Shawn

Shawn Wildermuth

The Blog

My Rants and Raves about technology, programming, everything else...


My First Experience at the Microsoft Store

x2wenI wanted to get a Type Cover for my new Surface today so I headed to the Microsoft Store. I never go to malls so it wasn't a lot of fun just getting into the mall. But soon me and my girlfriend found the store. I was very surprised by the sheer number of customers. I didn't expect it to be empty on a Saturday afternoon but it was packed. As we walked in we were immediately approached and helped with where to find the Type Covers. Even with all those customers, the store was really well staffed. Was simple to find someone to help us get a Type Cover from the back and answer some pricing questions.

Unfortunately there was an issue with her Touch Pad. Whenever she closed her cover and re-opened it the keyboard didn't work until she unplugged it and re-plugged it in. So I thought while we were there, we'd ask them about replacing it.

Replacing it might have been difficult because the keyboard was from the Surface machine I received at Build 2012. No receipt, no box.

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Why Am I Excited about Windows Phone 8 SDK?

event_wp8_heroToday Microsoft is finally releasing the new Windows Phone 8 SDK. As I've been updating my Windows Phone book for this new incarnation of the device, I am excited that the SDK is finally going to be available for public consumption.

Even though the new phone has completely changed the underlying operation system to use the same WinRT sub-system that powers Windows 8, the basics of how to build apps on the phone is primarily the same. This means if you have experience building XAML-based projects, you should be right at home with Windows Phone 8.

A lot has been talked about the new Operating System and it's new tile layout and other features. But what I want to explain are the new developer features that I am excited about (in no specific order):

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George Carlin-Style Software Career

George-CarlinI've always been a big fan of George Carlin. I remember watching one of his first HBO specials when I was quite young. No matter whether you agree with his point of view, you had to admit he had an impressive mind and a way to stay relevant no matter where the country went.

Recently, I was watching Louis CK talk at a Carlin Tribute when he told the story (that I'd heard before) of Carlin's philosophy of throwing out his act once a year to work on a new show. This got me to thinking how this could apply to what we do.

Learning new technologies, tools or languages expands what we are good at. In fact, I would argue that developers are paid to learn. That is what we are good at. In this way I think most developers should be learning new technologies every year.

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ReMIX South 2012

_0012_Logo-Yellow-onWhiteI had a great time at ReMIX South this year! It's been great to meet developers and designers and learn how they are using design tools of all sorts.

If you attended my "Modern Web Development" workshop, here is where you can get the slides and code. If you have questions about the workshop, please just add a comment and i'll respond as soon as I can:

Thanks again to all who attended the session!

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Slates are Dead...Long Live Tablets

surface_05I am headed to Build later this month and am excited by both the Surface tablet and what the PC makers are going to show us in Windows 8 devices. But ahead of that show there have been a lot of reveals by the likes of HP, Dell, Lenovo and ASUS.

I am perplexed by these early reveals by the PC makers. On the whole, these companies built Windows PC's in the Slate era (when Microsoft was pushing Windows Tablet Edition). Many of these new devices feel like throwbacks to the Pen Slates they built in years gone by and that's unfortunate. Even if they don't look like Slates, they look like ultrabooks with touch screens. Convertibles and such are interesting for the minority but not for the majority of users IMO. 

We need to let the PC makers know that Slates are dead...they need to be building tablets...

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JavaScript for C# Developers Live!

If you're in the Atlanta, I am holding a one-day JavaScript for the C# Developer course. The course will cover:

This is the perfect course for existing .NET developers who are trying to get up to speed with JavaScript for web development or Windows 8 App development. The course will take place on November 14th and costs $299.99. You can register for the event here:

The complete outline can be seen on the course page on my Wilder Minds site here:

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TypeScript (or the obligatory post about it)

Like many of you, I've been itching to see what Anders had up his sleeve and I wasn't disappointed yesterday when they announced TypeScript. After teaching all day, I took a quick look at TypeScript (and I do mean quick).

There was a lot of buzz yesterday and the response seemed to be in one of two camps (for the most part):

I think I am in the middle of this. TypeScript reminds me a lot of LESS. What I mean by that is that I think the smart thing they did was make all JavaScript valid TypeScript. In case that isn't clear, TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript. This means that they're adding some features to JavaScript to help with large, enterprise sized codebases including:

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ASP.NET MVP

Retro Microsoft MVP LogoToday I was renewed as an MVP for the tenth time and could not be happier. Over the past year I've been looking last XAML into the web stack and Microsoft has graciously moved me from a Data MVP over to an ASP.NET MVP. This doesn't mean I won't be sharing on Silverlight, WPF or data technologies; it's just a reflection of what I am working with now.

I want to thank everyone in the community for following me and reading my blog over past year...you're the reason I've been renewed again and I sincerely appreciate it!

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When to Not Use Observable in KnockoutJS

javascriptI've been really busy lately and my list of things to blog on has been getting backed up. One thing that occurred to me while building my new JavaScript course was about how KnockoutJS and Observables actually work. Here's the deal.

KnockoutJS supports the idea of an observable object. This is similar to WPF/XAML concept of INotifyPropertyChanged interface. Most KnockoutJS dev's I've talked with use KnockoutJS's observable everywhere. But there are cases when you don't need it.

The biggest problem I see is that some people think that to get two-way binding you need observable.  For example, here is a JSFiddle with a typical (but simple) KnockoutJS example:

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Eleven Years Ago

On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I am reflective of a difficult time for my country, the world and my own life. I had recently been laid off for the first time in my career...so when the attacks happened, I had all the time in the world to watch all the coverage I could. I was in Portland (Oregon) so I was not close, but it felt close. Watching this news happen in real-time was profound event for me. If I was closer, I hope that I would have jumped in to help. My heart sank for the victims and their families. I tried to make sense of this violent act...and it was simply senseless. At that Twin Towers; at the Pentagon and in that tragic field in Pennsylvania - the bravery and heroism that I have to believe I am not capable of.

I kept thinking of this quote that had touched me as a teenager:

Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow. - Dan Rather

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