Category Archives: Learning

App Builder Virtual Summit: May 2, 2013


Are you interested in building Windows 8 Applications?  Register for the App Builder Virtual Summit that is taking place on May 2, 2013 from 9a – 2p PST.


9:00 – 9:30 Keynote:  The Windows Opportunity
9:30 – 10:30 Show and Tell:  Top Apps Development Revealed
10:30 – 11:00 “But I’m an iOS Developer”
11:00 – 11:30 Android Developers:  Expand Your Portfolio (1)
11:30 – 12:30 What can Windows 8 Development Frameworks do for you?
12:30 – 1:00 Designing for a New Digital Canvas
1:00 – 1:30 Monetizing your Windows 8 apps with Advertising
1:30 – 2:00 The “Get Rich Pitch” (2)


  1. My colleague, Jennifer Marsman (Microsoft Developer Evangelist), just published a post that may be of interest to you as well:  Windows Store opportunity for Android Developers
  2. I had written about Kevin Ashley in my previous post:  Embracing your Inner Developer.  Kevin had written about his experiences on developing for Windows 8 and is making $30,000 a month (which is above and beyond his normal pay as a Microsoft employee)

Get inspired and jumpstart your Windows 8 App Development with this event.

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Windows 8 Development–Controls and more Free E-Books

I mentioned in previous posts that I’m not a hardcore developer, meaning that my primary “job” and focus is on other things such as sharing and demoing Windows 8 to large, enterprise organizations.  My day-to-day responsibilities include Windows 8 and how organizations can deploy or manage these systems and how do these organizations embrace a “Bring Your Own Device Strategy” in this new “Consumerization of IT” period.  I know, too much IT jargon.

As a hobbyist developer, I love coming up with new ideas and trying to create new Windows 8 Store Apps.  I currently have three in the works but have had some difficulty with the User Interface and how to create a beautiful, touch-optimized experience for the potential end-users of my applications. 

I soon found that I was having trouble with some of the basic things… such as – how to create a Calendar Control or Date, Time Control.  With limited time and availability, I’m always looking for things to help fast track my learning and experience.  I was hoping that someone out there probably has had the same frustrations that I have had when I couldn’t find these controls out-of-the-box.


Syncfusion LogoAs I began to search for these controls, I came across Syncfusion.  Upon my research, I found that Syncfusion has 34 unique controls for Windows 8 (WinRT) including the date, time, and calendar control.  Plus, they already have controls for scenarios I want to include but haven’t had time to research (because I wasn’t there yet when developing my application).  These scenarios include reading and writing to Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.



Needless to say, I’m in the middle of installing Syncfusion’s Essential Studio.  I’ll post more about my experiences in future blogs.  Maybe these controls will assist you in your development efforts as well.


FREE E-Books and Whitepapers

Earlier this week, I created a post pointing to number of FREE E-Books that are made available to you.  I also want to provide you with additional resources available from Syncfusion’s Technology Resource Portal.   There are a number of FREE E-Books and Whitepapers covering F#, C++, ASP.NET MVC, LightSwitch, etc.  All of these books are about 100 pages long which ensures they are concise and get to the point rather quickly. 

E-Book:  Windows Store Apps Succinctly

A new book was just release to help jumpstart your Windows 8 initiatives.

Windows Store Apps Succinctly (Free)

From the website:
Forget those thousand-page manuals on Windows 8 and WinRT development. This is what you’ve been looking for.

Windows Store apps present a radical shift in Windows development. They place content and interaction above all else to provide users with immersive, intuitive application experiences. With Windows Store Apps Succinctly by John Garland, you’ll be guided through obtaining a developer license, to managing your application’s life cycle and storage, all the way to submitting your app to the Windows Store.


*Note – I have no monetary relationship with Syncfusion.  Information is provided and shared for your research and learning purposes.

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Increase Your Knowledge–FREE E-Books

Generally speaking, there isn’t anything better than FREE.  Here’s a quick post to point you to a few resources that I have uncovered many months ago and thought you might find valuable as well.

From Microsoft Technet, there are over 80 E-Books that are available for download covering various technologies – ASP.NET, Office, SQL Server, Windows Azure, SharePoint, among others.

Microsoft Press®. Books designed for the different ways you learn. And across the range of Microsoft technologies.

From Microsoft Press, there are over 10 E-Books including a book on “Introducing Windows 8 – An Overview for IT Professionals.”  These books can be downloaded as PDF, Mobi, or ePub.

