Learn Windows Azure Event

Join us LIVE from the Microsoft Redmond Campus to learn how to get started building applications for the cloud from Microsoft technical leaders Scott Guthrie, Dave Campbell, and Mark Russinovich.

The entire event is being streamed live by Channel 9. The event begins at 9 am Pacific (noon Eastern) on December 13.

Register for Learn Windows Azure Event.

The entire event will be streamed LIVE by Channel 9!

Updated Windows Azure SDK & Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK Available

You can read the official Windows Azure Blog post for full details.

we are simplifying the development experience on Windows Azure with three updates—a new version of the Windows Azure SDK, a new Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK, and an updated Windows Azure Platform Training Kit.  Whether you are already using Windows Azure or looking for the right moment to get started, these updates make it easier than ever to build applications on Windows Azure.

Highlights:

  • Windows Azure SDK (November 2011)—Multiple updates to the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010 that simplify development, deployment, and management on Windows Azure. The full Windows Azure SDK can be downloaded via the Web Platform installer here.
  • Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK— Works in conjunction with the Windows Azure SDK and includes modules and features to author high performance computing (HPC) applications that use large amounts of compute resources in parallel to complete work.  The SDK is available here for download.
  • Windows Azure Platform Training Kit—Includes hands-on labs, demos, and presentations to help you learn how to build applications that use Windows Azure. Compatible with the new Windows Azure SDK and Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010. The training kit can be downloaded here.

You can start building your application on it in 3 simple and easy to do steps:

1. Download the Tools:

Get Visual Studio Express and the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio to start building and debugging applications for the Windows Azure Platform athttp://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/sdk/
If you have already Visual Studio installed you can download the tools directly fromhttp://tinyurl.com/toolsforazure.

2. Setup an Account:

Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure, SQL Azure and Windows Azure AppFabric. You can learn more about the accounts athttp://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/learn/get-started/ or you can sign up directly and get the trial http://tinyurl.com/getazurefreetrial.

3. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

First learn how to create a simple ASP.NET application in Visual Studio for Windows Azure and deploy it on Windows Azure at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/learn/tutorials/getting-started-web-tutorial/

When all steps are executed successfully you should have running your first application on the Windows Azure Platform.

Kinect for Windows Is Live

The new website is now live: http://www.kinectforwindows.org

Silverlight 5 RC Available for Download

silverlight_logoThe release candidate for Silverlight 5 is now available to developers on the Silverlight developer site. You can get the release itself and additional details on Silverlight Downloads.

New Features Announced for Silverlight 5

Silverlight delivers the richest set of capabilities available to developers today through a Web‐browser plug‐in. Announced last December and shipping later this year, Silverlight 5 makes further advances in media, application development and user experience, adding over 40 new features.

The Silverlight 5 RC provides developers their first opportunity to start exploring these new capabilities. More information on the Silverlight 5 announcements is available at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/future .

The Role Of The PM

Windows Phone Mango Silverlight developer toolkit released

WindowsPhoneThe Silverlight toolkit for Windows Phone’s Mango update has been released. You can download the toolkit here.Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit offers developers additional controls for Windows Phone application development, designed to match the rich user experience of the Windows Phone 7.1 SDK.

New Components for Aug 2011

  • Smooth new LongListSelector designed for Windows Phone 7.1 OS
  • MultiselectList
  • LockablePivot
  • HubTile
  • ExpanderView
  • LocalizedResources
  • DateTimeConverters
  • DateTimePickers
  • HeaderedItemsControl
  • PhoneTextBox
  • Improved Transitions performance
  • Improved ContextMenu performance
  • ListPicker supports multiselect
  • Various bug fixes

Components in the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit

Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit Components

  • AutoCompleteBox
  • ContextMenu
  • DatePicker
  • DateTimeConverters
  • DatePicker
  • ExpanderView
  • GestureService/GestureListener
  • HeaderedItemsControl
  • HubTile
  • ListPicker
  • LocalizedResources
  • LockablePivot
  • LongListSelector
  • MultiselectList
  • Page Transitions
  • PerformanceProgressBar
  • PhoneTextBox
  • TiltEffect
  • TimePicker
  • ToggleSwitch
  • WrapPanel
Get the tools

You can download the new release straight from the CodePlex site at http://silverlight.codeplex.com/ – it requires the latest ‘Mango’ developer tools as well.

The release is also available on NuGet as the SilverlightToolkitWP package.

Challenges Current CTOs Are Experiencing

rubiks_cubeDuring my meetings with CTOs in ISVs (and I have a lot Smile) I try to help them to solve their challenges.

First, what is CTO?

