Thursday, February 28, 2008

Microsoft .NET - 10 Great Resources for One Great Technology

.NET is the hottest thing these days in developer circles specially now with the release of Visual Studio 2008 (Orcas) from Microsoft. It can take advantage of all the new features introduced in Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System. The .NET technology specially became very popular when the 2.0 version of it was released. The response was huge and lakhs of sites are using this technology to deliver rich content. Silverlight technology and the Microsoft Expression series of products added to it and briged the gap between the designer and developers. Silverlight specially makes it very much easy to created RIAs(Rich Internet Applications). So .NET is not a small thing, its includes a truckload of components to learn and implement be it the disconnected data model of ADO.NET or the highly scaleble server side programming model of ASP.NET. Almost any type of application can be developed in the .NET Framework including Desktop Application, Class Libraries, Windows Services, Web Applications, AJAX enabled Web Applications, Web Services, Data enabled Web and Windows Applications etc. The only thing that the .NET framework is not suitable for are low level device drivers and stuff like that.
.NET framework is platform independent, provides language interoperability, cross language integration, integration with older technologies like COM and Windows DNA, a large number of languages to program in, and lots more. Now to leverage all of this stuff, you need to have proper resources with you. Books alone are not good enough.
Fortunately there are a lot of websites that have good information and training material on .NET that one can use. I am posting here the ones that i use the most:-

The very first place you should look at for anything related to .NET
A good place for learning material related to ASP.NET and related technologies like AJAX.
A community driven forum for open source projects on .NET
A good place for any query regarding computing. The members are very helping and you'll get response almost always.
Codezone connects you with top-rated user groups, meetings, community sites, blogs, forums, events and breaking news. It’s a place for developers to share and promote top-notch content and community resources.
The MSDN Forums allow you to search a growing archive of technical questions and answers.
The MSDN events and Webcasts homepage is a nice place to get live webcasts and videos from Microsoft employees themselves.
Channel 9 provides direct, unfiltered, and open access to Microsoft’s cockpit. Meet the people who think up and build Microsoft’s technologies, interact with your peers, share your ideas and applications.
Microsoft .NET Development Newsgroup. Get involved in discussions on various aspects related to .NET Development here with MVPs and Microsoft Employees, as well as other people like you.
A great place to find video tutorials related to .NET technologies. Although the site is paid, you can get many free videos there as well as signup for the monthly newsletter for getting free videos every month.

So thats all for now. Whenever i get more resources, i'll update this list (as well as its title :-) ). Hope these resources help finding your way in world of Microsoft .NET. :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

{Heros Happen Here} The Mega Launch Event!

Good news for developers and IT pros working on Microsoft Technologies, Microsoft is organizing a mega launch event for 3 of its greatest developer and IT pro tools, namely Microsoft Server 2008, Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. The event is taking place at 3 places in India. The schedule is :
Bangalore: March 4, Rex Theatre.
Mumbai: March 5, Regal Theatre.
Delhi: March 7, PVR Priya Theatre.
The launch will be featured on the 75 mm screen of cinema and will include a free showing of the movie Gladiator. Whats more, every participant of the even will be given free copies of all these software as a promotion.
Everyone who is intrested in attending the event can register on or from You need to have a hotmail or windows live id for that.
Also note that laptops are not allowed in these events and parking is very limited, specially for two wheelers. So plz be aware. See you there! :-)

Mircosoft DreamSpark!

Starting last week, college students in 10 countries are able to get Microsoft's Visual Studio and several other programs for free as part of an effort called DreamSpark. Over the next year, Microsoft plans to offer the program worldwide for college and high school students. In addition to giving away its Visual Studio tools, Microsoft is also providing no-charge access to its Expression Web design tools and its XNA studio for developing Xbox 360 software.

Microsoft already provides discounted academic versions of its software, as well as a free "express" version of Visual Studio. Students can also get free copies of Windows Server and the developer version of the SQL Server database. There are a lot of possibilities that comes with this small list of products. Included in those initial 10 countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, and Germany.Clearly, Microsoft has a couple of goals here. One is to get more students who have enough design or science aptitude to enter the software field. The other is to get them using Microsoft's tools early. "That next generation and future generations of technologists, they are vital to any industry leader like us," Joe Wilson, Microsoft's senior director of academic initiatives, said. Wilson said his goal is to be able five years from now to spot businesses that got their start because a student used Microsoft's tools for free. "I expect that to happen," Wilson said. "Maybe it's hundreds or thousands of companies." Bill gates have given an interview and a speecha t Stanford university, videos of which can be found on

