Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's not Cheating

Well it has returned for this year. The "It's not cheating" website. The offcial Microsoft site where university student can purchase Office 2007 Ultimate for $75 for life or $25 for a 1 year subscription.

Personally, I think you'd be mad not to buy it for life. So what does Office 2007 offer, well just briefly (And I do mean briefly) I'll tell you about the parts I've used this semester.

- Word - New look, great styles to be applied to your work. I've been doing my assignments in office 2007 since I got my hands on it, and they look sweet.

- Powerpoint - I've used the templates for my presentations, they look good. Last presentation I did kicked butt in the way it loked over everyone elses, I didn't work that hard on it, as I said, styles rock. You can add reflection an 3D shapes to your presentations with simple clicks. A fantastic professional look for your work.

- Groove - Now this is a brilliant tool, I don't know about a lot of you but my course is heavy in the group work. Groove s an internet collaboration tool. Basically, you create a workspace on one machine, add the files you want shared among your group there. You invite them to share the workspace and whenever there is an update for a file, boom it gets updated. I'm going to be using this for Imagine Cup.

Onenote - Awe inspiring note taking, it can record handwriting off a tablet, normal text typing and audio in it, you can then send the information you have stored in onenote to ord or a cleaner look. This is going to prove extremely valuable next year.

Excel/Access/Infopath/Outlook/Publisher - I haven't looked at these yet, I'm sure I will, just haven't got round to it so far.

So basically, go to and get yourself a copy of office 2007. And for any uni that says they are not compatible with office 2k7. Just save your files down into the office 2k3 version. The styles and formatting stays there. In word, you select word options and save in the word 2003 format.


So, what are you waiting for...go go and purchase :)

Busy Times ahead

Well, it's official, my bloggng skills leave a lot to be desred. But I guess that's bound to happen when you don't blog all that often. But let's see what's going on at Griffith.

2 week ago, I ran a seminar (hijacked a lecture) on Expression Studio, concentrating mainly on Expression web. It was fun, had a little competition that I ran, which was to design a "it's not cheating" front page (More on that in my next blog. The winners (2 there of) each recieved a copy of expression Web (~$300).
The comp went well, the presentation went just as well, I touched briefly on the aspects of blend and design, discussing the new workflow that Microsoft had created when moving data from a designer point of view to a developer. XAML is downright cool in that respect.

Thanks to Microsoft(Nick) for supplying the prizes, and thanks to the students who entered. And well done to those who finished in the top two spots.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sidebar Session Result

Well, not quite as many people as I had hoped, but the response was good. With the information supplied by Microsoft(Thanks Nick) I was able to handle any questions asked.

Now as to those I informed, I am putting up all of the information i have in regards to making sidebars, As such I am storing it all on Rapidshare.

So here it is: Link

This includes all of the Microsoft information and the flash tutorials on Sidebars I did on my machine.

About the Comp:

Link here

For those to lazy to click :P

"Sidebar Named Desire"

“Are you a young developer under 30? Looking to show off your skills and win some awesome prizes? Here’s how it works. You upload a sidebar gadget onto Si-Mi. Other people then pay money to download your gadgets. “All gadgets uploaded will go in the chance to win a Visual Studio backpack choc full of Microsoft products. 15 lucky entrants will also receive a copy of Vista Ultimate valued at AU$779.00 for their troubles.

For more information or questions please contact:

Nicholas Ellery
Email: t-nice @

"Sidebar Named Desire" How do I enter?

“Sound good? We hope so. There are 2 categories – ‘People’s Choice’ and ‘Judges Choice’. People’s Choice tests your business savvy, rewarding the entry that makes the most money. ‘Judge’s Choice’ is decided by judges at Microsoft and Si-Mi which are the coolest gadgets. There are plenty of resources around which teach you, see the links below. Plus, you can download Visual Studio Express for free, so really, you don’t have any excuse not to be making money on Si-Mi. Just join Si-Mi, upload your Vista Sidebar Gadget as a zip, use the referral code "sidebar", set the price (less than a dollar is good) and start your marketing campaign!

