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ArcReady is coming to Grand Rapids, MI

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So, you live in GR, and you want to go to ArcReady, but Detroit is just too far away? Then rest easy my friend. With some great help from Chris Woodruff, and the great folks at RCM Technologies, we are bringing ArcReady to Grand Rapids. The www.arcready.com site should be updated soon. The link to register is

http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032413886&Culture=en-US.

For information on what the sessions will be about, check out my post from last week.

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nPlus1.org is giving away $250

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nPlus1.org is on a hunt for a new look. The site has really taken off over the past six months, and they are ready for a facelift.

Go design a new look, and submit it. First prize is $250 to Best Buy and a copy of Vista Ultimate. There are other prizes as well.

Their site is built on Graffiti CMS, and you will need to either provide a template, or other materials to easily upgrade the site.

Take a look at the official rules and requirements at http://nplus1.org/faceliftcontest/.

Upcoming events in the area

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Mike Wood and Jennifer Marsman put together this list of events in the area.

I often get asked how people know about the events. It actually becomes sort of all over the place. There is the MSDN Events page, communitymegaphone.com, the web pages of your local user groups, word of mouth, word of social networking site, word of twitter, etc. There isn’t one place to rule them all. While that seems unfortunate, I don’t that is achievable, or worthwhile. The goal should be to announce the events in as many channels as possible. You don’t seen an ad for a movie just at the movie theatre, do you?

Any way, on to the list:

Event

Event Date

Website

Cincinnati Silverlight Firestarter

3/28/2009

http://cinnug.org/

West Michigan .NET University

4/4/2009

http://dodn.org/WestMichiganDotNetU/

Central Ohio Day of .NET

4/18/2009

http://cinnug.org/cododn/

Lansing Give Camp

4/24/2009-4/26/2009

http://www.lansinggivecamp.org/

Kalamazoo X Conference

4/25/2009

http://www.kalamazoox.org/

Stir Trek

5/8/2009

http://www.stirtrek.com/

Lansing Tech Fest (Open Space)

5/30/2009

http://www.LansingTechFest.org (website not up yet)

Cincinnati ORM Firestarter

6/13/2009

No URL yet?

CodeStock

6/26/2009-6/27/2009

http://www.codestock.org/

Ann Arbor Give Camp

7/17/2009-7/19/2009

http://michigangivecamp.org/cms/AnnArbor/

Columbus Give Camp

7/17/2009-7/19/2009

No URL yet?

Lansing Day of .NET

8/1/2009

http://www.dayofdotnet.org (Lansing site not yet)

devLink

8/13/2009-8/15/2009

http://www.devlink.net/

Learn Lean Processes with LeanDog

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LeanDog is an interesting company. They are located in Cleveland, on a barge. Yes, a barge, on the water. They run an agile shop, and deliver software solutions for their customers.

The great thing is that they open up their space to a whole host of community events. I love it when companies ‘get’ why they should support and adopt the community. Jon, the founder, has an amazing amount of passion for agile practices, and experience helping teams adopt them.

TDD is an amazing practice. It has had a huge impact on how software is developed today. It has shifted how tech teams look at writing software, and has dramatically increased the initial quality of the software, and reduced the long term maintenance costs as well.

The trick with it is that it is very hard to learn, and takes at least six months if you are learning it by reading books and blogs. It is just one of those skills that you need to do with someone to fully get. You can reduce the learning time by doing this. If you are trying to learn TDD you need to find someone to work with, and spend some time with them

LeanDog will be offering some training later this month, "Test Driven Development & Refactoring in C#”. They will cover what TDD is, design and refactoring skills, as well as testing skills that you need.

My two good friends, Nate Hoellein and Corey Haines will be the instructors. The course does cost $1995 for the three days, but that is a small price to pay for being in a room with these two guys for three days. The training is on April 21,22 & 23rd. The cost includes parking, equipment, and food. Dancing bears are extra.

Check out www.leandog.com for all of the gory details.

Windows 7 Beta to RC Guidance

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THIS IS NOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT WHEN THE RC WILL BE AVAILABLE!

Many people have been running the beta of Windows 7 for a while now, and we have gotten some great feedback. I have been running weekly internal builds since build 7000 went public, and it gets better every time. I, personally, have been loving my experience with Win7.

