A Canuck In The Machine

Mark Relph - Senior Director - Startup and VC 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.

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    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.



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    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

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    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.


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    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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    What's next for Visual Studio and .NET FX?


    All the details – direct from Soma’s blog:

    What's next for Visual Studio and .NET FX?

    It has been about 10 months since we shipped Visual Studio 2008 and .NET FX 3.5.  The team has been working on a couple of things since then – we shipped SP1 for both VS 2008 and .NET FX 3.5 earlier this Summer.  In parallel, we have been planning for the next wave of product releases and start development on the same.

    I want to start sharing with you our vision, focus and priorities as we get full steam into developing the next wave of products – Visual Studio 2010 and .NET FX 4.0.

    At a high level, here are the key areas that we are focusing on with Visual Studio 2010 and .NET FX 4.0:

    · Significantly improve the core pillars of the developer experience

    · Support for the latest platforms spanning the client, web, server, services and devices

    · Targeted and simplified developer experiences for different application types

    · Architectural improvements to the tools platform for better modularity and extensibility

    These pillars are designed specifically to meet the needs of developers, the teams that drive the application lifecycle from idea to delivery, and the customers that demand the highest quality applications across multiple platforms.

    Our commitment to customers is simple: To provide a consistent and simplified programming experience, regardless of the type of application being built.

    Today I want to discuss the challenges faced by teams developing applications and the way in which Microsoft is meeting those challenges through our Visual Studio family of products and the .NET Framework. Specifically, I want to focus on our Application Lifecycle Management tooling, Visual Studio Team System 2010.  Over the next few months, I will talk more about other aspects of these products and what we hope to deliver with them.

    The marketplace has begun to mature and accept ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) as a proven discipline for creating high quality applications in a reliable fashion. However, existing solutions in the marketplace have not kept pace with the changing needs of technical users and the expanding inclusion of non-technical users as part of the lifecycle. Visual Studio Team System 2010 will address the needs of these customers with a robust and streamlined solution.

    Every customer today faces a similar set of business problems. These are:

    · How do we build high quality applications that deliver real business value?

    · How do we embrace the Application Lifecycle Management model effectively?

    · How can we ensure that all members of the team – both technical and non-technical – are part of the process?

    · How can we get the most value from our existing code assets?

    · How do we make powerful modeling tools available to everyone in the application lifecycle?

    Our ALM tooling specifically addresses these questions and helps customers create high quality applications that deliver value to the business.  We will embrace the needs of all the users in the lifecycle – from architects to developers, from project managers to testers, and from idea to delivery – and provide tools that they can all use as needed. Key to a shared understanding of the application is the use of modeling tools. In essence, we are democratizing architecture by simplifying modeling, integrating it into the work of the participant in the lifecycle, and ensuring that models – the architectural artifacts – are available, accessible and valuable for every role in the lifecycle.

    This is unique because we are delivering tools that integrate into the familiar IDE for developers, but also provide an approachable interface for less technical users, both on the Web (for work items) and in a rich WPF client (for the generalist tester). Likewise, our lifecycle management capabilities provide unified work item tracking, a web-interface, and dashboards that are available to everyone. Unlike many other tools, our work item management and reporting tools easily integrate with familiar applications like Microsoft Excel.

    Two specific deliverables here will drive the next generation of ALM. First, our modeling tools have tight integration into the actual code of the application. This means that a developer or architect can use models to enforce constraints on code, as well as use models to explore existing code assets. Individuals can enforce a constraint in the architecture by allowing the tiers of a multi-tier application to talk to each other. For example, when an architect designs a system where the presentation layer should not talk to the data layer, you want to be able to enforce that model at check-in. VSTS 2010 can do that. We will be telling you a lot more in the coming months about our approach to modeling and why we believe it is critical in building the next generation of quality software applications.

    Another key element here is being able to explore and re-use existing code assets. Only 20% of the code in most business applications is “new” code. The remainder is code that already exists and was written by someone else, possibly for something else, and definitely with less than adequate comments. Our modeling tools give developers and architects the capability of creating a full architectural picture of those assets, understand how they fit together, understand how they “work” and then make their re-use (or discard) that much easier. We are confident this will save time, resources, and ultimately deliver higher-quality applications.

