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Phoenix Silverlight User Group logoi was able to make it to the phoenix silverlight user group last night (2 separate trips downtown, yikes) and had a good time chatting with everyone there.  i understand that there will NOT be a separate march meeting because it essentially falls very close to when scott guthrie and others will be coming to town.  the group is recommending that people attend that to learn the latest and greatest about silverlight 2 right out of MIX!  we had a good discussion about various things.  mike palermo showed a couple of things he'd been working on including a simple game and a magnifier for photos (similar to the one michael has for video).  the concept was that you have a high resolution image on the page and then he had a magnification bubble that would react to the mouse wheel event on a mouse to zoom in/out of a selected area.  it looked in concept a lot of what like the Live Labs 'Seadragon' project describes as far as smooth zooming, etc.

one of the things mike did in this image magnifier is use a high-res image and basically clip it to the area being zoomed on for the mouse using transforms, etc.  i asked mike if he was using another image element or using an imagebrush.  i noted that i felt he should use an image brush rather than to use an existing image so that the image wasn't requested twice.  this is the efficient way of doing it when working with MediaElements and VideoBrushes so that the video in the brush is in sync as well as efficiently processed.  we worked up some pseudo code on the board real quick to describe what i was talking about.

well, i was slightly wrong.  the imagebrush element doesn't use 'sourcename' like a videobrush.  in videobrush you use the x:Name value of your mediaelement.  in the imagebrush you specify the actual image location (ImageSource).  i guess this somewhat surprised me so i started sniffing (thinking i made a mistake in my 'efficiency' statement.  when looking at the result of something like this:

<Image Width="240" Height="121" Source="silverlightUGwithText_6.jpg" 
         Stretch="Fill" x:Name="PhxUgLogo" 
         Canvas.Top="102" Canvas.Left="132"/>
  <Ellipse Width="107" Height="107"
           Stroke="#FFEC1818" Canvas.Left="224" Canvas.Top="250"
      <ImageBrush ImageSource="silverlightUGwithText_6.jpg" 
            <ScaleTransform ScaleX="1.4" ScaleY="1.4"/>

there are actually 2 HTTP requests to the image source.  you can see them being requested.  what i've learned is that silverlight maintains an internal image cache anyway so the second request (although there and happening), would see the cached image instead.  so it looks like the method of using two Image elements would have the same effect...so given that i'm not sure either is 'better' than the other for doing this type of sample...what do you think?  regardless it was a cool demo.  thanks mike.

we talked a lot about why people are waiting for silverlight 2 and if that made sense.  we also had a good discussion of 'what if i just have casual media on my home page, why silverlight instead of flash' which is a question i hear a lot.  this discussion never revolves around technical issues (noted i said 'casual media' instead of high fidelity streaming, etc.) but rather around penetration of the plugin.  a lot of sites don't want to bear the load of plugin download/installation.  it's an interesting challenge when any new technology comes out and no different a discussion than when the .net framework first came out -- which 'app' was going to bear the installation tax in their app?  good discussion.

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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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over the past 6 months i've received numerous questions whether or not a user group for sharepoint existed in arizona.  it didn't (there was one but it drizzled away), but i'm happy to announce that some volunteers rallied to start another one.  they have set a date for their first meeting or the arizona sharepoint professionals group.

here's the information i have:

Date:  Thursday, 31 JAN 2008
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Locations: University of Advancing Technology, 2625 W Baseline Rd, Tempe, AZ

they are asking people to register (not sure why) so if you plan on attending, please do register for them.  you can click the registration link here.  if you experience problems registering, i'd say just show up :-).  sorry, no web site for further information other than the registration site.  if you do go, encourage them to do 2 things for me (i'll be in denver or i'd go): 1) start an email group instead of a forum and 2) post their events on azgroups.com so others can see (i've posted this first one).

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as some of you know i've been silent for a lot of december due to a series of unfortunate incidents.  the worst of which was a phone call that my wife was being air-evac'd from our neighborhood.  yeah, not a good call.  she was hit by a car while cycling.  she is getting better now after a surgery and physical therapy.  not back 100%, not even 70% but getting better daily.  in the midst of all of this, i've been battling kidney stones.  anyone who has had these knows that pain killers are your best friend right now.  i've had 3 over the month of december and have 1 more still in the track...and it sucks going day-to-day not knowing if it will be a painful day...so if you see me bust out the ziplock with two pills in it...you know it's a bad day :-).

anyhow, i came home today from going into the office and my wife asked me what the 'nm .net user group' was.  i gave her that 'why are you snooping on me and how did you figure out my email password' look.  then she handed me this card:


wow.  way cool.  the folks of the new mexico .net user group community sent my wife and me a card.  some well wishes to my family to get better.  i thought that was a very thoughtful gesture on behalf of them and from my family a very sincere and humble 'thank you' goes out to you all.  we've been blessed with a lot fo local and distant friends and maybe i'll get around to posting some thoughts on being humble and accepting help...but i'll have to think of a geek twist on it ;-)

i've really enjoyed seeing the growth of the new mexico .net community over the past 2 years thanks in part to a lot of people.  i think they are even experiencing growing pains right now, which can be frustrating but is always a sign of success i believe.

so thanks again to the new mexico .net user group -- if you are a developer in new mexico, you need to be a part of this community.  it is growing and they are doing exciting things.  there are passionate people involved helping drive direction to serve the community...so get out there and be a part of it!

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i just saw this pop in my inbox as a note (not to me) to one of the local user groups i belong to:

I have been a member of this group now for some time, and while I am not yet
at the level of many in here, I have greatly benefited from the help I have
received. I just wanted to say, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, thanks to
all those who have answered my numerous questions, and made my programming
experiences all the better. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

this is great, this is exactly the type of feedback that validates all the hard work from the leaders in community in gathering like-minded people together.  if you aren't involved in your local community...do it now.  look at www.codezone.com to see if there is a .net community near you or reach out to your local microsoft office to find out who the community evangelist is in your area.

it isn't just for softies as well...interested in learning new technologies or broadening your network of talent?  find a ruby user group, find a php user group...bottom line: get involved.  even the silent ones involved benefit.  this note above came from a list that has grown over the past 9 years from about 20 to hanging steadily at about 1800.  it is one of the groups i'm most proud to be a member.

happy holidays!