There is alot I want to tell you about this week. I want to let you know about some important changes in WGA, something you probably didn’t know about TechEd Early Bird registration and introduce you to the .Net User Groups in New Zealand.

Firstly - Windows Genuine Advantage or WGA for short. With Windows Vista (unlike Windows XP), WGA is built in. This helps protect customers against the risks of counterfeit software, helps Microsoft more effectively combat piracy, and helps to provide a better experience for our genuine customers with minimal interruption and inconvenience.

All versions of Windows Vista require some form of activation (Volume License customers may pre-activate). If Windows Vista fails validation it will be put into a reduced functionality mode that disables some features such as Windows Defender, ReadyBoost and Aero. This reduced functionality phase will last for 30 days, after which, if still does not validate or a valid product key has not been entered the product will go into a locked mode where there is no start menu, task bar or desktop icons and the user only has access to Internet Explorer. In addition in this mode the user can only access personal information in Safe Mode.

If you receive a non-genuine copy of Windows, Microsoft is committed to providing easy access to a solution:

  • If you were sold a non-genuine copy, you should generally return to your reseller and ask for a replacement, or purchase a retail version of the software.
  • If you have been victimized by counterfeit you may qualify for a free replacement copy from Microsoft

If you have questions about WGA or have been caught out with illegal software, you can contact Microsoft’s WGA team at wgatalk@microsoft.com. For more information on WGA, take a look at the WGA home page.

The second thing I wanted to tell you was that we have changed how Tech Ed Early Bird works this year. Last year as you know we sold out right at the end of the early bird period, meaning we sold pretty much every ticket at the early bird rate. This year we have approximately half the total number of tickets available via early bird. This means that when these tickets are gone, early bird is over – so if you want to get in on the early bird deal – do it before we run out of tickets. More information on this is available on this page of the Tech Ed Website.

Finally, each month hundreds of p eople around New Zealand get together at a local .Net User group. We currently have ten groups in New Zealand, and they hold sessions on a variety of topics. Recent topics include:

  • Introduction to Vista and WPF (Hamilton)
  • A whip around workflow foundation (Christchurch)
  • Going live with .Net 3.0 (Wellington)
  • Building differentiated user experiences (Porirua)
  • Initial Experiences with Windows Vista and Office (Hawkes Bay)

These user groups are a great opportunity to keep up with whats happening in the developer technology space as well as meet and mingle with others who are working in the industry. The people who run these groups are knowledgable and friendly and always happy to point you in the right direction. If you want to know about user group activity in your area, check out the .Net User group website at www.dot.net.nz for details.

Thats it for this week – happy coding!