Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Windows 7 Availability Summary

In case you're dying to get your hands on the upcoming Windows 7, the official availability schedule is now published. It can't be purchased until October 22, but if you're a Microsoft partner or software developer, you'll be able to get it much earlier.

UPDATE: Both Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 have officially RTM'd.

  • Windows 7 RTM announcement here
  • Windows 2008 R2 RTM announcement here.

Here's a chronological summary, which I originally posted here:

  • Two days after official RTM: OEMs
  • August 6: Downloadable for ISVs, IHV's, TechNet subscribers, MSDN subscribers
  • August 7: Downloadable for Volume Licence with Software Assurance (English only)
  • August 16: Downloadable for Partner Program Gold / Certified members (English-only)
  • August 23: Downloadable for Action Pack subscribers (English Only)
  • September 1: Purchasing for Volume License without Software Assurance (no mention of specific language availability)
  • By October 1: Downloadable for Partner Program Gold / Certified members, Action Pack subscribers, TechNet subscribers, MSDN subscribers (remaining languages)
  • October 22: Purchasing at retail locations

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Azure SDK July CTP - Multiple web and worker roles

For those of you playing around with Microsoft's cloud computing platform (Azure), the latest community technology preview of the SDK went out today. This comes only 2 weeks after the Azure platform was upgraded (back on July 7), and the SDK now supports deployment of multiple web roles and worker roles within a single cloud service.

I just finished writing up details of the new cloud service creation wizard on the RDA Architecture blog. You can see that here.

The Microsoft Azure team published a feature summary and download link here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fireworks 2009

Just a bit of fun - here's a set of fireworks I shot on the 4th. These were taken in Gaithersburg, MD, at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.

Friday, July 10, 2009

SpiderOak saves the day in unexpected way

Ok, I'll admit it - I'm a computer geek. After over 20 years in the industry, I still go gaga over the Next New Toy, regardless whether it's software or hardware. So, of course, I tas totally stoked last week when I finally broke down and purchased an offsite storage solution.

I'm sure everyone has an opinion on the best solution, but for my needs and my reasons, I bought SpiderOak. So far, it's been extremely easy to work with, across both Mac and Windows laptops and desktops. I found out that a single account supports all of my computers, as long as I don't exceed my storage allocation, and this has already come in very handy.

But, as I'm not affiliated with SpiderOak an any way, I'm not rambling to convince you to buy this product (although I'm guessing you'd greatly benefit from it). No, I'm here to pat myself on the back for finding an unintended use of this backup tool, one which helped considerably this morning.

I'm currently 200 miles from home, in a remote campsite (with a laptop and data card, of course). This morning, the family and I treked out to one of these underground caverns. I, being the family photog, had chewed through all but one memory card during our vacation. I believe a 4-leter word might have danced across my lips as I noticed that I hadn't yet formatted the data card. This is when doubt set in - had I copied these pictures to my Mac yet? Of course! Most probably! I doubt I didn't! Um, I did, didn't I???

It's not like I could call someone and have them go to my house and check. This would require 1) finding someone available, 2) giving that person my Mac password, and 3) walking someone through the steps of finding my files. This was not an enticing solution.

It was at that moment that I had my back-patting moment. I ran to the back of the car and fired up the laptop (yes, I dragged along, for fear of leaving it at the campsite). The family groaned in unison, but I convinced them to give me a few quick minutes to "check something," and to go find something fun in the gift shop (in the end, this suggestion cost me dearly, but that's another story).

After an agonizing 3 minutes, Vista was up, the data card was connected, and I was surfed into A quick login later, and I was staring at my offsite file tree. A few more clicks, and I was all smiles. There, sitting in front of me, was a big fat file listing with all of my photos from my very last data card. Quick shutdown, quick in-camara card format, and quick trip to the gift shop (I was too late to thwart cheesy-gift-shop purchases), and we were off to the caverns, camera locked-n-loaded.

So: Kudos to SpiderOak for an easy-to-use tool that works just as advertised, with a very speedy and easy-to-navigate web interface. And, thanks for providing the bonus feature of allowing me to simply check for the existence of a set of files to ensure that I wasn't permanently deleting the only copy of my data.

Time to get back to vacation - the campfire is roaring and the back of my LCD is getting quite toasty. Good thing my laptop is backed up...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Flip4Mac fixes WMV glitches

While being a hardcore Microsoft .NET developer, I've been working on a Mac Pro for the past 15 months as my primary workstation. I've found a great balance, working with OSX as my core operating system and Vista under VMWare Fusion for my Windows development. My biggest gripe so far has been the less-than-stellar support for WMV, which is video encoded with Microsoft's coding processor.

Most videos from Microsoft conferences and how-to's are WMV-encoded. I can't watch them smoothly in a virtual machine, so I'm usually watching these on my laptop. I discovered Telestream's Flip4Mac last year, which allows the QuickTime player to play WMV-encoded video. This mostly works, but for some videos, the rendering becomes chunky or unreadable at times.

Today, Flip4Mac updated itself to version This version seems to have finally fixed the chunky/unreadable video rendering issues. I went back to several videos that consistently failed to render, and they're all playing fine. For example, most of the videos at had trouble rendering (for example, Consuming REST Services with HttpClient). They play fine now.

So if you're on a Mac and need to view WMV, I highly recommend Flip4Mac. Nicely done, Telestream!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Upcoming talk July 8: Intro to WPF

Next week (July 8), I'm presenting an intro to WPF at the Rockville .NET User Group (directions and info at Here's the synopsis of the talk:

Yes, WPF lets you do some cool things with animation, but it is also a platform for building real world applications. This presentation will start in shallow end of WPF basics and then dive deeper into architecture. I will cover the following topics:

  • Why move from WinForms to WPF? Pros vs. (almost no) con's.
  • WPF architecture overview: what to know, what to embrace, etc.
  • Pattern focus: ViewModel
  • WPF vs. Silverlight (strictly from a feature perspective): What advantages and disadvantages are there?
  • Introduction to CompositeWPF (this one goes to 11).

Here's the schedule:

  • 6:30-7:00 - n00b Presentation: Getting Generic by Dean Fiala
  • 7:00-7:30 - Pizza/Announcements
  • 7:30-9:00 - Featured Presentation: WPF (me)