A Canuck In The Machine

Mark Relph - Senior Director - Startup and VC Team

March, 2007

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    Hanging Out In Waterloo


    I have my first "Office Hours" at the Microsoft / Infusion Innovation Centre in Waterloo today.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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    Are You Going To Mix?


    If you are - let us know!  We are planning some cool Canadian activities.  (Watch here, or on the Community blogs for details)

    What's MIX you ask?  Check it out.


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    DEVELOPMENTAL Game Camps!!!



    I have talked a bit about our Game Camps in the past and all of the excitement we saw around the launch of XNA (here, here and here).  (You can read all about XNA here)

    With game development now growing exponentially in Canada – as revealed by overflow crowds at the first Game Camp in Toronto on November 2006 – we saw a great way to support the community.

    In fact, the event was such a hit that developers were soon asking us how to run their own Game Camps! The idea was born to more proactively engage, educate, inspire and support the thriving gaming community.

    Game Camp is a workshop that is organized by volunteers. Microsoft has built content, tools and other resources to help run these workshops. Anyone can run or attend a Game Camp in their area!  Visit www.microsoft.ca/developmental to check it out! (Part of our very cool new Develop Mental Institute.....which yes, is in Flash, but moving to WPF/E)

    By the way - I will be keynoting at the Vancouver Game Summit in May and we will be talking more about XNA (and other good things) 

    XNA Developer Center

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    Surprise, Microsoft Listed as Most Secure OS


    Our corporate focus on security has been extreme in the last years and our customers are seeing the benefit!  Check it out: http://www.internetnews.com/security/article.php/3667201

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    Fame.... even the self-proclaimed Web 2.0 kind...goes to your head....



    Robert Scoble -- from Uncleweed on Flickr

    Robert......... too cool for even SXSW?

    del.icio.us tags:
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    News For Launch Attendees & Our Commitment To You.


    The launch of Office 2007 and Windows Vista was a major event for us here at Microsoft.  As our fiscal year began, we set out to bring you, Canada's Technical Community, the best experience we could as we worked to show you how these new products could help solve your business needs.

    Your (Canada's Technical Community) satisfaction with Microsoft is of critical importance to my team and I.  Everyday we work to understand your needs, bring you great content, bring you great experiences and build a transparent and simple communication paths into Microsoft.  In order to do this we need to listen and respond as best we can.

    Well, for those of you who attended launch - we have listened to your feedback.  You said that you were surprised not to receive any software at the event and that this is a key way you evaluate new products.  We are very happy to announce that individuals who attended the 2007 Microsoft Office system, Windows Vista,  and Exchange Server 2007 Business Value Launch and submitted an evaluation form will be receiving a complimentary Launch 2007 evaluation kit which will include:

    • A Downloadable full copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2007

    • Microsoft Office Running Start CD

    • Resources and Tools for evaluating Windows Vista

    • A Microsoft Partner Solutions DVD.

    The 2007 Launch Kits can help accelerate your evaluation of these exciting technologies. And if you missed a session or want a refresher, check out the 2007 Microsoft Launch post-event page for session videos, tips and tricks, Microsoft software trials, Microsoft partner information and more. 

    The kits are being processed and should be in the mail within the next 2-6 weeks. The kits will be mailed to the address specified on the event feedback form.

    As a reminder, should your organization require additional copies for evaluation purposes, this software is available via MSDN and TechNet Subscriptions, as well as through Software Assurance benefits. Contact your preferred software vendor or your Microsoft sales representative to get details on how to purchase as well as licensing options. To evaluate other Microsoft software, visit the TechNet Beta Central or MSDN Evaluation Center

    Thanks for being a part of Canada's Technical Community and for investing your time and energy with Microsoft.  We definitely appreciate it and we commit to continue to strive to meet your expectations in us.

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    VIC 20 - one of the 10 "worst" PCs ever? Say it ain't so!


