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, 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, 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.


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 – 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:

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.


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.


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 🙂


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.

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.

Arkansas, Development, General, ITPro, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, user group

Looking for a User Group?

Then I know the place to go!

For a while now, I’ve been maintaining a list of User Groups that meet in my part of the world – TX, OK, LA and AR.  It’s not a comprehensive list (at least I’m pretty sure it’s not) but I’d like it to be.  It’s essentially a listing of all the user groups I know about, or have heard rumors about that I can find online in my four-state area.  Not to be confused with Community Megaphone, this site is not about events or meetings – it’s about groups.  And, it’s not just about .NET groups – it’s about any technical community user group that meets. There are .NET/Microsoft-friendly groups for sure, but also Linux groups, PHP groups, Node.JS groups, iOS groups, Android groups and others too.

Where do you find it? 


Current features include:

  • Monthly calendar of events showing all user groups
  • Listing of all user groups, by state
  • Details on each user group including meeting location w/ map, upcoming meeting dates/times, group contact and recurring schedule information
  • Map of all user groups

Planned features include:

  • API for querying groups
  • iCal support for one group, some groups, or all groups
  • Blog/Website badges for one group, some groups, or all groups
  • Support for more complex meeting schedules
  • Integration with CommunityMegaphone (presuming I can do some sort of match on user group name, or something)

Apart from these features, and a bit of a face-lift, the new site needs more data! If you know about any groups in your area that are NOT on my list, please drop me a line at with at least the following info:

  1. Group Name
  2. Website
  3. Meeting Day (e.g. 3rd Monday, or 2nd Thursday)
  4. Meeting Times (start/stop)
  5. Contact Name / Email
  6. Meeting Location Name & Address (+phone, if you have it).

Me and my crack team of data entry clerks (a.k.a. my daughter) will get this information posted just as fast as we can. Also, if you see any data errors, especially meeting times/nights – please also let me know that ASAP and I’ll get that fixed up.

Lastly, if you’re interested in helping out with any of the planned changes, or making it look more pleasing than the default template from MVC 4, I’d love to get your help…

Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, Texas, user group

New Cloud and C++ User Group in Dallas

I’m excited to announce that after a long hiatus, we have a new Cloud user group in DFW focused on Windows Azure as well as other popular cloud topics. This group is currently a part of the also newly formed Dallas C++ user group, and will meet at the same place, on the same night, until they outgrow their current location and need to find a new home.

All the info about this group can be found on my South Central Community website at, but here it is for your convenience:

  • What:  Dallas C++ and Cloud User Group
  • When: Monthly, on the 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Where: NCR Corp in Ft. Worth, TX

Their website is still a work in progress, but I will update the entry on, and probably send out a tweet, once the update is in place.

Their first meeting will by on September 11th and will cover and introduction to Azure for C++ programmers, but all denominations are welcome.  I will be there too, to help get the group kicked off and I’ll be sure to bring some prizes with me.  To get ready for the meeting, make sure you set up a FREE 90-day Azure trial by going to You’ll want that trial after you see how far Windows Azure has come, and all the great features it offers to today’s developers!

BootCamp, Dallas, Development, Events, Texas, Training, Windows, Windows 8

Windows 8 DevCamps

Get the lowdown on Windows 8 and start coding your dream application. Join us for these free learning sessions and see firsthand how Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity – ever.

  • Day One is a top-to-bottom Windows 8 Release Preview tour, followed by an InstallFest to prepare your system for hands-on development.
  • Day Two is the all-out Hackathon. Code to your heart’s content with Windows 8 experts available to help and answer your questions. You could even win cool prizes for your app.

Attend just one day or join us for both sessions. It’s your choice, so register today!

Events are taking place in over 25 cities nationwide, including:




Manhattan, NY



St Louis, MO



Brooklyn, NY



Nashville, TN



Rochester, NY



Mountain View, CA



Atlanta, GA



Ft. Lauderdale, FL



Redmond, WA



Dallas, TX



Chevy Chase, MD



Denver, CO



Irvine, CA



Boston, MA



Raleigh, NC



Reston, VA



Orlando, FL



Minneapolis, MN



Houston, TX



San Francisco, CA



Downers Grove, IL



Phoenix, AZ



Los Angeles, CA



Malvern, PA




Sign up now before all the seats are taken!

Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, ITPro, Texas

Microsoft Cloud Summit a Success!

Yesterday Microsoft hosted our first ever Microsoft Cloud Summit in Dallas, TX. Run locally by our DPE team here in Dallas, and supported by our peers throughout Central Region, we hosted 365 developers and IT Pros from all over TX, OK, AR and LA. The topic of conversation: Windows Azure and Cloud Computing on the Microsoft Platform. For a first-time conference like this, in this town, on a topic like Cloud Computing, I have to admit that I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. Although it’s easy to say that we’d love to have more people attend, I think that the combination of a July event and the fact that it was July in Texas during the week of Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto still didn’t take away from what turned out to be an amazing experience.

The event started off with a Keynote from none other than Scott Guthrie,  Corporate VP for Windows Azure, and the closest thing that Microsoft has to a true Rock Star. He gave an overview of the new features released during the Windows Azure Spring Release this past June. LOADs of great stuff in there, but I’m becoming increasingly interested in the Service Bus and Caching capabilities – will have to play more with those…

Other sessions of the day included a great mix of developer and IT professional content, which you can download online, including:

During lunch, we held a Q&A session with Scott called “Grill the Gu” where we invited attendees to tweet questions to Scott using the #GrillTheGu hashtag, so that he could alternate between answering live questions from the audience and those tweeted in earlier during the keynote. I lost track of how many questions we were able to get through, but we definitely had some great ones come through, and some great conversations in the answering.

In addition to all the great content and presentations, we had five  of our local area partners participate in the event by setting up display tables and chatting with folks all day long at our Partner Pavilion. As an added bonus, each partner got 5 minutes at the beginning one of the sessions to present their success stories around Windows Azure. I got a lot of positive feedback about their participation in the event, so future events will probably continue to include invitations to partners.  Partners participating in the Partner Pavilion included:

The most important part of a conference like this, of course,  is to make sure that the people attending enjoyed and learned from what they saw. I’m happy to say that across all of the evaluations we received, our sessions scored an average attendee rating of 8.4 out of 9, which is absolutely fantastic! People enjoyed the presentations, and felt like they got a lot of valuableinformation out of them.

I had a great time working with these guys, and many others to make this event successful. If you enjoyed the event, be sure to let us know – and definitely indicate what you’d like to see in the future!  All in all, a spectacular event that I hope we can repeat some day in the future.  Maybe we’ll have a Microsoft Cloud Summit 2013? I will see if I can find some money to do just that…

Dallas, Development, Events, Texas, Training, Windows 8

Windows 8 Hackathon

Have you started building your Windows 8 app? Does this describe you?

  • Installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Windows 8 Release preview?
  • Installed Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows 8?
  • Started writing your Windows 8 Metro application?

If so, we are running this Windows 8 app building event on June 26th at the Microsoft Office in Irving, with the goal being to help you make progress on, refine or even finish your Windows 8 Metro application. This is not a training event, but rather an event focused on helping you make progress on your Windows 8 Metro application (please see the prerequisites below).

So join us for this free, full-day event designed to help you with your Windows 8 coding and application building. We can help with your apps integration with the Windows shell, including notifications, live tiles, deep links, and contracts with other apps. Best of all you can build once and support all Windows customers, no matter what type of PC they have – from tablets to laptops to convertibles to desktops.


These hackathons are a really fun way to get “down and dirty” with the technology and experience development along side others in the same room. It is also a great chance to have your application reviewed by someone who understands the Windows Metro environment and can help make sure that your app has the best possible chance to get published. I had my own app reviewed yesterday and I can personally testify that this kind of review really helped me maximize my time so that my submissions have a much higher chance to get accepted on the first try.

So – are you ready to take on Windows 8?  If so – sign up today!

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.