A Canuck In The Machine

Mark Relph - Senior Director - Startup and VC Team

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

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

    To quote the official site: 

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

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

     

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    The Importance Of Blogging The Launch and The Mystery Of The Free Software.

    • 1 Comments
    We are less than 2 weeks away from the single largest activity for us this year - the launch of Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and Biztalk Server 2006.  (www.microsoft.ca/launch2005)  The team is heads down preparing to make the cross-Canada tour the best Developer and IT Pro event in Microsoft Canada history.
     
    As part of the launch we decided early on to make blogging a major part of our communication with the community and the attendees.  Not only did we feel that hearing directly from the presenters and other members of the team would provide everyone with even more information, but we felt it would be a great way to maintain an open and active dialogue with the community.  So far our RSS feed has been accessed 30,000 times!  (http://blogs.msdn.com/canadian_launch_tour_2005/rss.aspx)
     
    From the blogs we have heard several questions regarding the distribution of software at the events.  We know that the Developer and IT Pro communities are eager to get access to the final versions of the products and getting the software into your hands is a priority for us.  The Launch Team is pleased to confirm that Special Edition copies of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 will be made available to everyone who attends the launch events.  This is full functional "non-evaluation" software.
     
    This means that you will be able to start developing and implementing solutions right away!
     
    These Special Edition copies will be in addition to all of the other materials (like the presentations, code samples, etc) that each attendee will receive.  Everyone who attends will also be able to mingle with some of Microsoft Canada's technical experts and will be eligible to win some awesome prizes.
     
    Hopefully this clarifies any confusion around the software.  We are looking forward to seeing you on the Canadian tour!!
     
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    Sneak Peak Pictures - The Launch 2005 "Special Edition Software"

    • 3 Comments
    So, we just got a shipment of the special edition DVDs into the office.  Very cool.  I just couldn't help myself, so I took some pictures just for all you blog readers out there.
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    Can’t Wait.

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    Introducing Canadian Developer Community Radio (brought to you by MSDN Canada)!

    • 4 Comments
     

    Introducing Canadian Developer Community Radio (brought to you by MSDN Canada)!

     

    "Podcasting" - we really question the term as it seems to limit one's choice of device, but we love the concept and the power of this new paradigm of audio delivery.

     

    So, let's call it a "BlogCast" or an "Internet Audio Broadcast" and leave it at that.

     

    Here at MSDN Canada we are always looking for new ways to reach out to the Developer Community.

     

    So we decided to try our hand at this new form of communication as a way to give all of you a different view to what is going on at Microsoft Canada and in the community across the country.

     

    This is only a beta test of our new show.  It's also only the first of several ideas we have for audio content. 

     

    For every show we will include:

    • Show Notes (Text and OneNote)
    • Links To Relevant Information
    • Audio provided in WMA & MP3
    • RSS Feed

     

    Show #0.9 (Beta) – Live From The MSDN Web Development Deep Dive In Toronto

    March 22, 2005

     

     

    The Show Notes:

     

    MSDN Deep Dive - Building Web Applications with ASP.NET 2.0

    • During this Deep Dive event, Microsoft Developer Specialists will introduce the new features in ASP.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005, including Personalization, Master Pages and navigation controls. From there, the session will delve into core Web development concepts for creating secure, reliable and scalable Web applications.
    • ASP.NET 2.0 reduces the amount of code required to perform data access tasks by adding a number of data-enabled controls.
    • Create more robust applications. You'll discover how to use Object-Relational Mapping techniques to create robust, secure data access layers for your Web applications.
    • Improve security. You'll find out the best way to use forms and Passport authentication, and run a .NET based process within IIS through impersonation
    • Post Event Blog Links: http://blogs.msdn.com/stoey/archive/2005/03/11/394381.aspx

     

     

    Last Developer Standing - www.lastdeveloper.com

    • Last Developer Standing is an online contest that allows you learn .NET and gives you a shot at winning $25,000. That's right, someone will win $25,000 based on their knowledge of .NET. Now, you don't need to be an expert - the big part of the contest is learning. Every two weeks you'll receive a module that consists of some learning materials, like recommended online reading, some eBooks from MS Press, that you would otherwise pay big dollars for, webcasts, presentations and more. Then you'll take a test based on those resources. There are 9 rounds in total. You'll be competiting against thousands of developers, if you do not score the best, you don't move on. That is, if someone scores perfect on a test, and you don't, you're out of the running. We're looking forward to giving the last developer standing - $25,000. We anticipate this to go the distance, all 9 rounds with people getting perfect tests. Which is why we've created a very interesting 9th round! The final round will be played over Microsoft Office LiveMeeting! That's right we'll have an online elimination match - if you get a question wrong, you're gone.

     

    VSLive! Toronto - April 13-16, 2005 – www.vslive.com

    • VSLive! is an industry developer conference put on by Fawcette Technical Publications and sponsored by Microsoft Canada. The conference features world-class speakers from Microsoft (mostly Redmond) and industry experts. This is the conferences second year in Toronto.
    • The format of the conference is 2 days of hands-on workshops and 2 days of sessions in a typical conference format. This is an amazing opportunity that happens in Canada only once a year.
    • Notable speakers include:
      • Prashant Sheridan, Senior Product Manager for Visual Studio, Microsoft Corp.
      • Rebecca Dias, Web Services Product Manager, Microsoft Corp.
      • Scott Watermasyk, Telligent Systems - Scott is a web development guru, he created the .TEXT ASP.NET application that supports millions of blogs per day on Microsoft.com
      • Fritz Onion, Pluralsight - Fritz Onion is a founding partner of Pluralsight, a think-tank organization delivering in-depth technical content and training, where he focuses on Web development with ASP.NET. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book Essential ASP.NET.
      • 20 more World class speakers

     

    Interview With Rob Windsor (http://www.tvbug.com) - Sorry about the bad audio!

