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Infusion Blogs - Beta > ActiveNick's Big Bald Blog
The blog of Infusion personality Nick "ActiveNick" Landry
XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 Refresh Gets Released: Let the Sharing Begin!!!
At last, XNA developers now have a chance to share their games with others without sharing the whole source project, or force their friends to install XNA Game Studio Express. You can now package your XNA games and share them with your friends, including on the Xbox 360. However, not that you or your friends still have to be a member of the Creators Club to simply play the games on the Xbox 360. I hope this requirement disappears in the future, but at least it's a step in the right direction. We'll now finally see more XNA games being released online as developers unwilling to share all their code (which I can understand, game development takes time and effort) will finally be able to share their games nonetheless.
 
Other features have also been added, including Windows Vista support, 3D audio support with XACT, using fonts in the framework itself and others. Read more about it here on the XNA team blog and download it here.
CoDe Magazine Article - Windows Vista Mobility: Why Should You Care?
My latest article is out in the current issue of CoDe Focus. It's an overview of all the new features for mobile users and mobility developers in Windows Vista. The issue itself is all about mobility, the Mobile PC and Windows Vista. The CoDe Focus issue will be packaged with the regular issue of CoDe Magazine for the next 2-3 issues this year. The easiest way to get CoDe Magazine is to subscribe here.
 
Why should I upgrade to Windows Vista™?” is the single most-asked question I get at work these days. Curiosity is driving a lot of folks towards this latest and greatest operating system from Microsoft. What’s new? What does it do? What’s in it for me? Everyone wants to know what’s so special about it and if it is worth it. “How much time do you have right now?” is usually my first reply, closely followed by, “Do you have a laptop?”
 
Of course many professionals and knowledge workers do have a laptop, and that often includes application developers too. Windows Vista offers tons of new features and enhancements, from the new spiffy hardware-accelerated user interface with Aero to all the built-in .NET Framework 3.0 technologies (WPF, WCF and WF), Microsoft® Windows® SuperFetch™ to Windows ReadyBoost™, Microsoft packed a lot of power under the hood (see sidebar, Windows Vista: Beyond Mobility). But throw Windows Vista on a mobile PC and get ready for some serious improvements for the mobile professional.

 
Keep on reading here.
 
CoDe Focus Cover Image
Microsoft Robotics Studio 1.5 CTP is Out: Includes Windows Mobile Support
If you attended one of my Microsoft Robotics Studio talks last month either in Orlando or Toronto, you know I talked about using a Windows Mobile device as the "brain" of your robot.
 
Using such a deployment model, your MSRS application would run as a .NET Compact Framework application on a Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Smartphone, and talk to the robot's CPU (such as the NXT Brick in my samples) over bluetooth. It's in fact very similar to the default model where your computer controls the robot, except that with Windows Mobile devices, they are small enough that the robot can carry them around, thus making the robot autonomous.
 
Well, I did not lie. I said the Microsoft Robotics Studio team was working on porting the MSRS runtime to Windows Mobile and they have. It's now available in the new Microsoft Robotics Studio 1.5 Community Technical Preview (CTP) which is available for download here. There are many new features as well, and I'll let you explore them for yourself by reading here.
 
Microsoft is also hosting Robocup 2007 in Atlanta in the coming months and is providing a soccer simulation environment for the iRobot Create robots. These will also be showcased in a Sumobot competition at MEDC 2007 in May. While I will be speaking at MEDC, I'm not sure I'll have the time to enroll in the competition this time. Last year's humiliating defeat our Infusion team suffered in the Sumobot competition was bad enough, where one of the "eye" sensors on our robot got disconnected on the way to the event. The poor thing kept attacking in circles, it was pathetic. I'll be sure to watch the competition at the very least though. Read more about the Sumobot competition and the simulation environment here. You can also download the Sumobot simulation here.
Toronto Code Camp Session Follow-up: Microsoft XNA - Justification for purchasing an XBox 360
Session Abstract: "We love to write software, that’s why we attend Code Camps. We spend our days, evenings and weekends churning out source code that solves the business problems of the world. I doubt anyone said “I’m going to write a pipeline management system!” when they envisioned themselves becoming a software developer. No! Instead, we had grandiose visions of being the next John Carmack and writing the next Quake! During this session we’re going to take a look into the awesome side of software development - games development. We’ll explore the new XNA Framework and Game Studio Express that will enable us to develop fun and exciting games using C# and .NET for both the Windows platform as well as the XBox 360! You’ll learn tips & tricks working with sound, graphics and input devices and even a bit of AI to help you build the next killer FPS, MMOG, RPG, or racing game. Additionally, you’ll learn sound design practices with XACT to ensure you’re game not only rocks, but is also architecturally sound. If nothing else, we’ll give you a great argument for the justification of purchasing an XBox 360 to your significant other: “Honey, I’m not playing games! I need it for software development!” You can't miss this one folks!"
 
