Windows PhoneCamps

From MSDN events, to roadshows, to firestarters … Now on to Camps … and just got word about the upcoming Windows Phone camps… What’s a Windows Phone Camp? For those who went to our "Windows Phone Garage" series last year, its one of those. For those new to the scene, its a free, full day event chocked full of everything you need to know to develop a Windows Phone application. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just getting started with phone app development this full-day event is for you. Interested in profit? We’ll also lead discussions on how to monetize your applications and generate profits with your apps. Don’t miss the new Windows Phone 7.5 (codename "Mango") features as well - with detailed sessions in the afternoon around Fast Application Switching, Multitasking, Live Tiles, Push Notifications, and more. The day will be capped with an open lab hands-on session and prizes for apps completed. This is the perfect opportunity to begin work on your dream application, or finish that app you’ve already started, with Windows Phone experts there to guide you every step of the way. Bring your own laptop to join in the fun and show off your killer app!   Agenda 9:00 AM Welcome Campers 9:15 AM How to make money with your Windows Phone App 10:00 AM Frameworks for fun and profit > Silverlight and XNA noon-ish Canteen > Install Fest 1:00 PM Hands-on lab 3:00 PM Cool stuff your app can do 4:00 PM To the Cloud 4:45 PM Be What's Next > Peoples Choice Awards Not only is the content great, but we've got a ton of locations coming up. Note that we are not only hitting the traditional Microsoft facilities, we are hitting a ton of campus locations as well. Students can attend Microsoft facilitiy events, and professionals / entrepreneurs are more than welcome to drop in on the on-campus locations as well. Mix, mingle, network. Don't see your geography in the list? Located in the East Coast USA? Reach out to us and let's see if we can line up a Windows PhoneCamp "community edition".   Schedule 9/20/2011 Charlotte, NC Registration 9/22/2011 Atlanta GA Registration 9/27/2011 Malvern PA Registration 9/29/2011 Reston VA Registration 10/12/2011 Cambridge MA National Event - Two day - Registration URL pending 10/18/2011 Chevy Chase MD Registration 10/19/2011 New York City, NY Registration 10/25/2011 Tampa FL Registration 10/27/2011 Champlain College, Burlington VT Registration 11/2/2011 NCSU, Raleigh NC Registration 11/4/2011 Fort Lauderdale, FL Registration 11/8/2011 UCF, Orlando FL Registration 11/10/2011 Univ of Miami, Coral Gables FL Registration 11/10/2011 SUNY (New Paltz), New York Registration 11/15/2011 Virginia Tech Registration 11/17/2011 Howard University, Washington DC Registration 11/29/2011 Pittsburg, PA Registration 12/1/2011 Hofstra, Long Island NY Registration 11/29/2011 Georgia Tech, Atlanta GA Registration Prerequisites: Bring a notebook computer and identification. Also check out the APP HUB where you can get developer tools, learn about application features, understand common task for Apps and register and load your APP. Notes: This event is brought to you by Microsoft and is free of charge. However, you are responsible for booking and paying for your own travel and accommodations.

Windows Phone Garage Events

By way of Glen Gordon:  Two great community guys – Chris Eargle and Chris Williams - are setting up community led Windows Phone Garage events next week in Columbia and Greenville. Remember, at a Windows Phone Garage you get instruction on the basics of creating Windows Phone apps, but also you get a lot of time to build your app, with help from onsite experts. In addition, one attendee who showcases his app (in development or complete) at the event will win a free Windows Phone device! Register ASAP and make plans to attend this free event. Columbia, SC – Thursday, June 16 at Midlands Tech Greenville, SC – Friday, June 17 at Immedion Unfortunately I won’t be there as we’ll be in Florida doing our Azure Tech Jam events, but the events are in great hands with Chris2.

Azure Tech Jam

You’ve heard about cloud computing and already know it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread – and maybe you’ve already attended a Microsoft Azure Boot Camp or other event introducing you to the cloud and detailing the various parts of the Windows Azure platform.  Well we’ll do that too… in the first half hour!  The rest of the time we’ll have a bit of fun with Azure by taking a look at some cool demos and poking under the hood.  We’ll then take a look at some of the innovative uses of cloud computing that Windows Azure customers have already produced.  After lunch, we’ll introduce the genesis and creation of the Rock Paper Azure Challenge… AND run our very own Challenge on-site, exclusive to attendees only, complete with prizes like an Xbox 360/Kinect bundle, a stand-alone Kinect, and a $50 gift certificate. This is an interactive way to learn about developing and deploying to the cloud, with a little friendly competition thrown in for fun. So bring your laptop, Windows Azure account credentials and a sense of adventure and join us for this FREE, full-day event as Peter, Jim, and I take you “to the cloud!” Prerequisites: · Windows Azure Account – don’t have one? We’re offering a free Windows Azure 30-day pass for all attendees. Apply for yours now as it can take 3 days to receive. Use code AZEVENT · Laptop with Azure Tooks and SDK installed Want a leg up on the competition? Visit the Rock Paper Azure Challenge web site and begin coding your winning bot today. Location Date Charlotte, NC June 2 Malvern, PA June 7 Pittsburgh, PA June 9 Ft. Lauderdale, FL June 14 Tampa, FL June 16 Due to the hands-on nature of this event seating is limited. Reserve your spot by registering today!