     

    Interview With RD Barry Gervin - http://barry.regionaldirector.ca/Community/default.aspx

     

    Interview With The Deep Dive Speakers

     

     

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    Canadian Developer Event with Steve Ballmer!

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    MICROSOFT DEVELOPER BRIEFING WITH STEVE BALLMER

    - Hear the latest on security from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
    - Get trained on the fundamentals of building secure applications
    - Learn more about using ASP.NET to build killer Web applications

    Register for this FREE, full-day event:
    http://msdn.microsoft.ca/briefingwithsteveballmer

    DETAILS:

    You’re invited to hear one of the most prominent and passionate
    figures in the world of IT speak on issues of security and
    innovation. Join Steve Ballmer at this free, full-day training
    event in Toronto.

    In addition, take full advantage of four security training
    sessions, designed specifically for experienced Developers:

    1. Essentials of Application Security
    2. Writing Secure Code
    3. Designing and Developing a Line-of-Business Web Application
    4. Best Practices and Techniques for Building Secure ASP.NET
    Applications

    WHEN:  
    Wednesday, February 25, 2004
    Sign-in begins at 10:00 a.m.
    Start time 11:00 a.m. 
    End time 7:00 p.m.

    Please note that photo identification will be required at the time
    of sign-in.


    WHERE:
    Toronto Congress Centre, Hall A (Main Entrance)
    650 Dixon Road, Toronto, Ontario   M9W 1J1
    Parking is free

    COST:
    This is a free event.

    Click here to REGISTER for this full-day event:
    http://msdn.microsoft.ca/briefingwithsteveballmer

    Or call 1-877-673-8368 (quote event ID: 1032243338)

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    07/11/2004, 8:58 PM - Blogging at 40,000ft to avoid Air Rage... (RANT)

    • 4 Comments
    After an incredibly busy October, I have found some time to return to blogging.  Locked in a metal tube at 40,000ft seems a great time to get my thoughts down on "paper".

     

    First - a quick discussion on technology and flying.  On my last 2 flights (to Vancouver and Montreal) I have noticed some incredibly poor technology travel etiquette from my fellow passengers.  So, let me share my 2 cents worth about how to make your techno travels more enjoyable.

     

    Quick Draw McGraw: I am a road warrior - TabletPC, Creative Nomad, Mobile Phone.  I take this cache of gadgets through airport security each and every time I fly without issue or delay.  I am never asked "do you have a laptop" by airport security because I have it out and ready for inspection quickly.  There is nothing worse than being the guy in a busy airport that has to tear about their briefcase or carry-on luggage to find their laptop and digital camera.  You know you are going through security, so have your laptop handy.  For the sake of the 100 people in line behind you, I recommend a briefcase or backpack with a quick access laptop compartment.  Ogio (www.ogio.com) sells what I consider to be the absolute best bags with this and many other cool features.

     

    The middle seats sucks, but deal with it:  On a packed Airbus 319 flight to Montreal last week I was sitting in the window seat in a 3 + 3 configured place.  The gentleman in the aisle seat was already their and our middle seat companion had not yet arrived.  About 10 minutes before departure he did turn up (and had obviously changed flights as many of us do on the Montreal - Toronto commute).  He was friendly and made a joke about "middle seat disease" or something along those lines.

     

    That's when things went downhill.  He pulled out his laptop. 

     

    Let me paint a picture for anyone who has not flown from Toronto to Montreal.  It is important to understand that they have crammed as many seats onto the plane as possible which means there is almost no room for anything other than remaining motionless for the duration of the flight.  I make it a rule not to use my laptop on flights like these for a couple of reasons.  First, you run the risk of damage from the person in front of you reclining their seat.  Craig, our Developer Audience Manager, had this exact thing happen to his tablet.  Second, unless you are a Hobbit there is no way to type without your elbows interfering with your fellow passengers.  This is the beauty of the TabletPC - "slate" mode and handwriting avoids this exact issue.

     

    Back to "Mr. Middle Seat" - with his laptop charged he proceeded to update his calendar.  This involved him elbowing me in the ribs with each entry.  I didn't want to invade his privacy, but it was hard since his screen was so close to me that most of my field of vision was filled with the details of his sales calls and doctor appointments.  Odd thing was - it was the Palm Desktop software - which begs the question, "if you have a tiny little PDA why not use it when in such a confined space?".

     

    The refreshment card came and I thought that was the end of the ordeal.  Alas, no.  Next came Flight Simulator.  I am a huge supporter of Microsoft Game Studios.  Flight Sim is one of the best games ever….. But not when you need to break the rib of the guy next to you to bank the plane to the right…. I honestly couldn't believe that this guy was playing a game under these conditions.

     

    So… the moral of the story is:  if you are unlucky enough to end up in the middle seat, buy a magazine or a TabletPC…. (or avoid sitting next to me!)

     

    Cheers,

    m.

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    Join The DPE Canada Team!

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    MicrosoftCanada.Position dpe = new MicrosoftCanada.Position();
    dpe.greatopportunity = true;
    if(You.HavePassion)
    {
       resume.submit();
    }

     

    // We Are Looking For Great People To Join Our Team

     

     

    // Community Developer Evangelist

    ·         Mission: To engage with the broad community of developers in Canada.  Build excitement for Microsoft’s platform and developer related technologies.

