Featured, General

Want to be a Microsoft Evangelist?

We’ve got an opening on our team!

If you live in the Columbus or Cincinnati, Ohio area and are interesting in joining a fun team with great people and challenging work, being a Technical Evangelist is for you!

More details at the job posting site, but here are the posted qualifications:

  • 8+ years of experience writing code. Expertise in iOS, Android and/or Windows app and/or game development and/or experience shipping a product is preferred.
  • Publication of at least 1 app or game to a mobile marketplace.
  • Experience in a broad set of developer technologies including Windows 8, Windows Phone and HTML5/CSS/JavaScript, or similar competitive technologies.
  • Ability to communicate concepts and code in a concise and instructive manner in writing and as a technical presenter.
  • Passion for technology with solid knowledge of enterprise global IT requirements and competitive offerings required.
  • The strong candidate will have deep involvement with their local or regional developer community either as an MVP, User Group Leader, or active community speaker/blogger.
  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in computer science preferred.

Ready for a change? Willing to take a chance? Apply today!

BootCamp, CodeCamp, Development, Events, Featured, Students, Training, Windows, Windows 8, Windows Azure Mobile Services, WP8

Upcoming Microsoft Events

Hey all – the team is starting up a new round of Microsoft events – they’re similar to what we used to do with DevCares and MSDN Events (if you can remember back that far) but all have an education + hands on component to them.  This schedule is for all of Central Region, and although we unfortunately can’t visit every city in the region, hopefully you can find a city near you so that you can attend!

Build 2013 Highlights – The Best of Build!

Were you unable to attend Build 2013 and hear about the latest Microsoft product announcements for software developers? Never fear! In this session, we will give you the best of Build, covering the major announcements and technology innovations you need to know as a developer. We will show code and demos to get you up to speed on the latest with Windows 8.1, XAML, WinJS, Bing, Windows Azure, and Visual Studio.

Agenda

  • Windows 8.1 and Windows Store changes
  • What’s new in XAML and WinJS
  • Introducing the Bing Platform
  • What’s new in Windows Azure
  • What’s new in Visual Studio and web
Date City
Sept. 24 Houston, TX
Sept. 24 Southfield, MI
Sept. 24 Indianapolis, IN
Sept. 25 Columbus, OH
Sept. 27 Overland Park, KS
Oct. 3 Edina, MN
Oct. 9 Austin, TX
Oct. 15 St. Louis, MO
Oct. 17 Irving, TX
Oct. 29 Chicago, IL
Nov. 14 Waukesha, WI
Nov. 22 Independence, OH

 

Monetization of Real-World Windows Apps

Often, as developers, we think of our pet software projects as a hobby. As it turns out, we have one of the most profitable hobbies in the history of hobbies! Billions of dollars have already been made by developers just like you that built an app for a mobile platform, and monetized it effectively. In this one-day event, we will share with you some modest and extreme success stories, some strategies for making money from your apps, and some technical instruction on exactly how to make that happen in your code. We will also demonstrate how easy it is to build one unified codebase that can used on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone.

Agenda

  • Overview of the platforms, success stories.
  • Monetization Strategies (trial, paid, ads, IAP)
  • Hands-on Labs
  • Implementing Pre-Lunch Strategies in App & Store
  • Using PCLs to share code and increase success
Date City
Oct. 15 Houston, TX
Oct. 17 Indianapolis, IN
Oct. 22 Detroit, MI
Nov. 6 Chicago, IL
Nov. 6 Dallas, TX
Nov. 6 Kansas City, MO
Nov. 6 Columbus, OH
Nov. 12 Edina, MN
Nov. 13 Austin, TX
Dec. 4 St. Louis, MO
Dec. 4 Cleveland, OH

 

Windows 8 + Windows Phone: Better Together

Trying to wrap your head around app development across multiple platforms? Trying to capitalize on the opportunities in both the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 marketplaces? Want to maximize your design and development resources and get to market better, faster, and stronger? Then come to this session and learn some real world techniques to maximize your efficiency of developing for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. See how you can minimize your development costs by maximizing sharing and reuse between the two platforms.