Thank you for attending my talk on the game development with Microsoft XNA last weekend at the Toronto Code Camp. You can download the final version of the session slide deck here in PDF format, or here in XPS format. The XNA Pong demo files are also available for download here. Also visit the following links to download the XNA community games I demo'd during my session:
  • exDream's Rocket Commander (and source code here)
  • WildBoarders
  • Damage Control
Feel free to post questions here regarding this talk and other XNA topics.
Toronto Code Camp Session Follow-up: Microsoft Robotics Studio Programming with Lego Mindstorms NXT
Session Abstract: "Did you ever think of extending your programming skills to affect the real world, interact with it, and work with your "senses"? Sure, management systems and database-centric applications are the bread and butter of the IT developer, but there is also a whole world in motion out there that requires automation. What would you rather program for: R2-D2 or a secure Web service? This session is your first foray in the world of robotics using the Microsoft Robotics Studio, an integrated environment based on Visual Studio for academic, hobbyist, and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware. Come explore this fascinating realm of motorized and sensor-driven automation with cool, live demos based on the new Lego Mindstorms NXT. We’ll cover the extensible run-time architecture, the programming interface used to address robots using 8-bit or 16-bit processors as well as 32-bit systems, debugging robot applications scenarios, using the high quality visual simulation environment that uses the Ageia Technologies PhysX engine, remote control via a serial port, Bluetooth, RF or Wi-Fi, and more. Whether your interest is as a hobbyist or a developer seeking new professional challenges, this session will get you, and your robot, rolling in no time!"
 
Thank you for attending my talk on the Microsoft Robotics Studio last weekend at the Toronto Code Camp. You can download the final version of the session slide deck here in PDF format, or here in XPS format. The demo files are also available for download here.
 
Feel free to post questions here regarding this talk.
DevConnections Spring 2007 Session Follow-up: VMB301 - Remote Mobile Communications Using WCF and .NET Compact Framework 3.5
Session Abstract: "Communicating with the server-side and the rest of your corporate network infrastructure is a key aspect of any mobile smart client application that lives within a distributed enterprise architecture. However, mobile devices aren’t always on the Web or docked into the corporate network. Therefore your applications have to handle a range of scenarios for transferring data to and from the home office during times when a connection is available and storing information locally when a connection is not available. WCF provides a new unified programming model for building connected applications with managed code on the desktop and the server. Thanks to the WCF extensible channel architecture, mobile devices can also participate and leverage WCF, but only a subset of the full WCF model is supported. This session explores the similarities and the differences in building mobile communications infrastructures using .NET Compact Framework 3.5 and WCF. Through live demos, we’ll cover the WCF programming model and channel layer messaging, the supported channels, integrating with the desktop and server-side, extensibility points, the role of Exchange 2007, e-mail and AirSync, and more. If you think you know everything about WCF, think again mobile devices are also part of the enterprise equation and you need to learn how to reach out to them."
 
Thank you for attending my talk on the new WCF for Devices support in .NET Compact Framework 3.5 last week in Orlando. You can download the final version of the session slide deck here in PDF format, or here in XPS format. The demo files can be downloaded here.
 
