Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Cambridge Python Meetup - Silverlight, Python, and the DLR


    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 Bowen's Blog

    PDC 2009 Registration Now Open


    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.

    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!


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

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing Microsoft's BizSpark Program for Startups



    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 Bowen's Blog

    Boston XNA Developers Group Meeting Wednesday 2/27


    bostonxna A reminder that the first meeting of the shiny new Boston XNA Developers Group ( 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 Bowen's Blog

    Huge XNA News at GDC '08


    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 Bowen's Blog

    New England Data Camp v1.0 - Schedule Posted


    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 Bowen's Blog

    May Roadshow Content Available


    We've collected the slides and content from our most recent Roadshow and have made them available at:

    Covered sessions are:

    1. XML and the Database
    2. What's New from the Patterns & Practices Group?
    3. Silverlight
    4. ASP.NET AJAX - Going Deeper

    I'm on the road at the moment, but keep an eye out for follow-up posts with resources relating to questions I received during the various days.


  • 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

    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

    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

    Waltham Geek Gathering on Monday (12/15)


    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.


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

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Northeast Roadshow Starts on Thursday


    Northeast Roadshow logo

    Bob, Jim, and I will be packing into the car tomorrow as we travel to our first stop of the May/June Northeast Roadshow!  Our destination is Burlington, VT where we'll enjoy the day speaking about:

    • LINQ to SQL & LINQ to Entities
    • Silverlight 2
    • Visual Studio Tools for Office
    • The ASP.NET MVC Framework.

    There's still room at each of our stops (though some are very close to "selling out"):

    Looking for a great (and free) way to learn about technology?  Well then, we'll see you soon on the road!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camps in Albany, NY and Stamford, CT Coming Soon


    Next Saturday (November 7th) will bring two more Code Camps to the northeast, one in Albany, NY and the other in Stamford, CT. 

    Code Camps are free, community events for connecting with and learning from fellow developers. If you can make it to one of these, it will be a day well spent!

    Tech Valley Code Camp 2009

    TechValleyCC2Back after last year’s first event, Tech Valley Code Camp 2009 will be hosted at SUNY Albany and is organized by the Tech Valley .NET Users Group

        Tech Valley Code Camp 2009
        November 7, 9 AM – 3 PM
        SUNY, Albany, NY

    Register today to attend and while you’re at it, why not throw caution to the wind and volunteer to share your interests in a session as well?

    Fairfield/Westchester Code Camp 2009

    For those of you in the southern CT area, Fairfield/Westchester Code camp returns for a 2009 edition, organized by the Fairfield/Westchester .NET User Group.

        Fairfield/Westchester Code Camp 2009
        November 7, 8 AM – 6 PM
        UConn, Stamford, CT

    Hats off to the community for putting these events together!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Hartford Code Camp Registration Open


    The Hartford area's first Code Camp is coming up quickly (on August 16th) and registration is now open:

    A CodeCamp is a FREE, community-driven, all-day event for developers. Speakers are local or regional developers. Topics are based on community interest. Sessions are original and feature a heavy technical focus (no marketing fluff). This event is to be held at New Horizons Computer Learning Center (Bloomfield CT).

    We have over 24 speakers already! For list of speakers and topics being presented - please see

    To register for this event - (register to count for refreshments, raffle prizes, giveaways, etc).

    Questions? drop an email to

    Our thanks to New Horizons Computer Learning Center (Hartford CT) for sponsoring our event venue.  This event is also sponsored by Tallan, TekSystems, Travelers and ArrowPoint KeyTech.

    I'll 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

    Essential WCF Featured on ARCast.TV


    Essential WCF 3.5 Thanks to some great work by my colleague Bob Familiar, there's a new ARCast.TV episode featuring interviews with Steve Resnick, Rich Crane, and me. 

    In this episode, Bob interviews us about WCF and our new book "Essential Windows Communication Foundation for .NET Framework 3.5".


    ARCast.TV - Essential WCF


    Check it out on Channel 9!


  • 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

    Code Camp Hartford - Call for Speakers Open


    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

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


  • 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

    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.

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