Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • 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

    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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    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

    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

    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!


  • 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

    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 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

    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

    Speaking on VS2008 with Western MA .NET - 1/8/08


    For those of you in the Springfield, MA area tonight (Jan 8th), I'll be visiting with the Western Mass .NET Users Group to speak on "What's New in Visual Studio 2008?".

    Now that Visual Studio 2008 is released and available, it's important to understand the new available features and adoption strategies.  This demo-heavy session will cover many topics, including new features for Windows application developers: Client Application Services, WPF integration, WinForm/WPF interop, and Office development.  New features for web developers: new ASP.NET controls, integrated AJAX, CSS tools, nested master pages, JavaScript IntelliSense and debugging. Plus new features for everyone: unit testing, debugging to .NET Framework code, multi-targeting, and improvements for WCF & WF.

    The meeting will be at 6:00 in a special location - the MassMutual Conference Center in Chicopee, MA.  Details are on the group's site.


  • 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

    Southern Connecticut Code Camp - Call for Speakers Open


    Great news for the northeast .NET community - We will soon have a new Code Camp option in southern Connecticut!  The Fairfield/Westchester .NET User Group is organizing a Code Camp for November 10th at UConn in Stamford, CT.

    Registration isn't open just yet, but sessions and speakers are actively being sought.

    Been thinking about giving presenting a try?  Code Camps are an excellent way to "break into" the speaking habit.  The atmosphere of a Code Camp is supportive and relaxed - perfect for first-time speakers (and veterans, too!)

    For more information, head to and volunteer!


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  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Fourth Ignite Boston Event on September 11


    Ignite My friends at O'Reilly passed along word that another Ignite Boston is coming on September 11th.  I went to the last one (some pictures below), and it was a blast!  A great chance to hear about a wide variety of topics and chat with fellow New England techies.

    Here are the details:

    Ingite Boston 3The Fourth Ignite Boston will be on Thursday, September 11, from 6 to 10pm at the Hooley House, one block from Faneuil Hall in Boston, MA. This is a larger venue, so the acoustics will be better than our last event and there will be room to sit, stand and mingle.

    From 6:00-6:45 pm, mingle and talk tech with your fellow FOOs (Friends of O'Reilly), alpha geeks, and techies from the greater Boston area.

    Ignite Boston 3After the mingling and social stuff, we'll have a couple of  special keynote presentations to kick off our Ignite talks. Then, on to guest speakers who'll catch you up on the cool, new, innovative stuff going on in technology today. Don't blink or you'll miss their lightning-fast, five-minute presentations. During intermissions, get a cold beer and chat with speakers, sponsors, and O'Reilly's own editors. Join us Thursday, September 11th, for a fun, energetic evening of talking, learning, collaborating and drinking!

    Check out the events and activities of our previous Ignite events. RSVP if you plan to attend by emailing IgniteBoston at oreilly dot com. This will also enter you in a contest to win $300 worth of O'Reilly books of your choosing. You must be present to win. There will likely be other items like tee-shirts and other promo items for those who alert us ahead that they plan to attend.

    Ignite Boston 3Ignite is a user-generated event. If you're interested in speaking, then submit a proposal for consideration.

    Presentations must:

    • Be no longer than 5 minutes
    • Be on an innovative topic (no sales pitches, please!)
    • Be viewable on a PC [a MacBook Pro with Powerpoint and Keynote, and PDF] with standard AV equipment
    • Did we mention, no Sales Pitches.

    For anyone that's never been to Ignite, you may find it useful to see a talk or two. Here's a few good examples from Ignite Boston 3.

    logo_oreillyThanks to O'Reilly for bringing these events to our area!

    Hope to 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

    Northeast XNA Game Developer Featured on CNN



    [Thanks to Lindsay for the heads-up!]

    Currently featured as the lead Tech story is an article featuring the Northeast's own James Silva and the story of his creation of a game called "Dishwasher: Dead Samurai" using XNA (coming later this year to Xbox Live Arcade.) 

