Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Microsoft releases a free ebook on Windows Azure

Microsoft just released a new free ebook - "Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals", in PDF, Kindle and ePub formats along with some companion materials as well.

Original Article:

Microsoft had earlier released few other free ebooks:

  1. "Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals", in PDF format.
  2. "Microsoft System Center: Configuration Manager Field Experience", in PDFKindle, and ePub formats, along with companion materials as well. You can also order the printed book.
  3. "System Center: Designing Orchestrator Runbooks", in PDFKindle and ePub formats, along with companion materials as well. You can also order the printed book.

For news and releases of Microsoft books, please visit the Microsoft Press blog.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Free eBook: Programming Windows Phone 7 by Charles Petzold

Microsoft Press released a free eBook - Programming Windows Phone 7 by Charles Petzold. The book consists of 24 chapters and around 1000 pages, and shows the basics of writing applications for Windows Phone 7 using the C# programming language with the Silverlight and XNA 2D frameworks.

This book will also be available (for sale) divided into two fully-indexed print editions: Microsoft Silverlight Programming for Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft XNA Framework Programming for Windows Phone 7.

This book is divided into three parts. The first part discusses basic concepts of Windows Phone 7 programming using example programs that target both Silverlight and the XNA framework. It is likely that many Windows Phone 7 developers will choose either one platform or the other, but I think it’s important for all developers who have at least a little knowledge of the alternative to their chosen path.

The second part of this book focuses entirely on Silverlight, and the third part on XNA 2D. For your convenience, the chapters in each part build upon previous knowledge in a progressive tutorial narrative, and hence are intended to be read sequentially.

Download the free eBook in PDF (12.5 MB) or in XPS (26.7 MB) formats. The sample code for this book is also available for download (5.03 MB).

Read more about the details about the book at the MS Press site.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Issues with Profiling ASP.NET Web apps in VS2008

After a long time, I spent some time profiling one of the web apps I was working on and I bumped into some basic startup issues with the Performance Analysis tool i.e. Profiler. Here is a cut-to-the-chase version.

The first issue was:

The web site could not be configured correctly; getting ASP.NET process information failed. Requesting 'http://localhost/StarterSite/VSEnterpriseHelper.axd' returned an error:
The remote server returned an error: (500) Internal Server Error.

PRF0017: Can't launch server for 'http://localhost/XXXXXXSite/'.

Solution: If your virtual in IIS is mapped to a folder which is under SourceControl, the files may be read-only. Give write access to the web.config file. When VS Profiler runs, it modifies
the web.config file to insert certain configurations on the fly that enables VS to profile and attach to the w3wp.exe process. If the file is read-only, I found out that it barfs with this error.

The second issue was:

PRF0010: Launch Aborted. Unable to start vsperfmon.exe


Solution: Add %VSINSTALLDIR%\Team Tools\Performance Tools to the user path and system path.

With these two basic issues resolved, I was on my way.

If you still have issues, go to the MSDN Forums and search for your issues. One of the threads that helped me is:


Monday, April 12, 2010

Visual Studio 2010 Released

Bob Muglia announced the launch of Visual Studio 2010 in an event at Las Vegas today. The event is a global event happening all over the world.
I tweeted some of the cool features that were unveiled for the product and here is a very high-level list:

