Watch your Azure Account

By James at April 29, 2010 03:57
Filed Under: Microsoft, Life in General, MVP

The other night, Carmina and I were at our computers taking care of business and stuff, when the following conversation took place.

Carmina: “James, what did you buy from Microsoft today?”

Me: “Um, nothing”

Carmina: “Microsoft just withdrew $315 from our checking account”

The transaction had a phone number so I called the next day. It was for my Azure account I had setup to play around with and do presentations on. When I started the account, I was asked to enter a credit card number as proof of identification, and since I have a MSDN account with my MVP, and that gives me 750 compute hours a month, I thought I was good.

Last month I received a notice from Microsoft Online Services that there had been a problem with my credit card. Wondering what that was all about, since I hadn’t been using the services I logged into the site to see what was going on. This is what I saw…

image  and I clicked on Subscriptions


then Actions, which had the following options, “View subscription details, Edit service details, Opt in to auto renew, and Edit billing information”. No where did I see anything to check on activity.

Back to the phone call. I was told in addition to Compute Hours there are also Upload charges and Storage charges, and even if an application is suspended on Azure, i.e. not active, it is still accruing storage charges. In addition, SQL Azure charges of $10 per month, are not included in the 750 hours/month which comes with my MSDN subscription.

Windows Azure Compute charges: $0.12 per hour
Windows Azure Storage charges: $0.15 per hour Yes, $0.15 per hour just to store the files even if the app is not running.

The moral of the story. Azure is a great platform, and I recommend you dive in and get comfortable with it. BUT, remember to take down your apps when you are done testing. Don’t leave them up there.

Oh yeah. Also take the time to look a little further on the portal. I didn’t see the tiny text the other times I was one the site.


Time to get a second job,


Free training from Microsoft

By James at May 21, 2009 03:24
Filed Under: Microsoft, Technology in General, Web Development

Microsoft has released two sites with tons of free training. Yup, I checked it out and it's free.

"Ramp Up",, covers topics from moving from ASP or PHP to ASP.NET, ASP.NET, Mobile Developent and Sharepoint. has tons of webcasts and training materials, geared towards solution providers, however the content is available for all.

Check it out.



It’s official! I’m an MVP. Time for a nap.

By James at April 01, 2009 04:27
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG, Life in General, Microsoft, MVP

I was up way late again, this time checking email every 30 seconds for the “official” congratulations message. Click – Wait – Click – Wait – Repeat. “OK Johnson”, I say to myself. “Go to bed, it will come.”

7:00 am – nothing
7:30 am – nada
8:00 am – hmm, ok
8:30 am – nervous tension starts
8:45 am – uh oh, comments are coming in from last night’s blog
9:00 am – where is that darn thing?
9:01 am – this can’t be an April Fools Joke, can it?
9:02 am – maybe I shouldn’t have blogged last night and they took it away?
9:15 am – more nervous tension, beads of sweat on my face
9:30 am – this *REALLY* can’t be an April Fools Joke, can it?
9:31 am – HEY! there’s an email in the Junk folder?! WTF?
9:31:05 am – YAHOO! LIVE!



For quite some time, this is something I have been wanting and working for. Not for the recognition, more to learn what all the mystery of the MVP is about, to sneak a peak behind the blue door, to reach out and touch the secret squirrels.

Of all the emails that have come in the last 24 hours, there is one line that stands out:

…enjoy the award; take advantage of the opportunities it offers you…

Believe me… I fully intend to. I can’t wait to dive into the MVP site to check out what’s there.

Thanks again to everyone who watches my back and helped me get to where I am today.


Time for a nap.

Wow! What a roller coaster ride. I'm dizzy.

By James at March 31, 2009 15:31
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG, Life in General, Microsoft, MVP

How many of you have watched the movie Parenthood? In one speech, Grandma makes a little statement about when Grandpa took her on a roller coaster…

“I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me feel so frightened, so sick, so excited, so scared, so safe, and so thrilled, altogether! Some didn't like it. They wanted to go on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”

I usually prefer the roller coaster as well, but for the past month I have been quietly wishing for the merry-go-round.

