Happy Boxing Day: A few of my favourite MSDN Links for you

2008-12 snowAs I Tweeted today (I can stop any time), Happy Boxing Day. I remember from my growing up in the great white north this as a holiday unto itself, usually associated with post-Christmas sales.  But (according to the Wiki) it’s "based on the tradition of giving gifts to the less fortunate members of society."

We’ll be participating today on both levels.  The snow is melting fast and the roads are a series of flowing slushy rivers.  So much for our White Christmas.

But first, a quick post before we had out with the kids to burn off some of that post-holiday energy that children manage to store up over the holidays. Recovering from my holiday musings, a few too many snow days, school getting out early and unable to get to the office for most of the last week (‘though I did make it in on Monday and Tuesday), here are some of my favourite / most interesting posts from MSDN over the last week or so from my delicious tags.

Keith Kinnan’s Blog : Virtual Earth Santa Tracker  "Check out the MSNBC Virtual Earth Santa Tracker. You can see Santa at his village in the North Pole and also track Santa as he travels around the world delivering presents. The Santa Tracker requires the Virtual Earth 3D plugin to be installed."

Paul Stubbs : Santa vs. Parents: Which has the best distribution model?  Paul writes that he "thought it would be interesting on Christmas eve to compare the two models of distributing presents (content/services). I have put together a short list of features for each model." Worth a read.

Steve Rowe’s Blog : 10 Programming Languages Worth Exploring — Steve writes that as he "completed the final class toward my Masters Degree I have the time to explore some things of my own choosing. One thing I intend to do is to learn a new programming language. This article I discovered via Reddit is a good place to start. It lists 10 languages worth learning. These are the up-and-coming languages, not the current hot topics like Python or Ruby. Interesting items on the list include Squeak, Haskell, Clojure, and PLT Scheme." Published Wednesday, December 24, 2008 7:45 PM

Brian Groth’s Life at Microsoft : Microsoft Technologies Available for Licensing — "Back in May of 2005, I created a blog entry that listed the 20 technologies that Microsoft licenses. I now see that Microsoft licenses 47 technologies (as of December 2008), which I think is pretty cool. Think about it: you can license Microsoft technologies (Microsoft Intellectual Property Licensing) that Microsoft is willing, and wanting, to have you include in your own solution." Published Wednesday, December 24, 2008 1:40 PM

Microsoft SMB Community Blog : Twas the night before Christmas – A holiday wish for you — ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and here at the house We’re all snowed in, me, the kids, and my spouse; Can’t believe it’s been snowing, for so many days now, Who would ever have guessed, we’d need a snow plow?"

imageBrad Abrams : Resolution Randomizer — "I have always found it is hard to make meaningful New Year’s Resolutions. Lucky for me, I ran across this cool Silverlight Application that helps you find a truly meaningful resolution… if you don’t like the one you get, just click "Randomize" and try again!" 

Jeff Beehler’s Blog : Updated Visual Studio Team System 2008 Trial VPC images available — Jeff posted that "For those of you that want to try out Visual Studio Team System 2008 including Team Foundation Server, without having to go through the process of installing the product, we have recently released four VPC and HyperV images for your use. The “all-up” image includes Team Foundation Server, Team Build, Team Explorer, and Team Suite while the TFS “only” version has just Team Foundation Server, Team Build, and Team Explorer. "These images are set to expire on December 31, 2009 (over a year from now) and are a replacement for the original VPC images we released last year."

Carpe Datum : Quote of the Day – Stating the Obvious — "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come into a troubleshooting or performance tuning project, only to find that "it isn’t plugged in" type issues. It reminded me of this quote: "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious. – George Orwell" Published 26 December 08

steve clayton: geek in disguise : XBOX 360 Imitated Playstation Logo — A story on the origin of the Xbox 360 name… "Hardly likely but funny all the same."

The Old New Thing : Why are all computers shown with a Printers folder even if printer sharing is disabled?  Friday, December 26, 2008 7:00 AM Raymond writes: "When you visited a computer on the network by typing \\computername into the address bar, Explorer showed you a Printers folder if the computer had printer sharing enabled. But starting in Windows Vista, the Printers folder is shown regardless of whether the remote computer is sharing any printers. Why did this change?"

Strategy and Architecture Council : Does a Company Need a Chief Engineer / Chief Software Architect / Chief Anything?  "Interesting post by Scott Bellware on Toyota’s Chief Engineer and the impact of the role on Toyota’s planning and production. With the recent talk of the new administration in the US appointing a CIO for the first time; it got me thinking about the importance of a single individual to the technical direction of an organization."

