New Windows 8 How-Do-I Videos Released

I’m pleased to announce that a new series of short videos, called “How Do I?” created by your local Microsoft Technical Evangelists has been posted to Channel 9. Contributors include Jeff Barnes, Jeremy Foster, David Isbitski, and of course yours truly. Running between 8 and 15 minutes, these videos are intended to give you solid technical information on a specific topic in Windows 8 development, with no fluff, plenty of code examples, and kept short enough that you can easily fit them into your busy schedule.

My first foray, covering how to implement the Settings contract in a Windows 8 app written with HTML5 and JavaScript, is embedded below (note: for best viewing of the code, click the button at the bottom right of the player to view the video full-screen):

Continue reading New Windows 8 How-Do-I Videos Released

Windows 8 Release Preview and Visual Studio 2012 RC

On the off chance that you’ve not heard already, I wanted to share the great news that the Windows 8 Release Preview and Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate are both now available for download.

UPDATE: I noticed that the link above only gets you to the Visual Studio 2012 Express RC install. If you want to try a different version, head on over to the Visual Studio product site downloads page, and you can get the edition of your choice there. You can also read up on the “go live” license, and what’s supported under it.

Download Links:

Windows 8 Release Preview

Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate

While you’re waiting for the bits to arrive over the ‘tubes, check out some of the following great posts about these releases:

Delivering the Windows 8 Release Preview

Visual Studio 2012 RC Available Now

Visual Studio Dark Theme

Announcing the Release Candidate (RC) of Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5

Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 Release Candidates available now!

New – Whitepaper: Migrating your Windows 8 Consumer Preview app to Windows 8 Release Preview

UPDATE – two more links:

What’s changed for app developers since the Consumer Preview

Windows Release Preview: The Sixth IE10 Platform Preview


Kinect for Windows SDK 1.5 Released!

7558_Kinect%20for%20Windows%20sensor_May2012_2Wow…that didn’t take long. Looks like the folks responsible for making Kinect for Windows an awesome tool for developers looking to add NUI features to their applications are eager to move the platform forward at a rapid pace, as they’ve just announced the availability of the Kinect for Windows SDK 1.5, less than 4 months after the 1.0 release!

Highlights of the new SDK and Runtime (from the above announcement):

Continue reading Kinect for Windows SDK 1.5 Released!

MADExpo 2012 Call for Speakers is Open!

MADExpo_2Last year, it was my privilege to be a part of the team that brought a new conference to the Mid-Atlantic, the Mid-Atlantic Developer Expo (or MADExpo for short). The conference was born of many conversations and discussions in the community from folks wanting to do something a little bigger and bolder than some of the usual events we were used to. So I, Steve Bodnar, Steve Presley, Kevin Griffin, Sara Faatz. Kevin Hazzard, Pete Brown, Rich Dudley, and a team of volunteers planned and executed the first event last summer.

Why We Did It

Our goal was to create a fun and informative conference with some unique aspects. We included a full-day kids conference called MadKidz, run by Kevin Hazzard (with help from his family), which was a big hit. We included a dedicated room for hardware and NUI demonstrations, featuring a local FIRST robotics team, Chiptunes demo, Kinect and Surface demonstrations, the founder of Secret Labs, maker of Netduino, and all the geeky toys Pete Brown could pack into one table.

We had a keynote by Jeff Prosise, a Wintellect co-founder, on his passion for radio controlled flying, including a 1/6th-scale F-16 onstage. We brought folks to one of the finest facilities on the east coast, the Hampton Roads Convention Center, in the heart of Virginia’s Tidewater, a short drive from the beach, theme parks, and all the history you could want for a summer vacation. And with the assistance of great sponsors, we kept it affordable enough that just about anyone could come.

And now, it’s time to do it all over again.

Continue reading MADExpo 2012 Call for Speakers is Open!

Introducing Devhammer’s Garage

Over the last few months, I’ve spent a good bit of my free time (and some of my not-so-free time) learning about hardware and microcontrollers. One product of this will be a series of blog posts I’m working on detailing one of the projects I’ve built using Kinect, .NET Gadgeteer, and a few other odds and ends. I also just started working on my first from-scratch robot with my kids yesterday. So I figured there might be a need for a specific landing point on my site for my hardware-related adventures, and I’ve decided to call it Devhammer’s Garage.

