A Canuck In The Machine

Mark Relph - Senior Director - Startup and VC Team

October, 2008

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    John and I chat post-keynote at PDC



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    Hello Canada From PDC to Techdays!


    For everyone attending TechDays in Toronto, John Bristowe and I recorded a quick “hello” video from the floor of the PDC2008 keynote.



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    On The Eve Of Techdays 2008


    Techdays is here!  The team (as I type this post) is hard at work back in Toronto preparing the final details for the kickoff event.  We really are trying to raise the bar on the kinds of events and programs we bring to Canada’s Technical Professionals and we hope that the first ever Techdays will help make our vision come to life.

    For those of you attending the event, you may be wondering why Techdays Toronto and PDC seem to conflict.  I will be making a video appearance at Techdays and will speak to this point, but I also wanted to discuss it here. 

    Both events are amazing and offer great things for developers (and other IT professionals as well).  The events have very different focus areas, however.

    TechDays is about you.  Your skills, your career, your networking, your learning and the technology you have available to you today.  We won’t be spending a lot of time on the PDC announcements at PDC quite on purpose.  Techdays is a new kind of event experience for us in Canada (and we are trying to bring some of the best elements of events like TechEd and PDC)

    PDC is about the future of the Microsoft platform.  This is a worldwide event, focused on the future of the Microsoft platform.  It is very developer focused and involves a lot of content that is pre-beta.  This year we have seen announcements around Windows 7, Silverlight 2, WPF, Windows Azure and Office 14.




    Blog Bling 4



    Build your skills on the technology you have or technology shipping today. Learn about the future of the Microsoft Platform.  All forward looking.
    Focus on deeper technical readiness on today’s technology – helping you do more with what you have.  Sessions on the “new” but shipping products (like Silverlight).  Some discussions of the roundmap going forward. Focus on an early look at what is coming combined with sessions on today’s technology.
    A chance to network with your peers A chance to network with your peers.
    Great Speakers Great Speakers
    Lots of recorded content Lots of recorded content
    $250 or $130 $2500+
    Across Canada Only In L.A.
    All about Canada About Everyone

    (Note: there is also MIX09 in Vegas in March – focused completely on the Web)

    So how do we leverage both events?  We have a team at PDC that is gathering the best information from the show and we will be setting up ways to get it to you over the next few months.  We have a few cool ideas to ensure Canada is at the front of innovation on these new technologies.  Additionally, much of the content is recorded at www.microsoftpdc.com

    Likewise, we are recording a lot of TechDays content for use in the future as well.

    So – enjoy Techdays – use the time to build your skills and know that we will be bringing you the best of PDC in the very near future!

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    From PDC – Ray Ozzie Talks Azure On Channel9


    Ray talks Azure from PDC.

    Ray Ozzie: Reflections on Azure
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    PDC 2008 – More coverage from Ryan’s blog


    Ryan has done a good job summing up some of the coverage from the last 2 days.

    Wow. What a day! I’ve attempted to pull together a summary of materials and videos from Day 1. I’m now in the keynote for Day 2 so will have more later on that later.   Read More

    IMG_4797 IMG_4808IMG_4798 image


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    PDC – David Crow responds to Flexibility & Choice


    David gave it some thought and responded to my post from a few days ago.  Check it out here.



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    From PDC2008 – Ryan overview’s Azure


    Ryan Storgaard, our Canadian Chief S+S Officer, outlines some of the news on Azure over on this blog.  Check it out here.

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    Live From PDC – Windows Azure – Cloud Computing Announcement



    · The Azure™ Services Platform: A set of cloud-based technologies such as storage, identity, and multi-device sync that extend software development for both enterprise server and PC/browser/phone applications with services on the Web.

    · Windows Azure™: A component of the Azure Services Platform that extends the Windows environment to the cloud for developers who want service hosting, scalable storage, and automated service management of their software applications.






    Back end infrastructure has historically formed the foundational underpinning of most (if not all) enterprise applications, and is obviously at the core of both business and consumer experiences on the Web. In the enterprise, however, the back end has traditionally supported a set of inward-facing apps, running behind the firewall, within the confines of the enterprise datacenter. As more and more businesses forge a path onto the Web, collaborating with customers and partners, the external, outward-facing nature of these applications introduces a new set of requirements that can only be satisfied by hybrid scenarios in which businesses have a choice of service and software for applications and application components. The fundamental platform requirement is choice and flexibility in developing, operating, and managing such systems in highly varied enterprise deployment environments that are distributed and federated between the enterprise data center and the internet cloud. For developers, this means a platform and programming model that spans the service world and the software world.

