Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

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  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    The Code Project Virtual Tech Summit on HTML5 & CSS3

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    Starting today (and continuing after), you can access some great content on HTML5 and CSS3 for free via The Code Project’s Virtual Tech Summit:

    http://www.virtualtechsummits.com/Register.aspx?eventID=13

    The event kicks off at noon EDT with Molly Holzschlag’s keynote on “The Future of HTML5” followed by other sessions… including one by me on “Using the Internet Explorer 9 Developer Tools” (launching at 2:15 PM EDT).

    If you can’t make it today, no problem, an advantage of this virtual event is you can drop by any time.

    Enjoy!
    Chris

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    New England Code Camp 15 – Registration and Call for Speakers Open!

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    CodeCamp3Things are now set for New England Code Camp 15, a major community event for developers coming to Waltham, MA on May 7th!  Registration (free), the Call for Speakers, and Call for Contributors (details below) are now open.

        New England Code Camp 15:
        “Developers in the Streets!”
        Saturday, May 7th 
        8:30 AM – 6 PM + post-event Geek Gathering
        Microsoft, 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA 
        Registration - http://codecamp15.eventbrite.com
        Other details - http://www.thedevcommunity.org
        Tag: #necc15

    It all began 14 camps ago in 2004 – Code Camps are free events outside of regular work hours, organized by and for the developer community, offering a chance to learn, share, and network. Register today and join hundreds of your fellow developers!

    Bryan TuttleSession in MPR CA Session in the Rhode Island Room

    Call for Speakers (Now Easier!)

    A Session in the EBCCode Camps are driven by speakers who volunteer their time and expertise. From first-time presenters to veterans of national conferences, Code Camps are great because we hear from many perspectives – including yours.

    How?  It’s even easier this time around.  Just head to http://www.thedevcommunity.org and email the session proposal form.  Proposals can be for any technology topic and sessions will be 75 minutes long.

    The site will be updated periodically to list submissions as they’re received.

    Call for Contributors

    Food Time!Contributors are a critical part of each Code Camp, relied upon to provide the essentials for the Code Camp experience, like:

    • Morning coffee (& doughnuts when possible)
    • Lunch
    • Giveaways – items to be given out by speakers in sessions
    • SWAG - items like pens, pads, and bags – branded or unbranded – it’s all welcome!

    You’ll have a highly-targeted audience thanking your company for its support of the developer community, so please send a note to events@thedevcommunity.org if your company can help make Code Camp 15 a success!

    Thanks

    Richard Hale ShawSpecial thanks to Patrick Hynds and Chris Pels for their ongoing work to organize these events, to the contributing companies, and of course to the many speakers who volunteer their time and expertise!

    See you at New England Code Camp 15!

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing New England Code Camp 13!

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    Code Camp 13 All systems are go for New England Code Camp 13, a major community event for developers coming to Waltham, MA on March 27th!

    Registration (free), the Call for Speakers, and Call for Sponsors are all now open.

        New England Code Camp 13
        “Spring Back into Code”
     
        Saturday, March 27th
        8:30 AM – 6 PM+ (and post-event Geek Gathering)
        Microsoft, 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA

        http://www.thedevcommunity.org

    Update 3/20 - The schedule has been posted!

    For social media fans, the tag will be #necc13.

    Code What?

    Code Camps (started in 2004 with New England Code Camp 1), are free events, held outside of normal work hours, organized by and for the developer community.  They’re a great opportunity to network and to share knowledge without marketing noise getting in the way. 

    Session in MPR CBryan TuttleSWAG

    Code Camp has something for every developer - a blend of the technical to the practical, established to new, and beginner to advanced. 

    Check out the Code Camp Manifesto for the guiding principles.

    Register Now

    It’s a free event, so register today.

    With the strong interest in all of the new technologies recently available and soon to be released, I won’t be surprised if we reach capacity for this Camp.

    A Session in the Rhode Island RoomRichard Hale Shaw

    Speakers Wanted!

