01 Mar 2010

MVP Summit 2010, Shiny - Part 2

[The series index can be found here.]

As with any conference event you can expect to fill you bag with trinkets to bring home. You know the stuff which is interesting but basically you would never pay for it yourself and Summit had some of that, but that Visual Studio jacket I got I would’ve paid for :) However this is not about those things, this is about two VERY special shiny things I got to bring home.

Towards the end of last year I was awarded VSTS Rangers Champion award however at Summit I got my “trophy” – it’s a Visual Studio 2008 Team System box, personally signed with a message from Jeff Beehler!


The second special item was a big surprise in that internally in the Team System MVP’s there is an award for the best MVP (think of being called the Tom Cruise of Top Gun), which Ed Blankenship deservedly won! Not to be outdone, I won the MVP in Residence award for spending a ridiculous amount of time away from home and doing stuff for Microsoft. The trophy for this was a photo frame with a certificate signed by Brian Harry!


26 Feb 2010

MVP Summit 2010, Welcome MVP's - Part 1

[The series index can be found here.]


The welcome banner goes up at MVP summit!

“Remember this is NDA, no talking about it, posting on the internet, tweeting or sharing in any way” – That message I think is the MVP Summit slogan because it was told to attendees so many times, and for good reason. MVP Summit, for those who do not know, is an invite only conference which Microsoft runs yearly at their head office in Redmond, Washington (near Seattle). The conference attendees are made up of Microsoft staff, MVP awardees, and regional directors which means that the depth of knowledge is massive. I was comparing it to TechEd, except every session is interactive and starts at least at level 300 (Advanced) and most of the audience has the knowledge that they could present it too. I cannot go into the details of the sessions because of the NDA’s but what I can say is that all the sessions were direct, open and honest communication between MVP’s and the product teams.


This is what a session looks like at MVP summit. Plenty of MVP’s in front and product team towards the back.

Stepping back for a second let me explain how I got there: Travelling with fellow MVP’s (and co-workers, yip BB&D has 3 MVP’s) Rudi Grobler and Zayd Kara we left Johannesburg to go to Atlanta (15 hours) and what should’ve been a 1 hour stop in Atlanta – which turned into 5 hours, thanks to Zayd’s bag losing it’s boarding pass meaning we missed the flight (admittedly it would’ve been a heroic run to catch it, but that sealed it). Unfortunately Rudi couldn’t get a seat on the next flight and he ended up in Atlanta for 8 hours! We (me and Zayd) touched down in Seattle very late, raced to the hotel and then raced to our first dinner.


Why are South Africans always the last people at the pub?

Summit would be tiring enough between jet lag, getting up early to eat, catch the shuttle to Microsoft campus, spend your day trying to have your brain not explode and catching the shuttles back – but being the limited time there meant using evenings too for special dinners. So I had dinners with MEA MVP’s, product teams, and general all the MVP’s where plenty of networking and side discussions happen.


Ruari, our fearless MVP lead, giving me the evil eye for disturbing his pool skills (which still didn’t help us win) at one of the dinners. 

What I take away from MVP Summit is two fold

  1. Relationships – meeting people you know by email, meeting new people and catching up with old friends.
  2. Guidance – A lot of content is focused on the why rather than the how, this means that I better understand Microsoft and that helps me put myself in a better position at work and in the community.

It really is in the interest of companies to send their employee’s who are MVP’s to the summit (put in conditions to safe guard them from leaving if you are worried about that), because what they bring back, even if they can’t tell you, will help you in the long run.

25 Feb 2010

MVP Summit 2010 - Series Index

This is the series index for my posts on MVP Summit 2010. Item’s will light up when they become available, so check back soon.

Part 1 – Welcome MVP’s

Part 2 – Shiny

Part 3 – Sightseeing

08 Dec 2009

Presentation Data Dump

Over the last year I have done a number of presentations and recently some of uploaded them (unfortunately I cannot upload all, as some contain NDA information) to SlideShare so here is the collection of presentations from the last 15 months or so, in no particular order:

  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data
  • JSON and REST
  • What’s Microsoft CRM all about?
  • Source Control 101
  • SQL Server Integration Services
  • What’s new in the .NET Framework 3.5 SP 1

Click the read more link to see and download them...

