May 27, 2010

Steve Ballmer to announce iPhone, iPad Visual Studio support at WWDC? [Crazy alert!]

Steve Ballmer to announce iPhone, iPad Visual Studio support at WWDC? [Crazy alert!]: "

An analyst has let fly that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be getting 7 minutes of time during the WWDC 2010 keynote — where the iPhone HD/iPhone 4G will al but certainly be introduced — to announce Visual Studio 2010 will support the native creation of iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps. Is there a word in the English language for something so bat$#!t crazy “rumor” and even “fiction” just don’t properly convey its bat$#!t craziness?

What makes this particular type of bat$#!t craziness so crazy is that it comes on the wake of Apple disallowing Adobe Flash CS5-style cross-compilation for development, Google’s awkwardly aggressive and increasing attacks on Apple, and Microsoft’s shakeup of their own devices division — triple trendy tie-in.

Hey, Microsoft and Apple have come to deals on Office and ActiveSync in the past, and we keep hearing about Bing being on the table to replace Google as default search…

So will Ballmer take the stage and monkey-boy dance out to iPhone developers, developers, developers!? Will Windows PCs get a way in to Apple app creation? Will I ever use bat$#!t insane in a post this much again?

Find out June 7!

[Barons via DF]

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May 17, 2010

Worldwide Web Camps

Worldwide Web Camps: "

Over the next few weeks Microsoft is sponsoring a number of free Web Camp events around the world. These provide a great way to learn about ASP.NET 4, ASP.NET MVC 2, and Visual Studio 2010.

The Web Camps are two day events. The camps aren’t conferences where you sit quietly for hours and people talk at you – they are intended to be interactive. The first day is focused on learning through presentations that are heavy on coding demos. The second day is focused on you building real applications using what you’ve learned. The second day includes hands-on labs, and you’ll join small development teams with other attendees and work on a project together.

We’ve got some great speakers lined up for the events – including Scott Hanselman, James Senior, Jon Galloway, Rachel Appel, Dan Wahlin, Christian Wenz and more. I’ll also be presenting at one of the camps.

Below is the schedule of the remaining events (the sold-out Toronto camp was a few days ago):

Many locations are sold out already but we still have some seats left in a few of them. Registration and attendance to all of the events is completely free. You can register to attend at

Hope this helps,


P.S. In addition to blogging, I am also now using Twitter for quick updates and to share links. Follow me at:


May 15, 2010

Make the Visual Studio 2010 IDE colors look like Visual Studio 2008

Make the Visual Studio 2010 IDE colors look like Visual Studio 2008: "

Theme MenuPersonally, I like the new Visual Studio 2010 IDE colors but I got this comment recently from a helpful reader:

Why did the default colour theme for VS 2010 have to be so hideously ugly? Why put all that work into making the most advanced IDE ever, and then present it with a look that screams "we didn't care?" ... An official facelift patch would be nice, if just the 2008 look was applied to 2010.

Well, each to is own. Just like Henry Ford said, "You can have any color you want as long as it's black." Seriously, though, you can change the colors if it makes you happy. Folks feel strongly about their colors, like our friend above.

There's a free Visual Studio Color Theme Editor by Matthew Johnson that you can download and modify the VS IDE theme however you like. Once you've installed it (it's a VSIX - an extension to VS2010 - not an MSI, so don't be scared) there will be a new menu in VS called "theme."

Here's the built in themes. Remember these are VS themes, not Windows themes, so they won't affect Windows colors. Also, this is changing the colors of the IDE itself, not the text editor. You can choose your text styles at

Windows XP Silver

MvcMusicStore - Microsoft Visual Studio (5)

Windows Classic

MvcMusicStore - Microsoft Visual Studio (9)

Windows XP Emerald

MvcMusicStore - Microsoft Visual Studio (7)

Windows XP Autumn

MvcMusicStore - Microsoft Visual Studio (6)

Windows XP Olive

MvcMusicStore - Microsoft Visual Studio (4)

Windows XP Blue

MvcMusicStore - Microsoft Visual Studio (3)

Windows Aero

MvcMusicStore - Microsoft Visual Studio (2)

Windows XP Blue

MvcMusicStore - Microsoft Visual Studio

Default Visual Studio 2010 Theme

MvcMusicStore - Microsoft Visual Studio (8)

Have fun! You can make your own themes as well and import/export them. Enjoy.

© 2010 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.


May 14, 2010

30 Tips for Successful Communication as a Remote Worker

30 Tips for Successful Communication as a Remote Worker: "

2715599454_ca105ab726_mAs a Remote Worker I'm always looking for tips and tricks and checklists to make my, ahem, remote working life easier. I've made a cheap Wide Angle Lens so I could better see my co-workers, created a robot cart so they won't forget me, tested 4G cards so I can be online anywhere, switched to Hi-Def Video Cameras for web chat, written articles on how to Collaborate with Remote Employees with Office Communicator 2007 R2 and Phil Haack and I made the HanselPortal, for virtual camaraderie.

