Locations of visitors to this page May, 2007 - Veni, Vidi, Velcro... - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

(I came, I saw, I got stuck!)

May, 2007

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Microsoft brings Surface Computing...


    We’ve attempted and succeeded at changing the computing world before! We’re making another bold move and trying to do the same again, this time…our goal is not to put a computer on every desk but to make every desk a computer!

    This project started about four years and was nick named Project Milan and when I was talking to a few friends at MSR (Microsoft Research) this was one of the sought after teams to be in. Very cool!

    Anyway, read more about the project at these links and don’t forget to watch those videos! Just AWESOME!


    Surface Computing

    Project Milan

    Main Microsoft Surface Site





    *Expected to be out in Winter 2007!* Watch this space for more updates!


    We are Microsoft! Your potential, our passion!


  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Windows Server 2008 - Top 10 features and more...


    Earlier this morning I was sifting through Betanews.com and found this great article on the top 10 features of Windows Server 2008. I think this article just covers about 10% of the rich feature/functionality that Longhorn server…opps! I mean Windows Server 2008 has to offer! Btw, if you haven’t already started using the WS 2008 beta 3 bits you are missing a lot! (Anyone already using IIS 7.0! One word - Fabulous!)

    Download Windows Server 2008 beta 3 from HERE

    These are some of the features that everyone’s excited about for beta 3.  It’s by no means a complete list, but it illustrates how much innovation is built into Longhorn server.

    • PowerShell - *new* for beta 3 – powerful scripting.
    • Dynamic Partitioning - *new* for beta 3 – allocate resources on the fly.
    • Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0 – next gen web and app platform
    • Server Core – more roles, low footprint, no GUI!
    • Terminal Services Gateway – access your apps without a RAS client.
    • Failover Clustering – improved cluster management, security, and stability.
    • Network Access Protection – keep your network safe from un-healthy clients.
    • Next Generation TCP/IP Protocol – built for speed
    • Server Manager – setup, config, and manage server roles and features in one place.
    • Native UEFI 2.0 support - *new* for beta 3 – x64 EFI support for OEMs.
    • Read-Only Domain Controller – branch office DCs

    And within hours of releasing beta 3 we announced – Windows Media Services (WMS) for Longhorn!  The download packages are now live via http://support.microsoft.com/kb/934518

    If you want to learn more about Windows Server 2008 (from a training perspective) don’t forget to watch great screen casts done by colleague Keith Combs – a lot of information, screen casts, trivia, FAQ etc is posted on his BLOG be sure to check it out! (Read free training!)

    Anyway, here’s what betanews.com has to say about the top 10 features of WS 2008:

    #10: The self-healing NTFS file system. Ever since the days of DOS, an error in the file system meant that a volume had to be taken offline for it to be remedied. In WS2K8, a new system service works in the background that can detect a file system error, and perform a healing process without anyone taking the server down.

    "So if there's a corruption detected someplace in the data structure, an NTFS worker thread is spawned," Russinovich explained, "and that worker thread goes off and performs a localized fix-up of those data structures. The only effect that an application would see is that files would be unavailable for the period of time that it was trying to access, had been corrupted. If it retried later after the corruption was healed, then it would succeed. But the system never has to come down, so there's no reason to have to reboot the system and perform a low-level CHKDSK offline."

    #9: Parallel session creation. "Prior to Server 2008, session creation was a serial operation," Russinovich reminded us. "If you've got a Terminal Server system, or you've got a home system where you're logging into more than one user at the same time, those are sessions. And the serialization of the session initialization caused a bottleneck on large Terminal Services systems. So Monday morning, everybody gets to work, they all log onto their Terminal Services system like a few hundred people supported by the system, and they've all got to wait in line to have their session initialized, because of the way session initialization was architected."

    The new session model in both Vista and WS2K8 can initiate at least four sessions in parallel, or even more if a server has more than four processors. "If you've got a Vista machine where this architecture change actually was introduced, and you've got multiple Media Center extenders, those media center extenders are going to be able to connect up to the Media Center in parallel," he added. "So if you have a media center at home, and you send all their kids to their rooms and they all turn on their media extenders at the same time, they're going to be streaming media faster from their Vista machines then if you had Media Center on a XP machine."

    #8: Clean service shutdown. One of Windows' historical problems concerns its system shutdown procedure. In XP, once shutdown begins, the system starts a 20-second timer. After that time is up, it signals the user whether she wants to terminate the application herself, perhaps prematurely. For Windows Server, that same 20-second timer may be the lifeclock for an application, even one that's busy spooling ever-larger blocks of data to the disk.