In my view, this can be an excellent oppertunity for students as well as a great deal for Micorsoft. Untill now, even after all the efforts that the company is doing, piracy rate of Microsoft Softwares in many countries was crossing leaps and bounds. Most of the users of these pirated software content were students as they needed these tools to successfully complete their course of study. Although there are express editions available of these software, why would someone use a crippled version when they can get the professional one for virtually no charge. Also when they got to work in industry, they'll have to work on these real tools not the crippled ones. So why not take the experience of the 'real thing'? Now, Not all of them were able to buy these, so they were pirating. And many of these 'pirates' almost never used these tools for commercial use. So now that these are being given away for free, students will more freely use these to implement their innovative ideas into working softwares. On the other hand, Microsoft besides getting praises from the industry, will also get higher profits because of the huge rise in number of Microsoft Technologies Professionals in the market. Also, by registering these copies, Microsoft can have a better estimate of its market presence.

To take benefit of this program, one needs to be a student of a regular course of study from a school, college or university. if you are an isci card holder, then also you are eligible for this program. For more details about isci card programs visit

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 leaked on Torrents!

We all know that the much awaited Windows Vista Service Pack 1 has finally gone RTM (Released To Manufacturing) and every single Vista user is drooling for it. But Microsoft is still not giving it for public download, since they have recieved some issues regarding some drivers of certain hardware devices which cause the SP1 installation to fail repeatedly, during the beta and RC (Release Candidate) phazes of SP1 development. The Redmond company will only release it to public download when all the listed problemetic devices get updated device drivers. Microsoft is working hard to get these drivers from its partners as soon as possible. Because of these reasons, general users won't be able to get SP1 from Micorosoft untill 18th march and users who would like to recieve it through Automatic Windows update will start getting it around 4th April. These are the official release dates as of now.
But in-between all this, due to high demand, Microsoft released SP1 to its 'Technical' users a.k.a Connect and MSDN subscribers early in february, just 4-5 days after its RTM date. As reports say it (and so is my personal experience :-) ), A copy of this MSDN special release of SP1 is leaked over the net and available as a torrent download on a very well known pirated torrent site (cant give the name or link, sorry :-) ). There are thousands of users who have downloaded it and found no problem in it. Althought the file's MD5 checksum cannot be verified, sources say that the file is same and is not tampered with. The version no of file is confusing, and shows it as a RC2 version, but the files inside it all have the x.xx.18000 version which is same as RTM release. One of my friend who is a MSDN subscriber, has also confirmed that this is also the case with the file they have got from Microsoft.

A word of caution: Although, there are some torrents which have the original file, there are many possibilities of Viruses, worms, trojans or other malicious contents bundled with it. Also some torrents, while claiming that they have the RTM version still carry the RC release of SP1. Beware of these, and if you can, i would recommend you to download it only from after it is released. Also, if you have been updating your system till now regularly, there is not much speed gain you'll notice. Speed gain is there in file copying process though, and it is huge. :-) you decide!

Skydrive out of Beta, storage space beefed up to 5 GB!!!

As announced by the SkyDrive team blog on february 21, Microsoft’s answer to and FileDen, the Microsoft SkyDrive Beta has gone beyond amazing its users, as along with coming out of BETA phase, the storage space is increased to 5GB ( and FileDen gives 1GB for their free users. This is a welcome feature and it certainly incerases the usability of this online file storage service. This is one of the best and the most reliable file hosting services in the world.
However, one of the sour point about it still remains. The service still doesn't supports resume functionality, if one's internet connection breaks down between a download. This makes it inappropriate for downloading large files, specially for people who are on a slow (read < 256 kbps) snailband connections. Let's hope that this'll be resolved soon, after all its Microsoft :-).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Moved for Good!!!

Hello Everyone,
Welcome to this new place of mine :-). Yes, i have moved my blog from Live Spaces to Blogspot. The reason for that is simple, lack of options. Spaces is quiet limited when it comes to customizing the pages, and thats what making me mad. The only thing i could do was this, so i did it. From now on, i'll post everything new, here only.

Oh Yes, and since i have posted all the back posts of mine here, they'll all shows today's date only. Only that can't be custimized, even on Blogspot :-)

See ya soon with some good stuff!

Microsoft's Free In-Person Events & Seminars In India

Hey Guys,

Since last few months, I have came to notice that Microsoft India is organizing many seminars and other in-person events in Delhi as well as other parts of India. These sessions are jam packed with latest and greatest information related to Microsoft products and services as well as their partners. Different events cater to different kind of people including IT professionals, Business Decision Makers, Technology Decision Makers and like. In the past there have been many such events, the recent in Delhi being the Microsoft Security Summit 2007. I personally attended it, and tell you what, it was awesome.

