I am way behind on my blogging (too much 'learning' to do!) but thought this was important enough to post quickly about....
It seems the Virtual PC editions of Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 expire prematurely on November 1st. You can find the details here. Bottom line: They're working on getting new VPC images ready so we can all go through the pain of downloading more than 10GB data all over again (presumably mere days before the surely-long-overdue-by-now Release Candidate becomes available).
This sort of problem seems to be almost mandatory with Microsoft software. I remember the time it bit me most was with a new release of Office. I had an important presentation to give a client on a Monday morning and had foolishly used the new features in a beta release of Office which had gone on sale but which hadn't been made available to MSDN subscribers. The advertised expiry date of the beta arrived 2 months early, and several days before the RTM'ed software was actually made available for download on MSDN.
Luckily PC World are open on Sundays and the software HAD gone on sale. But it was an expensive lesson to learn about how MSDN subscribers get treated and Microsoft's quality control on expiry dates!
At least this time people have been told BEFORE they lose all their hard-written data (at least if they monitor the blogs!)
UPDATE Sunday, 28th October 2007: You can use an existing Windows 2003 Server license key to update the evaluation version and avoid losing all your data. Unfortunately the update process takes a couple of hours because you have to effectively partially reinstall the base OS. The details of this 'workaround' can be found here.
Recently Discovered Useful Links
ASP.NET: Get Rid of Regular buttons, Use Link buttons - Ryan Ternier makes a convincing argument for abandoning use of the regular ASP.NET button and using Link buttons (with some nice CSS) instead!
ASP.NET: Long Delay on First Request to an ASP.NET 2.0 Application - Seems there's a nasty bug in the ASP.NET 2.0 code. There's no HotFix yet, but The Striped Cat has all the details in the meantime.
ASP.NET: Understanding what PageRegisterRequiresPostBack Does - a good technical article on why this is needed and what it does. Essential reading if you're struggling to understand proper and correct use of ViewState.
ASP.NET: Scott Guthrie's latest links for ASP.NET, Visual Studio, AJAX, Silverlight and IIS 7 - Saves me having to type in another half-dozen essential links. Guthrie's the General Manager for all things ASP.NET so if you're not checking his blog on a daily basis you should be! Lots of good stuff in his latest link listing.
Data Access: Getting Started with the ADO.NET Entity Framework - if you're as confused as I am by the differences between the upcoming ADO.NET Entity Framework (so is it 'LINQ-to-Entities' or is it 'The ADO.NET Entity Framework') and LINQ itself these new 'Getting started' samples may help. Then again they may not!
Expression: Sign up for the Microsoft Expression newsletter - You can do so here, although since the confirmation screen says this will start in September 2007 then either this link has been around a long time or it took them longer than expected to launch!
.NET Utilities: Creating Zip Archives in .NET (without an external library like SharpZipLib) - It seems not everyone's happy with the (L)GPL license that comes with SharpZipLib. Jon Galloway looks at the options.
Powershell: Windows Powershell Cookbook - I haven't dug into Powershell yet, but when I do there are a ton of books covering it out there. This is a review of the O'Reilly 'Cookbook' which seems to think this is the book to get.
Security: Digital Identity for .NET Applications - A Technology Overview - David Chappell has updated his August 2007 MSDN article with information for .NET developers who have to work with identity (that'll be all of us then!)
Security: XSS Detect - public beta of a new Static Analysis plug-in tool for Visual Studio 2005 - Barry Dorans talks about the public beta and has the links for Microsoft's new Cross Site Scripting Detection tool.
Silverlight: Web Analytics for Silverlight - there's a ton of stuff on Silverlight on so many blogs, and I haven't dug into it yet, but this struck me as a link I'd want to refer to at some point in the future if I wanted to avoid some pain.
VS2008: title="link to Video demonstrating new CSS features in Visual Studio 2008">CSS Support in Visual Studio 2008 - Channel 9 video (16 minutes) giving nice overview of the new CSS functionality in Visual Studio 2008 from Daniel Moth.
VSTS 'Rosario': Visual Studio Team System Code Name 'Rosario' August CTP - Visual Studio 'Orcas' (aka 2008) isn't out of beta yet and already there's public CTP's of the NEXT version??!! Enough already! When do we get to sleep (or am I missing something important here)?
Windows Server 2008: Are you ready for Windows Server 2008? - If not, the Microsoft on ISVs site has links to a free pdf book and some elearning courses.
XBox: XBox 360 HD-DVD Drive Movie-Specific Known Issues - not really work-related but I read so many complaints about problems with different movies on the XBox 360 HD-DVD add-on that discovering this blog was a bit of a God-send. Be sure to follow the referenced link that gives an overview of problem diagnosis.