A Canuck In The Machine

Mark Relph - Senior Director - Startup and VC Team

February, 2008

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    Me and My New M1330 @ The Heroes Launch


    Gosh, I love this laptop.

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    HHH_CA - Want your own Heroes email address?


    You can - via Windows Live Custom IDs.   Check it out.



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    HHH_CA: Launch 2008: T-12 hours.


    We are at the Direct Energy Centre - setting up and getting ready.  While I was walking over here, I had a few thoughts on the day to help you out if you are attending:



    1. Think about taking transit if you are coming from downtown.  (or walk, if you live as close as I do)
    2. If you need to drive, come along the lakeshore....stay of the Gardner Expressway.....
    3. On the map above I have outlined the parking areas.  If you want to get in and out quickly, I'd recommend parking outside.
    4. I have indicated the door you will want to come in if you are parking outside
    5. If you are at the event, come say hi to me.  I will be in a staff shirt with a BIG camera and the kick-butt Dell M1330 under my arm (once the event starts I switch to photoblogger)
    6. We are giving out some good stuff (hint)
    7. I think there is public for-a-fee wireless
    8. If you want to get a coffee before the event, I recommend Balzac's in Liberty Village.
    9. The content is awesome.


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    From The ITPro Connection Blog: Inside The War Room {HHH_CA}


    The teams are hard at work getting ready not just for the big launch day in Toronto, but also the cross-Canada tour.

    Check out the post here.



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    Up Next: Launch!!!


    HEROES happen {here}


    On Wednesday Thursday my team and I will participate in the most anticipated Microsoft event of the year (ok, outside of Halo) - the launch of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

    I am very proud of the team.  They have been working day and night for weeks preparing for these events.  We have really started to change how we approach these events and I hope you will see some evidence of our new philosophies during these events.

    Things kick off in Toronto with an all-day event featuring our COO - Kevin Turner and a full day of amazing content for Developers, IT Pros and Architects.  We then head across Canada.  I personally will be in Toronto, Vancouver and several of the cities across the country.




    But, is this your average launch event?  No.

    Why?  Simple.  Our focus on you - your skills, your connections, your career.

    • Join us for the community connection events the night before each launch / readiness event.  This event features a unique workshop brought to you in collaboration with CIPS and ICTC.
    • The readiness content is focused on providing you with the skills and information you need to know, not on "speeds and feeds" of a bunch of new software.
    • Track everything - from the community connection blogs to our content coded HHH_CA (i.e. Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

    More to come as the week goes on.........


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    BillG Article In Today's Globe and Mail : What's right with young people today


    Check out the full article here.


    "What's right with young people today


    Globe and Mail Update

    February 25, 2008 at 6:09 AM EST

    One of the striking things about human progress is that so many of the world's most important new ideas were the work of young people. From Isaac Newton's discoveries as a 23-year-old that formed the basis for calculus, to Charles Darwin, who surveyed the Galapagos Islands at age 26, and Albert Einstein, who published his paper on relativity at age 26, young people have been responsible for breakthroughs that form the foundation for much of our understanding of how the world works.................................."


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    Popfly Mashup: Queen West Fire - A Historic Part Of Toronto Destroyed


    Here in Toronto we had a major fire in my neighbourhood.   Queen West has a number of historic buildings that help give the area it's unique character.  I have created this Popfly mashup to pull some of the Flickr photos.  (Click on the icon in the bottom right to view in full screen - requires Silverlight)






    Live Map Of The Area here.


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    Pictures From The BillG Visit At Waterloo


    It was a really great event.  Sold-out despite reading week.  Bill talked about how software will continue to evolve, the importance of students entering science & technology, volunteerism and giving back and finally the work he is doing with his foundation.  Bill was in great spirits and answered a lot of students questions openly and directly.  I had a chance after his talk to meet over lunch with a large number of Waterloo faculty and we discussed in depth how Microsoft Canada and Waterloo can evolve our relationship. 

    Bill Gates at U of W

    Bill Gates at U of W

    Bill Gates at U of W

    Bill Gates at U of W

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    Watch BillG's Talk At Waterloo On Demand On MSN Video


    Bill Gates visits University of Waterloo
    Bill Gates visits University of Waterloo

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    Bill Gates to visit Waterloo for DreamSpark push

    Microsoft is making Visual Studio, the Expression tools and SQL Server Developer Edition available to any Canadian student with an ISIC card. Info-Tech sizes up the impact on the Java

    By: Greg Meckbach
    ComputerWorld Canada  (20 Feb 2008)

    Bill Gates will explain to an audience at the University of Waterloo on Thursday why Microsoft Corp. is offering developer tools free to post-secondary students across Canada, a move one analyst describes as a tactic in the war against Java developer tools.

    Earlier this week, Gates announced Microsoft’s DreamSpark [LINK http://channel8.msdn.com/] program, which gives students free access to its Visual Studio and Expression Studio tools. To get the tools free of charge, Canadian students need an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which is issued by the International Student Travel Confederation, to verify their status as students.

    “Over time we will add a number of other verification means so students can get access to DreamSpark,” said Daniel Shapiro, Academic Program Manager for Mississauga, Ont.-based Microsoft Canada Co.

    DreamSpark is also available to post-secondary students in the U.S., Britain, Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. By visiting a Web site which verifies their identity as students, they can download both the 2005 and 2008 versions of Visual Studio Professional Edition. Other software packages available for free include XNA Game Studio 2.0, Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design, Expression Media, SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition and Windows Server Standard Edition.

    “You’ll see a huge variety of software being built,” Shapiro said. “What we’re hoping to see out of this is students building the next great software company, creating new jobs, developing the skills, so that when they enter the work force in Canada, they’ll be able to grow the industry for us. Part of that is getting trained on Microsoft technology but much more so the fact that they can take their ideas and turn that into reality.”

    But DreamSpark is also a way for Microsoft to develop a generation of students who are familiar with Microsoft’s developer tools, encouraging companies to develop applications using the .Net framework instead of other tools, such as Java, said George Goodall, senior research analyst for London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group.

    “When you look at the world of enterprise applications right now, it’s really coming down to a two-dog fight,” Goodall said. “It’s really Java Enterprise Edition versus Microsoft’s .Net.”

    He added making the tools free for students will increase the number of programmers, database administrators and other IT workers familiar with Microsoft’s .Net development environment.

    From ComputerWorld Canada Java gets roasted by .Net: Info-Tech“Ultimately, if you control the supply of developers and administrators, guess what? There’s going to be more popularity or more demand for those platforms just because the developers are cheaper.”

    Although the tools are available for all users, Microsoft expects demand to be greatest among those studying math, engineering, science and technology. In addition to getting access to the developer tools, students will also get a 12-month membership to the XNA Creators Club. This will allow students to build games for the Vista operating system or for Xbox 360, Shapiro said.

    DreamSpark is also one way of dealing with software piracy, Goodall said.

    “When you look at people using this, students, et cetera, if they want the tools they’re going to get them in a slightly less than legal type of way,” he said. “So another benefit here for Microsoft is the recognition that there probably is a certain degree of black marketing and pirating going on for these kinds of tools already.”

    By encouraging students to use the tools without paying for them, Microsoft is driving demand in the future, Goodall said.

    “It might provide an avenue to give the tools away to drive demand among businesses, (which is) basically the audience who can afford to buy these and where enforcement activities actually make sense and where people are susceptible to software audits and software raids.”

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    DreamSpark - Empowering Students With The Best Tools - Free.


    It will be a big day for us Thursday.  Not only is BillG in town, but we are launching DREAMSPARK.  Are you a student (or know one) and need the best software in your hands?  No problem, we are providing our developer & design tools to you for free.


    Bill Gates talks about Free Software, Students, and Technology


    Just head to the DreamSpark site to get started.  In Canada, there are a few things to know.  In order to verify you will need an ISIC card to show you are a student.  In the near future we will have direct federation with several schools as well as Live@EDU login.  If your school wants to get directly connected, just let me know.


