Some time ago, I was visiting a friend who was studying abroad in London.  This friend, whom I will call Alex [because that's his name], took me out for traditional fish and chips at a London fish and chip shop.  It was a small nook, with only a handful of tables, but it was packed with many hungry customers and reeked heavily of fish [probably with good reason].  I grabbed us a table while Alex ordered a couple baskets of food for us.  When he came back to the table, he had a basket for me and I had a question for him - why is there a bottle of vinegar next to the ketchup?

He stared at me as though I had just made the most outlandish comment in the world [which perhaps I will share some day in another post], and then responded as though I were a small child, "It's for your fish."  "My fish! No way!", I shouted out, then realized that I had accidentally elevated my volume to an outdoor voice - some people turned and looked at me in surprise.  I quickly lowered my voice and said, "That's what ketchup is for."  Alex replied that vinegar actually did a much better job of bringing out the flavors of the fish, whereas ketchup sometimes masked the nuances of a complex cod fillet.  I gave his suggestion a chance and actually found that a good vinegar can add quite a bit of pep to a piece of deep-fried fish.

You are probably asking yourself why this has anything to do with developing Smart Client applications, and you would be completely appropriate in asking yourself that [however, you would probably be better off asking me that question].  To save you the time, I'll go ahead and answer.  In talking with customers at my MSDN Events, I've found that there is still very little awareness of what Smart Clients are and how they can be used.  When we are unaware of the benefits of something, it is much harder for us to use it [a la the vinegar on fried fish].  But as soon as we realize that Smart Client applications can simplify your deployment, provide a richer user experience to your users, and leverage client-side resources, it becomes much easier for us to be open to learning more.  That's where this site comes in - the Smart Client product team has put together a completely revamped MSDN Smart Client Developer Center and this site has quick links to some key articles that you may find of interest.

PS The initial portion of this post is largely a fabrication, although I do have a friend Alex, I did visit him in London when he studied abroad, and he did take me to a fish'n'chips place, so I guess it's not that large of a fabrication.  And, to prevent the risk of potential accusations, note that "I am not a liar... I simply have a gift for fiction" [bonus points if you can tell me what movie that line is from].