The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Program Evolves

On the 1st of the month at the start of each quarter, through its MVP program (@MVPAward), Microsoft has been awarding (and/or re-awarding) external individuals with the MVP designation (for a period of 1 year) for their contributions (over approximately the prior 12 months) in a single area of expertise. Some people have maintained their designation (possibly changing technical expertise along the way) for well over 10 years continuously. That program is evolving in a very positive way to embrace the broader contributions of some MVPs.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Prediction: New Devices will Surface from Microsoft for Windows 8 Blue summer 2013

 

This is entirely based on thought, guesswork, what’s really needed, what’s possible, and wishful thinking at worst.  It is not based on any communication or disclosure from Microsoft (directly or indirectly). 

Microsoft – note the short branding style.

Update: The Build 2013 conference has been announced for June 26th, 27th & 28th.  This is around the time that the Surface devices were announced last year.  A big negative comment around Build 2011 was that there wasn’t a lot of developer information prior to Build 2011.  Leaked builds aside, an early conference this year could help appease developers ahead of the Windows Blue release.  However, a criticism for the Surface announcement in 2012 was that there were no pre-order date given.  A much earlier conference this year may not provide for any new device pre-order announcements if we are looking at an autumn timeframe for new device availability, unless Microsoft has been very busy at work and such devices are coming sooner that we think – an end-of-August date (6 months after the Surface Pro) would tick all the right boxes for back-to-school and stay out of the way of the next Xbox release.

Update:  Speculation is moving towards reality – Paul Thurrott of Winsupersite claims that Microsoft will ship an 8" device in 2013.  So read 8" instead of 7" below, providing almost 200DPI if the resolution is 1366×768. 

Update June 3 2013: Microsoft is having a crazy sell-off of Surface RT and Surface Pro at the Microsoft TechEd North America conference.  This signals new devices around the corner!

Queue wavy dream sequence to summer announcements…

Surface Mini – $299

Windows 8 is now available on the the 7” Surface Mini (for $300), which includes Office 2014 RT store apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote (with no business license), limited or NO desktop, and is compatible with the new Surface Dock (Pro) (see below).  It features a low-power I3 equivalent, 2GB RAM and 32GB SSD.  Battery time is 8+ hours.

Update June 3 2013: Dell is selling Windows RT devices for $299.  An Intel Baytrail-based Surface Mini later this year, seems very likely now.

Surface Mini Pro – $399

Also in the mini series is the 7” Surface Mini Pro (for $400), which includes Windows Pro, Office 2014 RT Pro (which add a store version of Outlook with an Office business license), a desktop with app compat, domain join, management group policy with system center/InTune, and docks fantastically using the Surface Dock (Pro) with no DPI issues.  It features a low-power I5 equivalent, not ARM, 4GB RAM and 64GB SSD.  Battery time is 6+ hours. There are WAN model options for $50 more.

Mini users can upgrade their OS to Windows Pro for $150 (but of course don’t get the physical RAM or SSD upgrade).

Both devices come with 2xUSB 3.0, 1xDP (plus DP-HDMI adapter), pen digitizer, WiFi, Bluetooth 4, GPS, Compass, Accelerometer, Gyro, NFC.  They are compatible with existing Surface power supplies and DisplayPort accessories, but not keyboards.  Buyers are encouraged to buy other Microsoft Bluetooth keyboards. 

Surface Dock – $49

There’s also the Surface Stand Charger for $50 which is a wireless charger for the Mini Series, with magnetic power-in connector and a bluetooth receiver with 1 DisplayPort out connector.

Surface Dock Pro – $99

The Surface Dock Pro ($100) features a 3-port USB 3.0 hub, the previously mythical DisplayPort MST hub with 3 ports and 1 DP-HDMI adapter, 1000-baseT Ethernet, and magnetic power-in connector.  The Mini series connects to the dock in portrait or landscape using one of the two strategically placed USB 3.0 ports also providing wireless charging. 

