Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New User Group in Maine!


    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

    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 Bowen's Blog

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


    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 Bowen's Blog

    Elite Web Optimization Event – Cambridge 12/9


    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

    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 Bowen's Blog

    Beantown .NET Special Event – Rocky Lhotka on UI Design Patterns - April 29th


    rockylhotkaRocky Lhotka (blog), the respected author, Regional Director, MVP, and technologist from Magenic, will be visiting with the Beantown .NET User Group on April 29th at 6 PM. Rocky will be covering UI design patterns in a session titled “CSLA .NET as the 'M' in MVC/MVP/MVVM”.

    BeantownDotNetThe Beantown .NET User Group has recently moved to Microsoft’s Cambridge, MA facility (aka “NERD”) and is run by Benjamin Day (also an MVP!) 

    RSVP and view the session details on Ben’s blog.

    Rocky is a natural speaker and very knowledgeable, so don’t miss this opportunity to hear from one of the best!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New Expression Web Community-Based Wiki


    An MVP based here in the northeast, Kathleen Anderson has announced on her blog that there is a new Expression Web Wiki.  It features resources for learning and working with Expression Web, links to related blogs and sites, and more.


    As with other Wikis, it's open for editing by the community and I'm sure will become an even more valuable resource over time.

    Nice job, Kathleen!


    P.S.  If you're interested in keeping updated on Expression-related news, you can subscribe to the Expression Newsletter.

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Free SQL Server 2008 Event in Boston on November 12th


    SQL Server 2008Looking for the latest on SQL Server 2008?  Join Adam Machanic for a free event on November 12th in Boston where he'll spend the morning (8-12) sharing many details of SQL Server 2008:

    Learn more about SQL Server 2008 and the new enhanced capabilities of the product.  We’ll be exploring security and database management, how to best manage your data, and what’s new in business intelligence with SQL Server 2008.  Don’t miss this half day event that will give you a better understanding of what SQL 2008 has to offer and how you can best put it to use at your company.

    Adam is a recognized leader in the SQL Server community, helping with user groups, speaking at conferences, and running an informative blog.  This looks to be a worthwhile event!

    Register here


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Save the Date – Vermont’s First Code Camp on September 12th!


    Code CampI’m very happy to pass along word (via Rob Hale and Julie Lerman) that the first Vermont Code Camp will be on September 12th in Burlington!

    The University of Vermont’s School of Business has generously offered to host this event – thank you!

    More is coming soon, so for now, just save the date.

    Random Picture of Vemont in FallIt’s going to be a great event (what is a Code Camp?), open to the entire technology community and, with the added bonus of being in Burlington with it’s fall beauty, it will be fantastic.  I’m planning to make a weekend of it.


    P.S.  Rob is happy to hear from anyone interested in speaking, but I’m not sure he intended his email to be published to the world, so until the “formal” Call for Speakers is posted, if you’re interested in helping, send me a note and I’ll connect you.

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Waltham Roadshow Registration Limit Increased


    A note for those of you who recently tried to register for the December 13th Bob & Chris' MSDN Roadshow in Waltham, only to find it had (quickly!) sold out.  We've just increased the capacity (we've got all three MPR's), so please try to register again.

    See you for the Roadshow!


    Technorati tags: ,
  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New Hampshire .NET UG Returns on May 15th!


    MCj01896110000[1]As I mentioned in an earlier post, Pat Tormey has been hard at work revitalizing the New Hampshire .NET User Group.  I'm happy to pass along word that the group has great new meeting location at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH and will be having it's first meeting on May 15th!

    The meeting will feature an "Overview of the AJAX Control Toolkit", given by Phil Denoncourt:

    AJAX is an way to make websites more interactive and  responsive. It's powerful and easy to use.  The AJAX control toolkit is a set of controls that use AJAX and wrap common UI scenarios.  Cascading dropdowns, Auto completing textboxes, in-page popups, hovering menus and dynamically populated textboxes are some of the controls we'll go over.
    No AJAX experience is required.

    There will also be a session on "What's new and important in VS 2008" given by none other than Pat himself:

    First Look at the Table Adapter Manager and possibly a little WPF with MS Expression Blend

    The NHDN site has the details and a mailing list for group updates.

    Should be a great meeting!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    BarCampManchester 4 on September 26


    BarCampManchester For tech folks in and near New Hampshire, this weekend’s BarCampManchester 4 will be a great opportunity to learn, share, and network.

    BarCamp will be Saturday, September 26th from 9:30 – 4:30 at UNH Manchester and registration is free.

