Development, Students, Windows, Windows 8, Windows Azure Mobile Services, WP7, WP8

Code to Win!

Our team at Microsoft is excited to announce the return of the Windows 8 Student App Madness Challenge! Create and publish a Windows 8 app by April 14th, 2014 and you could win* a $50 gift card. Promote your app and receive 100 downloads for the chance to win* an additional $50 gift card. Microsoft will provide you with all the software, resources and support you need to get started, build your app, and publish it to the Windows Store. This is a great opportunity for you to get some app building experience, and win prizes while doing it!

There are two ways you can win:

What could be easier!  There are a lot of helpful tools to get you started including some great app templates, like the SUPER-AMAZING Cross-platform Cloud Kit, advice on building great app logos for your new apps, and great training available online to help you build out the next great app.

As always, reach out to me if you have any question about building apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone, or if you’re interested in learning more about Windows Azure. Our team is here to help you whenever you need us!

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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!


  • 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
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

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 to find out more about joining the BizSpark family today!

Azure, Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, ITPro, Students, Texas, Training, USCloud

IaaS Bootcamp in Dallas

Whether you build apps or support the infrastructure that runs the apps, the cloud can be a really big place. For some, it’s a natural evolution for their application and infrastructure to embrace the power and scale of the cloud. For others, it’s a journey that has to begin with a single step.

Windows Azure provides that first step with a scalable, flexible platform for deploying your applications your way. With our Infrastructure as a Service platform (IaaS) called Windows Azure Virtual Machines, you get the flexibility to choose between Windows and Linux with full control over the operating system configuration and installed software, matched with the portability of Hyper-V disk images. Windows Azure Virtual Machines provide the perfect environment for meeting all of your Infrastructure-as-a-Service needs.

To learn more about our Infrastructure as a Service platform, we invite all developers and IT Professionals to join local Microsoft cloud experts as they introduce you to the Microsoft Cloud Platform, dive deep into Windows Azure Virtual Machines, and help walk you through a hands on demonstration of the power of IaaS on the Windows Azure platform.

WHEN: December 17th, 2012

WHERE: Microsoft Office in Dallas


All participants registering for the event will get a FREE 90-day trial of the Windows Azure platform and services, including access to the Virtual Machines preview. Simply visit to take advantage of this FREE offer!

All participants to successfully complete the lab and demonstrate their running application to the instructor will be put into a drawing for a $500 gift card to the Microsoft Store, among other prizes!

Azure, Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, Featured, Open Source, Students, Texas, Training, user group, Windows 8, WP7

Upcoming User Group Meetings

There are a couple of great-sounding User Group meetings coming up this week that I thought you all might be interested in:

Windows Phone App Developer Group – DFW Dallas TexasSeptember AT&T Mobile App Hackathon Education (Dallas)Friday, 5:00 PM Sep 14
Dallas PHPAn Illustrated Git PrimerTuesday, 7:00 PM Sep 11
DFW C++ User Group, meeting at NCR’s officeLeak Free C++Tuesday, 6:00 PM Sep 11

If you a new to Git, I highly recommend attending the PHP User Group’s presentation. The speaker and I have had numerous conversations about Git, and he does a really good job of explaining the basics. I was going to go and try to ask some of my newer questions about different workflow strategies, branching and such, but a prior family obligation is going to keep me from attending any groups on Tuesday night.

If you’re a Windows Phone or Windows 8 developer, I’ll also recommend the AT&T Mobile Hackathon. I’ve participated in these before and they are very well run by the gang over at AT&T and I know you’ll have an amazing time participating. The prizes are usually pretty good too, so bring your great idea and be ready to crank out some code!

These are just a couple that popped into my Inbox this morning, but there are plenty of other amazing activities to be found around TX, OK, AR and LA – just check and for more details.

Azure, Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, ITPro, Students, Texas, Training

Microsoft Cloud Summit 2012

Windows Azure and the Microsoft Cloud Computing platform are some of the most exciting, and important technologies around today. Infinite scale and ultimate power are awaiting you – are you ready?

Join Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Windows Azure Scott Guthrie and a host of local Microsoft Cloud experts as we share with you the tools, techniques and technologies you’ll need to take your applications to the next level!

Join us for the Microsoft Cloud Summit 2012!

July 10, 2012 – Irving Convention Center in Irving, TX

In a day full of informative sessions and hands-on activities, you’ll learn the most important parts of the Cloud Computing capabilities from Microsoft both inside Windows Azure as well as within your own datacenters. By attending the Microsoft Cloud Summit 2012 you will learn how to:

  • Build and quickly deploy web sites to Windows Azure
  • Migrate, integrate, and extend existing code and applications with Windows Azure
  • Build flexible, multi-tier applications
  • Consume Windows Azure services within your application such as Windows Azure Storage, SQL Azure, and the Service Bus
  • Architect highly scalable and fast applications using cloud services
  • Build Web APIs that power mobile devices
  • Use the latest Visual Studio tools and SDKs for the cloud
  • …and MUCH MORE!

Seating is limited, so reserve your space today and join us for the most important technical training sessions you’ll attend all year – the Microsoft Cloud Summit 2012!


