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The Code Trip LogoWow, it's been a few months now since I thought about doing a road trip talking about the next wave of technologies.  I originally thought it would be the "Silvertour" but we've now actually made it happen.  I can tell you that the behind the scenes of this has been a long process.  It seems so simple and I can hear the people now saying 'why was it so hard, c'mon you are Microsoft and have zillions of dollars.'  Sure, maybe that is true about a big company, but that's also the point.  We are a company of companies and thus we still have budgets.  For me, that's been the biggest challenge wrangling in budgets, efforts, desires, balancing other goals, etc.  It's been a long process.

But it's on baby.  The Code Trip is coming...like in a few days literally.  We thought small (budgets) and wanted to go the RV route.  Well, for various reasons (stop by an event and we can chat), we got a friggin tour bus.  And in fact it's the tour bus coming off the Styx tour.  How crazy is that?  Here's a preview of what we'll be cruising around the western U.S. in:

The Code Trip Bus

So we're off...leaving from MIX on Thursday, March 6 (stop by the blogzone to help send us off).  Our schedule is up on the site and will be continuously updated.  The site will be evolving after MIX announcements :-).  We're excited to head out.  We know we've forgotten things probably.  Heck, it will be a great time and we look forward to seeing you all on the road.  Visit the site, subscribe to the main feed, follow us for real-time updates on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  We'll be having contest announcements TODAY as well so you'll want to make sure you follow all those links as we'll announce some contest in certain areas.

From MIX we'll be hitting these cities first:

Please join us in person if you can, but follow us on line to view our daily log podcasts and code samples we'll be putting up.  See you on the road!

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the leaders of the have convinced that phoenix is nice in march (and it is...spring training baby!) and he should visit.  they've organized a super user group meeting and you can find information on when/where here.  it will be hosted at scottsdale center for the arts, which is a pretty killer facility.  i'd recommend carpooling and not messing with the no parking signs (those scottsdale folks like to watch those meters).

having ScottGu come to phoenix immediately after MIX08 is a great thing for the community.  if you couldn't make it to MIX, you'll be able to see some new things from scott in what no doubt will be an exciting, new and learning experience.  there are some great things coming out of his group at MIX and this event in phoenix is a must see.  i'm sure he'll cover some great new web stuff, updates on and we'll all be enlightened by how he still manages to stay close to the code while serving a growing army in the developer division!  be sure to block your calendar now!

i know scott won't be able to cover everything, so we'll ensure that will cover some of the gaps.  be sure to subscribe to the feed to know when we'll be coming back through phoenix -- we'll be updating it soon!

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this week at devconnections a few of my comrades were there and started to spread the word about our planning on something we are doing in the western united states.  we're calling it 'the code trip' and the plan is simple, get us (the developer evangelists who interact with our community groups) out hitting the streets and talking code.  we're in planning stages right now for sure, and brewing up some things for our stops.  we want our communities to participate in that planning.  have a good idea?  let us know.  want to ride on the RV for a leg?  let us know.  you can subscribe to our RSS feed at http://thecodetrip.com.  you can also submit ideas there as well.  we're on twitter and facebook so you can follow along.

our plan is to hit the cities west of the rocky mountains (that's the regional area i cover) in the US.  we'll stop at major cities and hopefully you'll tell us where else to stop.  we'll have an interactive online experience for you to see what we are up to, view podcasts and other media as well as download applications and samples. 

we'll be giving away a ton of swag at the events, etc.  in fact, let's start small -- blog about the code trip, send me a link (or leave the link in the comments here) and i'll send you some code trip stickers.  okay it isn't an xbox 360 (yet) but it is what i have in hand right now.  be sure to include where to send them to and i'll hook your user group up with some stickers for laptops or whatever.

we really are shaping a lot of this now so please if you have suggestions for what you would like to see, we'd love to hear about them.  be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and Twitter so that you also can stay up-to-date on how the plans are progressing as well as when the trip hits the road about what we are doing!

even in this preliminary discussion and planning i've already gotten some flame mail (anonymous of course).  it can be summed up into roughly two categories:

-you suck
-the site sucks
-you are copying adobe (referring to the adobe onair tour)

let me address these three categories.

you suck:
thanks. i appreciate the feedback and continue to strive not to suck. your reminder helps.

the site sucks:
got a few comments (mixed really) about the site sucking as well as people liking the idea.  the current one there is temporary.  if you don't like it, that's fine, it won't be there long.  i like it.  bottom line: it isn't the final one.