In the month of February, Microsoft is going to do Hands-On Lab Sessions on Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft SQL Server Technologies from 6th-8th and 13th to 15th February 2008 respectively in Delhi. I am sure there will be sessions scheduled for other cities also, but since i am in Delhi, i checked only for these ones in Microsoft Event Search.
These will be 2 day sessions starting from 9:AM to 18:00 PM at Microsoft's Office's Training Room at Nehru Place, New Delhi. Further details can be checked on the Microsoft Events website.

All the interested people should try to attend these sessions as there, these guys share a great wealth of information. Entry is by invitation only and you'll have to register in advance. To register, you must have a Hotmail or Windows Live ID. Go to for registration. Do an advance search there for your particular city.
See you there! :-)

Three of the Greatest Developer & IT Pro Resource Magazines by Microsoft are Free! in Digital Form

This is for all the developers who work on Microsoft Technologies. We all know about MSDN, and its usefulness. No Microsoft Technologies based Developer can live without it. MSDN is quiet a huge developer resource and provide most of the information free to developers online. Working in the same league, Microsoft has recently announced free availability of two of the greatest magazines for developers in electronic form, MSDN Magazine and Dr. Dobbs Journal. Both of these are a great source of programming related articles, insights, tips & tricks and lots more. You can avail the subscription free of cost by going to this link :-
Subscribe to MSDN Magazine and Dr Dobbs Journal for Free!

Apart from these two, there is one more definitive read for MS Technologies based developers as well as IT professionals, and that is the Technet Magazine. Its a monthly publication by Microsoft for both Developers, IT Pros and System Administrators equally. Every month you get insider's views, articles and tips and tricks about the internals of windows and its related tools and technologies. Its one of my favorite magazines and I recommend that one to everybody who is in any way connected to Microsoft technologies. You can read the magazine online at : or you can download its issues in HTML Help format (.chm) from

I sincerely hope that these free resources will help everyone like they have helped me.

Some Nifty New Features of Windows Vista Task Manager

Hey Guys!
I am a die hard fan of Vista Operating System, as it has completly changed my life and my working with my laptop. Its stable, its feature rich and for me, its less irritant than previous versions of windows. Now there are many features of it that have been given quiet a thought at Microsoft and what i have found is one of those gems that atleast system admins and developers, like me, will appreciate.

Vista task manager, we all know that is by all means an advance task management tool that has been refined to have greater power than it had in previous versions of Windows. Here are some cool features that certainly help to simplify task management:
1. Two of the most visible enhancements to the task manager are the new Services tab which quickly allows you to start and stop Windows Services, and, The Resource Monitor button which lets you keep a watch on your critical system resources. Whats more, you can create a data collection set of your data and them generate comprehensive performance reports based on it.

2. The right click menu on the Processes tab has beed enhanced with many new options that include:

a) Open File Location option : Lets you quickly browse the directory where the selected applications executable file is stored. This was a biggest feature missing in XP task manager. In that you cant find out from where the process is running.

b) Virtualization : This option lets you turn on or off the new Virtualization feature for a particular process. In Vista, when UAC (User Account Control) is enabled, every process runs in a low privilege mode that doesn't allows it to perform harmful activities. It is due to this fact, USB drive based viruses are not effective under Vista by default. A process can be run with full admin rights only by user's interaction. Now in the low privilege mode, when a program with bad habits (which it inherited due to the nature of previous windows os where once ran from an admin account it was free to do anything :-) ) tries to access a restricted system resource, it is given a safe, virtual set of directories and other resources that it can use. In that way, the system remains secure and working even when this bad boy behaves according to its nature :-D.

c) Create Dump File : When we run a program it gets loaded into RAM and that RAM loaded representation of the program is called process. Now each process, while running has a working set, which is nothing but the area of RAM where it keeps its data while running. This option creates a file on the hard disk that contains complete contents of the select processe's used memory areas. This is very useful for people who are involved in debugging of applications. Previously system only created dump of process memory when it crashed, or maybe when OS itself crashed.

d) Properties : Opens the standard properties dialog of the file that this process started from.

e) Go to Services : Now thats what i really liked. This option, when selected takes you to the service that this process is running under. You may ask, whats so special about that. Well, this may not be useful where a single process is running under a single service excutable, but there are some processes like the svchost.exe which show up multiple times in Task Manager. Ever wondered why so? When Svchost.exe is the Generic host for Services executable that works as a host for many different services. there are some more like that too. What that means is that under the name of Svchost.exe, many services run. Even more than that, a single svchost.exe file can run multiple services under it. It uses the concept of Application Domains, which .NET programmers i think will better understand. Now in this situation without any external tool you cannot know what services are running under a particular svchost.exe. Here this option comes into play. When you click on it, it takes you to the services tab and highlights all the services that are running under it. Now thats what i call a real sysadmin tool.