    In WS2K8, that 20-second countdown has been replaced with a service that will keep applications given the signal all the time they need to shut down, as long as they continually signal back that they're indeed shutting down. Russinovich said developers were skeptical at first about whether this new procedure ceded too much power to applications; but in practice, they decided the cleaner overall shutdowns were worth the trade-offs.

    #7: Kernel Transaction Manager. This is a feature which developers can take advantage of, which could greatly reduce, if not eliminate, one of the most frequent causes of system registry and file system corruption: multiple threads seeking access to the same resource.

    In a formal database, a set of instructed changes is stored in memory, in sequence, and then "committed" all at once as a formal transaction. This way, other users aren't given a snapshot of the database in the process of being changed - the changes appear to happen all at once. This feature is finally being utilized in the System Registry of both Vista and Windows Server 2008.

    "The Kernel Transaction Manager [intends] to make it very easy to do a lot of error recovery, virtually transparently," Microsoft software engineer Mark Russinovich explained. "The way they've done this is with the [KTM] acting as a transaction manager that transaction clients can plug into. Those transaction clients can be third-party clients that want to initiate transactions on resources that are managed by Transaction Resource Manager - those resource managers can be third-party or built into the system."

    #6: SMB2 network file system. Long, long ago, SMB was adopted as the network file system for Windows. While it was an adequate choice at the time, Russinovich believes, "SMB has kind of outlived its life as a scalable, high-performance network file system."

    So SMB2 finally replaces it. With media files having attained astronomical sizes, servers need to be able to deal with them expeditiously. Russinovich noted that in internal tests, SMB2 on media servers delivered thirty to forty times faster file system performance than Windows Server 2003. He repeated the figure to make certain we realized he meant a 4000% boost.

    #5: Address Space Load Randomization (ASLR) Perhaps one of the most controversial added features already, especially since its debut in Vista, ASLR makes certain that no two subsequent instances of an operating system load the same system drivers in the same place in memory each time.

    Malware, Mark Russinovich described it (as only he can), is essentially a blob of code that refuses to be supported by standard system services. "Because it's isn't actually loaded the way a normal process is, it would never link with the operating system services that it might want to use," he described. "So if it wants to do anything with the OS like drop a file onto your disk, it's got to know where those operating system services live.

    "The way that malware authors have worked around this chicken-and-egg kind of situation," he continued, "is, because Windows didn't previously randomize load addresses, that meant that if they wanted to call something in KERNEL32.DLL, KERNEL32.DLL on Service Pack 2 will always load in the same location in memory, on a 32-bit system. Every time the system boots, regardless of whose machine you're looking at. That made it possible for them to just generate tables of where functions were located."

    Now, with each system service likely to occupy one of 256 randomly selected locations in memory, offset by plus or minus 16 MB of randomized address space, the odds of malware being able to locate a system service on its own have increased from elementary to astronomical.

    #4: Windows Hardware Error Architecture (WHEA). That's right, Microsoft has actually standardized the error - more accurately, the protocol by which applications report to the system what errors they have uncovered. You'd think this would already have been done.

    "One of the problems facing error reporting is that there's so many different ways that devices report errors," remarked Russinovich. "There's no standardization across the hardware ecosystem. So that made it very difficult to write an application, up to now, that can aggregate all these different error sources and present them in a unified way. It means a lot of specific code for each of these types of sources, and it makes it very hard for any one application to deliver you a good error diagnostic and management interface."

    Now, with hardware-oriented errors all being reported using the same socketed interface, third-party software can conceivably mitigate and manage problems, reopening a viable software market category for management tools.

    #3: Windows Server Virtualization. Even pared down a bit, the Viridian project will still provide enterprises with the single most effective tool to date for reducing TOC..to emerge from Microsoft. Many will argue virtualization is still an open market, thanks to VMware; and for perhaps the next few years, VMware may continue to be the feature leader in this market.

    But Viridian's drive to leverage hardware-based virtualization support from both Intel and AMD has helped drive those manufacturers to roll out their hardware support platforms in a way that a third party - even one as influential as VMware - might not have accomplished.

    As Microsoft's general manager for virtualization, Mike Neil, explained at WinHEC last week, the primary reason customers flock to virtualization tools today remains server consolidation. "There's this sprawl of servers that customers have, they're dealing with space constraints, power constraints, [plus] the cost of managing a large number of physical machines," Neil remarked. "And they're consolidating by using virtual machines to [provide] typically newer and more capable and more robust systems."

    Consolidation helps businesses to reclaim their unused processor capacity - which could be as much as 85% of CPU time for under-utilized servers. Neil cited IDC figures estimating US businesses have already spent hundreds of billions on processor resources they haven't actually used. It's not their fault - it's the design of operating systems up to now. "So obviously, we're trying to drive that utilization further and further," Neil said.

    #2: PowerShell. At last. For two years, we've been told it'll be part of Longhorn, then not really part of Longhorn, then a separate free download that'll support Longhorn, then the underpinning for Exchange Server 2007. Now we know it's a part of the shipping operating system: the radically new command line tool that can either supplement or completely replace GUI-based administration.

    Last week at WinHEC, Windows Server programming chief Iain McDonald flat out proclaimed, "If I could set the direction of it, I would like to make PowerShell the default shell for Windows. That's my personal bias."

    At TechEd 2007 in Orlando in early June, we'll be seeing some new examples of PowerShell in the WS2K8 work environment - hopefully unhindered now that the product is shipping along with the public Beta 3...at least unless someone changes his mind. We hope that phase of PowerShell's history is past it now.

    #1: Server Core. Here is where the world could really change for Microsoft going forward: Imagine a cluster of low-overhead, virtualized, GUI-free server OSes running core roles like DHCP and DNS in protected environments, all to themselves, managed by way of a single terminal.

    If you're a Unix or Linux admin, you might say we wouldn't have to waste time with imagining. But one of Windows' simple but real problems as a server OS over the past decade has been that it's Windows. Why, admins ask, would a server need to deploy 32-bit color drivers and DirectX and ADO and OLE, when they won't be used to run user applications? Why must Windows always bring its windows baggage with it wherever it goes?

    Beginning with Windows Server 2008, the baggage is optional. As product manager Ward Ralston told BetaNews in an interview published earlier this week, the development team has already set up Beta 3 to handle eight roles, and the final release may support more.

    What's more, with the proper setup, admins can manage remote Server Core installations using a local GUI that presents the data from the GUI-less remote servers. "We have scripts that you can install that enable [TCP] port 3389," Ralston told us, "so you can administer it with Terminal Services. [So] if you're sitting at a full install version and let's say I bring up the DNS, I can connect to a Server Core running DNS, and I can administer it from another machine using the GUI on this one. So you're not just roped into the command line for all administration. We see the majority of IT pros using existing GUIs or using PowerShell that leverages WMI [Windows Management Instrumentation] running on Server Core, to perform administration."

    PowerShell can run on Server Core...partially, Iain McDonald told us. It won't be able to access the .NET Framework, because the Framework doesn't run on Server Core at present. In that limited form, it can access WMI functions.

    But a later, more "component-ized" version of .NET without the graphics functionality may run within Server Core. This could complete a troika, if you will, resulting in the lightest-weight and most manageable servers Microsoft has ever produced. It may take another five years for enterprises to finally complete the migration, but once they do...this changes everything.

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    This week in history...


    I was browsing the Microsoft daily news letter today and came across this article. It's interesting to see how the world has morphed over time. Anyway, Seventeen years ago, Windows 3.0 brought a new desktop to the desk. Clearly, if history was to be re-written and sequenced it would be, BM (Before Microsoft) and AM (After Microsoft)! Find out what else happened This Week in History.

    In the world:

    May 25, 1977 George Lucas' blockbuster movie Star Wars opens, breaking box office records. Initially expected to be a flop, the film garnered seven Academy Awards and spawned a marketing and entertainment franchise that is still going strong today.

    May 20, 1873 — Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a patent for work pants with metal rivets, marking the birth of the blue jean. 

    At Microsoft:



    May 22, 1990 — Microsoft announces the availability of Windows 3.0 at the City Center Theater in New York. The new version offered dramatic performance improvements, allowing a much greater range of application support.

    Along with enhanced performance, Windows 3.0 also delivered a new supreme time-waster: Solitaire. This week's featured photo shows a screen shot of Solitaire in its original glory.

    Go Microsoft!

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Expression Blend training now offered at a place near you....


    I am stoked to announce that we are launching Expression Blend trainings countrywide!

    Go on and register for a seat soon! I’ll bet they’ll get sold out fast….