    This is just the beginning.  In the coming months, I will share with you more about the features coming in this next wave of products. 


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    PDC – Visual Studio 2010


    VS2010 will be a big part of the PDC this year.  Over at Channel9 they have kicked off a lot of solid content to help you get ready.  Check it out.

    There is a dedicated site here:  http://channel9.msdn.com/visualstudio/

    This Week on C9: Visual Studio 2010 week, Silverlight RC0, and Cloud services


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    Techdays – Infrastructure Track


    Pierre has also posted information on the Infrastructure Track at Techdays 2008.

    Wow!  27 days before the start of  Tech-Days 08.  And the Infrastructure track is coming along great.  Across the country we will have a team of great professionals presenting and passing on the knowledge and the passion they have for their respective specialty. I’m really looking forward to it.

    The kick-off in Toronto will be highlighted by such professionals as, Mitch Garvis, Marcelo Tamaki from CMS Consulting, Scott Stubberfield from MCS, and Kim Frank from CTE Solutions to name a few.

    These guys are great. And I’m convinced that you’ll all learn new and exciting ways to leverage technology to further your careers, and increase the efficiencies of your respective work loads.

    Mitch will guide us through the best practices in deploying and managing EBS (Essential Business Server), Scott, as a follow up to his presentations during the Unified Communication Launch, will cover how capacity planning is critical to the success of an OCS deployment, and show you how to leverage the available planning tool to increase the effectiveness of your deployments. Marcelo will dive into high availability and how Windows 2008 Clustering is simplified and streamlined to allow greater flexibility and higher availability. Kim for his session will take an IT Pro view of managing web applications and migrating them to IIS7. He’ll take you through real life scenarios and provide some great guidance for simplified migration, management and deployment of web applications across your web farms.

    This is going to be a great Tech-Days Kick-off. The other 6 cities will be just as riveting. The speaker lists are not yet finalized but I’ll be sure to keep you updated regularly. Actually, I will post the Montreal line up this Friday. In the mean time, if you have not yet registered for Tech-Days, or want to check out the sessions and abstracts for the Infrastructure track or the other 4 Track, check out http://www.techdays.ca for all the info and registration details.

    I can’t express to you how excited I am about this. You could even say that I’m “Super Exited”!!

    It will a great occasion to connect with your peers, exchange information, make contacts and learn new things. Hey! Because there is always more to learn, make sure to be at Microsoft Tech·Days Canada 2008: The technology training conference for Canadian IT Professionals and Developers

    Looking forward to see you there


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    Techdays 2008 - Virtualization Track Speakers Selected!


    Rodney has a post over on the ITPRO Connection Blog about the great set of speakers he has lined up for the Virtualization Track at TechDays 2008

    Wow!  I must say the biggest challenge I thought I was going to have was with finding speakers for the TechDays Virtualization track.  Well I still had a challenge with speakers it was selecting from the huge list of great speakers I had ask to participate!  Not a bad problem to have if you are in my position :)

    So who do we have lined up?

    Me, Rodney!  Yes I will be delivering a few sessions at TechDays in all cities across Canada, flame shoes and all.  I’ll be handling the Managing Physical and Virtual Machines with Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and the Transitioning to a Virtual Environment with Hyper-V sessions in all seven cities (my Aeroplan card is loving that!)

    In Toronto I have Brian Bourne, the president of CMS Consulting, TASK and SecTor, delivering the Security In a Virtual World – How to Lockdown Your Virtual Environments session and Brad Bird (an MCT from Ottawa) will be handling that session in Montreal and Ottawa.  Also from CMS Consulting is Kath McBride, who will be delivering the two Application Virtualization sessions in Toronto.  My good friend Dan Nerenberg (also an MCT and an MVP) from www.thelazyadmin.com will be taking care of the app-v sessions in Montreal.

