Microsoft Student Insider Kickoff 2011

If you’re reading this, it means that I have arrived in Seattle, Washington for the 2011 Microsoft Student Insider kickoff and 2011 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Summit.

Over the next eight days, I’ll be meeting with various product groups, meeting new people, and hopefully gathering information that I can share with you my readers. (Might be tough, as both events are covered under Non-Disclosure Agreements.)

I don’t have a schedule yet for the Student Insider kickoff, but will have one in the morning, and as I know more, you’ll know more.

For MVP Summit, I’ll be meeting with the Windows Home and Small Business Server team as well as attending some fun sessions to learn some new things.

I’ll be taking lots of pictures over the next few days, and will have a link posted to a photo gallery as soon as the first batch of photos are uploaded.

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

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.)


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 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.

The 2010 Windows Phone 7 Rockstars

Beastware-01Earlier this year the Windows Phone team along with the Imagine Cup announced the Windows Phone 7 Rockstar award for this year’s Imagine Cup competition. Participants were given one month to design a Windows Phone 7 application either in Silverlight or using the XNA Game Studio.

I’m very excited to be able to announce that the first ever Windows Phone 7 Rockstars hail from my home country, the United States. Eric Lo and Christian Hood, from the Advanced Techology Academy, a public magnet high school in Las Vegas, Nevada, have won the 2010 Imagine Cup Windows Phone 7 Rockstar award.

Their project, Droid Assault, is a two-dimensional Windows Phone 7 game written in XNA using C#, that involves a player controlling a machine that destroys other machines using the accelerometer functionality in Windows Phone 7.

Team Beastware plans to publish their game on the Windows Phone Marketplace in time for the launch of Windows Phone 7 devices. I highly encourage everyone to check out their game, and to give them a huge congratulations in their accomplishments.

You can find Team Beastware on the web at