    For Microsoft, evolving the platform for this new era starts with the fundamentals. We are extending the core developer platform and .NET programming model to the cloud with a set of developer services called the Azure Services Platform. This is a major step function for the platform that extends the Windows programming model to include cloud computing scenarios. At the base level, the Azure Services Platform includes Windows Azure, which offers a platform on which to build scalable applications. This includes virtualized computation, support for familiar tools, languages, frameworks, such as ASP.NET, C#, LINQ, WCF, WF and protocol support for both REST and SOAP, ensuring that the developer skills that exist on our platform today continue to be relevant in the world of cloud computing. Along with this core compute capability, Windows Azure provides scalable storage with support for simple blobs, tables, and queues, as well as a management infrastructure for provisioning and geo-distribution of cloud-based services. Microsoft services such as Live Mesh and Live Meeting are using Windows Azure today, with many others coming on in the next year.

    At a higher level of abstraction, the Azure Services Platform provides a rich set of developer services, including .NET Services for cloud-based access control, federated directory, messaging and workflow services, SQL Services as the foundation for structured, relational storage and reporting services, and Live Services as the framework for programmatic access to what you may know today as Windows Live platform technologies (Live service APIs, Live Mesh, Windows Live ID, Virtual Earth, etc.). In the future, service extensions for Dynamics CRM and SharePoint will be made available as well. These developer services are all part of the Azure Services Platform.

    Lastly, above the Azure Services Platform, applications like Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and Dynamics CRM are offered as commercially available services today, offering the power of choice to businesses of all sizes. This is supported by a set of capabilities unique to the world of hybrid scenarios, such as the ability to federate user identities across the server-service continuum, so a given user can authenticate to a single portfolio of apps, some of which are on-premises, while others are consumed as a service. In addition, consumer and small business services like Windows Live and Office Live will run on the Azure Services Platform, as we continue to bet our growing services business on this technology foundation.

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    PDC2008 - Flexibility & Choice (Continued)


    In my previous post, I introduced to you my thoughts on the changing needs of businesses, developers and IT professionals.  Specifically, I discussed the demand for Flexibility in technology platforms and the growing desire for Choice in User Experiences.  As PDC begins in Los Angeles, I wanted to spend some more time on these topics.

    When I travel across Canada meeting customers, partners, developers and it professionals one fact becomes more clear - every business has a unique set of needs.  No exceptions.  Whether you’re a small business using technology to reach for customers or a large enterprise running massive business critical systems, the demands on IT requirements are completely unique. 

    Let me illustrate that for you with two examples.

    You’ve decided to start-up a new online business.   As a start-up you might be working alone or with a small group and you probably don’t want to burn through a lot of cash building your IT infrastructure.  What if you had some special privacy concerns that required you to store your data onsite?  Great, install a server for you email, web and even file sharing and collaboration needs and let it grow with your business.  But what if you don’t want to invest in capital costs, space or it personnel?  You can turn to the cloud for everything from hosting your web server and collaboration (Check out OfficeLive.ca for an example of this).  The point being is that flexibility should be yours. 

    Let’s look from a different point of view.  A large enterprise is trying to keep costs under control but still needs to be agile enough to compete, perhaps by being able to spin up innovative projects or have the flexibility to throttle back infrastructure as you need it.  To achieve this there are many options to consider - from datacenters, virtualized environments to services delivered from your partners in the cloud.  Again, the key is a platform that allows this kind of flexibility.

    Within both these examples, there is evidence of a key trend in the marketplace.  The recognition that a truly flexible platform will not focus entirely on the client side of the application, or on the server, or on the cloud – but rather on a hybrid model the harnesses the power of each.  This is a major theme that will be part of the vision we unveil at PDC.

    The other side of our vision focuses on powerful User Experiences.  Just as you need the flexibility in your infrastructure - your users, employees and customers also need flexibility in the way they interact with technology.  As the way they work is changing, so is their demands on how they interact with their information.  User Experience is a huge driver of innovation.  Users, now comfortable with the web, smart devices and powerful client platforms are now demanding that access to their data be as simple and compelling as the content experiences they have come to enjoy. 

    PDC is a major milestone for Microsoft and our customers and partners.  We’ll be spending a week diving deep into our Software+Services vision - which is all about unlocking flexible infrastructure and delivering great user experiences.   Over the course of the week we will bring you more details as they are announced at the show.  You can follow along as well at the PDC website – www.microsoftpdc.com (several of the keynotes will be streamed for free)

    If you’re a Canadian Developers or IT Professionals, the best way to stay on top of these trends is by attending Microsoft TechDays (www.techdays.ca) . 

    So tell me, how are these trends impacting your business?  If you’re a Developer or IT Professional that’s thinking about this for your business, I want to hear from you.


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    On The Eve Of PDC2008


    clip_image002This week (Oct 26-30) developers and other technology professionals, innovators and business leaders will gather in L.A. for the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC).  This is a critical event for developers and for Microsoft.  Since 1991, the PDC has been Microsoft’s premier gathering of leading-edge developers and architects.  People attend the PDC to understand the future of the Microsoft platform and to exchange ideas with fellow professionals.   It has been three years since the last PDC and these events normally occur the year before major shifts in our strategy or on the verge of a wave of new products and technologies.  For Canada’s developers and the Canadian media & influential bloggers this event represents a great opportunity to learn more about Microsoft’s


    platform roadmap. 

