28 Feb 2011

[MVP Summit 2011] - It's cold

What I learnt at MVP Summit today?

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It’s COLD, really, really cold. It’s raining and windy, which makes it colder.

This explains a lot about Microsoft & Seattle:

  • Lot’s of micro breweries – cause beer helps with the cold
  • Lot’s of coding – cause it’s too cold to go outside
  • Lot’s of awesome friends – cause nothing rocks like chatting to a friend at a fire in Starbucks
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27 Feb 2011

[MVP Summit 2011] - Touring with the local

Day 2 of Summit has been a blast as Rudi Grobler (friend of The show) and I, spent the day seeing a different side of Seattle and surrounding as we were shepherded about by Rein Hillman, a local to these parts. Having a local with a car makes a huge difference – you eat and see things that no tour guide will ever tell you. Like:

  • The best Tereyaki: Yummy Tereyaki
  • The biggest geek shop: Fry’s
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  • Some awesome board game shop
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  • A few of the local bars – most were closed though, so no planning on our side.

All in all, a lot of fun and food Smile 

In the evening we headed down to Kent and the ShoWare Center to watch ICE HOCKEY! Which is an insane sport where I do not understand a thing that happened except goals – rest was just too fast and complex for my brain. I wish I had half the skills and reflexes those guys have.

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Time to hit the pillow, tomorrow is all starts and I need my energy!

24 Jan 2011

Enabling Flip 3d with Logitech Performance MX Mouse

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I purchased a Logitech Performance MX Mouse (to replace my other Logitech V450 mouse) which has a number of fantastic features:

  • Darkfield optical sensor which works on everything, including glass
  • The awesome and tiny wireless pickup that can remain plugged in all the time.
  • Ability to charge off of USB and still work! 
  • 7 Buttons

imageOne of those 7 buttons defaults to a feature called Application Switcher. For Mac users this is exactly like Expose and for Windows users it is like a full screen task switcher. 

In fact on Mac runs Expose but on Windows this is a custom application and really doesn’t have the feel or the polish that the Flip 3d (the Windows+Tab thing) which ships with Windows Vista and Windows 7.

 

imageSo how do you change this? There is many posts about using macro’s, assigning specific applications or even hacked drivers but from my own experience this is no longer needed and it appears most people do not know about it because it is so well hidden.

 

The first step is to download the latest version of SetPoint, the mouse software, from Logitech which at time of writing is 6.2. However the mouse actually ships with 4.7, a version over 3 years old! This is really odd since the mouse was only launched less than 1 year ago!

 

imageOnce upgrade go to the Button Settings section, select the button and set the task to Other this will bring up a dialog with a massive drop down full of options. If you look in here for Flip 3d or maybe some alternative on application switcher you will not find it. However there is an option called Document Flip, which you guessed correctly is Flip 3d.

Set your mouse to this and viola!

04 Jan 2011

It's MVP time again

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Exactly a year and a day ago, I blogged about being awarded a MVP from Microsoft and I am proud to announce that I have been awarded a MVP for a second time!

Thank you to all that were part of making this happen, I am very honoured by all of you.

What is an MVP? In short it is a thank you for helping Microsoft communities. The long version can be found here.

My planning for MVP Summit in Feb/Mar has already been done so I am looking forward to seeing the other MVP’s and product team!

I would also like to congratulate my fellow January MVP’s in particular the South African ones: Zayd Kara (ALM for the second time) and new to the MVP’s Veronique Palmer (SharePoint).

01 Dec 2010

What is an ALM MVP?

If you asked me 12 months ago what an ALM MVP was I would likely have told you something – unfortunately that something would have been completely wrong. One of the most important things I learnt this year from being an ALM MVP, is what an ALM MVP actually is.

What is an MVP?

First it is an award, this means you get it as recognition for doing something which benefits the community of people who use a Microsoft product (or products). It is also very important to note that the reason it is awarded to one person is seldom it is awarded to another person – no two people are alike, neither are their community contributions and so the awarding is unique per person.

I think it is safe to assume that if you going to so something which benefits many people using a specific product, you need to know something about that product Winking smile However being a MVP is not meant to indicate that this person is an expert in a certain product/s and they know everything about the product.

This doesn’t mean that a lot of MVP’s aren’t brilliant, many are scary smart, first two that jump to mind are Ed Blankenship ALM MVP and Jon Skeet C# MVP, but at the end of that day – all MVPs are people, like you, with limits and gaps in knowledge.

The ALM Stadium

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ALM MVP’s have an additional level of complexity since the community that they helped revolves around not one single product, like Zune MVP’s for instance, but is actually made up of many products and components. Above is the “stadium” picture which shows a lot of (most of?) the components which make up ALM.

A ALM MVP may know and work in one product/component and never see the other ones. An example of this is Zayd Kara ALM MVP, who is deeply IT Pro focused – so he understands installing the systems, build in TFS etc.. but he seldom opens or works in the Visual Studio IDE so he may not know as much about it as a other ALM MVPs.

