Sunday, 30 September 2007

Silverlight Video Streaming

So you were out drinking last night and got an awesome video of your best friend making a fool of himself, what better way to share it with the world than by using Microsoft’s latest technologies Silverlight and the Expression Suite.
Microsoft are currently offering Silverlight streaming facilities for everyone with a .NET passport, this means anyone with a hotmail or msn account. Silverlight streaming gives users up to 4GB of storage space where Silverlight media and applications can be uploaded. All of which is absolutely free! So what do we need to take full advantage of this:
Crazy Video Footage (not supplied by Microsoft :p )
Expression Media Encoder
Silverlight Streaming Account (.NET Passport)

Preparing Video Footage

Once you have you footage uploaded from your camera or phone and its stored on your PC its time to convert this into a smaller file that can be easily streamed from the web. An ideal tool to do this is Microsoft Expression Media Encoder which can be downloaded and installed in a matter of minutes.

Expression Media Encoder allows you to optimise and imported video depending on how it will be utilised, you can choose from a number of different video settings such as Streaming Broadband, Web Server Broadband, Streaming 512K DSL this will then decide how best to encode the video so that is optimized for the chosen usage. You can also choose the audio settings, so for example if you were uploading a music video you could encode the audio in a higher quality.

Now that you have selected your encoding type you can compare this to the original footage that you recorded by using Media Encoders great “A/B Compare Mode” this splits the video so that half of the clip is in the original video format and the other half is in the proposed encoding format. The compare mode can be done in a number of ways, splitting the video vertically, horizontally or just creating two instance of the video one in the old and one in the new format.

Finally you need to select the output template for the video this is how the video controls will look, there are a large selection of different templates that you can use. However if you are feeling particularly creative you can create your own template in Expression Blend, using all the great features of Blend to create a rich interactive media player.

After pressing Encode the video will be encoded to the correct format and placed on your PC, all that needs to be done now is preparing it to be uploaded to Silverlight Streaming.

Getting Ready to Upload

When you have located the folder containing all the items created by Expression Media Encoder you will be presented with a large number of files, not all of are needed. We only need the following:


Alongside these files we also need to create a Manifest XML file with the following code:


We now have a folder containing all the needed files so that the video can be uploaded to the web, we need to zip these files into a single .zip file.

Upload Your Video

We now need to head across to and using your .NET Passport register with the site to receive your 4GB storage space, once registered head to Manage Applications, and then select Upload Silverlight Application.
Here you will give your video a name and then browse your PC to find the zip file you created previously containing the video and manifest.
We now have our video hosted on the Silverlight Streaming site and can use the given three code snippets needed to embed the video into a website of our own.

What You Waiting For?
Now that you have seen how easy it is to go out and get your free web space and upload some videos.

Dominic Green (MSP)

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Inspiration Tour UK

The Inspiration Tour will soon start making its way around the country and where better to start than right here in Manchester!

With topics like the .NET Framework, Silverlight and XNA it covers all bases for those students who want to go on intoth tech industry.

Scott Guthrie MIX Interview

Scott Guthrie was kind enough to give Kevin Pfister and myself an interview during his busy schedule at MIX:UK. This is just a preview of the finished video which will be uploaded onto Channel 8 as soon as the audio is cleaned up.

If you like this take a look at my MIX mashup as well.

Bob Geldof?

So we are living in a world where technologie is all around us, wether it be the desktop PC or the fridge frezer with all its gadgets. One of the most known companys around the world due to this is Microsoft and it's creator "Bob Geldof"?

OK so I know this isn't true, however I was talking to a girl yesterday who swore blind that it was! She was soo convinced she started saying about how he also organised a concert ...

Some people need educating

Monday, 24 September 2007

ukstudentzine Article

So everyone who's read my blog in the last couple of weeks knows about me going to MIX:UK, well part of reciving tickets to go I agreed to write an article about the expreience. The article has now been published and can be found on the Microsoft ukstudentzine, check out my article here.

Feel free to leave comments about what you think of the article or even your time at MIX.

MIX:UK Video

Check out my Mashup of what happened at MIX:UK

I originally used silverlight streaming to host this video, however blogger as yet dosn't seem to support the featue. Therefore couldn't get the silverlight video to be embedded properly in blogger, however I will still make a post shortly on what you have to do to use Silverlight Streaming.

For now enjoy the youtube vid.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

PHP support in Expression Web 2.0

At the end of MIX:UK there was a small section giving us lucky few a glimpse of things to come. During this section we got to see a great application built in WPF looking at CT scans, a talk on multi threading programming and also a quick peak at Expression Web 2.o.

We were shown that in the new edition you will be able to create new pages in PHP!!!!!!!!!

This means there will be intellisense support for php and as php is the most used tool for creating web pages I think this will be extremly influential in getting alot more people to move from Dreamweaver over to the Expression Suite.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