    Developers are the foundation of the entire ecosystem around Microsoft and our platform.  This is even more important as Microsoft embarks on a era of Software + Services, software that delivers powerful user experiences and software that unlocks the power of our client platforms.  As many of you have heard, we expect major news around our Software+Services strategy, Windows 7, Silverlight and Visual Studio 2010 (just to name a few). 


    The Canadian Presence At PDC

    Along with a strong contingent of customers, partners & MVPs we have a team attending the conference.  Our team will ensure that there is a great Canadian experience at PDC.  We will be blogging from the show all week - you can follow all the news from the Developer Connection blog.  You can also follow us on Twitter @ www.twitter.com/canucksatpdc and the hastag #PDC2008.


    · http://blogs.msdn.com/cdndevs

    · http://blogs.msdn.com/canux/


    Press / Blogger Engagement

    We are bringing a total of 14 influencers (media, analysts and bloggers) from a wide range of publications including business, channel and trade publications.  Over the course of three days, these media influencers will be attending a pre-show workshops, the Day 1 Ozzie keynote and a Microsoft Canada roundtable highlighting what select Canadian partners and customers are doing today and what opportunities they see in the future.  Watch for coverage of PDC in your favorite media outlets.


    What If You, Your Teams, Your Customers or Your Partners Cannot Attend?


    If you cannot attend, much of the content will be available via the PDC website – www.microsoftpdc.com





    And remember – every Canadian developer & IT professional can experience our very own technology conference – TechDays - in cities across Canada (starting in Toronto this week!)




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    Developer Tools Sales & Marketing Group Manager – Microsoft Canada


    I am hiring.

    http://www.microsoft.com/canada/employment/search.mspx Job ID: J1008-0250


    The Challenge:

    The Developer & Platform Evangelism Group (DPE) is focused on securing the future of the Microsoft platform. To achieve this goal, DPE works across 4 key engagement areas – Technical Audiences, Customer Engagement, Partner Engagement and Developer Tools.

    Success in Developer Tools is critical to the long term adoption of our overall platform and represents a growing revenue source for Microsoft. This role is the business leader of the Tools area within DPE. It is a unique role that combines sales excellence with product management & marketing.

    This role offers both an exciting business challenge of owning an end-to-end business. It provides a chance to build personal experience with both sales and marketing. DPE also provides an exciting people environment - it prides itself on an agile business philosophy and a dedication to personal development.


    The Role:

    As Group Manager of the Tools Sales & Marketing team, this role is the owner of a key pillar of the DPE business in Canada. This role is the overall business leader of our Tools business, as well as the manager of our specific sales and marketing efforts. This role is responsible for building the overall marketing and sales strategy for the success of the Tools business in Canada. This includes an analysis of the opportunity in the Canadian marketplace, building a strategic marketing plan and effectively utilizing our sales resources.

    Reporting to this role are 3 Developer Tools Sales resources, the Tools Product Manager and the Platform Marketing Manager.

    Key responsibilities include:

    • Build a strong yearly product and platform marketing plan
    • Execution of our product and platform campaigns, promotions and activities
    • Work in conjunction with our marketing and communications team in the development and execution of our campaigns and agency management
    • Achievement of our Tools sales goals across all customer segments. Maintain an accurate and effective sales forecast
    • Maintain the overall Tools Forecast. Accurate and timely sales pipeline forecasting and participation in the subsidiary forecasting process, including integration into the Server & Tools business processes.
    • Tools Growth Models and Yearly budget creation. Develop and implement analytics on the health of the business and the market opportunity.
    • Cross-group engagement with the Enterprise, Public Sector and Small/Medium Business sales teams. Participation in cross-group forecasting and business management processes.
    • Participate as a member of the International Tools Areas Leads. Effective engagement with Redmond/Corporate.
    • Contribution to the monthly business checkpoints, quarterly reviews and midyear review processes
    • Participation as a member of the DPE Leadership Team in Canada
    • People management including commitment setting, reviews and people development

    Success will be measured across the sales and marketing aspects of the role.

    • Achieving a “green” business scorecard.
    • Achievement of the tools sales quotas and budgets. (In total and by customer segment)
    • Sales forecast accuracy by quarter.
    • Customer Satisfaction.
    • Effective execution of marketing campaigns that drive awareness and revenue. Innovation and evolution of our activities, campaigns and programs.
    • Effective use of marketing funding and a predictable spending forecast.
    • Positive People Management
    • Contribution to the DPE Leadership Team in Canada
    • Innovation In Role


    The Fit:

    • A strong business leader with a track record of success
    • The ability to scale across sales and marketing
    • Ability to drive execution and innovation
    • A solid people manager who can grow, inspire and support the people on the team
    • Experience selling and/or marketing a highly technical product
    • An outstanding ability to execute and orchestrate across teams
    • Ability to fit into a dynamic, high performance team and have fun!