Surface Xbox Mini – $299

The Surface Xbox Mini is a 7” game/companion device at $300 – essentially a Surface Mini with no Office (though available as apps to buy in the store for $100) but increased GPU power. The battery lasts for 4+ hours of game play.

Windows RT –> Windows Phone

The Surface with Windows RT (aka Surface RT) is discontinued. Windows on ARM is now solely the foundation for new WP8 Blue devices which are becoming more like Windows RT, and are compatible with the Surface Dock (Pro) for desktop docking, video display and charging!!! Your desktop is now in your pocket allowing you to dock and use Windows RT on external monitors.

Windows now successfully covers tablets that become your desktop with Surface Mini Pro and phones that become your desktop with Windows Phone.

Surface Screen Adapter – $49

Turn any HDMI or VGA display into a single wireless screen for your Windows 8 tablet or phone (!) device with Bluetooth 3.0+HS or higher.

Update June 3 2013: Microsoft has announced Miracast support in Windows 8.1.  This means future Windows 8.1 devices will make use of these kind of screen adapters, which are in fact already available!

Surface Pro 2 – $799

Windows 8 is also available on the Surface Pro 2 (which now starts $799 with 8GB RAM), featuring the lower power Intel chipset with battery life lasting 6+ hours, and is compatible with the Surface Dock Pro, but not for wireless charging.  It adds in all missing sensors.

Update June 3 2013: Intel Haswell chips are out of the gate.  I expect we’ll see the announcement of a Surface device using Haswell at Build on June 26th – perhaps even an available device.

Surface Lap Cover – $149

The Lap Cover is also available for both the Surface Pro & the Surface Pro 2 which is similar to the Type Cover, but providing a locking angle for the screen without the stand and includes a battery which (when combined with the system battery) provides 8+ hours of use for the Pro, and 10+ hours with the Pro 2.

 

For $600 CxO and IWs are snapping up Surface Mini Pros with WAN, a Dock and a keyboard.  Some are saving $200 off the device with a new mobile provider 3-year plan. 

The $300 Surface Mini and Surface Xbox Mini become the fastest selling tablets ever during Dec 2013, with families buying multiple units from back to school to xmas. 

Then, there’s the ‘Xbox 720’…

What’s Coming for WP7 developers in Mango

Blogged from the Microsoft Mix 11 Day 2 Keynote in Las Vegas

On day 2 of Microsoft’s Mix 11 conference, they explain how they will (in May) be “Delivering happiness” to Windows Phone developers. New Windows Phone end-user features will be announced at a later date.

Opportunity

Ecosystem

· Nokia will be bringing mobile billing expertise

Countries

· 16 more languages

· Developers in 38 (up from 30) countries can register to publish applications

· Phone users in 35 (up from 16) countries will be able to purchase apps

Discoverability

· New Program list – has the ‘long list’ initial letter jump buttons, a search button (inc. access to marketplace search in the results)

· Marketplace – Separates Apps, music, & Podcasts (US this fall)) and shows more details in list with publisher/price/rating

· Marketplace App page has a pivot: details, reviews, screenshots, related

· One-click install for free apps

· Auto-nav to apps list after install

· Search Extras – A Bing Search result can have extras deep linking into an app

Capability

Browser

· Browser uses same IE9 code-base for HTML5, JavaScript, CSS3

· Address bar at the bottom

· Background audio for HTML5 in browser (use phone controls too)

· H.264 video in video tag in full screen with controls

Phone integration

· Sockets

· SQL CE Database with ORM and Linq to SQL

· More launchers & choosers (inc. deep link to directions)

· Better access to contacts and calendar

· Pin to start of application deep links

· Raw camera access

· Access to compass

· Access to gyro (new optional hardware coming this year)

· Motion Sensor API (for ease of using compass and gyro)

· Ringtone API

Multi-tasking:

· Fast app switching – apps are suspending, and only terminated if necessary

· Background audio from apps (leveraging the standard phone media controls)