A Chief Technology Officer (or Chief Technical Officer; CTO) is an executive-level position in a company or other entity whose occupant is focused on scientific and technological issues within an organization. It typically involves overseeing Research and Development (R&D) activities, and formulating long-term visions and strategies at the officer level. Essentially, a CTO is responsible for the transformation of capital – be it monetary, intellectual, or political – into technology in furtherance of the company’s objectives. They typically combine a strong technical or scientific background with business development skills.

source:Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_technology_officer

Now, when we know what is the definition of CTO, I’d like to summarize the current challenges CTOs are experiencing as I understand them:

  • Recruiting talents is one of the most challenging endeavor.If you have great talent you could probably be a mediocre manager and still excel! I do believe that people is the most important asset we have. However, there is plenty of talent in supply. What might be lacking are:
    • Ability to attract talent
    • Ability to recognize talent
    • Ability to train/coach/grow talent
  • Alignment of technology and business strategy: "What we can do does not sell, and what sells we cannot do." Need to navigate the markets.Seek to discover gaps between the realized and potential value of the applicable technologies to our customers. Technology product development is effectively the organization and packaging of available technology.
  • Execution. We are in the age when companies compete based on their execution capabilities (product development infrastructure) rather than products themselves. Building an efficient infrastructure requires systemic thinking and good system engineering practices. Not every CTO is a system engineer by birth.
  • Technology: technology is getting much simpler and more complex at the same time.But it is almost always the case that problems and opportunities get less expensive every month. So the challenge is to plan (predict) when changes to tools and infrastructure should occur.
  • Cloud! “how do I get distributed processing power in the cloud?".
  • Global market: where you are collecting data from many differing countries with differing infrastructure capabilities, where is the processing power?
  • Simplicity over Functionality: People/Customers always want a system that does it all for them rather than make the important parts efficient and effective. That is partially why SaaS is becoming more and more important everyday.

There are many challenges for a modern CTO. I summarized here my opinion, but of course, the challenges vary greatly by the industry and business size. Use the comments mechanism to add your insights.

Windows Azure Tools, Developer Training Kits Updated

windows_azure_smallUpdates have been released for Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and Windows Azure Platform Training Kit for developers.

  • You can download the tools here using the Web Platform Installer.
  • You can download the updated developer training kit here.

The release of the tools was made at Announcing the August 2011 Release of the Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.

New in this release of the tools:

  • Profile applications running in Windows Azure.
  • Create ASP.Net MVC3 Web Roles.
  • Manage multiple service configurations in one cloud project.
  • Improved validation of Windows Azure packages.
Updated Training Kit

The Windows Azure Platform Training Kit has been updated for the new tools. The Windows Azure Platform Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including hands-on labs, presentations, and demos that are designed to help you learn how to use the Windows Azure platform.

The August 2011 update of the training kit includes:

  • Labs and Demos
    • All the labs and demos have been updated to leverage the new Window Azure Tools 1.4.
    • Updated SSMS dependency of affected labs to SSMS SP1.
  • Windows Azure Deployment
  • Building ASP.NET Applications with Windows Azure
    • Changed the way the membership password was encrypted to fix minor bug when deployed to azure.
  • Exploring Windows Azure Storage
    • Updated the code to support deleting snapshots.
  • Windows Azure CDN
    • Applied fix to a minor bug in the Overview section.
Key Updates To Azure Tools

With profiling support in the Windows Azure Tools you can easily detect performance bottlenecks in your application while it is running in Windows Azure.

If you want to maintain different settings for different deployment environments, the Windows Azure tools now support multiple service configurations in the same Windows Azure Project. This is especially useful for managing different Windows Azure Storage connection strings for local debugging and running in the cloud.

the new tools will help you avoid some of the common problems when you deploy your application to Windows Azure. If you are forgetting to include a local assembly in your package or you publish with a local Azure Storage connection string. The tools will let you know.

Windows 8 Engineering Team Launches ‘B8’ Blog

Microsoft’s Windows Engineering Team recently created this blog post to keep you updated on Windows 8. All the official news, information, details will be shared to everyone via this blog. The goal of this blog is to start a dialog about design choices, real-world data and usage, and new opportunities that are part of Windows 8. There’ll be regular posts throughout the development of Windows 8, focusing on the engineering of the product.

Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows and Windows Live Division, has penned the first posting on a new Building Windows 8 blog.

Keep up with the new posts by following @BuildWindows8 on Twitter.

Hadoop Connectors Coming for SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse

SQL Server team blog posted about Parallel Data Warehouse News and Hadoop Interoperability Plans. In a nutshell, Microsoft announced its intentions to bring Hadoop to SQL Server and Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW).

The connectors provide interoperability between SQL Server/PDW and Hadoop environments, enabling customers to transfer data between Hadoop and SQL Server/PDW. With these connectors, customers can more easily integrate Hadoop with their Microsoft Enterprise Data Warehouses and Business Intelligence solutions to gain deeper business insights from both structured and unstructured data.

You can read the announcement about these connectors from here.

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