Reading Pete’s blog I found out about the new version of Windows Live Writer.  It is still in Beta, but now even better with Beta 2.  I’m curious as to why they don’t just release this and take away the Beta already.  Anyway…

Right away I noticed some differences (I am posting this with the new version, of course).  The UI is a little slicker.  One of the coolest new features is that you can easily insert and modify tables in a post.  Previously, I had to switch over to html view and put my own tables in.  It was a nuisance.  I also like the way they display the categories now.  Also I just noticed while I am typing this that the spell checking is enhanced.  Check out this list of new features.

One feature that I think needs to be added is support for post descriptions.  My blog runs on dasBlog.  With dasBlog I can put in a description of my post and then only the description shows on the main page with a link to the body of the post.  I’d love to be able to insert the description via Live Writer.  I’ll submit my feature request to the team.

Quite a while back (maybe a year) I saw a great video on YouTube that demonstrated a new user interface that used a touch screen like never before.  They likened it to the awesome UI from the movie The Minority Report where guys drag “objects” around computer screen by hand.  Sure, the one in the movie was MUCH cooler then this, but this was a step in the right direction.

Today I worked from home which meant that I got to watch a bit of the Today Show before starting work.  Much to my surprise, they did a segment with Bill Gates where he introduced Microsoft Surface.  This is a pretty similar concept to the original product I saw a year ago.  Of course, I have no idea if they are similar beneath the hood. 

This is definitely worth checking out.  They said it would be available in retail uses this soon but not for home users to play with for 2 more years.

Lastly, I thought I would have a scoop on this since I doubt many other people who work watch the Today Show.  But I was scooped by Scott Cate.  He also mentions seeing this at the Microsoft Museum (I’ve never been there) and he also notes that it uses Flash, not Silverlight!  Now that is interesting.

The reviews are in… Philly.Net Code Camp 2007.1 was a huge success!


Thanks to the hard work of an excellent group of presenters, Philly.Net hosted a great Code Camp on Saturday, May 19th.  Did you attend a session and want more information?  Did you miss Code Camp and want to find out more about it?  Included here is a bunch of information to help you out.  Read on to see Philly.Net Code Camp feedback, presenter info (blog, web and email addresses) and prize contributor information.

Thanks to Bill Wolff for organizing the event and running Philly.Net all year round, and everyone else who worked hard to make the day great.

-Andy “The Swagman” Schwam


Your Feedback:

Here are some of the general comments from Saturday.  I know that many of the presenters look forward to seeing what you write.  They love the compliments and use your suggestions to enhance their future presentations.  Remember that the presenters don’t get paid and put a lot of time into getting ready for these sessions.  As one of the organizers, I like to see the comments so we know if we are on the right track.  We also get tips for improvement.  Here are some of the general comments about Code Camp. 

“Lots of good info in a short time. Helps me flatten out the learning curve.”

“I really appreciate you conducting this camp with no cost to attendees”

“No Coffee”

“Please have more code camps. It’s excellent and only way to keep up with technology for me”

“Very well organized session…thanks for everything…Appreciate much for all the organizers, sponsors and speakers”

“Have evaluations forms ready before fist session”

“ It is very beneficial to the group + it would be difficult to complain about a no-cost event”

“ I really feel more motivated to go deeper into Microsoft technologies. See you in the next code camp”

“I found all session extremely valuable”

“First time in code camp and like the way it’s conducted. Liked the flexible way of attending various session as I like. Thanks for material and food”

“The material was very informative and the speakers were entertaining. You could really tell that they have used these technologies in the real world”

“Learned a lot of new stuff…will apply to the work I do”

“This event was everything that I had hoped for. A good introduction to .Net 3.0”


Links for presenters, etc:

If you need some more information about one of the sessions you attended, hopefully one of the links or email addresses below will help.  By the way, to prevent spam, I modified the email addresses.  I’m sure you can figure out the translation!

Jean Barmash:
Here is the address for my blog – I already posted the slides for my talks there – http://home.infusionblogs.com/jbarmash/default.aspx
My company’s website is www.infusion.com.

Russ Basiura:
Russ Basiura  is the president of the Philadelphia Area SharePoint User Group (http://www.PhillySharePoint.org).  He specializes in helping companies in the Philadelphia area deploy SharePoint.  If you have questions about SharePoint or would like to discuss a specific project, he can be reached at russ AT rjbtech DOT com or call 215-699-2780 x101.  His website is http://www.SharePointSpecialists.com.

Sam Batterman:
email:  samb AT microsoft DOT com
blog: http://sambbiblog.spaces.live.com

Sharon Dooley:
For more information, contact Sharon at:  sharond AT voicenet DOT com.

