A Canuck In The Machine

Mark Relph - Senior Director - Startup and VC Team

May, 2008

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    PDC 2008 – Details Are Now Up



    Since 1991, the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) has been Microsoft’s premier gathering of leading-edge developers and architects. Attend the PDC to understand the future of the Microsoft platform and to exchange ideas with fellow professionals. You’ll learn about upcoming products, meet Microsoft’s leaders and top engineers, write some code, and be inspired! Unplug for a few days and think about the future.

    • Explore the full breadth of the Microsoft platform in more than 160 technical sessions Blog Bling 2
    • Roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and explore the latest technology for yourself in the hands-on labs
    • Attend a day-long pre-conference seminar to get deep training, best practices, and insightful advice from industry experts (*additional fee required).
    • Take the opportunity to interact with your peers and Microsoft staff in a variety of community-focused events like Ask the Experts and in the PDC Lounges

    In past years, the PDC has unveiled Microsoft .NET, Windows® XP, Windows Vista®, and other significant milestones in the evolution of the Microsoft platform. This year, you’ll hear more details about our services platform, the future of Windows, mobility, and our next generation of developer tools. And there are always a few surprises.

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    Thanks to Photojunkie for taking my picture @ MESH


    Toronto photographer PhotoJunkie was at MESH taking portraits with his old-school film gear and he asked me to be on of the subjects… thanks for the pic!

    Credit:  Photojunkie, May 2008

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    D6 Conference – Bill & Steve Video


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    Windows 7 Multi-Touch Demo From D6 Conference


    Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7
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    EnergizeIT vs. Anime North = Geek/Nerd Heaven


    Ok – this made for a very strange mix of people outside the Toronto Congress Centre.  Saturday was EnergizeIT 2008 and 1200 of Canada’s technical professional community were there in force.  At the same time, Anime North was underway (we hear they had thousands in attendance as well).  These folks take their conferences SERIOUSLY.  I have never seen so many costumes at once.  The net result – the strangest mix of event attendees I have seen in a long, long time. 

    The irony – both groups are both passionate communities in their own way!!!


    Anime North 2008

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    Press: MSDN Canada Code Awards and Technet Canada Innovation Awards



    Canadian software developers win big time in technology contests

    A powerful case management system for the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Canada's first critical care information system snagged the top prizes at two recently concluded technology contests.
    5/26/2008 5:00:00 AM By: Nestor E. Arellano


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    Bill Buxton makes a surprise appearance at MESH08


    Microsoft Research guru Bill Buxton (well known author and all around big brain) dropped in at MESH08.  There is a great video of his talk with Nora Young from the CBC show Spark

    Bill is always an engaging speaker.  The question posed to him - “Does location matter?”


    Check out the video below.

    Does Location Matter? from CBC Radio: Spark on Vimeo.

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    More On EnergizeIT


    EnergizeIT Shows Why Anything is Possible Within the Canadian IT Community

    Hosted by Microsoft Canada, annual event is designed to educate, recognize leaders in the community, and showcase the latest technologies

    MISSISSAUGA, ON – May 20, 2008 – Microsoft Canada Co.’s annual EnergizeIT event will provide more than 2,000 IT professionals, developers, designers, architects, students and IT enthusiasts with a free, day-long forum where they can test-drive new software, share ideas, showcase their innovation and discuss career growth. Hosted by the TechNet and MSDN teams at Microsoft Canada, EnergizeIT takes place on Saturday May 24th at the Toronto Congress Center between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

    Themed Anything is Possible, EnergizeIT 2008 will feature informational breakout sessions, keynotes by Mark Relph, Vice President of Developer Tools and Platform Group, Microsoft Canada and Lutz Ziob, General Manager of Microsoft Learning, as well as a series of hands-on labs. Some of the featured technologies include Windows Server ®2008, Visual Studio® 2008, Expression® Studio and the Silverlight™ browser plug-in. Phil Sorgen, President, Microsoft Canada, will also be presenting awards to the winners of the TechNet and MSDN Code Awards.

    EnergizeIT will also demonstrate the impact technology is having on business and consumer lifestyles and provide the IT community with career resources. A recent study by the Strategic Counsel found that 90 per cent of Canadian executives and IT professionals agree that Canada is experiencing an IT skills shortage, while 85 per cent of IT students said they want a challenging work environment that will allow them to innovate.

    “Given the impressive array of innovative new technologies that have to come to market over the past 12 months, there has never been a more exciting time to be in IT,” says Mark Relph, vice president of developer tools and platform group, Microsoft Canada. “Microsoft is proud to be hosting such a unique, community –based event that allows attendees to share knowledge, strengthen their careers and keep the Canadian IT sector strong.”

    EnergizeIT 2008 Agenda:

    9:30am – 11:45am Keynote Session

    · Opening keynote by Mark Relph, Vice President of Developer Tools and Platform Group, Microsoft Canada

    · Presentation of TechNet and MSDN Code Awards winners by Phil Sorgen, President, Microsoft Canada

    · Morning session keynote by Lutz Ziob, General Manager of Microsoft Learning

    · Technology Showcase

    12:30pm – 4:30pm Breakout Sessions

    · Afternoon tracks and corresponding sessions (choice of: Developer Track, IT Pro Track, Consumer Track, Career Track, Security Track and Partner Track)

    · Hands on Labs

    Featured Technologies:

    · Windows Server 2008

    · Visual Studio 2008

    · SQL Server® 2008

    · System Center

    · Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system

    · Windows Live™

    · Expression Studio

    To register for EnergizeIT and for more information, please visit: www.energizeit.ca.

