Yesterday we released the PRERELEASE version of the research software development kit for Phoenix (aka the Phoenix RDK). It's available for download at http://research.microsoft.com/phoenix/. Prior to yesterday it was only available to selected academics. The RDK does require Visual Studio 2005, as the RDKrequires the .NET 2.0 Fx, as well as makes use of the compilation technology in VS2005.
On the above Phoenix webpage there are also some great material to help learn about Phoenix. I'll use this blog to discuss some technical issues around Phoenix. Currently I'm debating if my next blog will be a walkthrough a code sample or a primer on symbols in Phoenix. In either, have fun with the RDK until then. And as always, I look forward to your feedback (either as a comment or via email).