Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • 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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    Winter Northeast Roadshow Update



    Jim and I are on the home stretch for the 2008 Winter Northeast Roadshow!  After four stops over the prior two weeks, we're heading into a three-event week at the following locations:

    We're going to have a blast with these remaining stops - with some of our biggest audiences yet.  (And, after Thursday, I'm looking forward to a little vacation time as well!)

    Look for the slides, demos, and resources from our presentations to be posted on our blogs by the end of this week.

    See you on the road,

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Web North of Boston (WebNOB) Kickoff Meeting 4/8


    WebNOB From the "late notice is better than no notice" department, I'd like to pass along word that the new Web North of Boston (WebNOB) group is holding a kickoff event tonight (April 8th) from 6-8 at the Jillian's in Manchester, NH.  (As mentioned by Ian Muir during the kickoff session announcements at Code Camp this weekend.)

    From the WebNOB Facebook group listing:

    If you design or develop web-based applications, on your own or with a company, and are located between the Charles River and the North Pole, then WebNOB (Web North Of Boston) is for you.

    We'll get together to eat and drink, share technical and marketing insights, support local initiatives like BarCamp, and help each other find an audience.

    And the kickoff event listing:

    If you design, code, market, or fund Web applications, drop by and join the conversation. Our guest will be Tom Daly, CTO of DynDNS, who will discuss the benefits and challenges of growing a lively API-based developer community.

    If you can make it, add yourself (soon!) to the event listing.


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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!


  • 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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    Special geekSpeak on Developing Silverlight Games on May 27th


    AndyBeaulieu The Northeast’s very own Andy Beaulieu (Silverlight guru, MVP, CNY .NET UG Lead, etc.) is connecting with Jim O’Neil and Glen Gordon to share details about developing games with Silverlight!

    GeekSpeakThis episode in the MSDN geekSpeak series is May, 27th (tomorrow) from 3:00-4:00 PM EST, and features an open “radio show” style, where you can ask whatever’s questions are on your mind.

    Register for the webcast here

    I’ve discussed Silverlight and game development with Andy before and had the pleasure of catching some of his presentations on the subject and can say he truly knows his stuff.  This promises to be a worthwhile and interesting webcast!


    BossLaunch P.S.  If you’re looking for a little stress relief, definitely check out Andy’s latest Silverlight game, called “Boss Launch”, that he recently unveiled!

    Just one of the many Silverlight games that Andy has written and made available for you to try.

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    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

    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

    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

    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

    Boston .NET User Group Holiday Potluck and Tech Swap


    BostonDotNet A new twist for this year's annual Boston .NET User Group holiday gathering - a Tech Swap!  Based on a great idea from Bob Nims and the Visual Developers of Upstate NY group, the Tech Swap will be a chance to exchange your tech items with fellow developers, mixed in with a dose of festive cheer.

    From the Boston .NET User Group site:

    Wednesday December 10, 2008
    Annual Holiday Gathering & Tech Swap 6:00-8:00 P.M.
    Microsoft Office, 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA

    On our December meeting date we will again host our popular annual Pot-Luck Holiday Gathering. No technical sessions, just an opportunity to get together with fellow developers and enjoy some food and beverages. Each person is requested to bring a beverage, appetizer, main dish, or dessert item to share with the group.

    A new addition this year will be a "Tech Swap". Everyone is encouraged to bring any old tech "stuff" lying around their closet, office, etc. We'll have a room where all the items can be dislayed and "acquired" by fellow members. Books, computers, video cards, boxes of 5 1/4 floppies, and anything else. SORRY, NO CRT MONITORS! All items now finding a new owner by the end of the evening will be discarded. Please, tech related items only :-)

    I've got a few things looking for a new home, so I'll see you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Congratulations to John Ross and Ron Thibeau, Community Super Heroes


    This Thursday, at the TechNet / MSDN event held in Boston, John Ross and Ron Thibeau were recognized for their outstanding support of both the IT pro and developer communities in the northeast with the first Community Super Hero Award.

    Ron Thibeau (left) and John RossHats off to my colleague Dan Stolts, (please see Dan's post on the award and presentation) who did the heavy lifting on this one.  He recognized that John and Ron were due recognition, arranged the gifts, and produced framed certificates signed by Dan, Blain Barton, Jim O'Neil, and myself.  [See the picture - Ron on the left, John on right.]