    A Session in the EBCCode Camp is driven by speakers who volunteer their time and expertise. From first-time presenters to veterans of national conferences, Code Camps are great because we hear from many perspectives – we want to hear yours.

    So, have something to share?  Submit a session today:

    1. Sign in to an existing account or create a new one at TheDevCommunity.org site.
    2. Complete a Speaker Registry profile (if you don't already have one.)
    3. Go to the Code Camps home page.
    4. Next to the CC13 entry, you should see a "Submit a Session" link.
    5. Submit as many sessions as you'd like.
    6. Please ensure that you also register as an attendee

    Topics are open and sessions are normally scheduled for 75 minutes.

    Call for Sponsors/Contributors

    Food Time!Code Camps rely on contributors to donate giveaways and funding for food to help make the event happen. Needed:

    • Morning coffee (and doughnuts are always appreciated, too)
    • Lunch
    • Giveaways – items to be given out by speakers in sessions
    • SWAG - items like pens, pads, and bags – branded or unbranded – it’s all welcome!

    You’ll have a highly-targeted audience thanking your company for its support of the developer community, so please let me know if your company is interested in helping to made Code Camp 13 a success.

    Thanks

    Thanks to Chris Pels for his continuing help organizing these events and thanks also to Bryan Phillips for creating the Code Camp 13 logo (and logos for several previous Camps)!

    See you at Code Camp 13!

    -Chris

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    Bing Maps Platform Event – Waltham, MA on April 7

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    image

    If you’re interested in adding location-based features to your applications, you can learn about the Bing Maps platform by attending the “On the Road with Bing Maps” event:

    image On the Road with Bing Maps: Learn Exciting New Ways to Bring Location-Based Data to Life
    Wednesday, April 7, 1 – 5 PM
    Microsoft, 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA

    At this event, experts will provide an overview of Bing Maps as a powerful visualization tool for geographic and location-based information. With highlights of scenarios such as locators, fleet/asset tracking, data visualization portals, and location intelligence, we’ll present a deep dive into the Bing Maps Platform, including details on specific features, AJAX, Web Services, and new Silverlight APIs.

    We’ll also review exciting recent enhancements, exploring ways to integrate with GIS systems and leverage SQL 2008 spatial features and Sharepoint, as well as other related tools and technologies.  When you meet the experts, you’ll learn solution implementation and best practices―and you’ll leave with the tools and resources to tap the power of location using Bing Maps.

    Registration

     

    Agenda:

    • 1:00 - 2:15 - Introduction to Bing Maps, Solution Overview, and Demos
    • 2:30 - 3:30 - Deep Dive on Architecture and APIs
    • 3:45 - 5:00 - Best Practices, Data Integration, and Future of Bing Maps

    Speaking of Bing Maps, if you haven’t seen the video of Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ talk from TED on augmented-reality mapping, I highly recommend it.

    -Chris

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    Maine Developer Network Code Camp

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    CodeCampFor as long as Code Camps have been running here in the northeast, there’s been talk of running a real camping Code Camp.  Well, the wait is over and the chance is coming up very soon!

    The Maine Developer Network (the user group in Augusta, ME) will be hosting this event the weekend of August 27th – 29th at Mt. Blue State Park in Weld, ME.

    From the event page:

    mdn_logoThe time for the long awaited much anticipated first ever code camp with actual camping is upon us!  Please join us for an amazing coding adventure at one of the most coveted parks in Maine.  Camping will begin at 1:00 p.m. Friday and continue through 11:00 a.m. Sunday. Daytime will bring outdoor activities, the evenings will be filled with code! Bring just yourself or your entire family, because this weekend of camping is totally free.

    We have tremendous activities available for coders and non-coders alike.  We have included the short list below for your reference. We are even going to attempt a real life version of Conway's Game of Life!

    Wait, did that say “free”?  Yes, yes it did.  Read on for more and to register.

    This should be a great way to relax, get away from it all, make new friends, and reconnect with nature!

