I work at Microsoft again :)

I’m back at a new team with some old friends! I’m taking a break from mobile apps and will be rejoining the web world as a Senior Designer (dig that fancy title). I’ll still be doing front-end development, but as the title suggests, I get to focus on design as well.

We’re working on a huge project called docs.microsoft.com. The current version is just the tip of the iceberg.

I had a great time working on the wide variety of apps and websites as an independent contractor, but I’m looking forward to working on a large scale project and having someone to talk to in person besides just my dog. I love you, Penelope! Don’t forget me.

I realize my own website is woefully unused and out of date. I should fix that and get some practice on this web stuff again…

An introduction to Windows 7 Libraries for .NET development

Windows 7 includes new features that you can use in your applications to add functionality and improve system integration.  The APIs are written in native code, but are accessible to .NET developers via the Windows 7 .NET Interop Sample Libraries.

To see the Libraries in action check out the following interviews with Yochay Kiraity:

Sensor and Location .NET Library for Windows 7 
Provides access to work with light, motion and GPS devices
Taskbar and Libraries .NET Library for Windows 7
Provides access to TaskBar integration and JumpLists along with customizing Libraries, which in Windows 7 act as a group of folders.
Multi-touch .NET Library for Windows 7
Provides access to Multi-touch gestures and analysis, demos incldue both WPF and Windows forms applications.

To start using the Libraries in your own apps, you can download the Windows API Code Pack and the Windows Touch Developer Resources.

To learn more about Windows 7 possibilities for developers check out Yochay’s Windows 7 for Developers blog.

Writing IE8 Accelerators once to save me from typing again and again

This is too easy to pass up.  I’ve started hunting down Accelerators for sites I frequently use that are query string friendly.  And if there is no existing Accelerator, I open my original Friendfeed Accelerator, change a few values and I have the Accelerator I want.  You can learn how to write your own Accelerators via the OpenService Accelerators Developer Guide.

Using Accelerators is very simple, check out the action-packed two pane comic below:

There you have it.  Select text, a link or just right-click on the page.  Choose your Accelerator of choice and you land on your site of choice with the relevant context.

Here’s the Accelerators I’m using right now (click to install)

Find more Accelerators at the IE Add-ons Gallery.

Microsoft’s Silverlight-based Local Impact Map

Local Impact Map - World View Local Impact Map - Regional View Local Impact Map - South Africa Local Impact Map - Internet Users

This is an interesting new web application form Microsoft for a few reasons.  First, the reason for its existence:

The Local Impact Map presents over 500 stories about the positive impact of local programs supported by Microsoft around the world.

Exploring the world via this application allows you to discover just how many programs are in effect.  A few of the stories include photos and videos providing a more visual feel for the activity.

The experience overall, designed and developed by Stimulant, is interesting and easy to use.  I particularly like their use of Deep Zoom for the Map.  This is not your typical free mouse-wheelin’ usage where you can zoom all the way into the Pacific Ocean and get lost.  Instead they’re taking advantage of Deep Zoom’s large image loading functionality along with the zoom for controlled transitions.  They’re also providing custom overlays for data visualization the scale smoothly with the map image.

Its also worth noting their complete bookmark and history support.  The Back button is functional when navigating through the app and very state is bookmarkable, exemplified by the custom “snapshots” functionality at the bottom.

Visiting BayArea for pixelSessions and show interviews

The second full week of May I will be visiting the San Francisco Bay area to attend pixelSessions as well as shoot a few video interviews for The Continuum Show.

pixelSessions

From the pixelSessions site:

On Tuesday May 12th, our premier pixelSessions event will follow a theme of Inspiration. Inspiration has a heavy meaning, and it is the foundation of our daily lives as creative professionals. How do you stay inspired? What fuels your creativity? What gets you out of bed in the morning (or keeps you up late at night)? Where do you find the energy to tackle a myriad of design problems in innovative ways? Our speakers will discuss what inspires them and how they keep their work fresh and new.

pixelSessions 1.0 will be hosted at MIGHTY in SOMA, (Google Map: 119 Utah St., San Francisco).

  • Tuesday, May 12th, 6:00pm-10:30pm
  • 6:00pm – Registration, Hosted Bar, and Snacks
  • 7:00pm – Speakers and Q&A (bar closed)
  • 8:30pm – Hosted bar, and networking

Tickets are $25

Taking full advantage of the location I will be setting up a interviews for the Show with a few of the local WPF and Silverlight shops with a focus on design process, Blend and Silverlight 3.  If you are or know of a group doing great work I should interview: id=19949; t=2;

Gone on Holiday

oof chair

Thank you for thinking of me and adding me to a thread, messaging me, reading my blog, twittering me or even trying to email me directly.

I have gone on a much needed holiday and will be slow to respond. Its a true holiday at that.  The laptop has been left on the desk.  So as mentioned responses will not be likely until I return on April 13th.

While I’m away I have a few Continuum Show videos primed to publish themselves.  So if you miss me, or want to learn about Microsoft Client technologies, check there.

Although my phone is a SmartTouchEnabled3GPhone, I do not plan to check email or use it for any of my usual Twitterage.  I do plan to do a little creative publishing while I’m gone though, but it will be a new medium.  If you’re really interested, you’ll have to dig a little to find it.

No, this is not a late April Fool’s joke.

Yes, today is my birthday.  After two hours of labor, I was born at 12:08 am on April 2nd.  Came into the world playing a joke on everyone, peed on the doctor, and have been doing it ever since.

Farewell, internet citizens, while I vacation.

Silverlight Advertising Creation Kit is now available

The Silverlight Advertising Creation Kit discusses several aspects of creating ads using Silverlight 2.  Step-by-step instructions are provided throughout so no previous knowledge of Visual Studio, Blend or Silverlight is required.  Sample projects are also included for each of the sections.  The following topics are addressed:

  • Creating Polite Ads
  • Tracking Actions (Event Handling)
  • Ad synchronization
  • clickTAG Support
  • Expanding Ads
  • Optimization Techniques

Additionally, this document supplements the previously published Silverlight Ad Publishing and Serving Guide, which specifies how to serve ads to a client page. 

I know a few have been waiting for this for a little now.  Enjoy!

Live Services explained by James Senior Esq.

Mr. James Senior was kind enough to drop by the studio and explain the story behind Live Services, Live Framework and how to take advantage of what’s available today. One of the interesting facts highlighted in our discussion is the fact that the Services can be used by all types of developers, not just Microsoft-focused ones.  The REST-based Services work just fine with PHP.

For more detailed developer information on the APIs and documentation check out dev.live.com.

To keep up to date with new Continuum Show episodes, follow Twitter @ContinuumShow.  Just episode links, no chatter.  Chatter stays on my personal @adkinn channel.

Xbox Friends Watch Gamercard now on Channel 9 profile page

Gamercard on Channel9 profile

Wow, I just noticed today that the Xbox Friends Watch Gamercard has found its way on the Channel 9 profile page!  Thanks EvNet Dev team 🙂

Running on Channel 9 was one of the main reasons I started on the custom theme feature and its nice to see it being used as designed.  Plus it looks like its proliferated through the Network running on the Channel 8 profile page and Technet Edge profile page, too.

Maybe I should create a few more custom themes to match other sites?  Hmm, perhaps after I’m done with preparations for MIX09…