  • Multi-monitor support
  • Box-selection
  • No fuss JavaScript Intellisense
  • New Native Windows Animation API
  • New Native Ribbon Designer
  • Support for Sharepoint 2010 applications
    • Visual Web parts and designer,
    • Silverlight enabled,
    • deployment simplified,
    • Linq support
  • Debugging Sharepoint 2010 in VS2010 – simplified
  • Windows 7 Mobile apps development
    • Windows 7 Mobile designer view.
    • Integrated Device Emulator
    • Windows 7 Phone Marketplace coming later this year
  • Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere 2010
  • Code visualization
    • Dependency Graph,
    • navigate call stack,
    • generate sequence diagram,
    • UML 2.1 compliance
  • Improved Testing experience
    • New Test Manager,
    • Actionable Bug, with step-by-step doc. of what tester did with video of desktop recording when the bug occurred
    • Replaying keystrokes of previously recorded tests while tester did the testing
    • Intelligent Project Status built automatically with VS Team Foundation Server, VS2010 and Sharepoint 2010
    • and more… stayed tuned.
VS2010 Express Editions available for download at 10am PDT. VS2010 Ultimate and trial versions are available for download now. Checkout which version is best for you using this comparison chart.
Also, checkout the blog post (or the mirror) about the VS2010 release from Scott Hanselman. Also, checkout a very detailed post from Scott Guthrie.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Apple iPhone SDK TOS Section 3.3.1 is unfair

Here’s what the Apple’s latest iPhone 4.0 SDK TOS Section 3.3.1 states:

Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

Wow. Just unfair. If they want to tackle Adobe, there has to be a different way. Why tackle the whole developer community that wants to use their favorite cross-platform toolkit/language to develop for the most incredible platform.

After I bought my first iPod, I had no doubts buying the iPhone when it was released. Apple products have an impeccable sense for user experience. Everyone wants to own an iPhone and every developer like me would like to write apps for it.

I was so excited to hear the news about the upcoming iPhone 4.0 SDK release and blogged about it. So many cool enhancements for the developer and useful innovations for the user. Alas! By the end of the day of the release presentation, the news about the SDK TOS Section 3.3.1 was out.

It is very disheartening to see Apple’s stance towards banning cross-platform toolkits/languages to build iPhone apps.

I was drawn to buying a Mac to build apps for iPhone because I could work with my familiar toolkit/language. iPhone SDK was the first sign that Apple wanted to care and welcome developers to write code for its so called closed platform and several cross-platform toolkits were announced and flourished. The TOS Section 3.3.1 announcement is just closing the doors on the developer community. It is not only a loss to the developer community but to the user community as well. I hope the situation is reviewed and rectified by Apple. It is a humble plea…

Read Steve Job’s response to an email from Greg Slepak which sheds some light on the issue.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

iPhone OS 4.0 – what is new?

Apple hosted a preview event for iPhone OS 4.0 presented by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, on 04/08/2010 at 10am PDT at Apple’s campus and CNET blogged live about it. The following is a summary from that discussion.

User Features

  1. Multi-tasking – this is the most predicted and most wanted feature. Double-click on Home button pops up window at bottom of the screen with apps that are open. See spoiler at the end.
  2. Create playlists, 5x digital zoom in camera, Bluetooth keyboards, spell check, gift apps, Tap to focus video, Places in Photos, Home screen wallpaper, file & delete mail search results, web search from suggestions,Larger fonts for Mail, SMS & Alerts, Rotate photos, Sync IMAP notes, iPod out, Wake on wireless. – All in all 100 new user features.
  3. Background audio - Audio APIs, used by apps like Pandora, which will now run in the background while switching between apps. The double tap of the home button will also work for Pandora as it does for iPod today.
  4. VoIP – phone calls using Skype will continue while users switch between apps. Incoming calls over Skype now will show a notification that allows calls to be answered by user. User interface similar to regular phone calls when phone interface is not active i.e. blinking bar at the top to take the user back.
  5. Background Location: Get GPS turn-by-turn directions while listening to music. Location updates will “wake up applications”. Indicator on top of apps to let users know that location data is being used.
  6. Local Notifications – After the release of Push notifications earlier, now apps do not have to round-trip Apple servers for sending out notifications. Task completion notification will alert when a local task is completed i.e. uploading pictures while the user multi-tasks.
  7. Fast-app switching: apps can hibernate to not use CPU and can wake up from where the user left off.
  8. Folders: This is a welcome feature. It is a grouping mechanism for your apps and will help in flicking thru. apps. So, if I need a game, I know it is in the Game folder. :) Unlimited folders, wow. The implementation is beautiful as well. The folders can also be placed on the dock.
  9. Unified Inbox: Yes, this is another wanted feature finally done. Multiple Exchange accounts – nice. Fast inbox switching, organize emails by thread, groups emails by date, open attachments natively with apps etc.
  10. iBooks – comes to iPhone and iPod. New eBook reader. iBookstore, buy once and read anywhere on any device. Pages of the book will be synced across devices and bookmarks can be placed as well.
  11. Enterprise: Improved and better data protection with encrypted emails and attachments with PIN codes. Allowing IT to deploy iPhones and manage them remotely. Pushing out apps wirelessly with iTunes sync, for mass distribution. Support for multiple Exchange accounts and support for Exchange server 2010, SSL VPN capabilities for Juniper and Cisco.
  12. Game center: developer preview of a new social network for gaming.
  13. iAd – Apple’s mobile advertising built into OS 4.0. For a whopping 60% split of the revenues, app developers can add iAd into their apps. Apple will handle all the sales and inventory data. Ads can be interactive with audio/video and can have menus too. Users can buy an app directly from within an app. iAds can be created using only HTML5!

