27 Mar 2013

Visual Studio: PRESENTON!

It sounds a bit like something Inspector Gadget may say: PRESENT ON! but this is a command in Visual Studio that makes VS shine for presentations. I spoke about it in my video on presenter tricks but love this so much, it needs it’s own blog post too! Simply put, it makes the entire of VS look better:

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To show this I took a photo (with camera phone) when off & when on during a talk I recently gave. Just looking at the difference – the second is easier to see what is going on.

While it does lots of things, let me highlight some of the critical differences:

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So how do you use this?

First you must download the productivity power tools extension from Microsoft. This is a free extension & not only gives you this, but also gives you a lot more AWESOME functionality. Next you need to go to the Quick Launch box in Visual Studio 2012.

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Now type: PRESENTON and hit enter (or click the item in the list when it appears). BOOM! Done! Happy Audiences!

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When you are finished, just type PRESENTOFF in Quick Launch and you are back to normal.

26 Mar 2013

Presenter Tricks: WOW your audience

imageAs TechEd is fast approaching, I thought it would be a great time to share some tricks I will be using  to make my technical presentations a success. These are five tricks that focus on technical presentations on Windows and they include:

  • ZoomIt: An essential tool to focus the audience & magnify content
  • Turning off Windows 8 notifications
  • Turning on HIGH PERFORMANCE mode in Windows, so everything runs amazingly
  • Turning off presenter view in PowerPoint 2013
  • The amazing PresentOn option in Visual Studio, which makes VS look amazing on stage!

Download links:

27 Feb 2013

Creating a timeline chart in Excel 2013

My last two posts have both contained an timeline chart in them which I create in Microsoft Excel 2013. Since it is a fairly awesome trick, I have created a short 10min video showing how you can do it too!

imageWhile this in itself is pretty awesome to do, because it is Microsoft Office – you can easily copy and paste it into PowerPoint for presentations. Then by simply changing the Effect Options ► Sequence to By Category you can get a great effect where each event pops in one by one.

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(click the above image to see a higher resolution version of it)

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01 Feb 2013

Free one hour async training!

Join me on Feb 6th as I present a one hour session on the new async feature of .NET 4.5. You can expect the full run through of how to use it, limitations and pitfalls. Since many people aren’t able to move to .NET 4.5 yet, I will also be covering what you should be doing now to make sure that you can easily take advantage of it in the future.

Async allows you to write code that runs across multiple threads in intelligent ways without the pains commonly associated with it!

  • Date: Feb 6th 2013
  • Time: 9am to 10am (South African time - so GMT +2)
  • Where: Available over YouTube
  • Audience: Anyone with .NET experience

Thanks and I hope to see your (virtually) on the 6th! Please follow me on Twitter for updates and links for this session!

30 Nov 2012

Presenting on Windows 8 - Pro tip

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This tip is aimed at presenting, but is just as useful to those who want to focus in Windows 8 without distractions!

Windows 8 is a great operating system to use, especially the background tasks system that ensures other applications are not destroying your CPU & memory. However, there is a downside to background tasks!

Previously, if I wanted to ensure no annoying Skype popups (during my talks for example) I just shutdown Skype and no popups could occur, but in Windows 8, since the application isn’t running, how do we stop the popups?

It is a simple solution, bring up the settings charm (see image on left) and in the bottom right hand corner is an option called Notifications. If you tap that, you will get options to block notifications for 1, 3 or 8 hours.

I am tending towards 3 hours for my 1 hour talks to allow for setup, clean-up etc.

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Once you have disabled it, the icon will change to show you it is disabled! If you want them back, for example when you are finished, then you can tap the icon again to enable them!

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What is great is that live tiles & the background tasks still occur, just no popups anymore.

19 Oct 2012

TechDays 2012 - wrap up post

Thank you so much for those people who came to my talks in Johannesburg & Cape Town – from all accounts we broke some size records for the event which is very awesome. Not just for my ego, but also it shows Microsoft that while we are excited about the new awesome stuff – we NEED to hear about the more normal things, you know cause we get paid to work with that and all.

With that said on to the usual post event blog post where I share my slides. In addition my demo script (those masses of paper I used to remind myself what to type) is up, and finally are completed builds of the demo apps for you to look through. About the demos, two things need to be remembered:

  • These are demos – they are not meant to best practise. They are as close to that as I can get in 5min, so disclaimer on using them.
  • These demos are not the same as on stage, and have no help – so if you did not attend the session the script maybe a better starting point.

btw download the slide deck, there is hidden slides with more info!!

Completed Demos

Large (file size) demos

Small (file size) demos - below

18 Sep 2012

Windows Store app Development Snack: A better architecture diagram

For more posts in this series, see the series index.

I have been talking a lot about Windows 8 recently and my slides have been using the architecture images Microsoft releases at Build 2011 & that awesome one Doug Seven created. However I have still found a lot of discussion exists even with those and they are showing their age.

I have tried to create a new one recently that addresses those issue:

  • Age: DirectX can be used by VB/C# in addition to C++ now.
  • Age: How does Windows Phone 8 fit the picture – note this may change, it is based on my assumptions and half info we have gotten.
  • Discussion: Is WinJS = WinRT?
  • Discussion: is .NET = WinRT?
  • Discussion: Can I use my own JavaScript libraries like jQuery?
  • Discussion: Can I use WinJS on the web?
  • Discussion: Can I build desktop apps on Windows 8?
  • Discussion: Can desktop apps run on Windows 8 ARM CPU's.
  • Discussion: How does the language projection fit in?

Clearly this wouldn’t work in a single image – so I have created a slide deck that has a great overview image and also has build up experiences where step-by-step it builds the image with information and hopefully during that answers all the questions.

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