A Scene from Today’s Windows Phone 7 Coffee and Code

My LG Windows Phone 7, with "Smiles" displayed on the screen.A test version of Smiles running on my WP7 device.

In between chatting with developers who dropped by today’s Coffee and Code in downtown Toronto and getting some work done, I’ve been playing Smiles (pictured above), an incredibly cute and incredibly addictive puzzle game by London, ON-based development shop Sykhronics.

Here’s a video of Smiles’ gameplay in its “Drop” mode:

Mike Kasprzak of Sykhronics was kind enough to send me an early test version of Smiles to show off the Phone’s game capabilities as well as the level of “polish” that Windows Phone 7 developers should be aiming for in their apps. Mike’s got some pretty high standards and is working to make sure that Smiles for WP7 meets them, and it shows! Even in this test version, Smiles looks and feels like a polished arcade classic, and when it’s done, it’s going to be a must-buy.

Keep writing those apps, and aim high! We’ll do what we can on our end to help out, which includes:

  • Articles on Windows Phone 7 development in Silverlight and XNA
  • Articles on good mobile user interface design and marketing your apps
  • Announcements of upcoming Coffee and Codes and WP7 Deployment Clinics across Canada
  • Coverage of “Phone Heroes”: People building apps for Windows Phone 7 – and hey, you could be one of them!
  • Pointers to useful tools, resources and other things to help you build WP7 apps

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Montreal/Toronto/Edmonton Event Reminders


Deployment Clinic Today in Montreal

Deployment clinics are a little more formal than Coffee and Codes. You can book an exclusive timeslot to deploy and test apps to a Windows Phone 7 device, and there’s one taking place all day at Microsoft’s Montreal office (2000 Avenue McGill College, 4th floor) on the 30th. Email Christian Beauclair to reserve a time slot.

Coffee and Code Today in Toronto

I’ll be at the Starbucks at King and Yonge (4 King Street West) from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a Windows Phone 7 for you to play with and deploy your apps to. I’ll be at or near the big table in the back — come on down!

Montreal “Speaker Idol” Deadline is Soon!

Compete in Speaker Idol to win a licence of Visual Studio Ultimate and the respect of the Montreal .NET Community! The deadline to subm,it a 200-word abstract and a brief bio for your 10-minute presentation is coming fast (midnight Friday).

TechDays Edmonton is Next Week

TechDays comes to Edmonton next week, taking place on October 5th and 6th, and with it will come CloudCamp Edmonton (October 4th) and Windows Phone 7 Coffee and Code Edmonton (October 7th). Watch this blog for more details!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


“BieberSmash” at Tonight’s Canada’s Technology Triangle .NET User Group Meeting

bieberTonight, I’ll be in Kitchener speaking at the Canada’s Technology Triangle .NET User Group Meeting, where I’ll be talking about game programming on Windows Phone using XNA.

Assisting me – albeit indirectly – will be Justin Bieber, in sprite form. Starting from the humble “File –> New”, I’ll code up some simple 2D gaming fun where we’ll learn about XNA and 2D game development basics and play with pop’s most annoying star in the process!

Some details about the event:

  • Where: Manulife Financial (25 Water St. South, Kitchener)
  • Day: Wednesday September 29th, 2010
  • Time: 6:00pm-8:30pm
  • Note: Please Register for the Event as we order Pizza and Pop based on Registration as of 12pm (Noon) on the day of the Event.

Photo of Justin Bieber courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Montreal Coffee and Code Today!

Coffee and Code: Cup of coffee and a milk server on a wooden table

Today, Wednesday, September 29th, join “les bons gars”, Developer Advisor Christian Beauclair and Regional Director Guy Barrette, who’ll be holding a Coffee and Code at Le Café de la Cité on 75 Queen. They put on a professional appearance, but we all know qu’ils vont ecrire des «fart apps»! They’ll be doing it in both official languages: Silverlight and XNA!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Talking XNA with Shawn Hargreaves and Charles Cox

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Can’t see the video? Download Silverlight or download the video in high-quality WMV, medium-quality WMV, MP4 and MP3 (audio only) formats!