ASP.NET Dynamic Data





What’s Microsoft CRM all about?

Source Control 101

SQL Server Integration Services






What’s new in the .NET Framework 3.5 SP 1

28 Nov 2009

Dev4Devs - 28 November 2009

Well today is the day! Dev4Dev’s is happening at Microsoft this morning and I will be speaking on 10 12 new features in the Visual Studio 2010 IDE. For anyone wanting the slide deck and demo application I used you can grab them below.

The slide deck is more than the 6 visible slides, there is in fact 19 slides which cover the various demos and have more information on them so you too can present this to family and friends :)

18 Nov 2009

Note worthy

I have been very focused during the day on a project and my evenings have been taken up a lot with VSTS Rangers work so the blog has lagged a bit so here are some things you should be aware of (if you follow me on Twitter, then you probably have heard these in 140 characters or less):

I was awarded the title of VSTS Rangers Champion - this is a great honour since it is a peer vote from VSTS External Rangers (no Microsoft Staff) and MVP’s for involvement in the VSTS Rangers projects.

The VSTS Rangers shipped the alpha of the integration platform for TFS 2010 - this is important for me because it means some of the bits I have worked on are now public and I am expecting some feedback to get them better for beta and release next year. It is also important since my big contribution to the integration platform, which is an adapter I will cover in future blog posts, has a fairly stable base.

Dev4Dev’s in coming up in just over a week. This is one of my favourite events because it really is event for passionate developers since they have to give up a Saturday morning for it (no using an event to sneak off work). I will be presenting on Visual Studio 2010! Which should be great, based on my first dry run to an internal audience at BB&D last week. Two more of my BB&D team mates will be presenting Zayd Kara on TFS Basic and (if memory serves me) Rudi Grobler on Sketchflow!

The Information Worker user group is really blowing my mind with it’s growth, on Tuesday we had 74 people attend our meeting. For a community that only had a 100 or so people signed up on the website at the beginning of the year that is brilliant. Thanks must go to my fellow leads: Veronique, Michael, Marc, Zlatan, Hilton and Daniel. We will be having a final Jo’burg event for the year on the 2nd and it will be a fun ask the experts session.

09 Oct 2009

TechEd was Green

Lime Green Man Using A Wet Mop With Green Cleaning Products To Clean Up The Environment Of Planet Earth Clipart IllustrationTwo months after the event I finally get around to posting a commentary on an aspect of Tech-Ed Africa, that was so under stated that I am wondering if I attended the same event as every one else. This year Tech-Ed Africa really decided, maybe intentionally and maybe not, to be a very green event. By green I mean the whole environmental aspect. How did they do this:

  1. Delegates bags - one of the highlight of Tech-Ed has always been the delegate bag, which generally I use for the whole next year. They are always great quality but this years bags are made by Owl, and almost every thing that made up the bag was from recycled materials.
  2. Paper less - Missing from the bag was the usual pad of writing paper. Yes, less paper saves trees.
  3. Presentation CD’s - At the end of the event you used to get a CD/DVD with all the slides on it. Not this year, all had to be downloaded later. This is great for the environment as you have less disks to make which generally don’t get used much. As a speaker this is also great since it means the deadline for getting the completed slides to the staff was much longer, so those last minute tweaks that the audience sees, now make the download.

Very interesting approach - would love to know if more was done and why it was not punted more.

11 Jun 2009

Some new presentations

I’ve been presenting up a storm recently: mostly because I have been on a presentation skills course ;) where I learnt a lot of the soft skills about how to be a better presenter. For that course I had to present with slides on something I knew about, so I choose LINQ. You can watch me do my presentation (it’s a mere 7min) or grab a copy of the slides.


After all that was done I have been presenting on the joys of jQuery recently, and rather than actually bore the audience with slides and constant switching to demos I decided to build a presentation system in jQuery which did both the slides and demos. Which you can view below. A few notes on it, to move to the next slide you need to click the globes at the top or press = and pressing - will make you move back a slide. You can also press the print button in the top section to give you a single page print view (i.e. stripped of colours & with my slide notes). What is great is that the entire thing is a single html page and about 100 lines of JavaScript for the slideshow system. Click the thumb nail below to view it: