Sorry things have been so quiet on this blog, but I just got back from my first 2-week vacation since I’ve been at Microsoft and it’s been GREAT!  I (almost) totally unplugged from everything related to my job, and tried to enjoy just *being*.  I spent time with the family down in Houston for Christmas, and caught up on some house cleaning and reorganizing over New Years.  I also took advantage of the New Years TV marathons as well as my NetFlix subscription and almost overdosed on about 20 episodes of House. 

Aside from all the great family time, presents and general fun, the kicker for me this vacation was that I finally got talked into playing World of Warcraft by my 12 year old. His cousin was playing while we were in Houston, so he and I both signed up for 10-day free trials to give it a go ourselves.  I always figured that since I have enough trouble keeping up with technologies, there’s no way I’ll have time for WoW.  Unfortunately, WoW is incredibly addicting, and I can find value in just 30 minutes of playing, so now I’m hooked.  My trial expired along with his, so I agreed to get him a copy for his birthday (which is coming up in a couple of weeks) so I could get an account too :)  Now I’m online before him and it’s driving him crazy! 

So – during the break I came up with NO new announcements or revelations, nor did I spend any time learning the latest and greatest stuff.  I just unplugged, and hummed…

But now I’m back and it’s time to kick it back into gear.  There are a LOT of things happening in the next couple of weeks – here’s just a teaser:

  • Tuesday, January 06, 2009 6:00 PM: Designers & Developers SIG (D2SIG) - January - Houston-Area D2 SIG Meeting for Silverlight & WPF Designers and Developers Where: Microsoft-Houston Offices (2000 West Sam Houston Parkway) When: January 6 (first Tuesday of each month) 6:00 – 8:00PM Why: A free discussion on the latest Microsoft designer and developer technologies This special interest group (SIG) is a community effort open to all interested participants. Each month, a different presenter from various organizations will present to interested attendees. The group is dedicated to exploring modern user experiences (UX) which are part computer programming and part artistic design. While traditionally there has been little overlap in the two disciplines, users now expect a good experience with a professional look. Covered topics will range from development in Silverlight, WPF and related technologies such as Microsoft Surface to design of rich interactive experience for graphical designers. The group strives to provide a good balance of content that appeals to both developers and designers. This month's meeting will be presented by Microsoft ISV Architect Evangelist, Jared Bienz. The session will be: Live Framework and Silverlight “Out of Browser” RSVP Requested Attendance of the SIG meetings is free. To allow us to plan the meetings better and to judge interest ahead of time, we ask people to RSVP at www.eps-software.com/Events.aspx (This is a temporary site and will be replaced in the future with www.d2sig.org) Questions? Phone: 832-717-4445 x 32 E-Mail: info@d2sig.org
    [ Event Details | Map & Directions | Add To Calendar ]

  • Friday, January 16, 2009 3:00 PM: We Are Microsoft - Charity Challenge Weekend - The We Are Microsoft - Charity Challenge Weekend is a software development competition for a good cause. This 3-day event matches developers with charities to develop applications for those charities. At the end of the 3 days, all of the participants will vote and the winners will be proclaimed champion coders.
    [ Event Details | Map & Directions | Add To Calendar ]

  • Wednesday, January 21, 2009 6:00 PM: Cloud Computing User Group - Don't miss the opportunity to be at the first local meeting of the Windows Azure Cloud Computing User Group. Windows Azure is Microsoft's cloud computing platform. At this meeting, you'll hear about Microsoft's vision of Software + Services and what it can mean for you. As part of this presentation, you'll see a demo of how a cloud application is developed and deployed. 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    [ Event Details | Map & Directions | Add To Calendar ]

  • Monday, January 26, 2009 7:30 AM: MSDN Developer Conference - The best of the PDC in your own backyard - for just $99. Hear all of the exciting announcements around the Azure Services Platform and Windows 7. Other sessions include the latest developments in .NET, Silverlight, Surface, Parallel Programming, Live Mesh, and more. Lots of great giveaways too! LOCATION: Westin Galleria Dallas
    [ Event Details | Map & Directions | Add To Calendar ]

  • Monday, January 26, 2009 10:30 AM: WomenBuild Dallas - Both men and women are welcome to attend this Lego Serious Play workshop, networking oasis, and multimedia presentation held at the MSDN Developer Conference. Two repeating sessions—12.30 and 2.00 PM sharp. 3.30 networking hour—open to all Open to MEN and WOMEN No additional charge Consists of a series of hands on workshops with Lego and interactive discussions on empowering women with technology All attendees will receive a Lego SeriousPlay WomenBuild kit!
    [ Event Details | Map & Directions | Add To Calendar ]

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2009 6:00 PM: Dallas ASP.Net User Group - ADO.NET Entity Framework is a new modeling framework that enables developers to define a conceptual model of a database schema that closely aligns to a real world view of the information.
    [ Event Details | Map & Directions | Add To Calendar ]

Lots of great stuff coming all over the district.  Hope to see you at some of them!

IF YOU ARE A DESIGNER (or have design skills):  We’re still looking for designer support/help at the upcoming We Are Microsoft Charity Challenge Weekend – if you’re interested in helping out and doing a good deed for a local area charity, please let me know and we’ll get you wired into a team. 

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