Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • 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

    Silverlight 2.0 and RIA Development Article Series


    Our very own Bob Familiar has been cruising the seas of Silverlight and has recently posted a very nice four-article series on using Silverlight 2.0 to develop RIAs (Rich Internet Applications):

    This series of articles takes a look at the current state of RIA development leveraging Silverlight 2.0. The series will focus on the architecture of RIA's, the use of XAML for resolution independent user interface layout and design, Windows Communication Foundation for Web Services, Visual Studio 2008 and Expression Blend for the design/development environment and Windows Server 2008/IIS7 as the deployment environment.

    Bob's not only a great technology guy, but an excellent musician as well.  The series is based on his experiences developing his Sounds Familiar music site, showcasing his work. 

    I've come to know Bob's musical work from our many hours in the car together for our Roadshows, taking turns listening to our Zunes.  He has a lot of songs, you know.  I'm thinking I'll record my daughters practicing their piano so I have some custom compositions as well.  It's only fair.


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    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!


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    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!


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    Reminder - Fairfield/Westchester Code Camp Tomorrow (Nov. 10)


    For those of you in the southern Connecticut area, just a reminder that tomorrow (November 10th) is the first Fairfield/Westchester Code Camp.  There is a great lineup of speakers and sessions.

    I was just at the UConn Stamford facility this week (speaking with the Fairfield/Westchester .NET UG) and can say it's a great place for a code camp.  Breakout rooms, convenient parking, and of course a Starbucks nearby.

    Registration is still open, so consider dropping by for some good content, sharing, and networking.


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  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston XNA Meeting Resources



    Thanks to everyone who came to the first meeting of the Boston XNA Developers Group!  It was a casual evening to talk games and down Pop Rocks.  We introduced the concepts behind XNA and Game Studio, took in some of the news from GDC, and had a look at some of the games that you can create with XNA.

    Michael and I will get things up on the group site, but in the meantime, I wanted to share links to the things we discussed and watched:

    If you missed the meeting, don't worry, we didn't get into the how-to's of XNA just yet.  The next meeting will feature a straightforward 2D game that we'll create from scratch in Game Studio using everything you can download for free.

    (The next meeting will likely be March 26th, but keep an eye on the group site for details.)


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    DeepZoomPix Technology Demo


    DeepZoomPixLogo Released today, DeepZoomPix is an application that showcases a number of different technologies, including Windows Azure, Silverlight, Deep Zoom, and Expression.


    It demonstrates using Deep Zoom to process images, Windows Azure to store and distribute the images via cloud services, and Silverlight to explore content.  From the FAQ:

    What is DeepZoomPix?

    DeepZoomPix (DZP) is a web site that enables users to explore and share photos in a new and interactive way. DZP has three design goals for end-users:

    1. Make possible a “tactile” way of exploring and interacting with photographic images on the web.
    2. Enable a seamless experience for navigating large numbers of images regardless of Internet connection quality.
    3. Empower users to dynamically zoom in on photos without having to navigate to higher resolution versions.

    Make sure you read the details.  Of particular interest – it’s just a demo, it’s going away on December 31st (along with your creations), and stuff you add is public so be safe.

    It’s easy to use - I created a couple of albums very quickly - letting you upload pictures to albums (from local files, Facebook, Flickr, or an RSS/ATOM feed) and tag the content, then use the browser to scan through and DeepZoom in and out around your collection.

    Here’s a simple album I whipped up using low-res pictures from my mobile phone camera of our recent March Northeast MSDN Roadshow:

    Roadshow Album

    I’m sure you can create a better album using better pictures, head here to try it out.

    Interested in creating your own version of DeepZoomPix?  Turns out there’s a developer story here as well, so check out the DeepZoomPix Developer Resources page for a video and technology details.


  • 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)!


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    Learn XNA at the Next Boston XNA Developers Group Meeting


    bostonxna On March 26th at the next Boston XNA Developers Group meeting, we're starting the process of learning XNA.  (The first meeting was a non-technical overview of the world of XNA.)  Join Michael Cummings and me as we walk through creating a basic 2D game with XNA from scratch, zilch, zero.

    No game development experience is required, just a passion for playing games and a desire to make them.

    The meeting will be from 6:00-8:00 on Wednesday, March 26th (we're aiming for the fourth Wednesday of each month) at the Microsoft offices at 201 Jones Road (6th floor) in Waltham.

    See you there!


  • 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. 