I have many great friends who are always there to support me. And because of my work with the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group and other .NET community efforts, several of them took it upon themselves to nominate me for a Microsoft MVP award. Thinking, and being told, it was a slam dunk, I was disappointed when I received an email last month telling me there just wasn’t any room for me, and perhaps next go round.

With development and management issues at work, supervisors reneging on their decision to let me attend Mix, so much code churn I’m going to patent C# butter, and then to top it all off, yesterday… “at our board meeting three weeks ago, we decided to cut back the IT department and eliminate your position.”  (A software company without a developer – smart decision. I’m sure they’ll be around a long time.)

Last night was rough. I stayed up till three doing the online resume thing and filing for unemployment. Carmina and I discussed if I should go into the office today, and decided I should. More along the lines of “they can’t get rid of me that easily”  than anything else.

Sitting in traffic on the 91, my phone rings. It’s one of my Microsoft friends, Daniel Egan. He starts chatting, then coyly asks, “have you read your email today?”  Nope, buddy, I’m on the road. He then goes on to start babbling about getting to a computer, not wanting to spoil the surprise, then, all of a sudden he blurts out, “you got your MVP! I just got off the phone with Suzanna.”

Ok, I like to play April fools jokes on my kids and everything, but after yesterday now is not the time. Daniel assures me its true and when I get into the office and have a chance to check my email there is this little tidbit waiting for me.

MVP prémio

Bem James, apenas não sei o que a say…. Excepto parabéns! Sei, apenas quando pensei que não era que vai acontecer, você foram aprovados! Bem-vindo ao programa MVP, conhecimentos de dev de aplicativo de cliente. Você receberá um e-mail oficial (ou dois) mas queria deixar sabe um dia mais cedo porque esse é o tipo de renegade estou;~)

Por favor manter esta notícia para si mesmo até receber a notícia oficial amanhã. Parabéns novamente e bem-vindo!

Suzanna Moran
Sr. MVP Lead, Community and Online Support

So trying to be a good sport I don’t tell anyone the news. Well Carmina deserved to know, so I called her. I’m waiting and waiting. It’s like being 12 all over again on Christmas Eve.

While at my desk at home, doing some work I start noticing some Tweets come in from @Zannabanna; “congratulations this, w00t that”. Then right about 8 pm PDT, I see the following:

Zannabanana Welcome, welcome NEW MVP @jamesLatringo :~)

Hmm… a quick little DM to Suzanna: “hey. does this mean I can shout it out now?”

The response: “SHOUT IT OUT! I figure hey, it's after 8 PM on the west coast, besides, I can NEVER wait!”

Well, what can I say? It’s still not April 1, and I haven’t received the “official” email, but boy, do I have proof!


So, is anyone in the market for a well seasoned ASP.NET/SQL Developer who just got his MVP? I’m available and ready to roll.

Thanks everyone for helping me to get to this part in my career. I couldn’t have done it without you.


Firestarter 2008 ADO.NET Data Services Slides and Code

By James at May 18, 2008 09:47
Filed Under: Web Development, Microsoft

Yesterday I gave my presentation on ADO.NET Data Services at the Firestarter SQL 2008 event at the Microsoft Training Center in Irvine. I had a great time presenting, they even had to move my group to a bigger room, and it more than made up for the stress of trying to prepare a presentation with fluidly changing bits.

For your pre-beta, pre-CTP enjoyment I give you my slides and code (588.30 kb)

If you have questions, drop me a line,


Code Trip - First Evening

By James at March 27, 2008 05:54
Filed Under: Life in General, Microsoft, The CodeTrip

Damn train. We're stopped for a while, 'cause they can't get the doors closed. Woody picks me up in Tustin and away we go.

The MSFT Offices in Irvine are cool, I always love hanging around at that place. Woody introduces me to Erin Jacobs, and get reintroduced to Jason Mauer.  Spend some time helping to setup. 6:00 PM and people start to arrive, grab their food and mingle.