Microsoft Cloud Camp 2012 – Agenda**

8:00am Check-in Opens (bring your confirmation!)
8:45am Welcome and Kick-Off
9:00am Keynote: Introducing the Spring Release of Windows Azure
Scott Guthrie, CVP for Windows Azure Developer Platform
10:30am Break
10:45am Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Clint Edmonson, Microsoft
11:45am Lunch – featuring “Grill the Gu” Q&A session with Scott Guthrie
1:15pm Windows Azure Web Sites
Brian Prince, Microsoft
2:15pm Break
2:30pm Windows Azure Storage, Databases and Service Bus
Mike Benkovich, Microsoft
3:30pm Break
3:45pm Windows Azure Cloud Services
Adam Hoffman, Microsoft
4:45pm Giveaways and Wrap-up
5:15pm Dinner
6:00pm Windows Azure and Private Cloud Hands-on Labs and coding room


**The agenda is subject to change – please check back often for new and updated information.

Development, Featured, Open Source, Students, WP7

New! Windows Phone Starter Kit for Podcasts

I’m excited to announce the release of a new Starter Kit for Windows Phone! Officially titled the Windows Phone Starter Kit for Podcasts, this kit makes it really easy to turn your Podcast into a branded Windows Phone application.  I helped with a little bit of the code, but the vast majority of the work was done by Microsoft Developer Evangelist Dani Diaz – my peer in Philadelphia.

For more details on the Windows Phone Starter Kit for Podcasts, check out the following resources:

Official Site on MSDN Code Gallery

Dani’s blog post about the Starter Kit

As a reminder, the goal of the Starter Kits for Windows Phone is to make it really easy to develop Windows Phone applications by providing a set of Visual Studio project templates that allows the developer to dig into the source code and customize it as they see fit before releasing it to the marketplace. The release of the Windows Phone Starter Kit for Podcasts marks the third Starter Kit released – the previous two kits include the Windows Phone Starter Kit for WordPress and the Windows Phone Starter Kit for Schools.  All of the source code for these Starter Kits are provided for you to customize, theme, monetize and depoly!

If you have suggestions for other Starter Kits, please let me know via this blog, or send an email to


Baton Rouge, Development, Louisiana, Students, user group, WP7

Baton Rouge Windows Phone User Group

The guys in Baton Rouge have scheduled the first meeting of the Windows Phone user group. They don’t yet have their own web site, so I’m going to try to help out by blogging the mailer that just went out. For now, head over to their Google Group site to keep up on all the latest details.

Baton Rouge Windows Phone User Group Meeting – November 9th

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011, and for this month, we will be running in conjunction with the .NET User Group, the SQL Server User Group and the IT Pro User Group.  The meeting is on LSU’s campus at Tureaud Hall, which is north of our previous meeting place, Taylor Hall (CEBA). Tureaud Hall is adjacent to the Dairy Science Building/Ice Cream Shop. See this link for an overhead map to Tureaud –

When arriving on campus, park in any of the available spots in the parking lot to the northwest of the building or on Stadium Drive. Alternatively, you can actually park in the same lot as before, to the west of Taylor Hall, and walk north on the sidewalk. 
Our meeting begins in room 204 at 6pm with food and announcements. 

Room 204 – BR .NET User Group and food
Room 206 – SQL Server User Group
Room 211 – IT Pro User Group
Room 221 – Windows Phone 7 User Group
Topic:   Pocket Brewer – Show and Tell

See what went in to creating a simple Silverlight based Windows Phone 7 beer brewing app and the support structure that supports it.    Wayne will talk about the process from File->New Project, app construction, building the supporting website, the submission process, marketplace issues, revenue and in general dealing with the app over the past few months.

About Wayne Odom:

Wayne is a Software Development Project Lead for Turner Industries Group, a large heavy industrial construction company based out of Baton Rouge.   After graduating from LSU with a computer science degree in 2002 he has continuously been developing a variety of software solutions for Baton Rouge businesses, including construction, health insurance, advertising and SEO.    He also maintains a small client base ( and a couple of pet projects including a personal blog(, a beer brewing app ( and an informational Baton Rouge website (

As always, stay after the meeting for a developer garage where you can work with other Windows Phone developers to add polish to your app ideas, or to help you out of a development rut. 

Finally, let everyone know that these meetings are open to the public, especially to students

Development, Students

Want to be a Microsoft Student Partner?

Hey students! ​Do you think that you could be a Microsoft Student Partner?

​As a Microsoft Student Partner, you’ll be challenged to use your enthusiasm and knowledge to lead the technology discussion on your campus. You’ll demo the latest and greatest technologies, host events, and connect with other students and faculty to inspire them to create what’s next.

Application Process – DUE NOW!

  1. Fill out the online application at There are only 25 questions and it should take you about 30 minutes to complete.
  2. Create a YouTube video and submit the link at the end of the application.

We want to get to know you and discover your passion for technology and how it could help solve the world’s toughest problems. Create and submit a one-minute YouTube video telling us about your favorite experience with a Microsoft technology and why you want to be an MSP on your campus.

Your entry has to be compelling. It has to be stimulating. So if you’re ready, produce your video and get noticed!

Once your video is posted to YouTube, be sure to share with your friends to drive views and comments!

Feel free to reach out with any questions to