So last week I decided to admit that I might need a hard drive with a version of Windows on it. Sadly, I ripped the sticker off of my laptop (which came with a version of it preinstalled from Dell) since I didn't think I'd ever want it again. No biggie, pirating it is no problem these days. It sucks to miss out on a bunch of non-security updates because my pirated key can't pass Windows Genuine Advantage muster, but it's better than dealing with a 9 hour phone call with a Dell rep in India to tell me what my missing CD Key was.
Anyhow, part of the reason to have Windows installed is to be able to develop Windows applications, so I figured I'd be stuck buying a copy of Visual Studio or using some ridiculous excuse for a command-line compiler using the worst command line interface any operating system could ever hope to have. Microsoft never followed the Apple lead when it came to providing free development software and resources, but going straight to their (MS) site to see what sort of crippled solution they were going to stick me with, I found the "Express" editions of Visual [fill in the blank], which are free forever as long as you download them before November 7th.
I'll assume that a lot of the neat debugging tools are going to be absent, and possible source control integration, but I'm not writing commercial software here so no big deal. Here's to hoping that my next blog entry isn't about how these tools didn't even live up to my mediocre expectations.