    ·         The Opportunity:  Be Microsoft’s external voice to the developer community in Canada and internal champion for the needs of the community.

    ·         The Fit:  “Ninja-like” .NET skills, outstanding public speaking ability, an unbridled passion for technology and software development.

    ·         Positions Available In Western Canada and Ontario

     

    // Architect Evangelist

    ·         Mission: Demonstrate the value of new innovative Microsoft platform technologies by engaging with senior technical decision makers at both enterprises and partners.

    ·         The Opportunity:  To work within our Enterprise customer base to engage directly with some of the top application architects in Canada.  To drive the adoption of .NET as a standard within the Enterprise and to focus on key industry projects.

    ·         The Fit:  Architectural experience with Microsoft technologies, deep understanding of architecture trends and issues, competitive technology experience, a consultative approach, outstanding public speaking ability, solution selling experience, an unbridled passion for technology and software development.

    ·         Positions Available In Toronto

     

    // ISV Developer Evangelist

    ·         Mission:   Working 1:1 with ISVs to help them be wildly successful through the adoption of Microsoft technologies.  Drive a vibrant and healthy ISV partner ecosystem in Canada.

    ·         The Opportunity:  To work with the most exciting software vendors in Canada, to help drive innovation and to build a rich software ecosystem. 

    ·         The Fit:  Deep .NET and Microsoft background, a consultative approach and experience, competitive technology experience, experience working within an ISV, an interest in building Canada’s software economy, outstanding public speaking ability, an unbridled passion for technology and software development.

    ·         Positions Available In Ontario

     

    // Microsoft Business Solutions ISV Evangelist

    ·         Mission: Working 1:1 with ISVs to help them be wildly successful through the adoption of the MBS ERP products. Drive deep support of the MBS products by ISVs in Canada.

    ·         The Opportunity: To work with the most exciting software vendors in Canada, help drive innovation and to build a rich software ecosystem.

    ·         The Fit:  Deep Axapta knowledge or competitive ERP experience, a consultative approach, experience working within an ISV, outstanding public speaking ability, an unbridled passion for technology and software development.

    ·         Positions Available In Toronto

     

    How To Apply:  http://www.microsoft.ca/jobs

    Posting Codes:

    ·         ISV MBS Evangelist - J0804-0271

    ·         ISV Evangelist - J0205-0176

    ·         Developer Evangelist – J0305-0397

    ·         Architect Evangelist - J0305-0397

     

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    MSJVM Revisited and Service Pack 2

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    There has been some interesting developments on the MSJVM front coming out of the settlements with SUN.  Everyone should visit:

    http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/java/ 

     

    Also - SP2 should be on your radar.  Not only are there new features, but there are some potential issues developers need to be aware of.

    Visit: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnwxp/html/securityinxpsp2.asp

     

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    Playing Photographer @ The Xbox 360 Launch Party Toronto

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    I had the very cool opportunity to not only attend, but also to take photos during the event.  About 1,000 people crammed into the Guvernment (a nightclub in downtown Toronto) for the party.  Not only was the place loaded with 360s, but the party also featured an up-and-coming band called OK GO (www.okgo.net).  The band rocks - I really recommend checking them out.
     
    I took my trusty DSLR along with a few awesome lenses (thanks Anthony!) and snapped almost 500 photos.  I have posted a few of the better photos from the night.  (http://www.flickr.com/photos/26606128@N00/tags/xbox360launch/)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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    Fun Times At CUTC 2005

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    On Thursday Jan 20th I was invited to speak at the CUTC (Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference) "Techshow 2005" at their annual conference in Toronto.  Techshow was done in a "talk-show" style and was just so much fun to be a part of!  500 students and all future developers in the audience!  Just an awesome event.

     

    My talk was themed around my part-time persona of "Gadget Man".  Basically, I have taken my extreme "geek" habits and turned them into a talk I do for students around trends in "digital lifestyle" technologies and how they can get involved as developers to fix the "gaps" in the current capabilities of technologies.  My hope is that these students will take a different view on some of the hot new technologies and get inspired on how to develop new applications for them in the future.

     

    As I promised to everyone in the audience, my slides will be posted soon. (I will add the link once they are ready)

     

    As a little background - this whole "Gadget Man" presentation started when I was asked to speak at the University of Waterloo in Ontario about what I thought were the coolest new trends in technology.

     

    What's Cool: 

    For CUTC I highlighted a few areas (and included some others in the slides I decided to skip due to time restrictions):

     

    • Voice-Over-IP as an industry-shaking trend, as well as technologies like SIP and Real Time Communications / Live Meeting

     

    • The continuing evolution of Digital Media and the home - including Windows Media Centre 2005, Media Centre Extenders and Portable Media Players.  I want to highlight the fact that Media Centre 2005 has an all new SDK that allows anyone to extend the capabilities and to add new features.  As an example, check out: http://www.mcesoft.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=70&Itemid=143.  Also check out Adam Gallant's blog for other MCE focused development articles.

