Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • 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!


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    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!


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    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.  :)


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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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    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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    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!


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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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    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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    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.


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    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,


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    The Northeast MSDN Roadshow – “Mashed APIs” Tour


    n_east_roadshow_120x120_Blog ButtonGet ready to learn and code, because the Northeast MSDN Roadshow team is loading up content, code, and demos that might even work, to return to the roads for a special limited engagement in June!

    These are free workshops, great for students, hobbyists, and professional developers who want to learn the basics of Windows 8 app development and publish their first app to the Windows Store.  Fans of previous daytime Roadshows will notice that we have sneakily adapted these as evening, hands-on events, hosted by local user groups.

    Enter the API…

    There’s a world of amazing things out there, just an API call away. These workshops will show you how to tap into a sampling of the tens of thousands of them, mercilessly mashing APIs to create your own Windows Store app. Your app could inform, entertain, or even change the world!

    imageWe’ll be conquering the miles, fueled by coffee and visions of your awesome apps, to help you learn to create Windows 8 apps using well-known web service APIs such as Twitter, Meetup, Yelp, ESPN, EchoNest, World Health Organization, and others. 

    First, we’ll take a bit of time to teach you the essentials for creating your Windows Store app, including APIs, data, and UIs.  The rest of the time will be hands-on – so bring those laptops (see below) - using a set of API Starter Kits our team developed to get you mashing quickly.  The Starter Kits are Visual Studio 2012 projects, each already wired to one or more APIs.  They take care of the API plumbing so you can focus on providing the creativity!

    The Schedule (updated!)

    Thanks to these amazing user groups hosting our visits, we’ll be stopping in these cities:

    • June 11, 6:30 PM – Albany, NY with the Tech Valley .NET User Group
      • New Horizons, 10 Airline Drive, Suite 101, Albany, NY
    • June 12, 6:00 PM – Syracuse, NY with the Central NY .NET User Group
      • New Horizons, 6711 Towpath Rd., East Syracuse, NY
    • *NEW* June 13, 6:00 PM – Rochester, NY at RIT with AppRochester & VDUNY
      • RIT, Building 70 (Golisano), Room 1435, Rochester, NY
    • June 17, 6:00 PM – Burlington, VT with the VT .NET User Group
      • MyWebGrocer, 20 Winooski Falls Way, 5th Floor, Winooski, VT
    • June 20, 5:30 PM – Portland, ME with MaineBytes
      • UNUM, Building 3, 2211 Congress St., Portland, ME

    Registration - These are user group events, so see the hosting user groups’ website for details and RSVPs (if any).  Thanks to the groups and the organizations who host their meetings for making this possible!

    Note that these are in addition to the Saturday workshops on API and game development we’re running in the Hartford and Boston areas:

    Just click the links to register via MSDN Events.

    Getting Ready

    As these workshops are hands-on, to get the most out of the event, bring a laptop configured with the following:

    imageApps you develop could qualify you for $100 via the “Keep the Cash” program (running through June 30th).  Also, for continued learning and access to other developer programs, we highly recommend signing up for the free App Builder program.

    See you on the road!


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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!


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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!


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    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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    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!


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    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.


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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.


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    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!


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    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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    Announcing SharePoint Saturday Boston – March 14th


    SharePoint Saturday BostonPart of a successful series of community-driven SharePoint events, SharePoint Saturday Boston will be held on March 14th, bringing area SharePoint professionals together to learn, share experiences, and network. 

    It’s an all day event, for the low price of FREE.

    From the SharePoint Saturday site:

    Join SharePoint architects, developers, and other professionals that work with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for ‘SharePoint Saturday’, on Saturday, March 14th, 2009 at the Microsoft Office on Jones Road in Waltham, MA.  SharePoint Saturday will be an educational, informative & lively day filled with sessions from respected SharePoint professionals & MVPs, covering a wide variety of SharePoint-orientated topics.  SharePoint Saturday is FREE, open to the public and is your local chance to immerse yourself in SharePoint!

    Registration is opening soon now open at:


    Call for Speakers

    There are already some great speakers lined up, but the Call for Speakers is open, and it’s your chance to give back to the SharePoint community by sharing your knowledge with others.

    The tentative list of volunteer speakers includes:

    • Talbott Crowell
    • Mike Dwyer
    • Aaron Cutlip
    • Michael Cummings
    • Ian Dicker
    • Supriyo “SB” Chatterjee

    Have interesting ideas to share?  Please add your name to the list!

    Sponsors Needed

    This event relies on area companies to step up as sponsors to keep it free for attendees.  It’s a great way to get your company and brand in front of an extremely targeted audience of people interested in SharePoint services and products. 

    See the Sponsor page for details and please consider helping with food and other expenses.

    The Organizers

    Finally, many thanks to Talbott Crowell and Michael Lotter for putting together what should be a great learning and networking opportunity!


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