07 Mar 2011

[MVP Summit 2011] - On learning

MVP Summit is over for 2011 for me, in less than a few hours I board a plane and start the ~23 hour trip home. This was an awesome trip filled with learning both about Microsoft but also personally and the experiences had here rate among some of the best in my life:

  • Being able to attend a special dinner with various Microsoft technical fellows and vice presidents was amazing. My hero, Anders Hejlsberg was there and so were many other geek rock stars (Hanselman, The Gu and so on). What inspired me is the humility they all have. The whole dinner was amazing.
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  • Shooting real guns for the first time was ridiculously fun and I thank Martin, Mike & Chris for offering me that unique experience.
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  • Then heading to the snow (the real stuff this time, not the ice version Canada gave me) and snow boarding. I even threw snow balls!
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  • In South Africa we drink a piss we call beer and don’t think much about it – but here in America they do care. They have hundreds of micro breweries and so many technical terms for the beer. It is just staggering! It is also a lot of fun to go and sit in a brewery and drink the freshest of the fresh beer Smile
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  • Then the Museum of Flight was just geek paradise for someone like me who loves the idea of flying (I do not think of 23 hours in economy class as flying) and space. Even the 4d simulator where you can go inverted and upside down was awesome. I even found time to be President of America for a few seconds.
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  • But most amazing was the new friends I made and the old friends I met up with. It was just awesome in every aspect, but especial mention must go to Rudi Grobler, who left SA with me, shared rooms, and did all the awesome things above (except the special dinner, next year he will be there) and Rein Hillman who put me & Rudi up at his house, opened his family and shuttled us ALL round Seattle.
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Oh, and if you wanted to know how many Dr Pepper I consumed – 17, excluding how many I can get on the planes Winking smile

07 Mar 2011

[MVP Summit 2011] - Memories of Microsoft

As I sit on the couch of the place I have called home for the last 5 or so days with my bags packed, Rudi trying to cheat at chess and the children of the house going to bed, it is insane to think that it was almost 2 weeks ago I was in South Africa trying to find enough clothes to bring and now it is over Disappointed smile

The first rule of being a MVP is don’t talk about fight club NDA material and unfortunately a lot of amazing (and even some boring) news we learnt this week was NDA.

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So what can I share with you?

  • Microsoft is listening – I have mentioned this before but the sheer volume of input sources to Microsoft is staggering. Some of those sources don’t always have good things to say, but Microsoft does factor that in and it is important. If you want Microsoft to change, tell them – just don’t insult them when you do.
  • Microsoft is a business – It is there to make a profit. So when it pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into research, you can expect it wants a ROI. Being this is a technology blog, what does that mean? WATCH MICROSOFT RESEARCH.
  • MVP’s are smart – I have said before that being a MVP is an award for community work but it is not until you sit in a room with some of them you realise how smart they are, and how well they can shoot:28022011559

To everyone from Microsoft who made this week special and for trusting us with information on project double rainbow unicorn*, thank you for all of it – it has been AMAZING!  Smile


* If you have no sense of humour, project double rainbow unicorn is a joke – no such project exists or at least none I know of.

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!

26 Feb 2011

[MVP Summit 2011] - 3 Minutes & 23 hours

It is amazing how much can change in 3 minutes, this was the learning from the 1st day of MVP Summit 2011. I arrived in Seattle with Rudi Grobler for MVP summit after 23 hours of travelling which is frankly just ridiculous.

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During that time I did a lot of thinking and reading (thank god for my Kindle) but shortly after arriving in a VERY cold Seattle I had my first 3 minute mind change. I walked out the lovely SEATAC airport and saw SNOW! I get like a kid with snow, but within 3 minutes the cold was just too much and the appeal of the snow wore off Smile

One of things we did was head to the awesome Microsoft Store – this place is just fantastic. They have so much in there but so little feels like a store. It really feels like a place to go an experiment and play with Microsoft tech: There is Kinect stations, Microsoft Surfaces, tablets & laptops running Windows 7 and a variety of Windows Phone 7 devices.

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The 3 minute lesson here if from the store people – having super friendly and knowledgeable really means that it is so much better and easier to buy there. I hope that this fantastic learning in the consumer space is the start of something more at Microsoft.

Finally we hit a place called The Parlor for some beer & pool and run into a Microsoft Team (WinSE – suspect is second edition, since they had a service pack 1 disk "SE" = Sustained Engineering), just guessing but I think it was their ship party.

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After some pool, where Rudi kicked my ass until another friend Rein Hillman arrived (which is when I fought back fantastically) we left and I had my final 3 minute lesson: Walking with your hands in your pockets, cause it is cold, means you need to using something else to stop your fall and your face doesn’t work well.

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Update: Thanks to Chris Johnson to tell me what SE meant.
20 Jan 2011

Dev4Devs - it's coming!

Update: Event moved to the 5th March 2011 - details: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/southafrica/archive/2011/01/18/devs4devs-returns.aspx

Dev4Dev’s, my favourite event, is coming up soon! It is a free event which happens at Microsoft offices on a Saturday morning where you get to see a variety of topics! The key points that make this awesome:

  • Each presentation is 20min long – so all meat in the topics with no fluff!
  • Even though it is as Microsoft, it is not Microsoft – some fantastic non-Microsoft technologies has been shown before.
  • It’s developers presenting to developers – so no marketing nonsense.
  • You can apply to present in one of the slots – so if you want to present at bigger events (TechEd, DevDays etc…) this is a great way to get on the radar of those who make those decisions!

All the details at: Devs4Devs Returns

For me this is the first one I will miss as I will be in Seattle for MVP Summit Sad smile

12 Jan 2011

Finally an AWESOME competition for South African Developers

logoI often find too many competitions from Microsoft ignore the southern tip of Africa or focus on specific markets, like education with the great ImagineCup event. Finally us hard working developers get a great competition: Internet Explorer 9 Top Developer Competition

This competition wants* developers to either create an awesome IE 9 add-on or light up a web site with some of the new awesome IE 9 features – so if you a web dev, html monkey, C++ or .NET developer you can take part!

The prize? A trip to PDC – the conference were two years ago everyone got hand build super laptops and last year Windows Phone 7 devices**, not to mention it is where the top Microsoft development speakers meet!

So get coding, you only have until March!!

Some things you may want to check out:

* Side note: “The competition wants” really sounds like the competition is a living entity and will punish you if you don’t do this… it isn’t and it won’t.

** My guess for this year at PDC is giving everyone tablets - just looking at what was announced at CES.

11 Jan 2011

Presentation Dump: End of 2010

Previous presentation dumps:

All slides can be found at: http://www.slideshare.net/rmaclean

This is the smallest presentation dump so far, mostly because a lot of the work I did in the second half of 2010 was at public events, like Tech-Ed, and those have already been upload.  One of the big pushes I did in the last part of the year was around design of the presentation and I think the T4 presentation is a highlight of that work for me.

T4 Templates

OData

Developing RESTful Services in .NET

Workflow Foundation 4

Pages