    About The Organization:

    The Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) Group’s overall mission is to secure the future of Microsoft’s platform adoption success through technology evangelism, direct customer engagement, technology community support, platform sales, relationship marketing and supporting a vibrant partner ecosystem.

    1. Support Canada’s Technical Professionals by connecting with them and responding to their needs with outstanding programs, activities, interactions and content.
    2. Help individuals, customers and our partners do amazing things with our software.  Maximize the effectiveness of the software they already have and ready them for the technology of the future.
    3. In key strategic areas, make a significant positive impact on the Canadian marketplace.  This includes a variety of initiatives including improving our position as a web platform provider, driving new industry standards, helping grow Canada’s “software economy”, to engaging with startups, to helping improve the position of Women in Technology. And many more.

    Specific DPE activities include:

      • Connecting with Canada’s Technology Professionals across the Developer, Architect and IT Pro audiences through an integrated approach to evangelism, communities and intelligent audience marketing.
      • Engaging Independent Software Vendors through depth and breadth technical evangelism activities
      • Driving highly visible reference wins on strategic technologies in enterprise accounts that lead to compelling customer reference
      • Product Management and Sales of Microsoft Developer Tools and Platform
      • Engaging technical students and faculty in universities, colleges and high schools
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    Techdays: Early Bird Pricing Extended


    [Cross Post From http://blogs.msdn.com/cdndevs]


    Technorati Tags: techDays_CA

    Hello Everyone! 

    During this time of global economic instability, It’s important that IT Professionals and Developers remain focused on delivering value, enabling business and increasing the impact it has to across your organization.   From speaking with many of you, without a doubt, the current economic situation is a topic that is on everyone’s mind. In uncertain times making sure you have the right skills to make an impact is important.  I see this is a real concern and feel we need to help.  I’m not an economist, I can’t predict the future or the end of the economic uncertainty, but, what I can do is focus on what we can control and extend the early bird price for TechDays 2008 to Oct 29th! image

    Act now to take advantage of this opportunity as TechDays not only provides you the right skills you need, it also gives you the tools and the support necessary to ensure you can have an impact and support you in your career.

    Help Grow your Skills:

      • This is definitely not your “typical” MSDN/TechNet tour.  It is not a marketing event - it's is a professional development event We truly are focusing on helping you to grow your skills across a breath of products and solutions while learning from someone that has the real world experience. 
      • With over 30 technical sessions with a technical depth of 200 or greater the content will be technically deep, and delivered by an array of great speakers. We truly are focused in on helping you and ensuring you have a great experience at the event with content reigning supreme.

    Provide you with the Tools you need:

      • You get a lot of great free stuff.  A 6 month subscription to TechNet Plus (which includes 2 free support incidents), Microsoft® Visual Studio 2008 Professional - Full Version, Microsoft® Expression Web 2 - Full Version, the TechEd 2008 DVD Set, a 30% off Certification voucher - applicable to all Microsoft Commercial Certification Exams, Microsoft® Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite - Evaluation Software, Microsoft® Expression Studio 2 - Evaluation Software, Office Communications Server 2007 - Evaluation Software, and A $100 Discount Coupon for DevTeach/SQL Teach Training

    Provide you the support you need:

      • Included in the TechDays Learning Kit - TechNet Plus subscription helps you prepare for critical issues and plan for future deployments by providing fast and convenient access to the latest software for evaluation without time or feature limits, beta releases, 2 complimentary Professional Support incidents and other technical information and tools to get your jobs done faster. Here is what’s included:
        • Full-version evaluation software without time limits
        • Beta software releases
        • Technical Information Library
        • 2 Professional Support Incidents
        • Managed newsgroups
        • Online concierge Chat
        • Technical training resources and Microsoft E-Learning Courses

    I look forward to seeing you there!

    take care,


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    An Accordion, A New Addition, A Great Team and Big Challenges


    I like to think I have one of the best jobs at Microsoft Canada. 

    There is 2 equal reasons for that. 

    • I am lucky enough to have an amazing group of people on my team (I’d go so far as to say the best group at Microsoft Canada).
    • I love our team’s mission

    What’s our mission, you ask?  There is a lot that falls into our portfolio (developers, IT pros, ISVs, Dev Tools Sales, Customer engagement, students and academic, startups, early adoption of technology, our platform, etc), but it can be easily summed up as:

    1. Support Canada’s Technical Professionals by connecting with them and responding to their needs with outstanding programs, activities, interactions and content.
    2. Help individuals, customers and our partners do amazing things with our software.  Maximize the effectiveness of the software they already have and ready them for the technology of the future.
    3. In key strategic areas, make a significant positive impact on the Canadian marketplace.  This includes everything from improving our position as a web platform provider, to helping grow Canada’s “software economy”, to engaging with startups, to helping improve the position of Women in Technology.