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    More coverage:






    PALO ALTO, Calif. — Feb. 18, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates today will unveil a software giveaway that will ultimately provide millions of college and high school students around the world with access to the latest Microsoft developer and designer tools at no charge to unlock their creative potential and set them on the path to academic and career success.

    The Microsoft DreamSpark student program (http://channel8.msdn.com) makes available, at no charge, a broad range of development and design software for download. The program is now available to more than 35 million college students in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Broad global coverage, as well as an expansion of the program to high school students around the world, potentially reaching up to 1 billion students worldwide, will continue throughout the next year. Gates will share details with students and faculty at Stanford University as part of a U.S. and Canada college tour that kicks off today.

    “We want to do everything we can to equip a new generation of technology leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to harness the magic of software to improve lives, solve problems and catalyze economic growth,” Gates said. “Microsoft DreamSpark provides professional-level tools that we hope will inspire students to explore the power of software and encourage them to forge the next wave of software-driven breakthroughs.”

    Priming the Talent Pipeline

    Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all students whose studies touch on technology, design, math, science and engineering. Students of today are more technical in their everyday lives than ever — representing both their personal interests and what is expected of them when they arrive in the workplace for the first time. The following cutting-edge software will be available to empower students to unlock their ingenuity by building critical skills:

    Microsoft developer tools. Visual Studio is the Swiss Army knife of computer programming. These professional-grade products provide a security-enhanced and reliable environment, enabling students to program everything from a cell phone to a robot or to create their own Web page. Students will also be able to invent compelling new gaming content and make their dream game a reality by porting their creations to their Xbox 360 console.

    • Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
    • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
    • XNA Game Studio 2.0
    • 12-month free Academic membership in the XNA Creators Club

    Microsoft designer tools. This ultra-versatile suite of tools will enable students to vividly bring their creative visions to life in vibrant new Web site designs and more effective digital content, including animation, imagery and photography.

    • Expression Studio, including
    • Expression Web
    • Expression Blend
    • Expression Design
    • Expression Media

    Microsoft platform resources. The foundation for development and design platforms, these products deliver a security-enhanced, reliable and manageable environment for students to more quickly turn ideas into reality.

    • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
    • Windows Server, Standard Edition

    “The opportunity, as a student, to use the same professional tools that I can expect to use after I graduate gives me a real head start in my career,” said Nathan Murith, a computer science student at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who tested the service in a pilot before today’s launch. “I’m already getting more out of my studies, applying my learning to try out new ideas, and gaining new insights into careers in software design and development.”

    Demand for Software Expertise in All Marketplaces and Economies

    Technological innovation is a critical economic growth engine and is expected to generate 7.1 million new jobs in the global economy over the next four years, according to a study of the economic impact of IT across 82 countries and regions carried out in 2007 by IDC and commissioned by Microsoft. The same study found that the IT employment base will grow to 42.5 million people, with the sharpest growth occurring in developing nations.

    “Technology is the ignition key for job growth, economic development and creating sustainable solutions to global problems,” said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. “The emerging economies are forecast to drive over 25 percent of the new IT jobs over the next four years. These jobs will be driven by an evolving, highly skilled labor force. Tech skills are key to employability.”


    In the next six months, the company expects to expand Microsoft DreamSpark to college students in Australia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Japan, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and many more countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe, as well as to high school students by the third quarter of 2008. Students should check http://channel8.msdn.com for regularly posted updates to see when Microsoft DreamSpark will be available to them.

    Microsoft is working with academic institutions, governments and student organizations around the world, such as the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) Association, to ensure the necessary local student identity-verification technology infrastructure exists to bring Microsoft DreamSpark to all students in markets around the world. The program will be expanded as fast as this community-based effort with government and organizations can be connected at a local level in new countries.


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    Bill Gates - Creative Capitalism



    Bill Gates: World Economic Forum 2008

    Remarks by Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation
    World Economic Forum 2008
    “A New Approach to Capitalism in the 21st Century”
    Davos, Switzerland
    Jan. 24, 2008

    KLAUS SCHWAB: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

    If in the 22nd century a book will be written about the entrepreneur of the 21st century, I'm sure -- or even of the 20th century -- I'm sure that the person who will foremost come to the mind of those historians is certainly Bill Gates. (Applause.)

    I don't have to introduce Bill Gates here. I just want to mention when about eight weeks ago we had a phone conversation, and we talked about this session, and we talked about the length, and, of course, in the Davos tradition I said 10 minutes. So, Bill Gates said, "No, I want to make the most important speech which I will deliver this year." And I asked him what is the subject, and he said, "I want to talk about the role of the corporation in society." And since, of course, this subject is at the core of what the World Economic Forum is doing, I said, yes, of course, you have at least 30 minutes, and that's what he has now. Bill, the floor is yours. (Applause.)

    BILL GATES: Well, thank you for that kind introduction and for the privilege of speaking to this forum.

    As you all may know, in July I'll make a big career change. I'm not worried; I believe I'm still marketable. (Laughter.) I'm a self-starter, I'm proficient in Microsoft Office. (Laughter.) I guess that's it. (Laughter.) Also I'm learning how to give money away.

    So, this is the last time I'll attend Davos as a full-time employee of Microsoft.

    Some of us are lucky enough to arrive at moments in life when we can pause, reflect on our work, and say: "This is great. It's fun, exciting, and useful; I could do this forever."

    But the passing of time forces each of us to take stock and ask: What have I accomplished so far? What do I still want to accomplish?

    Thirty years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, my focus was totally on how the magic of software could change the world. I saw that breakthroughs in technology could solve key problems. And they do, increasingly, for billions of people.

    But breakthroughs change lives primarily where people can afford to buy them, only where there is economic demand, and economic demand is not the same as economic need.

    There are billions of people who need the great inventions of the computer age, and many more basic needs as well, but they have no way of expressing their needs in ways that matter to the market, so they go without.

    If we are going to have a chance of changing their lives, we need another level of innovation. Not just technology innovation, we need system innovation, and that's what I want to discuss with you here in Davos today.

    Let me begin by expressing a view that some do not share: The world is getting better, a lot better. In significant and far-reaching ways, the world is a better place to live than it has ever been.

    Consider the status of women and minorities in society -- virtually any society -- compared to any time in the past.

    Consider that life expectancy has nearly doubled during the last 100 years.

    Consider governance, the number of people today who vote in elections, express their views, and enjoy economic freedom compared to any time in the past.

    In many crucial areas, the world is getting better.

    These improvements have been triggered by advances in science, technology, and medicine. They have brought us to a high point in human welfare. We're really just at the becoming of this technology-driven revolution in what people can do for one another. In the coming decades, we'll have astonishing new abilities: better software, better diagnosis for illness, better cures, better education, better opportunities and more brilliant minds coming up with ideas that solve tough problems.

    This is how I see the world, and it should make one thing clear: I am an optimist.

    But I am an impatient optimist. The world is getting better, but it's not getting better fast enough, and it's not getting better for everyone.

    The great advances in the world have often aggravated the inequities in the world. The least needy see the most improvement, and the most needy get the least -- in particular the billion people who live on less than a dollar a day.

    There are roughly a billion people in the world who don't get enough food, who don't have clean drinking water, who don't have electricity, the things that we take for granted.

    Diseases like malaria that kill over a million people a year get far less attention than drugs to help with baldness.

    So, the bottom billion misses the benefits of the global economy, and yet they'll suffer from the negative effects of economic growth they missed out on. Climate change will have the biggest effect on people who have done the least to cause it.

    Why do people benefit in inverse proportion to their need? Well, market incentives make that happen.

    In a system of capitalism, as people's wealth rises, the financial incentive to serve them rises. As their wealth falls, the financial incentive to serve them falls, until it becomes zero. We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well.

    The genius of capitalism lies in its ability to make self-interest serve the wider interest. The potential of a big financial return for innovation unleashes a broad set of talented people in pursuit of many different discoveries. This system, driven by self-interest, is responsible for the incredible innovations that have improved so many lives.

    But to harness this power so it benefits everyone, we need to refine the system.

