat in the ring with Windows Azure and the Azure Services Platform.  You’ll discover what makes Microsoft’s unique Software + Services approach tick through discussions and demonstrations of key components like Azure storage, the .NET Service Bus, Live Services, and SQL Data Services.

     

    Windows Security and Application/Driver Compatibility

    This session discusses security, data protection with the new “Bitlocker-To-Go”, rich support tools like Reliability Monitor, Resource Monitor, Windows Recovery Environment, and the new System Restore and Problem Steps Recorder. We will also cover application control using group policy and implement simple rule structures that include working with an application to Allow, Exception or Deny the installation. We’ll also discuss Group Policy Preferences and how users can change their own policy settings.

     

    Developing Rich Internet Applications with Silverlight

    Silverlight is the technology of choice for building applications with rich features and broad reach.  Using Silverlight 2 today, we’ll show you what you can accomplish with .NET and XAML to deliver a great user experience.  Then, we’ll up the ante with a preview of Silverlight 3 including out-of-browser support and productivity and performance enhancements.  We’ll also take a look at some of the great features in Expression Blend 3, sure to please your designer side.

     

    Windows 7 Release Candidate

    The way Microsoft develops Windows has changed. We’ll discuss the changes we have made in Windows Vista that affect Windows 7, such as hardware, and new features that work with Windows Server 2008 R2 like DirectAccess™, which provides seamless remote access to corporate network resources. We also will cover BranchCache ™, which caches content downloaded from file and web servers; users in the branch can quickly open files stored in the cache, which frees up network bandwidth for other uses.

     

    Developing applications with Windows Mobile

    With worldwide mobile phone shipments predicted to grow at a 31% rate in 2009, there’s no time like the present to bring your applications to Windows Mobile.  In this session we’ll discuss the components of the Windows Mobile Platform, notably the Compact Framework and SDK, and use familiar tools and constructs in Visual Studio to build and deploy a mobile application from the ground up.  There’s also a look forward to some of the great features coming in Windows Mobile 6.5.

    A very special thanks to the event sponsors below for making it possible to bring this event to the Buffalo area!

     PSI

     redgate

    wrox 

     telerik

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Elite Web Optimization Event – Cambridge 12/9

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    A good opportunity to learn about the Microsoft Web Platform, interoperability, the WebsiteSpark program and more is coming to NERD in Cambridge, presented NaviSite and Microsoft.

    Elite Web Optimization Event
    EliteWebOptimizationEventDecember 9th 2009 10:00AM-6:00PM
    New England Research and Development Center (NERD)
    1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02142

    Free registration at http://microsoftandnavisite.eventbrite.com

    NaviSite Come spend a day with us to explore the Microsoft Windows Web Platform and the many managed hosting services provided by NaviSite, Inc., based in Andover, MA!

    During this event, we’ll review what’s new in the Microsoft Web Platform and tools, the interoperability improvements in the Microsoft Web platform and the value that NaviSite Managed Hosting can add to your project/business.

    We will discuss:

    • MS Web Platform –  msweb-logoIIS management Console, Hyper – V and the Dynamic Data Center, SQL Server 2008 Web Edition, IISMedia Services3.0
    • WebsiteSpark Program
    • WebsiteSparkMS Interoperability – PHP on Windows, Web-PI, PHP Drivers in MS SQL Server 2008
    • NaviSite services and value add
    • The Great PHP on Windows Contest
    • PHPonWindowsContestMS Web Tools – Visual Studio, Expression, Silverlight
    • Microsoft Partner Evangelism Initiative

    All attendees will be entered into a drawing to win one of the following:

    • Copy of Win7
    • Xbox360 Elite
    • ZuneHD
    • 8GB Zune
    • FREE NaviSite Windows Dedicated Server for 2 Months

    -Chris

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    Imagine Cup 2009 US Finals in Boston!

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    ImagineCupBanner

    Students from all over the United States are gathering to compete in the US finals of this year’s Imagine Cup, hoping for a chance to join the best of the best from around the globe in the world finals in Cairo, Egypt.

    ImagineCupHome

    The Imagine Cup is a yearly technology-based problem solving competition bringing students together to face challenges and open new doors.

    Want to see more?  There’s a great video showing the amazing excitement this competition offers.

    Want to see more in person?  The US Finals are happening this weekend, right here in Cambridge, MA, and you can join in the fun by coming to the US Imagine Cup Community Showcase on May 4th.  Here’s how:

    Now in its seventh year, Microsoft Imagine Cup is a global student technology competition that inspires students to use technology to make the world a better place by addressing its toughest challenges as defined by the UN Millennium GoalsMicrosoft is pleased to host the 2009 US Imagine Cup final competitions in Cambridge, MA.  15 student teams will be coming from universities across the county to experience a week in the innovation capital of the world – Cambridge.  While here, students will attend an innovation and entrepreneurship workshops, present their projects to a judging panel of local technology luminaries, and showcase their ideas to the local technology community.