So as I am 34, I'm out of the Comp, but you on the other might be in it. So go forth and be Creative.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sessions at Griffith Uni

Well, I've organised the room:
Wednesday 22nd August

And the topic: Vista sidebar gadets

As the lab is XP, and I'm lacking the laptop with Vista to show case it properly. I'm planning on making a bunch of flash movies showing how to create different types of gadgets. Should be a lot of fun.
I'll showcase making them in Visual Studio 2005 Express and in progammers notepad, just to show that you don't need a special IDE for it. But with a big thank you to Nick from Microsoft, I have quite a few copies of Visual Studio 2005 Express to give out.

I'll also point out the Si-Mi comp, which should help encourage fellow students to do something.

Tech ed Party

Well the party at movie world was pretty damn impressive. A little late for the gates to be opened up, but it was worth it.
Griffith (QUT MSP) is a hobbiest photographer and spent a lot of time taking snaps through out the night. The rides (I only did Superman, but I was happy with that) were awesome at night, most of the other MSPs went on a few. Food was great and the company was brilliant, always great to chat to other MSPs.
Here's Griffiths's flicker site:

As you can tell, it was a sci fi night. So that goes down well with a bunch of IT peeps. Oh yeah, I'm the guy on the left.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Tech ed Sessions

As I had the day off from tech ed work, I went to uni for a tutorial and then headed off to tech ed for the day.
Not a bad day at all, I attended :
Overview of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 for Devices and .NET Compact Framework 3.5
Speaker(s): Neil Roodyn
The Visual Studio Database (VSD) and .NET Compact Framework Team have introduced a number of new features in the Visual Studio 2008 release planned for later this year. In this session, we cover the enhancements made to the Developer Tools that Device Developers can take advantage off—such as Unit Testing for Devices, The Device Emulator 2.0, and enhanced integration of device security awareness in the Visual Studio IDE. The .NET Compact Framework Team shares how version 3.5 makes Windows Mobile an even better client platform for mobile applications. We also cover compact Windows Communication Foundation, the exciting Store and Forward channel that enables developers to "push" messages to occasionally connected devices, new performance tools and general runtime enhancements such as LINQ.

Impression: Astounding, the VS2k8 and mobile devices technology is just wow. New emulation and windows mobile 6 are some of the most interesting coding concepts around. I knew there was a fair amount of things you could do to code for mobile devices, but this seminar just expanded, my view.

Building a Complete Web Application Using ASP.NET Microsoft Visual Studio Codename 2008 (Part 1 of 2)
Speaker(s): Jeff King
Walk through the most exciting releases of ASP.NET, Visual Studio and Internet Information Services (IIS) "ASP.NET", Visual Studio 2008 and IIS 7. Learn how the new releases enable developers and IT operators to dramatically reduce the amount of time, effort and code required to develop and deploy real-world Web applications. ASP.NET "Ocas", Visual Studio 2008 and IIS 7 each provide much improved administration and management support, on top of dramatically improved performance.

Impression: It just shows that the new VS has astounding capabilities, the making of an integated website was quick and easy. The merger of Expression and VS for Design and Development was brilliant, I liked the vertical split screen. My only thought to it was, can you pull that split screen over two monitors? That would make the instance updating of web pages during design very cool.

Up-close and personal with Virtual Machines and SCVMM
Speaker(s): Andrew Dugdell, Peter Fitzsimon
Whatever your calling may be, dev or it pro, chances are really quite good, that Virtual Machines will soon be part of everyday life – or maybe they are already? System Centre Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) can help you get on top of all the aspects of your Virtual Machine Lifecycle. If you have ever been faced with the tough questions like “Where is my VM”, “Who created that VM and why”, “Which VM is slowing down the server", this session is for you. You could visit to see list of features. Or a much better idea, you could roll your sleeves up, join Andrew Dugdell, our MVP for Virtual Machines and see this no-nonsense demo packed session.

