Hey students, want free Microsoft development tools?

dreamsparkIf your answer to the question is yes, than have I got a deal for you!

Microsoft has a program called DreamSpark. The DreamSpark program is a way for you as a student to gain access to Microsoft technologies that you can then use to create amazing applications for the PC, the cloud, and the phone.

Dreamspark includes some really amazing things such as:

  • Visual Studio 2010 Professional
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Expression Studio 4 Ultimate
  • SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition
  • Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3
  • Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools
  • Virtual Lab training for SQL Server, Visual Studio, and Visual Basic
  • IT Academy Student Pass
  • 1 Year free membership to the App Hub and Windows Phone Marketplace (Yes, FREE! There is no $99 fee for students to build and sell Windows Phone 7 apps.)

All it takes to join DreamSpark is sign up, get verified as a student, and download the software.

I highly encourage any student that wants to get hands on experience with Microsoft technologies to sign up for Dreamspark and start playing and creating.

To find out more about DreamSpark, visit http://www.dreamspark.com

Attention Dell Venue Pro Owners

If you’re a Dell Venue Pro owner and you purchased your phone from a Microsoft retail store yesterday, then you’ll want to read this.

As you may or may not be aware, there is an issue affecting Dell Venue Pro phones where they are unable to connect to secured wireless networks. Also, if you look at the sticker on the battery it says “Engineering Sample.” (I’ve included a picture below.)

IMG_0880

From information provided to me by the Microsoft Store, they are aware of both of these issues, and have been in contact with Dell. Apparently there was a mix-up and these phones labeled as engineering samples were shipped to the stores. Dell is sending new batches of phones to the Microsoft Store, and the stores will be contacting affected customers to arrange to swap out the defective phones for new ones.

I was told that the phones should be getting to the stores either by the end of the week or first thing next week and Microsoft will also be including a 1-year Zune Pass with the phone swap.

Please note, this is ONLY for those Dell Venue Pro users that purchased a phone at a physical Microsoft Store yesterday.

Windows Phone 7 Launches in the USA

Today Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 in the United States. I went to my local Microsoft Store to check it out and purchase a Windows Phone 7 device for myself.

I arrived at the store shortly before 9am and it was fairly empty, although there were a couple small groups in the front and back of the store being shown demos of Windows Phone 7 and its features.

Towards the back of the store, there was a table set up with coffee, juices, water, and some breakfast items and store employees were eager to talk phones.

I was debating between the HTC HD7 and the Dell Venue Pro and after talking with one of the store employees I settled on the Dell Venue Pro. As I was checking out, it was explained to me that the Microsoft Store had only received six Venues and that the Microsoft Store and Dell.com would be the only places to purchase the Venue Pro. I’ll have more on the Venue Pro in another post.

Setup with Windows Phone 7 was very easy. Asked to double check date and time settings, and then asked if I wanted to setup with the recommended settings or customize settings. I chose to use the recommended settings and within less then three minutes I was ready to go with Windows Phone 7.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting my thoughts and experiences with Windows Phone 7. So far, however, I am absolutely pleased with the OS and am anxiously awaiting the first update.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Windows Phone 7, you can visit the Windows Phone website, or if you are in the United States, you can also go to the T-Mobile and AT&T websites as well. I’ve included some photos below of the Microsoft Store and the Venue Pro.