    The US Imagine Cup team invites you to join us for the

    US Imagine Cup Community Showcase
    May 4, 2009 at 6:00 PM
    One Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02142 – 1st Floor
    Light refreshments will be served!
    Driving Directions

    The Community Showcase welcomes members of the Boston community to come into New England Research and Development and to spend an evening interacting with students, and witness firsthand the passion for technology and inspiration for solving tough problems that the students exhibit.

     

    This event is the highlight of the student experience of the Imagine Cup, come and see what the future of technology holds!

    ImagineCupLogoFor a glimpse into the impact this has had on students, take a look at Journeys and Success Stories, showing just a few the many teams (and dreams) involved in the competition.

    See you there!

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Cambridge Python Meetup - Silverlight, Python, and the DLR

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    I'll be speaking with the Cambridge Python Meetup Group this Wednesday (July 18th) evening.  Join us in Cambridge for discussion and demonstrations of Silverlight, the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) and, of course, how Python ties into this brave new world.

    For details on the event, head over to the event's Meetup page and sign up.

    Looking forward to a great evening of discussion!

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New England Data Camp v1.0 - Schedule Posted

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    Adam Machanic has posted the session schedule from next Saturday's New England Data Camp v1.0.  Registration is quite strong and Adam adds:

    I'm really happy with how the schedule has turned out.  We have four tracks: BI, DB Dev, DBA, and Data-Driven App Dev; 14 speakers; and a total of 18 sessions on a really diverse set of topics.  This should be a fantastic event.

    201 Jones Road, Waltham, MAThis is a free community-driven event for anyone interested in learning more about working with data.  It will run from 8:15-5:30 on January 24th, held at the Microsoft's Waltham, MA office at 201 Jones Road (6th floor) [one-click directions].

    Check out the schedule and if you haven't already, register here as soon as possible.

    See you at Data Camp!
    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp Hartford - Call for Speakers Open

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    MCj01895870000[1]As I mentioned earlier, Code Camp Hartford (the first for the area!) is coming on August 16th.  It will be held from 9 AM-5 PM at the New Horizons facility at 340 West Newberry Rd. in Bloomfield, CT.

    The Call for Speakers is now open!  As I always say, Code Camps are a fantastic way for aspiring speakers to try their hands at a presentation in a lower-stress, high-enthusiasm event.  Been thinking about giving it a try?  Go for it!

    Details from the CT .NET group site:

    We are seeking talented .NET developers to make a presentation or two at the First Hartford CodeCamp on August 16th (Saturday). If you have ever wanted fame (& perhaps fortune) - this is your opportunity! We are giving away one MSDN Premium subscription and other prizes for presenters (judged by evals from attendees).

    Each session should be about 90mins in duration and the content should be on developer topics that would be of interest to attending developers. Just about anything in .NET and other Microsoft technologies!

    Choose a .NET topic of interest and send a brief abstract or outline, your developer experience, expected audience level, etc or any other questions to ctdotnet@gmail.com

    More details and announcements will be coming, so keep an eye on the CT .NET User Group site.

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New User Group in Maine!

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    BAND I'm happy to say that Maine will be getting a brand new user group in Bangor! 

    The well-named BAND (Bangor Area .Net Developers) will meet (for "gigs") monthly to talk about current developer topics with a focus on current technology that's ready for practical use.

    Check out their website at http://www.bangordevelopers.com

    This month's gig:

    Tuesday, Jan 22, 6:00-8:00 pm

    Hampton Inn, Bangor (directions)

    Summary of the Bob and Chris Roadshow from December - Jeff Hall

    Did you miss the "Bob & Chris' MSDN Roadshow" event held in Westbrook on December 11?  Jeff Hall, a fellow Bangor-area .NET developer, will be giving a summary of the event that talked about:

    • "Visual Studio 2008: The Accelerated AP/Honors Class"
    • "The Multi-Tenant Data Architecture"
    • "'You Are The Strongest LINQ!': Effective Language Integrated Query"
    • "Expression Studio for the Designer-Wannabe"

    Jeff is a developer for Occupational Health Research in Skowhegan, with experience including ASP.NET, WinForms, unit testing and deployment.  Come meet other area .NET developers and check out the latest .NET development concepts and tools.  Plus enter the random drawing for your own copy of Microsoft Expression Web, among other cool door prizes!

    6:00-6:30 Warm-ups - Pizza, soda and casual discussion

    6:30-6:45 MC Introduction - User group update

    6:45-7:45 Main Event - Summary of the Bob and Chris Roadshow from December

    7:45-8:00 Last Call - Q&A, Prize Drawing, Closing, Cleanup

    Register Online

    I'm planning to speak with the group in the March/April timeframe.  Maybe I can swing by Steven King's house for some author-to-author talk?  ;)

    -Chris

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