    As I see it, there are two great forces of human nature: self-interest, and caring for others. Capitalism harnesses self-interest in a helpful and sustainable way, but only on behalf of those who can pay. Government aid and philanthropy channel our caring for those who can't pay. But to provide rapid improvement for the poor we need a system that draws in innovators and businesses in a far better way than we do today.

    Such a system would have a twin mission: making profits and also improving lives of those who don't fully benefit from today's market forces. For sustainability we need to use profit incentives wherever we can. At the same time, profits are not always possible when business tries to serve the very poor. In such cases there needs to be another incentive, and that incentive is recognition. Recognition enhances a company's reputation and appeals to customers; above all, it attracts good people to an organization. As such, recognition triggers a market-based reward for good behavior. In markets where profits are not possible, recognition is a proxy; where profits are possible, recognition is an added incentive.

    This week's Economist had a section on corporate responsibility, and it put the problem very nicely. It said it's the interaction between a company's principles and its commercial competence that shape the kind of business it will be.

    The challenge here is to design a system where market incentives, including profits and recognition, drive those principles to do more for the poor.

    I like to call this idea creative capitalism, an approach where governments, businesses, and nonprofits work together to stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or gain recognition, doing work that eases the world's inequities.

    Some people might object to this kind of market-based social change, arguing that if we combine sentiment with self-interest, we will not expand the reach of the market, but reduce it. Yet Adam Smith, the very father of capitalism and the author of “Wealth of Nations,” who believed strongly in the value of self-interest for society, opened his first book with the following lines:

    "How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."

    Creative capitalism takes this interest in the fortunes of others and ties it to our interest in our own fortunes in ways that help advance both. This hybrid engine of self-interest and concern for others can serve a much wider circle of people than can be reached by self-interest or caring alone.

    My thinking on this subject has been influenced by many different experiences, including the work Microsoft does to address inequity.

    For the past 20 years, Microsoft has used corporate philanthropy as a way to bring technology to people who don't have access. We've donated more than US$3 billion in cash and software to try to bridge the digital divide.

    But our greatest impact is not just free or inexpensive software by itself, but rather when we show how to use technology to create solutions. And we're committed to bring more of that expertise to the table. Our product and business groups throughout the world, and some of our very best minds in our research lab, including a special focus in our research lab in India, are working on new products, technologies, and business models that can make computing more accessible and more affordable.

    In one case, we're developing an interface that will enable illiterate or semi-literate people to use a PC instantly, with minimal training or assistance. In another we're looking at how wireless, together with software, can avoid the expensive connectivity costs that far more than the cost of software or hardware is what stands in the way of computing access in rural areas.

    We're thinking in a much more focused way about the problems that the poorest people face, and giving our most innovative thinkers the time and resources to come up with solutions.

    This kind of creative capitalism matches business expertise with needs in the developing world to find markets that are already there, but are untapped. Sometimes market forces fail to make an impact in developing countries not because there's no demand, or even because money is lacking, but because we don't spend enough time studying the needs and requirements of that market.

    This point was made eloquently in CK Prahalad's book, “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid,” and that's had a huge influence on companies in terms of stretching the profit motive through special innovation.

    An example of this is when the World Health Organization tried to expand vaccination for meningitis in Africa, it didn't go straight to a vaccine manufacturer. It first went to Africa to learn what people could pay. They found out that if they wanted mothers to get this vaccine for their babies, it had to be priced at under 50 cents a dose. Then they challenged the partners to meet this price, and, in fact, Serum Institute in India found a new way to make the vaccine for 40 cents each. It agreed to then supply 250 million doses to distribute through public health systems over the next decade, allowing it to also sell into the private sector.

    In another case, a Dutch company, which holds the rights to a cholera vaccine, retained the rights for the developed world, but shared those rights, with no royalty, with manufacturers in developing countries. The result is a cholera vaccine made in Vietnam that costs less than $1 a dose, and that includes delivery and the costs of the overall immunization campaign.

    Because many of today's advanced products have low marginal costs, whether it's software or medicines or media, so many things, this idea of tiered pricing to offer valuable goods for the poor in a way they can afford it, can be used more broadly than ever before.

    These projects I think provide a hint of what we can accomplish if people who are experts on needs in the developing world meet with scientists who understand what the breakthroughs are, whether it's in software or drugs. Together they can help find poor world applications for the very best ideas.

    Another approach to creative capitalism includes a direct role for governments. Of course, governments already do a great deal to help the poor in ways that go far beyond just nurturing markets: They fund aid research, healthcare; they've done great things. But I believe the highest-leverage work that governments can do is to set policy to create market incentives for business activity that improves the lives of the poor.

    Under a United States law, recently signed by President Bush, any drug company that develops a new treatment for a neglected disease like malaria or TB can get a priority review from the FDA for another product they've made. If you develop a new drug for malaria, your profitable say cholesterol-lowering drug could go on the market up to a year earlier. This priority review could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Another approach to creative capitalism is simply to help the businesses in the poor world reach markets in the rich world. Tomorrow morning I'll announce a partnership that gives African farmers access to the premium coffee market, with the goal of doubling their income from coffee crops. This project will help African farmers produce high-quality coffee and connect them to companies that want to buy it. That will help lift them and their families out of poverty.

    Finally, one of the most inventive forms of creative capitalism involves someone we all know very well. A few years ago, I was sitting in a bar here in Davos with Bono. Late at night, after a few drinks, he was on fire, talking about how we could get a percentage of each purchase from civic-minded companies to help change the world. He kept calling people, waking them up, and handing me the phone to show me the interest.

    Well, it's taken time to get this going, but he was right. If you give people a chance to associate themselves with a cause they care about, while buying a great product, they will. That was how the RED Campaign was born, here in Davos.

    RED products are available from companies like Gap, Motorola, and Armani. Just this week, Dell and Microsoft joined the cause. Over the last year and a half, RED has generated $50 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and Malaria. As a result, nearly 2 million people in Africa are receiving life-saving drugs today.

    There is a growing understanding around the world that when change is driven by proper incentives, you have a sustainable plan for change, because profits and recognition are renewable resources. Klaus Schwab runs a foundation that assists social entrepreneurs around the world, men and women who turn their ideas for improving lives into affordable goods or services. President Clinton demonstrated the unique role that a non-profit can play as a deal-maker between rich world producers and poor world consumers. The magazine "Fast Company" gives awards for what they call Social Capitalism.

    These are just a few examples of where the interest in these activities is growing.

    This is a world-wide movement, and we all have the ability and the responsibility to accelerate it.

    I'd like to ask everyone here, whether you're in business, government or the non-profit world, to take on a project of creative capitalism in the coming year, and see where you can stretch the reach of market forces to help push things forward. Whether it's foreign aid or charitable gifts or new products, can you find a way to apply this so that the power of the marketplace helps the poor?

    I hope corporations will dedicate a percentage of their top innovators' time to issues that could help people left out of the global economy. This kind of contribution is even more powerful than giving cash or offering employees' time off to volunteer. It is a focused use of what your company does best. It is a great form of creative capitalism, because it takes the brainpower and makes life better for the richest, and dedicates some of it to improving the lives of everyone else.

    There are a number of pharmaceutical companies, like GlaxoSmithKline, that are already putting their top innovators to work on new approaches to help the poor. Another example is Sumitomo Chemical, who used its expertise to build a bed net factory that it donated.

    Other companies are doing the same -- in food, technology, cell phones, banking. In fact, I would say that if other companies in a sector simply matched what the leader in that sector is doing, we would make a dramatic impact against the world's inequities.

    Finally, I hope that the great thinkers here will dedicate some time to finding ways for businesses, governments, NGOs, and the media to create measures of what companies are doing to use their power and intelligence to serve a wider circle of people. This kind of information is an important element of creative capitalism. It can turn good works into recognition, and ensure that recognition bridges market-based rewards to businesses that do the most work to serve the most people.

    We are living in a phenomenal age. If we can spend the early decades of the 21st century finding approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits and recognition for business, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce poverty in the world.