Apart from that you can also quickly go to any service's process bu right clicking on it and selecting Go To Process...

So that's all. Hope someone will find it intresting and of use.

Have a nice day :-)

Visual Studio 2008 is Here!

Hi Guys!
Its been so long after my last post. Actually was kind of busy with things. Anyways, One of the biggest software releases being talked about for the last few months, you guessed it right, Visual Studio 2008 is finally out in its RTM build. It was running in beta for quiet a few months and now is out with many new features as well as enhancements to the previous ones. The new version promises to make life of programmers easier while giving them more flexibility and functionality in working with the new features introduced in .NET Framework 3.0 as well as the new 3.5 "futurz". I will not get into much details about it here but here are the few things that i liked in it rightaway.

Multiple Framework Version Support : In Visual Studio 2008, You can specify in the project properties, which .NET framework version you wish to compile your application against. This is a very useful feature and gives you the flexibility to work with any version of .NET framework (Starting from 2.0) in the same IDE. You do not have to keep the VS 2005 IDE on your system along with it. When you select a different Framework version in the properties, the IDE reloads the project with settings that target that particular version of framework.
IDE and Language Enhancements : The IDE of Visual Studio 2008 is much more friendly then its previous one. Its quiet fast in loading and most of the glitches from the previous one have been removed. The overall look-and-feel of the IDE has been improved too. There are quiet a few tools that have been added to it. One that requires mention is the Object Relational Designer (O/R Designer) which simplifies the use of LINQ in Visual Studio Data Projects. It lets the developer, in real time, to design LINQ-TO-SQL classes using a visual interface. You can add Classes, Inheritance between them, properties, methods by dragging items from database explorer etc. Quiet a handy one.

A handy enhancement to language features to C#, which i personally use very much is the quick property definition syntax for simple property definitions. Earlier in Visual Studio 2005, while developing class libraries, we use to create a lot of properties to just access some private data member in a secured way. It was quiet cumbersome to write these. typically the code looks like this:

class Test
private int _testProp;
public int TestProp
return _testProp;

As you can see, nothing much is being done in this property except getting and setting the value. Imagine this being done for 10-15 private data members and you know what i am talking about. Now in Visual Studio 2008, the shortcut method for this code is:

public int test{get;set;}

Thats it! it will create a simple get and set kind of property. I simply love this feature.Apart from this there are many other features like the var keyword, which lets you implicitly define the type of a variable at compile time on the basis of value you assign to it, Object initializers, which lets you initialise an object by providing different values for its fields in curly braces just like you initialise primitive types, LAMBADA expressions which lets you create parameterized anonymous methods which can be used in place of an delegate object, partial method definations, anonymous types etc.

All these enhancements apply to Visual Basic 2008 also. For detailed information about these, refer to the .NET documentation.

There is much much more to tell about it. its a huge release, but due to lack of time,i will leave it here. In the End, i would like to say just one thing, Its worth upgrading to. :-)

Windows Vista - The Wow is showing up Now :-)