Sam Gentile:
http://codebetter.com/blogs/sam.gentile (blog)
http://samgentile.com (home)
managedcode44 AT hotmail DOT com (email)

Kevin Goff:
www.commongroundsolutions.net   (main site)
www.TheBakersDozen.net   (blog)
kgoff AT commongroundsolutions DOT net  (email)

Travis Laborde:
http://www.datadeluxe.com/ – Under “News” you can see links to the talks I’ve done along with links to every item covered in the talks.
http://clipmarks.com/clipper/travislaborde/ – My Clipmarks blog.  To see new stuff as I post it of course.  Some items came up in class that I said I’d blog about, and this is where they’d see it.

David Laribee:
http://laribee.com/blog/ (Blog)
laribee AT gmail DOT com (Email)

Mark Magliocco:
http://www.markm.com/markm/code_camp_2007_0519/Mark_magliocco_2007_code_camp_presentation.htm
http://www.markm.com/markm/code_camp_2007_0519/RSS_BASICS.pdf

Blog: www.markm.com

RSS ( Really Simple Syndication ) is on of the hottest areas of web 2.0.  When the Blogosphere emerged, RSS feeds really took off.  It is a must know technology, and an essential element of your web applications as well as search engine marketing. We will review the basics, what are the elements and tags.

If your name/information isn’t listed here, please send it to me, I’ll be sure to update the copy of this information on my blog.


Code Camp Contributors:

I’d like to thank all of the companies that contributed prizes.  Yes, Code Camp is completely free.  So you may be wondering, who paid for breakfast, lunch, and all of the prizes?  Many companies stepped up and supported this event.  I hope you will check out their websites and give their products a try! Thanks to the generosity of these companies, we had enough “swag” to have give-aways during every session!

 

Company Contribution
Microsoft Microsoft let us use the Malvern, PA office for Code Camp!  They also donated several prizes including:  1 Zune, 1 Vista Ultimate, 3 Vista Business, 2 Expression Web
Perficient Perficient provided our breakfast.  A great way to start the day!
RDA RDA provided our lunch, not too mention some cool beach balls!
Advisor Advisor provided Sharepoint Advisor which was included in each attendee gift bag.
Apress Apress provided us with a bunch of books as well as some note pads.
Sams/Addison Wesley Sams/Addison Wesley sent us lots of cool stuff:  Books, t-shirts, bags, pens, quick reference cards, etc.
Cizer Cizer provided something for each attendee:  A license for Cizer’s Drop In Reporting.
Code Magazine Code Magazine sent us a copy for each attendee’s gift bag.
ComponentArt Component Art provided 1 license to WebUI for ASP.Net.
Diamond Technologies Diamond provided travel mugs for each attendee gift bag.  They also gave us $25 gift card to Circuit City for the raffle.
Dundas Dundas sent us a license for Dundas Gauge, 20 licenses for Dundas Calendar for RS, a Dundas Software hoodie and other swag (pens, bags) .
Google Google sent us a bunch of T-Shirts for the raffle.
JetBrains Jet Brains donated 5 Personal Licenses to the popular ReSharper tool.
O’Reilly O’Reilly send us a bunch of books.  They were distributed in sessions and during the end of day raffle.
Red-Gate Red-Gate provided a copy of the brand new version of ANTS Profiler and two copies of SQL Refactor.  In addition, they sent us pens, t-shirts, memory sticks, etc. 
Wrox Wrox sent us a 50 books!  They also provided T-Shirts.

At Code Camp it was announced that Dani Diaz accepted the role of Microsoft Developer Evangelist for the Philadelphia region.  Since Dani and I have both been actively involved in Philly.Net, I have gotten to know him pretty well.  He’s a great guy and I am sure he will do a fantastic job.  From speaking with many people in our local community, I know that many people are excited about Dani getting this job and I know they join me in wishing him good luck.

Now that he has the job I should make it official and ask my standard question:  “Dani, can we have some Microsoft swag?”

There sure are a lot of blogs out there!  Obviously, reading technical blogs is a great way to stay current and learn new things.  The problem is, which blogs to read with limited time.  If you are reading this, you can see some of the blogs I read in my blogroll.  Some of these blogs are from leaders in the industry.  Some of them are local developers that I know and respect.  If you are like me, I try to start the day off scanning through posts (I use RSS Bandit to aggregate for me). If I take a break from coding during the day I may try to read some more.  For some blogs I read only posts that stand out.  For others I read almost everything they post.  Of course it also depends of course on the type of day I am having.


I am happy to say the my blog has been getting a lot of hits lately.  Hopefully that means I have something to offer.  It is pretty cool to look at my statistics and see how people found my blog.  When someone comes to Schwammy Says via Google or Search.Live.com the search engine sends along search criteria that was used.  I love to read through it.  I often think that based on what that person was looking for, I may have helped them.  Sometimes I look and think, oh well, that person probably didn’t find what they wanted in this blog.


Anyway, what I’d really like to know is…what blogs do you read?  Please share your ideas.  Marc Ziss turned me on to Sam Gentile’s blog.  I started reading it this week and I like his information.  It was a great tip.