    The task is open-ended. It will never be finished. But a passionate effort to answer this challenge will help change the world.

    I'm excited to be part of it.

    Thank you. (Applause.)

    KLAUS SCHWAB: Thank you, Bill.

    Let's make Davos the starting point of a movement of creative capitalism.

    Now, so I have one or two questions, being very much involved into this issue intellectually. When you preach creative capitalism or I call it sometimes corporate global citizenship, you meet very often quite some cynicism of people, people saying that's the end, I mean, you have enough arguments, the business of business is business.

    Here what would you -- you mentioned already it's a reputation, it's a recognition, but what would you tell those people to go away with this wrong criticism?

    BILL GATES: Well, I think that part of the problem we get into is that there are many things that are done under this label that, in fact, don't have a very large impact, and so we have to use the fact that more is going on here, and people are getting more sophisticated about it, as well as the Internet, to really gauge which are the sincere efforts that have a bit impact. So, some of the cynicism about this will be reduced as it is mapped sector by sector into more concrete activities.

    We also benefit immensely that some of these breakthroughs, it doesn't take much of a change in them to make them available to the poorest. Even sometimes eventually the price just comes down, and there is the benefit there, but sometimes things get stuck because there's an assumption of expertise, there's an assumption your electricity runs all the time, and so the twists that can take it and move it out of just the upper two-thirds down to that bottom one-third may not be a very large deviation.

    So, I'm not talking about some radical change; I'm talking about an evolution, and I do think the largest companies are probably the place where the real tradeoff is net positive, and that they should lead the way.

    KLAUS SCHWAB: Now, very often such an engagement of business into society depends on the personal let's say characteristics of the CEO. How would you see that such a philosophy of creative capitalism is really entrenched into the genes of a corporation?

    BILL GATES: Yeah, I agree that it's not something that a company is engaged in. Getting onto that path, having a CEO take a strong position and show personal excitement, be willing to take some of the really talented people in the company and give them time to learn about these needs and create special partnerships, that's a very important element to drive this forward.

    But if it's done right, the self-image that people have of who they are and what their company is about will come to include this.

    The slogan of Microsoft is a computer for everyone, and do we really mean for everyone? Well, yes, even though that's a very difficult thing.

    So, I think it could become both inculcated and as it's more measurable over time, then you'll get the processes working on your side, and you won't need the heroic CEO time and time again.

    KLAUS SCHWAB: Then if I understand you correctly, you would give the advice -- that's my question -- that a corporation is concentrating on a few of such projects, not being all over the plate. And if I understand you correctly, you would also give the advice that a corporation, what it is doing is in line with its own capabilities. Is that correct?

    BILL GATES: That's right. I mean, I'm sure that every company will do things like matching employee gifts. That lets the employee have more impact in their personal giving. I'm sure they'll do things in their local communities that are fairly broad.

    But when you look on a global basis, when you look at the tough problems of the poorest, a company really should primarily stick to what it knows well: Does it know food, does it know distribution, does it know drugs, does it know media, does it know cell phones? There are, thank goodness, a lot of examples which I think would end up covering virtually all the companies that are here at the forum. But that's where in a sense you're developing something that's lower cost, and you're true to the identity and the expertise of that organization.

    KLAUS SCHWAB: Such reason when we had this morning the water discussion, the two persons who took the lead were Peters Brabeck from Nestle, and Neville Isdell from Coca-Cola, two companies who have special expertise with water.

    Now, one question, in doing so, would you advise a company, if ever possible, to work together with governments -- you hinted at it actually -- and with NGOs? Because sometimes corporations are impatient, and governments have a different style of working, and NGOs have a different style. They are sometimes suspicious. So, how do you see the notion of what very often is called public partnerships, and public-private partnerships in this respect?

    BILL GATES: Well, certainly the foundation that my wife and I have has found it extremely important to reach out to private organizations. A lot of those are partnerships with drug companies where they're dedicating some of their best people and taking risks, but we take on some of the financial burden so it's within the reach of what they can responsibly do. For them the opportunity cost is actually the greatest thing that they give, although sometimes there's a financial contribution as well.

    So, certainly in an area like health partnerships are absolutely important, and I think in some ways those partnerships validate the impact that can be had. If a corporation can find out a way in these poor countries to do things on their own, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but some of the tougher problems -- education, infrastructure, nutrition, medicine -- I don't think it's likely to happen, and so I do think where there's reasonable governance, the government is a good partner, and then there are so many wonderful NGOs that are actually now more open-minded.

    Once upon a time, the NGOs had a little bit of a negative attitude towards this, and there was almost this feeling of business that as soon as you got involved, anything you offered had to be free, so it was almost like a tar baby; as soon as you did it, then it was they'd want more than was reasonable, and so companies that stayed away almost got less flack than the ones that got in and got involved. I've seen that -- you know, there's still some of that, but I think the attitudes from both the NGO and the private sector have matured quite a bit.

    KLAUS SCHWAB: And very often you had the situation where when you work together with partners they look at business mainly as a cash cow, not necessarily as someone who brings in a lot of expertise. They will argue we have ourselves the expertise.

    BILL GATES: That's right, but the idea of getting cash directly from companies, it's great, people should push for that. There are people like Shell who just came into the Global Fund with a very significant contribution.

    That is an element, but in some ways you're not going to have a breakthrough just by doing it that way. If you talk purely about dollars, the aid budgets, the rich world government aid budgets are the biggest piece of the dollar resources out there. The reason the companies I say that we can take the state of the point and prove it a lot faster than we are today with businesses is mostly that innovation element.

    KLAUS SCHWAB: Would you see -- you speak about a transformation, a gradual transformation, hopefully gradually in a very fast sense, but what could governments do in order to enhance this transformation, for example, tax regimes or do you see any -- would you have any advice for governments?

    BILL GATES: Well, I mentioned in the speech the thing that happened in the United States. It didn't get much visibility, which is this fast track grant in the FDA.

    I didn't mention this idea of advanced market commitment, which has now been applied to a particular vaccine for pneumonia and pneumococcal vaccine there's a fund of a billion and a half dollars -- virtually all government money, a little bit of foundation money -- that is out there for any manufacturer that can meet the product specification. And in that case we picked a development that should be reasonably within the reach of a couple of the drug companies, and so it should get them to make the leap to make the modifications to the rich world vaccine to add a few things to it and make it suitable for the developing world markets, and yet be able to tier that so it's not taking away from what they're doing today.

    So, advance market commitment is one of the great new ideas, and I think we'll see that applied in a number of new ways.

    You know, we have the Doha trade agreement which has some provisions that are to help the developing countries, so it would be kind of tragic if those things can't be resolved. I mean, the benefits of allowing trade over time accrue to be even bigger than a lot of the direct aid that gets done.

    KLAUS SCHWAB: Let me ask you a last question, Bill. Now you are doing yourself this transition into a new function, and you leave behind a legacy of having transformed the world into I would say an information society.

    Now if you look forward at your next career step -- career may be not the right word here -- but at your next life phase, what would you like to see as your legacy in 10, 15 years?
    BILL GATES: Of the new work?

    KLAUS SCHWAB: Of the new work, of your new function.

    BILL GATES: Well, I've set very ambitious goals, because I'm quite optimistic. If you look at say the 20 diseases that our global health program goes after, I'd hope that within 15 years over half of those we could have had a very dramatic impact.

    Some of them will prove to be harder than others. For example, AIDS we will have made an improvement, but not the dramatic improvement probably in that timeframe. Malaria perhaps, and a number of the other ones we have things in the pipeline.

    So, huge change in the mortality rates in the developing countries, which then has this effect of reducing population growth. That's this big benefit that then makes everything like education and nutrition a lot easier.

    So, I have very high expectations there, and we actually use these dashboards internally at the foundation to make everything be quite numeric. We're trying to be rigorous about that, and even share those so that people can see, oh, you fell short of what you had in mind, and then we get to explain if we have any lessons that might be learnable from other foundations.

    So, I think there are some things about how we go about things that I hope those learnings can have an impact. There is the specific work in different divisions: health, development, and the U.S. education work.

