A new centralised location for Microsoft training events, camps & conferences

TL;DR I have created a new Meetup.com group to curate and aggregate the important Microsoft events happening in Australia. Join it to keep up to date on what is happening in your area. http://www.meetup.com/Microsoft-events-in-Australia

The situation

I have been involved in the Australian developer community for 10+ years now. While there is a lot of talent and passion in the community, there has always been the issue of event discoverability. While there is an issue on a per user group level (I will tackle this in a future blog post), no where has this fragmentation been worse than with Microsoft.

I like to think of myself as a very informed dev community member, and I try to keep up with what major events are going on but too often there are big events that slip by without being aware it was even on. I am a Microsoft MVP, I was a Technical Evangelist for Infragistics which required that I keep abreast of events that are happening, I am signed up to countless newsletters, websites, groups, I am frequently asked to speak at some of these events and I am still missing things.

To give an idea of just the Microsoft news sources I subscribe to in Australia:

Long story short there are so many silos of event information, I’m subscribed to as many as I can and I still miss out on events and can’t find information on events that *I* am speaking at so I know the events exist.

Stop complaining, do something about it

I have brought this up multiple times without any resolution. So I decided to step up and create a curated list of Microsoft training events, web camps, conferences and any other big events (like DDD Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane).

http://www.meetup.com/Microsoft-events-in-Australia

While there may be other ways to solve this, I decided to go with Meetup.com as it is the single best thing that has happened to user groups. Newsletters and blog posts can be tricky to send out and maintain, and on the consumer side they can take time to parse and get the information out. Meetup quickly lists out each event and the date. Simple at a glance summary of events.

So go, sign up. Spread the word to your twitter followers, coworkers, etc. The more involvement we can get in these events, the more frequent and larger the events can be!

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I’ve been awarded Microsoft MVP for Windows Azure

mvp

This morning I got an email from Microsoft informing me that have been presented the Microsoft MVP award for Windows Azure. It is a great feeling to see my contributions to the community recognised directly by Microsoft.

My favourite part of the introductory email was the disclaimer: “The purpose of this paragraph is to relieve Microsoft Corporation and its affiliates of any and all liability arising out of any injury caused as a result of use or mis-use of our products contained in this package… In no event will Microsoft be liable to anyone for any damages or injury caused by the acceptance of this prize, or by its misuse or improper use, or action taken by user…

It sounds like the welcome package they are sending in the mail is rather dangerous!

By David Burela

Community report: Melbourne cloudcamp 2010 – Microsoft

In this lightning talk, Graham Elliot (@grahamelliott) from Microsoft discusses ways you can cloudify your application.

It is a very useful guide on ways that different service models (IAAS, PAAS, SAAS) and how it will effect how you charge for you application. It is a must watch for any seriously considering creating an online application they plan to charge other people for.


http://www.vimeo.com/15911427

By David Burela

Beachy – Runner up Windows Phone 7 application at Bizspark camp

The Windows Phone 7 camp

I spent the last 3 days at the “Windows Phone 7 applications camp” run by Microsoft Bizspark Australia http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bizspark_au/archive/2010/05/26/upcoming-bizspark-camps-in-sydney-amp-melbourne-win-7-amp-phone-7.aspx. It was a great event and was run well by the organisers.

On Friday David Glover and Nick Randolph helped everyone get the tools installed on their own laptops, then let everybody run through the Windows Phone 7 training kit. Saturday & Sunday were spent with the participants building concept applications that utilise Windows Phone 7.

Finally on Sunday afternoon, the applications were shown to a panel of judges. I was ok with showing my application publically as I wanted to get feedback on the idea, and I was able to record it. Unfortunately the other participants wanted to show their applications privately to the judges so I am unable to comment on what they built and was unable to record their presentations.

Beachy

Beachy is an application that advises Sydney residents if it is safe to swim at their local beaches. I geocoded 43 beaches around the greater Sydney area, I then bring in data from 6 separate XML feeds from the NSW government that report on dangers at the beaches. All of it is then shown on a Bing maps overlay. GPS in the phone allows the application to show the user where they currently are allowing them to see if the beaches around them are safe to go to.

Detailed information about each beach would also be available to the user such as wind speed/direction and wave height. This would allow recreational users such as surfers or people sailing to decide which beach would have the optimal conditions for them.

MapscreenDetailsScreen  Location detailed ActiveTile MapscreenZoomed

 

The presentation

I decided to upload my presentation because I go into detail for the reasoning behind my UI decisions such as button placement and colour schemes. I thought that this might be useful for anyone else trying to make Windows Phone 7 applications. I also left in the feedback from the judges as they had some good advice.

The video is in 1080p so feel free to watch it full screen

Beachy – Runner up at Bizspark camp from David Burela on Vimeo.

By David Burela

Using Windows Azure to scale your Silverlight Application

When deploying your Silverlight application out to your customers, there are a number of points that could become bottlenecks. Looking at it at a high level there are 3 main ones

  1. Getting your files to the client (.xap + other media)
  2. Processing requests
  3. Retrieving data

Lets tackle these in order

Continue reading

Is Google Chrome OS not going after windows at all?

There has been a lot of discussions over the new Google Chrome OS announcement lately. I just read this article Google’s Chrome OS: Maybe Not a “PC” OS After All and this paragraph caught my attention

“The OS that would drive such a system would require a lot of work beyond just hosting a browser on Linux, which may be why Google says it is a year or more away. That’s because many of the add-ons that we need to enable web sites to properly function would need to be moved from desktop applications to become a part of the OS. I’m talking about things such as media players, codecs and add-ons that support PDF and other file formats, Adobe Flash, or even Microsoft Silverlight.  Google Gears, or whatever caching technology, also needs a lot of work.”

That last sentence is what caught my eye. Now it is no secret that Google have been promoting HTML5 VERY strongly. There have been a number of articles on the web since the Google conference last month about how much they are promoting HTML5, and what their motives could be. Most of the articles come to the conclusion that in the end, will we even need plugins like flash or Silverlight.

Google have made it very clear that “for application developers, the web is the platform”, implying that you won’t be able to develop for the linux kernel it is running on top of.

If you tie Google’s push for HTML5 with the Chrome OS announcement, then maybe we are onto something. Perhaps they aren’t trying to displace windows at all, but instead increase the number of devices that support HTML5 and not Silverlight / Flash / Java. They could be aiming this announcement at web developers here. When web devs are thinking what platform they should create their new web app on, they may default to using HTML5 over Silverlight because of the additional reach HTML5 is going to give them.

So there is my angle, they aren’t targeting Microsoft at the desktop, but are instead trying to dislodge them from the web and stopping adoption of Silverlight.

By David Burela

2008 Remix Australia registrations are now open

Title pretty much says it all, registrations for Remix are now open.

http://www.microsoft.com/australia/remix08/index.aspx

May 20th for Sydney and May 22nd for Melbourne. Costs $199 but you get a copy of expression studio worth $1,040. Judging by the sessions released from Mix in Las Vegas last month, this should be a great learning experience. I really enjoyed myself at Remix last year

I haven’t registered yet because I’m hoping my Imagine cup entry will be one of the finalists meaning I get to go for free!

By David Burela