    I’ve also snagged Cameron McKay, who you’ve seen before on this blog, to deliver the Planning Your Physical to Virtual Migration with MAP Toolkit session in Toronto.  He is undergoing a rather large Hyper-V deployment and has a lot of real world experience to share.  Last but not least, Bill Durham, from Dell’s virtualization team, will be delivering the branch office virtualization sessions across Canada as well as the MAP session in a few cities including Montreal.

    I’ve got speakers lined up for the rest of the cities as well and you’ll hear more about them later.

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    Our Participation @ Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Week


    From the Communitech blog:

    Research In Motion, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google and Sun Microsystems will connect with new tech companies in Waterloo Region during Entrepreneur Week, Canada’s largest event dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship.

    In an unprecedented strategic partnerships session, the multinational giants of tech will take the opportunity to speak to start-ups. Their presentations will be followed by pre-screened, one-on-one interviews with Waterloo start-up companies.

    “We received more than ninety quality proposals from more than thirty local area tech firms interested in partnering — far more than the one-on-one event format can accommodate in a single day,” says Kevin Tuer, CTO-in-Residence, Communitech, “The value of meetings of this calibre for local tech firms is huge.” Tuer adds that even if a partnership is not arranged between the interviewing parties, the experience and the networking contacts the start-ups will gain during this exercise is phenomenal, and may lead to future opportunities to connect.

    When: Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    7:30 - 10:00AM “Expose Yourself” to Strategic Partnering presentations

    10:00AM onwards One-on-one sessions

    Where: Accelerator Centre, University of Waterloo Research + Tech Park, 295 Hagey Boulevard, Waterloo

    Who: David Crow, UX Advisor, Web Evangelist, Microsoft Canada

    Steven Woods, Director, Google (Waterloo) Canada

    Martyn Mallick, Director, Strategic Business Development, Research In Motion

    Angelo Rajadurai, Senior Web Technologist, ISV Engineering Organization, Sun Microsystems

    Karen Bennet, Director of Engineering, Yahoo! Canada

    Visit www.entrepreneurweek.ca for all the details

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    Enhanced Lineup At StartupEmpire


    If you are a tech entrepreneur in Canada, you need to mark your calendar for StartupEmpire.  My team (specifically David Crow) will be there and we are a lead sponsor.  They have added some amazing speakers to the lineup.

    Jevon has posted the details:

    Things have been coming together quickly for StartupEmpire. I am excited to announce some incredible new speakers, and we will keep announcing others as they are confirmed.

    The interest so far has been pretty amazing. There have been so many speaker submissions that we have had to completely revisit the agenda for both days of the conference. You still have a chance to submit your proposal in the next few days, and we will still take a look for anything that we think we need to get on the program.

    We have just confirmed that Don Dodge, Hugh MacLeod and David Cohen will be joinging us as keynote speakers.

    Don Dodge is currently the Director of Business Development for Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team and was recently a panelist at the TechCrunch50 conference. Don calls Microsoft “the biggest start-up in the world” and his job is to work with VC’s and start-ups to help them build great companies.

    HughHugh MacLeod has been an inspiration to many of us. His work with English Cut and Stormhoek were some of the earliest successes in using blogs to communicate a message cheaply and efficiently, which are much needed lessons for new and old startups alike.

    DavidDavid Cohen is the founder and CEO of TechStars in Boulder Colorado. TechStars has been one of the most successful seed stage funds in the world. David is also the founder of ColoradoStartups.com, a blog focused on tracking Colorado Startups.

    Don’t forget to get your ticket before the early bird deadline, or ASAP before we sell out. The venue is small enough that we really can’t add more.

    Thanks for all your support, we are working hard to create something that is valuable and that you will leave from feeling energized and ready to do something great.

    We would also like to thank our Leadership sponsors, Microsoft and HighRoad Communications.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    TechDays Registration Is Live – Get The Early Bird Price While You Can


    From the Dev Connection Blog, John writes:

    Hello Everyone! 

    While we don’t have all the speakers listed as there are over 60 across the country (most should be there for the end of the week), we do have the sessions and you can sign up for the early bird price right now.  We are going out to the masses later this week and given we’ve limited attendance to 5000 across the country…please take advantage of this as soon as you can.   As you participate in our community connection blogs, I feel it’s important that we give you an advance heads up in order to miss the rush.