    It’s a huge undertaking, but our mission makes it easy for me to get out of bed in the morning and to love my job.  The only way we can meet our goals is to always have the best people working on those challenges.

    As I said, I have an awesome teamThey simply rock - the technology evangelists behind our community connection blogs (like Rick, Christian, Rodney, John, Damir, Paul, Qixing, JL, Ruth or Pierre), our customer & partner evangelists (like David, Joel, Cigdem and Jamie), our sales crew (Adam, Mike, Jeff), our marketing experts (Wendy, Barnaby, Daniel and Rini), our “web and special projects” team (David and Jerome), my managers (Dean, John and Peter) – and of course my assistant Karen. 

    But keeping an awesome team is a hard thing to do.  JL, for example, his heading to Redmond for his next challengeWith every door that closes another window opensIn his going away video, JL said if you are passionate about technology and passionate about helping Developers then you might be a good person to replace him.  Well, we found that person and they join our team on Monday.

    Joey deVilla on Accordion

    Joey deVilla is a well known member of Canada’s developer community.  He is likely best known as “the accordion guy”.

    You can read Joey’s take on his new job here.

    We are really excited to have him join our team and I think he brings a lot to the table:

        • A genuine passion for technology
        • Insight into the needs of developers
        • A lot of non-Microsoft experience
        • A lot of energy and ideas
        • An accordion

    So, watch for Joey at our events, on our blogs and in the community.

    Joey – congratulations and welcome to the team.

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    David and Jevon Talk About StartupEmpire.ca

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    I (Heart) WinDev: One View of the Windows Developer Track for TechDays


    Cross Post From The Canadian Developer Blog

    By now, I'm sure you've heard a lot about TechDays2008. Perhaps you're wondering which track to attend. May I suggest the Windows Developer track? We have some great presentations in our line-up! If you haven't had time to check out the track's itinerary, here's one way to see it:

    I'm not sure if the phrase, "a picture is worth one thousand words" applies in this case. However, you get the idea.

    The Windows Developer track will focus on a number of key technologies and tools that developers use when building rich client applications. We'll be covering exciting stuff like [CWPF], [WinForms], and [WPF]; essential learning for Windows developers today! We'll also cover technologies and tools that are used for building applications for [WindowsMobile]. As the world goes more and more mobile, we want to make sure you'll be able to take advantage of the exciting features that the platform provides.


    Make sure to sign up for www.techdays.ca today!

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    PDC – The Devil’s Guide To PDC


    Blog Bling BrainHeading to LA for PDC – this is a good read to get the most of the show. 




    “If you are reading this, you know Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference is on and is coming up in mere days. I am fortunate enough to be a part of the PDC Core Team; we are responsible for your experience at the event.

    I am sure that you have been checking the site, the sessions, the feed and keeping your eye on the blogosphere for scoops and hints of what is to come. There is only one problem; they are not giving you everything you need so I want to provide insider advice on how you can make the most of your trip.”

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    Your Dream Job?


    Over on the developer connection blog there is a great video that highlights an open position we have on the team, along with the farewell videos from JL, who is leaving our team to head to Redmond (he will be missed!)

    Your Dream Job video - http://blogs.msdn.com/cdndevs/archive/2008/10/10/your-dream-job.aspx

    JL’s Farewell:  http://blogs.msdn.com/cdndevs/archive/2008/10/14/farewell.aspx


    Who will step in to fill JL’s shoes? 

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    Meet Windows 7




    “Hi there, Mike Nash here.

    For me, one of the most exciting times in the release of a new product is right before we show it to the world for the first time. And that time is right now.

    In a few weeks we are going to be talking about the details of this release at the PDC and at WinHEC. We will be sharing a pre-beta "developer only release" with attendees of both shows and giving them the first broad in-depth look at what we've been up to. I can't wait for them to see it.

    And, as you probably know, since we began development of the next version of the Windows client operating system we have been referring to it by a codename, "Windows 7."  But now is a good time to announce that we've decided to officially call the next version of Windows, "Windows 7."

    While I know there have been a few cases at Microsoft when the codename of a product was used for the final release, I am pretty sure that this is a first for Windows. You might wonder about the decision.

    The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity. Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows.  We've used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or "aspirational" monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista.  And since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense.  Likewise, coming up with an all-new "aspirational" name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows.

    Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore "Windows 7" just makes sense.

    We are very excited about the opportunity to tell you more about Windows 7 in the coming weeks, and show you how we have continued to build on investments begun in Windows Vista to deliver on the next release of the Windows operating system.