Windows Phone 7 Garage Event Coming!

In a few weeks, my colleagues Glen and Joe will be in Charlotte (and a few other locations around that time) holding their successful Windows Phone garage events.  The latest event is coming to Charlotte on May 24th!  Here’s the breakdown: 9 – 10 am Introduction to Windows Phone Development No experience with Windows Phone 7 development? No problem. During this optional session at the start of the day we will cover the fundamentals of Windows Phone Silverlight and XNA Development. We'll explore the various core components and tools available, and leave you with some resources to take you to the next level. 10 – 10:30 am What’s new for Windows Phone Developers This session will highlight some of the new developer features coming for Windows Phone Developers. We’ll also take a look at AppMaker, a new dynamic new tool that enables you to generate a simple Windows Phone application from one or more online data feeds. 10:45 – 12:30 pm Windows Phone Application Jumpstart To give you a jumpstart on app development, we’ll walk through in detail building an app, styling it, and adding advanced capabilities. We’ll also cover submitting it to the marketplace and monetizing your app. 12:30 – 1:00 pm Lunch 1:00 – 5:00 pm Windows Phone Garage Open Lab Bring your laptop fully loaded with Visual Studio 2010 and the latest version of the Windows Phone Tools. Get some help with an app you are working on, or use the information from the Jumpstart to build an app around your favorite data feed. No ideas? No worries – we’ll have a few starter templates that you can build on. Other dates: New York City May 3, 2011 Cambridge, MA May 9, 2011 Alpharetta, GA May 19, 2011 Charlotte, NC May 24, 2011 Malvern, PA May 24, 2011 Tampa, FL May 26, 2011 Chevy Chase, MD May 26, 2011

RPA Winners, Losers, and Eligibility

Over the past few weeks, we (the dev team of Rock, Paper, Azure) have gotten to be best friends with our internal legal department.  It’s been an educational experience, and this is where things stand with Rock, Paper, Azure. When one player wins a round, he or she is ineligible to win a future round.  If you don’t win, you are eligible to keep playing in subsequent weeks to try to win.  We’ve received a number of very good questions and concerns, so, I’ll try to summarize them here. 1. What if I win second or third place, and I want to keep playing to try to in the first place prize?  Can I do that? Players do have the option to refuse their prize.  If you come in second or third, you may reject it, forfeit your place, and continue playing.   Please note though that you assume the risk for doing this and the decision is final.  As weeks go by, I would expect the competition to get more difficult, so you may do worse and not win any prize at all, and also give up your place should there be a change in eligibility (see next paragraph). In addition to a player purposefully choosing to remove him or herself from claiming the prize, a player may also be found ineligible.   In either case, the prize goes to the next person in line.  So, hypothetically speaking, if the first place player was found ineligible, the second/third/fourth players become first/second/third.  Had player 2 already decided to refuse his place … yep, that’s right – the top three are now third/fourth/fifth from the leaderboard. It’s a bit confusing, but as you can imagine there are legalities involved here. 2. Why are previous winners still playing?  I thought they were ineligible!? Past winners are ineligible to win a prize again.  We’ll remove ineligible players as we can – as you might imagine, there’s a little delay because we’re sorting out the winners from week 1.   But rest assured, before we run the final round on Fridays, we vet all players and then rerun the entire round.  Remember that during the week, the “continuous integration” of your bot is primarily for fun and strategy – it’s only the final round that counts! 3. So, who won week 1? We had no idea it would be this volatile, but it turns out players 2 and 3 (Serplat and marsh) have been removed – one for his choice to keep playing, the other because of, unfortunately, eligibility.  (I wish that wasn’t the case, but laws are laws.)  That means that players 4 and 5 slide up to 2 and 3 – s7orm and AttnSystem now become 2nd and 3rd place, unless they too decide to keep playing and give up their place.  So just remember – you’re never out of it!

