Surface Pro as My Main Computer/Tablet

General News
I have been developing on a Dell XPS M1530 laptop for nearly 5 years now.  It has been nothing short of a great laptop.  However, as you can guess based on its age, it is a bit dated by today’s standards.  A couple of months ago, I acquired a Microsoft Surface Pro (128BG version) and had been wondering if it might be beefy enough to replace my Dell. Last week I had the opportunity to try my Surface Pro out in a development scenario so I thought I’d give it a try.  I installed Visual Studio 2012 w/Update 2, ReSharper (the latest version), and StyleCop.  I also included the latest suite of Telerik controls for Windows Phone 8.  I then spent two full days working on a new Windows Phone…
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My Smartphone Past

For Fun, General News
While off for the Christmas holiday, I decided it was time to clean up my home office.  While it’s quite easy to get rid of some junk (e.g. dozens, if not hundreds, of MSDN CDs/DVDs from 8 years ago) some items from my personal gadget history are harder to part with.  Let’s take smartphones, for example.  For those of us who have used and relied on smartphones for years now you know all too well how attached you might become to a specific device.  It kind of makes sense, I suppose, since you use the device multiple times a day – every day.  How many other gadgets do you own that get that kind of use? So, just for fun, I thought I’d throw out a quick listing of my…
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//build/ 2012 100GB SkyDrive Voucher Never Expires

General News, OneDrive
For those lucky enough to attend the //build/ conference this year, you not only received a Microsoft Surface RT tablet PC and a Nokia Lumina 920 smartphone but also a voucher for 100GB of additional SkyDrive storage. After applying my voucher code to my existing SkyDrive account, I had a total of 125GB of storage. The extra 100GB shows up as an "enthusiast bonus" as shown here: Naturally, the first question I had after adding the additional storage was - Does the Enthusiast Bonus ever expire? After posting my question to the SkyDrive forums and not getting an answer after a couple of days, I contacted the SkyDrive Billing Support team. After about 12 days, I finally received the following response: Thank you for your patience. We have already gotten…
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My Premise on Premises

General News
I want to start this post out by stating that I am not normally one to get hung up on specific terminology.  In general, if everyone understands the intent and direction of a given conversation (or a topic being read) then the end goal has been accomplished.  However (there is always a “however”, right?), for as long as I can remember, I have also had a tendency to judge written articles, e-mail messages, etc. based upon the number of misspelled and/or misused words – keeping in mind that I am not a grammar or spelling expert. That said, there has been a lot of articles, blog posts, discussion, etc. around the topic of the “cloud” over the past few years.  One of the discussion points that come up quite frequently…
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HDC-Connect Format for Events

Conferences, General News
Overview We are currently working on a set of mobile applications (Windows Phone, iOS, and Android) that will be used to scan QR Codes for conference attendee badges.  We want the information contained within the QR code to be basic contact information that is useful to both a conference vendor as well as other conference attendees.  When looking at the various standard QR Code formats, a couple of them stood out: vCard and meCard. The vCard format contains fields for everything we wanted to store but also included fields we didn’t care about (e.g. address, city, zip, country, and URL).  We could just ignore those fields however this format also produces a more tightly filled QR Code which can be a bit more challenging for some mobile devices to read…
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Getting Back On-line…

General News
It’s been a little quiet on this blog lately... A few months ago, my wife and I started looking for a new house in anticipation of our fourth child showing up on or around May 23rd.  After extensive searching, and even more extensive negotiations, we finally settled on a house and went through the process of buying it.  We closed on the house on April 28th and spent the next week cleaning and painting.  We officially moved in on Saturday, May 7th.  Although we had most of the contents of the “old” house at the “new” house, we still had to put it all away.  No worries, the baby wasn’t due for 16 days! Turns out, the baby (Ian) decided to join us in this world the very next day…
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Another Year as a Team System MVP

General News
It was exactly one year ago today that I found out I was awarded with the Microsoft MVP status for Team System.  Since then I have had the opportunity to interact with many of my fellow Team System MVPs as well as many of the VSTS Rangers and have learned a great deal.  My first year as a Microsoft Team System MVP has been a great experience. Earlier today, I found out that my MVP status has been renewed for yet another year.  My thanks goes out to Microsoft for their support of this program.  I look forward to the next year, broadening my technical horizons, interacting with the community, speaking at various events, interacting with other Team System MVPs, and meeting people passionate about technology.
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Microsoft Announces “WebsiteSpark”

General News, Visual Studio
Up until yesterday, Microsoft had two “Spark” programs: BizSpark – a program for startup businesses DreamSpark – a program for students Yesterday, Scott Guthrie announced on his blog the new WebsiteSpark program.  This program is geared toward independent web developers as well as web development companies.  Here is a list of what’s provided with this program: 3 licenses of Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition 1 license of Expression Studio 3 (which includes Expression Blend, Sketchflow, and Web) 2 licenses of Expression Web 3 4 processor licenses of Windows Web Server 2008 R2 4 processor licenses of SQL Server 2008 Web Edition DotNetPanel control panel (enabling easy remote/hosted management of your servers) Like the other Microsoft “Spark” programs, these licenses are available for use for a total of three years without…
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Microsoft Thrive

General News
I recently heard about a new site from Microsoft called “Thrive” and finally checked it out.  Here’s a quick blurb from the site: We’ve heard from lots of developers that times are tough. You’re doing more with less, applying your skills more broadly, and maybe even learning new tools. That’s why we created Thrive – a one-stop community hub that offers job postings, technical content, and community resources. So whether you’re seeking new ways to differentiate yourself on the job, or you need to re-tool your skills for that next big role, Thrive has the resources to help you get there faster. There is quite a bit of information available on this site and the jobs listing seems to have quite a few available positions listed.  If you’re looking for…
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