For over a decade I have enjoyed so very much being a leading voice for custom solutions that integrate with Microsoft Office. The last 7 ½  years of that time have been as a Microsoft employee gleefully carrying my blue-badge with me all over the world. I’ve gone many places and talked with thousands of people about developing custom productivity solutions. Above all, I’ve been continually amazed and impressed with the many ways our customers extend and customize Office, SharePoint, Exchange, and the rest of the platform to suit their business needs. I remain as confident as ever in the value of Office 2010 and related products to Microsoft’s customers.

Beginning in September, I will be giving voice to new ideas, topics, and initiatives as I begin working for Savvy Sherpa, the best strategic research and business development firm in the world. I’ll be working with valued clients in a variety of industries to incubate and pilot new business products, campaigns, and processes.

Given the changes, I’m retiring this MSDN blog as of today, 11 August 2010. There will be no more updates, and comments will be turned off, but I’ll leave the content as it is. And, I have a new blog oriented around innovation and looking at a variety of problems in new strategic ways:

http://ideasareeverything.wordpress.com

You can also follow my new updates on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/johnrdurant

Here is  the final Rock Thought of the Day (unless someday I become a writer for Total Guitar magazine<wink>):

The Heavier Side: Top Ten Songs and Why--

10. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love by Van Halen— Strangely this song still conveys some element of pop, but it’s actually a very heavy song, loaded with attitude, anger, and isolation. Eddie’s guitar work is unmistakably his own. Re-recorded today it would sound richer and more forceful.

9. Don’t Forget Me by Red Hot Chili Peppers—This song evokes such desperate colors, one of the finest examples of musicians exhibiting maximum trust—trusting the notes and tones to do their job. It very patiently builds layers of dissonance, loneliness.

8. Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin—This is the band in full flight—all the swagger, the seduction, the psychedelic trip. The rhythm section is utterly unshakable allowing Jimmy and Robert to take us places we’ve never been before or since.

7. United States by The Smashing Pumpkins—This song shouts so loud that you are forced to hear. It’s 11 minutes of wrath unleashed. Billy and Jimmy tear down every wall with this one. As my readers know, it’s hard to pick only one SP song, because Geek USA, Silverf***, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Everlasting Gaze, and Marquis in Spades, Tales of Scorched Earth, and so many others are so very good.

6. Tom Sawyer by Rush— This song takes an ingénue and casts him against a backdrop of modern confusion where he’s threatened, ready to strike back. It crashes like a wave on the shores of our innocence.

5. I’m Broken by Pantera—If you ever wondered why Dimebag Darrell is so revered, just listen to the first two bars, and you’ll know—it’s riffing at its best. The whole song is a megaphone of distressed indignation.

4. Judas Rising by Judas Priest—Relentless and fierce. Metal posers of the last 20 years need to use this masterpiece of smoking hot rage as the measuring stick for their efforts.

3. Centuries of Sin by Probot—This is David Grohl’s homage to his metal heroes, and Cronos does the vocals. The song is almost painfully tight, and the energy is frantic. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. A real standout in a world of white-hot wildness.

2. Jambi by Tool— It is one of the few songs I can listen to multiple times in succession and never tire of a single note. It’s as close to a perfect song as mere mortals can write.

1.  Blackened by Metallica—In my mind still the pinnacle of their song writing. Metal was never better before or after by any band.

Rock On