# Tuesday, 09 November 2010
BizSpark is an amazing program. Startups (companies under 3 years old with revenue under a million dollars a year) that are making software can have full access to Microsoft developer tools (yes, MSDN Ultimate for every developer in the company) for FREE. There is a $100 exit fee, but it costs you nothing to get started. We are a Network Partner and have sponsored a number of our mentoring clients into the program.

Well now some firms are seeing the end of that three-year membership ahead of them and wondering, what's next? Soma has announced a truly generous offer. Graduates from the program can have that exit fee (nominal as it was) waived, and can keep and continue to use all the software they acquired while in the program. For some, this will be all they need to keep on making great software with those tools. But some will want newer versions as they are released, or will want the Windows Azure subscriptions that come with an MSDN subscription. So for the (very low) price of about $1000 per developer, they can continue their subscriptions for another two years. That will take care of developer tools like Visual Studio. As well, they can buy Microsoft Software Assurance at half price, if they need production licenses of Windows or SQL Server.

If your startup has been in business three years, and you've been paying people and renting an office all that time, I'm sure these prices look delightfully affordable to you. If you've been hesitating about joining BizSpark because you weren't sure what would happen after the three years, well now you know, so don't hold back! For those who are eligible it really is the best deal in town.

Tuesday, 09 November 2010 08:13:33 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, 07 November 2010
Let's say you've written a great client (that is, not web) application. Perhaps you've added some specific features to make it great on Windows 7. Certainly you've made sure it runs on Windows 7. Or perhaps on Windows Server 2008 R2. Or maybe your app runs on Windows Azure, or Windows Phone 7. Good work! You put time and effort into confirming that your app fits your chosen platform. Now, would you like to be able to prove it with a suite of automated tests and a logo that shows you passed them? Of course you would.

So head on over to Microsoft Platform Ready and take a look around. You'll find training resources to help you build applications that target Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Azure. You can test your app and get logos like Powered by Windows Azure and Works with Windows Server 2008 R2.You can even showcase your application in a marketplace, and take advantage of special offers like extended trials of developer tools from various partners.

This is an obvious step for anyone building a client application, on any part of the Microsoft platform. Investigate, join, reap the rewards :-).


Sunday, 07 November 2010 07:57:05 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, 05 November 2010

You may have noticed that the fall tour I'm doing features morning talks that go till about 11:30, and evening talks that start at 6pm. I've decided that between those two, I'll spend the afternoon in a coffee shop and host an "on the road coffee and code". As I explain on the Coffee and Code page I keep for this purpose, this is really informal. Just stop by, say hi, we can talk about whatever you like. If you were at the morning session, you might want to just walk with me from the venue to the coffee shop and continue the conversation. Or if you're coming to the evening session, you might want to try to find me during the afternoon to ask something specific, then head to the venue together. Or maybe you have a topic to discuss that has nothing to do with Building Awesome Windows 7 Applications in managed code: a C++ question, or an extending Visual Studio 2010 question, or whatever. That's great, and the Coffee and Code format is just the place for us to have that chat.

Levitating coffee cup from microsoft.ca/office  Ancient laptop from microsoft.ca/office

If you live or work near the venues for the fall tour, I'd appreciate your suggestions (by email or twitter) for where to hold these. Obviously we need wifi, power, and a table we can hog for most of the day. My default choice is Starbucks, but if you know a better one that I can easily walk to, please tell me about it. Once I've chosen the location I can finalize the times.

Looking forward to meeting everyone,


Friday, 05 November 2010 11:10:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 03 November 2010

Right after Tech Ed I will embark on a mini-tour of three Canadian cities, while Richard Campbell does two others, to be called the "Building Awesome Apps for Windows 7 Community Tour". The details are on the Canadian Developers blog. First, the dates, times, and register links:

Date City Time  
Thursday, Nov 18 Montréal 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Thursday, Nov 18 Montréal 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register
Wednesday, Nov 24 Mississauga 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Wednesday, Nov 24 Mississauga 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register
Thursday, Dec 2 Ottawa 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Thursday, Dec 2 Ottawa 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register
Thursday, Dec 2 Calgary 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register
Friday, Dec 3 Calgary 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Tuesday, Dec 7 Vancouver 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Tuesday, Dec 7 Vancouver 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register

Next, descriptions - what are we going to do? We're going to make you better Windows 7 developers, that's what. We'll do some Code Pack coverage (sure, jumplists, taskbar stuff, but beyond that - some of the material from my Advanced Windows 7 Development at Tech Ed Europe will get its Canadian debut) and then dive into touch development. There are abstracts in John's blog post.