At some point in the future, we will be releasing a Release Candidate (RC) for Windows 7. Many of you with Windows 7 Beta installed will be sorely tempted to just upgrade to the RC. I can understand why, as I do build-to-build upgrades on my machines every week. It saves all that setting up, installing, and what not that you have to do to take a machine from bare metal to something that is productive for you.

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PLEASE, use Windows Easy Transfer, save off your files, and then do a fresh install. We ask you do this mainly so we can test a real world scenario. You CAN do a build-to-build upgrade, but that is not a scenario we are trying to test, and the point of an RC is to get a broad sense of what is going on in the “REAL WORLD.(TM)”

Am I the only one that thinks ‘type mismatch’ from my old Apple IIe basic days when I see the trademark symbol?

When I do build-to-build, it takes a few hours as the files and settings are migrated, so an upgrade doesn’t save you all that much time from a fresh install. When I have been doing fresh installs (at least one of my machines per new build), I have been using Live mesh to do all of the heavy lifting. Here is what I do:

- Install OS

- Join Domain

- Install Office 2007 and VSTS 2008

- Install Live Mesh

- Let is sync for a while

- Install little tools (Live Essentials, ISO mounter, and FoxIt Reader are the first)

- Install twitter client. :)

Another great path we would like you to try is to upgrade from an existing Windows Vista machine. Please report issues via the connect.Microsoft.com site. This allows us to channel the feedback to the correct team, and allows you to see what other people are reporting.

Copy the contents of the ISO to a flash drive, and install off of that. It’s super fast.

A few notes that all of your should already know:

- Don’t run BETA software on any machine that is important to your productivity.

- Don’t do an upgrade on a machine before you have backed up the important data.

To get the scoop on this whole scenario, and the instructions for doing a build-to-build upgrade, check out http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/04/07/delivering-a-quality-upgrade-experience.aspx.

PS. The good news is that it will contain IE8RTM and be able to run the Azure SDK.

TechNet Unleashed – Windows Server 2008 R2

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Session 1: Windows Server 2008 R2 – Optimize your Time

Get a jump start on your peers with Windows Server 2008 R2 by joining us for this no nonsense technical session, where we will discuss the critical improvements in the next version of Windows Server. Some have argued that, given the impressive scope of new functionality in Windows Server 2008 R2, it should not be an “R2” release, but rather should be given a completely new name. They point to features such as Direct Access, Branch Caching, Live Migration, Powershell 2.0, and VDI that will help you cut down on the amount of time you spend doing mundane tasks, reduce end user frustration and support headaches, and give your mobile workforce a competitive edge through ubiquitous access to company data. There’s a good chance that by attending this session you’ll find a way to save time and money with Windows Server 2008 R2, and so you’ll get the time you spend with us back many times over.

Session 2: Windows 7 – Maximize Your Potential

In designing Windows 7, the engineering team had a clear focus on what we call ‘the fundamentals': performance, application compatibility, device compatibility, reliability, security and battery life. Early reviews of Windows 7 seem to indicate that the choice to focus on the fundamentals is resonating well with many users and professionals. And, IT professionals will further benefit from the enhancements to manageability and security. You’ll also learn how your investments in testing and evaluating Windows Vista will pay off in the transition to Windows 7. Come see firsthand what all the buzz is about in this demo-intensive session where we explore the UI improvements, performance gains, and manageability enhancements in the next client operating system from Microsoft.

Session 3: Internet Explorer 8 – Get Excited About the Browser Again

Internet Explorer is currently the most widely used browser in business, and while we’ve seen nice incremental improvements to IE in recent history, we haven’t seen as many truly earth shattering changes. Well, many agree that the next release of IE, Internet Explorer 8, provides the most compelling upgrade to IE in many years. In a typical day, users spend 2 hours or more per day in the browser, so significant improvements here can have tremendous impact on productivity and the way we work. The browser needs to be thought of in the same terms as an operating system—it has to be rich, robust, interoperable, easy to use and secure. Internet Explorer 8 is a browser that meets these needs and more for users, enterprises, IT professionals and developers alike. Come learn how the new improvements, too numerous to mention here, are driving many to get excited about the browser again.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

IT professionals interested in learning about the next generation of Microsoft platforms and tools.