    -Chris

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    Online Introductory C# Workshop

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    Jeromy Walsh at GameDev.net is hosting a free 9+ week online C# Language Workshop:

    This workshop is designed to aid people in their journey to learn beginning C#. This workshop is targeted at highly motivated individuals who are interested in learning C# or who have attempted to learn C# in the past, but found that without sufficient support and mentoring they were unable to connect all the pieces of this highly complex but powerful programming language. This is a 'guided' self-teaching C# workshop. Each student is responsible for taking the time to read the material and learn the information. The community and tutors that arise out of this workshop are here for making the learning process run more smoothly, but are not obligated to baby-sit a person's progress. Because everyone will be working from the same materials, students may find it easier to get answers to the specific questions they might have. There is no minimum age requirement, and there is no previous programming experience required.

    The course just started this week, with participants using Visual C# 2005 Express Edition and downloading the C# Language Specifications [1.2 & 2.0] and individually (but with collective support from the group) working though sets of chapters and projects each week, with forums for Q&A.

    Details and signup instructions are on the workshop's introductory thread.

    -Chris

    Technorati tags: , ,
  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Office Hours for Boston Area Windows 8 App Developers

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    Generation AppAre you working on a Windows 8 app or game, or want to get started but have some questions?

    Drop by to chat/code/test with us at our new One Cambridge Center offices where we’ll have open time to answer your questions and discuss your apps.

    We’ll be there each Wednesday starting tomorrow, 9/26, and for at least the next couple of weeks:

    • September 26 – 1-5 PM
    • October 3 – 1-5 PM
    • October 10 – 1-5 PM
    • October 17 – 1-5 PM
    • October 24 – 1-5 PM     
    • December 5 – 1-5 PM *new*
    • December 12 – 1-5 PM *new*

    Drop by 1 Cambridge Center whenever you’d like – no appointment needed.

    Microsoft at One Cambridge Center

    You may already be familiar with our New England Research & Development (aka “NERD”) center at 1 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, MA. 

    We very recently opened more offices nearby (I’d call it a “stone’s throw” away, but you’d need a really good arm) at One Cambridge Center.  The office has space for sales, marketing, and services, meeting rooms, and a Microsoft Technology Center.

    Area Map

    Here’s the view of the building if you’re facing west (though it now has a shiny new “Microsoft” sign at the top):

    Westward View  The Entrance

    If you’re looking at the building from this view, there’s a large, glassed-in entrance near one of the the MBTA Kendall (red line) stairways.  Just head in and take the elevator to the 2nd floor (the only option) and check in at the reception.  They’ll guide you from there.

    There are some directions and parking details here. 

    See these announcements for some background on the new offices:

     

    See you there!
    -Chris

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    MSDN Firestarter Events Coming Soon

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    image

    [Update 8/23/2010 – Registration for the ASP.NET Web Platform Events is now open]

    Starting soon and running throughout the rest of the year, our regional team will be delivering three series of “Firestarter” MSDN events along the east cost, covering client, cloud, and web development topics.  The idea behind a Firestarter is to concentrate on a particular topic and build knowledge by progressing from the basics through deeper topics over the course of the day.

    The first of these series focuses on Windows Phone 7 development.  In addition, we’re combining these free daytime events with special evening Windows Phone Garages, hands-on workshops where you can get hands-on experience coding with experts on hand to help.

    Windows Phone 7 Firestarter
    9 AM – 5 PM

    • Introduction to Windows Phone Development and the WP7 platform
    • Building Windows Phone 7 Applications with Silverlight
    • Building Windows Phone 7 Applications using XNA
    • Lunch (included)
    • Monetizing Your Apps with Marketplace
    • Windows Phone 7 Services
    • Light Up Windows Phone 7

    Windows Phone Garage
    6 PM – 9 PM

    This hands-on workshop will feature one-on-one proctoring from Microsoft and community experts. It's the perfect opportunity to design and implement that cool new app you've been dreaming about, so bring your ideas and get ready to code.

    clip_image001Windows Phone 7 Events

    If you’d like to attend both the Firestarter and Garage events, make sure you register for each separately.