    But in 15 years, boy, by then we will have spent a lot of money. At $3 billion a year, and 15 years, that adds up, and for that people should have a very high expectation of what we can do.

    KLAUS SCHWAB: Thank you, Bill, for having brought to us this evening a very enlightened view of capitalism. I hope many will follow you. We will facilitate it in any case, because that's the mission of the World Economic Forum. And I'm looking forward to, if I may say so, to welcome you back in your new incarnation next year. Thank you.

    BILL GATES: Thank you.



  • A Canuck In The Machine

    From The Brampton News: DigiGirlz Day




    Peel students to participate in Microsoft Canada's DigiGirlz Day

    Peel - Microsoft Canada is hosting its first DigiGirlz Day on Feb. 20, 2008 for 50 female grade 7 and 8 Peel students. The DigiGirlz program is a new experiential learning opportunity designed to provide young women with opportunities to learn about careers in technology.

    "With technology being such an important part of today's world, it's great to see Microsoft giving young women the opportunity to experience first-hand what it is like to develop cutting-edge technology," says Sumble Kaukab, instructional co-ordinator, science and technology for the Peel District School Board.

    DigiGirlz Day is designed to spark imagination and introduce female students to technology-oriented opportunities they may not have considered as potential career paths. The day's activities will include a keynote presentation by Phil Sorgen, president of Microsoft Canada, interactive breakout sessions, hands-on computer workshops and time to speak with Microsoft employees about their experiences.

    This experiential learning opportunity aligns with the Peel board's Making My Way – Success for All Students initiative and supports the goals of a comprehensive grade 7 and 8 guidance and career education program. The schools participating in this program are Allan A. Martin Senior Public School, Calderstone Middle School, Ruth Thompson Middle School and William G. Davis Senior Public School.

    The event is free of change for students who attend and is funded by Microsoft Canada. The program will be held at Microsoft Canada's Mississauga office, which is located at 1950 Meadowvale Blvd.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    From IMPRINT - Microsoft "sends us the Bill"


    From the latest edition of IMPRINT (Waterloo's student paper)

    Microsoft sends us "the Bill"

    Bill Gates to make UW his only Canadian stop in North American tour

    Ashley Csanady - staff reporter

    Bill Gates will be returning to UW on the morning of February 21 to address students in the Humanities Theatre. Much like his first visit in 2005, this is the only Canadian stop on a North American university speaking tour.
    The multi-billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft will be speaking to students primarily from math, CS, and engineering about the role that innovation will play in driving the new economy. As well as the roles and opportunities for students who are enrolled in those fields in shaping that innovation.
    Students will also get “a behind closed doors look at some of the innovation currently being developed,” said director of corporate communications and public relations for Microsoft Canada Cynthia Keeshan. These will be examples of the type of innovation that Gates will be discussing and the result of Microsoft’s  $7 billion US research and development department.
    Although the event is being touted as his “farewell tour” by everyone from university bigwigs to an article in The Record on Friday, February 8, Keeshan clarified that this is certainly not the case.
    The misleading headline of The Record article, “Bill Gates to include UW in ‘farewell tour,’” was based on an interview with UW president Johnston. He is quoted in the article as saying, “This is his farewell tour.” Where did this confusion come from? According to Michael Strickland, from UW’s communications and public affairs department, the misunderstanding stemmed from initial talks regarding Gates’ visit. Apparently, at the outset, the talk had been considered part of a final round of speaking tours, but as Gates is staying on as Microsoft CEO, it is hoped and believed he will continue speaking with students over the coming years.
    Although Gates announced his retirement from the position of chief software architect for Microsoft last June, Keeshan said that he will still be staying on in his role at chief executive officer of the corporation.
    She also said, however, that Gates does plan to “focus a little bit more of his attention towards some of the work he is doing with his foundation.”
    “The University of Waterloo and Microsoft have always had a relationship,” said Keeshan when asked why UW was, once again, the only Canadian stop. She added that it’s also one of the top academic institutions from which Microsoft recruits, as UW has a reputation for producing some of the top graduates in CS and math.
    When asked whether Gates would be furthering those recruitment efforts through his speech, Keeshan replied, “Microsoft is a company very driven by innovation [... Gates would] love to bring talent to the company to further that agenda.
    She clarified, however, that Gates’ speech is “really about the power of innovation to have an impact on our society and our economy.”
    Tickets will be distributed through the various faculty societies. Math, engineering, and CS have been allotted 100 tickets each, while ES, science, AHS, and arts have 25 tickets each. The CS tickets will be distributed through the computer science club as CS is a subset of the math faculty.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Valentines Post: My New Rig - a wicked Dell XPS M1330


    I have the pleasure of now carrying the new Dell XPS M1330.  (Thanks to our friends at Dell Canada)

    This is my showcase machine.  4GB RAM, 200GB Drive, thin, powerful and red.  I am developing a healthy crush on this machine, just in time for Valentines Day :-)

    I am moving apps and data over to it now (thank-you Windows Home Server) and I will let you know how the new machine performs.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Qixing Posts About What's Happening At MIX08


    Over at the User Experience Blog, Qixing has provided a great overview of some of the cool things happening at MIX:


    MIX08 is less than 3 weeks! Following my previous post, here's more cool happening at this year's MIX:

    Dean Hachamovitch to show IE8 at MIX Keynote

    Dean Hachamovitch, the guy who runs the Internet Explorer team, will be one of our keynoters at MIX.  As he promised on the IE Blog, Dean is going to share more about Internet Explorer 8 including a sneak peek at some of the features his team have been hard at work on.  Dean’s keynote at MIX06 was one of the highlights of the inaugural MIX conference.  Since then, IE shipped a new version with a new UI and dramatically improved standards support, and the browser industry has heated up with an emphasis on web standards and new entries in the browser market.  You won’t want to miss this keynote to see how the next version of Internet Explorer is shaping up and learn how Internet Explorer 8 fits into today’s browser marketplace.

    Scott Guthrie answers the question, "What's Coming for MIX08?"
    In part one of this two-part interview, Scott Guthrie gives a preview of the technology that will be discussed at MIX.  Scott talks about IIS 7.0 for developers, how they've improved hosting scalability, improvements to configuration management and deployment with the recent release of Web Deployment project tools, and the improvements to production debugging and instrumentation.

    Scott Guthrie discusses how MIX08 is going to be larger than ever
    Scott explains how this year's MIX is bigger than ever! Covering everything from Windows Presentation Foundation improvements to Web development frameworks including Dynamic Data and the MVC Framework, to dropping some hints about upcoming tooling support, and the major improvements in Silverlight 2.0. Learn all this during Part 2 of a two-part interview.

    clip_image001"The King of Kong's" Steve Wiebe attempts to reclaim his title at MIX08

    Join middle-school science teacher, Steve Wiebe, on the evening of Tuesday, March 4th for a special MIX screening of New Line Cinema's "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.”   The movie, featuring Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell’s quest to see who is the true King of Kong, will be followed by a Q&A session with Steve, producer Ed Cunningham, and Twin Galaxies referee Walter Day. Then, on Wednesday, March 5th, watch Steve try to recapture his world record at the MIX attendee party at TAO!

    clip_image002Mix08 and The Pit Present: The Battle of the RockBands – Global Domination!

    We’ve got RockBand.  We’ve got a real stage, real lights, killer sound and huge plasma screens for playing and watching.  What else do you need?  A tourney, that’s what!

