Thinking of Moving to the Cloud? Get Free Compute Time with Windows Azure

a special cloud offer

Windows Azure PlatformAre you a developer looking to launch your new web application? Or perhaps you’re an IT Pro or IT Architect trying to understand what all the fuss about “The Cloud” is. Or maybe you need for some compute time to run calculations. No matter who you are, or why you’re thinking about the cloud, Microsoft is making it easy for you try out our cloud offerings: Windows Azure (which runs your apps the in the cloud), SQL Azure (your database in the cloud) and AppFabric (which ties your on-premises and cloud systems together).

Check out the Azure Pricing Page and take a look at the introductory special, which lets you take Azure for a spin for a limited time – free of charge. Here’s what you get:

Included each month at no charge:

  • Windows Azure
    • 25 hours of a small compute instance
    • 500 MB of storage
    • 10,000 storage transactions
  • SQL Azure
    • 1 Web Edition database (available for first 3 months only)
  • AppFabric
    • 100,000 Access Control transactions
    • 2 Service Bus connections
  • Data Transfers (per region)
    • 500 MB in
    • 500 MB out

Any monthly usage in excess of the above amounts will be charged at the standard rates. This introductory special will end on October 31, 2010 and all usage will then be charged at the standard rates.

This special offer is available right now through October 31, 2010 and is limited to one per customer.  (You’ll probably want to look at the “full details and disclosure” page.)

If you’re in Canada and have questions about Windows Azure, my team and I are here to help and can answer your questions.  We’d also love to hear what sorts of projects you’re using Azure for. To reach us, drop us an email at

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Visual Studio 2010 Event in Kitchener-Waterloo: Thursday, January 21st

Attention Kitchener-Waterloo residents: Better Application Lifecycle Management with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, presented by Dave Lloyd

If you’re in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and want to know more about Visual Studio 2010, you should check out the Visual Studio 2010 presentation by ObjectSharp and Microsoft on the morning of Thursday, January 21st.

Dave Lloyd of ObjectSharp will walk you through the goodies in the upcoming Visual Studio 2010 and how they can help you and your team with all those things you do in your day-to-day development, from collaboration to architecture to prototyping to testing and debugging.

You’ll also learn about the Ultimate Offer, which is a great way to level up your Visual Studio licence and MSDN subscription levels. This offer won’t be around forever!

This event is free-as-in-beer to attend; all you have to do is register. I’ve provided the details below:

How do I sign up for the event? Register here and enter this invitation key when prompted:


When is the event? Thursday, January 21st, 2010.
Registration takes place from
9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Presentation takes place from
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Includes a continental breakfast buffet

Where is the event? St. George Hall
655 King Street North
Waterloo, Ontario

There’s free parking at the event in the lot just off King Street.


This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


WinMoDevCamp: Save the Date – November 11th!

WinMoDevCamp banner

On Wednesday, November 11th, we’ll be hosting the Toronto-area WinMoDevCamp at Microsoft Canada’s headquarters! It’ll be the fifth in a series of worldwide “Camp” style workshops focusing on developing applications for Windows Mobile (including the upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5).

WinMoDevCamp – short for Windows Mobile Developer Camp – was inspired by events like BarCamp, SuperHappyDevHouse and the original iPhoneDevCamp. It’s a free-of-charge get-together where mobile developers, web developers, .NET developers, UI designers, testers, device manufacturers and Canadian mobile carriers gather, team up and work in ad-hoc mobile development projects for the day.

You’ll get to:

  • Create new applications for the Windows Mobile Platform
  • Meet and work side-by-side with people from the Microsoft Mobile Developer Experience team
  • Migrate existing mobile apps from the iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm Pre to the Windows Mobile platform
  • Create applications to support Windows Enterprise Applications
  • Meet with representatives from Canadian mobile phone companies, including Bell, Rogers, Telus and WIND
  • Test and optimize applications for Windows Mobile 6.5

The event is free-as-in-beer (in other words, it costs nothing to attend), and you’ll be able to sign up to attend soon – watch this space!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Introducing WebsiteSpark

What is WebsiteSpark?

If you run or work at a small web design or development firm, WebsiteSpark might be for you! WebsiteSpark is Microsoft’s new global program who goal is to help small web companies succeed.

What Do You Get When You Join WebsiteSpark?

What do you get with WebsiteSpark? I put together a little graphic that explains it pretty quickly:

What you get with WebsiteSpark: Visibility, support and tools

  • Visibility: By being showcased in the WebsiteSpark marketplace as well as through opportunities creating through The Empire’s marketing and business networking programs.
  • Support: You’ll get hooked up with an entire ecosystem of Microsoft support, network and hosting partners, and web developers and designers so you have a wide range of technical and business resources.
  • Tools: Full-on access to full versions of current Microsoft web tools and technologies, such as the goodies listed below:

What You Get

What It Is

Microsoft Silverlight Silverlight
For building rich internet applications that can do multimedia, access data from the web and can also be run on the desktop.
Microsoft Expression Expression
A suite of tools for building websites, user interfaces for Silverlight and desktop applications, making web and application graphics, encoding video and building prototype applications in a hurry.
You get:
– 1 user licence for Expression Studio
– Up to 2 user licences for Expression Web
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SQL Server Web Edition 
Microsoft’s database platform for data needs of all sizes, from the simplest web form to full-on enterprise applications.
You get a 4-processor licence of SQL Server 2008 Web Edition.
Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2008 (and 2008 R2 when it becomes available)
A server that’s both powerful and easy to maintain, featuring the IIS 7 web server and the Web Platform Installer, which makes it easy to install and upgrade popular web applications.
You get a 4-processor licence of Windows Server 2008 (and for 2008 R2 when it comes out).
Microsoft Visual Studio Visual Studio Professional
The IDE (integrated development environment) that has it all.
You get up to 3 user licences of Visual Studio Pro.