    City

    Date

    Registration

    Atlanta, GA August 24 Firestarterclip_image001 | Garage
    Waltham, MA August 24 Firestarter | Garage
    Tampa, FL August 31 Firestarter | Garage
    clip_image002Ft. Lauderdale, FL September 2 Firestarter | Garage
    New York, NY September 7 Firestarter | Garage
    clip_image002Raleigh, NC September 8 Firestarter | Garage
    clip_image002Chevy Chase, MD September 21 Firestarter | Garage
    Charlotte, NC September 21 Firestarter | Garage
    Philadelphia, PA September 22 Firestarter | Garage
    Pittsburgh, PA September 28 Firestarter | Garage
    Farmington, CT September 30 Firestarter | Garage

     

    More Firestarters… Save the Dates!

    I’d mentioned there are three series, the other two will focus on web and cloud development.  The dates and cities are confirmed, so you can plan ahead and we’ll post details when registration opens.

    image_thumbASP.NET Web Platform Firestarters (Now Live)

    [Update 8/23/2010 - Details on this series have now been posted.]

    The focus of these events is on getting your up to speed with options for creating web applications on the ASP.NET Web Platform, from ASP.NET MVC and Web Forms, to WebMatrix, tools, and practices.

    City

    Date

    Registration

    Iselin, NJ September 30 Registration
    New York, NY October 26 Registration
    Farmington, CT November 2 Registration
    Waltham, MA November 4 Registration
    Chevy Chase, MD November 9 Registration
    clip_image002Malvern, PA November 16 Registration
    clip_image002Tampa, FL November 30 Registration
    Orlando, FL December 2 Registration
    Alpharetta, GA December 9 Registration
    Raleigh, NC December 10 Registration

    windows-azure-logo-medWindows Azure Firestarters

    These events will help you understand cloud computing, what Windows Azure offers you, and how to get right in and use the latest development options to create applications to take advantage of those benefits.

    City

    Date

    Registration

    Tampa, FL November 8 coming soon
    Alpharetta, GA November 10 coming soon
    Charlotte, NC November 11 coming soon
    clip_image002Rochester, NY November 16 coming soon
    Waltham, MA November 30 coming soon
    clip_image002New York, NY December 1 coming soon
    clip_image002Malvern, PA December 7 coming soon
    Chevy Chase, MD December 9 coming soon

    n_east_roadshow_120x120_Blog Button“Great! But What About Northeast MSDN Roadshow?”

    While a good number of these are in the northeast, Jim and I couldn’t imagine not hitting the road to reach other parts of the northeast, so you can bet we’re busily planning a schedule for the Northeast Roadshow to visit other cities near (or hopefully “near enough”) to you. 

    Stay tuned for more! 

    -Chris

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    Free Online Training with Microsoft Ramp Up

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    RampUpRamp Up is a is a free online program to help you learn new development skills.  Each subject has a variety of supporting slide/code casts, articles, and hands-on labs organized in steps to guide you through learning.

    Three new tracks have just been launched, brining the total to 11:

    Check out www.MyRampUp.com for more.

    -Chris

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    Silverlight Announcements - 1.0 Live, Linux support

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    Some fantastic news out this week.  Silverlight 1.0 is now live!

    If that weren't enough, we've announced a formal partnership with Novell to bring Silverlight to Linux distributions via the project known as Moonlight.

    There's no point in adding more detail here, just don't miss reading these two posts to get the perspectives from Microsoft and Novell:

    Certainly, this will make ReMix07 Boston all the more interesting to attend!

    -Chris

     

    Technorati tags:
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    Vermont Code Camp 2 - September 11, 2010

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    CodeCampAfter an excellent first event last year, the Vermont Code Camp is making a return to Burlington, VT on September 11th.  A Code Camp is a free event (always outside of work hours) for developers to meet, share experiences, and learn.