    Bring your best RockBand stored on a Xbox 360 Memory Unit, pick your best song and go head to head with other MIX08 attendee bands.  We’ll have two contests.  Get the highest score in the tournament and your band wins a real Fender guitar (pictured above:  Fender American Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar).  Show the most style as judged by the super sophisticated “Applause-O-Meter” and win an Xbox 360 Elite.  Come to play, play to win. 

    clip_image003On the evening of Thursday, March 6th, we'll break out the candy and popcorn while watching the best of our Show Off entries.  This is a great way to share your work with fellow developers and designers. Here are a few inspirational ideas about our MIX08 Contests, and here are a few more that seem like they'd be audience favorites: Andrew Rudson's Drum Machine for your Rock Band drum set, the vision-guided fireball-throwing robotic catapult by the guys at Harcos, Inc., and Zombomatic by Miniclip Games. We're looking for stuff that's cool, fun, beautiful, inspirational, or just plain amazing. The audience will pick their favorites, and we'll give away some prizes. It should definitely be fun!  Submit your coolest Show Off now:  http://www.visitmix.com/2008/showoff/

    Technorati Tags: MIX, MIX08

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    CATA: Canadian IT pros see few security best practices


    Canadian IT pros see few security best practices

    By: Rafael Ruffolo
    ComputerWorld Canada  (12 Feb 2008)

    The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) has identified a lack of IT security best practices as one of the top challenges faced by IT security professionals, according to a new report.

    More in NetworkWorld CanadaWe are the security problemCATA partnered with Microsoft Canada to conduct a survey of 322 IT security professionals across Canada. The primary goal was to determine the security issues that have the greatest impact on IT workers and to learn more about the perceptions IT pros have about the field in which they work.

    The need for best practices knowledge was identified by 16 per cent of respondents as the top IT Security challenge affecting organizations today. Coming in at a close second was data protection, cited by 15 per cent of respondents, and access management as the third rated challenge, which was answered by 13 per cent of those surveyed.

    “The lack of best practices being one of the primary challenges was certainly one we weren’t anticipating when we started this study,” Kevin Wennekes, CATA’s vice-president of research, said. “We knew it would be an issue, but for it to be identified at the top as an overarching challenge came as a bit of a surprise to us.”

    Also surprised was Francis Ho, executive officer at the Federation of Security Professionals in Toronto, who expected both data protection and access management concerns to rank higher than best practices.

    “It’s certainly a surprising result because there’s so much information out there, with a lot of good server hardening guides to be found all over the Internet,” Ho said. “Data protection is one that should definitely be high on the list as everybody is concerned about information leaving the organization today. In the old days, everything used to be paper-based but now you can make a copy of a file and port it off to your iPod Nano without a trace.”

    But despite the unanticipated results, Wennekes said he believes improving best practices can actually help address some of the other top security issues that IT pros face on a daily basis.

    “I think solid best practices, if it was more known or shared, could easily help tackle the challenges identified with data protection or access management,” Wennekes said.

    Another finding indicated that IT security professionals believe that their organizations don’t put enough emphasis on IT security challenges and, often times, react after the problem arrives on their doorstep.

    “I see a lot of basic processes like simple hardening of servers that still isn’t being done as the norm, so while some organizations get it, many others don’t,” Ho said. “Larger organizations tend to understand security better and it also depends on the industry. For example, the larger banks get it, but if you’re in manufacturing and you’re producing textiles, security might be overlooked. It’s largely dependent on the industry you’re in and the historic value they place on security.”

    To address these issues, CATA recommended that the industry develop industry-wide best practices, establish a research series of IT security professional perspectives reports, undertake a study to determine the value of an IT security skills set, and work to define Canada’s global IT security brand.

    Copyright © 2007

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    DemoCamp Toronto 17 - Feb 25th




  • A Canuck In The Machine

    NEXT UP - BillG @ University Of Waterloo



    On Feb. 21st Bill will make a stop at Waterloo.  He is on a "farewell" tour of schools in North America.  Obviously, this is a big deal and both Microsoft Canada and Waterloo are VERY excited about the event.  He will talk with students and meet faculty and will likely talk about the Foundation's gift to Waterloo to support high school outreach program.  I will be there, so I will let you know how it goes.


    February 08, 2008



    Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, who entertained University of Waterloo students during a visit here in 2005, is coming to campus again.



    UW plans grand expansion of Canada's largest mathematics and computer science outreach program
        WATERLOO, ON, Nov. 8 /CNW/ - The University of Waterloo will greatly
    expand Canada's largest youth outreach program in mathematics and computer
    science - currently reaching close to half-a-million young people - because of
    a gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
        The US$12.5-million donation is a "visionary gift," says David Johnston,
    president of the University of Waterloo. "It will allow our Centre for
    Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) to expand its world-class
    outreach program to reach hundreds of thousands more youth and educators
    around the world."
        UW and the foundation share a common goal to give young people the
    opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in an
    ever-changing world.
        "The University of Waterloo has established a record of academic
    excellence, fostering intellectual growth in the fields of math and computer
    science," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
    "We are proud to support the university's efforts to prepare the next
    generation of students for a world of innovation."
        The gift comes at a time of growing concern about the decline in interest
    of young people in the fields of mathematics and computer science across North
        The most recent Statistics Canada figures show that the number of
    students enrolled in undergraduate programs in mathematics, computer science
    and information sciences dropped by 8.7 per cent between the 2000-01 and
    2004-05 academic years. The significant decline occurred while total
    undergraduate enrolment soared by 21.6 per cent over the same period.
        Thomas F. Coleman, dean of the faculty of mathematics, says the gift will
    allow the centre to significantly enhance outreach efforts, including its
    contests, workshops and Internet resources aimed at secondary and elementary
    school students and teachers. The CEMC currently reaches around
    450,000 students in Grades 4 to 12 and 10,000 teachers annually, mainly in
        With the shift to an increasingly knowledge-based society, Coleman says
    there will be a huge need for people skilled in mathematics and computer
    science. "This gift will make an enormous difference in helping us to advocate
    to a much larger youth audience throughout Canada, the United States and
    elsewhere in the world about the importance of considering an education in
    those areas."
        Coleman adds he hopes this grant "will inspire significant additional
    support from individuals and foundations, as well as the private and public
    sectors. We welcome additional partners to this exciting venture."
        With the gift, the CEMC will:
        -   Dramatically improve access to CEMC enrichment and outreach
            activities, focusing in part on young women and those facing
            geographic or economic barriers to learning.
        -   Develop a 'train the trainers' network for mathematics and computer
            science teachers. The network will then deliver outreach programs at
            the grassroots level. These programs will stimulate interest, build
            skills and increase awareness of the opportunities available in
            mathematics and computer science.
        -   Expand the centre's extensive education network by collaborating with
            more elementary and secondary schools and school boards.
        -   Develop a community of educators, industry representatives, local
            organizations and governments to be an advocate for education, issues
            and opportunities in mathematics and computer science.
        -   Continue enhancing the quality of the centre's current programs,
            especially global contests, enrichment programs and school visits.
        About the University of Waterloo's faculty of mathematics
        The University of Waterloo's faculty of mathematics is the world's
    largest centre for education in mathematical, statistical and computer
    sciences. It is one of only four such faculties in the world. With more than
    5,300 students, 185 full-time faculty members, and 180 courses in
    mathematical, statistical and computer sciences, the faculty is a powerhouse
    of discovery and innovation.
        About the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing
        Formally established in 1995, but with mathematics contest activity
    dating back to the early 1960s, the CEMC is Canada's largest mathematics and
    computer science outreach program. Its activities have produced a successful
    model for reaching math and computer science students for youths and
    educators. During the last year alone, CEMC's contests, workshops and Internet
    resources have impacted more than 450,000 students (in Grades 4 to 12) and
    almost 10,000 teachers at about 1,500 schools, primarily throughout Canada.
    For further information: Thomas F. Coleman, dean of the faculty of
    mathematics, (519) 888-4567 ext. 84480; Ian VanderBurgh, CEMC director, (519)
    888-4567 ext. 32358; Michael Strickland, UW media relations, (519) 888-4777
  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Air Canada Mobile Check-In: Let's Try This Again.....


    A few weeks ago I attempted to use Air Canada's mobile check-in.  I've been jealously watching the Blackberry carrying passengers walk onto the plane after a quick flash of the screen of their device.  My first attempt did not go well.  Despite the service as being advertised as working with a windows mobile device, it simply would not resolve the URL for the barcode image required to check-in. 