RockPaperAzure Coding Challenge

I’m pleased to announce that we’re finally launching our Rock, Paper, Azure Challenge! For the past couple of months, I’ve been working with Jim O’Neil and Peter Laudati on a new Azure event/game called Rock, Paper, Azure.  The concept is this:  you (hopefully) code a “bot” that plays rock, paper, scissors against the other players in the game.  Simple, right? Here’s where it gets interesting.  Rock, paper, scissors by itself isn’t all that interesting (after all, you can’t really beat random in a computer game – assuming you can figure out a good random generator!), so there are two additional moves in the game.  The first is dynamite, which beats rock, paper, and scissors.   Sounds very powerful – and it is – however, you only have a few per match so you need to decide when to use them.   The other move is a water balloon.  The water balloon beats dynamite, but it loses to everything else.   You have unlimited water balloons. Now, with the additional rules, it becomes a challenge to craft an effective strategy.   We do what we call “continuous integration” on the leaderboard – as soon as your bot enters, it’s an all out slugfest and you see where you are in near real time.   In fact, just a few minutes ago, a few of us playing a test round were constantly tweaking our bots to defeat each other – it was a lot of fun trying to outthink each other. Starting next week, we’ve got some great prizes on the line – including Xbox systems, Kinect, and gift cards – so be sure to check it out!   The project homepage is here: See you in the game!

Azure Firestarter – coming soon!

I’m excited to announce that our Azure Firestarter series is getting ready to roll!  Registration details at the bottom.  Basically, I’m teaming up with my colleagues Peter Laudati and Jim ONeil and we’ll be travelling around.   We’re intentionally been waiting to do these events so they post-PDC – this means we’ll include the new stuff we’re announcing at PDC!  Also, for those wondering what was going on with the @home series, we’ll be doing that here, too, with some revamped ideas… The Agenda Is cloud computing still a foggy concept for you? Have you heard of Windows Azure, but aren’t quite sure of how it applies to you and the projects you’re working on? Join your Microsoft Developer Evangelists for this free, all-day event combining presentations and hands-on exercises to demystify the latest disruptive (and over-hyped!) technology and to provide some clarity as to where the cloud and Windows Azure can take you. 8:00 a.m. - Registration 8:30 a.m. - Morning Sessions: Getting Your Head into the Cloud Ask ten people to define “Cloud Computing,” and you’ll get a dozen responses. To establish some common ground, we’ll kick off the event by delving into what cloud computing means, not just by presenting an array of acronyms like SaaS and IaaS , but by focusing on the scenarios that cloud computing enables and the opportunities it provides. We’ll use this session to introduce the building blocks of the Windows Azure Platform and set the stage for the two questions most pertinent to you: “how do I take my existing applications to the cloud?” and “how do I design specifically for the cloud?” Migrating Applications to Windows Azure How difficult is it to migrate your applications to the cloud? What about designing your applications to be flexible inside and outside of cloud environments? These are common questions, and in this session, we’ll specifically focus on migration strategies and adapting your applications to be “cloud ready.” We’ll examine how Azure VMs differ from a typical server – covering everything from CPU and memory, to profiling performance, load balancing considerations, and deployment strategies such as dealing with breaking changes in schemas and contracts. We’ll also cover SQL Azure migration strategies and how the forthcoming VM and Admin Roles can aid in migrating to the cloud. Creating Applications for Windows Azure Windows Azure enables you to leverage a great deal of your Visual Studio and .NET expertise on an ‘infinitely scalable’ platform, but it’s important to realize the cloud is a different environment from traditional on-premises or hosted applications. Windows Azure provides new capabilities and features – like Azure storage and the AppFabric – that differentiate an application translated to Azure from one built for Azure. We’ll look at many of these platform features and examine tradeoffs in complexity, performance, and costs. 12:15 - Lunch 1:00 - Cloud Play Enough talk! Bring your laptop or pair with a friend, as we spend the afternoon with our heads (and laptops) in the cloud. Each attendee will receive a two-week “unlimited” Azure account to use during (and after) our instructor-led hands-on lab. During the lab you’ll reinforce the very concepts we discussed in the morning as you develop and deploy a compelling distributed computing application to Windows Azure. 4:00 p.m. The Silver Lining: Evaluations and Giveaways Registration & Details Use the links below to register for the Windows Azure Firestarter in the city closest to you. City Date Registration Tampa, FL November 8 REGISTER HERE! Alpharetta, GA November 10 REGISTER HERE! Charlotte, NC November 11 REGISTER HERE! Rochester, NY November 16 REGISTER HERE! Waltham, MA November 30 REGISTER HERE! New York, NY December 1 REGISTER HERE! Malvern, PA December 7 REGISTER HERE! Chevy Chase, MD December 9 REGISTER HERE! Hope to see you there!