    I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks and months.


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    Silverlight 2 Announcement


    Microsoft Releases Silverlight 2, Already Reaching One in Four Consumers Worldwide

    Microsoft announces new rich Internet applications development and streaming media features; company outlines plans for supporting Windows, Mac and Linux tools for developing Silverlight applications.


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    Hey, Canadian Web Developers! Does This Sound Familiar?


    John has more Techdays news over on the Canadian Developer Community Connection Blog:

    Over the past few weeks, I've been working hard on the content for the Web Developer track of Microsoft Tech•Days Canada 2008. Looking at the lighter side of this space, I took a break to come up with a few observations.

    "You Might be a Web Developer..."

    1. If you overuse AJAX for household chores, you might be a Web developer.
    2. If you think "passing the Acid test" doesn't refer to a drug problem, you might be a Web developer.
    3. If you know that WYSIWYG isn't a military installation in Iceland, you might be a Web developer.
    4. If you respond to confusing questions with "HTTP 500", you might be a Web developer.
    5. If you doodle angle brackets on napkins, you might be a Web developer.
    6. If your first question is "Where's the API?" when a site launches, you might be a Web developer.
    7. If you own more than ten domain names, you might be a Web developer.
    8. If your "Yo Mamma" jokes include the phrase, "padding: 200%", you might be a Web developer.
    9. If the phrase, "I can program HTML" bugs you, you might be a Web developer.
    10. If there's no place like, you might be a Web developer. (Credit to the folks at ThinkGeek.com)
    11. If you write "HTTP 301" on misaddressed letters, you might be a Web developer.
    12. If your heroes include Tim Berners-Lee, Brendan Eich, Hakon Wium Lie and Bert Bos, you might be a Web developer.
    13. If the phrase, "Lynx FTW!" makes you smile, you might be a Web developer.
    14. If you're frustrated by the fact that the human eye can see more than 256 colours, you might be a Web developer.
    15. If your best pick-up line is "#you + #me { margin: 0; }", you might be a Web developer. (Credit to Kevin Lawver. Well done, sir.)

    Are you a Web developer? If so, you’re gonna to love Microsoft Tech•Days Canada 2008! We've got a rock-solid itinerary for the Web Developer track, featuring technologies such as ASP.NET MVC, Silverlight, and much more!

    Make sure to take advantage of Early Bird Pricing; available only until October 15th! Tickets are selling fast so make sure you can satisfy your angle bracket fix by registering for Microsoft Tech•Days Canada 2008 today!

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    Techdays – A Letter To Your Boss


    From Rick, over at the The IT Pro Community Connection Blog:


    Letter to your boss – why you can’t possibly miss TechDays in Canada.

    Dear {Enter Your Manager’s Name Here},

    I enjoy my job and have always appreciated how well you manage me. As you know, I don’t ask for much.  The request for a complete rip and replace of the infrastructure came during a moment of frustration after a long stint of binge energy drink consumption. I continue to be a humble employee with simple needs, and I am writing to you to ask if I could attend TechDays Canada in {insert city name here - ex: Toronto}, [insert date here – ex: October 29th & 30th}. It’s not like I am asking to travel out of country to TechEd Orlando – this is just down the road from here.

    Wait! Before you respond, let me explain. This is not the typical Microsoft Canada “tour” that is more “marketing” than substance. TechDays_CA (which is what the kids on Facebook call it) is where Microsoft has partnered with some of the best Canadian technical speakers local to each city to deliver some absolutely awesome content. 

    TechDays is where the speakers are not just marketing folks – ok, Rick, Rod and John Bristowe will be there - but check out this line-up of actual developers and IT architects from the community who are delivering sessions: Steve Syfuhs (Software Architect, DoubleNatural ITS), Val Matison (SQL Guru), Barry Gervin (founding partner, ObjectSharp) and Stephen Giles (Technology Specialist – SQL) just to name a few. Remember those tough questions that came up in last weeks team meeting that I didn't have the answer to at the time? Well, I will have multiple opportunities to talk directly with the speakers and other technical experts throughout the conference.

    But it isn’t just the speakers; it’s also about the other attendees. You’ve always said that networking with other peer IT Professionals in the city is the key to building my support network. After all, they are using the same tools and technologies we are. I can learn a lot from them and see how they have overcome issues we have run into. I keep reading the blogs (on my own time, of course) and everyone says that networking is one of the top reasons to attend. I’ll be searching out like minded IT Pros with interests in virtualization and SQL as part of the social networking that will be taking place throughout the conference.

    I promise I won’t come home empty handed. I just read that they have replaced the glossy marketing handouts with something they are calling “the learning kit” and it’s jammed packed with actual useful stuff. Remember how I asked for that TechNet subscription last year? All attendees are getting a Full Featured TechNet Plus Direct version for 6 months! I know I wasn't`t able to attend TechEd in the states last spring, but they’ve included a FULL DVD set of it`s sessions and content! Plus, I will come back with a ton of business cards and new connections.

