• DaveDev

    PDC09 Trip Report Kit available for download. Taking out the drudgery so you can focus on the fun.


    It’s about Sharing

    One of the favorite things in my role at Microsoft is going out to local usergroup meetings (you can check out the full listing in the blog sidebar to the left).  The environment of sharing and enabling others to grow never ceases to impress.  Maybe it is the fact I am just getting older but in recent years the relationships I build with people have come to mean more to me than the technology I learn.  These groups offer a healthy portion of both with various technical presentations and dedicated networking time to get to know one another.

    Having spent most of my career in large enterprises a trip report is something I just made a habit of doing.  Especially, when I got the rare opportunity to attend a big conference.  Those on my team have seen some of the twenty page trip reports I have put together but how can I share that with the community?

    I see the traffic on twitter and know many are busy doing giving briefings now to their own workgroups on what they saw at PDC09.  I thought about it and here is how I think I can help…

    A PDC09 Trip Report Kit

    I often do summaries of my trips to major conferences or announcements but I wanted to get something out to you this time you could use for your own presentations. 

    The idea behind this kit is to put together a starting point for your meeting.  Whether that is at your workplace, or at your local usergroup, you can take this presentation and demos and modify as you see fit.



    This PowerPoint is available here and runs about 90 slides.  Depending on how much Q&A you get you should allow for 90-120 minutes.   It does not cover everything from PDC and is meant as a starting point for your audience to follow-up with more in-depth hands on technical labs.

    Above all else it attempts to explain where Microsoft is headed, why we do the things we do and as always – ENTERTAIN.  What do I mean by entertain?  We are at a point now where people can get technical content anywhere but often feel overloaded by the amount of stuff being thrown at them.  Be sure to share your own insights and experiences where you can those are the things people remember.  I have also put information in the slide notes on what to highlight, where to grab more content, and some of my own thoughts.


    The topics I presented on included the following but you should feel free to swap out where appropriate:

    • Windows 7 Multi-Touch
      • Office, Paint, WPF C# code, Surface Multi-Touch Pack
    • Silverlight 4
      • Expression Blend Preview for .Net 4
      • Behaviors, Data-Binging
      • Printing
      • WebCam

    I have included the code for the Silverlight 4 demo here as well.  Please remember you will need to have installed Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2, Blend Preview for .NET 4.0, and the updated Silverlight 4 Tools all of which can be found here.


    If you would like more information on any of the topics you can also download my presentations from the MSDN Mid-Atlantic Roadshows here.

    Have Fun with it

    Hopefully this will make a great starting point for you.  We often share content like this internally at Microsoft and I thought it might be something you find valuable too. 

    So far the response from the groups I have presented it to has been overwhelming positive. If you find it useful please send me an e-mail.  I would love to hear about your own experiences and discussions.  It not only helps me as a presenter but it is invaluable to the teams back in Redmond.  Depending on your feedback this may be something I continue to do with big conferences moving forward.


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  • DaveDev

    Clarification on Developer and Trial Azure Account Pricing


    During my recent presentation at Lehigh Valley.NET a really great question was asked about Azure pricing.

    What does a computing hour mean?  If I run multiple instances at the same time do they both count or only the entire time used?

    Not wanting to see any of developers friends get hit with large, unexpected, cloud computing bills I figured I would do some investigating. 


    Here is what i found…


    Azure billing goes live on February 1st

    This means all existing CTP accounts will need to be upgraded by January 31st.  If you have not singed up for Azure yet  there are a couple of options available to you.

    MSDN Subscribers

    The first is for MSDN Subscribers and includes several benefits such as free computing hours and storage based on the level of your subscription.

    Azure MSDN Pricing

    Microsoft Partners

    Partners have several offers available to them as well with pricing up to almost half off.

    Azure Partner Pricing

    Free Trial available to everyone

    There is also an introductory special you can use to test out Azure.

    Azure Special Trial Offer


    Computing Instances

    This is where some of the confusion set in.  From the page we can see that the trial starts to charge $0.12 per hour for small instances once you pass 25 hours.  But what exactly is a computing hour?

    If you we click on more details for computing instances on the page we are given the following explanation:

    The compute hours included with this subscription can be applied to any of the four compute instance levels at the rates shown in the Compute Instance Conversion Rate Table.

    All compute hours are converted into small instance hours when presented on your bill. For example, one elapsed hour of a medium compute instance would be presented as two small compute instance hours at the small instance rate of $0.12 per hour on your bill.

    We are also given the following table:

    Computing Instances

    Seems a bit confusing eh? Fortunately so did my fellow teammate Jim O’Neil.  After chatting it over with ourselves, going over a few scenarios, and Jim getting some clarification from our internal Azure groups we came up with the following.

    • The minimum charge for one compute instance/role is an hour $0.12.  
    • Each instance runs in parallel and is charged at the same time.
      • I think is the one most developers will hit since we’ll want to fire off a few instances for really intensive computing tasks. A scenario for this might look as follows:
        • I load up 100 roles
        • I run my application for 10 minutes
        • Total Cost is $12
      • Why? 100 roles running for 10 minutes rounds to 100 hours which is $12.  Also note because of the rounding it would be $12 if the 100 roles ran for 59 minutes each as well. 
    • Hours are also correlated with wall time. That is the hours are calculated from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m,. etc.   So deploying at 1:40 and shutting down at 2:35, which is 55 minutes, may still cost you two hours of time, because you used part of the 1-2 block and part of the 2-3 block.  