        Vermont Code Camp 2
        Saturday, Sept. 11th, 2010
        9 AM – 6 PM
        Kalkin Hall, University of Vermont
        Burlington, VT

        The Details and Registration

    RegistrationClosing SessionConversations in the Hall

    You, the Speaker

    All Code Camps rely on speakers to volunteer their time and expertise.  If you’re interested in helping, just submit a Speaker Session Proposal via the registration page (http://vtcodecamp.eventbrite.com).  The community will thank you!

    -Chris

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    New England Code Camp 14 – Save the Date!

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    CodeCampI’m glad to announce that the date is set and venue reserved for our 14th Code Camp, a free, full day of knowledge sharing and networking! (What is a Code Camp?)

        New England Code Camp 14
        Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
        Microsoft
        201 Jones Road, 6th floor
        Waltham, MA

    Registration and Calls for Speakers and Sponsors will be coming later, but in the meantime, mark your calendar and get ready to join hundreds of your fellow developers for this great community event!

    IMAGE_128IMAGE_129468

    Organization and Thanks

    Special thanks to Patrick Hynds for stepping up to volunteer to help lead the organization of this event!  Many of you know Patrick, as he has been a long time supporter of the community (and among many other things, is a Microsoft Regional Director here in the northeast), so it’s fantastic to have him involved.

    Stay tuned for other details and opportunities for you to participate.

    -Chris

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    TechEd 2011 Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions

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    imageIf you’re heading to TechEd 2011 (May 16-19 in Atlanta, GA), check out the Birds of a Feather (BOF) sessions, currently open for session submissions. 

    These are community-driven moderated discussions (not presentations or lectures) on a wide variety of technology topics.

         http://techedbof.com

    Have an idea for a session?  Act soon because submissions are only open through Monday, March 21st.

    -Chris

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    First New Hampshire Code Camp on February 28th

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    CodeCamp

    I'm glad to pass along word that all systems are "go" for New Hampshire to run its first Code Camp!  The New Hampshire Code Camp will be on February 28th at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH from 9 AM to around 4:30 PM.

    New Hampshire!Register Now!

    Registration is free and now open via The Dev Community site.

    What's a Code Camp?

    A Code Camp is a free, community-driven event that offers a great way to meet, share with, and learn from fellow developers in the local area.  They began right here in New England and follow the basic ideas in the Code Camp Manifesto

    For a glimpse of other Code Camps, view the posts under the Code Camp tag on my blog.

    Speakers and Sessions Wanted

    Because a Code Camp is fueled by the community, it needs you!  Been wanting to speak about something, but weren't sure how or where?  This is the perfect opportunity. 

    Submit a session today!  Here's how:

    1. Sign in to an existing account or create a new one at TheDevCommunity.org site.
    2. Complete a Speaker Registry profile (if you don't already have one.)
    3. Go to the Code Camps home page.
    4. Next to the NH Code Camp entry, you should see a "Submit a Session" link.
    5. Submit one or more sessions

    Any technology-related topic is welcome, from beginners' tutorials, to real-world experiences with current tools and processes, to looks at the cutting-edge and future of tech.

    Sponsors Needed

    To keep Code Camps free, contributors are needed to provide things from food to giveaways and venues.  From the NH .NET User Group site:

    Sponsors: We’re looking for sponsors!  This could be your chance to introduce your company to our local community. Please contact Angela Cirrone, Daniel Webster College, cirrone@dwc.edu (603) 577-6500 Website: http://www.dwc.edu/

    Thanks

    Thanks to Pat Tormey (who leads the New Hampshire .NET User Group), who has been doing a great job pulling things together for this event. If you're interested in helping, send him a note.

    Thanks also to Daniel Webster College for generously offering use of rooms for this event.  Having been there for our last Roadshow (which they also generously hosted), I can say it's a going to be great venue for a Code Camp!

    I'll see you there,
    -Chris

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    Tech Telecommuters - What's Your "Third Place"?

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    Adventures in Telecommuting

    At Microsoft, I'm classified as a "mobile" employee.  That's code for "work where you can be productive".  Much of the time, that means home, and sometimes our Waltham, MA office where we have shared space you can grab as needed.  Many times, though, it's a "third place" (I'll get to that in a moment.) 