· Background downloads

· Setup alarms

· Live tile updating including animations

· “Live agents” occasionally run by a battery friendly scheduler (with user control of which ones can run this way) – gets events and can get location

Dev Experience:

New emulator features for Accelerometer (with 3D model of position) and location (with Bing maps input)

Performance improvement (for list)

· Scrolling and input

· Image decode

· Garbage collector (no pausing)

· Memory usage

Built on Silverlight 4 including RichTextBox

Local Database using SQL CE with ORM and LINQ to SQL

Can compose UI with Silverlight and XNA

Profiler (still free)

Get Free training With Great WP7, Silverlight & Azure Sessions at Microsoft Mix11

 

300x250_Mix11_011011_US_b (2)

This year’s Microsoft Mix 11 conference is taking place from April 12th to 14th in Las Vegas.

I have 4 sessions proposals that have been selected for voting by the Mix panel, and with your help, I can present them at the conference for you to see in person or for free on-demand shortly afterwards.

As well as from commercial projects and published articles/shows, these sessions are based on my expertise as a Microsoft MVP for Silveright, a workshop trainer for Microsoft on the Windows Azure Platform & the developer of the first WP7 training bootcamp delivered across North America.

To vote for sessions by Feb 4th…

For each of the web links below, click on each one and then vote by first clicking on all of the animal pictures of the indicated type (usually cats awww) and then clicking “vote for this session”.  Repeat for each of the 4 links.  The picture clicking thing is to make sure you are human and not a cheating robot of course.  If you select the wrong animation by mistake, you can click it again to unselect it.

Thank you for your interest and support!

 

0 to Phone App in 60 Minutes (based on a popular TechDays session)

Windows Phone 7 devices are out there. Will you have an application in the marketplace this year? The tools are free to download but it helps to get a jump-start to get moving. Do you understand the MVVM design pattern and how it applies to Windows Phone? Would you like to see how it’s done from scratch? Come along and see Microsoft MVP for Silverlight and leading WP7 trainer, Colin Melia, show you how to build an application step-by-step and answer questions along the way.

 

Getting to grips with MVVM on Windows Phone

You’ve downloaded the phone tools and created your first project. Now you’re venturing into the other project templates and have found all kinds of extra xaml files, bindings and classes. You’re in the world of MVVM architecture and you feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit whole. The MVVM patterns in the templates are there to leveraged, but you need to know how to work with it. In this session Microsoft MVP for Silverlight and leading WP7 trainer, Colin Melia, will cover the MVVM concepts, the templates and go beyond viewing data to using commands and explaining key choices.

 

Windows Azure Platform as the backend for Windows Phone experiences

The launch of Windows Phone has been a source of much interest and developer enthusiam. There are 1,000s of appplications in the Windows Phone Marketplace. However, not many of those applications interact with a service created by the same developer. In this session, Microsoft MVP for Silverlight and leading WP7 trainer, Colin Melia, will show you how the Windows Azure Platform is a natural backend for Windows Phone experiences and how to use the various components.

 

On-Premise Data to Cloud to Phone – Connecting with Odata

You have corporate data to disseminate into the field, or service records that need to be updated in the field. How can you quickly make that data accessible from your on-premise system to Windows Phone users? Come take a look at OData with Microsoft MVP for Silverlight and leading WP7 trainer, Colin Melia, and see how you can expose data and services into the cloud and quickly connect to it from the phone, from scratch

 

These are 4 of just 14 sessions by Canadian-based developers highlighted by Microsoft Canada.  You can vote for all to 10 in total.

Become a Windows Azure Administrator in Just 15 minutes

Got a few minutes to kill, and want to get to grips with Microsoft’s Windows Azure Platform? Let’s do it in the best possible way – by actually trying it. I’m about to show you just how easy that is and also explain how valuable that knowledge can be.

