Rock Band and Drumshhh

Rock BandOne game that I’m eagerly awaiting to hit the South African local retail shelves is Rock BandTM. The game allows you to form your own virtual band with lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and of course vocals. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever considered buying a drum set for home. One thing stopping me buying the real deal is because I have neighbours that wouldn’t take too kindly to me making a racket.

Now the Rock Band drum set isn’t quiet either, but at least you can control the volume of your TV or home theatre or simply play with headphones on if you are worried about the noise. The special edition kit comes with all of the instruments pictured below.

Rock Band instruments

And to make you drum set even quieter, a fellow Xbox MVP has developed a novel concept – self-adhesive felt pads called DrumshhhTM which reduce the volume of the drum set by about 50%.

Drumshhh

[tags]Xbox 360,Rockband[/tags]

Xbox MVP

I received an awesome e-mail on Tuesday from Microsoft. It read as follows:

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2008 Microsoft® MVP Award!  The MVP Award is our way of saying thank you for promoting the spirit of community and enhancing people’s lives and the industry’s success every day.  Your extraordinary efforts in Xbox technical communities during the past year are greatly appreciated.

It seems like I’m actually the first Xbox MVP for the African continent which is really cool. This year will be an awesome year considering it has started off on such an amazing note. 🙂

[tags]MVP,Microsoft,Xbox[/tags]

Tech-Ed 2007 day 3

Tech-Ed South Africa 2007Its honestly amazing how time flies when you are at Tech-Ed. I found that day three just flew past in comparison to day two; I suppose it has to do with the sheer number of sessions I attended.

The first talk worth mentioning today was one by Angus Logan where he shared information about the Windows Live technologies currently available for integration by developers. I never realised that Windows Live ID was recently made available as a single sign on solution for end-user applications coupled with the various other services likes Virtual Earth, Live Contacts, Silverlight Streaming and numerous other cool services. They are all covered under one “no lawyer required” terms of use and unless your web site has more than about a million users, its free to use. For more information on the APIs, code samples for .NET, Java, Python, Ruby and many more take a moment and check out dev.live.com and there is even a .NET wrapper library for the REST APIs on CodePlex. Don’t forget to attend Angus’ talk for SA Developer .NET this Thursday, you won’t be disappointed.

Chris, some other dude, Hilton, Nicolas and Ronald Hilton Giesenow, SA Developer Lead and MVP, gave an awesome talk on the hidden gems of ASP.NET 2.0 where he shared some very cool but lesser known features of the ASP.NET. One of them that comes to mind is the SessionPageStatePersister class that provides a simple means of reducing the viewstate of each page in a site with no changes to the actual pages themselves.

Chris Auld from New Zealand was highly entertaining to experience. He was wearing a Sprinkbok rugby jersey after he lost a bet. He is genuinely a unique character and showed us all how to implement and use WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) for various connection endpoints including TCP, SOAP, JSON and even RSS. Unfortunately his demos were plagued with exception pop-up dialogs due to the Visual Studio 2008 beta quirks but seemed to work nonetheless. I found his “go go gadget stack trace” comment quite amusing.

Just to make sure we didn’t have a dull day, we got Nicolas Blank to interview Hilton Giesenow, Willie Roberts and myself about the technical communities in South Africa. I’ll make a post here when the video has been edited and posted on the international Virtual Tech-Ed site.

Laser finger-tipped skeleton dancerAs day four is a half day it is customary to have the closing party the evening before. The theme was CSI and we were treated to an awesome buffet in the Sun City Superbowl followed by local band Springbok Nude Girls on stage and then lots of dancing and partying.

[tags]Tech-Ed 2007,Windows Live,ASP.NET,WCF,Virtual Tech-Ed,Springbok Nude Girls[/tags]