     

    • The acceptance of Web Services by consumers - the example being the new for-fee Napster service which I think is an excellent model of content delivery over broadband

     

    • PodCasting - it kills me that this is named after Apple's iPod, because there are so many great portable players on the market (like the Creative Zen, which I use).  I cannot change this now, so I will have to live with it!  The ipodder.org definition (http://www.ipodder.org/whatIsPodcasting): "Think how a desktop aggregator works. You subscribe to a set of RSS feeds, and then can easily view the new stuff from all of the feeds together, or each feed separately. Podcasting works the same way, with one exception. Instead of reading the new content on a computer screen, you listen to the new content on a Portable Media device. Think of your Portable Media Player as having a set of subscriptions that are checked regularly for updates. "

     

    For more information check out:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcasting

     

    There are even .NET Podcasts out there - check out the guys from DotNetRocks!!

    http://www.dotnetrocks.com

     

     

    What's Not-So-Cool:

    I feel that it is very important in a presentation such as this to include my thoughts on what doesn't work to balance off the "what's cool" factor.  Technology continuously evolves and while we are making huge strides, there is always room for improvement! For the CUTC talk I focused in on these "gaps":

     

    • Security, Privacy and Anti-Spyware
    • Home Networking Is Still Too Hard
    • File Storage, Organization, Retrieval
    • Backup
    • Islands of Devices
    • Lots of Bad User Interfaces
    • Government Regulation Is Inconsistent
    • Industry Attitudes (Music, Film)

     

    My challenge to every student developer out there is to really dig into these issues and put your great talents and innovation to work to close the gaps in the future.  To that end, I have included a few links to get you started:

     

    Developer Links:

     

    For Gaming:

     

    For Windows Media Centre Development:

     

    For SPOT:  .NETCPU SDK Kit

     

    For Live Communications Server:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/office/understanding/livecomm/default.aspx

     

    Of course, one of the best ways to build your development prowess is to compete in the Imagine Cup (www.imaginecup.com).  Canadian students will be really well represented this year and the prize is a trip to Japan for the finals!

     

    Lastly - I was asked by a few people where I got my "gadget gossip" from.  The 2 best sites in my opinion are:  www.gizmodo.com and www.engadget.com

     

    Thanks to Steve, Katelyn and the CUTC crew for inviting me and I hope I can be back in 2006.

     

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    The Apprentice

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    Had an idea for a reality show.  It's a play on the Donald Trump sponsored show “The Apprentice” where the thin and beautiful entrepreneurs of America compete to run one of Mr. Trump's companies.  The contests have been ridiculous so far - selling lemonade, managing Planet Hollywood, renovating a house and running an auction. 

    I'd like to recommend some new contents for future episodes.  Tasks and challenges that I believe will better test the business savvy of the contestants:

    • ERP Integration - contestants must develop and deploy a full scale ERP system that meets the needs of every department and division in a single day.  The team the stays on budget wins...
    • Migrate from the mainframe - the team that saves the most money on maintenance charges wins...
    • Stop the virus - the team the can convince the most users not to open unknown attachments wins...

    These are contests worthy of hearing “You're Fired” from Donald....

     

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    The Montreal Game Summit

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    I had the pleasure of attending the first Montreal Game Summit (www.montrealgamesummit.com), hosted by the Alliance NumeriQC.  What a great event!  Over 400 people, great content and speakers.  Best of all a celebration of Montreal's rich game development community.

    I met some great folks at the event, including Jason Della Rocca (IGDA's program director).  Check out his blog entry on the event (that include a terrible photo of me and some other 'Softies).  http://www.igda.org/blogs/realitypanic/archives/000232.html

    I think Canada should be proud of the awesome work being done by Canadians all over the gaming industry.  Even Halo 2, which launches tonight, features a handful of good old Canucks (way to go Nathan and Michel).  Check out the "Making Of Halo 2" DVD when you get your copy tonight and watch for the Canadian Flags up at Bungie's offices.

    Congrats to the organizors and I am looking forward to next year!

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    Flowfinity - PR From This Week

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    Flowfinity Wireless and Partners Extend Microsoft Business Solutions to BlackBerry

    Flowfinity's Development Platform Enables Microsoft CRM and ERP Systems to Be Connected to Field Force


    VANCOUVER, BC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 02/14/05 -- Flowfinity Wireless, a leading provider of wireless application products and platforms, today released details on the use of its development platform by customers and partners to connect Microsoft Business Solutions product lines to BlackBerry® from Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM); (TSX: RIM). Being the first BlackBerry ISV Alliance member to achieve ".NET Connected" certification for its applications has attracted many partners and customers who depend on Microsoft systems for their businesses. A number of Flowfinity's partners have developed products of their own using the Flowfinity development platform; these Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) will ship their products with a "Powered by Flowfinity" brand to leverage both the Microsoft-friendly technology and Flowfinity's name recognition with carriers globally.

    "Flowfinity is committed to helping enterprises capitalize on the benefits of connecting Microsoft systems to BlackBerry," said Dmitry Mikhailov, CEO of Flowfinity Wireless. "We have a growing base of partners and customers that have connected Microsoft CRM, Navision and Great Plains to BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds with our platform."

    In Canada, TenDigits Software is a Flowfinity OEM partner that has built a "Powered by Flowfinity" product, MobileAccess for Microsoft CRM. MobileAccess extends Microsoft CRM's contacts, opportunities, leads, and accounts to BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds using bi-directional synchronization. Microsoft CRM data is made resident on the handheld for wait-free access by the sales person, making it easy to access and update information anytime, anywhere. TenDigits Software will be showcasing this software at the Microsoft Convergence conference in San Diego in March.

    The global Microsoft partner Tectura has built a product that extends Microsoft Navision data to BlackBerry Wireless Handhelds. Now, both field sales and field service activities can effectively be initiated, tracked and completed to improve business performance. Tectura Germany has developed and will be showcasing this software at CeBIT in Hannover in March, and in April it will be available globally through Tectura's offices around the world.