First presentation is on iZoofari, the Silverlight 2 based mapping application which Interknowolgy did for the San Diego Zoo. This is a an awesome demonstration of the power of Silverlight 2 and Blend.

It's getting a bit hot in the room, and the 100+ people, with the food warmers is making it worse. Time for a break to let the room cool down. I'm having a blast! lots of my friends are here; Jennifer Louie, Alvin Xu, Art Villa, James Lin, Mike Vincent, Daniel Egan, Stephen Rose, Rick Korbeck....

Next up is Jason Mauer's presentation on how TheCodeTrip web site works. There are a ton of moving parts behind the site, and Jason has some great code and techniques for mashing up all the GPS, Twitter, Silverlight, etc. It all runs on Windows Workflow, and his presentation is the one which finally cements in my head on how it works. Jason is an *outstanding* presenter.

Last is Woody's presentation on IE8 beta 1. As usual, Woody takes an awkward topic (IE, beta software, etc.) and makes it fun and entertaining. Great job Woody!

Clean up the meeting room then head out to a  local restaurant to meet up with some people and have a few drinks. It's a great time, but the karaoke by the drunk ones, make my ears bleed. It must be the waitresses first night as well.... oh well. Drinks with friends and new acquaintances, what could be better?

Woody and I head back to the bus. It's so effing cool. After chatting, checking email, etc., it's 2:30 am...crikey. Time for sleep.

Tomorrow is XNA Day at Cal State Fullerton, then SQL Data Services at USC. Yahoo.


Oh my, is that me?

By James at March 14, 2008 10:04
Filed Under: Microsoft, MIX 08, The CodeTrip

What is this? I knew Woody was video taping when the CodeTrip bus was getting ready to leave. You have to check it out: Scrub to about 1:20 in and see the geek. The guy in the red shirt is my best friend, Rich Manley.



The "Code Trip"

By James at November 20, 2007 07:36
Filed Under: Web Development, Inland Empire .NET UG, Microsoft

One of my Microsoft DE friends, Tim Heuer, came up with a great idea a while back, and just formally announced it today... the "Code Trip". What he's gonna do is gather up all the other Microsoft Western State DEs, strap them into a Winnebago, and hit the road, traveling to cities, towns, villages, and trailer parks, west of the Rockies to see what cool stuff developers are doing with Microsoft products.

codetrip-sign-144Personally, I think this idea just rocks, in fact I even told Tim I would be a roadie, but (ahem) I never heard back. C'est la vie, water under the bridge and all that. :)

Anyway, check out to sign up for the RSS feeds, make some suggestions, tell Tim what you think of this crazy idea....

Yo Tim! How about a stop in the Inland Empire?


Latest crazy song in my head Liquid Soul - Evolution - Action Jackson

Gerald Walsh Presentation to the Inland Empire .NET User's Group

By James at January 09, 2007 18:47
Filed Under: Web Development, Inland Empire .NET UG, Microsoft

Here is the slide deck from Gerald Walsh's presentation - Advanced ASP.NET 2


Advanced ASP.Net 2.ppt (201.00 kb)

About the author

James James is a five time and current Microsoft MVP in Client App Development, a Telerik Insider, a past Director on the INETA North America Board, a husband and dad, and has been developing software since the early days of Laser Discs and HyperCard stacks. As the Founder and President of the Inland Empire .NET User's Group, he has fondly watched it grow from a twice-a-month, early Saturday morning group of five in 2003, to a robust and rambunctious gathering of all types and sizes of .NET developers.

James loves to dig deep into the latest cutting edge technologies - sometimes with spectacular disasters - and spread the word about the latest and greatest bits, getting people excited about developing web sites and applications on the .NET platform, and using the best tools for the job. He tries to blog as often as he can, but usually gets distracted by EF, LINQ, MVC, ASP, SQL, XML, and most other types of acronyms. To keep calm James plays a mean Djembe and tries to practice his violin. You can follow him on twitter at @latringo.

And as usual, the comments, suggestions, writings and rants are my own, and really shouldn't reflect the opinions of my employer. That is, unless it really does.

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