MIX:UK Day 2

Day two of MIX, was kicked off in true developer fashion with Scott Guthrie jumping straight into programming in .NET 3.5 and the new Visual Studio 2008 (formerly Codename Orcas). The two hours spent going over the new features of VS2008 not only showcased some of the new features of the development environment but in true fashion was entertaining. With the session only being a two hour slot, we were only able to scratch the surface on the new features. The new LINQ querying language was particularly impressive with demos of LINQ in action querying object, databases and more. Also demonstrated was the new WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) controls for VS2008 taking much of the functionality from Expression Web to allow the user to create stunning applications, as well as easily managing CSS.
During the break between the first set of presentations I managed to get my much anticipated interview with Scott, which if the audio turns out find will be posted up on Channel 8 with the rest of the footage that was captured at the event. Scott was a genuinely nice guy to meet and have a chat with, we managed to talk with him about a number of things from how he got started in Microsoft, where he sees the web going in a couple of years time and my personal favourite was when we asked him about the best “freebee” that he had got since he started working at Microsoft. It turns out that the best thing he received was a basket ball signed by Bill Gates asking him to come and work for the company which he still has in his office today.
After this talk we then went on to a presentation on where to get started with WPF and Silverlight applications, this talk was much more cantered towards a group of developers / designers however was still very interesting. The talk was mainly about trying to achieve the balance between design and development, as well as how the use of the internet and sites on the net has changed over the past 10 or so years. One interesting point made was the emergence of a new role, during the creation of a web app or desktop application which is a middle man between the designer and developer. This is a role well suited to people who can both develop and also have an interest in design, they are then able to easily identify if a design is far too flashy to be made into a viable application, and these member of the team would ideally be XAML gurus.
I had never heard of tech based gameshows before today but they are extremely entertaining with myself and Kevin Pfister volunteering ourselves to play. The game was called “Swaggily Fortunes” and the questions were based on the answers given in a handout at another event. I managed to win my fair share of sway and have a great time whilst doing it. Also I must say that I nearly have enough “Microsocks” to last me a week and my prized runner up trophy.
The final session of the day was dedicated to giving us a Sneak Peak into what is currently being developed with Microsoft Technologies, by themselves and third parties. We had a sneak peak at some new Halo 3 footage, a look at multicore programming and also what can be done with the Microsoft Robotics package.
The whole MIX experience has been great and I would defiantly recommend other people to attend such events as you not only get a more in depth look at the latest technologies but there are so many people there to meet and get talking to.
Hopefully I will be able to attend more events in the future, but until then keep an eye out for any footage of MIX on channel 8.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

MIX:UK Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of MIX:UK 2007 and it couldn't of been better.
The day started of with a brilliant keynote, presented by a large numbe of people it gave a brilliant overview of what MIX is all about. Starting off by wowing the audiance with brilliant footage of silverlight in action. The keynote was made up of a number of demos from Microsoft employees and companys who use Microsoft technologies to develop great solutions.
There was a demo on how to build a silverlight media player application, using expression blend which took under five minutes to get a stunning end peice with rich animated graphics.

After the footnote and a short break, Scott Guthrie went on to explain silverlight development in much more detail, starting with the basics of how to use XAML to create a brilliant GUI by using different shapes and effects. The main thing that struck me in the design and creation of the GUI was how similar it was to creating SVG with XML. Once Scott had got the basics done with the GUI he went on to show us some more advanced techniques such as using transform matricies to transform and rotate buttons and shapes. Also connecting Silverlight to the users local machine to use folders from there pc was really interesting. This presentation has really given me the silverlight bug, and once I download VS 2008 beta (as Express dosn't support SL) I will get progamming and designing some small applications.

The next presentation was all about harnessing the power of Windows Live apps in your own web sites so using such things as Virtual Earth to create websites such as Track Me and another sports tracking system which allows uses to track there excercise by using a GPS device which is then synced with a map to show the route that the user has run on a map. There was also talk about a Silverlight hosting system where you can get up to 4Gb of FREE storage for your silverlight videos and applications. When you upload your apps you are then given a section of JavaScript that you can copy and paste into your own web site for free video hosting. For more information on using Windows Live apps on your web sites have a look at

Throught the day we managed to get a number of interviews and am really looking forwards to an interview with Scott Guthrie on the second day of MIX.

The day ended with a final show down between the people attending the event fighting for the crown of Guitar Hero. I think this was a billiant competition with all competetors putting on a great show. The winners ended up bagging themselves a great graphics tablet and also means I will now start training my Guitar Hero skills for the next MS event that I go to.

Overall the first day was a great experience and I can't wait for what they have in store for us in the second day of MIX. There is a number of talks on Orcas and the .NET 3.5 framework that I am particularly looking forwards to not to mention whatever tricks they have up their sleeves.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

MIX:UK Fast Approaching

MIX:UK 2007 just around the corner, with a couple of days to go until the event. MIX is a annual event held by Microsoft, displaying the newest technologies both for designers and developers. This years agenda seems to be focusing on web design/development with alot of focus on Silverlight, RIA and how to create and get the most out of these cutting edge goodies.

Lucky for me being a MSP I have been able to grab myself a ticket to attend the event. Whilst at the event I will be hunting down unsusspecting attendes and speakers to try and get video interviews which will be posted on Channel 8 at a later date.

Recently I have been trying to get in touch with as many people who will be attending to try and secure interviews with some of the speakers but as you can imagine with the amount of people at the event as well as the local media it isn't plain sailing.

However I have been told there is a possibility of getting an interview with Scott Guthrie, which is awesome as apparently he will not be giving interviews to the press. This does put a little more pressure on us to get a good interview. Scott is a general manager of a number of teams at Microsoft over in the states, he is in charge of teams which develop such things as ASP.NET, WPF and Silverlight to name just a few. Scotts blog can be found here.

MIX isn't all about learning about the latest tech but also getting to know other people in the community and with the MIX Munchies after the first day of the event this is the place to mingle. There will be a DJ and drinks being put on before we head out for a bite to eat, I have to say this is one of those opportunities to make the most of as there will be so many interesting people about.

I have also just found out that the tube strike has been canceled which means that the hassle of trying to get accross London for 8:30 in the morning is reduced.

I'm really excited about the event and can't wait till it all starts. I will hopefully keep you updated as the event develops (if I can find a WiFi access point).

Thursday, 6 September 2007

WWE Silverlight

Everyone has to check out this new site from the WWE (Wrestling) built using silverlight it is apsolutly awesome. It has some cool vids on there Wrestle Mania 3! Check it out!