    "Mid-market enterprises are demanding real-time wireless solutions," said Mark Relph, MicrosoftCanada Co. "At Microsoft we are pleased to support Microsoft Certified Partners like Flowfinity who use innovative approaches that leverage Microsoft .NET connection software to connect wireless handhelds to Microsoft Business Solutions."

    In the United States, Flowfinity customers have been connecting their Microsoft Great Plains accounting systems into critical mobile business processes. These customers have been using mobile applications that they custom-developed using the Flowfinity development platform.

    "We implemented our field force automation in 3 steps -- improved data collection using Flowfinity Forms, then improved productivity by developing a custom solution using the Flowfinity development platform, and then increased operations management by integrating the solution with a Great Plains accounting system from Microsoft. Flowfinity's .NET architecture and Visual Studio .NET support made it both economically and technically feasible," said Brian Tower, Director, Information Technology at Ortho Rehab.

    Flowfinity is actively recruiting partners for both of its partner programs: "Flowfinity Solutions Alliance" for systems integrators and the "Powered by Flowfinity" OEM licensing program for ISVs.

    For a customer case study on OrthoRehab: http://flowfinity.com/orthorehab.

    For more information on Tectura: http://www.tectura.com.

    For more information on TenDigits: http://www.tendigits.com.

    About Flowfinity Wireless

    Flowfinity Wireless provides business applications to improve the productivity of mobile professionals by enabling them to securely, reliably receive and use information anytime and anywhere without having to "ask for, then wait for" it. Flowfinity uniquely combines high usability and capability with painless integration, resulting in an unrivaled total cost of ownership. Flowfinity products are used for field service, inspections, sales, and inventory management use cases in a wide variety of vertical markets. Flowfinity is a technology partner with Research In Motion (RIM), Microsoft, Borland, Sun and IBM. Today, Flowfinity has a growing base of customers and partners in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. Reach Flowfinity Wireless at www.flowfinity.com.

    The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited.

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    No More Geeks Left At Microsoft?

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    At a recent dinner a former Microsoft employee and a senior director of a large Microsoft partner suggested that there are no geeks left inside the company.  My goal is to prove them wrong.  I will post evidence to prove the geek spirit is alive and well.

    Here is some evidence:

    1.  Read Craig McMurtry's Blog: http://weblogs.asp.net/craigmcmurtry/

    2.  Watch the "Making Of Halo 2" video on your copy when you get it tonight.  If this doesn't prove the spirit is still here, perhaps nothing will.

    More evidence to come...

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    Talking Innovation In Vancouver

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    On Friday afternoon I spoke at the Westlink / CATA sponsored Innovations & New Ventures 2005 Conference in Vancouver.  The conference focused on building the "innovation economy"  in Canada.  http://westlink.ca/NewVentures2005/

     

    From the press release "Participants in the conference will share venture formation strategies aimed at jump-starting Canada's innovation network….

    Partners in the "Innovation and New Ventures 2005" Conference in Vancouver, January 21-22, 2005, include CATAAlliance -- Canada's largest high-tech association -- and WestLink Innovation Network, an organization which includes western Canadian colleges, universities and technical and research institutes."

     

    I spoke about Microsoft Canada's involvement with the "Emerging Business and Venture Capital Community.  The themes in my presentation included:

    • Microsoft is a partner-driven company and emerging businesses help to enhance our partner ecosystem. 
    • VCs and Startups are a critical part of driving innovation in the marketplace.  Emerging Companies push the limits of the platform and drive innovation.
    • Microsoft builds a “technology stack” designed for others to innovate upon
    • There will always be functionality that partners / ISVs will provide above and beyond that stack
    • Partners helps us provide niche or vertical solutions for customers
    • This coupled with our US$6 Billion Research organization ensures an incredibly healthy platform for customers

     

    I also talked about how my team engages with Emerging Businesses across the country, including:

    • Platform Roadmaps / Technology Support
    • Exploring New Opportunity Areas
    • Certification
    • Partner Management
    • Sales Engagement
    • Co-Marketing
    • Access to our channel and partner ecosystem

     

    While in Vancouver I also caught up with my friends at Rocket Builders - www.rocketbuilders.com.  They just released their Top 25 "Ready To Rocket" List last week and the amazing thing is that 12 of the 25 using .NET and other parts of the Microsoft technology stack.  I think this is a great example oo the awesome being done by Independent Software Vendors all of Canada.  Some of the companies include: Copperleaf, Colligo, Loki, Flowfinity, Caelo, ResponseTek, NewHeights and Galeforce.

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    Microsoft Canada RFID Council

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    Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Solutions Make it Easier for Canadian Retailers and Manufacturers to Manage their Inventories and Track and Ship Merchandise

     

    Microsoft Brings Together Major Partners Delivering RFID Solutions on the Microsoft-based Platform in a New RFID Council

    Mississauga, ON – July 5th, 2004 – Microsoft Canada Co. announced today its growing list of partners creating innovative Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solutions on the Microsoft-based platform to help Canadian manufacturers, distributors and retailers reduce human error in data collection, improve inventory visibility and provide better customer service.

    “T4G was founded almost 10 years ago by a group of retail industry veterans, so we know the retail industry and we know RFID will have a major impact on this industry,” said T4G Limited President Geoff Flood. “Our out-of-the-box Microsoft-based Analytics for RFID Systems (MARS) solution helps enable retailers to perform detailed analytics on their RFID data, manage the increase in this critical new data effortlessly and effectively and make business decisions in real time.”   

    RFID combines the benefits of the silicon chip and radio frequencies to provide increased levels of product and asset visibility across the supply chain.