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    My continued love of the Dell M1330


    Dell XPS M1330

    My team and I have come to a clear conclusion – the vast majority of really happy Vista users are also M1330 or M1530 users.  Seriously, when I talk to somebody and they say that they are loving their Vista experience they always seem to answer “M1330” when I ask “what machine do ya have?”

    Dell Canada has been kind enough to let me play with an M1330 for a few months now.  It’s fast, light, good looking, easy to use.  Mine is has 4GB RAM and a 180GB drive.  The screen is amazing…… the machine just makes me proud :-)   …………  It also makes my fellow MS Canada senior leadership team members a bit jealous :-)

    Looking for a new machine?  Get this one.  The price is right and you won’t regret it in my opinion…

    I only have 1 ask of Dell – build a docking station for this machine and help corporations understand that XPS does not always mean “consumer”.

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    T-1 Day to EnergizeIT!!!


    Saturday is EnergizeIT our annual IT Community event.  I will be on stage kicking off the day, talking about how we are going to help make you successful over the course of the next year and handing out the MSDN and TechNet awards with Phil Sorgen (President – MS Canada).


    If you have registered, it’s not too late.  If you are registered – see you there!!!


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    New photography show @ on10.net – ShutterSpeed


    ShutterSpeed Episode 01
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    Interesting Fast Company Article on our new ad agency…




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    Public Launch Of The Worldwide Telescope – Seriously Cool


    The Worldwide Telescope project from Microsoft Research is now available.  It is simply incredible.  If you are into astronomy or not you should check this out.  The guided tours are a particular highlight.  This is an amazing project from the Research crew.


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    An Interesting Fact About The “Blackberry Fund”







    Rick talks about the recent announcement of the fund here.  It’s a $150M fund to drive mobile software/technology innovation.

    It’s a great idea and I am proud to see it headquartered north of the border.

    I had to read Rick’s post twice to notice something -

    “we aren't sharing plans or getting sign off from anyone, including RIM, on the investments”

    What Platforms?  All of them. No, really, all of them.  Does that mean if somebody has an application on another mobile device but it isn't running on a RIM device we would fund them? Assuming it was a good investment, yes.  We would expect the RIM devices to be on the roadmap and would certainly fund for that roadmap.”

    This is an interesting twist.  Windows Mobile has tremendous momentum in the Canadian marketplace right now.  I believe that for a mobile software vendor thinking of developing a business we have a few benefits to consider:

    • Speed to market:  .NET developers are easy to find and Windows Mobile is straight forward to code for.  Can you say Silverlight Mobile?
    • Carrier support:  just watch the latest Rogers, Telus and Bell ads on TV
    • Strong partner channel support:  we help you make $

    So – if you have a business idea in development on Windows Mobile let us know.  If it’s great, we can go from there…

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    EnergizeIT 2008 – Are you going?




    This is our “capstone” event for the year (remember, when I say year, I am talking fiscal year – July – June).

    EnergizeIT is the premier event for Canada’s IT Technology Professionals.  This year's event takes place on Saturday, May 24, (the Saturday after the long weekend) at the Toronto Congress Centre.  The theme this year is Anything is Possible as we celebrate the phenomenal things that IT has made possible in our work and personal lives (social media, cross-distance collaboration and communication, the never disconnected lifestyle, and more) as well as the potential of IT to change our lives in the years to come.

    EnergizeIT brings together Developers, IT Professionals, IT Managers and Students for a day of amazing content and most importantly connection between each other.  The event includes 9 tracks on topics such as Green IT, Career, Security and much more. There will be hands on labs and other activities so be sure to bring your laptops.

    I will be there kicking the day off during the keynote session (which is always a blast for me).  We will also take some time to recognize the potential achieved and accomplishments of your peers whose hard work will be rewarded at EnergizeIT through the presentation of the MSDN Code Award and TechNet Innovation Award to the winners by Phil Sorgen, the President of Microsoft Canada.


    All the info is on the main page here.  You can register here.  Follow the behind-the-scenes information on the Canadian IT Pro and Developer blogs.


    Join the Facebook Event Page and Group.

    Follow on Twitter.

    Pictures on Flickr.

    Technorati Search.


    Want a taste of last year?  Check out the video:


    Saturday May 24, 2008

    Toronto Congress Centre - Toronto, Ontario MAP IT

    9:30 am – 4:30pm. Registration starts at 9:00am

    Free of charge. Come and enjoy the day!

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    Just Geeky: Family Guy Enters The Matrix


    Too good not to share.

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    mesh (no, not the Live Service, the conference)




    It is ironic that we announced a new (amazing) product/service called Live Mesh at the same time, but the MESH conference in Toronto is just around the corner.  The agenda looks really solid.  I like MARS as a venue, but I hope they have improved on the A/V setup this year for the main session (my only beef from last year). 

    We have always been a sponsor of the event (in various forms) and this continues this year.  Our very own David Crow is speaking at MeshU.  I will be there as well – mostly lurking the halls.   Last year I moderated a pannel, but this year no such luck.  Hey Stuart & gang, come on – let me talk :-)

    Anyway – if you are there I would love to connect.





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    On CP24 talking about Dreamspark…..


    I was on CP24 yesterday talking about DreamSpark which is a program that enables students to download Microsoft developer and design tools at no charge.

    Video: Dreamspark From Microsoft
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    Rick & Christian on Channel 10


    Over the last few months there has been a Microsoft-wide contest to encourage people to “improve the art of the demo”.  Two of our team – Rick and Christian – came in second place.  Not bad!!  The video is now up on Channel 10, check it out…….

    The art of the demo: Part 2

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