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    Northeast Microsoft Job Opening for a Passionate IT Professional


    technet_logo Passing along word from my colleague Blain Barton who has posted about an opening on his team for a Northeast-focused Community Champion for the IT Pro space:

    This is a great opportunity to join a dynamic presentation team and help the IT Pro Evangelist team continue to build IT Pro Community Excellence. This person will focus on scaling our TechNet seminars business to the IT Professional community in the Northeast portion of the East Region and Midwest portion of the Central Region. Ideal location is DC to NYC corridor; however, other Midwest and East locations will be considered.

    So, if things like domains, networking, trusts, DNS, and IPSec are what you enjoy chatting about at cocktail parties (okay, slightly geeky cocktail parties), then check out the job description and toss your hat in the ring!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Briefing in Waltham for Microsoft ProDev Partners


    There will be a half-day partner briefing event at the Microsoft Waltham office on April 14th for Microsoft Partners with a competency in building custom development solutions, or those with an interest in expanding their practice in that direction.

    The Field Evangelism Group will share with you the inner workings of their organization, the initiatives and big bets they are making this year - business and technology - and how they align with the greater worldwide Microsoft and Partner ecosystem.  


    • 8:30am - 9:00am: Registration and Breakfast
    • 9:00am - 9:15am: Welcome and Introductions
    • 9:15am - 10:00am: General Session: Navigating MSDN Field Evangelism Organization & Understanding Our Mission
    • 10:00am - 10:30am: Business Session: Big Bets for Success-Part 1: Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)
    • 10:30am - 10:45am: Break
    • 10:45am - 11:15am: Business Session: Big Bets for Success- Part 2: Software Plus Services (S+S)
    • 11:15am - 11:45am: Business Session: Big Bets for Success- Part 3: Web 2.0
    • 11:45am - 1:00pm: Networking Lunch


    Not in the New England area?  This briefing is being held at other locations in the eastern U.S. as well.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Double Feature at Boston .NET User Group Tonight


    I wanted to pass along late word that tonight's (10/10) Boston .NET User Group meeting will be packed with speakers. 

    First they have the group's own Tony Pino (currently attending Harvard) to speak on interesting research he's doing on "The Social Web and Digital Natives".

    After Tony, the group will be visited by four members of Microsoft' Common Language Runtime team:

    Mike Downen is a Lead Program Manager on the Common Language Runtime team, focusing on the base class libraries, security, reflection, and add-ins. Before becoming management overhead, he was the Program Manager for security on the CLR. He has been on the CLR team for 4 years, and has been at Microsoft for over 9 years, starting as a developer in Office.

    Jesse Kaplan is the PM on the CLR team for Add-Ins and Extensibility, runtime versioning, and hosting.

    Melitta Andersen is a Program Manager on the Base Class Libraries team of the Common Language Runtime.  She currently works on the base types, globalization, localization, and numerics.  She’s been at Microsoft for two months, plus an internship with this same group last summer.

    Andrew Dai is a new Program Manager for Security on the Common Language Runtime group. He is currently involved with the CLR security model and APIs as well as internal security assurance. Andrew has been with Microsoft for a little over two months and is a college hire.

    They're all visiting from Redmond for the ReMIX '07 Boston event, so this is a good chance to see what's new with the CLR.

    The meeting is at 6:00 at the Microsoft offices at 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA.


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    Tech Valley Code Camp in Albany, NY - April 19th



    Great news for developers in the eastern upstate New York area - a Code Camp is coming to your neck of the woods!

    The Tech Valley Code Camp will run from 8 AM to 6PM on Saturday, April 19th at the New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Albany.

    Speakers Wanted!

    Code Camps are a fantastic way to get into speaking!  People are there because they want to share and learn with fellow developers, not because they've paid a conference fee, so the atmosphere is relaxed.

    Any sessions are welcome, but the intent is to cover a mix of the new tech and also offer some introductory sessions for people getting into .NET.

    See you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 8 - Summary and Thank You



    Fritz Onion working session magic[From the "Better Late than Never Department"]

    It's been a very busy couple of weeks after Code Camp, with ReMIX and working on the home stretch of "Essential WCF", but I didn't want to forget to post a summary for our fantastic New England Code Camp 8!

    The weekend before last saw over 40 sessions by 25 presenters, all volunteering their weekend time to an engaged audience of people who also volunteered their weekend time to attend!

    Judging by the surveys we received, this was one of our best Camps yet, with both the session ratings and overall event rating extremely high.   


    I wanted to point out Samantha Milowsky's great summary of the event!  Thanks for taking capturing the event in words and photos!

    More magazines than you can read!Thanks also to Dave Burke for his kind words in his Code Camp wrap-up

    Session Materials

    We'll be hounding the speakers to get links to their presentations up on TheDevCommunity site.  Some speakers already have their content available through their blogs:

    Log in to for links to the materials for each session (you need to be logged in to see the presentations.)

    Thanks to Our Speakers

    The saturday night geek event Please join me in thanking our speakers for volunteering their time and effort!  Without you, Code Camp would be... well, a lot of people just sitting around eating pizza.  :)

    • Andy Beaulieu
    • Chris Bowen
    • Dave Burke
    • Allan da Costa Pinto
    • Michael Cummings
    • Ben Day
    • David Edson
    • Bob Familiar
    • Bruce Ganek
    • Robert Hurlbut
    • Julie Lerman
    • Jesse Liberty
    • Anthony Lombardo
    • Mark Mullin amazes Adam Machanic
    • Todd Mancini
    • Michael de la Maza
    • Mark Mullin
    • Tim Ng
    • Andy Novick
    • Fritz Onion
    • Chris Pels
    • Richard Hale Shaw
    • Steve Simon
    • Paul Swider
    • Max Weber


    Giveaways aplenty A special thank you to our contributors for supporting this Code Camp!

    These companies contributed either funds for food or giveaways for attendees, with no expectations of the the usual sponsorship perks like logos in lights, banners on the walls, and expo hall receptions.  Please join us in thanking them for supporting the .NET community.

    Code Camp v.Next!

    What actually happened during the SCRUM session?If you thought this Code Camp was packed with information, keep in mind we have a the launch of a certain trio of products coming, so things are going to be very interesting for Code Camp 9 in the spring!

    Last, but absolutely not least, THANK YOU to every attendee who exchanged precious weekend time to come out and share, learn, and drive the buzz that makes the New England .NET community one of the best in the world!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Free Connected Home Day Event on September 13th


    nedmug Interested in learning about the cool things you can do with your home computers?  Want to see what Windows Home Server and Windows Media Center can do?  Want to learn more about home networking options?

    The New England Digital Media Users Group, in partnership with Microsoft and HP, is running a free full-day, two-track Connected Home Day event from 9AM - 6PM on Saturday, September 13th at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA.

    From the event details:

    It’s a full day training for novice computer users who want to learn how to build and secure a home network, use Microsoft Media Center to it’s full potential and use Windows Home Server to store and backup their important documents and precious Digital Photos and Videos. We will also be covering the Analog to Digital conversion in Feb 2009 and what it means to the average person.

    The day will feature content divided into two tracks, a Network Track and a Home Theater Track, and you can move between the tracks as you wish throughout the day.

    Register today at:

    Everyone is welcome to attend.  This promises to be a great day of fun and interesting technology!




  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Mutli-Group Meeting - Thank You, David Chappell!


    I wanted to extend my gratitude to David Chappell for visiting our special multi-user group event last night in Waltham.  It was an inspiring, informative, and interactive talk, bringing context and an understanding of the importance of world of Software + Services. 

    David shared his insights, formed through his many years of industry experience, and answered the question "As a technology professional, how will this new world of S+S and SaaS affect me?"

    The meeting was very well attended!  I didn't count, but it's safe to say we had around 100 people present.  Thank you to everyone who was able to attend.

    David was kind enough to share further insights over dinner and in our car rides between venues that evening.  Particularly intersesting was our discussion of the art of public speaking.  Thanks again, David.

    I wanted to list the resources from the evening in case you either could not attend or didn't have a chance to jot them down:

    I hope you all found the evening equally worthwhile!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    TechEd 2008 Birds of a Feather Call for Topics and Voting


    If you're planning to go to TechEd in June, consider volunteering to be a moderator for a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session!  Sponsored by INETA, they are a great way to meet with others in the development community with shared interests.

    Whether you submit a topic or not, you can also vote for your favorite session ideas.

    The INETA site has all of the details.

    Keep in mind that topic submissions and voting close on March 19th.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Silverlight 1.0 Fire Starter Now Online



    Silverlight Fire Starter was a one-day event held in Redmond late last year to cover a wide range of Silverlight topics.  Now you can access the same content for the hard-to-argue-with price of free:


    There are eight sessions available:

    You can watch the sessions via the site or download them for offline viewing/listening (as WMV, WMA, or MP3).


  • 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!


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