Agenda

  • Designing for sharing
  • Developing and sharing
  • Tips and Tricks / Architecture
  • And then there was 8.1… A quick tour of the new stuff
Date City
Nov. 5 Houston, TX
Nov. 14 Downers Grove, IL
Dec. 3 Indianapolis, IN
Dec. 10 Detroit, TX

 

Hands-on Labs: Windows 8 & Windows Phone

Build your first Windows 8 apps with an accompanying app on Windows Phone! We will start from scratch to create a Windows 8 app that is powered by the cloud AND includes a Windows Phone version too!

Agenda

  • Window 8 + Cloud
  • Windows Phone
Date City
Nov. 15 Irving
Nov. 20 Columbus
Nov. 22 Chicago
Nov. 22 Houston
Nov. 22 Edina
Nov. 22 Austin
Nov. 22 St. Louis
Nov. 22 Southfield
Nov. 22 Indianapolis
Featured, Product Announcements, WP8

Windows Phone 8 Starter Kit for WordPress

After many emails, and much procrastination, I finally had a chance tonight to update the Windows Phone Starter Kit for WordPress over to Windows Phone 8 and update it to support WordPress 3.5.1.

For those of you running the old WP7 version, the changes you need to make to support WordPress 3.5.1 are pretty simple, but do require a bit of code writing.  To make it as easy as possible, this set of steps *should* work for a simple update:

  1. Open your Starter Kit in Visual Studio 2012 (this is now a Windows Phone 8 project, not a Windows Phone 7 project, so Visual Studio 2012 is now required).
  2. Copy all the code from https://github.com/ChrisKoenig/Windows-Phone-Starter-Kit-for-WordPress/blob/master/Networking/WordPressPlugInReader.cs and paste over the top of the existing code in your Visual Studio project.
  3. Recompile and test locally

Basically what I had to do was add a variable parameter to each of the query strings on the URIs requesting data from the WordPress site as it seems that WP3.5+ is caching the data based on the query string parameters now, which it didn’t used to do before.

If this doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll try to help walk you through it.

CodeCamp, Dallas, Development, Events, Featured, Fort Worth, Texas

CowTown Code Camp

Cory, Teresa, and the folks over at the Fort Worth .NET User Group have finally realized a lifelong dream – a code camp based in Fort Worth for the Fort Worth .NET Community!

Announcing the CowTown Code Camp!

Those of you in the North Dallas area, please be advised that the CowTown Code Camp is officially scheduled and ready for registrations! Festivities occur on March 16th at the Pier One headquarters in downtown Fort Worth. In addition to standard sessions, there will be an “experts room” setup where technical experts will be on hand to answer any questions you may have and to have mini sessions to go through short labs or demos. This room will have it’s own schedule and activities to be posted by Feb 3rd.

If you’re interested in speaking at the Code Camp, the call for speakers is still open – just send your information in to the Speaker Submission page on their website.

Azure, Cloud, Development, Featured, ITPro, Product Announcements, USCloud, Windows

Rock Paper Azure Redux

Have you heard the news? We’ve recently raised the stakes with Rock Paper Azure game. This cloud-based coding challenge is back for just six weeks – and anyone can win! Simply get your Windows Azure account, and build and upload a bot (or re-boot your existing bot if you’ve already built one). Tweet about it with #AzureRPS to @RockPaperAzure and you’ll be automatically entered to win one of five weekly prizes. When the dust settles, we’ll enter each week’s top 10 bots (60 total) in a random draw for one of three grand prizes.

  • 1st Prize: A Surface tablet.
  • 2nd Prize: A 4GB Xbox 360 with Kinect.
  • 3rd Prize: A Kinect Sensor for Xbox 360.

Don’t have an azure account? Get a FREE 90-day trial at http://aka.ms/thecloud.

Don’t have an existing bot? Build a new one by visiting the Getting Started page on the Rock Paper Azure website.