    Again, Thanks for all your comments and keep them coming.  My hope is that this type of subsided conference is one that is worthwhile to each of you and you vote with your feet to attend. 

    I look forward to seeing you there!

    take care,



    Technorati Tags:
  • A Canuck In The Machine

    TechDays Is Here! TechDays Is Here! TechDays Is Here!


    I am extremely pleased to announce that the TechDays 2008 registration site is now open.  What is TechDays you ask?!  Check it out here.


    Don’t want to miss the IT conference of the year?  Ready to register?  Head over to the TechDays site.


  • A Canuck In The Machine

    We Are Hiring: ISV Platform Evangelist (Contract)


    ISV Tele-Developer Evangelist (1 Year Contract)

    Job Number: J0808-0069 - Contract

    Category: Developer & Platform Evangelism

    City: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

    The ISV (Independent Software Vendor) Tele-Developer Evangelist is a member of the Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) team whose overall mission is to secure platform adoption and revenue growth through evangelism, community engagement, relationship marketing and a vibrant ISV ecosystem.
    DPE focuses on promotion and adoption of Microsoft platform technologies, which leads to current and future revenue.

    Responsibilities include:

    • Driving Broad Customer Connection across the Developer, Architect and IT Pro audiences through an integrated approach to evangelism, communities and intelligent audience marketing
    • Marketing of the broad Microsoft platform and developer tools
    • Engaging ISVs through online based technical evangelism activities and providing strategic leadership on ISVs across the subsidiary/district
    • Driving highly visible design wins with Microsoft partners that lead to compelling evidence and customer references; this includes scaling design wins on the Microsoft platform enabling services partners to architect and win business-critical applications based on the Microsoft platform

    In summary, DPE is committed to broad platform adoption and a vibrant ecosystem of customers, partners and developers. Through evangelism, marketing and sales, DPE helps secure the Microsoft platform, now and in the future.

    The ISV Tele-DE role is a technical one, with the mission of driving ISV adoption of the Microsoft platform. The concept of high-touch technical enablement with strategic ISVs is crucial to understanding the goal of the ISV Tele-DE role.

    This position has an impact across Canada by directly working with strategic ISVs to enable them to build applications on the Microsoft platform. By acting as a trusted technical advisor with ISVs, ISV tele-DEs will also increase ISV developer satisfaction. ISV tele-DEs contribute directly to the ISV adoption of .NET related technologies WW and the establishment of a healthy ISV developer eco-system

    The ISV Tele-DE relies on the following colleagues:
    • ISV Tele-PAM for guidance on which ISVs the ISV Tele-DE should engage with, and to pass off ISV program questions to.
    • Premier support for architecture reviews, break fix support, online chats and other on-line presence.
    • Other field roles (DSS, DE, DA, AE) for sharing technical information and best practices, sometimes around specific ISV accounts.
    • Their DPE regional ISV lead for localized guidance on how to execute companywide ISV strategies.

    • Act as a “trusted advisor” by providing high-touch tech enablement to 140 Tele-PAM managed Microsoft ISV Partners.
    • Present technical platform and product overview sessions to ISVs via telephone and online based communication.
    • Engage ISVs that are currently not utilizing Microsoft technology to either add a new Microsoft application, or to migrate their apps entirely from a variety of technologies (e.g. OracleSQL, *.nixWindows, J2EE.NET)
    • Increase satisfaction in the ISV ecosystem by connecting with ISVs thru online and offline communities.
    • Regular reporting and updating of partner profiles to internal CRM systems.
    • Assisting all approved partners in gaining access to core technology adoption portals.
    • Regular analysis of the ISV market space in Canada to ensure we are engaging the right partners.
    • Key Metrics that you will be evaluated on includes design wins, competitive wins, ISV satisfaction and event satisfaction.