     

    “HP fully understands how RFID technology can be used to streamline supply chains, improve inventory control, track baggage and assets within an airport and provide enhanced customer experiences,” said Victor Garcia, Managing Principal, Mobility Program Office and Chief Technology Officer, HP Canada. “HP is uniquely qualified to help customers realize the benefits of RFID technologies because of our knowledge of real-world applications, our implementation experience and lessons learned deploying RFID within our own manufacturing facilities. We also understand the business, technical and logistical challenges associated with the design, implementation and support of RFID solutions, bringing a unique perspective that creates value for our customers. ” 

     

    Ship2Save provides RFID supply chain logistic solutions for the specific needs of a particular vertical market.  “We built our new RFID Middleware Software with Microsoft .NET because it would help shorten our time to market,” said Sam Falsafi, Director of Business Development & RFID Strategy, Ship2Save.  “Time to market is critical for us, and .NET helped us get to market quicker by as much as 32 per cent.”

     

    “Microsoft is committed to providing a platform on which our technology partners can create RFID solutions to meet the needs of our joint customers,” said Javed Sikander, Program Manager for RFID strategy at Microsoft Corporation. “We are working closely with technology partners and customers to align our strategies and help ensure that they can create RFID solutions on the Microsoft-based platform that meet their requirements."

     

    A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Cactus Commerce Inc. has been helping organizations bring more efficiency to their complex business processes since 1995. “As RFID standards evolve, we continue to leverage our existing products to meet the changing needs of our enterprise customers in the manufacturing, retail and logistics industries,” said Pierre Deschamps, Executive VP, Cactus Commerce Inc. “Our solutions, including Cactus GDS Accelerator for BizTalk® server, ensure data accuracy and reduce costs for trading partners providing the foundation for successful RFID deployments.”

    Microsoft Canada also announced today the formation of a new RFID Partner Advisory Council to look at RFID requirements and how to take advantage of today's technology to make it easier for Canadian retailers and manufacturers to reduce inventories, improve product availability and track and ship merchandise.  

    “Microsoft is assembling a wide range of partner support for RFID solutions built with Microsoft®.NET connection software,” said Lasha Dekker, Director, Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft Canada.  “As part of the Canadian RFID Council, Microsoft and the technology partners on board so far plan to address industry needs with RFID solutions that are low-cost, simple to deploy and built on a robust scalable technology stack.”

    Partners participating in the Canadian RFID Council include: Bell Canada, HP Canada, T4G Limited, Ship2Save, Cactus Commerce Inc., BearingPoint, RCM Technologies Canada Corp., CapGemini, Texas Instruments, SIRIT Technologies Inc and J.L. Albright Ventures. 

     

    Bell Canada is pleased to participate in the RFID Partner Council,” said Brad Fisher, General Manager, Consumer Services Development, Bell Canada.  “This is yet another innovation to come from our ongoing relationship with Microsoft and it reaffirms our commitment to providing Canadians with innovative and secure solutions that simplify their lives.” 

     

    Companies looking to find out more about RFID solutions Microsoft technology partners are creating, Microsoft Canada is also launching the RFID Partner Highlight Web site, at http://msdn.microsoft.ca/RFID/partners with logos, overview descriptions of solutions and links to partners working in RFID. 

     

    For developers becoming more interested in RFID and looking for guidance and information, Microsoft Canada is now including specific RFID articles, content and links on its Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Canada Web site at http://msdn.microsoft.ca/RFID .

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    The Canadian Strategic Architect Forum

    • 0 Comments

     


    Join top architecture experts at the Canadian Strategic Architect Forum. This prestigious, three-day conference has been designed specifically to meet the needs of enterprise strategic, solution and application architects like you. The event features presentations by Microsoft and other industry professionals, as well as hands-on, interactive sessions, dealing with a variety of topics, including the relationship between architecture and business strategy.

    Learn from the best and brightest minds in architecture:
    Jack Calhoun – CEO and Co-Founder of Accelare
    Gregor Hohpe – Integration Architect Lead, ThoughtWorks Inc.
    Pat Helland – Architect, Architecture Strategy, Microsoft
    Don Box – Architect, Distributed Systems Group, Microsoft

    Plus attend highly specialized and detailed information sessions:
    • Security (David Aucsmith)
    • VSTS (Prashant Sridharan)
    • Compliance (Mike Burner)
    • SOA and Reliable Messaging (Pat Helland)
    • Smart Client (Scott Garvey/David Hill)
    • Microsoft Architectural Framework (Gunpreet Pall)

    Intimate and interactive breakout sessions will also be offered and will give you the opportunity to discuss current industry trends and to provide feedback directly to the professionals in Redmond.

    For more information, and to register, please call 1-800-528-1668 or click here.