    This washingtonpost.com article lists the venerable Commodore VIC 20 as the #7 worst PC of all time.  Hey - it wasn't perfect, but "worst"?!?!  It paved the way for a new generation of computing (and for the Commodore 64 that followed). 


    #7. Commodore VIC 20 (1981)

    Computers of a certain age tend to be beloved even when they may not deserve it. Case in point: The Commodore VIC 20. Yes, we know--it was the first personal computer to sell more than a million units, and the first PC that Linux originator Linus Torvalds ever used. And, of course, all PCs back then were comically underpowered and horsey-looking compared with today's machines.

    But the VIC 20 was a special case. It offered only 3.5KB of usable memory; most machines back then offered at least 16KB. It displayed only 22 characters of text per line (or less than half the length of the line you're reading right now), and its graphics were chunky and cheesy-looking even by 1981 standards. Worse, its TV commercials featured William Shatner as a spokesman way before Shatner became cool in an ironic sort of way.

    Shortly thereafter, the VIC 20 boldly went off the shelves, succeeded by the more powerful (and more deserving of being beloved) Commodore 64.

    Call me nostalgic, but I didn't think it was that bad.... plus, I loved the form-factor and the keyboard :-)

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    Community Connection - Code Camps & Virtual Earth


    A good new video from our Developer Community Team

    Check out - http://blogs.msdn.com/cdndevs/archive/2007/02/28/chris-dufour-on-mvps-code-camps-and-virtual-earth-mashups.aspx

    Video: Chris Dufour on MVPs, Code Camps and Virtual Earth
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    Feedback On The Code Awards


    So, my friend Rick Segal has posted some comments about the Code Awards on his blog here.  He posted a challenge to find the "strange" things about the Awards page. 

    He may have exaggerated the Popiel Pasta Maker, but what the heck, maybe I will also cook something up on my George Foreman Grill :-). 

    So, let me address the feedback here :-)

    First, the date..... 2 things here.  I can't seem to replicate the "2006" date that many people seemed to find.  Mine says 2007..... either way, the answer is (as the comments on Rick's blog infer) that it's like the Oscars / Music Awards / NHL Season - it's part 2006 and part 2007.  So, really we should say the 06/07 awards..... good feedback for next year.

    Second, the use of Flash...... like many developers, the Microsoft website currently uses a lot of Flash for interactive elements.  Is it ironic?  A little.  Is it representative of the real-life use of technology?  I think so.  Will this practice come to an end?  Yes.  At the time when we built this site, WPF was still in beta and I don't think it would have been a good idea to drive thousands of people to download that beta to view this one site.  That said, WPF/E is now ready for prime time and I have directed our group to start focusing on WPF/E development for interactive components going forward and I believe we only have 1 more "legacy" campaign that will be built on Flash.

    Another blog post shows some other confusion / feedback as well... she quotes that the award is for the "best MSDN Flash development"..... that's not correct, so let me clarify.

    The award is for the "best individual or team development" and yes, we are looking to see how Microsoft technology helped them build their solution.

    MSDN Flash Subscribers are eligible to win.  The Flash is our newsletter for Canadian Developers (read by tens of thousands of people every week) - it is your source for info, event notifications, webcasts, blogs and much much more.

    Got any other comments?  Let me know.....

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    MSDN Code Awards - Nominate Now!


    The team here at MSDN Canada is running a very cool contest called the Code Awards.  We've never done anything like this before and I think it is a great idea for the Canadian Developer Community.

    Check out the details here:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/canada/codeawards/ 





    So - why is it cool?

    #1  It's community nominated

    #2  There simply aren't enough programs like this that highlight the great software development done in Canada. 

    #3  There are cash prizes and donations to charity.  Not to mention a gorgeous trophy. 

    We are announcing the winners at EnergizeIT in June......

    FYI for full disclosure:  I am one of the judges :-)

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    Microsoft HD Photo Format - Heading To Standards Body



    The photographer in me loves this news.   JPEG is a great universal format, but we need to find a more modern format that takes advantage of the capabilities of newer cameras.

    Most interesting is the note that Adobe is working with us on this.

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