New training from the Windows Phone 7 MVPs. Check it out at the Windows Phone Developer Blog…
Today we are publishing the first in our training content led by our MVPs. Rob Miles and Andy Wigley led an incredibly well received live training course about a month ago, focused on getting developers trained up on building amazing applications and games for Windows Phone 7.
We recognize that providing as much technical content as we can for the full range of developers is what developers deserve. While we plan on having more live training sessions in the coming weeks and months, we are also committed to making that content available as quickly as possible to as many developers as possible. Since this round of content is based on Beta Windows Phone Developer Tools, we will not be localizing it. For our non-English speaking developers, we will be providing localized training once we have released the final developer tools.
Andy and Rob provide a good bit of humor along with their incredible depth of knowledge on the topic of building apps and games for Windows Phone 7. We think they have covered a fair amount ground, but if there are topics you feel we need to cover more in depth, don’t hesitate to let us know.
There are 12 sessions in total, each about :50 minutes in length. Think of this as a semester’s worth of class time to help you in your quest to be an awesome Windows Phone 7 developer. It’s self-paced, and both Rob and Andy are pretty approachable. Head on over to their blogs if you want to get more plugged into what they are doing.
I also posted this to my work blog, but if you don’t read that you can check the link below.
Free Live Meeting on February 25. Check out the link for details and to register. Should be a good event.
Microsoft Partners are cordially invited to attend an online Live Meeting briefing to hear new insights and points-of-views from well-known industry experts and leading edge partner companies on what the Windows Azure opportunity means for your organization. We will demonstrate how you will be able to change the face of your business and introduce new revenue streams for building solutions for our customers.
Looks like a great cause and a good opportunity to promote your web design house. Check out the story and the links for details.
$50,000 PhizzPop Design Challenge: Agencies Called to Design New Web Site for Boys & Girls Clubs of America: Winning agency will also receive trip for two to 14th Annual Webby Awards in New York City; deadline for entries is Feb. 19, 2010.
NEW YORK — Jan. 11, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. and The Webby Awards today kicked off the Microsoft PhizzPop Boys & Girls Clubs of America Design Challenge, giving interactive design agencies of all sizes a chance to showcase their ingenuity and expertise to help Boys & Girls Clubs of America redesign its Web site for the new decade.
Microsoft and The Webby Awards selected Boys & Girls Clubs of America as the contest’s beneficiary because they believe a more powerful Web site combining the latest Microsoft tools and technologies with the latest design trends will help the 104-year-old organization better communicate its mission of helping all youth reach their full potential.
Three finalist teams will win travel and hotel accommodations to MIX10, Microsoft’s annual conference for Web designers and developers, in Las Vegas (March 15–17). At MIX, finalists will pitch their concepts live before a panel of judges from Microsoft, Boys & Girls Club of America and the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, which judges the Webby Awards.
I don’t know too many people who are completely confident they’ll make it through the waves of layoffs that have hit the tech industry since last year. Like everybody else, I worry about this kind of thing, but I also think about what kind of opportunity a change like this could afford me and how I could best take advantage of it.
In my job as a developer evangelist, I’ve been able to talk to a diverse set of audiences about all sorts of topics. One of the things I’ve mentioned in talks I’ve done in the last few months is that, if I lost my job tomorrow, the first thing I would do is sign up for the BizSpark program. Coincidentally, I’ve been lucky enough to have landed a new role at Microsoft where my job is to promote programs like BizSpark to startups.
With that in mind, I wanted to share with you my five step plan for starting a new software company, very inexpensively, built on the Microsoft stack. This plan is non-technical. I assume here that if you’re a dev, you have an idea of what you want to build, even if it’s a vague idea. (Picasso quote) That’s good. These are the steps that you can take to start turning that idea into a business.
What you’ll need to begin is a computer capable of running the software you need to build your product. Usually that will mean a machine capable of running Windows Vista or Windows 7. I also recommend a copy of Office 2007 so that you can create business plans, build PowerPoint presentations, and manage your e-mail, along with other office functions.
You can get almost everything else on the list below right now for free.
- Download business templates from http://microsoft.com/office and use them to define your new business. Having a plan is important and you can learn a lot about creating a business plan just by looking at some of the templates that are available. Here are some suggested searches to find the documents you need:
- Get a free Office Live Small Business workspace so that you can collaborate, store your documents online, and build company web site. This step is pretty straightforward, but you’ll want to spend some time learning about the collaboration site you create. An Office Live Small Business workspace lets you do some pretty interesting things like manage contacts (some simple CRM), calendar management, newsletters, document sharing and storage, and more. To create this site, you’ll need to use your Windows Live ID. You can create a new Live ID here. Once you have that, go to this Office Live page and sign up to create a new web site. Choose the name of your company and the business that you are in carefully, as an Office Live URL will be created using the business name and the business type you chose.
- Set up a new domain and build your company web site. A domain from Office Live is free for the first year and it $14.95 annually after that. Once you decide on your domain, you have a number of options for creating and managing a company home page. You can use the built-in templates and tools to build your site, or you can set advanced options to delete the template content and upload a web site built using your own tools. (I have a page at http://brianjo.us you can visit to see what a customized, template-based site looks like.)
- Join the Microsoft BizSpark program to get access to professional development tools and other benefits. Check the MicrosoftStartupZone site for full details. BizSpark gives you access to an MSDN Premium Subscription, which includes Visual Studio Professional, Microsoft Expression Studio, and much more.
Joining BizSpark is easy, just go to this page, and follow the directions. They can have you set up in just a few hours. Alternatively, search the Network Partner directory for a network partner near you and they can have you set up very quickly.
- Find a host for your product application. You have a number of options here: You can set up your own servers, you can find a Microsoft Partner or another host for your application (many of our Network Partners are also web hosts), or you can build on Azure. There’s a full page of information about this on the MicrosoftStartupZone.
Really, that’s all there is to it (besides doing all the work and shipping a product). If you have an idea for a startup company, this is one way to pull it together. In addition to all that, you can get your company placed into the BizSparkDB directory where potential investors can review the work that you’re doing and contact you about possibly financing your company.
As I said at the beginning of this post, this is what I would do if I wanted to start a new company tomorrow. (And I’ve always got at least 3-5 ideas in my head.) If you end up starting a new company with BizSpark, or if you have questions about the program, please drop me a note at email@example.com. Let me know how it goes.
Windows 7 RC available to all. Brandon has some good information here:
As we previously announced, today the Windows 7 RC is now available for anyone interested in giving it a spin! Typically, a release candidate is the last development milestone before release to manufacturing (RTM), signifying that engineering and development have made significant advancements and that the code is entering the final phases of testing. Essentially, the Windows 7 RC is the result of a lot of the great feedback we received during the Windows 7 Beta. That’s why I’m so excited to use it and excited for YOU to use it!
It’s out and I’m hearing good things about it.
The 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 2 (SP2) provides customers with the latest updates to the 2007 Office suite (the products that are affected by this update are listed below). This download includes two types of fixes:
- Previously unreleased fixes that were made specifically for this service pack.
- In addition to general product fixes, this includes improvements in stability, performance, and security.
- You can find out more information in Knowledge Base Article 953195, where product-specific changes are described.
- All of the Public Updates, Security Updates, Cumulative Updates, and Hotfixes released through February 2009.
- Before installing this service pack, you are strongly encouraged to read 953195, which describes some big improvements introduced by SP2, and also calls out some important information that you should be aware of before installing.