Visual Studio 2012 Update 1

Visual Studio 2012 first update is now available.  Check what's new and how to download it here.

Windows 8 panoramic themes

If you have a dual monitors setup, you can download a set of panoramic themes from the Microsoft site that display on two screens.

 Check and download the free panoramic themes here

Windows 8: failed system updates

I had an issue with these windows updates that failed to install: KB2769165 & KB2770917.  After a quick search in the InterTubes, I found the answer: the culprit being the Nalpeiron Licensing Service and the trick is to disable it temporary to let the updates install.

  1. From the desktop, type Windows Key + R
  2. Type msconfig + Enter
  3. Click on the Services tab
  4. Check Hide all Microsoft Services
  5. Uncheck Nalpeiron Licensing Service
  6. Click OK and restart your computer


You'll now be able to install the Windows updates.  After they have installed, just re-enable the Nalpeiron licensing service.

DevTeach free community events

On top of opening the keynote to everyone, DevTeach Montreal 2012 will have 2 free community events on Dec 11th in the evening:

Microsoft Canada's Pierre Roman will present the Windows Server 2012 Hands-On IT Camp for IT Pros and Microsoft Canada's Paul Laberge will present A Whirlwind Tour around Windows Phone 8 Development.

Register here

A Windows 8 Home Server?

Like many satisfied Windows Home Server 2011 users, I was sad when Microsoft announced that they will not release new versions of the product.  Instead, they merged the WHS functionalities into Windows Server 2012 Essentials, a server targeted at small businesses.  The problem is that WHS 2011 was available is an OEM format for about $60 and Server Essentials is priced at around $500, a huge price difference for hobbyist and home users.  The good news is that WHS 2011 is still available at TigerDirect for those looking to build and install a home server.

When I recently visited, the best source of info for WHS, I was surprised to find articles explaining how to build a home server not with WHS or Server Essentials but with Windows 8.  Yep, Windows 8!  They even published a 360 pages step-by-step ebook.  With the current Windows 8 special discounted upgrade pricing, if you have an older system sleeping around, this could make sense.

Add Media Center to Windows 8 Pro

You may have noticed that Media Center is not part of Windows 8 Pro but it's available as a separate purchase for $10.  For a limited time (until Jan 31, 2013) you can get it for free by requesting a product key here.

Montreal .NET Community: Azure Virtual Machines


I'll be talking about the Windows Azure Virtual Machines at the Dec 5th 2012 Montreal .NET Community meeting.

For more info and to register, click here

MS Gold Partners save $150 at DevTeach

Are you a Microsoft Gold Partner?  Are you looking to send staff at DevTeach Montreal?  Use this rebate code to get $150 off the main conference registration fee: MSDN00GOLDMTL2012.

DevTeach Montreal keynote is free!

Great news!  The DevTeach Montreal 2012 keynote will be free and open to anyone!  That's right, no need to register and pay for the main conference!

Beyond VMs: From Saving Money to Adding Value
Of course everyone wants to save money – right? But how true is this in practice when it comes to cloud computing? And more importantly, if the cloud is little more than a bunch of rented virtual machines hosted by someone else, are you actually saving money? At the end of the day, business exists not to save money, but to make it, and if you’re going to invest in the cloud, you should expect it to help you make money. Put another way, the cloud should be about adding value, not simply reducing costs. Come learn how Windows Azure makes the cloud into something that helps you reach more clients, gain deeper business insights, and yea, even save some money in the process.

Howard Dierking, Microsoft
Howard Dierking is a Program Manager on the Azure Application Platform and Tools team where his focus is on ASP.NET, NuGet, and HTTP services (Web APIs). Previously, Howard served as the Editor-in-Chief for MSDN Magazine, and also ran the developer certification program for Microsoft Learning. He spent 10 years prior to Microsoft as a developer and application architect with a focus on distributed systems.


More info here

Productivity Power Tools 2012

Microsoft has just released the Productivity Power Tools for Visual Studio 2012.  It was a set of tools very popular with Visual Studio 2010 users.  Here's a list of the included tools:

  • Enhanced Scrollbar provides a source map of your file in the scroll bar that allow you to easily see interesting artifacts such as edits, breakpoints, bookmarks, errors and warnings and make it easy to navigate between them.
  • Fix Mixed Tabs will warn you when you open or save a file that has a mixture of tabs & spaces and offers to fix it for you.
  • Automatic Brace Completion will automatically insert the closing code construct when the opening construct is typed for VB & C#.
  • Move Line Up/Down Commands easily moves the current line of code (or selected multiple lines) up or down using the Alt+Up Arrow & Alt+Down Arrow keys.
  • Organize VB Imports, that can be found in the context menu, allows you to sort the imports logically and remove the ones that aren’t being used.
  • Colorized Parameter Help adds syntax highlighting to the contents of the Parameter Help window for C# & VB.
  • Column Guides allows you to draw a vertical line in the code editor from the context menu.
  • Align Assignments makes your code more readable by aligning assignment statements when you type Ctrl+Alt+].
  • Middle Click Scrolling Press down on your mouse scroll wheel and move the mouse to quickly scroll through your document.
  • Ctrl + Click Go To Definition makes symbols in your code look like hyperlinks when you hold down the Ctrl key, and will navigate to their definition when you click the hyperlink.
  • HTML Copy means copy/cut in the editor is saved in HTML format in your clipboard for rich pasting.
  • Control via Tools Options means you are in control of which of these extensions you want on/off. 

New in 2012: Color Printing, Quick Tasks and the Power Commands previously available separately are now included.  More info here

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