    This isn’t the typical tour that Microsoft has put on in the past. TechDays has been designed and organized from the ground up by the Technical folks – not the marketing folks at Microsoft. I don’t want to pressure you into making a snap decision – but I hear that the best discount available to attend (early bird pricing = 50% off!) is ending on October 15th… I need to go to www.techdays.ca to register before it’s too late!

    Thanks in advance for your approval on my humble request and I promise to bring you back a tuque, trip report, a learning kit and a very inspired and much smarter employee.

    Your favourite employee,
    {Enter Your Name Here}


    OK… I took a page from the PDC pre-conference website as inspiration for this – but TechDays is a seriously different event from anything we have done before. This ‘aint your marketing manager tour - it really is a TechEd of the North – and we’re bringing it to 7 cities in Canada. TechDays is not a point in time – it’s part of a larger conversation and process that we’re putting together this year to seriously help you out developing the skills you need to succeed in you job. The best discount around (Early Bird Pricing) ends on October 15th – 50% off the door price.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Techdays – A Revolution In Supporting Your Career & Developing Your Skills.


    Techdays 2008 - our premier event for Canada’s Developers & IT Professionals – will soon be here.  Today I wrote this to be included in a newsletter we are sending out to the IT Professional audience.  I thought I would share it here on my blog as well:

    Techdays is a unique event in Canada and the most exciting opportunity for Developers and IT Professionals to advance grow their skills and advance their careers.  I asked the team to put together this special events edition as I felt it was important to share with you the true value of TechDays.

    Over the last year, you have told us that you are faced with so many solutions, products and experiences, but lack enough time to learn new skills and build a successful career in IT.  This feedback prompted us to rethink how we run events for Canada’s Technology Professionals.  We have created a connected set of programs and activities for FY09, the cornerstone being a “TechEd like experience” that we have named TechDays 2008.  The starting point for TechDays centred around a focus on skills and career development and ended with a need to evolve the vehicles we use to deliver the content to you. The result is a richer learning experience and the tools necessary to continue your learning beyond the event.

    Across 7 cities and with more than thirty 200+ level sessions there truly is something for everyone.  You can choose from tracks and sessions including: Windows Development, Web Development, SQL Server 2008, Infrastructure or our first large scale deep dive into Microsoft’s Virtualization solution!  The sessions will be delivered by speakers from Microsoft, our partners and industry experts. 

    So, how is TechDays is different from what you’ve seen in the past and why you should attend?  Here are 5 great reasons to attend:

    • This is definitely not your “typical” MSDN/TechNet tour.  It is not a marketing event – it’s is a professional development event.  We truly are focused in on helping you and ensuring you have a great experience at the event with content reigning supreme.
    • The day is made up of new and exciting technical content which will be delivered by an array of great speakers from across the country. You won’t be able to get this kind of content anywhere else.
    • You get a lot of great free stuff – over $1000 worth!  The Techdays Learning Kit includes:  A 6 month subscription to TechNet Plus (including incident support calls), Microsoft® Visual Studio 2008 Professional - Full Version, Microsoft® Expression Web 2 - Full Version, TechEd 2008 DVD Set, 30% off Certification voucher - applicable to all Microsoft Certification Exams, Microsoft® Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite - Evaluation Software, Microsoft® Expression Studio 2 - Evaluation Software, Office Communications Server 2007 - Evaluation Software, A $100 Discount Coupon for DevTeach/SQL Teach Training
    • Techdays allows you to connect with your peers, speakers, community, competitors and Microsoft.
    • This is just the beginning.  After Techdays you will be invited to participate in an ongoing set of programs to help you grow as a Technology Professional.

    Finally, I want to ensure that you are aware of our early bird pricing ends October 15th. Early bird prices equate to 50% off the standard ticket prices.


    My team is committed to your success and everyone single one of us would be happy to answer any questions you may have.


    I look forward to seeing you at TechDays 2008!


    Mark Relph - Vice-President, Developer & Platform - Microsoft Canada Co.



  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Countdown to PDC2008: King of the Geeks, Scott Guthrie, Previews PDC Keynote


    From Channel9:

    As Corporate Vice President of the .NET Developer Division, Scott will be giving a talk on client development covering both Silverlight and WPF at the PDC.  What else does the 6’4” Dev Div chief chat about in this quickie interview?  Silverlight 2, jQuery, and so much more.  Plus Scott reminisces about his favorite PDC, and answers the question about whether he still gets nervous when he gives a big speech.  Does he?  You’ll just have to watch the video to find out!

    Countdown to PDC2008: King of the Geeks, Scott Guthrie, Previews PDC Keynote

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    PDC08 – The Canadian View - Choice and Flexibility. Canada Needs Both.