    • A passion for Technology and the Microsoft platform (including .NET, Windows Server, Office Business Applications, Business Solutions, etc).
    • Knowledge in two or more core Microsoft development technologies, such as .NET Framework 3.x (including WPF, WCF and WF), ASP.NET, IIS, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, Office Development including SharePoint.
    • Background working with Independent Software Vendors would be a key benefit
    • Technical credibility, skill set and background.
    • Excellent presentation skills with strong verbal and written skills.
    • The ability to speak with influence, impact and explain complex technical solutions cleanly.
    • Strong teamwork and cross-group skills are essential.
    • Ability to prioritize with the scope of go-to-market strategies. Make decisions on the fly as to utilization of time and resources.
    • Comfort with working independently.
    • Four year degree in Computer Science, Engineering or related discipline.
    • 2-5 years of experience developing software applications on the Microsoft platform.
    • Solid knowledge of J2EE software development tools and programming models a plus.
    • Current programming/modeling skills a strong advantage.
    • This position is telephone based and does not require travel.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    We Are Hiring – Architect Evangelist


    Want to join the absolutely best team at Microsoft Canada?  We are hiring!


    Architect Evangelist

    The Challenge:

    The mission of the Architect Evangelist (AE) is to demonstrate the value of new innovative Microsoft platform technologies by engaging with senior technical decision makers (TDMs) at both enterprises customers and partners. The AE is also responsible for general platform evangelism towards the architect audience.


    The Role:

    The goal of an Architect Evangelist is to accelerate the adoption of the Microsoft Platform in the Enterprise. The Architect Evangelist (AE) has two key sets of responsibilities, the first with Customers, the second with the Technical Decision Maker Audience. 

    With customers the AEs are chartered to deliver strategic and referenceable enterprise wins involving architectural battles. These wins should clearly demonstrate the value of our platform, as well as technical and  Architectural thought leadership; with a focus on early adoption. Additionally, the AE is charged with working with specific influential accounts on strategic projects. 

    From an Audience perspective, the AE is chartered with Technical and general Thought Leadership in the area of Architecture towards Technical Decision Maker’s; with a focus on influentials, managed architects and reaching out to the masses (both architects and those interested in architecture).


    Key responsibilities include:

    ·         Build Trusted Advisor relationships with customer architects and architectural decision makers

    ·         Strategic Vision & Architectural Design Sessions

    ·         Working with Partner architects to integrate solutions on Microsoft platform technology

    ·         Drive key Enterprise Wins & Early Adoption

    ·         Broad reach advocacy events for architect community


    The Fit:

    • A passion for Technology and the Microsoft platform (including .NET, Windows/SQL Server, Vista, Office System etc)

    • Background working with Enterprise customers would be a key benefit

    • Technical credibility, skill set and background

    • Deep knowledge of Architectural concepts, issues and trends.

    • Excellent presentation skills.  The ability to speak with influence and impact.

    • Strong Organizational Awareness and Business Acumen

    • Clear understanding / expertise in Microsoft technologies, architectural vision and roadmap.

    • Well-versed in the way in which these conceptual ideas can be mapped to the problems one encounters in the Enterprise space. (e.g. Service Oriented Architecture).

    • Excellent knowledge and experience of competitive platforms, products, companies and philosophies, and ideally will have a similar background for Microsoft Experience and expertise in large scale system design and implementation. 

    • Strong teamwork and cross-group skills are essential

    • Make decisions on the fly as to utilization of time and resources

    • Comfort with working independently, but within fiscal strategy

    • Four year degree in Computer Science, Engineering or related discipline

    • 7+ years of customer interaction in a technical role

    • Solid knowledge of J2EE software development tools and programming models a plus.

    • Current programming/modeling skills a strong advantage

    • Travel required

    • Ability to fit into a dynamic, high performance team and have fun!


    About The Group:

    The Architect Evangelist is a member of the Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) team whose overall mission is to secure platform adoption and revenue growth through evangelism, community engagement, relationship marketing and a vibrant solutions ecosystem.  DPE focuses on promotion and adoption of Microsoft platform technologies, which leads to current and future revenue. 