WHERE ARE THE EVENTS?

Events are held in 16 cities across Central Region. To register for this event, please select a link below.

Location/Registration

Date

Time

Waukesha, WI

4/28/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Austin, TX

4/28/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Bloomington, MN

4/30/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Cleveland, OH

4/30/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Indianapolis, IN

5/4/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Chicago, IL

5/5/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Columbus, OH

5/12/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Houston, TX

5/12/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Mason, OH

5/14/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Overland Park, KS

5/14/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Dallas, TX

5/19/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Southfield, MI

5/20/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Downers Grove, IL

5/20/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

St. Louis, MO

5/21/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Nashville, TN

6/11/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

Knoxville, TN

6/12/2009

3:10pm – 5:00pm

MSDN Unleashed – IE8 & Windows 7 for Developers

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Session 1: Internet Explorer 8 for Developers

The Windows Internet Explorer 8 browser makes it easier to explore and interact with the web. Did you know that there will be a new standards mode by default? While it can easily be turned off, knowing the potential to impact this may have on many sites that have been crafted around various features in past versions is a good idea. Attend this session to learn which current practices you need to change and how the new standards mode affects your development techniques and your existing sites. We review tools that are built into Internet Explorer 8 to help developers debug and create Web pages. We also discuss Web Slices, Accelerators, and Search Suggestion – all of which are key new features in this latest release.

In this session we’ll show you:

· Developer Tools

· Selectors API

· Use and create accelerators

· Use and create web slices

· Use and create search suggestions

· AJAX Navigation enhancements with Virtual Earth demo on history, AJAX Cross Domain Calls

· CSS improvements (printing, counters, new pseudo classes)

Session 2: Developing on Microsoft Windows 7

Building applications that are easy to use, visually appealing, and offer high performance is a challenge that developers face every day. Innovative applications can greatly improve the user experience, empowering companies to differentiate their services and solutions. However, developers are increasingly asked to do more in less time, while also optimizing the power and performance requirements of their applications. The Windows 7 platform makes it easy for developers to create engaging, user-friendly applications by providing familiar tools and rich development features that allow them to take advantage of the latest PC capabilities. In this session we will explore the new Taskbar and Jump Lists, the Scenic Ribbon, file management with Libraries, and Windows Web Services among many other enhancements to the new operating system.

In this session we’ll show you:

· New Features in Windows 7

· Use and create jump lists

· Scenic Ribbon API

· Use and create Libraries

· Windows Web Services API

· Additional enhancements that support development

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Developers interested in learning about the next generation of Microsoft platforms and tools.

WHERE ARE THE EVENTS?

Events are held in 16 cities across Central Region. To register for this event, please visit http://www.msdnevents.com/unleashed.

Location/Registration

Date

Time

Waukesha, WI

4/28/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Austin, TX

4/28/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Bloomington, MN

4/30/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Cleveland, OH

4/30/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Indianapolis, IN

5/4/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Chicago, IL

5/5/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Columbus, OH

5/12/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Houston, TX

5/12/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Mason, OH

5/14/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Overland Park, KS

5/14/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Dallas, TX

5/19/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Southfield, MI

5/20/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Downers Grove, IL

5/20/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

St. Louis, MO

5/21/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Nashville, TN

6/11/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Knoxville, TN

6/12/2009

1:00pm – 2:50pm

ArcReady – Architecting for the Client Tier

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Architecting for the Client Tier

The client (or presentation) tier of our applications is taking on an increasingly important role. Users are expecting more compelling user interfaces, but they also want more functionality from their applications. In this ArcReady we examine how to design and deliver well architected client applications that will be easy to maintain and extend.

Session 1: Trends and Patterns on the Client Tier

In our first session we will take a vendor and platform neutral look at some of the trends and emerging technologies that can be used on the client tier. We will look at techniques like Mashups, technologies like Natural User Interfaces (NUI) and the increasing importance of the mobile platform. We will also look at some common patterns that can be used in the architecture of the client tier.

