A new preview of Expression Blend 2 - the September preview - is out now and it's free. It has lots of new features for easier creation of animations, including node animation - something I was asked about a lot at TechEd in Malaysia.
The September preview also includes a 'split view' which shows the art-board and the underlying XAML code side-by-side. This is the default mode - and I immediately turned it off (tools/options). I'll look at the XAML when it suits me (and as rarely as possible).
Also, a new Expression newsletter from Microsoft will be out very soon.
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