Multi-tasking will not be available on iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd gen models. So, the fun is gone without multi-tasking. Will you upgrade to a 3GS?

Other things

  • No Java or Flash in OS 4.0, HTML5 is the choice made.
  • No unsigned applications running on iPhone.

Developer Features

API/SDK – Developers can now access calendar, still/video camera, photo library, and SMS data. All in all 1500 new APIs for developers.


Shipping summer of 2010. Developer preview on 04/08/2010. iPad gets it in the Fall.


Hoping it will be a free upgrade but nothing announced yet.

All eyes will be at WWDC in June where we might see a new iPhone/iPod/iPod Touch/iPad model(s) being announced.


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Microsoft Desktop Player

TechNet has a new resource Microsoft Desktop Player which brings all the help resources together at one place. You can try the beta offering of Microsoft Desktop Player, available now at You can also download it and install it locally. See the download link on the left bottom corner. Or, you can just try it out here as this Silverlight application can be embedded anywhere.

This site has been built with Microsoft Silverlight. Microsoft Silverlight delivers a new generation of high-quality audio and video, engaging media experiences, and interactive applications for the Web.

Click to install now!

By clicking "Click to install now!" you accept the Silverlight License Agreement.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Free e-book: First Look: Microsoft Office 2010

First Look: Microsoft Office 2010 To enhance the spirit of the holidays and to welcome the new Microsoft Office 2010 version, Microsoft Press has a FREE e-book for download for a limited time. The e-book “First Look: Microsoft Office 2010” by Katherine Murray, offers 14 chapters. The book is organized as below:

Part I, “Envision the Possibilities,” introduces you to the changes in Office 2010 and shows you how you can make the most of the new features to fit the way you work today. Chapter 1, “Welcome to Office 2010,” gives you a play-by-play introduction to new features; Chapter 2, “Express Yourself Effectively and Efficiently,” details the great feature enhancements and visual effects throughout the applications; and Chapter 3, “Work Anywhere with Office 2010,” explores the flexibility factor by presenting a set of scenarios that enable users to complete their work no matter where their path takes them.

Part II, “Hit the Ground Running,” focuses on each of the Office 2010 applications in turn, spotlighting the key new features and showing how they relate to the whole. These chapters provide a how-to guide for many of the top features you’re likely to use right off the bat, and they offer inspiring ideas on how to get the most from your favorite applications.

Part III, “Next Steps with Office 2010,” zooms up to the big picture and provides examples to help you think through interoperability. How often do you use the various Office applications together? Customer research shows that people often don’t realize how well the applications work together as a complete system—which means they might be laboring over items they could easily incorporate from somewhere else. This part of the book provides examples for integrating the applications and explores Office 2010 security and training opportunities, as well.

It is great to see Microsoft give away this e-book for free, to let the users of MS Office know what is new and exciting in MS Office 2010 version.

Download the e-book while it is available for free.

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