    Responsibilities include:

    • Driving Broad Customer Connection across the Developer, Architect and IT Pro audiences through an integrated approach to evangelism, communities and intelligent audience marketing

    • Marketing of the broad Microsoft platform and developer tools

    • Engaging ISVs through depth and breadth technical evangelism activities and providing strategic leadership on ISVs across the subsidiary/district

    • Driving highly visible design wins in enterprise accounts that lead to compelling evidence and customer references; this includes scaling design wins on the Microsoft platform enabling services partners to architect and win business-critical applications based on the Microsoft platform

    • Selling developer tools to enterprise accounts, partners and through the channel

    • Engaging students and faculty in universities and high schools in order to win mindshare of nascent developers


    In summary, DPE is committed to broad platform adoption and a vibrant ecosystem of customers, partners and developers.  Through evangelism, marketing and sales, DPE helps secure the Microsoft platform, now and in the future.


    Want to apply?  Go to:  http://www.microsoft.com/canada/employment/default.mspx

    Search for role: J0908-0221

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Are You A Student? Going To Explore Design? We Are.



    Qixing has outlined our involvement at Explore Design.  This is a major investment for us this year and our team is looking forward to seeing everyone at the show.  Probably the coolest part it that we have a Surface unit to show off.  If you are a student and attending the show, please stop by and say hello to our team.


    From our UX Connection Blog:


    Explore Design is less than a week! Last year I went to the conference as an attendee and had a blast. It was great to talk to high school students who were interested in Design and connecting with design professors from colleges and universities around the country. I was really impressed by the creativity on the show floor and inspired by many keynotes and design seminars which conveyed the value and excitement of design. More importantly, I was thrilled to see there are so many students who were hungry to be the next greatest Interaction, Game, Fashion, Industrial, ... Designer! I wish there was an education fair like this when I was in high school. ;-)

    This year , we are participating in the conference in a big way this year. In addition to title sponsor the conference, we along with our partners are bringing the following content:

    Two Keynotes

    Oct. 1 @ 12:00pm: A Design Vision for Microsoft Surface: Predicting the Past
    Lisa Anderson, Director, Microsoft Surface UX Team

    A new inflection point in human-computer interaction is upon us. Along with other technologies, Microsoft Surface marks a departure from graphical user interface (GUI) into the world of Natural User Interface (NUI.) This talk focuses a lens on how one design team is thinking about designing for a new era in which intuitive interaction is the imperative. Using theoretical models drawn from a mix of history, science, philosophy, and even video game design, this presentation reveals some principles behind experience design for Microsoft Surface and beyond.

    lisander005 Lisa C. Anderson is currently the Microsoft Surface User Experience Director. Previous to this role, she held similar positions at Intuit and Autodesk in the Bay Area. In years past, Lisa acted as User Experience Director for several other teams at Microsoft: Windows XP, MSN, Real Time Collaboration. She was also Executive Producer at Corbis for several years, where she produced award-winning, high-end documentaries on CD-ROM (Leonardo da Vinci;  Critical Mass: America’s Race to Create the Atomic Bomb; FDR; The Barnes Collection). Her background and education are in Design, Art History, English Literature, Writing, Editing, Publishing.

    Oct. 2 @ 1:30pm: The Story of the Ribbon
    Jensen Harris, Principal Group Program Manager, Microsoft Office UX Team

    Farewell, menus and toolbars! In this talk, you'll hear the behind-the-scenes stories of how the Microsoft Office 2007 Ribbon user interface was imagined, designed, and validated. You'll see never-before-shown early prototypes, hear about the mistakes we learned from during the design process, and find out the principles of user experience design we used each step of the way in creating the first totally new user interface for Microsoft Office.

    clip_image001Jensen Harris is the Group Program Manager of the Microsoft Office User Experience team and was one of the key designers behind the new Ribbon user interface introduced in Office 2007. Jensen joined Microsoft in 1998, and has focused on the overall user interface of Microsoft Office since late 2003. Prior to working at Microsoft, Jensen graduated with degrees in music composition from Yale University and Interlochen Arts Academy. He publishes his thoughts on software and user interface design on his blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh.