    Like other BarCamps, it will be an “unconference”, with an attendee- participant-driven experience that encourages everyone to share insights and interests.  (See also “Rules” of BarCamp, and tips on what to expect.)

    See you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Fall Northeast Roadshow Update



    Rochester Public Library (left) at Night After driving approximately 975 miles and downing 1.28 gazillion gallons of coffee (probably each) since Monday, Jim and I made it back from the first leg of the Falll Northeast Roadshow.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to join us for our first three stops! 

    Special thanks to our Florida-based teammate Brian Johnson, who was able to join us for the Troy and Rochester stops to share his experience with Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio!

    Jim Fueling UpThanks to KnowledgeWave in South Burlington, VT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and the Rochester (NY) Public Library for hosting us!  Each of these locations was a new venue for us, and we were very pleased with each.

    We'll be posting our content toward the end of the Roadshow.  And speaking of which - our remaining stops:

    We're "sold out" in Connecticut, and there are very few seats left for the Waltham event.

    The Rochester ShowWe're looking forward to completing the Fall Roadshow in the coming weeks and hope you'll be able to join us!

    As always, please Let me know if you have any Roadshow suggestions (content, locations, logistics, etc.).


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston Area WebsiteSpark and BizSpark Meetup Groups


    Whether you’ve joined, are interested in, or have never heard of the Microsoft WebsiteSpark or BizSpark programs, there are two new groups in Boston to help you learn more and connect with others.

    These programs are available to help web developers and designers (WebsiteSpark) or software startups (BizSpark) get software, support and visibility.

    If you’re in the greater Boston area, drop by one of these groups to meet others and learn more:

    • Boston WebsiteSpark Group
      WebsiteSparkFor web designers and developers (regardless of participation in the WebsiteSpark program), this group focuses on networking, sharing, and learning a variety of web-related topics.
    • Boston BizSpark Meetup
      BizSparkBannerFor startups (whether already in BizSpark or not), this group is a chance to network, learn, and share advice.

    Both groups meet at the Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) center in Cambridge. 


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Photosynth is Live - Take it for a Spin


    Logo_Photosynth The Microsoft Live Labs project Photosynth has just gone live, letting you create your own synths. 

    What's a synth?  Consider taking a whole bunch of your pictures of a certain place, dropping them in Photosynth, and getting a 3D representation of the spatial relationships between those pictures that you can then navigate around. 

    Or... just think of using tape to join your pictures together.  In 3D.

    Well, I suppose it's easier to just look at one than to describe it!


    Some related stores:



  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Special "Meet the Authors" Event Next Week


    A free event has been arranged for next week to celebrate the release of three books featuring work by local Microsoft staff (including yours truly).

    Accelerated SQL Server 2008Sharepoint 2007Essential WCF

    Microsoft’s own Scott Jamison, Steve Resnick, Richard Crane, Chris Bowen, and Rob Walters, along with Vitale Caturano’s Mauro Cardarelli, will be on-hand to meet, chat, and sign their books.

    Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
    Microsoft Technology Center
    890 Winter Street, Waltham, MA
    4:00 – 7:00 PM



    Featured Books Include:

    • Essential SharePoint 2007 by Scott Jamison, Mauro Cardarelli, and Susan Hanley.
    • Essential Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) For .NET Framework 3.5 by Steve Resnick, Richard Crane, and Chris Bowen.
    • Accelerated SQL Server 2008 by Rob Walters, Michael Coles, Robin Dewson, and Fabio Claudio Ferracchiati.

    Click Here to Register

    Sponsored By:



    See you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    VB Day on May 27th (Waltham, MA)


    There are still a few more seats available for the VB.NET Day event coming up on May 27th in Waltham, MA, from 9:00 to 3:30.  Following on the success of his C# Day series (both in person and in Second Life), Michael de la Maza is offering a VB-focused version of this day-long, participatory learning experience. 

    The description from Michael's site:

    Join us for a relaxed, no cost introduction to VB.NET programming. By engaging in participatory activities, you will learn some of the most common and powerful features of the VB.NET language. This day is not lecture-based. There will be fewer than 60 minutes of lecture material -- almost all of the time will be spent on participant-guided activities. Everyone who attends will learn what interests them at their own pace in a relaxed, tension-free environment with an experienced VB.NET developer and trainer available to answer questions.

    RSVPs are required and details are here.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New Microsoft Research Center in Cambridge, MA


    Some exciting news for New England.  Microsoft Research has just announced that the One Memorial Drive, Cambridge offices (that I introduced earlier) will be the location of our newest Research Center!