If you can't get to one of those cities on the appropriate day, never fear - there will be a webcast, too. Please spread the word about the webcast throughout North America, everyone's welcome! 

I'm looking forward to this tremendously!


Wednesday, 03 November 2010 12:10:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, 01 November 2010

Here's something that happens to me a lot. I'm working on a project that is mostly Technology A, but I need a little Technology B. I want a sample or two to show me what it can do. I search the web, but often find mostly things written by people who don't know what they're doing and are posting their (possibly flawed) code into question-and-answer forums. I search MSDN, but often the newest technologies don't have their samples yet. I also remember to check if the All-in-One Framework people (I blogged about their coding standards document earlier) have anything. And if I still get nowhere I start asking people I know if they have one.

Well, now those helpful folks at All-in-One are kicking it up a notch. And remember, they cover all technologies and languages related to Microsoft tools. (Want to know more about them? Here's a fun video.)

And this goes back to one of my earliest blog posts - what you want may be what I need to give. Imagine it's your job to decide what samples to write. How are you ever going to find out what developers out in the big wide world want samples of? You could come up with a great idea and then find out people already had all the samples they needed for that. So that person wants ideas for samples. And here you are needing a sample. See how that works?

Just visit the wiki page and follow their instructions. It's a tad more complex than "shoot me an email and tell me what you need" and for good reason. Give it a whirl if there's something you need!


Monday, 01 November 2010 10:40:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, 30 October 2010
Think you can write a TFS client for Windows Phone 7? Think you can do it by the end of November? Would you like a free MSDN subscription with Visual Studio Ultimate worth about $15,000 Canadian? Then you need to read Barry Gervin's post where he offers you not just that, but several (probably more valuable) introductions and blog mentions.

Now, you don't need to write all of Team Explorer. Barry suggests build status, dashboards, work item editing, and of course connecting to what the phone knows about People on the team. And he wants to hear from those who are trying, so he can help make it happen.

Interested? Plan your code, email Barry, write your code, and in the end email him the code and maybe a video demo by November 30th. Easy, right?


Saturday, 30 October 2010 11:13:14 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, 28 October 2010
Thanks to the Markham .NET Users Group for passing along this job opportunity. The full description is in a Word document on the user group website. Here are some things that jumped out at me:
  • The company is big enough to have an IT department who will support you
  • They use a variety of Microsoft technologies including some reasonably new stuff like Workflow
  • You should have experience doing web and database development with Microsoft tools
  • They have Windows applications too, and need you to know about concurrency and threading
  • They want you to gather requirements and to train end users as well as write code, so you need to be well rounded and enjoy a variety of types of work
My guess is they are not a software development house but a manufacturing company. These jobs can be very rewarding because you get more responsibility more quickly, but on the other hand there may not be a career track to senior dev, architect, manager of devs etc because there aren't that many developers in the building.

It's nice to see they want to hire two developers. You know you won't be a team of one, anyway! If you're interested, please follow the instructions on the user group web site, which is to send an email to a specific email address with specific information in the subject line. Emailing me or commenting on this post won't help, sorry.


Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:06:15 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 26 October 2010

If you search for my name in the Tech Ed Europe session list, you'll see four sessions. But I've only blogged about three: Modern C++, Windows 7 Development with Code Pack, and Advanced Windows 7 Development. Now it's time to talk about the fourth, the Women in Technology Panel. I've been asked to run it this year, which is a big honour for me and one I'm pleased to take on. I have found four great panelists who are not all the same age, don't all live in the same place, and don't all do the same kinds of work. I hope that makes the conversation useful to a wide variety of attendees.

Here's the abstract:

If you're a woman in technology, or if you care about the topic (fathers of daughters, this is your cue) then come to the Women in Technology gathering at end-of-day Tuesday. Our panelists Claudia Woods, Freena Eijffinger, Kate Gregory, Paula Januszkiewicz, and Rhonda Layfield span a variety of ages, geographies, and technical interests, and we want to hear from you. What are the issues in your working life? How can companies attract and retain a diversity of technical staff, including women of all ages? Is work/life balance a myth? How can you find your strengths and your friends in this field? Bring your business cards and get ready to meet some of the other women who have come to Tech Ed, as attendees, speakers, or staff. Let's share experiences and advice, support each other, and learn from each other.

Does that sound good? It does to me. And here's a special invitation. It starts at 6, as you can see online. But the panelists will all be there at 5:30 along with some refreshments. So please, come a little early and mingle, then we'll do the full-on panel thing at 6, but we'll have started to get to know each other already by then. See you there!


ps: I really do mean it when I say men welcome.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010 16:00:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]