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wow, it’s been hard to keep this one under my breath for the time that we’ve know about it.

announced today (press link) is that the visual studio express editions that were initially offered “free for the first year” are now free without time limitations.  yep, just like sql server express, you will be able to get these free without any limitation of when the free will end.

this is a great thing to have for the broader community.

from dan fernandez’s blog:

We are incredibly excited to announce that effective April 19th, 2006, all Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions including Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, Visual C++, and Visual Web Developer Express will be free permanently!

Prior to this pricing announcement, Visual Studio Express Editions were promotionally discounted to be free for one year, starting on November 7th, 2005. With this announcement, the promotional discount for Visual Studio Express is now permanent and Express will continue to be free.

The key reason for the pricing change was you. You’ve helped make Visual Studio Express a runaway hit, and we’re proud to announce that in the five months since its launch, Express has been downloaded over 5 million times!

the site also refreshed with some new content that contains projects that were all done using these free express edition products.

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i may have mentioned this before, but i absolutely love

recently i’ve had to send some large files to people and really didn’t feel like serving as an ftp proxy for the data, nor did they really have a great way to get it (files > 85MB). 

to the rescue!

if you haven’t seen it, check it out.  use it.  love it.  and tell how much you like it.

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so i, along with probably others ;-), took a look at google calendar.  why?  it’s hard to argue they’ve come out with some cool stuff.  one thing that my wife and i struggle with is maintaining a calendar we can see for each other. 

yeah, i know about all the other sites, etc. — why haven’t i used them?  who knows…just haven’t.  i looked at hotmail, and while i think the Windows Live team is making great improvements (Windows Live Mail is great), i’m still frustrated with the passport authentication model.  with everything i do in software, i try (not always succeeding) to apply the MILF design principle.  no, not that one.  MILF=mother-in-law factor.  for me, passport doesn’t pass this test (and has been proven by field MILF studies ;-) — and numerous family ‘nick burns’ visits).

at any rate, i looked at google calendar.  slick design, web 2.0, ajax, etc. — <insert buzzword here> — it’s pretty slick.  i set up a calendar and shared it out to my wife with a note about my idea.  within 10 minutes, the month of april was completed with all relevant items for our family that i needed to be aware of.  seriously, this is a great user experience achievement in my book.  while my wife is progressing in the tech savvy department, some things still need some explaining.  however, this is where i think google succeeds well.  she has been using gmail for a while and loves it (she would never touch her hotmail because she said it was too ‘busy’).  google calendar was easy for her to use as well.

so i knew outlook 2007 (outlook 12 for those still fighting the naming conventions) had the ability to read iCal formats.  google calendar publishes in that format.  i figured, great! now i can see my wife/family appointments in my outlook!

here’s an example of my default outlook calendar showing one appointment:

outlookmain

and now with my family google calendar enabled:

outlookshared

nice to have side-by-side, but how about merging them into one view?:

merged1

now i have a consolidated view showing overlapping appointments, etc and i can easily (and visually) see things that make sense to me.

note: i tried this with my new windows live account (if you have hotmail you should be able to use http://calendar.msn.com/<yourhotmailaccount>) but didn’t have any results.  i may not have done the config right or hotmail calendar doesn’t support ical format…i haven’t researched but it just didn’t work for me as quickly as google calendar did.

anyhow, very interesting to see how google continues to suceed with advanced simplicity.

UPDATE: here’s how I did it…

  • Go to Google Calendar and click Settings, then click Calendars and click on the calendar you want to view, you should be at the Calendar Details screen like this
  • gcal1
  • Click on the Private Address ICAL button and copy the URL that is displayed.
  • Go to Outlook 2007, go to Tools menu, choose Account Settings, and then the Internet Calendar tab
  • gcal2
  • Click New and paste the URL you copied there (no need to change it to webcal://)

That is what worked for me, others have reported doing the same things and not working, but mine worked — it will be read-only calendar viewing.

 

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MSDN and TechNet are coming to a city near you (hopefully).

Here’s the MSDN topics in May:

  • Customizing web parts in ASP.NET 2.0
  • Language Enhancements for .NET 2.0
  • Enterprise Library for .NET

Here’s the TechNet topics in May

  • Security for Wireless Networks

  • Responding to computer attacks

  • What’s next for Microsoft security?

Phoenix event is May 23, for location details click the registration link(s)

MSDN Registration: register here

TechNet Registration: register here

 

Las Vegas event is May 25

MSDN Registration: register here

TechNet Registration: register here

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ani is hosting a pretty cool event in denver:

Next Generation -- MAY 12, 2006 9am – 5pm

What is Next Generation?
Microsoft has been working hard on the next generation of development tools and Operating System. WinFX, Office 2007 and Vista are some of the most anticipated technologies to be released by Microsoft this year. There are many changes in Office 2007, Vista and there is something new brewing WinFX. This day long developer focused event will drill down into:
The Big Picture -- Vista                                                              9:00 am– 10:30am
WinFX, the set of next-generation managed APIs provided by Microsoft, InfoCard wraps up the who of who you are while keeping your private information secure. The role of the new operating system Vista and how all these components play best together. We’ll capture these and more to give you a well rounded idea about our technology and the future.
Sparkle with WPF                                                                    10:45am – 12:00pm Microsoft Expression "Sparkle Interactive Designer" is a professional development program that allows designers and developers to work together to create streamlined, innovative and just plain beautiful applications. Combine that with Windows Presentation Foundation and Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere and how you are ready to XAML you way to utilizing media content and exploiting the full power of your computer.
Partner Pavilion & lunch                                                                 12:00 – 1:00pm
Workflow                                                                                            1:00 – 2:30pm
Workflow foundation is the programming model, engine and tools for quickly building workflow enabled applications on Windows. It consists of WinFX namespace, an in-process workflow engine, and designers for Visual Studio 2005. We’ll take a look at how we can support system and human workflow.
Office 2007                                                                                        2:45 – 4:00pm
The Microsoft Office system has evolved from a suite of personal productivity products to a more comprehensive and integrated system. Building on the familiar tools that many people already know, the Microsoft Office system includes programs, servers, services, and solutions designed.  To utilize the existing engine and expand it with VSTO and VSTA to a whole new level.
To register: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032294333&Culture=en-US
Event location: Denver Marriott Tech Center 9am-5pm  
Directions: http://marriott.com/property/mapandnearbyairports/drivingdirections.mi?marshaCode=dentc&WT_Ref=mi_left

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