    Having known John and Ron for several years before I joined Microsoft, I have seen that they epitomize the volunteer ideal.  They are always ready to lend a hand and do so without having expectations in return. 

    From running the very helpful Boston User Groups site (which has a great calendar of upcoming events!), helping with countless user group meetings, coming in on weekends to help set up wiring for C# Days, to being a constant source of help for Code Camps, they deserve to be recognized and thanked.

    So, thank you to John and Ron!  It's people like you that make our technology community one of the best anywhere!


  • 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

    Announcing the Rochester Code Camp!


    New YorkGreat news - Rochester, NY will be getting in on the Code Camp action in 2009! 

    It's early in the planning process, but a core team of volunteers have begun working toward creating the Rochester Code Camp, tentatively planned for the first quarter of 2009.

    There's a new website up at:

    What is a Code Camp?

    I've described Code Camps a little here, but the quick version is they're free, developer-focused events, driven entirely by the community.  They follow the basic tenets outlined in the Code Camp Manifesto - and by the way, were started right here in the northeast in 2004!

    Helping Hands Needed

    Want to help grow the developer community in western New York?  Consider helping out!  Volunteers are actively being sought for all kinds of different things, so if you'd like to get involved, contact organizer David Stevenson via the link on the Rochester Code Camp site.

    Looking forward to having another great Code Camp in the northeast!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    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

    Special Boston Scalability User Group Event - 4/23


    On April 23rd, the (recently-formed!) Boston Scalability User Group will serve as host for a special visit by Microsoft's Greg Leake to speak about the .NET StockTrader application and scalability in distributed SOA systems.

    StockTraderThe meeting will be on Wednesday, April 23rd, from 6-8 PM at the Microsoft offices at 201 Jones Road in Waltham, MA. 

    Please register for the event as pizza (and some raffled software) will be provided.

    If you have an interest in performance, interoperability, and distributed systems scalability, especially with ASP.NET and WCF, then this is a session I strongly recommend you consider attending.

    Here's a description of the event:

    NET StockTrader/SOA Session


    Subject: The .NET StockTrader is an end-to-end sample application for .NET Enterprise Application Server technologies. It is a distributed service-oriented application based on the .NET Framework, specifically using Windows Communication Foundation and ASP.NET. This session will illustrate how many of the .NET enterprise development technologies are made for building highly scalable, rich "enterprise-connected" applications. Greg will also be doing a full demo of this application and how he has designed this application to be a benchmark kit.


    Speaker: Greg Leake works in the Connected Systems Division at Microsoft. Greg has been at the company for about 15 years and have held several positions including a few in the Developer Division. He currently spends most of his time developing new enterprise software and samples that focus on interoperability, scalability and performance. Go to the link below to find out more about Greg and his work on the .NET Framework.



    See you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New England SQL Server User Group Special Event - 5/8


    Adam Machanic sends word that the New England SQL Server User Group is hosting a special event on May 8th at 6:30 in Waltham. 

    Microsoft's Craig Freedman, on the SQL Server team in Redmond, will be visiting to speak on "Understanding Query Processing and Query Plans in SQL Server":

    Have you ever wondered how the SQL Server query processor really works?  Or how to read a query plan?  Or what the real difference is between a nested loops join and hash join or between a stream aggregate and a hash aggregate?  In this talk we will cover how query processing and query execution work in SQL Server.  This talk is based on a review of the life cycle of a SQL query and a discussion on how iterators -- the basic building blocks of a query plan -- work, plus an explanation of how to read query plans.  We will also dig into some of the most important and most common operators, including scans, seeks, joins, and aggregation.

    Note that, unlike other meetings, an RSVP will be required.  To get access to RSVP, join the group's mailing list by Tuesday (5/6).


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 9 Registration Limit Increased


    Code Camp 9 The great interest in this weekend's Code Camp 9 has put us over our limit of 500 registrants!  We've decided to extend registration to a limit of 550, so if you're interested in attending, you still have a chance to register at:

    The (many!) sessions are listed at the above site and I've also put the schedule into grid format.

    See you this weekend!


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