    MPj04308140000[1]As great as working from home can be, as the weather warms and summer approaches, there's a new source of urgency to be somewhere else... 

    ...school vacation.

    I absolutely adore my daughters (a phrase you just know will be followed by the word "however"), however, the reality is that the summer months are challenging for the work-from-home types, especially those that need to code and/or read a lot, without having to arbiter weighty disputes involving shouts of "nuh-uh!" and "did too!"

    Not Work, Not Home... The Third Place

    The term "third place" was coined to reflect places that people go outside of home (first place) and work (second place).

    My home office is usually pretty good, and I can escape to the back porch (where I am right now) which is nice, but school vacation or not, there are times I simply need a change of venue.

    So what's my "third place"?  Well, there isn't just one...

    The Coffee Shop

    MPj04230300000[1] The big daddy of all the choices.  Scorned by some, but thoroughly enjoyed by many others.  Count me in the latte(r) camp.

    I'm hardly alone in this.  Here's someone's Starbuckian Handbook.  Sage advice indeed.

    Contrary to tip #1 in the "handbook", I tend to alternate between the selection of Starbucks and Panera Breads in our area, so I don't wear out my welcome at any one.

    Generally, the coffee shops work for what I need.

    The Library

    "Did he just say 'the library'?  How old fashioned!" 

    In my college years, I was a library person.  Many of my peers just couldn't stand being there, but I found it allowed me to truly focus.  No distractions, no loud espresso machines, no toe-tapping music looping in the MPj04276860000[1]background.  Just blissful peace with the faint sounds of pages being turned and the occasional politely hushed conversation.

    The library works for telecommuters, too.  I'm sure one of your area towns has an adequately "workable" library.  Also, college/university libraries are getting the message too, adding amenities to make an extended work session more comfortable.

    Sure, they don't always have the latest computing technology books, but if that's what you need, then perhaps the next place is more your style...

    The Big Bookstores

    An interesting hybrid between a library and a coffee shop (the big bookstores generally also have a cafe these days).  I find it an especially nice place to go if I'm in research mode.  People are usually a little more clued in to library etiquette, versus coffeehouse chatter and cellphone barking. 

    Research is especially good at these places since I can usually grab a few different books/magazines on a topic and plow through them (over an appropriately large coffee beverage of course.)

    Hotels

    MPj03860690000[1]I haven't tried this one yet, but a friend suggested it as a possibility.  And why not?  Many hotels have carefully crafted, welcoming environments that are comfortable and quiet.

    As long as you're patronizing their coffee/snack area and/or restaurant, there would seem little problem with hanging around for a little while to catch up on things. 

    It could be a nice alternative to the mainstream coffee houses.

    Coworking

    CNN has been running a special work at home feature, with stories about telecommuting.  Once concept that piqued my interest was of "coworking", where fellow telecommuting developers (or other professions) gather in a common place for work.  There's a coworking wiki, with information on area groups. 

    Missing the social interaction of work, but don't miss the dreaded "quick questions" that often tag along for the ride?  Coworking might be for you.

    Some Assistance Required

    So why did I write this?  I'd enjoy hearing your feedback.  Have you encountered any places that could serve as a home away from your home away from the office?  Any places that sound good, but in reality should just be avoided?

    Believe me, I really want to know. 

    Hmm, is that the kids I hear?

    -Chris

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    Windows Phone Resources from MobileCamp Boston 2011

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    I had the pleasure of presenting with Jesse Liberty at this weekend’s MobileCamp Boston 2011.  We ran a session on Windows Phone, from the device and platform to design and development.  Here are some related resources for the session.

    Windows Phone Design/Dev Resources

    To get started, visit the App Hub, where you can download the tools (including free versions of Expression Blend and Visual Studio 2010) for creating applications.  Then take a look at the training courses listed below as well as examples on the App Hub.