US ISV Developer Evangelism Team : Microsoft Code Name ‘Geneva’ Moves Identity to the Cloud  "One of the hottest topic for ISVs is identity. The ability to identify a user and provide the correct details for that user is a challenge all ISVs face. ISVs need a federated identity, an identity that you can get from your customers. You need to be able to use that identity regardless of whether it comes from Active Directory or some other provider. A project Microsoft Code Name "Geneva" is an claims-based access model identity platform’s foundation is the claims-based access model. It is built on Security Token Service (STS) technology that we’ve been developing over the past few years as part of its industry effort to create a single identity system based on standard protocols."

TechLeaders : How do you develop your vision, drive it and keep it in line with the company’s?  From the TechLeaders HR blog: Published 12 December 08 10:08 AM "Very interesting question and as a front line (M1) manager this can be challenging. I am a firm believe that everyone on the team needs to have a clear attachment to the Vision. I like to work both directions… from the bottom up and the top down."

Windows Mobile Development : Smart Device Development : MSDN Forums

David Sayed’s Microsoft Blog : How to Force Expression Encoder 2 Express Mode  "Expression Encoder Express is a free version of Expression Encoder. If you have the full version and want to force Express mode (for testing purposes perhaps), there are two ways to do so: Registry Key and the Object Model Method"

Tom Hollander’s blog : Windows Live finally makes sense  "Those who have followed my blog for a while should know that I’m not in the habit of using this space to blindly promote Microsoft products – although if I find something genuinely cool or useful I’ve been known to give it a quick plug. This is why I’ve never posted about Windows Live before. It’s not that the various sites and apps were bad – it’s just that they were obviously a random collection of rebranded MSN assets that didn’t make a lot of sense as a unit. "But thankfully this has all changed with the latest incarnation of Windows Live. This has been out for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve only started looking at it properly in the last few days – and so far I’m extremely impressed. While most of the old sites are there in some form, there is now a clear common theme: sharing and discovering information about your social network (which is built from your Messenger contacts)."

Media And Microcode : Media: xBox 360: 70 XNA Games in 24 Days — James posts about he loves video games, "and I really love my xBox 360. I’ve had one since just after they first came out, and I’ve slowly but surely accumulated about 70 physical games for the 360 made by major producers. I remember seeing the total xBox 360 games climb past one hundred, and I remember losing count. But until now, it’s been rare to see more than a few games come out each month. But now there’s XNA."

Mike Ormond’s Blog : MIX09 Special Offer: 40% Discount — Mike notes that "there’s a 40% discount available for the first 200 registrations using RSVP code MIXspecial1. Simply visit the registration page, click on "Register for the event using an RSVP Code" and, well you can figure out the rest… "Even in the current economic climate, $795 looks like a great deal."

Developer Webcasts This Week: Xbox, SharePoint, Web Dev, Mobility, WPF, Silverlight — Scott Lum posted about "the upcoming Developer Webcasts for this week. All of these webcasts are free of charge. Topics include: Xbox Game development, SharePoint development, Testing Windows Mobile development, Benko Tips on Visual Studio, WPF and ADO & Silverlight development."

jkOnTheRun » Blog Archive Sideshow gadget turns WinMo smartphone into a full-featured Media Center remote «  "The iPhone can already control iTunes and an AppleTV through Apple’s free Remote application and now Windows Mobile devices can claim a similar accomplishment In fact, after watching Ian Dixon demonstrate this feat, I think I’m more impressed with the WinMo solution because it offers far more than just remote control features. Ian shows off an early look at a Windows Sideshow Gadget for Windows Mobile that functions as a full-featured remote for a Windows Media Center system. Aside from the basic remote control functions for audio and video, Ian can set up DVR program recordings or view program guide information that offers information about what’s on television. It functions over Bluetooth and looks pretty slick… slick enough that I might dust off that ol’ HTC Dash and use it as a full-time remote once this gadget gets a little more stable."

The Official Netflix Blog: Changes in Customer Service — Sunday, December 7, 2008 "Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications, here to let you know about some changes in Customer Service. "For those of you who watch movies instantly on your PC or Mac, you may have noticed our player is much easier to install and use now with Silverlight. The good news is fewer problems for you. The bad news is that we are now overstaffed with technical specialists in our Customer Service (CS) group. "So last week we announced internally some changes in CS. 50 of our technical specialists will work through December, then be let go in early January after the holidays. 15 of our technical specialists will take new roles in the main CS group."

Related: a holiday favourite site:

J.D. Meier’s Blog : Jason Taylor on The Zen of Results — Jason shares how he "implements the Zen of Results workflow as well as a dialogue around some sticking points with his team. Jason’s one of the most effective people I know and his insights are always crisp and actionable. Here’s my key take aways: Free yourself from your tasks to focus on delivering real value. Be mindful of your results. Avoid becoming attached to your backlog. Time changes what’s important. Use the weekly cycle and reflection to improve your ability to execute. Reprioritize, delegate, and defer. Watch out for common binds – randomization, poorly planned objectives, fuzzy priorities. Create a workflow that revolves around delivering value, not completing tasks. if you’re not hitting your goals, figure out why – don’t spiral into the pit of despair. Results build momentum."

