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From the 'does the guy ever sleep' category, ScottGu enlightens us all again with a very great tutorial on using Expression Blend 2.5 (March preview coming soon) to work with Silverlight 2 content.

Scott walks through a tutorial on using the design-time features of Expression Blend 2.5 and some tips along the way to produce a chat-like application using Silverlight:

Definitely worth a look to study before MIX.  Someone might want to pull Scott aside about the font choice though...

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Very cool think popped in my RSS reader this morning.  Scott Guthrie (now a corp VP, congrats Scott) put up a first look post at Silverlight 2.  Not just a 'here's what is coming' but an 8-part tutorial as well as he built a sample application trying to leverage and demonstrate various parts of Silverlight 2.

These tutorials should be extremely helpful for those wanting to understand some of the newer concepts brought to Silverlight.  If you haven't done a lot (or any) WPF coding before, some of this should jumpstart your knowledge a bit.

take a look at 'First Look at Silverlight 2.'

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just found out about a great feature on windows live maps.  how many times have you needed to provide directions to someone (or a group of people) that you may not know where they are coming from?  you could give them the address and have them map it out themselves, which is usually what most people do.

on your web site you might even enable them to see a map and enter an address for specific location directions, after all, that person might know better shortcuts than the mapping services right?  well, windows live maps has a feature which can give you (a website owner or just a party planner) both worlds.  it is implemented as '1 click directions' and here's how it works.

first go to windows live maps and enter an address to plot.  i'll use the scottsdale center for the arts, the location of where the azgroups.com team has arranged for scott guthrie and others from the silverlight team to come to phoenix for an event.  i typed in 'scottsdale center for the arts, scottsdale, az' and it gives me back some options.  i click on 1 click directions:

and it now gives me a map of the location with 4 different directional instructions from the north, south, east and west:

perfect little added value to this typical scenario.  now i can email someone that link, print it out for a party, or put the link on a website.  and it still gives the user control to start from a specific location:

so the end user gets the best of all worlds in their online direction searching!  thanks live maps!

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got mad design and css skillz?  take a stab at redesigning the mix web site for a contest.  i saw through twitter that adam kinney noted only one person entered yet.  and there are three prizes!!! should make winning pretty simple right now ;-).

visitmix.com - restyle

of course i'm ineligible (that's my way of getting off, because i have no mad design skillz), but might i suggest a few themes to try out:

    • halo 3
    • rockband/guitar hero - have you seen this and this yet?
    • reno 911 - man i love this show -- 'sheriff's department!' -- hmm...ballmer as lt. dangle?
    • dora and diego -- go ScottGu go!
    • high school musical
    • election 2008

either way, all you have to do is visit the restyle contest page and download the starter kit.  so what are you waiting for?  deface, er...i mean...restyle the site in a creative way!

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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!