      

     


    © 2005 Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    A New Members Of The Developer Evangelism Team @ Microsoft Canada

    • 3 Comments

    I have blogged several times about a few open positions on the team here at Microsoft Canada.  We have been focused on bringing some amazing talent onto the team to help us with our mission of continuing to win the hearts and minds of Canada's developers.  I thought I would share some exciting news about some of the new folks joining the team:

     

    John Bristowe:

     

    John Bristowe will be joining the team as our Western Canada Developer Evangelist!!!  I am just thrilled to have John’s experience on the team and he will be a major asset to us as we head into the launch of VS 2005 and our other FY06 priorities.  For those of you who don't John (which isn’t many of you), he is a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), an active member of the Alberta .NET User Group and the Calgary .NET User Group, a MVP for ASP/ASP.NET, and the Microsoft Regional Director for Alberta.  John graduated from Bishop's University in 1999.  Later that same year, he relocated to Australia where he consulted for numerous companies. During his time in Australia, he co-founded and ran the Melbourne .NET User Group, the largest .NET user group in Australia. In 2002, John moved to Chicago and joined Empowered Software Solutions (now Magenic).  While in Chicago, he was a member of the Chicago .NET User Group and the Midwest District Technical Community for Microsoft. Two years later, he moved to Calgary and joined Quadrus Development as a Systems Analyst.  John is a very active member of the .NET community.  He has have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including Microsoft TechEd, Web Services Edge, CAMP IT Expo, and many user groups.  He has also conducted interviews with .NET Rocks! and MSDN TV and delivered Webcasts for Microsoft.  John also leads or participates in various GotDotNet workspaces and SourceForge projects including the ASP.NET Forums, the Event Sharing Framework, Plumbwork Orange, and Plumbwork Indigo.  His blog is available at http://www.bristowe.com/blog/ .  (Soon to be blogs.msdn.com)

     

    In his role, John will be focused on winning the hearts and minds of developers in Western Canada.  John will be focused on the launch, on driving Developer excitement in the community, on early adopter customers and of course on maintaining a relationship with the RDs!  John will remain based in Calgary (joining Dan Sellers).

     

    Welcome to the team John!  We are very excited to have you joining Microsoft Canada.

    Mohammad Akif:

    In his new role, Mohammad joins Karen McGregor and Carol Roy as DPE’s Architect team.  He will be focused on influencing key enterprise architects, driving .NET as a standard with target accounts, securing customer wins around key emerging technologies and positioning the Microsoft platform within certain industry initiatives.  Mohammad has over ten years of experience working at various fortune 500 companies including Citibank Singapore, Hitachi Malaysia, Fujitsu Singapore, Sprint USA and North West Airlines. 

    Before joining Microsoft he was the practice lead for Sun Professional Services for the US Northeast Region where he won various awards for supporting the sales and consulting organization and growing Sun's business in the region.

    Mohammad has co-authored several publications including 'Java and XML, programmer's reference', 'Web Services Certification Exam (administered by Sun)' and he contributed to the J2EE core patterns book. He presents frequently at industry conferences in the areas of Services Oriented Architecture, Reference Architectures for industry verticals, Security Solutions and Web Services. Mohammad has a BS in computer science, MBA in marketing and Certification in Management.

    In his free time, Mohammad likes to play basketball, racquetball, volleyball and various games on XBox. He is an avid reader with an eclectic taste and writes about world affairs. He loves to organize office outings, team events and other activities. He is very excited to join the Microsoft Canada team and is looking forward to meeting everyone.

    Mohammad will be relocating to Toronto from New Hampshire.  He will start at Microsoft on July 4th.

    Welcome to Microsoft, to DPE and to Canada!

     

    Çigdem Çimen:

    Çigdem Çimen joins us from Microsoft Turkey where she spent her last 2 years as a Senior Product Technology Specialist. In this position, Çigdem has enhanced sales opportunities and tripled the e-business server references over the past year.  She is known for her passion for technology and her customer focused approach.

    Çigdem joined Microsoft Turkey in 2000 as an Evangelist to drive adoption of .NET.  She worked on creating a great momentum in the Turkish developer community, increasing satisfaction among developers/architects, engaging with partners and building an energetic .NET ecosystem at Microsoft Turkey.  She is one of the international speakers in Middle East Africa Region.

    Prior to Microsoft, Çigdem worked in software development at Akbank, a leading Turkish bank, for almost 2 years. At Akbank, she successfully improved the productivity and efficiencies their alternative delivery channels by implementing emerging technologies as part of the banking infrastructure. In her career prior to Akbank, she held positions as a software engineer in several companies in Turkey.

    Çigdem holds a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. in Computer Science. She likes sailing (she is also one of the members of Microsoft Turkey Sailing Team), contemporary dance and her latest interest is Pilates.  Çigdem also has aspirations of pursuing her MBA in the near future.

    Çigdem will join us on July 11.  Many of you have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new ISV DE, so I know you will take some time to introduce yourself to Çigdem and to welcome her to Canada.

    In her new role Çigdem will join Ryan Storgaard in our efforts to enhance Canada’s ISV ecosystem.  She will focus on Evangelism Wins with targeted/managed ISVs and the competitive recruiting of key ISVs.  She will be located in Toronto and will be focused primarily on Central and Eastern Canada.

    Congratulations Çigdem and welcome to the Microsoft Canada team!

     

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Reboot Canada

    • 5 Comments

    Are you a gadget geek like me - always building your own PCs and Servers?  Always buying the latest toys?  If you are, then you have likely faced this problem - a closet full of outdated parts or a PC that becomes a paperweight when you upgrade. 

    Recycling a PC is not a simple task and the idea of sending my old equipment to a landfill turns my stomach.  I have been searching a long time trying to find a good way of disposing of my old equipment - let's call it “e-cycling“.  I finally found the solution!!!

    reBoot Canada (www.rebootcanada.ca) is a non-profit charity providing computer hardware, training and technical support to charities, non-profits and people with limited access to technology.  What an amazing operation!  I was there yesterday to drop off my donation.  With a limited staff of a few full time people and a small army of students they tackle a mountain of donated equipment at their warehouse in Toronto.  I don't envy their task!!  They strip down, test, refurbish and finally rebuild all of the equipment.  It is then sent out to charities around Ontario.

    I am proud to say that Microsoft Canada supports reBoot (see press release) as part of our community activities. 