Impression: Virtual machines. Let's face facts, we have to know about these and the SCVMM is an impressive manager of them. The P2V (Physical to Virtual) machine example was pretty impressive, no rebooting was required, and that's the way it should be when the creating a copy of the physical machine. Development and testing enviroments on hand. Excellent.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tech Ed 2007 Gold Coast has started!!

Well, it's on. Microsoft's Tech Ed has started.

So what happens here, and what does this have to do with me? Well, I've volunteered to help out on a couple of the days, the bonus to this is that Microsoft has allowed all volunteers free access to the event, and what an event it will be.
Tonight, I believe, is the Xbox party and what a party that will be. There are over 2000 registered guests and lots of stuff to check out. From the site:

What's on offer?
In-depth technical sessions
With in-depth analysis of a particular product or area, the 14 key Technical Tracks of advanced training will give you practical skills you can take back to your workplace to help you make your mark.

Pre-conference Deep Dive workshops
If you want to get a deeper understanding of a particular area, Deep Dive Workshops are the best way to accelerate your skills and get the instructor-led, hands-on experience you need to make your mark.

Go home certified! Sit for industry-recognised certification exams at Tech.Ed 2007 for just $90 and save 50% on the standard price (normally $180 incl GST).

Access to industry legends
Mixing with the best of the best in the industry is an opportunity too good to miss. It's a great chance to get noticed and hear the latest IT news first hand. And remember, it's not just what you know...

Catch up with old friends and meet new people that share your interests. Swap stories, exchange ideas and relax and enjoy yourself at the social events.

Cabana sessions
Join small informal groups to discuss your area of expertise with Microsoft experts, and get specific advice and information from industry gurus.

Massive exhibition area
Be among the first to see the latest and greatest innovations from Microsoft and Partners, covering every area of technology imaginable.

Believe you me, this is an oppurtunity worth checking out. When they say 'Massive' exhibition area, they are not joking. In the commnet sections, I would estimate at least 100 pcs for anyone to use.

It's going to be a great week :)

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Well, this is probably one of the first seminar ideas I'm going to use, Probably around week 4/5 before I do my first seminar. Mainly because I want to understand the topic I'll present.

So Popfly, what is it?
Popfly is the fun, easy way to build and share mashups, gadgets, Web pages, and applications. Popfly consists of two parts:

1.Popfly Creator is a set of online visual tools for building Web pages and mashups.

2.Popfly Space is an online community of creators where you can host, share, rate, comment and even remix creations from other Popfly users.

Here's the FAQ: FAQ

As you can see it's an interesting and new social network tool. An online site designed to allow you to manipulate the web without needing to know coding. A mashup is basically where you take 'blocks' of created code and link them together to create a "useful" web presence/entity.

It's currently in Alpha stage, so it's invitation only, but go to the site and request one, you should be up and running within days.

It's a unique site and I look forward to learning more with it. First, very interesting.

rotflmao yeah, the might want it....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Griffith University - Microsoft Student Partner

So you've stumbled across this page (Or been pointed at it be me lol) and think to yourself, what the hell is this guy on about.

Let's start at the start, because I haven't reached an end point yet.

Who am I?
My name is Sean Costain and I contacted Microsoft to become representative for them within the university I attend(Griffith University - Gold Coast Campus []). I am studying a Bachelor of Multimedia. With an aim for Game design.

Why did I do this?
It sounded like a challenge and like a lot of fun. Also gives me the right to add more letters after my name, looks good on a resume and I should learn a lot which will help me get a career into the area I wish to pursue.

But what does it all mean?
Well, basically, I have to hold 2 seminars on Microsoft technology within a semester. This technology branches from XP/Vista through to XNA programming, down to using Visual Studio for AJAX programming and a dash of innovative technology examination, like the new Silverlight and Expression software.

How will I judge it Successful?
To make this endeavour successful, I need the help and commitment of my fellow students at Griffith. If I can get great turnouts for seminars, there is a decent chance I might up the amount per semester. As there is a whole lot of gear to learn, and University only teaches you a little bit.

So that's it, the start of an interesting endeavour. Let's see where the journey takes me.