    Two Seminars

    Oct. 1 @12:30pm: Designing Magical User Interfaces

    Susan Greenfield, UX Designer, Infusion Development
    Qixing Zheng, UX Advisor, Microsoft Canada

    Experience the no-holds-barred creativity and killer apps that are leaving the web as you know it in the dust. We'll introduce you to the interaction designer's new best friend - Microsoft Expression - the one tool for designing stunning and immersive user experiences.

    Oct. 2 @ 11:00am: Form follows Fun: Player-Centred Design in Games

    Julian Spillane & Douglas Gregory, Frozen North Productions, Inc.

    The types of people who play games and the expectations they bring to the medium are diversifying at an incredible rate. Julian Spillane and Douglas Gregory of Canadian game development studio Frozen North Productions talk about the challenges in designing games for new types of player, and strategies for creating good, accessible fun.

    Design for the Greater Good Talk from Canadian Imagine Cup Winners

    Oct. 1 @ 11:30am: GreeNet and Imagine Cup
    Jin Fan and Kevin Muise, Simon Fraser University, School of Interactive Arts & Technology

    The Design Story Behind a Sustainable Interaction Design Application. Kevin and Jin will discuss GreeNet and the design story behind it and their tales from the Imagine Cup competition in Paris. They developed a prototype Facebook application that they hope will raise awareness of unnecessary energy consumption in daily life.

    Microsoft Design Showcase Booth

    Come and play our innovative designs firsthand with Surface, Expression Studio, XBOX, Zune, Home Server, Silverlight, and a big surprise that you don't want to miss!


    Lastly, you don't have to be a student or teacher to attend. If something at the conference interests you, just drop by the conference to attend one of the talks or play at our booth. Individual ticket is only $15.

    Technorati Tags: Explore Design,education fair,Microsoft Canada

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Reach out to new Canadians to battle tech talent crunch


    Sharif, our HR VP, is featured in this article in Itbusiness.ca.  He talks about ways to address the talent crunch in Canada.


    Reach out to new Canadians to battle tech talent crunch, urges Microsoft exec.  9/25/2008 5:00:00 AM By: Kavita Gosyne

    The tech talent crunch is very real but a Microsoft Canada executive offers a strategy to tackle it head on. It involves harnessing the potential of new Canadians, women and Gen Y.

    Fact: Canadian graduates with computer science, math and engineering degrees are rapidly declining.

    If this trend continues there will be more than 90,000 unfilled positions in the next three to five years, cautions Sharif Khan, vice-president,  human resources at Mississauga, Ont.-based Microsoft Canada Co.

    Our inability to fill these jobs will cost us around $125,000 per year, he says.

    "I don't think this [talent shortage] was anticipated," said Khan in his keynote address at TorontoTech Week on Wednesday.

    TechWeek is a multi-day conference that provides a forum for technology professionals in the Greater Toronto Area to share insights, challenges, and best practices.

    Khan did all of these in his presentation.

    He emphasized the importance of equipping the workforce – especially certain segments – with the skills they need to succeed.

    This, he said, is a priority for Microsoft, which is proactively reaching out to three key groups: new Canadians, women, and Gen Y. 

    "We need to go find them, we can't wait for people to come to us anymore." 


    You can find the rest of the article here.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    PDC News – Killer Keynotes



    In our first keynote at PDC2008 Ray Ozzie will talk about the new world of Software Plus Services, with Bob Muglia joining him, to unveil our new Cloud Computing platform.

    In a second keynote, Ray will return to talk about building immersive user experiences and introduce Steven Sinofsky, who will give developers a first look at the next version of Windows, Windows 7. Scott Guthrie and David Treadwell will join Ray and Steven to dive deep on the latest Win32 and .NET platform advances that enable a next generation of user experiences spanning multiple devices, including a look at the latest developments in .NET, Silverlight, “Live Mesh”, and the rest of the client platform.

    In keynote three, we turn the microphone over to coders extraordinaire Don Box and Chris Anderson, who will look at Microsoft’s latest technologies through the eyes of working developers.

    And finally, in our fourth keynote, Rick Rashid will talk about how Microsoft research is helping to shape the future of computing.

    Are you a Canadian heading to PDC?  Let us know and keep an eye on the blogs for announcements detailing our Canadian specific plans at the Conference.

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