Note that this demo code (as well as the code posted in the session slide deck) is based on Visual Studio codename "Orcas" Beta 1 since it uses a pre-release version of .NET Compact Framework 3.5. While you can load the project in Visual Studio codename "Orcas" March 2007 CTP, you will need the Beta 1 version or later to run the demo.
DevConnections Spring 2007 Session Follow-up: VMB303 - What’s New for Mobile Developers in Windows Vista, WM6, Visual Studio “Orcas” and .NET Compact Framework 3.5
Session Abstract: "Great technological advances in the field of mobility have allowed us to reach even farther out, beyond the physical boundaries of the enterprise. Faster wireless networks, broader coverage, more powerful devices, different form factors and state of the art development tools have all contributed to the mobile revolution currently in progress. Visual Studio "Orcas" incorporates both native and managed development for Windows Mobile devices. This session provides a comprehensive overview of all the pieces of Visual Studio that a device developer show know, along with many tips and tricks to make you more productive as a mobile developer in a Windows Vista world. This session is useful for anyone considering a move to the latest device development tools and who wants to get an overview and understand any limitation of the new Development Tools Set. Learn about the new .NET Compact Framework 3.5, WCF for devices, unit testing for mobile device applications, Compact LINQ, the new Microsoft Device Emulators 2.0 & 3.0 and the Remote Tools, Windows Mobile 6.0 SDK, Diagnostic Tools, the Windows Mobile Device Center in Vista, the Security Configuration Manager and more."
 
Thank you for attending my talk on the new Microsoft mobility technologies for developers last week in Orlando. You can download the final version of the session slide deck here in PDF format, or here in XPS format. The various demo files are also below:
Note that these demos are based on Visual Studio codename "Orcas" and require Visual Studio codename "Orcas" March 2007 CTP, Beta 1 or later to be loaded and run.
 
Feel free to post questions here regarding this talk.
DevConnections Spring 2007 Session Follow-up: VGP306: Lego Mindstorms NXT Programming with Visual Studio and the Microsoft Robotics Studio
Session Abstract: "Did you ever think of extending your programming skills to affect the real world, interact with it, and work with your "senses"? Sure, management systems and database-centric applications are the bread and butter of the IT developer, but there is also a whole world in motion out there that requires automation. What would you rather program for: R2-D2 or a secure Web service? This session is your first foray in the world of robotics using the Microsoft Robotics Studio, an integrated environment based on Visual Studio for academic, hobbyist, and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware. Come explore this fascinating realm of motorized and sensor-driven automation with cool, live demos based on the new Lego Mindstorms NXT. We’ll cover the extensible run-time architecture, the programming interface used to address robots using 8-bit or 16-bit processors as well as 32-bit systems, debugging robot applications scenarios, using the high quality visual simulation environment that uses the Ageia Technologies PhysX engine, remote control via a serial port, Bluetooth, RF or Wi-Fi, and more. Whether your interest is as a hobbyist or a developer seeking new professional challenges, this session will get you, and your robot, rolling in no time!"
 
Thank you for attending my talk on the Microsoft Robotics Studio last week in Orlando. You can download the final version of the session slide deck here in PDF format, or here in XPS format. The demo files are also available for download here.
 
Feel free to post questions here regarding this talk.
NYC Code Camp II Follow-up: Thanks for Attending!
NYC Code Camp II yesterday was again a huge success. The 150+ crowd seems to have really enjoyed the show. Thanks to Peter Laudati, Andrew Brust, Bill Zack, Stephen Forte and other helpers for their great work! Also thanks to my Infusion colleagues Jean Barmash and Kurt Guenther for joining the fun as speakers with talks on INfoPath 2007 and VSTO respectively.
 
Since I resisted the urge to fire-up PowerPoint, I have no slides to share from my talk titled "Hands-on with Visual Studio 2005 for Devices, .NET Compact Framework 2.0 and the Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK", but I have plenty of demos already post, including the ones I did not have time to cover. You can find a whole bunch of them here and I'll add more over the next few days.
 
While my talk focused more on the Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK, remember that version 6.0 is now out and available for download. Make sure to read Jim Wilson's article on MSDN to find out more.
 
If you have follow-up questions, feel free to start a discussion here. See you at the next show!
CUSEC 2007 Follow-up
Well it's been over a month since CUSEC 2007 ended in Montreal, and I had promised to post my slides from that session. I'm sorry it took so long but I was waiting for the move to the new blog server. Thanks for your patience.
 
You can download the slides from my session titled "Extending Enterprise Software Architecture to Windows Mobile with Microsoft .NET" here.
 
Feel free to post questions or start discussions in this thread.
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