    This is the first in a series of posts leading up to the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference at the end of October as well as TechDays across Canada.  Our team will be heading to the show, but our priority is to help you understand the announcements, the key technology trends and the impact to Canadian developers and our local IT industry.

    Today Canadian businesses are demanding the ability to connect people and information across devices and user experiences and the flexibility to choose where and how their infrastructure is managed and their business data stored.  The web has fundamentally changed how applications are built.  I’m talking about the demand for Choice of user experiences and the demand for Flexibility of the their platform and infrastructure.

    Choice of User Experiences

    Canadians expect to be able to access their information through a growing spectrum of devices and experiences.   Let me give you a quick example that many of you can relate to today.  During the day I use Outlook 2007 to check my email.  It’s got fully featured user experience tailored to getting through emails and calendar items quickly. I have a rich experience and I can continue working when I’m disconnected from the Internet.  But what happens when I’m not at work or I’m travelling?  Like all of you, I’m able to check my email on my Smartphone or using a Rich Internet Application. This is a great example of the user experience choices that users demand for all applications – I use Twitter in my browser, on my phone, from other websites and from a RIA.  That same level of choice is being demanded for all sorts of information across a business from customer and product information to business intelligence and management.  This is an amazing trend but to make it a reality, Developers need the ability to easily provide a selection of user experiences for the solutions they build.  More on this later.

    Flexibility of Infrastructure

    Similar to the demand for a broad choice of user experiences, businesses are realizing that they can and want to take advantage of the Internet to support various parts of their infrastructure needs.  For example, a small business with a limited IT budget may choose to save money and host their email and web server in the cloud but decides to invest in a secure self-hosted environment for their customers confidential data or corporate IP.  A large organization may want the agility that comes from adding services and capabilities to their already rich IT infrastructure.  The fact is that businesses of all sizes need the flexibility of choosing how and where their infrastructure is managed in order to maximize the value of their IT investment.  More on this later.


    In the coming weeks I want to dive deeper into these two trends. Specifically, I’m going to focus on how Microsoft is supporting Canadian Developers and IT Professionals to deliver on the promise of Choice and Flexibility.


    If you’re a Canadian Developer or IT Professional, the best way to be prepared to be on top of these trends in the future is by building your skills today. If you are looking to grow your skills, then you definitely need to consider attending Microsoft TechDays (www.techdays.ca) .  If you are a need to understand the longer term roadmap of how Microsoft plans on addressing Choice & Flexibility, you might want to consider attending or following the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (www.microsoftpdc.com).


    So tell me, how are these trends impacting your business?  If you’re a developer or IT Professional that’s thinking about this for your business, I want to hear from you.


  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Explore Design – Great Show!


    Our team had a blast at Explore Design this year.  By all accounts it was a great show and the team enjoyed interacting with the students that attended.


    From Qixing:

    Explore Design (ED) is one of the most energetic conferences we've participated in. After ED wrapped up on Thursday, our feet and throat were telling us just how much they were overworked, but it was totally worth it. :) During the two-day conference, a couple of thousand high school students visited the Microsoft booth. It's so nice to interact with them directly and hear their unique feedback on the Microsoft Design examples we showed. Some of interesting observations:

    • Interacting with a Surface table and learning how to design games for XBOX were two biggest hits in our booth.
    • There were more girls at the Surface table than boys. Although both genders loved playing games with each other on the table, girls often explored more applications on the Surface tables.
    • Many students liked the Zune design. Actually, during my presentation "Designing Magical User Interfaces," a student mentioned Zune is a magical designed object. Other examples are Wii, iPone, and Photoshop. When I asked "why zune," he told me that he really liked the shape and the external materials of Zune. It makes him feel Zune is more sturdy than iPod. Students also liked the social feature of Zune.
    • Most of the time, instead of actively demoing Surface, we let students interact with it on their own. We found often times the sequence of how they explore Surface table is: interacting with one finger from one hand first, and then with two or more fingers from one hand, and finally with multiple fingers from both hands.
    • Many interesting questions were asked about Surface. Among those, one of them I remembered very clearly. One Industrial Design professor asked me about the bacterial concern for Surface when it's touched by so many people in public places! This is something I haven't thought about, but it's a very valid concern. Today, we do to eat at a restaurant, we hardly touch the dining table even in very high-end restaurant. If these tables are replaced by Surface tables in the future, we'll interact and play with them before, during, or after eating our meals. How can we design the surface so it'll be germ free? Maybe having hand sanitizer attached to the table.

    We actually got some media attention, too. An interview with Lisa Anderson, Director at Surface UX team, on ITBusiness.ca. Both Tech Life (CTV Online) and OMNI Television came to our both and conducted interviews.  I really hope the experience of Explore Design can encourage more students go into the field of design, especially User Experience Design for technology!

    Technorati Tags: Explore Design,Microsoft Surface,student event

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