Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.
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[Did I overdo the use of FREE in the title? :-)]

April 12th to 16th is Microsoft Tech Days – 5 days of sessions on Visual Studio 2010 through to Windows 7 Phone Series. Many of these days are now full (Tip - Thursday still has room if rich client applications is your thing) but the good news is the development community in the UK has pulled together an awesome series of “fringe events” during April in London and elsewhere in the UK. There are sessions on Silverlight, SQL Server 2008 R2, Sharepoint 2010 and … the Windows Azure Platform.

The UK AzureNET user group is planning to put on a great evening and

AzureNET will be giving away hundreds of free subscriptions to the Windows Azure Platform during the evening.

The subscription includes up to 20 Windows Azure Compute nodes and 3 SQL Azure databases for you to play with over the 2 weeks following the event. This is a great opportunity to really explore the Windows Azure Platform in detail – without a credit card!

Register now! (and you might also want to join the UK Fans of Azure Community while I have your attention)

FYI The Thursday day time event includes an introduction to Windows Azure session delivered by my colleague David – which would be an ideal session to attend if you are new to Azure and want to get the most out of the evening session.

7:00pm: See the difference: How Windows Azure helped build a new way of giving
Simon Evans and James Broome (@broomej)
They will cover the business context for Azure and then go into patterns used and lessons learnt from the project....as well as showing off the app of course!

8:00pm: UK AzureNET update

8:15pm: NoSQL databases or: How I learned to love the hash table
Mark Rendle (@markrendle)
In this session Mark will look at how Azure Table Service works and how to use it. We’ll look briefly at the high-level Data Services SDK, talk about its limitations, and then quickly move on to the REST API and how to use it to improve performance and reduce costs. We’ll make-up some pretend real-world problems and solve them in new and interesting ways. We’ll denormalise data (for fun and profit). We’ll talk about how certain social networking sites can deal with huge volumes of data so quickly, and why it sometimes goes wrong.

Check out the complete list of fringe events which covers the UK fairly well:

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