Full details can be found at the Rock Paper Azure website, located at http://www.rockpaperazure.com/

Azure, Cloud, Development, Featured, ITPro, Open Source, Silverlight, Students, USCloud, Web, Windows, Windows 8, WP7, WP8

BizSpark for Startups

My good friend and colleague Taylor Cowan has begun working on a blog post series entitled “25 Ways Software Startups can use BizSpark”.  Even if you haven’t already formed a company around your latest great idea, Taylor’s series will help you understand how startups can take the best advantage of all the amazing features that BizSpark has to offer. Today was Day 6 (I know, I’m a little behind) but there are still 19 more days to come!

Tune into 25 Ways Software Startups can use BizSpark at http://taylorcowanonline.com

BizSpark, for those that don’t know, Microsoft® BizSpark® is a global program that helps software startups succeed by giving them access to software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, and providing marketing visibility.  The program also includes access to Windows Azure, a flexible, comprehensive, and powerful cloud platform for the creation of web applications and services.  In addition, BizSpark offers technical support, business training and a network of over 2,000 partners to connect members with incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies and hosters.  Since it was established in 2008, more than 45,000 companies in over 100 countries have joined BizSpark.

Here is the BizSpark membership critera:

  1. Privately-held company
  2. Less than 5 years old
  3. Earns less than $1M US per year
  4. In the business of developing software (on any platform, with any language, for any type of device)

That means, if you are building a Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 application that you intend to sell on in their respective marketplaces, you qualify for BizSpark and can get access to ALL of those amazing benefits!  Contact Taylor today via his blog at http://taylorcowanonline.com to find out more about joining the BizSpark family today!

Azure, Cloud, Development, Events, Featured, ITPro, Online, Training, USCloud

AzureConf

On November 14, 2012, Microsoft will be hosting Windows AzureConf, a free event for the Windows Azure community. This event will feature a keynote presentation by Scott Guthrie, along with numerous sessions executed by Windows Azure MVPs and community members. Streamed live for an online audience on Channel 9, the event will allow you to see how developers just like you are using Windows Azure to develop applications on the best cloud platform in the industry. Community members from all over the world will join Scott in the Channel 9 studios to present their own ideas, innovations inventions and experiences. These presentations will provide you the opportunity to see how your peers in the community are doing great things using Windows Azure offerings like Mobile Services, Web Sites, Service Bus, virtual machines, and more. Whether you’re just learning Windows Azure or you’ve already achieved success on the platform, you won’t want to miss this special event. For more information on Windows AzureConf or to register for the event, please visit http://windowsazureconf.net.

While you’re waiting for the conference to kick off, here are some helpful links to prepare your mind, body and soul for the Windows Azure experience:

SO – Get out to http://windowsazureconf.net and sign up today!

 

Azure, BootCamp, Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, Featured, Houston, Launch, Texas, Training

Cloud OS Signature Event Series

I hope to see many of you tomorrow and Wednesday at the Microsoft Cloud IS Signature Event Series in Dallas and Houston. For those attending, here are some helpful tips on getting ready to attend.

Preparation

Although we don’t expect that you have a lot of background on Cloud Computing, or Windows Azure specifically, this event is primarily a HANDS-ON event, so it’s important to come physically prepared.  You’ll need a computer with at least Windows Vista SP2 pre-loaded with the Windows Azure software.  You can get the software from http://aka.ms/GetAzureNow – just click the .NET link from the menu of choices to get started. Any prerequisites for running the Windows Azure Development SDK will be installed automatically for you, thanks to our awesome Web Platform Installer technology.  PLEASE do this BEFORE you come to the event as it will save a BUNCH of time getting you ready for the labs.

Azure 90-day Free Trial

You can also get a FREE 90-day Azure Trial to use for this event, and your experimentation in Windows Azure. Just following the following link to get started:

http://aka.ms/TheCloud

Once you get signed up, navigate over to your Account page and choose the “Preview Features” link at the top. From here you can sign up for Windows Azure Web Sites, Virtual Machines, Mobile Services and more. These requests can take some time to process, so you should sign up sooner rather than later to make sure you’re account is ready to go.