    Here’s more information: http://www.msreadiness.com/IL_abstract.asp?eid=5015813&seleid=5015813

    If you are in Seattle, Click HERE to register

    Jun 25 - 26, 2007
    9:00AM-5:00PM Seattle, Washington

    Course Content:

    This two-day instructor-led training course provides attendees with a hands-on experience designing user experiences for Windows using Expression Blend a new tool for designers that enables them access to the power of the Windows Presentation Foundation.

    About the Training:
    In this course students will work with the following tools and technologies:

    • Expression Blend
    • Expression Design
    • NET Framework 3.0, Windows Presentation Foundation, XAML
    • Visual Studio 2005

    Students will cover topics such a designing the user interface for a video player and then converting that into an actual fully functioning video player by defining dynamic layout, creating custom controls, incorporating video, binding controls to work with each other, binding to external XML data to create an interactive video catalog and more. Designers will also experience other real world scenarios where they will discover the huge potential that Expression Blend enables them to have to dramatically increase the experience of a Windows application. After the course, students will get access to a website containing all of the training materials.  

    Course Outline:

    Intro to Microsoft UX

    ½ hr.

    In this session you will be introduced to the complete offer from Microsoft to create compelling User Experiences for Windows and the Web.

    • Principles of UX
    • Microsoft UX Platform
    • Designer & Developer Collaboration
    • Overview of Microsoft Expression

    Expression Design

    3 hr.

    In this session you will experience the professional vector based graphic support of Expression Design. At the end you will use your creativity and design style to create an entire Video Player user interface.

    • Intro to the tool
    • Vector Drawing tools
    • Vector Transformation & Effects
    • Exporting to XAML
    • End-to-End Design Activity (Video Player)

    Other Content Tools

    1½ hr.

    In this session we will quickly review different professional design tools we use every day and we will provide you with some tips and tricks so you can prepare rich media content for Expression Blend.

    • Tips and Tricks to prepare 3D, Graphics, Video and Audio content for WPF using popular design tools.

    Intro to Expression Blend

    4 hr.

    In this session you will learn the basics of Expression Blend in a fun end-to-end scenario where you will create a Video Player prototype. Through-out the session we will also provide some mini-labs that will help you learn more about WPF topics.

    • Intro to Expression Blend
    • Managing your Project
    • Defining Dynamic Layout
    • Customizing Controls
    • Defining Triggers
    • Implementing Animation
    • Incorporating Media Element
    • Setting Up Data Binding
    • Defining a Custom Window

    School of Fine Art

    4 hr.

    In this session you will go through a different approach to collaborate with developers to create a Windows experience. In this case you will be provided with a poorly designed WPF project built in Visual Studio.  The project works perfectly and is robust and reliable, but you need to make it look much more attractive and compelling.

    • Opening Visual Studio projects in Blend
    • Defining Window and Control Layout
    • Incorporating Graphical Assets from Expression Design
    • Applying Resources
    • Creating a Repeat Animation
    • Designing a Custom Looking ListBox
    • Defining a Custom Window

    Fabrikam Retail Store


    In this session you will go through another possible WPF collaboration scenario. In this case a designer has prepared some assets and resources for you. You will work on a UI for Fabrikam by following best practices in re-using some of these resources and creating many of your own.

    • Min and Max Settings in Layout
    • Applying Existing Resources
    • Editing the Template of a Button
      • Simple Rollover
      • Animated Rollover
      • Animated Rollout
    • Inserting Content into Buttons
    • Databinding
      • Binding to External XML Data
      • Customizing ListBox Template
      • Incorporating Developer Created Value Converters
      • Use Data Context to Create Details View
      • Databinding to Object Properties
    • 3D, Animation and Triggers
    • Developer & Designer Collaboration
      • Collaboration via Events
      • Collaboration via Custom User Controls
      • Collaboration via CLR Object

    Have fun learning!

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Are you running Windows Vista Beta versions?


    If so, you must've already received notifications that your beta/pre-release versions are about to expire!


    To avoid any loss of work, please move upgrade to the latest/release version of Windows Vista.


    Here's more information:



    And if you are too lazy to read the whole thing, here's the excerpt...

    On May 31, 2007, pre-release versions of Windows Vista will expire. If you are running a pre-release version of Windows Vista (Beta 2, RC1, or RC2) you will begin to receive notifications about the upcoming expiration on May 18, 2007. To avoid work disruption and the loss of data, it is strongly recommended that PC users running any of these pre-release versions of Windows Vista migrate their PCs to the final version of Windows Vista prior to May 31.