Are You Eligible to Join WebsiteSpark? Answer These 2 Questions.

The number 2 If you can answer “yes” to the two questions below, you are!

  1. Is your company a professional service firm whose primary business is providing Web development and design services for its clients?
  2. Does your company have 10 or fewer people, including owners and employees?

Once you join WebsiteSpark, there’s a simple obligation: in order to continue participating in WebsiteSpark, you must deploy a new public, internet-accessible website developed using the tools and tech given to you by WebsiteSpark within 6 months of joining.

You can stay in WebsiteSpark for up to 3 years. On the first and second anniversary of your initial enrollment, you must update it – that is, confirm your company hasn’t gone public or its ownership hasn’t changed.

I Don’t Have a Fee-For-Service Web Shop, I Have a Startup. Can I Get in on This?

No, but we have a program for you – it’s called BizSpark.

I’m a Student and Have Limited Money, and It’s for Books and Beer. Can I Get in on This?

Dude, we have something just for you! It’s called DreamSpark.

How Do You Find Out More?

The details about the program are at the WebsiteSpark site. Check it out, and if it’s right for you, sign up!

Visit WebsiteSpark now!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


SharePoint Saturday Toronto: July 11th

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

SharePoint Saturday Toronto

SharePoint Saturdays are free events where you can learn about SharePoint from architects, developers, and other professionals who work with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (a.k.a. MOSS). Filled with sessions from respected SharePoint professionals & Microsoft MVPs, they’re day-long events covering a wide variety of SharePoint-oriented topics.

On Saturday, July 11th, Toronto will have its first SharePoint Saturday at Microsoft Canada Headquarters (1950 Meadowvale Boulevard, Mississauga – off Mississauga Road, just north of the 401). The event is free of charge, open to the public and your chance to immerse yourself in SharePoint. The day will start at 9:00 a.m. with a short introductory keynote and sessions will run to 4:30 p.m.. Lunch will be provided and there will be numerous giveaways throughout the day.

There will be three primary content tracks, with each track consisting of five presentations lasting about an hour and ranging from introductory, 100-level content to highly technical, 400-level "expert" sessions. The speakers will represent a broad cross-section of the community and will offer a variety of different perspectives and points of view.

SharePoint Saturday Toronto is a great opportunity to learn, share and network. If you’ve been meaning to learn or expand your knowledge about the SharePoint platform, you should be there!

For more details, visit the SharePoint Saturday Toronto site.


Got Time Tuesday After Work?

PHP logo


  • you’re a PHP developer or curious about what Microsoft is doing in the world of open source
  • you’re in the downtown Toronto area tomorrow (Tuesday, May 12th) after work
  • you like free food and drink

…then drop me a line. I’m helping out at an event that you might be interested in.


The 2009 Lang.NET Symposium / 2009 DSL DevCon

I know it’s incredibly short notice, but I just found about these myself. If:

  • the design and implementation of programming languages, virtual machines and compilers, multi-language libraries and IDEs is your cup of tea, and…
  • you’re going to be in or near Redmond this week

…then you might want to check out these conferences:

Lang.NET Symposium

First, there’s the 2009 Lang.NET Symposium, which takes place in building 99, Room 1919 of the Microsoft Corporate Headquarters from Tuesday, April 14th through Thursday, April 16th. There is no charge to register – that’s right, this is a “free as in beer” event. Who says The Empire isn’t generous?

Here’s a quick description of the event:


Lang .NET 2009 Symposium is a forum for discussion on programming languages, managed execution environments, compilers, multi-language libraries, and integrated development environments.

This conference provides an excellent opportunity for Programming Language Implementers and Researchers from both industry and academia to meet and share their knowledge, experience, and suggestions for future research and development in the area of programming languages.

Why Attend

If you are a language designer, compiler writer, or tool builder in industry or academia, Lang.NET 2009 is a unique opportunity to directly interact with the architects of Microsoft language platforms.

Microsoft language technologists will be very active participants in the conference while at least 50% of the program is reserved for presentations by non-Microsoft employees.

The Lang.NET Symposium will be followed immediately by…

Fill Your Head: DSL DevCon, April 16 - 17

…the Domain-Specific Languages Developers Conference, which runs from Thursday, April 16th through Friday April 17th in the same room, Building 99, Room 1919 of the Microsoft Corporate Headquarters. Here’s a quick description of the conference:

The goal of the DSL Developer’s Conference is to cut away all the unessential conference baggage and concentrate on why we’re spending time at a conference in the first place — the talks by industry experts and experienced practitioners. By doing so, we can keep your wasted time to a minimum. In fact, if you don’t go away with your head hurting from all the new ideas you’ve heard, we’ve haven’t done our job!

As with the Lang.NET Symposium, DSL DevCon doesn’t cost anything. If you want to attend, just register!