TechEd India 2010: PPTs, Demos & Code Snippets

I had two sessions at TechEd India 2010 – one on a lap around VS2010 Web and Cloud Development and the other on Lighting up Apps on Windows 7 using the Windows API Code Pack. The entire set of demos and content is given below. Please read to see how to use them.

The entire set is available on this SkyDrive folder. You can download the PPTs and demos for the ones you want. To create the demos yourself, you will also need to download the “Snippets” file and unzip it somewhere. Load these snippets into VS2010 using the Snippet Manager.

Open any of the projects and go through each “page” of code. You will see comments by me where you need to add some snippet. Simply type in the snippet and press tab twice to insert the appropriate code.

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Categories: ASP.NET | Development | Microsoft | Windows 7

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Windows 7 vs. Snow Leopard on Gadget Guru

NDTV is probably India’s leading TV news channel with a bevy of different content channels. Gadget Guru is their extremely popular tech show that airs on NDTV Profit (the business channel) and NDTV 24x7 (the English news channel).

I was invited to be a panelist on a showdown between Windows 7 and Snow Leopard. The hosts – Vikram Chandra and Rajeev Makhni – each took one side (Mac OS and Win7 respectively). The panelists were Kishore Bhargava, Prasanto Kumar Roy and myself in front of a live audience.

The show was taped on Oct 20th and was great fun. You can’t imagine the amount of chaos surrounding an unscripted TV show. All of us had a good time and there was a lot of leg pulling on both sides. The show was broadcast on NDTV Profit on Oct 21st and will be re-telecast on NDTV 24x7 on Oct 25th at 6:30PM.

The telecast show had a lot of stuff edited out. Hopefully NDTV will release the other parts of the show on the Web. Till then you can catch an even more edited set of videos from this below (courtesy YouTube and Tubaah).

Snow Leopard vs. Windows 7: The Big fight
Audience Questions

Who's the winner? Windows 7 obviously!

Categories: Windows 7

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Desktops Gadgets for Windows 7

I really liked the blog post by Bill Evjen regarding some of his favorite desktop gadgets. I’ve been using a bunch of gadgets since Vista days and I continue to use them here. Here’s my list of gadgets on the desktop:

G01G02Large Notes Gadget: This is a modification of the built-in Notes gadget available in Vista (but not in Win7). It allows you  to quickly write a sticky note on the screen and also increase the size of the note. I know Windows 7 has a built in Sticky Notes application, but I like my desktop to be clean and this fits the bill perfectly. Just remember to click the “English” link at the top to view the site in English when you go to download the gadget.

G04G03 I also use the built in Weather and Currency gadgets with settings for my city and country. I find this quite sufficient for my needs. The good part is that these gadgets are  now enhanced in Windows 7 and have a large mode as well for looking at multiple days of weather or multiple currencies at a time.


G05 System Monitor is the next gadget I use. It’s a combo gadget which shows a multi-CPU monitor, a memory monitor, date & time, notebook battery level, wireless strength and IP address. It also has useful tools like ping, traceroute and whois as well!

G06Another gadget from the same company is the Quick Launch gadget. This allows me to store shortcuts to apps that I use occasionally but are not “installed” normally. For instance, I have moved the Recycle bin off my desktop to this gadget as well as quick clicks to my C and D drives. I also have “portable apps” such as WinSCP, FireFox 3.5.2 and MS FTM that I use occasionally but are not in my Start Menu.

G07 Next is “The Region” Gadget which allows me to see the latest featured posts from – the blog aggregation space for Microsoft Regional Directors. It’s good to see what some of the top experts in the Microsoft technology space are talking about and i’m honored and humbled to be in this same list!


Since I’m on a 17” notebook running at 1920x1200 i have a bunch of more space that I occasionally try out some other gadgets in the space available. But the above ones are some that I use all the time.

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Categories: Gadgets | Windows 7 | Tips

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Windows 7 RTM – Smooth Install from USB Drive

Once it finally hit MSDN Subscriptions, I downloaded Windows 7 and went around installing it. One of the things I did differently this time is that instead of burning the ISO to a DVD and then booting my machine off it, I created a USB drive based install following these steps:

  1. Plug in your USB drive (thumb, hard disk, etc.). Must be >= 4GB in size
  2. Open a Command Prompt with Admin rights and run the following commands:
    • list disk [This will show a list of disks attached to your system. Note the # for the USB drive]
    • select disk # [where # is the number of the USB drive selected above]
    • clean
    • create partition primary
    • active
    • format fs=ntfs quick
    • assign
    • exit
  3. Now mount your ISO or open it with WinRAR and copy all the contents from it to the new drive partition
  4. Use the USB to boot your machine (if your BIOS supports it) and start the installation

On my 3 year old notebook, the complete installation off the USB drive took just about 18 minutes from start to finish. I highly recommend that you use this technique to get up and running with Windows 7 fast.

Every single device on my machine was detected and drivers installed automatically. It also found the latest official nVidia drivers for my video card from Microsoft Update and downloaded them and installed too. I had a fully working machine in about 30 minutes and have started installing all the software I need. Kudos to the Windows team on getting this so right this time.

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Categories: Microsoft | Tips | Windows 7 | Rave

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Three Articles in August 2009 PCQuest

PCQuest has just published 3 of my articles in their current issue. It was actually supposed to be 4, but the one on ASP.NET 4 got lost in the mail and a resend was received too late for this issue. You can read these articles here:

I’m also going to try and compile a list of articles I’ve written in PCQuest over the last few years and link to them here.

