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

04 Jan 2010

Most Valuable Indian

ee358786_ZaydKara(en-us,MSDN_10)So yesterday I posted about myself getting the MVP award, well today it got better as my friend, co-worker, fellow VSTS Ranger and S.A. Architect lead: Zayd Kara has also been awarded a MVP for his work with Team System! Congratulations Zayd!

03 Jan 2010

And the award goes to...


With the count down clock at T-10 days to my sabbatical trip an email popped into my mail box… it was an email from Microsoft congratulating me on getting the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award for my work with Team System!

What is this MVP Award?

The Microsoft MVP Award is an annual award that recognizes exceptional technology community leaders worldwide who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with users and Microsoft… With fewer than 5,000 awardees worldwide, Microsoft MVPs represent a highly select group of experts. MVPs share a deep commitment to community and a willingness to help others. They represent the diversity of today’s technical communities. MVPs are present in over 90 countries, spanning more than 30 languages, and over 90 Microsoft technologies. MVPs share a passion for technology, a willingness to help others, and a commitment to community. These are the qualities that make MVPs exceptional community leaders. MVPs’ efforts enhance people’s lives and contribute to our industry’s success in many ways. By sharing their knowledge and experiences, and providing objective feedback, they help people solve problems and discover new capabilities every day. MVPs are technology’s best and brightest…

Richard Kaplin, Microsoft Corporate Vice President

So this is a great honour for me to be welcomed into a group of people who I look up to and respect :)  You can see my new MVP profile up at https://mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile/Robert.MacLean

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 :)

29 Oct 2009

Using Outlook 2010 with Google Calendar

Update 1 October 2010: If you want FULL sync, then Google has updated there sync tool to support Outlook 2010 - please go to the Gmail blog for more info. Comments to this post will also be disabled as there is nothing left to say.

If you are using Google Calendar and want to use it with Outlook 2010, you will find that the Google Calendar Sync tool no longer works smile_sad_48

So what can you do? Well Outlook 2010 supports the iCal format and so does Google Calendar - so you can use that to get a basic sync between the two.

To set this up go to your calendar details page in Google Calendar (Settings link at the top of the window then Calendars and finally click on the calendar name), and at the very bottom of the is two sets of icons one public & one private. Right click the iCal icon from the private and select copy URL.


Now in Outlook, go to your calendar and click the Open Calendar button and select From Internet, now paste the URL in the text box and click OK.


There you go, your Google Calendar is now in Outlook 2010.

Downside to this is you now have two calendars in Outlook to work with, but if you click that little arrow next to the calendar name image you can have them display as one and you can easy copy/paste between them.


20 Oct 2009

VS2010/TFS2010 Information Landslide Begins

image001 Yesterday (19th Oct) the information landslide for VS2010 & TFS2010 began with a number of items appearing all over:

30 Jan 2009

Microsoft Newsletters for South Africa

Stumbled across this when taking myself off some newsletters I don’t read any more. When you go to the profile site there is a list of all the news letters, you select which you want to join/leave. However if you change the language to English (South Africa) there are ones specifically from Microsoft South Africa (and actually Africa as a whole). Nice to see this!