XNA is the game development framework that makes it easier to develop games for Windows, Xbox and Windows Phone, and it lets you do it with managed code – that is, using C# instead of C++. In this video, Microsoft’s Shawn Hargreaves and Charles Cox talk about all things XNA, including:

  • XNA Game Studio
  • XNA Creators Club Online
  • Game Development for Windows Phone 7
  • XNA Game Studio and Silverlight – Games and Apps
  • GPU Acceleration
  • The History of XNA Game Studio
  • .NET Garbage Collection Tips for XNA Game Studio
  • Managed Code Performance Tips
  • DirectX 11 or XNA Game Studio – Making the Choice
  • Introducing Reach and HiDef Graphics Profiles
  • Visual Basic in XNA Game Studio
  • XAML and Event-Driven Programming in XNA Game Studio

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


“Speaker Idol”: Montreal, October 25th

Speaker Idol: photo of microphone

Want to share your .NET knowledge in front of an audience? Got some special pearl of wisdom that you’d like to pass to your grateful, applauding peers? Want to win prizes for your scintillating oratory?

“La Communauté .NET Montréal lance un grand concours appelé Speaker Idol afin de vous donner la chance d’être conférencier,” says the Speaker Idol event site. Luckily, my vast experience in talking my way out of sticky situations in La Belle Province has given me enough skill to translate it:

Logo: Speaker Idol - Communaute .NET MontrealThe Montreal .NET Community is starting a competition called Speaker Idol. It’s your chance to be the speaker, presenting a .NET-related topic, trick or technique in ten minutes in front of a panel of expert judges. Impress them, and you’ll get:

  • An opportunity to do a full presentation in front of the user group at a later date
  • A license for the all-singing, all-dancing, all-coding Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate

The rules for Speaker Idol:

  • When and where? Speaker Idol takes place on Monday, October 25th, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Microsoft’s Montreal Office (2000 Avenue McGill College, 4th floor).
  • Both official languages welcome. No, not C# and VB, but French and English!
  • They’re looking for new speakers. The contest is open only to people who’ve never spoken at a user group or conference.
  • Submission deadline: You need to submit a brief description (200 words max.) of your talk and a speaker bio by midnight, October 1st (Friday!) to
  • Maximum number of participants: They’re looking for 10 participants, and no more. If more than 10 people sign up, the best 10 submissions will get picked. Sign up soon!
  • Who presents first? Speaker Idol contestants will present in alphabetical order, based on surname. If your family name is Aaaaaaabercrombie, you’re probably going on first!
  • Speaker Idol contestants will be announced on October 4th.
  • Contestants will be judged on:
    • Mastery of their subject
    • Quality of their presentation
    • Ability to get the point across
    • Quality of their slides
    • Quality of their code
  • What will be provided: A laptop with Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and SQL Server Express 2008 installed will be available. If your presentation requires the installation of other software, please bring your own (if your bring your own, set your screen resolution to 1024 * 768).
  • What won’t be provided: There will be no internet connection available.
  • What you should bring: Bring your PowerPoint presentation and demo code on a USB key or drive. Your presentation and code will be featured on the .NET Community’s site.
  • Judging: A panel of 3 judges will comment on your presentation and the audience will vote. They promise a relaxed environment.

Once again, if you want to participate, submit your 200-word-max presentation description and bio to!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Toronto’s Hot Tech Scene

sarah prevetteSarah Prevette addresses the SproutUp crowd.
Photo by Brett Gundlock for the National Post.

“On almost any given weeknight,” goes the article in today’s National Post, Sprouting a Hotbed, “there is an event in Toronto somewhere where the technology crowd convenes to talk about the smartphone applications they’re building, to offer advice on each other’s business models and share Twitter marketing strategies with an eye to becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg.”

There’s a lot going on in my city’s tech scene, and it’s making splashes worldwide. The article covers some of the names of the people who make Toronto the tech-place-to-be that it is, including friend and former coworker at Microsoft, David Crow:

"If you were to ask me what’s in the water and what makes Toronto special, it’s that it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world," he said. "Much of what we think of as innovation is just the tension between different viewpoints and Toronto is the city of differing viewpoints … the whole point of building the community piece is to help the diversity and these folks come together and get excited about what’s going on."

Read the full article

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.