Visual Basic .NET has been out in the wild for some time now, but there are certainly still those of us out there who haven’t seen it in action. If you’re one of these folks, you probably have lots of basic questions—maybe so basic that you don’t feel comfortable asking them. You could always go buy a book, but let’s be honest: Technical books are boring and expensive. A cheaper, and definitely more fun, option is Microsoft’s VBTV Web show.

Subtitled “Chris and Ari’s Cheap-Donkey Show,” the first Webcast of VBTV showed up on the MSDN Web site in early August, and more are promised. With production values that you’d expect from a late-night public access show and more than a few oddball characters, VBTV delivers some important information about Microsoft’s newest version of Visual Basic in a surprisingly fun and campy format. It’s a refreshing departure from most of the bone-dry Webcast technology infomercials I’ve subjected myself to over the last year.

The first episode of VBTV was subtitled “Chris and Ari’s Cheap-Donkey Show.”

Essentially, what you’ll get in the roughly 50-minute Webcast, is a nutshell version of recent Microsoft presentations at TechEd and Professional Developer Conference trade shows. You’ll see several demos of the new Visual Studio .NET IDE in action and learn about new wrinkles in the VB.NET language. There’s also a brief discussion of the new code security models (delivered by a head in a box) and a brief discussion of .NET’s new Xcopy deployment mechanism.

The best part of the Webcast is the rampant geek humor. While being informative, the show doesn’t take itself, or Microsoft, too seriously. One of the cohosts is clad in a “What would Bill do?” T-shirt that’s obviously a lighthearted send-up of the recently popular “WWJD” line of clothing. At one point, while discussing the new ADO.NET data access library, the show’s hosts quip, “Well, it’s about time we got a new one, we had the last one for, what, one version?” There’s also a running joke regarding the removal of the GoSub keyword from the language and a giant submarine sandwich.

There’s not much earth-shattering new stuff shared here, but the Webcast will be useful to some viewers. Based on some of the e-mails we receive at, there are quite a few developers out there not yet privy to what Chris and Ari have to say—you know who you are. Even VB.NET experts might want to give VBTV a look for the geek humor value alone. In short, VBTV’s no The Crocodile Hunter, but it shares good, basic information, and I hope there’s more of it to come.