Session 2: Applying Microsoft Technology on the Client Tier

In our second session we will take some look at how we can use Microsoft technologies to create well architected and compelling client applications. We will look at technologies like Silverlight and WPF that can be used to create compelling clients. We will also look at technologies that can be used to make your applications more extensible for future development. We will also examine some architectural guidance developed by the Microsoft Patterns and Practices group.

WHAT IS ARCREADY?

· A forum for aspiring and practicing architects to discuss industry trends

· An overview of Microsoft’s roadmap as it relates to software architecture

· A mechanism to solicit your feedback

· An opportunity to showcase the work you do!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Architects and Senior Developers who are interested in becoming an architect.

WHERE ARE THE EVENTS?

Events are held in 16 cities across Central Region. To register for this event, please visit www.arcready.com.

Location/Registration

Date

Time

Waukesha, WI

4/28/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Austin, TX

4/28/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Bloomington, MN

4/30/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Cleveland, OH

4/30/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Indianapolis, IN

5/4/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Chicago, IL

5/5/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Columbus, OH

5/12/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Houston, TX

5/12/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Mason, OH

5/14/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Overland Park, KS

5/14/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Dallas, TX

5/19/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Southfield, MI

5/20/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Downers Grove, IL

5/20/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

St. Louis, MO

5/21/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Nashville, TN

6/11/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

Knoxville, TN

6/12/2009

9:00am – 11:45am

KalamXoo Conference is on April 25th, 2009

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While I am here at the great West Michigan .NET University event, I wanted to tell you about another Michigan event coming up. This one has a bit of a different flavor though. Instead of being all about hard skills, all of the talks will be about soft skills. I think this is a great change. While we have a very strong community in the area, our user groups spend too much of their time talking about hard skills, and not enough time about skills that make them better developers as a whole. The Kalamaxoo event team set out to change this. I will be speaking, as well as some other great people, so check it out.

 

From their site http://blindbackup.com/,

 

The Kalamazoo X Conference is a one-day software development conference hosted in beautiful Southwest Michigan. While there are many great technical conferences in the region, their focus tends toward new technologies and programming languages. The Kalamazoo X Conference intends to uniquely complement those conferences by enabling attendees to boost their process, design, and communication skills in the following areas:

  • Human interaction, including social, personal, and career development.
  • Interface and graphic design
  • Development processes and best practices
  • Requirements analysis, architecture, design, and modeling

This one day, one of a kind conference is being held April 25, 2009 from 8AM to 6PM in beautiful downtown Kalamazoo.

Register Now! Professionals $20, Students $10.

devLink has opened registration

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I could sit here and tell you about the great conference that devLink is, or how inexpensive (and cost effective it is), or say how awesome it was last year, or about the great speakers (and myself) that will be there. But I figured just pasting in their own well written announcement is enough. It’s call code reuse. I get to be a speaker again this year. While I doubt there will be a devLink bus this year (people still haven’t recovered from last year’s bus) but it would be cheap to get some buddies, and carpool down there. See you there!

 

     The devLink Technical Conference is pleased to announce it's fourth annual event - devLink 2009.  This year devLink will take place August 13 - 15 in Nashville, TN.  We have worked hard to bring you the best content possible at a price you can afford.  This year promises to be the best devLink ever with nearly 100 sessions offered over three days.  That's right, we have expanded devLink to a third day to allow even more content to be delivered to you.  The tentative list of sessions is available now so click here for more information

    We understand that economic hardships abound, so again devLink is brought to you at a price so reasonable that a ticket to devLink is less than two good technical books.  Now don't you think you will get more out of three days worth of content delivered by experienced professionals than a couple of books?  General admission tickets to devLink 2009 are $100, but if you buy your ticket before April 15 they are only $75.  So what are you waiting for? Get your ticket NOW!

     Since 2006, the devLink conference has sold out tickets before the deadline.  While we cannot control demand, we can control how many seats are available.  This year we return to the excellent facilities offered by Lipscomb University and with that expand our seating capacity to 800 people.  Space is limited and having a ticket to devLink 2009 is the only way you can assure admittance so get your ticket TODAY!

Three tips to help your career on Edge

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While I was on campus in Redmond during the MVP summit in March, Adam Carter asked me to swing by the TechNet Edge studio for a quick visit. We sat down, and talked about three things you can do to help you career. Check it out. There are some funny April Fool’s joke videos as well.