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Upcoming Office Webinar: Working with Office on Windows 8

Join Tuesday, April 2nd from 9:15a PST – 9:30a PST for a quick 15 minute Office webinar “Working with Office on Windows 8.”

There is a new webinar every Tuesday.  Join live with a live Q&A afterwards or watch one of the recordings.

You can view all of the Office Webinar listings or download a calendar reminder for the series.

Working with Office on Windows 8
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
9:00a – 9:30a PST (starts promptly at 9:15a)
Direct Link for Webinar

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Microsoft Build 2013 has been scheduled

It has been scheduled!  Microsoft Build 2013 has been scheduled for June 26 – 28, 2013 at the Mascone Center in San Francisco.  This is 3 to 4 months earlier than the previous Build Conferences!!!

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, April 2 at 9a PST to register.  Registration usually fills up quickly for this event, so act fast.

Read Full Announcement

If you haven’t attended Microsoft Build in the past but want to watch or download the videos, you can gain access from MSDN’s Channel 9 website:

Build 2012

Build 2011

I didn’t attend but I really enjoyed watching the Build 2012 Keynote

Build 2012 Keynote–Part 1 (45 minutes)


Build 2012 Keynote–Part 2 (52 minutes)

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Windows 8 Tips, Tricks, and more

Just a quick post on the available resources to get you up and running with Windows 8 more quickly.  Many of you have asked “where are the training resources” for Windows 8.  Hopefully these resources will be of value to you.


First, I recommend watching this 3 minute 25 second “Getting to Know Windows” video.

After you watch the video, take a look at these resources to help you become more familiar with the new Windows Operating System.

Windows 8 End User Training Brochure – 36 page PDF that provides you with a great overview of Windows 8 and its capabilities… and how to start using it immediately.

Windows 8 Quick Reference Card – 48 page PDF Quick Reference Card provides a basic introduction to Windows 8 key features.

Getting to know Windows – Several short videos to get you started.

Exploring Windows 8 Work Smart Guide – This guide provides a high-level overview of the exciting new features in the Windows 8 user interface.

Windows 8 shortcut keys Work Smart Guide – This guide provides a quick reference to the shortcut keys in the Windows 8 Start screen.

Using Windows IE10 Work Smart Guide – Internet Explorer 10, included in Windows 8, offers two browser experiences, a touch-optimized, modern-style experience and a classic desktop, web-browsing experience. This guide provides detailed instructions for using the Internet Explorer 10 modern experience, provides useful tips for working across both experiences, and discusses security and privacy.

Connecting a Microsoft Account to your domain account Work Smart Guide – This guide discusses how, with Windows 8, you can connect your Microsoft account to your corporate domain account. By connecting the accounts you can continue to sign in to your office PC with your domain (network) credentials, sync your Windows personalization settings across multiple PCs, and use a single sign-on for Windows Live services.

Protecting data with Windows 8 BitLocker Work Smart Guide – This guide discusses how to use Microsoft BitLocker Drive Encryption technology to protect your computer’s data, and prevents others from accessing your disk drives without authorization.

(Free E-Book)  Introducing Windows 8:  An Overview for IT Professionals – Based on final, release-to-manufacturing (RTM) software, this book introduces new features and capabilities, with scenario-based insights demonstrating how to plan for, implement, and maintain Windows 8 in an enterprise environment. Get the high-level information you need to begin preparing your deployment now.

Business Hub:  Insider Videos – A great series of short videos describing 1) Windows 8 Charms, 2) Switching between apps, 3) Customize your Start Screen, 4) Start & Desktop View, 5) Mouse and Keyboard Tips, 6) Share a Document with SkyDrive among many others.

Book:  “Windows 8 Inside Out” companion videos – Companion videos to the “Windows 8 Inside Out” book.  The book is available from Amazon and other retailers.

Windows 8 App:  Windows 8 Handbook – A Windows 8 App.  From the publisher “Windows 8 Handbook is a quick reference guide. Our bite-sized tutorials break down Windows 8 into easy to learn pieces. Through short videos and explanations you can learn the new touch and mouse gestures, as well as keyboard shortcuts that will make using Windows 8 fast and easy. Keep your Windows 8 Handbook on hand as a great reference and you’ll be a Windows 8 expert in no time.”

Windows 8 Zone – Download a 90-day evaluation of Windows 8 Enterprise with links to various resources.

Explore Windows 8 – Find out what’s new in Windows 8 and get an overview of key features for IT professionals.