As I stated above the reasons someone is awarded differ and so the area and skills in the ALM MVPs differ from person to person. 

Misconceptions

In the form of a Q&A:

  • Q: As an ALM MVP you must be a TFS expert?
  • A: While TFS is a major part of ALM, that simply is not true. I look at myself and while I know TFS, can do an install, understand the API and how to integrate – ask me to edit a process template and I have no idea where to start. However ask me about Visual Studio and I can talk your ear off!
  • Q: As an ALM MVP you must be a Microsoft fan boy and only promote their tools?
  • A: Not at all! MVP’s are not a Microsoft fan club.

    Yes, I am a fan of Microsoft tools but I am also critical of them. You want to see some of the most critical people of Microsoft is MVP’s – they care and fight on behalf the community. As most (all?) MVP’s we are matured to realise that these are just tools and you need to pick the right tool for the job, and that sometimes isn’t what Microsoft currently offers.

  • Q: Microsoft uses the MVP system as a way to find and hire staff?
  • A: While some MVP’s have moved to Microsoft, Willy-Peter Schaub previously a VSTS MVP and now working for Microsoft comes to mind, the hiring of MVPs is not common practise.

    Also worth thinking about, is that Microsoft wants the best of the best (which company doesn’t?), MVP’s are awarded for their community work – not being the best of the best C# programmer (for example) so sometimes that means that MVP’s are not the best fit and the final thing weighing against you (as told to me by a Microsoft employee) Most of the Microsoft employees do not even know of or understand the MVPs so there is not a lot of help in their.

    However being a MVP means you are likely following key people so when exciting jobs are announced ,like the way I knew about these cool jobs, you are first in with your CV. 

  • Q: You must blog/write a book/tweet/present at x or something else to be a MVP?
  • A: No, there is no formula to become a MVP. If you want to be a MVP, work hard for the community in any and as many ways as possible and the MVP maybe will follow.
  • Q: Becoming a community lead is the way to be a MVP?
  • A: This one has come up recently in the Information Worker user group where people have wanted to become leads so that they become MVP’s.

    First there is no single way to becoming a MVP – the IW user group leads are a good example of that we have a few MVP’s but we have more non-MVP’s as leads. Second if your motivation of helping the community is to become a MVP, then I doubt you will become a MVP because your motives are wrong. MVP’s do what they do for the community not because they want to be a MVP, but because they love the community.

Thanks

To make sure I wasn’t still wrong, I did ask for some feedback from fellow MVP’s and Microsoft staff and I thank you all for your contributions in particular Willy-Peter Schaub, Ruari Plint and Zayd Kara.

14 May 2010

Visual Studio ALM Ranger Champions for 2010!

Group of Blue Men Tossing Another Into the Air Clipart Illustration I am a proud contributor to the Microsoft Visual Studio ALM Rangers (see this post for who they are) and each year, the Rangers have a vote for who they believe are helping the Rangers initiatives the most. The top four from the votes are honoured with the title of Champion! I was honoured in 2009 to be included in the list of the four champions and even more honoured that I have again been listed in the top 4!

Congrats to the other three champions and especially to Mathias Olausson, who was also re-awarded!

For more details on the latest Rangers champions see: http://blogs.msdn.com/willy-peter_schaub/archive/2010/05/12/external-visual-studio-alm-rangers-the-votes-have-been-tallied-and-the-2010-champions-are-have-been-known.aspx

12 Apr 2010

Article in the BB&D Newsletter

After being at BB&D for almost two years, I finally managed to get an article in the BB&D newsletter! The article is about my trip in January to Canada and US for the ALM Rangers work! This was a different experience than writing for my blog, because this had to go through an editor and a copywriter before it was included. They made enough changes to the article that reading it myself, it felt strange because it sounds like me, just a different me. This article will now be shipped off to the BB&D offices around the world so that should be very exciting!

article

Click the image for a bigger view of it.

Thanks to Martin for spotting that the clicking of the image didn't give a bigger view, which is now fixed up.

02 Mar 2010

MVP Summit 2010, Sightseeing - Part 3 (Warning Photo Heavy)

[The series index can be found here.]

Considering Zayd Kara, Rudi Grobler, and I were in Seattle we took a few days extra to sightsee around the town and so here is some of the highlights from the camera:

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First thing we did was find the Needle – since it was the only thing Rudi wanted to see.

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The entrance to the Microsoft Visitors Centre – worth a look at the cool tech. Not enough Visual Studio in there though ;)

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A entire store devoted to Lego was almost too much for me! You could even buy individual bricks based on type and colour for specific products.

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At the Sci-Fi Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM), I geeked out A LOT (ask Rudi about my running tour of the place). R2-D2 was cool.

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Still at SFM the flying cop car from Blade Runner!

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Right next to SFM was EMP – Experience Music Project. This is the HUGE concert screen in the lobby.

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The Yes time capsule at EMP.

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Rudi Grobler, Zayd Kara, and myself in our “band” at EPM!

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The Eagle artwork at the SAM (Seattle Art Museum) Olympic Park.

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