    Way to go, James!

    Hailing from Utica, NY, James has received some recognition before this.  His game tied for first place in last year's "Dream. Build. Play." competition and he demoed it on stage at 2007's GameFest in Seattle.

    If you're interested the larger story, James has an article, "How I Became A Game Designer" (and part two) over on bit-tech.

    Now, let's see if we can get him to visit the Boston XNA Developers Group in the coming months.  It's only a few hours east on route 90, James.  :)


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Second Fairfield/Westchester Code Camp This Saturday (11/8)


    Fairfield / Westchester .NET User GroupA reminder that the Fairfield/Westchester .NET User Group will be hosting their Second Code Camp this Saturday, November 8th at the University of Connecticut campus in Stamford, CT:

    Over 150 people have registered as of today! We have 4 tracks with 6 sessions for a total of 24 presentations plus a lunch time chat with Richard Hale Shaw. Some of the best regional and local developers will be speaking on some excellent topics including the latest announcements from the Professional Developers Conference such as Cloud Services and Live Framework as well as LINQ, Entity Framework, Silverlight 2.0, WCF, MVC and more. The final schedule is attached.

    We have a number of prizes from Red Gate, Telerik, Infragistics, Jet Brains, Microsoft and more including a Zune and an Xbox

    If you have not already registered then register now.


    We will have doughnuts and coffee in the morning and pizza for lunch.

    Seating is limited and our focus is technology. No Recruiters, please.

    Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Three Events in Upstate New York This Week (5/13 - 5/15)


    I'm getting ready to head out for a multi-event tour of upstate New York this week: 



    Tuesday, May 13th - 6:30 - 9:00
    Tech Valley .NET User Group - Albany, NY
    I'll be presenting on "Next-Generation UX Development with Silverlight and WPF"



    Wednesday, May 14th - 6:00 - 8:30
    Western NY .NET User Group - Buffalo, NY
    I'll be presenting on "LINQ and .NET 3.5 Language Enhancements"



    Thursday, May 15th (all day event)
    Heroes Happen Here Launch Event - Rochester, NY
    My session is on "Web Development with Visual Studio 2008".  I'll be joined by my Northeast Roadshow buddies, Bob Familiar and Jim O'Neil, who are also delivering sessions.


    That's plenty of driving, but it should be a lot of fun.  Hope those of you in the area can make an event or two!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    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

    Congratulations to our New and Continuing Northeastern MVPs


    Microsoft_MVP_logo_1I'd like to pass along congratulations to our new and re-awarded MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) in New England and upstate New York for the first quarter of 2008:

    • Ho Yin Au: Windows - PC Games
    • Mark Blomsma: Visual Developer - Visual C#
    • Peter Blum: Visual Developer - ASP/ASP.NET
    • John D. Carrona: Windows - Networking
    • SB Chatterjee: Microsoft Office Groove
    • Richard Hale Shaw: Visual Developer - Visual C#
    • Roy Harvey: Windows Server System - SQL Server
    • Scot Hillier: Windows Server - Windows SharePoint Services
    • Robert Hurlbut: Visual Developer - Security
    • Patrick Hynds: Visual Developer - Security
    • Duane Laflotte: Visual Developer - Security
    • Tony Northrup: Windows - Networking
    • Fritz Onion: Visual Developer - ASP/ASP.NET
    • Chris Pels: Windows Server System - XML
    • Dave Porter: Windows - Security
    • John M. Raymond: Windows - Shell/User
    • Michael Ruminer: Visual Developer - Team System
    • Don Sorcinelli: Windows - Mobile Devices
    • C David Tobie: Windows - Printing/Imaging
    • Billy Wang: Windows - PC Games
    • Robert E. Zaret: Windows - Windows Embedded

    These people have demonstrated technical knowledge and an ongoing commitment to the overall Microsoft community, online and/or in person, in their respective specialities and beyond.

    Great job, everyone!  Keep up the fantastic community work!


  • 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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