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Categories: Windows 7 | SilverLight | Office | Development | ASP.NET

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Windows 7 – Released To Manufacturing

After a long wait and a couple of false positives, Windows 7 has finally hit RTM. Windows 7 is the biggest and most important release of Windows from Microsoft and has a huge number of new features – for users, IT administrators and developers – that allows maximum productivity.

I do know there are a lot of people out there who are still “happy” with Windows XP and hated Windows Vista (although I liked quite Vista since it ran well on my machine, till I worked with Windows 7). But this is the right time to start moving to the new OS. If your business is dependent upon technology (and whose isn’t these days), can you afford not to upgrade to the latest as soon as possible. I do realize that most corporates have a wait-and-watch policy towards any new technology, but you can wait till your competition upgrades and gains productivity while you still struggle along with an older technology. You can also read a nice post about this very thing here.

So when can you get your hands on Windows 7? Well, if you’re a MS partner, MSDN or Technet subscriber, you can get it as early as August 6! You can also read about the other dates of availability here. If you’re a consumer you can pick it off the shelves on October 22 (which itself has a digit-sum of 7 [2+2+1+0+2+0+0+9 = 1+6 = 7])!

Here’s looking forward to installing the RTM!

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Categories: Windows 7 | Rave

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Virtual Desktops on Windows 7

One of the things that I miss on Windows over Linux is the built-in ability to have multiple desktops. This is really useful feature that allows you to organize your application windows in different desktops for different types of work. For instance, you can go ahead and keep all your mail and IM windows on one desktop, your current work on another, your downloads on yet another and so on. The best part is that there are many programs for adding this feature to Windows as well.

I’ve been using a free application called VirtuaWin for many, many years now. It’s only recently after moving to Windows 7 M1 that I VWstopped as it did not support the new taskbar functionality yet and would give problems. The great news is that the latest release of VirtuaWin now finally supports Windows 7 as well!

I installed the VirtuaWin 4.1 Beta 2 on my Windows 7 RC machine. Not only does it recognize the new taskbar, it also works perfectly in it. The only issue you might have is the default settings to use the [Windows] key of your keyboard as hotkeys in the application. You will need to change this by going to the application’s icon in the notification area and selecting “Setup”.

Make sure that you modify each of the hotkeys to turn OFF the “Win” key option. This will enable you to use the hotkeys without conflicting with the built-in Windows 7 shortcuts.

If you like managing your windows even more than the defaults that you get in Windows 7, VirtuaWin is a great addition to your power user tools. Get it today to be able to add the ability of multiple desktops.

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Categories: Windows 7 | Tips | Rave

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Windows 7 and Application Compatibilty

I’m updating my blog after a long time since I’ve been tied up in doing a large number of Windows 7 Application Compatibility workshops all across India with a number of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) for their products. We’re basically testing out their products on the Windows 7 RC to see any issues that might surface and what they need to do to resolve them.

Most application run just fine on Windows 7. However, in the cases where there is an issue, it almost invariably turns out that the product has not been tested on Windows Vista and therefore it also fails on Windows XP. Vista and 7 have a tighter security mechanism called UAC that needs to be addressed in applications – and is something that many developers face problems with.

So here are two of the biggest issues that I’ve seen and their solutions: More...

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Categories: Windows 7 | Tips | Development

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Windows Virtual PC 7 Rants & Raves

True to the name of my blog, here’s a list of rants and raves about the new Windows Virtual PC 7 that I’ve been using the past few days for some Windows 7 App Compat labs for ISVs.

What I Like:

  • Love that the install size of WVPC is only a little more than 5MB.
  • The new “Virtual Machines” magic folder is a cool way to organize all your VMs.
  • The USB support is a great feature – all devices that I threw at it (other than 1 set of devices being tested by a particular ISP manufactured by a Chinese company) worked!
  • The Desktop Integration mode is absolutely great – it even lets you see full Aero effects within the VPC. (However, also see next section.)
  • Networking just works!

What I Dislike:

  • Closing the VM doesn’t give me an option anymore to save or discard undo disk changes. I need to SHUTDOWN the VPC and then Apply or Discard it from the settings page. Ugh!
  • No drag-and-drop into or out of the VM.
  • Desktop Integration mode seems extremely flaky – at least with a Win7RC guest VM. It works sometimes, it doesn’t at other times. Not sure what are the steps to ensure this mode.

I can live with the first two issues – there are workarounds or a different way of doing the same stuff after all. But the last one is a pain – I just don’t know what is it that I’m doing or not doing to get it working.

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Categories: Windows 7 | Rant | Rave

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Windows 7 & Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse

I have a Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 which is a really great input devices that I carry around with my notebook. I’ve been using it with Vista when doing presentations and it has been a really useful companion.

However, with Windows 7, the device seems to be a little flaky. During the beta I even gave it as a feedback and now that the RC is here I tried it out today. Windows Bluetooth recognized the device and showed me the full name even. It even downloaded some driver from Windows Update and installed it successfully. Or so it said. I simply couldn’t get the mouse pointer to move using the mouse.

I then downloaded the beta drivers for the IntelliPoint software for Windows 7 (x86, x64) for my installation and tried again. Removed the device, updated the drivers manually and everything, but it still wouldn’t work. Doggedly, repeated the process a few more times till suddenly the mouse sprung to life. I have no clue whatsoever regarding what I done to get it working. But it seems to be ok for now.

Update 1: I’ve switched off the mouse and turned it back on. Seems to be still working

Update 2: Switched off Bluetooth and turned it on again and it’s working still. Yay.

Update 3: As the release notes for the beta drivers state, you cannot switch to “presentation” mode with these drivers and the presentation special buttons don’t function. BUMMER! But at least I’ve got a working mouse now.

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Categories: Windows 7 | Tips | Gadgets

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