Windows 7 - Azure - Game Development - Silverlight - ASP.NET 4 - Scrum - LE Training

Hello my internet-travelling brethren! I’m just catching up from yet another full-week at Microsoft (as you can see in this post), after hitting my two-year anniversary with Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS). What a ride it has been thus far, and completely enjoyable! This past week had me working on some internal projects, as well as our internal Swine Flu Disaster Response Portal, and remotely supporting a customer during their go-live into production.

The views and opinions stated in this blog are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Microsoft. Each posting on this blog is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

Windows Seven Release Candidate Update
On Tuesday, May 5 (PST), the RC will be available to everyone via our Customer Preview Program. As with the Beta, the Windows 7 RC Customer Preview Program is a broad public program that offers the RC free to anyone who wants to download it. It will be available at least through June 30, 2009, with no limits on the number of downloads or product keys available.

Windows Azure Geo-Location features now live!
At MIX ‘09, Microsoft announced the upcoming support for geo-location, and I’m pleased to let you all know along with other Azure enthusiasts that this functionality is now live.

The first thing you’ll notice when creating a new storage account or hosted service is that there’s a new “affinity group” section. The simplest thing you can do here is choose a region (currently limited to “USA – Anywhere,” “USA – Northwest,” and “USA – Southwest”) where you’d be using Affinity Groups

One of the reasons to choose where your storage accounts and hosted services are running is to make sure that the two are very close to each other, to make sure you have high bandwidth and low latency between your running application and the data it depends on. Using our new geo-location functionality, you can now specify an affinity between different hosted services and storage accounts. This is better than just choosing the same region, because it tells Windows Azure that you want everything in this affinity group to be as close as possible. We’ll use that information to make decisions about exactly how to lay out applications and data in the data center for your applications.  To use affinity groups, just choose the second option in the new affinity group section.

A hot mobile download, courtesy of Windows Mobile Total Access: Exercise your intellect with this touch-screen version of Brain College. And with 20 different games, you’re sure to feel a buzz between your temples as you work towards graduation day. School yourself with Brain College

Interested in Game Development?
With more than 200 developers and designers dedicated to the production of the highly anticipated Far Cry 2, Ubisoft needed way to manage a sophisticated, multi-year development project, and complete it using available budget and resources. Ubisoft took advantage of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio Team System and made it a cornerstone of their game development department! With it, Ubisoft was able to release Far Cry 2 on time and on budget, deliver and unprecedented gaming experience, and help boost developer efficiency. You can read more via a case study just released.

**Silverlight Tidbits**The launch of Silverlight 3 and Expression 3 will mark the moment where Microsoft is in a position to be able to compete head-to-head with Adobe. One of the sought after features with Silverlight, especially for the mobile platform, is multi-touch.

In an internal Silverlight 3 build I’ve seen, the new multi-touch support feature enables developers to build Silverlight web and out-of-browser apps that respond to WM_TOUCH in managed code. (Note: Not only will you need the SL3 runtime, you also need Windows 7 Touch capable hardware/driver + a recent build of Windows 7) The built-in Silverlight 3 UI controls will not automatically respond to multi-touch input (except of course for standard mouse promotion) – app authors have to opt-in and respond to the events in their code.

It will be a snap to create a new Silverlight app and attach an event handler for the Touch.FrameReported event to get hooked up to multi-touch input:

public partial class MainPage : UserControl


    public MainPage()



        Touch.FrameReported += new TouchFrameEventHandler(Touch_FrameReported);


    void Touch_FrameReported(object sender, TouchFrameEventArgs e)


        // respond to multi-touch input here



PluralSight’s Newsletter : Exclusive Content from Fritz Onion

PluralSight has some amazing content for developers, and their On-Demand! Training content showcases some of the best Microsoft developer training in the industry. I totally recommend heading over to their site and getting more information. Here’s a tidbit from Fritz Onion that was in the latest PluralSight newsletter:

The 4.0 release of ASP.NET AJAX will include a significant number of new features targeted at client-side programming. Earlier releases of ASP.NET AJAX included client-side programming features like web service proxies, global helper functions (like $get and $create), client library additions (like Sys.StringBuilder), and a complete set of extensions to add classes, namespaces, interfaces, and inheritance to the JavaScript language. Most of these features, however, were targeted at supporting the developer in building client-side features by hand, and did not help much with generating client-side HTML or manipulating the DOM. Version 4.0 introduces two major features for simplifying client-side development: client-side data binding and declarative component creation. As we’ll see, the addition of these two features greatly expands the options you have when writing client pages. Declarative instantiation and templating define a client-side model that is very familiar and therefore easy to use.

As you may be aware, the first release of ASP.NET AJAX had a supplemental futures release that contained an implementation of declarative instantiation and client binding, so we always knew this was coming. However, the earlier implementation was based on XML and required that the user insert a script element marked with the type=’text/xml-script’ attribute below the HTML for the page. While initially very promising, this technique had several drawbacks including its verbosity, its dependence on a client XML parser, and performance issues. Finally in version 4.0, we have a completely new implementation that doesn’t suffer from any of these limitations, and looks to be really useful and easy to use.

This article is based on the preview 4 release of ASP.NET Ajax available for download at, and thus the details of some features explained here are subject to change before the final release. Click here to read the remaining 1571 words

Free Scrum Webinars from Danube
As the economy tightens and teams are asked to deliver better results with fewer resources, getting your Scrum transformation right is critical. Luckily, Danube has you covered with its special events webinars. Led by their ScrumCORE™ team of five Certified Scrum Trainers, these webinars are great ways to refresh your Scrum expertise. And as always, they're 100% free of charge and sales pitches. I attended several webinars, as well as became a Certified Scrummaster at one of Danube’s on-site training courses. A full schedule of upcoming webinars can be found at, but here are two you won't want to miss:

Thursday, May 7th: "Scrum: The Developer's Perspective" by Michael James 11:00 – 11:45 AM PDT
Register here:

Thursday, May 21st: "Scrum for Project Managers" by Angela Druckman 1:00 – 2:00 PM PDT
Register here:

Forensic Training FOR UK & Ireland Law Enforcement

In July 2007 Microsoft sponsored LE1: Microsoft UK’s first Law Enforcement Training Conference, with David Blunkett, MP, as keynote. In April 2008 Microsoft again held LE2, at Microsoft’s Campus in Reading, with David Davis, MP, as keynote. As the criminal element continues to adapt to ever changing technology, we are pleased to announce our next Forensic Training program for Law Enforcement. This 3-day training program, offered in two different locations, consists of forensic training lectures, and presentations by government and law enforcement luminaries. And, we’ve added a brief on ‘what to expect at trial’ and a case study by LE.

This training will be offered at two different locations:

· LE3: 02-04 June 2009, Microsoft Campus, Reading RG6 1WG   (Seating capacity: 220)

· LE4: 29 June-01 July, Microsoft Edinburgh, Waverley Gate, 2-4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG  (Seating capacity: 55)

Register now by Telephone or the Internet:

LE3 Reading

Online: - Invitation Code: 5559D0

OR, Telephone: 0870 166 6680 / ref: 4759

LE4 Edinburgh

Online – - Invitation Code: 58808A

OR, Telephone: 0870 166 6680 / ref: 4780

[Note: A letter has been sent to all Chief Constables advising of this training opportunity.]


The views and opinions stated in this blog are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Microsoft. Each posting on this blog is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights