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March 31, 2009

DreamSpark: Download Microsoft Development Software for Free | Posted at 11:39 AM

I have some awesome news! Now instead of paying $500 for the latest Microsoft development software, students can get it for free using Microsoft DreamSpark.

For U of MN students, here's how to get started in less than 90 seconds:

  1. Visit http://dreamspark.com
  2. Click the product you want
  3. Click Sign-In
  4. Sign in with your Windows Live ID (Hotmail, or any other Microsoft account)
  5. Click "Verify" on the product page
  6. Choose your continent and country
  7. Wait for the schools to load in the right box, choose University of Minnesota
  8. Login with your X.500
  9. Click "Download" for whatever method you want (download manager or web browser)
  10. Voila! All done!

Of course, that's not all you get. Students also get one FREE voucher for a Microsoft Technology Specialist certification exam! It's first-come, first-serve, so get one now and sign-up for a seat! There are plenty of times for MN exams.  When choosing an exam, choose ones that begin with TS (Technology Specialist).

After clicking "Get Key" on the above link, make sure to print out the page and save it somewhere because you must bring it to the exam site.

On the Start page for ProMetric, click the Choose a Location. Select US, Minnesota and the first exam set. Then click Next. Choose an exam (sort by Name and scroll down to TS). Choose something you know you are proficient in, for me, I am taking the TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 ASP.NET Development since I've had years of experience using it.

After creating an account, you may need to repeat finding a location and test center. Once you arrive at the test center locations page, find a test center close by and click Schedule an Appointment. Then choose a date that works best (mine is May 22). You cannot schedule anything after 8 weeks from the current date. You should wait if you want a later date.

My exam was $125, it's awesome that I get to take the exam for FREE! That is definitely super awesome.

March 6, 2009

Simple BlackJack Implementation in VB.NET [Sample] | Posted at 2:48 PM


Along with a new sample section on my Intrepid Studios web site, I've also added a simple BlackJack implementation written in VB.NET. It was written for my programming class last semester and I'm just now posting it.

This is not the uber-awesome BlackJack I've mentioned before. That is still not ready for packaging. However, keep tabs on this blog or my business blog to find out when it hits.

March 5, 2009

Harmonix: Your Quality Control is SHIT. [Rant] | Posted at 12:05 AM

Don't buy Rock Band 2 drums, they suck.

Update: Yes, I know that is not the RB drum set… but my rant still applies. By the way, my old RB drum set (that got replaced) and gave to my friend is now broken as well.

Dear Harmonix Quality Control,

Okay, I think I've had enough of this… and yes, I'm going to swear in this post, go cry to your mommy you little baby.

Since buying Rock Band 1 and subsequently Rock Band 2, I've seen or experienced these issues:

  • Replace my RB1 guitar (strummer)
  • Replace my RB1 drum set (sensitivity)
  • Throw away my broken pedal
  • The replacement guitar strum bar STILL sucks but I only have it because it looks sweet
  • Watched my friend's RB1 drum pedal break (and all the thousands of other people)
  • Watched my friend's RB1 drum pads break (yellow didn't work)
  • Watched another person's RB2 drum pads break

Oh and by the way, my girlfriend's 2 year old Guitar Hero III controller? It still is fully functional (battery sometimes gets loose). Yes, they have problems, but at least they last longer than 60 days.

On New Year's day I purchased stand-alone drums for Rock Band 2 off Amazon considering, "Hey, they must have fixed all the crap that plagued the Rock Band 1 sets, so who needs a warranty?!"

Guess what?

They're already broken. That means they're worse than RB1 drums.

First, the drum pedal wasn't working (Valentine's Day) and the pads were fine. Okay… Then my Xbox breaks (fine, not your fault) and when I get it back, the drums don't sync. They're still blinking right now, in fact. Such a simple little thing that EVERYONE ELSE GETS RIGHT.

Yes, I've tried everything the other hundreds of people have tried.

This is sickening. I paid $80 for these drums, they work for a few weeks, then 62 days later they break and I can't return them because I bought them off Amazon. That's $80 down the drain. Unbelievable.

Also, I'm not the only one. Plenty of people in these threads have said they've needed to return the sets twice until they got a good set. THREE TIMES until a good set?

It was tolerable when I could easily get them replaced without this stupid 60 day warranty bullshit. I could get them replaced within a week or two. Fine. And now because you know you have shoddy manufacturing you decide to put a limit because I bet so many people have returned faulty products.

You make good games, excellent games, but you make shitty instruments (or your manufacturer makes shitty instruments). Neversoft was correct when they said we'd buy their instruments when your shit breaks. I probably will go out and buy the GH drums when I have some money to throw away again.



A Loyal Fan [to the game]

PS. I may forgive you of your transgressions if you can somehow manage to get Blind Guardian, Ensiferum, Heavenly, Helloween, better Iron Maiden (done!), W.A.S.P., Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, and A Night at the Opera by Queen onto the Rock Band music store.

In other words, I will maybe never forgive you.

March 3, 2009

10 Office 2007 Tips & Tricks [Self-Improvement] | Posted at 6:07 PM

As a Microsoft Student Partner, we're doing a new campaign to promote Office 2007.

I've created a deck of 10 useful tips & tricks I've learned while using Office 2007. It's impossible to list everything but I go through some key features that you may have overlooked.

I've posted it on Live SkyDrive, an excellent cloud storage (25GB!).

I will also probably share it on SlideShare.