    Getting the most power for your money

    Bottom line – be careful of how many instances you create during any given time period.  Also deploying at the top of the hour will get you the most computing power for your money due to the rounding that takes place.

    If you are like me and like to test just how much my app can do you might want to be careful of how many instances you create.  Especially if you decide to do a test that will last for a longer period of time.

    Hopefully this clarification will remove any fears you might have around billing for trial Azure accounts.  As always, please feel free to contact me with any additional questions and I will post the responses here.


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  • DaveDev

    MSDN Mid-Atlantic Roadshow Winter 2010 Tour. Cloud Computing and Azure coming to a town near you!




    MSDN Events presents: Take Your Applications Sky High with Cloud Computing and the Windows Azure Platform

    Andrew, Dani, Rachel and I will be taking a deep dive into cloud computing and the Windows Azure Platform. We’ll start with a developer-focused overview of this new platform and the cloud computing services that can be used either together or independently to build highly scalable applications. As the day unfolds, we’ll explore data storage, SQL Azure, and the basics of deployment with Windows Azure.

    All events start promptly at 1pm (check-in at 12:30) and end at 5pm.  Refreshments (and plenty of caffeine!) will be served.

    Here are the dates and registration links:

    City Date Register
    Total 5 locations
    Richmond, VA March 3, 2010  Register
    Baltimore, MD March 10, 2010  Register
    Pittsburgh, PA March 16, 2010  Register
    Allentown, PA March 18, 2010  Register
    Washington, DC March 23, 2010  Register

    If you register and attend this event, you will be placed in a raffle to win a chance to bring home one (1) free copy of Windows 7 – you could be the lucky winner!

    Hands on with the Cloud

    SESSION 1: Overview of Cloud Computing and Windows Azure

    The Windows Azure platform is a set of high-performance cloud computing services that can be used together or independently and enable developers to leverage existing skills and familiar tools to develop cloud applications. In this session, we’ll provide a developer-focused overview of this new online service computing platform. We’ll explore the components, key features and real day-to-day benefits of Windows Azure.

    Highlights include:

    • What is cloud computing?
    • Running web and web service applications in the cloud
    • Using the Windows Azure and local developer cloud fabric
    • Getting started – tools, SDKs and accounts
    • Writing applications for Windows Azure

    SESSION 2: Survey of Windows Azure Platform Storage Options

    Durable data storage is a key component of any cloud computing offering. The Windows Azure Platform offers many options, which can be used alone or in combination. Windows Azure itself offers ready-to-use and lightweight storage in the form of tables, blobs, and queues. Another choice for storage is SQL Azure, a true relational database in the cloud. In this session, we’ll explore the highlights of these implementations and how to both create and use storage in each form. We’ll give you guidance on choosing the right forms of storage for your application scenarios.

    Highlights include:

    • Understanding table & blob storage
    • Programming against table & blob storage
    • Working with queue storage
    • Managing credentials and connection strings
    • Scaling and configuration
    • Understanding SQL Azure databases versus local SQL Server databases
    • SQL Azure firewall, logins and passwords
    • Database creation, deployments and migrations
    • Database management using SQL Management Studio
    • Programming against SQL Azure databases

    SESSION 3: Going Live with your Azure Solution

    Windows Azure features a powerful, yet simple deployment model. By focusing on your application and abstracting away the infrastructure details, you can deploy almost any app with minimal fuss. In this session, we’ll walk you through the basics of Windows Azure deployment, including site monitoring, diagnostics and performance issues.

    Highlights include:

    • Start-to-Finish Visual Studio demonstration of a realistic XML data driven business web site from the desktop to the cloud.
    • Windows Azure Deployments
    • Start-to-Finish Visual Studio demonstration of a realistic SQL Server data driven business web site from the desktop to the cloud.
    • Configuration of your application in the cloud
    • Guidance and Suggestions to ensure your success

    Hope to see you there!

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  • DaveDev

    What’s new in Silverlight 4? NYC Silverlight meetup presentation available for download


    Silverlight 4 Overview

    I had the pleasure of speaking at the local NYC Silverlight Meetup recently.  The goal of the presentation was to give a starting point for the Silverlight 4 beta that we released at PDC09 as well as some of the new Silverlight features in Visual Studio 2010.  Since this is a hot topic right now I figured I would post my content publically for all.  It is always hard going through slides without a presenter but they may be of use in your own discussions.

    My talk covered everything ScottGu demoed during the keynote as well as most of the features covered in John Papa’s Whitepaper.  Everything we walked through was built off publically available samples (ie: the World of Warcraft video puzzle was the HTMLControl/Brush example from the keynote I modified). 

    I’ve listed where to get all the code sample projects below and you can grab the slides here

    PhotoBooth, Rich TextPad and HTML Puzzle Keynote examples

    Silverilght 4 How-Do-I videos and code

    Silverlight 4 Hands on Labs

    Rene Schulte Augmented Reality Demo

    Don’t forget to check out the new show on Channel9 - SilverlightTV!

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