Yesterday Jonathan Tuliani, a remote worker in Dublin (or maybe we're remote) on the Azure team sent out a great list of tips for Remote Communications. He and Satya Nadella from Bing and myself and the many other non-Redmond workers sometimes struggle to be effective remotely.

Here's their list of tips, reprinted from an internal mail with permission.

Show consideration

  • Set up calls at mutually workable hours. Avoid blocking calendars with local meetings during shared hours. Fridays are often a poor choice.
  • Start on time. Leaders should set up the bridge or Live Meeting before the call starts. Attendees should always show up on time.
  • If you can't make it, cancel or decline least 18 hours in advance. Changing your plans to attend a non-existent meeting is very frustrating. Think carefully if the recipient will see your cancellation in time (they may be asleep).
  • Assume the best. If the other team isn't meeting your expectations, it's probably because of a lack of awareness or a misunderstanding—not incompetence. Clarify and confirm before drawing conclusions or judging.

Use the right tools

  • Choose the right tool. Office Communicator is great for 1-1s and small group meetings. LiveMeeting is usually better for large group meetings.
  • Use video. Seeing faces increases the quality of the communication. It also helps create focus, preventing people from getting distracted, having side conversations, checking their email, etc.
  • In a group, use a RoundTable. As well as enabling video, the noise-cancelling mics it has are excellent. Make sure all your meeting rooms have one, including the satellite mics.
  • On your own, use a headset. The sound quality for both parties is far superior.
  • Don't use your laptop microphone. Laptop microphones are poor quality and pick up noise from your laptop's fan, disk, and keyboard. Use the mic on your webcam or, better yet, an external mic.
  • Be a black-belt Ninja with the tools. Make sure you can set up and join meetings quickly so that they start on time. Learn all the available features. Set up time to sit with your local team to practice and explore.

Be Heard and Understood

  • Speak clearly and slowly. The connections aren't always clear.
  • Be precise and concise. Help to keep the meeting short and productive.
  • Speak one at a time, otherwise no-one can be heard.
  • Ask for confirmation that the callers heard everything clearly.
  • Sit near the microphone, especially if your voice is soft.
  • Ask for comments. It's hard to break into the conversation over the phone.
  • Avoid jargon and culture-specific phrases. English is not the first language of many people on our teams, and can also vary greatly across cultures.
  • Meet face to face from time to time. Meeting in person builds your knowledge of each other's mannerisms and communication style. Subsequent remote communications are much richer and misunderstandings rarer as a result.

Make meetings effective

  • Pick the right forum. Use meetings rather than long email threads to discuss complex issues. For small meetings, it is often better if everyone is in their own office rather than using a meeting room—this promotes equality between local and remote team members.
  • Share the context and goals. Shared context is critical to clear communication. There are often a lot of assumptions you know in a particular location based on side-conversations, etc.
  • Share a deck. It's much easier to follow the conversation if everyone is looking at the same thing. Even if you are sharing via OC or Live Meeting, send the deck or a link to the deck by email well in advance (home connections can be slow) and call out each slide.
  • Send minutes promptly. After every meeting, send minutes documenting all decisions and including clear actions and owners. Avoid cryptic or overly-concise notes—imagine them being read or reported out by someone who wasn't there, six months later.
  • Record and share brown bags. Brown bags are often at unsociable hours. Recording and sharing helps partner teams as well as your own.

Make Email Work

  • Be clear and precise. It's very easy to misinterpret email, especially across cultures and languages. Re-read your emails before sending.
  • Document everything. Document all decisions - if it's not recorded in email, it didn't happen.
  • Share everything. Use email to share face-to-face hallway, office, lunchtime or post-meeting conversations.
  • Be inclusive. Leave time for other sites to read and reply before closing the issue (as appropriate).
  • Set up inclusive DLs. Having all stakeholders on the appropriate distribution lists is the easiest way to keep from forgetting other sites. Don't hide DL membership.
  • Answer all questions asked. Incomplete answers lead to frustration and wasted time.
  • Avoid unnecessary questions. Ask yourself ‘is it really worth a 24-hour turn-around to answer this question? Can I answer it myself, or ask someone local?' Don't block an important thread with a trivial question.

Related Links

© 2010 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.


Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 Training Courses Updated

Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 Training Courses Updated: "Want to learn how an integrated platform featuring Microsoft Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 can change the way people work?

Check out the latest updates for the Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 training courses. Both were updated on today in concert with the Office and SharePoint business launch in New York. You'll find a wide range of topics, including video, sample code, and hands on labs.

To attend an upcoming launch event near you, go here."

May 13, 2010

Fun Visual Studio 2010 Wallpapers

Fun Visual Studio 2010 Wallpapers: "

Two weeks ago I blogged about a cool new site that allows you to download and customize the Visual Studio code editor background and text colors (for both VS 2008 and VS 2010 version). The site also allows you to submit and share your own Visual Studio color schemes with others.