Windows 8 Demonstrations – 8 quick over demonstrations including 1) Windows To Go, 2) BitLocker in Windows 8, 3) Mobile Broadband, 4) Secure Boot, 5) Storage Spaces, 6) Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, 7) Windows 8 Deployment, and 8) Windows 8 Tablets for Business.

Windows 8 Jump Start – 6 Modules (approximately 6 hours) of in-depth Windows 8 training including 1) Tips & Tricks for IT Pros, 2) Windows 8 Deployment, 3) Access to Windows, 4) Anywhere Productivity, 5) Windows Apps, and 6) Recovery and Security.

Windows 8:  What IT Pros Should Know – 1 hour video roundtable.


Filed under All, Learning, Windows

Embracing your Inner Developer

By now, most of you may have already seen the following video titled “What most schools don’t teach you.”  If you haven’t, I ask you to take the 6 minutes out of your life to watch it. 

During the video, you will see direct comments from Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Drew Houston (Dropbox), Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Elena Silenok (Clothia), Gabe Newell (Valve) among many others.  They describe how and when they first began to program. 

What most schools don’t teach you

Their mission is simple – to encourage you to embrace your inner developer.  The video ends with the following:

1 million of the best jobs in America may go unfilled… because only 1 in 10 schools teach students how to code

The beauty of this story is that you don’t need to be college educated, live in an affluent neighborhood, or feel that you are too old and may have missed your opportunity.  Today, thanks to many great people and the power of the internet, there are many resources that are freely available for you (I will provide quite a few at the end of this post).

One of my favorites stories comes from my home state of Kentucky.  There are many places in Kentucky that are extremely impoverished and were hit drastically with the on-going recession.  I am thankful for a company that looks for ways to extend our passion and technology to assist those that may not have an opportunity to shine.  Watch Jeremy’s story to see how one vision can change a person, a town.

Jeremy’s Story

I will be the first to admit that I’m not a developer.  But, I try and spend a few hours every week to tinker and learn new languages and new patterns.  I find the developers around the world have the greatest gift because their potential is truly unlimited.  Being able to think of an idea and code it into a working program is just inspirational.

I try to encourage all of the youth that I encounter to take up programming. 

Develop for Windows 8

With the introduction of Windows 8, this is a perfect opportunity to embrace the new platform and begin to develop applications for the new Windows Store.  You may ask – why not start with iOS or Android development.  You could.  But, I would encourage you to look at the totality of the Microsoft ecosystem.

It is estimated that Windows 7 and Windows XP account for nearly 83.5% of the global desktop operating system market share.   This means that 44.5% of the PCs/Laptops are capable of running Windows 8 and 38.9% of the desktops (ones that are running Windows XP) have less than 13 months to upgrade or they are subjected to not receive any more security updates from Microsoft.  The logical choice for those that have Windows XP machines is to purchase a new Windows 8 device (Desktops, Laptops, or Tablets).


Tami Reller, Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer, shared with the public in early January that Windows 8 has sold 60 million licenses to date (as of January 8, 2013).

Since the Windows Store is just beginning (October 2012), you can develop and submit an application early in the evolution of the Windows Store and will have a greater opportunity for your application to be seen (and purchased).  With the Apple store (and possibly Google’s store), it is possible that your application will get lost in the complexity.  There is an Apple Insider’s article that details 2/3rds of Apple’s iOS App Store is populated by “zombie” apps – meaning, 2/3rds of these apps never get purchased, downloaded, or installed.

Don’t just listen to me.  There is a great success story on this already.  Kevin Ashley (a Microsoft architect and technical evangelist) has written about his own experiences with his applications in the Windows Store – Making $30,000 a month on Windows 8 Apps.

In summary, I encourage you to consider developing an application.  If you have children in the middle school or high school, maybe they will be inspired by these stories… stories that can be life changing.

Until later, take a look at these resources available for you.

Tips on getting started

FREE Development Environment – Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8

Training Videos

C# Fundamentals:  Development for Absolute Beginners

Windows Store Apps for Absolute Beginners with C#

HTML5 and CSS3 Fundamentals:  Development for Absolute Beginners

Javascript Fundamentals:  Development for Absolute Beginners

Windows Store Apps for Absolute Beginners with JavaScript

Building Apps for Windows Phone 8 Jump Start:  Introducing Windows Phone 8 Development


Filed under All, Development, Learning, Random Thoughts, Windows