In the garage, you’ll find information about my current hardware projects, including photos, links to other interesting sites, and more. If you’re a geek who’s into making stuff, I hope that you’ll find Devhammer’s Garage a useful addition, and I welcome comments, questions, and suggestions. And to whet your appetite, here’s a picture of my next build-in-progress, which I call the Hydrabot (so named for the fact that it’s powered by GHI‘s FEZ Hydra .NET Gadgeteer mainboard):


The gearbox is a Tamiya double gearbox geared at 114.7:1, and powered by two separate motors. The wheels are from a LEGO Mindstorms NXT set, attached using adapters that Tamiya offers for their hex shafts. The Hydra mainboard and Seeed Studios OLED Display module are mounted to a Tamiya Universal Plate kit, and not visible in the photo above is a ball caster which will allow the robot to turn easily based on difference in speed between the two front wheels.

I’m early in the build process, and I’m kind of designing this first robot as I go along, so I’m still deciding on what kind of sensors to use to help it navigate, etc. The Tamiya parts are very easy to work with. Assembling the gearbox took about 40 minutes or so, in part because I was showing my kids what I was doing as I was doing it, and in part because I took my time to ensure that both sides were geared identically. One advantage of using a gearbox like this is that you can get pretty good torque from even the small DC motors that come with the gearbox, which should help power over any obstacles in the way.

I’ll post more pics and videos as the project progresses, and will have more detailed build information over at the Garage.

Kinect for Windows, Hardware Edition

Just in time for a couple of upcoming presentations I’m doing with hardware comes a very cool announcement. The TL;DR version:

  • There WILL be a Kinect device specifically designed to work with Windows
  • The Kinect for Windows hardware will support “near mode,” which will enable tracking as close as 40cm (around 16in.) in front of the device.

Continue reading Kinect for Windows, Hardware Edition

jWorldmaps: Anatomy of a jQuery Plugin

I just found out that my first article for the Script Junkie website is now live!

The article, which can be found here, walks through the fundamentals of authoring a jQuery plugin, and then walks through the example code from the jWorldmaps plugin itself, which I wrote to provide an easy way to implement animated transitions from a thumbnail to a larger map for my colleague Brian Hitney‘s WorldMaps IP geolocation service. Continue reading jWorldmaps: Anatomy of a jQuery Plugin

MADExpo Additional Thanks

I realized this evening that in my MADExpo wrap-up post, I left out some pretty critical players. For those of you who aren’t aware, the team I work on at Microsoft is unusual, in that I and my fellow Developer Evangelists do not work in Redmond, nor do we all work in an office together. We live and work in the local communities that we cover, so we don’t get to see one another in person all that often. Continue reading MADExpo Additional Thanks

Kinect SDK for Windows beta Now Available

In case you missed the big announcement yesterday, the wait is over and those of you itching to try your hand at some NUI goodness on Windows with an official SDK can go grab the bits for the Kinect SDK for Windows beta.


I downloaded the beta SDK yesterday during the all-day Channel 9 Live event showcasing what you can do with the SDK (the recording of the stream is available here…eventually, the recordings will likely live elsewhere on Channel 9). So far, I’ve just run some of the samples that come with the SDK, including a skeletal tracking sample, and a sample game that uses both skeletal tracking and voice recognition. Very cool. Continue reading Kinect SDK for Windows beta Now Available

User Group Anniversaries – DC .Net and RockNUG

June is a big month for user group anniversaries, apparently. A couple of local groups are celebrating anniversaries this month, the first being the Rockville .NET User Group, which is kicking off its 5th year. As has become the tradition (I’ve only missed one year), I’m speaking for the 5.0 release, and I’ll be talking about Microsoft WebMatrix and the Razor view engine, and why they’re relevant to you, even if you’re a professional developer.

Continue reading User Group Anniversaries – DC .Net and RockNUG