Upcoming Windows Phone 7 Events

Want to learn more about developing for Windows Phone 7?  Check out his event series coming soon!   The event is broken down into two parts:  the Firestarter event which runs all day, then an evening event called the Windows Phone Garage… learn more below, and the registration links for both events in all the cities is at the bottom of the post: Morning Sessions: · Introduction to Windows Phone Development and the WP7 platform · Building Windows Phone 7 Applications with Silverlight · Building Windows Phone 7 Applications using XNA Lunch (included) Afternoon Sessions: · Monetizing Your Apps with Marketplace · Windows Phone 7 Services · Light Up Windows Phone 7 Windows Phone Garage| 6pm - 9pm This evening event is the opportunity for you to get started on that next killer app for Windows Phone 7, or put the finishing touches on your masterpiece. The Windows Phone Garage for mobile application developers follows the daytime Firestarter event. As you are designing, writing & testing your apps onsite, we’ll provide Windows Phone 7 experts (both Microsoft and community) to help you get things right. These experts will also present “quick hit” talks throughout the evening, containing tips and tricks on their experiences writing Windows Phone apps. It's the perfect opportunity to design and implement that cool new app you've been dreaming about, so bring your ideas and get ready to code. To learn more about the Phone Garage event or to register, click on an event city near you. Hurry, space is limited! For more information or to register, visit > OR CALL 1-877-MSEVENT Windows Phone 7 Firestarter Windows Phone 7 Garage To register, select a city To register, select a city Atlanta, GA 8/24/2010 Atlanta,GA 8/24/2010 Waltham, MA 8/24/2010 Waltham, MA 8/24/2010 Birmingham, AL 8/26/2010 Birmingham, AL 8/26/2010 Tampa, FL 8/31/2010 Tampa, FL 8/31/2010 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 9/2/2010 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 9/2/2010 New York, NY 9/7/2010 New York, NY 9/7/2010 Raleigh, NC 9/8/2010 Raleigh, NC 9/8/2010 Chevy Chase, MD 9/21/2010 Chevy Chase, MD 9/21/2010 Charlotte, NC 9/21/2010 Charlotte, NC 9/21/2010 Philadelphia, PA 9/22/2010 Philadelphia, PA 9/22/2010 Pittsburgh, PA 9/28/2010 Pittsburgh, PA 9/28/2010 Farmington, CT 9/30/2010 Farmington, CT 9/30/2010

@home: Most Common Problems #1

Jim and I are nearly done with the @home with Azure series, but we wanted to document some of the biggest issues we see every week.  As we go through the online workshop, many users are deploying an Azure application for the first time after installing the tools and SDK.   In some cases, attendees are installing the tools and SDK in the beginning of the workshop. When installing the tools and SDK, it’s important to make sure all the prerequisites are installed (available on the download page).  The biggest roadblock is typically IIS7 – which basically rules out Windows XP and similar pre-IIS7 operating systems.  IIS7 also needs to be installed (by default, it isn’t), which can be verified by going into the control panels / programs and features. The first time you hit F5 on an Azure project, development storage and the development fabric are initialized, so this is typically the second hurdle to cross.   Development storage relies on SQL Server to house the data for the local development storage simulation.  If you have SQL Express installed, this should just work out of the box.  If you have SQL Server Standard (or other edition), or a non-default instance of SQL Server, you’ll likely receive an error to the effect of, “unable to initialize development storage.” The Azure SDK includes a tool called DSINIT that can be used to configure development storage for these cases.  Using the DSINIT tool, you can configure development storage to use a default or named instance of SQL Server. With these steps complete, you should be up and running!

.NET Rocks this Thursday

The .NET Rocks guys are coming on Thursday to Duke, and it’s not too late to register!  Here’s some more info, and to register, go here: Carl and Richard are loading up the DotNetMobile (a 30 foot RV) and driving to your town again to show off their favorite bits of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0! Richard talks about Web load testing and Carl talks about Silverlight 4.0 and multimedia. And to make the night even more fun, we’re going to bring a mystery rock star from the Visual Studio world to the event and interview them for a special .NET Rocks Road Trip show series. Along the way we’ll be giving away some great prizes, showing off some awesome technology and having a ton of laughs. So come out to the most fun you can have in a geeky evening – and learn a few things along the way about web load testing and Silverlight 4!

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