    The center, opening in July, will be the 6th such center in the world, the 3rd in the US, and the first on the east coast.  It also marks the first center to be led by a woman, Managing Director Jennifer Tour Chayes.

    Research will initially be conducted in the areas of computer science and social science theory, including ways to bridge the two fields.  The center will begin with 10-15 researchers, but plans are to grow to at least 50.

    Coverage of the news can be found here:

    Welcome, Microsoft Research New England!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New Cape Cod XNA Group – First Meeting Friday 10/23


    CapeCodXNA The new Cape Cod XNA user group will offer a chance to learn and share knowledge about creating games with XNA (which builds on .NET to make games for the PC, XBox 360, and Zune.)

    The group’s first meeting is this Friday, October 23rd, at Venture in Hyannis:

          Cape Cod XNA
          October 23, 6:30 PM
          Suite 14, 540 Main St, Hyannis, MA [map]

    If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at making a game, then drop by and put those .NET programming skills to work (er, play)!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Speaking: RI on 4/1, Syracuse on 4/2, Code Camp on 4/5


    A quick note to post my speaking schedule for this week:

    • Tonight (4/1), I'll be at the Rhode Island .NET User Group in Bristol, RI, speaking with them about the web developer story with Visual Studio 2008. 
    • Tomorrow (4/2), I'll be with the Central NY .NET User Group in East Syracuse, NY, speaking about creating games for Windows and the Xbox 360 with XNA
      • BTW, on my way there, I'll be stopping by Morrisville State College, to speak with the student ACM chapter on best practices for security.
    • Saturday (4/5), I'll be giving roughly the same introductory XNA talk for Code Camp 9 in Waltham, MA.  (Which is almost "sold out" at 500 registrants!)

    Hope to see you at one of these events!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    First Western NY Pro. Assoc. for SQL Server (PASS) Meeting on Sept. 11


    PASS Are you working with SQL Server in the western upstate NY?  I'm happy to pass (no pun intended) along word that the first meeting of the Western NY PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) will be on September 11th in Buffalo, with a focus on disaster recovery techniques:

    We would like to invite you the 1st WNY Professional Association for SQL Server (WNY PASS) meeting!


    Please RSVP by replying to [events at wnypass dot org]  with your name, so we have an accurate count for food.


    Topics:  Disaster Recovery

    Speaker:  Jamie Smith
    Date:   9/11/2008
    Time:  6:00pm – 8:30pm

    Location:  KnowledgeAir (726 Exchange St, Suite 628 in the Larkin building).
    Food: Pizza and Pop (Courtesy of

    6:00 PM - 6:30 PM :: Food and Networking
    6:30 PM - 6:45 PM :: Announcements and Introductions
    6:45 PM - 7:30 PM :: Presentation Part I
    7:30 PM - 7:45 PM :: Food and Networking
    7:45 PM - 8:30 PM :: Presentation Part II (if needed) then giveaways

    Giveaways:  There will be more than what is listed below.

    Red Gate - 6 T-Shirts

    Culminis – Assorted Swag

    It's great to see the rapidly-growing tech community in Buffalo!  I hope you'll be able to show your support and attend.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Northeast Roadshow Concludes This Week


    Northeast Roadshow logo

    This week we have the final two stops for our fifth Northeast Roadshow.

    June 10 - Rochester, NY
    Rochester Institute of Technology
    Building 70, Room 1400
    1 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester, NY

    Rochester is the essence of Roadshow - piling in the car and driving a combined 11 hours in two days, fueled by music, coffee, and snack food.  Add to that the great audience we always get, and it's all worthwhile!

    We're at the same auditorium as our December Roadshow, I believe it's called the Tom Golisano building.  Some people were concerned that there is construction planned for that building, but it won't affect us since it happens later in June.

    June 12 - Farmington, CT
    74 Batterson Park Rd.
    Farmington, CT

    Our final stop will be at the Microsoft office in Farmington.  Of course, since this is our last stop, you'll benefit from our "agile, iterative tuning" of content over all of our previous stops.  Not only will our content be even more polished (hard to believe, we know), but we'll have a better chance of knowing why our demos go awry!  <Appreciative Golf Clap/> 


    "Will There Be Room?"

    Yes, we're "sold out" at these events, but we'll probably have a higher than usual no-show rate due to the nice weather.  So, whether you're waitlisted or a walk-in, if you're willing to take a (hopefully small) chance of being turned away, come on down!  If we have a seat, it's yours!


    See you on the road!


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