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a friend of mine send me a note today asking my thoughts on the whole testdriven.net situation.  i was surprised in anyone asking me about it (not because i'm a snob or anything, just that it had been all over the place).  i then realized that the register and /. picked it up finally and that's were it is getting some rebuzz.

if you don't know what i'm talking about, basically the author (jamie) of TestDriven.NET (a great tool btw) had been enabled for visual studio express.

The Express Editions are an expansion of the Visual Studio and SQL Server product line to include lightweight, easy-to-use, and easy-to-learn tools for hobbyists, students, and novice developers who want to build dynamic Windows applications, Web sites, and Web services.  Express Edition products are designed for hobbyists, students, and novice developers. As such, they lack the full breadth of features found in higher-end Visual Studio and SQL Server Editions. They are designed specifically for scenarios common to the hobbyist, student, and novice developer. Each Express Edition includes targeted documentation that will help the beginning programmer quickly learn the concepts required to build more advanced applications. The user interfaces are significantly streamlined to ensure that extraneous features do not interfere with the learning process. If you later decide that you do need additional features available in the higher-end editions of Visual Studio and SQL Server, you can seamlessly upgrade your code and skills.  You can learn more here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express.

jamie actually had done this a while back and it appears (by the documentation he provided as well as microsoft) that he was contacted and had conversations with microsoft's developer group about what he was doing and why he shouldn't be doing it.  as a result of that, he stopped distributing and making mention of the method he used to enable his product in express.  well, it's back.  microsoft reached out.  jamie responded with questions.  microsoft answered with some answers and asked him to stop.  jamie responded with more questions and noted he was going to seek legal advice.

back. forth.

well, i'm not a lawyer nor did i stay at a holiday inn last night, so i'm not going to comment on the legalities of the exchange between lawyers.  from where i stand though, i think the issue is clear.  whether microsoft is right/wrong about "going after" an mvp (i don't think they are as i've seen that microsoft has reached out to jamie numerous times trying to resolve amicably) i think is an unfortunate byproduct of bringing out public issues.  and the /. communities are eating it up (without really understanding any issues...spreading near FUD in my opinion).

anyhow, if you want to read microsoft's position on the matter, dan fernandez (super cool guy, you should meet him one time) has posted a few messages:

you can also read jamie's initial coming out posts of the issue here.

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one of my homies just posted a note about winning an xbox through blogging.  what?! surely you couldn't be serious...ah but he is.

now you might consider it shameless promotion of events, and you'd be right, but there is a purpose here.  often times when we (as those field geeks with funny position titles) organize events there is certain targets that we are trying to meet (read: the people who pay for the events want to make sure they can direct some things).  if it were up to us, we'd always make everything free and always invite everyone.  but utopia doesn't exist.  so what we normally do is ensure that we establish some rules with the powers that be that at a certain point we can start inviting everyone to partake.

this is one such scenario.  you see, there are these web experience events happening around the nation (US).  the last one in new york apparently had some allegations that people said we were trying to "hide" the event.  okay, no more hiding :-) (we weren't really hiding).  so here goes.  there are more events happening.  denver and los angeles still have availability.  if you can go, you should.  if you can't, you can still win an xbox.

see kirk's post for more details.

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loke pointed to a new device from htc being announced today for the uk market.  it's called the "touch" and is a new windows mobile 6 device.  probably my only huh moment is looking at the specs and not seeing support fro HSPDA/UTMS (3G) for the networks...odd i thought.

but it is going to come in a wasabi green color :-)  they have a new UI they call TouchFLO that you can see on the main product site at http://www.htctouch.com -- their advertisement on the main page of htc.com right now is a pretty good one i thought -- hits the right emotion (kind of like the blackjack ads did).

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beta 2 of windows live writer was released today.  go get it.  improved user interface, improved blog support, some new functions...you know all the good stuff you want in an update.  oh yeah and continued extensibility.

i took a quick second (after doing a little RTFM'ing [thanks charles]) and uploaded a custom manifest to my blog.  why?  because when in writer sometimes i want quick access to things about my blog (stats and such).  so i took a minute to "subtext"-ize a sidebar extension to writer...see:

i've got the nice little transparent subtext icon in the back and two custom buttons taking me to my various stats.  additionally, a link directly to the admin functionality.  i'll be playing around more with this stuff later.

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that they must scale their betas even...of all the stuff they have and all the scale they've already proven, when will they learn?

trying out their new stuff (google gears and mashup editor) i got this on the mashup editor page:

seriously, FIX YOUR ERROR page -- for a company that seemingly gets some level of ux, their failure messages are horrible, no links to direct me anywhere, no sitemap, etc...this does not pass the mother-in-law litmus.

and then installation failures abound on the gears installer...because their installer doesn't take into account proxies.