you are copying <fill-in-any-vendor-that-reaches-out-to-their-customers-but-namely-adobe>:
really? that's shocking. i guess then that adobe stole it from def leppard. i didn't realize there was a patent on tours. but seriously speaking, i'll be blatantly honest. the onair tour was/is a great idea. getting software organizations out in the streets and talking to their developers always benefits the developer. i'm actually glad to see adobe finally having more of a community feel. microsoft has had field developer relationship groups for the past 10 years (maybe longer than that but that is how far back i can remember). we've had a constant tour (microsoft across america - updated: picture and info here from the start of MSFT across america) that visits cities every quarter and travel in a branded bus which demonstrates various technologies.  there was a comment about our marketing sucking so we had to steal someone's (adobe) idea.  maybe our marketing does suck because nobody knew about the existing microsoft across america bus that has been around for a while.  hmmm...maybe adobe copied?  joking of course.  i really don't care.  like i said, when any company gets out and talks to their customers, as well as giving their customers a platform for talking about their experiences, that is awesome.  that is one of our goals and i'm sure is/was one of adobe's.  my hat goes off to ryan stewart, mike chambers, mike downey and the other product/program managers and evangelists that were on the tour.  i think they are doing good things for adobe.  i hope adobe continues to invest in field evangelism like microsoft has had -- if they do, we (developers) all win. 

so there you have it, my raw opinion.  if you choose to continue to berate me, that's your right, but be fair and use facts, don't assume you know me personally.  i've got tough skin though so if you continue to feel the need to anonymous act go for it, i won't respond anonymously, but if you want to have a conversation like adults, please identify yourself in your post and we'll continue the conversation.

i'm excited to be empowered to do this in my group.  my team is excited.  we want to have some fun and talk about the things you are doing as well as talk about some of the exciting things microsoft is working on like , LINQ, Windows Live services, Windows Mobile developments...and some other surprises we have up our sleeves!

oh yeah, and to address a few questions i got in email (between the "you're a f*ing idiot" sentences there actually were questions): yes any event we have will be free; yes we will have stuff to give away; good food -- i wasn't at any stop that adobe had (apparently phoenix wasn't important enough even though they drove through) so i don't know what kind of food they had, but we'll do our best.  this is being funded by my team and not some behemoth budget (unless anyone from other microsoft teams wants to kick in :-) -- you know my alias), so we'll do our best. 

please keep the feedback coming.  positive and negative are welcome.  anonymous rants filled with explicatives i think waste everyone's time and are simply put: lame.  if you're going to be that negative and personal attacks, then at least have some basis.

remember to visit http://thecodetrip.com and subscribe for updates!

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i'm headed out on holiday for about a week.  i haven't taken one in a long while and this will be good for me (hopefully).  i'm also headed to europe where i've never been, so i'm pretty excited.  i'm leaving the cell phone behind, so no twitter, etc.  i am equipped with a windows mobile gps-enabled handset and skype.  i'm looking forward to that experience and being able to use my custom application that i wrote to plot my points so my family can track us on virtual earth.

anyhow, likely no posts for a week (not that you care).  when i get back i'll tell you all about the plans for The Code Trip, but in the meantime, feel free to peek.

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yo, check it.  expression design has released a service pack

what!?  i know how can that be?  a service pack < 8 months after its release?  i say awesome.  i've been wanting microsoft teams to continue to become more and more agile especially with regards to very helpful features or great improvements of existing features based on user feedback.

one such point of feedback that is implemented in is that of xaml generation of the layers and/or complete surface.  you didn't know design can generate xaml?  shame on you.  i did a podcast (you should really subscribe to the podcast feed on the left of my blog or just use this link) talking about using vector images (svg) and importing into expression design and getting xaml that you could use in your applications. 

there are essentially two ways of doing this in expression design:

    1. if you only want pieces of your design file to be xaml (i.e., you want to xaml-ize a fragment of the design), you can select the layer(s) in your design file and go to the edit menu and choose 'Copy as XAML' and bam, you now have xaml for those selected fragments in your clipboard.  go forth and develop.
    2. if you want the entire design surface to be a xaml representation, you would use the file menu and choose export.  from there you'll be presented with what looks like a typical 'save as' dialog box.  change the file type to xaml and after choosing location/name click ok.  you'll now be presented with a much improved options window (in service pack 1):

in previous versions the options weren't exactly clear.  for instance the xaml type you wanted (either WPF or ) was in a different tab).  i really like this improved export user interface.  i especially like the option of converting text to paths.  this really helps when you don't want to (or can't) redistribute any type faces.  upon export, you will get all the xaml plus (if you chose that option) path data for your text areas.  very cool.

so if you have design files or vector files that you would want to use in silverlight, this is the perfect tool and function to create the xaml representation of that data.  so go get service pack 1 for expression design and you'll be happy.