Mike Swanson

October, 2005

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    PDC05 Sessions Online


    If you were unable to attend the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2005 (PDC05) in Los Angeles this year, never fear; 209 breakout sessions, panels, and symposia are now available online. Each session includes a video of the presenter, a navigable index of the content, the PowerPoint presentation itself, and video of any demos. We'll be hosting this content for free, for anyone, for six full months.

    And, due to popular blogger and e-mail demand, you can also download each session individually for offline viewing. Just click the Download Presentation link that appears beneath the session information (full session zip files average around 150MB each).

    All of the sessions include downloadable PowerPoint presentations, and many of them also include materials (code samples, Visual Studio solutions, papers, etc.).

    If the thought of spending 46 full days downloading almost 27GB of content via a 56K dial-up connection doesn’t sound appealing, you can order the 4 dual-layer 8.5GB DVD set here (attendee price: $199, non-attendee price: $499). As a bonus, the DVD set also includes nearly 4GB of Channel 9 video content that was produced for PDC05. All attendees will automatically receive the DVD set, and it is expected to begin shipping in early November.

    In case you missed my earlier post, you can right-click on the speaker video, choose Play Speed, then Fast to save yourself some time by watching the presentation at a higher speed. Since there’s over 250 hours of content, this can be a big time-saver.


  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Top 5 Show Off Videos


    If you've been following my blog recently, or if you attended this year's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, you've heard me mention Show Off more than a few times. Well, just today we received the results of the printed surveys that we handed out at the event. For those who couldn't attend, the survey simply had a thumbs-up and thumbs-down next to titles and screenshots of each video. At the end of the survey, we had a thumbs-up and thumbs-down for the entire Show Off event.

    Here are the top five videos as ranked by approval (thumbs_up / total_votes):

    1. Bar Code Blitz by Lorin Thwaits, Lawrence Grant, E.W. Lloyd, and Andrew Hollida (98%)
    2. /cameraFlow Labyrinth by casey chesnut (97%)
    3. How I Got SQL Intellisense Working in Microsoft Query Analyzer by Damian Mehers (96%)
    4. Exploring .NET by DPE Sweden and Daniel Akenine (93%)
    5. RoboCoaster Powered by Windows XP and Commercial RTOS on Single Computer by Gerd Lammers (91%)

    The approval for Show Off was 98%, an overwhelming vote that says you'd like to see us do this again!

    Overall, the top videos were consistently user-focused and had nothing to "sell." The bottom videos were either uninspiring or were very commercial in nature. This insightful feedback will definitely help us set the bar for the next event.

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    Awesome Music Visualization and Screen Saver: G-Force


    I'm always looking for great Media Player visualizations, and I ran across this one just before my trip to PDC05. If you've ever spent more time than you'd like to admit watching your hard drive defrag (I know I have), I think you'll find this even more mesmerizing. A company called SoundSpectrum produces both WhiteCap and G-Force; both are available as free downloads. Check out some of the screenshots. I originally thought that it leveraged the power of the GPU for these amazing visuals, but after reading their FAQ, I see that it has no special 3D hardware requirements.

    I liked it so much that I bought the upgraded Platinum edition for $30 (which—among other things—adds a screen saver capability). You'd be surprised how many people have asked me about the screen saver on my laptop. I've come back to my machine and found people staring at the display. Now that I think about it, perhaps I can get SoundSpectrum to add a subliminal suggestion feature to their visuals. Imagine the possibilities. :-)

    I'd love to see a version of their product that takes advantage of Windows Presentation Foundation. I have to believe that the hardware acceleration alone would allow them to do some pretty stunning things. What about a feature that allows me to include my own custom XAML within their display? Sounds like a pretty wild possibility.

    What other cool visualizations and screen savers are you guys aware of?

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Working on the PDC05 Post-Show DVD Set


    I've spent the past few days reviewing the first-cut of the PDC05 post-show DVD set, and I have to say that I'm very excited about what we're going to deliver! Because I was part of the team that organized and ran this event, I only had time to attend a single session in Los Angeles. No worries, though, because we recorded all of the breakout sessions (including those during lunch), and all of the symposia. We captured four unique data streams in each room: the audio, the PowerPoint presentation, any demos, and video of the speaker(s). After collecting a half terabyte of raw data (!), we've worked very closely with a vendor to assemble all of the content into a seamless, synchronized Microsoft Producer format.

    We had originally planned to expand the "normal" 2 DVD set to 3 DVDs this time around. But, because of all the content, we've had to increase it to 4 dual-layer 8.5GB DVDs. Each DVD contains a full index, and DVDs are organized by presentation track. You can either drill down by session or perform a keyword search to find exactly what you're after. Or, if you're an uber geek, you can just sit back and watch over 200 sessions back-to-back. That's over 250 hours of content! Wow!

    The background screenshot shows the start-up interface for navigating the sessions along with their descriptions. The screenshot in the foreground shows the actual presentation. You get video of the speaker, an index of the presentation just below, and the PowerPoint slides and demo video to the right. This is the first time we've included video of the speaker for all sessions, and it really makes for a very engaging experience. Best of all, you can use standard Media Player controls to increase the playback speed to 1.6x (Ctrl+Shift+G) and completely throttle your brain with the technical torrent...don't try this with 400-level content. :-) Oh...we've also thrown in all of the PowerPoint presentations and sample code for many of the sessions.

    So, how do you get all this goodness? That's the best answer of all. If you attended PDC05, it'll be automatically shipped to you when it becomes available (targeting early November). If you'd like to order your own full DVD set to keep handy, visit the order page. Or...drum roll please...we'll be hosting all of this, for free, for anyone, for six full months! Now that's awesome.

    By the way, did you know that you can download the PDC05 PowerPoints and some sample code already? And here's a session list.

    Last, I have to shout out to Robert Ingebretsen (the guy wearing the orange shirt in the screenshot). I keep forgetting to link to his new blog site. Robby has an awesome design sense, and if you're interested in Windows Presentation Foundation, you should check out his stuff.

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