Well, a lot of has been said in last few months about Windows Vista. Forums on Internet are flooded with comments, both positive & Negative, about it. And it was bound to happen, because of the amount of hype that was attached with this new OS. Microsoft was touting its features everywhere possible, Radio, Television, Newspapers, you name it. For the first time, i have seen so much publicity from Microsoft.
But after it hit the market, the response was a little unexpected, at least for me (Don't know about MS guys :-)). People are shouting everywhere that its slow, buggy etc etc. There are positive feedbacks also, but they are rare.
I am one of those people who love to give every piece of technology its fare share of chance. I don't believe in criticizing pointlessly. So i decided to test it out myself on my laptop which is a bit old. Its a 1.6 GHZ Celeron with 1280 MB of ram (256MB+1GB), 40 GB HDD and a Intel 915 graphics chich (it sucks!).
I must say, my experience with it was not as bad as i thought. After downloading some drivers and installing a fe known performance updates, my laptop is rocking. the interface is clean and looks very good. The new start menu works great with integrated search. UAC (User Account Control) is a bit annoying, but i like it coz its the secure way to do things. I don't have the AERO interface on my laptop, but have it on Desktop at office. It looks amazing although i am not much fascinated by the Flip 3D effect. Taskbar thumbnails are good, if you have 2 windows with same title open, its a good way to distinguish them. Overall the interface aesthetics are pleasing, and its functional too.
The thing that surprised me was that on many forums people said that it was a memory HOG. I would like to say that using these terms is a bit ambiguous. If a software is not giving the features and performance after using more memory, then you can call it a hog. But Vista! I am sorry but it runs 10 times faster than XP, at least in my experience. For the benefit of others, i would like to explain it fully.
First of all, Vista is a new operating system and Microsoft has touted the system requirements right from the beginning. Why are people so surprised, i don't know. Its got so many features that at least software developers should understand, that it requires more memory.Secondly, Using the AERO interface is not a requirements. Its a luxury and for that you must have the hardware to enjoy it. I think people should accept the fact. Nothing comes for free in this world and the tag attached with vista is improved hardware. The Basic interface is also very functional and quiet fast also.I've been using it for a month and found no problem. I think most of the people who are having problem with Vista's performance are using low end machines and trying to run AERO on it. That won't work.Another thing that surprises me is that people count on the MBs of3memory free and say its a memory HOG. For everybody's information, Vista has a feature called SuperFetch which analyses your usage patterns over time and then preloads software into memory to give the faster experience. And all this memory used like cache is never pushed into pagefile. If a program wants more memory, like a game, it instantly free up the memory and fulfill the program's requirements. How can anyone use the term Memory HOG for that. 1 GB memory is a basic requirement for running vista, and after that there is no need to look at numbers. It manages everything. Internet Explorer and all the other programs startup so fast in vista. Even firefox runs more smoothly. The problem with file system performance has been coped up with in performance updates. I play GTA San Andreas and Harry Potter and The Order of Phoenix on my laptop with a little performance boost on Vista then on XP. So in the near future, when Direct X 10 games will become mainstream, it will outperform XP for sure, no doubt along with right kind of Hardware.
So all in all, there are issues in Vista, but its certainly not a failure as an OS. Its got great features along with some glitches here and there, but hey, that's true with every piece of software.
Oh yes, no offences guys! :-)

Installing and Using Visual Studio 6 on Windows Vista

Hi Everyone,
I recently upgraded to Vista and after a few updates, my system was running awesome. But the real pain begun when i tried installing Visual Studio 6. I still use VB 6 for some reasons, along with VS.NET 2005. The setup failed straightforwardly. After many tries and searching on MSDN forums, i have found a way to do it.

Here you go...

Note: First thing to note is that Visual Basic 6 and Visual FoxPro 6 are the only components of VS 6 that are supported on Vista. For Visual C++ 6 and Visual Interdev 6, Use the Visual C++ 2005 and Visual Web Developer features of Visual Studio 2005 or 2008.
1. Right click the file setup.exe in root of Visual Basic 6 CD and choose "Run as administrator.
2. Setup will run the java virtual machine setup and restart windows.
3. After returning, setup may not run automatically. In that case run it again as in step 1.
4. Go through the first few pages as usual.
5. On the last setup page just before installation begins, setup it asks for installation folder. click custom.
6. First click 'Select All'. Now uncheck
a) Visual C++ 6
b) Visual Interdev 6
c) Under Tools, Uncheck VC Error Lookup, Self installing EXE redistributable File, OLE/COM Object Viewer, WIN32 SDK Tools, MFC Trace Utilities.
Out of these, only OLE/COM Object Viewer is important, its incompatible with the new Visual Studio 2005 Tools. So it will give you problem if you are installing both VS 6 and VS 2005.7. Continue installing. Setup will complete and restart system.

One more thing, to use vb, right click its shortcut and click properties. On the compatibility page, check the 'Run in compatibility mode' check box and choose Windows XP SP2. Also check the 'Run as Administrator' checkbox. Click OK and double click the shortcut to begin.This last step is important or you wont be able to use any Active X components or set any references, since VB would not be able to access the Registry.


Hi Everyone!
Welcome to my place on the web :-). I have started this blog, well, to share my thoughts, useful information and tutorials with people around the world who share some intrests with me. I think web is a great way to express oneself and reach out to the others that is otherwise not possible. That is why i have taken this step to leverage the boundless communication possibilities and the power of expression provided by Internet.
I am basically a technology enthusiast and like to study and explore latest technology and gadgets, although i am a little more inclined towards programming. So you will eventually find lots of useful Tips & Tricks, Tutorials etc.
Thanks you, for visiting!