    Well, attempt #2 went MUCH better.  My colleague Jerome and I flew back from Montreal last week and he used the mobile login on his Moto Q.  In fact, worked great.  The only snag - his battery died :-)

    I also confirmed it worked on my HTC Touch.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Hey Canadian ITPROs -> Vote Now For The TECHNET Innovation Awards!


    It is time again for the TechNet Canada Innovation Awards.  This is a really great program that was started a few years back by our IT Professional Team.  The concept is simple ->  the community nominates teams and individuals for their great work.  A team of judges narrows the field and then you the community help select the winners by voting.  The winners are announced at EnergizeIT.  Oh ya - we also shower the winners with prizes and donations to charity!

    To quote the official site: 

    "The TechNet Canada Innovation Award is awarded to a Canadian IT Professional who has used Microsoft-based technology to make a positive contribution to their organization or community. The top 5 candidates have been selected from the many notable nominees."

    As one of the judges, I can tell you that the quality of the submissions was very high this year.  You can check out the finalists, get all the details and VOTE here.    (By the way - we also have a Developer focused award called the MSDN Code Awards)




  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Congrats to David Crow - named Toronto's best Web & Tech Evangelist!


    David Crow


    Way to go David!  Our very own community advocate / design guru / *CAMP coordinator / snappy dresser David Crow was voted "best web & tech evangelist" by the readers of blogto.com

    We were extremely pleased when David decided to join our team at Microsoft and since coming over he has not only continued his great work in the community, but is helping us evolve how we engage across the country.  Now, David isn't alone - we have an amazing team of like-minded people doing the same thing all across Canada.

    Congratulations David and thanks for all the great work!

    ps.  Amber, Will - we still love you guys too :-)


    del.icio.us Tags: ,,
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    echannelline.com - Microsoft partner finds new opportunities with SaaS


    Quoted From:


    Microsoft partner finds new opportunities with SaaS

    4 February, 2008
    By Patricia Pickett

    Customer interest in software-as-a-service (SaaS) has been increasing over the past year, opening up new opportunities for channel partners, according to Microsoft Corp.

    The continuum of software has on-premise software on one end, and a number of vendors espousing the all-in-the-cloud model on the other extreme, said Mark Relph, vice president of Microsoft Canada Co.'s developer and platform evangelism group. But in Microsoft's software-plus-services (S+S) view, "the sweet spot is the hybrid approach," which offers customers the option of looking to a partner to install one piece of software in-house, while deploying another application in a managed mode, he said.

    "There is a huge opportunity for partners ... to take a lot of the skills built up around our technology stack and transfer that into the SaaS world," Relph said. "The architecture and way of deploying the solutions is evolving, but the core skills are easily transferable into the new world ... we see customers expecting partners to have the capability of blending managed elements with an on-premise solution."

    Andy Papadopoulos, CEO of Toronto-based Microsoft Gold Certified partner LegendCorp, agreed that interest in the S+S model is growing among both customers and partners. As certain products become easier to implement, partners are looking for other ways to make money. One way is to get into the maintenance side of the business, patching software and keeping it current for customers that don't want to be tied up with those tasks, he said.

    "In the past, the value-add was the product's features, but today people may be happy with the features but may be unhappy with maintaining the software," Papadopoulos said. "We're seeing a trend where customers are saying, 'I just want to stick to what makes me money,' and they are willing to pay for these services which are provided by someone who they feel will be their trusted advisor. They want to sit in front of an application and know that it will run."

    LegendCorp has invested in the S+S model on the remote management side by developing its own monthly subscription service, LegendCorp 365, based on the capabilities of System Center Remote Operations Manager. "When we built this brand-new business unit, we went down the direction that clients were already asking us to go" in taking over 24/7 remote monitoring of Exchange, Papadopoulos said.

    To Papadopoulous, the hybrid S+S model is the ideal scenario. "Especially in the mid-market, you'd be hard-pressed to find a client that is going to give up all their servers and control of their environment -- that's very scary to customers," he said. But the attraction of LegendCorp.'s service is that all equipment stays at the customer's location, with full remote access for LegendCorp in a very secure fashion.

    Papadopoulos said that in the past, he had run into problems with third-party remote management systems for Microsoft products. "There were integration issues and frustration around whether they would work or not." But LegendCorp was able to turn on its remote monitoring service within weeks rather than months because "Microsoft had tools that were guaranteed to work with other tools -- it's a well-thought-out process," he said.

    According to Relph, developing a services mentality and getting used to the billing and management side of the business can sometimes be a challenge for partners. However, Papadopoulous said the billing aspect was pretty straightforward for his business because LegendCorp has kept service package choices simple and uses Dynamics SL for billing and invoicing.

    LegendCorp still had to make some big investments in order to transition to the S+S model. Whereas the firm had always operated during regular business hours with occasional after-hours and weekend work, starting a SaaS business meant making sure that the business was operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That meant hiring new people and adding new infrastructure. "There's a large investment you have to spend in infrastructure of your own to support your clients' infrastructure, but once you build it, you are able to leverage it over and over again," Papadopoulos said.

    However, not all partners will have to build their own data centre space, said Relph, adding that some partners may prefer to enter into a strategic relationship with a hosting provider.


  • A Canuck In The Machine

    From The ITPRO Connection Blog: Heroes Happen {Here} Events In Canada

    As everyone knows, we are on the eve of a major launch event for Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008.  These are not just product launches, but our largest Technology Community outreach this year.  Here is a great post from Rick on our team outlining the activities:

    Heroes Happen Here, eh? What's going on up north for Launch 2008 Activities.

    If you remember way back - I posted the initial confirmation and tickler that Canada was having a major event on February 27th to mark the Launch of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL 2008.  As you have probably read online over the last little while or so, the US have stepped up their marketing activities talking about what's going on all over the States. We just opened our Canadian Launch portal last week and started staging out notification emails and invites to people all across Canada... and so the noise begins. The Launch event in Toronto is February 27th and it's only 42 days away - I am constantly reminded by my 2008 Global Launch Wave countdown gadget in my vista sidebar - I figured that since now it's public, we're due for a no nonsense post about what's going on across Canada up here on the blog.

    I'd like to get something out in the open right away - we get a lot of email and comments on the blog asking us "hey you aren't coming to X - why not?".  Trust me - we hear you and we'd love to come out and see you and meet everyone possible, but you know, like any IT Project you've worked on before - we are constrained by three things. Time, Resources and Money. I say Time and Resources - hey, there are only 4 of us in Canada on the IT Pro side of the house - we each cover different geographies and the more places we visit - the longer we're out on the road and away from friends and family. Money? That's easy - the longer we are out and the more places we go - the larger the bills become and we have a budget that we have to work with. Not one of these resources are unlimited and each are connected to each other. All that being said - we're trying to do something a little different this time around and I hope that you like it.

    Let's talk about activities / events. There are currently 4 types out there in our Canadian Launch Activities. Launch Event, Technical Readiness Events, Community Connection Events and a US driven activity called Community Launch events (I didn't choose the name).

    Launch Events

    There are two of these.  What are they? Think Marketing, product positioning and keynotes with some serious demos and hardware involved. I don't want to use the term "high energy" (too marketing for me) but they will certainly have a lot crammed into the scheduled time slot. We've got Kevin Turner (COO of Microsoft Corp) speaking in Toronto and Steven Guggenheimer (GM of Application Platform Marketing) in Vancouver. I get the pleasure of being "10 feet from termination" driving some of the demos for Steve and Kevin - it should be a lot of fun.  There will be partner fairs, community zones for UserGroups and Professional Organizations, Ask the Experts areas with demo pods - it will be one wild ride.  At these events, since there is room and the venue is booked for the day - we're also putting a full Technical Readiness track for IT Pros and Developers (details below) as well as special mini tracks for IT Managers and Architects.

    Resources from this:

    • The keynote and demos will be recorded as an entire session for viewing at your leisure.
    • The demos will be screencast and available if you want to cut to the chase.
    • The build and leadup to the keynote (how we did it, what we're using, how it all works) will be in a series of posts on the blog.