    Windows Phone Site
    Learn about the Windows Phone, see the design, interface, and available devices.
    Windows Phone Site
    App Hub
    Free tools, development resources, and a helpful Getting Started Guide.
    App Hub
    Windows Phone 7 Development for Absolute Beginners
    Video series covering the basics through application development.
    Windows Phone 7 Development for Absolute Beginners
    Windows Phone 7 Training Course
    A course with labs and videos for getting started with Windows Phone, plus dives into Silverlight and XNA.
    Windows Phone 7 Training Course

    And visit Jesse’s blog to find tutorials, tips, and advice on creating Windows Phone and Silverlight applications.  Jesse also runs “Yet Another Podcast” where you can hear insights from many experts.

    Thanks to those who attended!

    -Chris

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    Learning XNA: A Guide for .NET Rocks Show 501 on XNA Game Development

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    .NET Rocks Show 501 If you’re a listener of .NET Rocks! (“The Internet Audio Talk Show for .NET Developers”), you may have heard Show #501 on XNA that Michael Cummings and I recorded last week.

    You can download the show here (59 minutes – MP3/WMA/AAC).

    We mentioned a lot of things on the show, so here are core resources to help you create that game you’ve always wanted to try making.

    So, What’s XNA?

    XNA XNA is the name for resources, software, and frameworks for creating games for the PC, Zune, and Xbox 360

    The XNA Framework makes game creation easier by abstracting gaming concepts to help you be more productive.  What’s great is that you can put your existing .NET skills to work since the XNA Framework is based on the .NET Framework.

    While games are of course about fun, developers may find making a little money can be fun, too.  If you think your game has what it takes, look into Xbox LIVE Indie Games (now one year old), which can place approved XNA games on Xbox LIVE Marketplace for purchase.

    Getting Started with XNA

    XNACreatorsClub First, head to the XNA Creators Club, which is a central place for working with XNA:

    • Downloads
    • Learning & Help
    • Resources
    • Community

    XNA Game Studio is what you’ll use to create your masterpiece.  Head to the Download page and get XNA Game Studio 3.1 (for free).  It’s based on Visual Studio, so you’ll also need either the free Visual C# 2008 Express Edition, or Visual Studio 2008 installed.

    Creating games for the PC and Zune is free, but if you’re interested in creating games on the Xbox 360, then you’ll need a Premium Creators Club membership.  Read the Creators Club tour for more.

    XNA Screencast

    I recorded a screencast on getting started with XNA that features a bit of background, then dives into a demo of creating a (very) basic 2D game:

    XNA ScreencastXNA Game Development Screencast

    Learning XNA

    If you’re new to game development, I recommend you try your hand at 2D game creation to learn the basics, then expand from there.  There’s plenty to help you get started.

    Tutorials

    The Getting Started page features two tutorials to get you going:

    These feature code, assets, documentation, and step-by-step videos to walk you through.

    Starter Kits

    XNA_RPG-Game_03_small One of the best ways to learn XNA is to look at how existing games work. 

    Take the time to download a couple of XNA Starter Kits, full games to help you learn.  Play right away, then explore the code and assets – it’s all included and ready for you to modify to help you learn XNA.

    Games include a 2D RPG, 3D racing game, a puzzle, and others.

    Education Catalog

    XNAEducationCatalog There’s a ton of help available on the Creators Club site, and it’s collected together in the Education Catalog.  Content is organized by dev area and type:

    • Physics, 2D, 3D, AI, Gameplay, Graphics, Audio, Storage, and more
    • Samples, Tutorials, Articles, Utilities, etc.

    Links

    Other Topics

    Kodu Game Lab

    Mentioned on the show, Kodu Game Lab is a visual environment for game creation that focuses on making programming concepts easy to learn and use.  Kodu leaves the keyboard behind and uses just the XBox controller. 

    KoduProgramming2KoduIt’s designed to be accessible for children, but the young at heart will find it fun as well. (I can vouch for this.)

    I have a post with more details on Kodu.