Labs

As I mentioned before, this event is primarily a hand-on experience, so you’ll need to get copies of all the labs prior to firing up Visual Studio.  The labs are kept in a GitHub repository called WindowsAzure-TrainingKit.  The TrainingKit contains a METRIC TON of content, so to make things easy, here are links to the labs so that you can download them without hunting through the entire list.

  1. HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure Cloud Services
  2. HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure SQL Database
  3. HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure Virtual Machines
  4. HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure Access Control Service
  5. HOL – Service Remoting with Windows Azure Service Bus

These links take you to the “home page” for each of the labs.  If you’re familiar with GitHub and how to use Git, you can clone these repositories locally and open the assets from there. Alternatively, you can click the big ZIP button on each page and download a ZIP version of each of the HOLs. If you want to start over, you can just download a new ZIP file and be on your way.

Dependencies

For each of the labs, there is a setup.cmd file that you’re supposed to execute to get your machine prepped for the labs with all required dependencies. Unfortunately for some, these labs are still set up to expect Visual Studio 2010, not Visual Studio 2012, so the setup.cmd will FAIL on those.  If you’re running VS2010, run setup.cmd and you should be good to go.  If you’re running VS2012, here’s how you get your environment updated:

Option 1 – Snippets Only

  1. Open the Lab folder in Windows Explorer
  2. Locate the Source\Setup\Scripts\snippets\ folder (if none exists, there are no snippets for that lab)
  3. Manually run the VSI file to install the snippets.

Option 2 – Major Surgery

  1. Locate the Source\Setup\Scripts folder
  2. Edit the installCodeSnippets.ps1 file in Notepad, or your favorite text editor
  3. Replace all occurrences of “Visual Studio 2010” with “Visual Studio 2012”
  4. Run the Setup.cmd from the root folder, ignoring errors about the compilation of the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl
  5. Locate the Source\Assets\SecurityTokenVisualizerControl folder
  6. Open the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl.sln file
  7. Rebuild the solution – it *should* compile just fine
  8. From within this same solution, open the Toolbox window
  9. Right-click on the empty toolbox area and select “Add Tab…”
  10. Type in “ACS” into the new tab
  11. Right click inside the tab and choose “Select Items”
  12. When the toolbox loads, press the “Browse…” button, and navigate to the bin directory of the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl project folder.
  13. Select the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl.dll and press “OK” to close.

Additionally, the Identity and Access controls for Visual Studio 2012 are much different than the Add STS Reference controls from Visual Studio 2010. You will have a completely different process for enabling ACS in your VS2012 project than you did in VS2010.  To this end, I will probably walk through a sample application in Dallas or omit the session all together. The labs take a lot of time anyway, and feedback from the first 2 events was that we have WAY too much in the agenda already 🙂

Anyway…

I hope this helps you get what you need downloaded and installed for the sessions this week. You can, of course, download everything prior to attending, which would REALLY help move things along during the sessions.  In Houston, we’ll have a slightly different schedule in that we’re removing the ACS session in favor of boosting the times for some of the other sessions, but you’re welcome to work on whatever makes sense to you at your own pace. That’s the beauty of the Hands-on Lab approach – you can get hands on with the technology in a semi-structured environment as well as having the ability to go home and work on this stuff at your own pace on your own schedule.  I’ve personally learned a lot from these HOLs as I’ve ramped up on Azure over the past few months, and I highly recommend them to you.

Development, Featured, Product Announcements, Windows, Windows 8

Windows 8 Store is Open for Business

Starting immediately, Windows Store app submission is open to all registered Windows Store developers including individuals and companies. Join the excitement and become part of the vibrant community of app and game developers for Windows 8.

I am starting tonight to migrate a few of the Windows Phone apps I’ve already built, as well as a few ideas I have for some new content, like the Mastermind Game I’ve been playing around with.  My teammate Jared Bienz has done a lot of work around migrating from Windows Phone to Windows 8 – his blog posts on the subject would be valuable to all Windows 8 developers who have spent any time with Windows Phone.

So – create your Store developer account today and start submitint your apps and games at https://appdev.microsoft.com/StorePortals

Registration is quick and easy, so go do it!