If you do this in Canada by Dec 31st 2010 and tell Microsoft Canada about it (see below), Microsoft will give CDN$25 to your nominated user group AND send you a $25 gift card too!! Smile

Let’s get a few questions out of the way first…

Continue reading

Silverlight 5 Feature Announcements During Live Firestarter Event

The following features have just been announced live by Scott Guthrie during the Silverlight Firestarter event.

Media features

  • Video hardware decode – better performance; better on low-power-cpu devices that have a GPU
  • Trickplay – watch video at faster speed while preserving pitch
  • Power management – hold-off screensaver when full screen (until paused)
  • Remote control – for 10ft experience

Also, IIS Media Service 4 was recently shipped (and is free) – live and on-demand smooth streaming to desktop, Windows Phone 7 and iPhone (via live trans-muxing) – enhancements to Expression Media Encoder to support on-demand/live streaming to devices – also now announced is support on Windows Azure

New application features

  • Data binding – breakpoints and inspection in XAML bindings (!!); custom markup extensions (from WPF, great for MVVM); implicit DataTemplates; Ancestor RelativeSource (from WPF); binding and style setters (great for dynamic theme changes); DataContextChanged event
  • Inter-layout Transitions for list change animations
  • Networking – WS-Trust support; low-latency networking; MVVM-friendly data source, end-to-end support for complex types, Windows Azure support
  • Text – clarity; multi-column text; character tracking and leading; full OpenType support; vector PostScript printing.
  • Pivot add-on for SL4 will be part of SL5 – dynamic pivot is awesome
  • 3D Graphics (!!!!) – Immediate-mode graphics API; fluid layout transitions; hardware 3D acceleration of models & textures
  • model
  • more layers
  • Multiple Windows Support – with child windows
  • P/Invoke – can now call Win32 APIs
  • Enterprise Group Policy Support – get full trust out-of-browser features, but in the browser
  • Automated UI Testing – record UI, generate code, re-test – awesome!
  • Improved Profiling – memory, CPU, thread connection
  • Improved startup time
  • Hardware acceleration in IE 9
  • 64-bit version

Release Schedule!!!

Silverlight 5 Beta – Spring 2011

Release – by end of 2011

Get more details from Microsoft:

Scott Guthrie’s blog – http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2010/12/02/announcing-silverlight-5.aspx

Tim Heuer’s blog – http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2010/12/02/silverlight-5-revealed-at-firestarter.aspx

As a Microsoft MVP for Silverlight, I’m delighted to see the future of Silverlight 5 unfolding quite nicely (and stunningly in the case of 3D hardware acceleration) as well as an emphasis on what great applications can be built today with the existing Silverlight 4 technologies.

Note that there are no preview/beta bits available to download at this time.

Discover The Future of Silverlight at the Ottawa Silverlight Firestarter Event

Come to the Microsoft Ottawa office on Dec 2nd 2010 @ 11:45 am ET sharp to watch the the future of Silverlight unfold. 

On Dec 2nd 2010, Microsoft is running the all-day Firestarter event about Silverlight.  It opens with a keynote from Scott Guthrie (Corporate VP of the Developer Division) on the Future of Silverlight and features various sessions from renowned speakers.   It’s like another day of PDC just for Silverlight. 

We’ll be watching and discussing the morning portion of the live event as a group.  As a Microsoft MVP for Silverlight I’ll be there along with Microsoft’s Christian Beauclair to discuss the event and answer questions.

Silverlight is THE developer platform for rapidly building and deploying UI- and media-rich data-connected business and consumer applications for the web, the desktop and the phone.  It’s available today.  Microsoft has invested and will continue to invest in Silverlight, and in products that use it including LightSwitch, Lync, Windows InTune, the new Azure Portal, etc.

 

SLFirestarter_150X240

No registration is required.

Dec 2nd 2010

11:45 ET (event started at noon)

100 Queen Street (the World Exchange Plaza – with underground parking)
Suite 500 (5th floor)
Ottawa, ON
K1P 1J9