    Cities these will be at and registration links:

    February 27th
    Register now

    March 4th
    Register now

    Technical Readiness Events

    There are eight of these.  What are they? We're taking the technologies that are involved in the launch (Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL 2008) and choosing the highest impact features that you can take advantage of NOW within your existing environment while minimizing the disruption change brings. Don't worry - this isn't SlideWare with loads of "feature, feature, feature" talk which would leave you dazed and confused... To help ensure this content is relevant to you - we've been engaged with a volunteer content review board made up of IT Pros and Developers like you from across Canada who were pitched our ideas and approach, acted as a reality check safeguard and provided input throughout the entire development cycle of content.  (side note: this process was FANTASTIC and it's something we're planning on continuing to do going forward - but that's another blog post) There are two separate tracks (Developer and IT Professional) that will run simultaneously at the same venue.  Each track has three sessions - first one being more of a "this is possible - check it out" followed up with 2 deeper sessions focusing in on deeper knowledge and specialization. As I previously mentioned, we're coming at it from the angle that by the end of the session - you'll be excited and interested enough to start exploring how to get these technologies into your environment today without doing a major rip and replace or 24 month planning cycle. :) Let's face it - by implementing these technologies, you'll be solving problems you are facing today and you'll come out looking like a Hero!

    Resources from this:

    • All the sessions will be screencast and recorded for viewing at your leisure.
    • Demos will be screencast and available individually so you can see them whenever you have time.
    • The pre-work leading up to the demos (how things were built. what you can do to set it up yourself. how you can scale it) will be in a series of posts on this blog.
    • Post event resources including links, whitepapers, podcasts, additional readings will be compiled and shared throughout the launch events.

    Cities these will be at and registration links:

    February 27th
    Register now

    March 4th
    Register now

    March 11th
    Register now

    March 13th
    Register now

    March 26th
    Register now

    April 8th
    Register now

    April 10th
    Register now

    Quebec City
    April 17th
    Register now

    Community Connection Events

    Building on the success of our recent Developer and IT Pro "Ignite Your Career" webcast series, we've decided to try something a little different. We're partnered with CIPS and ICTC to put on a special workshop format event that is designed to allow you engage with local experts and peers in order to discuss and gain insight on three important areas (Technology, Community and Career) that are having an impact on today's ICT professional. We're going to be taking 5 discussion topics that cover industry challenges across 14 cities in Canada and share the collective insight back with the community and the industry.

    Resources from this:

    • An workshop workbook containing reference material and discussion topics
    • a blog posts and/or podcasts from the events that share insight back to the community
    • A growing resource page that summarizes the collective insight after the final event concludes.

    Cities these will be at and registration links:

    February 26th
    Register now

    March 3rd
    Register now

    March 5th
    Register now

    March 10th
    Register now

    March 12th
    Register now

    March 18th
    Register now

    March 19th
    Register now

    March 25th
    Register now

    April 2nd
    Register now

    April 3rd
    Register now

    April 7th
    Register now

    April 9th
    Register now

    April 15th
    Register now

    April 16th
    Register now

    Community Launch Events

    These are also very cool and completely driven by UserGroups, Professional Associations, MVPs and well - ANYONE who wants to put a flag in the ground and put on an event in your local neighbourhood.  Are you an uberGeek or are you passionate about Technology and want to get something started in your neck of the woods? If you decide to put on of these things on and host it in your neck of the woods - we're going to give you as many resources as possible to pull it off. There's online training, slide decks, demo scripts, virtual machine images - everything you need for an "event in a box" - including publicity. The website that you can inquire about events already scheduled in your area OR for you to APPLY to put one of these on can be found here at the Heroes Community Launch page. Because these events are going to be taking place later in the spring, a complete list for Canadian events is not available just yet. If you are interested in putting one of these on - you'll need to register your intent by January 21st on the site. Check back here for an update on how these are shaping up.


    I hope I have been able to clarify a bit on the different approach we're taking to try and reach as many people as possible within the constraints we have. As you can see from the resources from each event - we're doing as much as we can to make these activities accessible to you, even if you are not in the city they are taking place. Do you have any other suggestions on how we can improve our outreach to you for this or future events?  This blog will be your best resource for connecting all the dots of what resources are available and giving you the tools and information to dig into the meat of what these products can do for you, what you can do with them and more importantly what you can leverage today to make a difference in your current environment and your current stage of your career.

    Rick Claus
    IT Pro Advisor
    Content Development Lead for IT Pro track


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  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Heroes Happen {Here} - Community Connection Events




    We've been getting a number of inquiries as to "What the heck is this event?", "Why should I bother going?" and "What's in it for me?".  I thought I'd spend a little time on this post to elaborate what's going on and really help expose the diamond in the rough. I'm stoked about these events as part of our launch activities - they are something we've never done before and something that we feel will bring a lot of value to the communities we visit.

    First off... they are being put on as a partnership with User Communities / Professional Associations that serve as LOCAL resources to you. This includes CIPS, ICTC and UserGroups that we work with like WITPRO, VANTUG or SQLPASS.  This is a social event (i.e. FUN) that will allow you to connect to other IT Professionals (Dev, IT Pro, Specialists, PMP, CISSP - etc) to establish new relationships and nurture existing ones. We've opened the doors to anyone to come in, from any group or any background - regardless of your affiliation to or opinion of Microsoft. The only requirement is that you come to the event prepared to share your experiences and engage in conversation. 

    Besides being a social event (I mentioned fun, right?) there will be some actual work going on during the evening as well. Our plans are facilitate an interactive discussion to gain insight and share experiences on changes that are affecting us all in the ICT industry in Canada.  How are we going to do that? Well, let me share the details of the actual evening flow:

    • Intros - welcome and overview of the night.
    • State of the industry - perspective from CIPS (Canadian Information Processing Society) & ICTC (Information & Communications Technology Council).
    • Technology Demo - showing some high value pieces of new technology and how they could be implemented into your environment with minimal change.
    • Community story - perspective on the impact that participating actively in your LOCAL community and the rewards it brings.
    • Learning Circles - a "vote with your feet" concept of discussing 5 topics with a facilitator and bringing back the groups findings to the larger group.
    • Social Networking - meet other experts and LOCAL resources to strengthen your support infrastructure LOCAL to you - in your community.

    The cool factor - besides meeting your local experts and IT community - are the learning circles. Picture it - we're discussing the 5 topics across 14 geographies with IT professionals and bringing all the learning's together in order to share them back across Canada. Talk about a picture / heat map of issues facing IT professionals in Canada accompanied with possible community driven resolutions / observations. You get to have your say and input into your solution for addressing these challenges and we're going to take it public for all to benefit. Cool indeed!

    What are the resources you're getting by participating in this?

    • A workshop Workbook that will be used as a guide in the discussion and as a resource after the event.
    • Blog Posts / Podcasts taken during the events where members of the community team will be talking / interviewing members from the workshop and sharing their observations throughout the process.
    • A growing resource page that will summarize the collective insight after the final event concludes as well as ongoing interviews/podcasts that have been recorded during the sessions. Anyone can have their content submitted for inclusion - provided it's relevant. :)
    • In cities where there are no Technical Readiness Events - we're working to secure the funding to include resource kits. This would be for Victoria, Regina, Saskatoon, Kitchener-Waterloo, London and Halifax.  What's in side the resource Kits? stay tuned. :)

    This evening event is really a celebration of being involved in the ICT profession and a forum for us to get together to discuss issues that affect our daily lives and take the time to think proactively about what we can do to impact change for the better of the profession and ourselves.

    I urge you to sign up as soon as possible! Space is limited.  Forward the blog post link for details to others in your community who might not be actively engaged with the Community Team - remember - all are welcome.

    February 26th
    Register now

    March 3rd
    Register now

    March 5th
    Register now

    March 10th
    Register now

    March 12th
    Register now

    March 18th
    Register now

    March 19th
    Register now

    March 25th
    Register now

    April 2nd
    Register now

    April 3rd
    Register now

    April 7th
    Register now

    April 9th
    Register now

    April 15th
    Register now

    April 16th
    Register now


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