    Microsoft Gamefest

    Gamefest The Microsoft Gamefest conference focuses on all things game development.  There are multiple events upcoming (and according to the Gamefest site, you’ll hear the latest on Project Natal there).

    Content and recordings from past Gamefests is available, including XNA sessions.

    You can also download presentations from the Game Developer Conference (GDC) 2009.

    Boston Area Game Community

    If you’re in New England, here are some ways to connect with the area game development community:

    • bostonxnaBoston XNA Developers Group – Run by Michael Cummings, offers a monthly look at different game development topics.  No experience necessary to join.
    • CapeCodXNA2Cape Cod XNA Group – For those of you near the Cape, this group is run by Tom Kennedy, also offering a chance to learn XNA.
    • BostonPostMortemBoston Post Mortem – Meeting monthly in Waltham, MA, this is for professional game developers to meet, share, and network.  It is also the Boston chapter of the IGDA.

    Thanks!

    Thanks to Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell for their incredible work on the .NET Rocks! series, passing an amazing milestone of 500 shows! 

    And I hope you enjoyed listening to the show as much as we enjoyed being guests!

    If you have any questions, just let me know.

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Windows Azure Developer Opportunities

    • 0 Comments

    Windows AzureAs the Learn Windows Azure event rolls along today (keep an eye on the site for recordings of the content if you missed it), here are some other great ways to dive into cloud computing.  Update: the session recordings are now available.

    The Rock Paper Azure Challenge

    Rock Paper Azure ChallengeEntertain your competitive side, improve your cloud development skills, and have a chance to win prizes!  Enter your bot in the Rock Paper Azure Challenge by this Friday evening (12/16, 6PM EST), battle the competition, and see if you emerge victorious:

    Play Rock, Paper Scissors in the cloud for your chance to win a trip to Cancun, an Acer Aspire S3 Laptop, a Windows Phone, or an XBOX 360/Kinect bundle! Entering is simple – create a player bot (sample code provided) and enter it before December 16th. Winners will be chosen at random from all bots submitted.

    Want to test your strategic coding skills as well? Build a killer bot to crush the competition and see how you stack up against other players on the Leaderboard. Each Friday the top 5 players will receive a $50.00 Best Buy Gift Card.

    Think you don’t have the time to ramp up and create a winning bot?  You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can take the starter code and turn it into a fierce competitor!

    Windows Azure Dev Camps

    Dev CampsFor a great way to get some in-person instruction on Windows Azure, check out the Windows Azure Dev Camps series, now touring all over the place.

    Don’t see one in your area?  The Windows Azure Training Kit has the content and labs, and recordings are available for some of the past events.

    (While you’re visiting, take a look at the Windows Phone Camps and Web Camps!)

    Windows Azure Resources

    Windows Azure HomeLooking for more?  Here are some resources to help you to the cloud:

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    VS2008, SQL 2008 and Windows Server 2008 Launch Date Announced

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    Today (July 10th) at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Kevin Turner announced that Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 will be launched on February 27th at an event in Los Angeles, followed by a series of launch events around the world.

    For details and press coverage see:

    -Chris

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Chris Dias of the Visual Studio Platform Team in CT & MA

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    There will be two special opportunities to gain insights from the Visual Studio Platform team as Chris Dias visits New England in two weeks. 

    Chris is Group Program Manager with the Visual Studio Platform team at Microsoft and will be hosted for two community events:

        May 5 - Farmington, CT
        Hosted by the CT .NET Developers Group
        6 – 8 PM
        Microsoft
        74 Batterson Park Rd., Farmington, CT
        Details and Registration

        May 6 - Cambridge, MA
       
    Hosted by the Beantown .NET User Group
        6 – 8 PM
        Microsoft NERD
        1 Memorial Dr., Cambridge, MA
        Details and RSVP

    The evenings will include demonstrations and Q&A ranging from what's new in Visual Studio 2010 to a deeper look at extending Visual Studio in new and useful ways.

    You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of Visual Studio and the Visual Studio Platform.

    -Chris

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