Another new community site has recently launched that allows you to download Visual Studio 2010 themed images that you can use for your Windows desktop background. You can visit the site here: In addition to browsing and downloading Visual Studio themed wallpapers, you can also submit your own into the gallery to share with others.

[In addition to blogging, I am also now using Twitter for quick updates and to share links. Follow me at:]

Browsing Wallpaper Images

The site has dozens of wallpaper images that you can browse through and choose from. They range from the cool and abstract:


To the fun and silly:




Enabling the Wallpaper Images as your Windows Desktop

You can zoom in on any image (hover over the image and then click the “zoom” button that appears over it) and then download it to be your Windows desktop image. If you visit the site using Internet Explorer, you can also zoom in on the image, then right click on the image and choose the “Set as Background” context menu item to enable it as your Windows desktop.

Note: you want to make sure you download the zoomed-in/high resolution version of the wallpaper to make sure it looks good as the wallpaper on your desktop.

Hope this helps,



Visual Studio 2010 - Help Viewer Power Tool BETA - Help Index and Standalone Help

Visual Studio 2010 - Help Viewer Power Tool BETA - Help Index and Standalone Help: "

The help system changed in Visual Studio 2010. I totally had a "Who Moved My Cheese" moment, as did many folks.

  • Where's my "as I type" Help Index?
  • Where's my separate Help Viewer? I don't want help in my browsers, it clutters my tabs.

If you don't install the Help Documentation at the end of the Visual Studio 2010 setup, you help will be online and shown in your default browser. Personally, I like the idea of an external help viewer. I just saw on the Help Team's blog that they released the Help Viewer Power Tool today. It's an unsupported local content Help Viewer.

First, make sure your Help Content is installed locally, rather than served from the web.

  1. Click Help Manage Help Settings.
  2. Click Choose Online or Local. Select Local, a path, then OK.
  3. Click Install Content from Online (or from Disk)
  4. Select your content by clicking Add on each topic you want, click OK.

When you've got local help content setup, go install the Help Viewer Power Tool. So what do you get?

The Help Viewer Power Tool supports two modes: in-browser and standalone.

  1. The Power Tool defaults to an in-browser experience that adds two additional tabs – Index and Search – to the left pane using a Silverlight control. In addition, the left pane is now fully resizable.
  2. The Power Tool can be configured to provide a standalone experience with three tabs for navigating content: Contents, Search Results, and Index. This mode provides some additional features over the in-browser experience:
    • The help window has its own icon and is easily located in the task bar.· The help window can be pinned to the Win7 Taskbar.
    • F1 queries overlay the previous help topic (eliminates tab proliferation).
    • The standalone window is resizable and can be positioned independently without affecting browser settings.

Here's what your in-browser Help will look like. Notes the Contents, Search Results and Index on the left:

in-browser help

Here's the standalone Help Viewer. Once you've run it, you can also pin it to Explorer in Windows 7.

Standalone Help Brower

How do I switch to standalone mode?

  1. From your system drive, run the following from an elevated command prompt
    (note you might be in \Program files (x86))
    cd \program files\microsoft help viewer\v1.0
    hlpvwpt.exe standaloneviewer=true
  2. Shut down any instances of the Help Library Agent. Right-click on the Help Library Agent icon in the taskbar and select ‘Exit.

How do I switch back to in-browser mode?

  1. From your system drive, run the following from an elevated command prompt:
    cd \program files\microsoft help viewer\v1.0
    hlpvwpt.exe standaloneviewer=false
  2. Shut down any instances of the Help Library Agent. Right-click on the Help Library Agent icon in the taskbar and select ‘Exit.

If you're installing on a non-English system, make sure you read the Readme to make sure your localized help is shown. Also, if you only have IE6, you'll need IE8.

Another way to find the Help Viewer Power Tool

Start Page - Microsoft Visual Studio

As an aside, you can also just go to the Tools Extension Manager inside VS2010, and query something like "help viewer power" and you can get to the download page from inside VS.

Extension Manager (2)

Related Links

  • How To: Updating multiple VS 2010 installations' Help content with a single download - This technique will show you how to share help between multiple developers via a Shared Drive. This is helpful in constrained bandwidth environments.
    • A comment from my blog: "Also, while the updating feature is great, the downloads appear quite large and if you have a number of machines to update then this can be a slow and bandwidth consuming task, is there any way to download and share the help system updates between multiple installations?
  • Community Created H3Viewer.exe - Alternative VS 2010 help viewer in the style of DExplore. Features a full TOC, full Index, Search and favorites.
  • Keyword Index for Visual Studio 2010 Help Documentation - An unsupported inside-the-IDE Help Client with keyword index.
  • Developer Documentation and Help Forum - Ryan, the developer of this tool, will be watching the forums for your feedback.

© 2010 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.