SBSC Canada Blog : Why webcasts are important & this week’s schedule — From the SBSC Canada Blog: "There are webcasts taking place all the time in the Microsoft SMB technology world led by Microsoft, members of the community, and/or third-party associations. "It’s important for you to attend whenever you see topics that are of interest to you or even areas that you are already familiar with. Why? Because you never know what kind of ideas and opportunities you will walk away with – whether it’s something that you could add to your business or something you do today that you didn’t think you could actually do better."

Backstage at MED : Ever wanted to just disappear from the world for a while?  Loke posted about how the guys at "Trinket software are cool! they keep on building and releasing simple yet useful applications that YOU WILL USE unlike apps that do nothing but let you watch swimming fish. "The latest app is called Do Not Disturb which is currently in beta, allows you to configure your Windows Mobile device to capture incoming calls even before the phone rings and perform custom behaviors based on how you’d want them handled."

Aaron Stebner’s WebLog : Link to more information about Zune device reboots when exiting an XNA Game Studio 3.0 game — Starting with the Zune 3.0 firmware, you can install and play a set of games on your Zune device. Texas Hold Em, Hexic, Checkers, Sudoku and Space Battle are available in the Zune firmware and software that is available at the time that I am writing this blog post. These in-box games are created with the XNA Framework, but they behave a bit differently than Zune games that you can create yourselves with XNA Game Studio 3.0. Specifically, many developers have asked on the forums why these games do not require a reboot of the Zune device when you exit them, whereas games created by other developers and deployed to the Zune device using XNA Game Studio 3.0 or via a .ccgame package do require a device reboot.

Live Framework and why should you care?  From the Microsoft Health and Life Sciences Evangelism Team: "The Live Framework team recently published a short (but to the point) white paper entitled The Live Framework: What is it and Why Should I Care? “The Live Framework provides a platform-agnostic, HTTP-based, resource-oriented programming model for accessing data. This programming model abstracts away the details of the File System, Networking APIs (for P2P and P2C), caching/storage APIs, serialization technologies, etc. and provides a consistent way to access data on all devices – PC, Mac, Mobile as well as (Windows Live) cloud. “

Community and Influencers Blog : When the desktop meets social media — Nestor writes that "Today I got excellent news about an alliance between Microsoft and one of the most popular social media sites for sharing presentations called SlideShare. This is another end user delivery of the Microsoft’s vision for Software plus Services! It gives users the flexibility to develop and share presentations from the desktop and share it with their social networks via the cloud. "You can download the ribbon… To install it, you will need to have PowerPoint 2007, Vista or Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, and the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1."

Dr. Z’s Blog : Publish and Share Your Presentations in the Cloud — "SlideShare provides several ways to share publically or privately your Microsoft PowerPoint presentations on the web. I tested 3 of them and included my quick comments highlighted in boldface fonts."

Community and Influencers Blog : Answers at your fingertips: A deep “Vista”(*) of the Microsoft Answers Support Site — "Inside and outside Microsoft Vista is a conversation topic that with some frequency is present at technology discussions and conversations. At community level Vista is a conversation driver in forums, newsgroups and bulleting boards because the number of people that love it, doesn’t like it or simply hate it. One of the hot conversation topics is support and it is key for all Vista users and a special note is for the very end user who is not technology savvy at all (like my mom) but uses Vista on a daily basis for mail, chat or just internet browsing."

Why Can’t I Change the Update Path when Redeploying VSTO Solutions? — "The other day I was asked about the automatic Updates feature of VSTO 3.0 deployment. In this scenario, he used the Publish Wizard in VS 2008 to create a Word document solution and the install manifest. Then a bunch of people used the Word document, and kicked off the installer which then copied things to their ClickOnce cache. Everything worked fine. Then he needed to make changes to the code, recompile, and somehow get the solution to all of his customers. Instead of using the Publish Wizard to create the update in the same server, he chose to use a different server path. The customers were unable to install the updates. He tried editing the custom properties of the document to change the install path to the new server, but it still didn’t work. Then he tried testing with a new, clean computer, and on that computer he was able to install from the new path and use the new Word document. He asked us why were the “old” users unable to get the update?"
How To: Steps to create web services in MOSS 2007 — "I followed the article but still I had to do couple of more settings which I have covered here."

Tags: articles, what I read, Microsoft, MSDN, blogs.

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