Well the trip to Redmond was not a total loss, the MSDN subscription has come in quite handy. The first thing I started working with was Visual Studio 2005 because I had some problems with Suns Implementation of The Communications API for Windows, and the Java Media Framework. It seems that Sun as abandon those APIs and I needed something for my robots moving forward. I was able to do in about 4 hours what I could not do in a few years. You can checkout my stories on ScottsBots.Com, my robotics web site.