NZ MSDN Flash 14 December 2010 published: Merry Christmas from Microsoft NZ DPE Team: 2 Xbox Kinect Bundles to giveaway


The latest edition of NZ MSDN Flash is now available!

Editorial: Mike Zeff

Welcome to MSDN Flash,

Xbox Kinect Bundles to giveaway
We’ll it’s been an awesome year in the developer community. This is the last MSDN Flash of the year, and as a way of saying thank you, we’ve got 2 Xbox Kinect Bundles to giveaway. To enter into the draw, you’ll need to activate a Windows Azure account below.

  1. Windows Azure Intro Special Promotion – for anyone
  2. MSDN Azure Benefits Promotion – for Visual Studio 2010 Premium/Ultimate with MSDN subscription

These Windows Azure account won’t cost you money as long as you stay within the included usage limits.

New Windows Azure Features Launched
A few MSDN Flashes ago I talked about the new Azure features that were announced at PDC10. Well some of those features were launched (some in Beta or CTP form) this week including the new, Silverlight based, Windows Azure management portal.
Have a look at this MSDN page to learn more about the new features and this page here to see which ones are now available.

Updated Windows SDK and Visual Studio Tools

You may notice, if you read the "What’s new" page I linked to above, that there is an updated Windows Azure SDK, version 1.3, and Visual Studio Tools. The updated SDK and tools support the new features released in the ‘November 2010 release’ of Windows Azure and you should download either the Windows Azure SDK or the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio (which includes the SDK).
There is also an updated Windows Azure Training kit available for download.

Silverlight Firestarter Event

On Friday the 3rd of December there was a Silverlight Firestarter Event with a keynote hosted by Scott Guthrie. The purpose of the keynote was to talk about the Future of Silverlight and in particular what to expect in the Silverlight 5 release - scheduled for release late in 2011. Scott talked about a number of exciting features, some of which will appeal to those building premium media experiences and others which will appeal to those of you developing business applications with Silverlight.

The features targeted at media experiences include:

  • Hardware Decode and presentation of H.264 improve performance for lower-power devices to render high-definition video using GPU support.
  • TrickPlay allows video to be played at different speeds and supports fast-forward and rewind. At up to twice the speed, audio pitch correction allows users to watch videos while preserving a normal audio pitch.
  • Improved power awareness prevents the screen saver from being shown while watching video and allows the computer to sleep when video is not active.
  • Digital rights management advancements allow seamless switching between DRM media sources.

If building business applications is more your thing, then these coming features may appeal to you:

  • Text improvements including multicolumn text and linked text container allowing for text flow around other elements. Tracking/leading settings to allow for full creative control. Improved text clarity with pixel snapping, OpenType support and significantly improved text layout performance.
  • Support for Postscript vector printing so you can create reports and documents.
  • Model-View-ViewModel and Databinding enhancements including support for setting a breakpoint on a binding so you can step through binding failures.
  • Graphics improvements including GPU accelerated 3D APIs and hardware acceleration in windowless mode with Internet Explorer 9.

There are all sorts of other features planned that I haven’t got room to mention but I suggest you have a look here for more information and watch the keynote here (plus recordings of the rest of the day, a total of 8 hours’ worth).  

Thanks for reading, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Mike Zeff

Mike Zeff
Technology Evangelist
Microsoft New Zealand
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