    To install the final version of Windows Vista on any of these pre-release versions of Windows Vista, you may purchase the desired Windows Vista Upgrade. The Windows Vista Upgrade must be the same language version as the pre-release version you are replacing.

    If you participated in the Customer Preview Program, you have been using a pre-release version of Windows Vista Ultimate. Windows Vista Ultimate is the most complete edition of Windows Vista—with the power, security, and mobility features that you need for work, and all of the entertainment features that you want for fun.


    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Greatness happens....


    There are very few ad’s that are jaw dropping and awe inspiring and this is definitely one of them…


    Normal is boring!

    -Mithun Dhar

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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    More Silverlight resources...


    OK!! You asked for more and you got more....

    Here's a comprehensive list of most of the resources for you to get started on Silverlight...




    Silverlight Resources

    Bits & bytes

    · Get silverlight

    · Telerik RadControls – 3d virtual rooms using control based framework

    · DLR & IronPython

    · Silverlight developer reference “poster”

    · Forums – installation, troubleshooting

    · Electric rain harmony (coming summer 2007) – flash to silverlight converter

    · Silverlight 1.0 Beta QuickStarts

    · Silverlight 1.1 Alpha QuickStarts


    · Main Microsoft site

    · Community site

    · Mix conference

    Experiences & Demos

    · Getting started with silverlight - Scott Guthrie demos how to build an app from scratch

    · "How Do I?" with Silverlight 1.0

    · "How Do I?" with Silverlight 1.1

    · Using Blend with Silverlight 1.0

    · Community gallery

    · Top 3 samples in community gallery

    o Silverlight Pad

    o Page Turn

    o Video Library

    · Beijing Olympics Use Silverlight

    · Channel 9 screencasts

    · Watch movie trailers & videos via Silverlight

    · How to do Rich media advertising - example using eyeblaster


    · Scott Guthrie – no intro needed

    · Jim Hugunin - chief architect of the DLR

    · Mike Harsh – silverlight team

    · Lutz Roeder – Expression Blend team

    · Delay  of silverlight airlines demo

    · Ironpython

    Tech talks

    · All recorded mix07 sessions

    · ScottGu’s mix keynote and great overview

    · ScottGu’s Channel9 interview

    · Building Rich Web Experiences using Silverlight and Javascript for Developers

    · Deep Dive on Silverlight Media Integration

    · Developing ASP.NET AJAX Controls with Silverlight

    · Creating and Delivering Rich Media and Video on the Web with Silverlight, Expression Studio, and Windows Server

    · Building Silverlight Applications using .NET (Part 1)

    · Building Silverlight Applications using .NET (Part 2)

    · Extending the Browser Programming Model with Silverlight

    · Just Glue It! Ruby and the DLR in Silverlight


    · Getting started whitepaper

    · Silverlight Architecture Overview


    Go on and light up the web!!!


    -Mithun Dhar

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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    CardSpace customer references...


    I have been getting a lot of questions from my event attendees about some references about customers using CardSpace....so here it goes,






    Most .NET30 case studies can be found here:



    Hope that helps!


    Let me know if you have any questions.


    -Mithun Dhar

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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    The way I see it # 232...


    Who said you don't learn anything about life while at Starbucks!!

     Today when I ordered my Grande - 2NL, I got the 'The Way I see it # 232' on my cup...which is so true!!

    You simply can’t make someone love you if they don’t. You must choose someone who already loves you. If you choose someone who does not love you, this is the sort of love that you must want.

    ~Israel Horovitz (Playwright)

    I think I've lived and learn't a lot more about life at Starbucks than at any other place! Needless to say, I am penning this post from Starbucks! - University Village - Second starbucks and the highest grossing starbucks in  the whole wide world!

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    More resources on AJAX/CardSpace...


    I had a wonderful time presenting at Redmond-WA yesterday! Thanks for coming!


    As promised, here are a few more resources/links/blogs that you could gain from...


    • AJAX homepage: http://ajax.asp.net


    • Blogs

    http://smarx.com – Steve Marx

    http://nikhilk.net – Nikhil Kothari

    http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu – Scott Guthrie

    http://weblogs.asp.net/bleroy – Bertrand LeRoy

    http://blogs.msdn.com/brada – Brad Abrams


    I look forward to seeing you guys at my next event which will be on Silverlight, Windows Communication Foundation and LINQ.

    Watch out this space for the dates and registration details.


    -Mithun Dhar

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