    So - Geeks Of Toronto Send Them Your Old Gear! 

    You will be helping a charity, preventing landfill and you get a tax receipt.

    Hats off to Devon and the team at reBoot!  Keep up the great work.

     

     

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    My First Full Day @ PDC

    • 1 Comments

    PDC is now in full swing and I have been here for about 24 hours so far.  Of course, by now you may have heard about the huge power failure that occurred around lunchtime yesterday.  Needless to say, the Sept 12th power outage was a little unnerving, but as it turns out it was just a construction crew that cut the wrong cable.  LA’s power grid is very “brittle” and the spike of the power returning blew out the grid.

     

    As for the show – well, it’s BIG.  The biggest PDC ever.  Lots of people, lots of amazing sessions and lots of exhibitors (good ones too!).

     

    The highlights so far:

     

    1. The Keynote.  BillG was great as always.  The fun part (outside of the amazing demos of Office 12 and Vista) was a video featuring Bill and Napoleon Dynamite.  (Yes, from the movie)
    2. Microsoft MAX – this is a proof-of-concept Avalon / Indigo application that they built to show off various features.  But as a photographer it is particularly cool to me.  MAX is a photo sharing application that uses the peer-to-peer Indigo layer to create shared slideshows.  I just installed it from – www.microsoft.com/max - you need WinFX beta installed on your machine.  Check it out.
    3. Microsoft Gadgets – http://microsoftgadgets.com/ - we announced and showed off this new “gadget” concept that plugs into both SideBar and SideShow in Vista.  I think this will be and amazing place for ISVs to innovate.
    4. The Mobile Deal – they announced a surprise deal for the i-mate JASJAR Windows Mobile 5 device.  This thing is awesome - http://www.imate.com/ - and they sold it for $149!!! (Regular - >$1000)
    5. Office 12 – I just can’t wait….
    6. The Hands On Labs – hundreds of machines all ready for people to get their hands dirty
    7. Blogging EVERYWHERE
    8. The DVDs – wow, 5 DVDs of content and betas.  Cool.  Nice case for them as well.

     

    The lowlights –

     

    1. The Mobile Deal – well, yes it was a great deal, but it caused a stampede in the middle of the keynote.  They only had a limited number, so it sold it in an hour.  So, lots of people who stayed for the entire keynote didn’t get a chance to buy one.  Also – while customers are our #1 priority, it would have been nice to see MSFT employees get a crack at this deal.
    2. Asking people to “not use your laptops during the keynote” – they announced this over the PA system… no laptops?  At a developer event?  Yeah, right…
    3. The coffee.  Sucks.  Terrible. 
    4. The DVDs – wow, they came with a little flyer to tell you about an error in the authoring.

     

    More to come as the days go on.  Watch for lots more pictures as well J

     

     

     

     

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Mark In The Press - RFID

    • 0 Comments

    http://www.integratedmar.com/ECL.cfm?item=DLY092904-5

    Microsoft announces expansion of Radio Frequency Identification
    29 September, 2004
    by
    Dave Chappelle

    Microsoft Business Solutions has announced an expansion of its Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) initiative.

    The goal is to help SMBs meet RFID technology compliance mandates from large trading partners, and drive efficiencies in internal operations.

    All of the interest in RFID is great news for the channel.

    "It makes our solution for companies in the supply chain," said James Salter - Marketing Manager - Mid-Market Verticals, Microsoft Business Solutions, Microsoft Canada.

    "Back Office accounting, inventory management, customer resource management, and now we're offering additional features everyone is asking for. It's going to be an inventory management system and RFID is definitely a part of that."

    The perception is that RFID will have a positive effect by helping to add value to the solutions that the channel sells, creating better value, and opening up new opportunities.

    "RFID has two parts: obviously some system integrator work to get the business process flow working, and there is an opportunity on the software side," said Mark Relph, National Manager, Microsoft .NET Platform Team, Microsoft Canada.

    "RFID creates an unprecedented amount of data that must be integrated into systems, whether it's Navision or Axapta or other products, or location-based services or other software-based solutions, you may want to use with that data."

    Customers who are thinking about RFID will look for new types for solutions and expertise, which is a tremendous opportunity for the channel.

    "Our partners are beginning to come to market with things that were previously considered impossible," said Relph.

    "You don't have to be large; you can be an SMB to have and enjoy the benefits of RFID."

    Business solutions partners, shipping partners, and a number of other partners are working together to strengthen their businesses. They will get new customers and develop new ways of using the technology.

    "Certainly RFID as a base technology has been around for a number of years, although many customers don't realize it," Relph said.

    "Security badges are a less exciting part of that. As the industry settles on standards, be they physical or data standards, if one puts RFID in a place where it can be integrated, standardization gives customers comfort that they won't pick the wrong platform to end up on, in sort of a Beta versus VHS."

    The industry is at a critical point where standards are being selected.

    "From a Microsoft view, we're thinking about where it plays into our technology stack," said Relph.

    "Whether its ERP or any of the other products, you're going to either pipe it into or pull it out of your back end systems. That's where we are spending a majority of our RFID development."

    RFID is also proving interesting from a ROI point of view.

    "The cost of the tag still needs to come down, but enhancing a supply chain the additional efficiencies driven out of the technology better handle on inventory, sheer efficiency in ordering, what is made and how it is delivered, and transportation costs," said Relph.

    RFID is not simply limited to the supply chain. It is in loyalty cards, speedpasses, security access cards, health care, asset management, and tracking people inside a building or theme park.

    "The tags have come down where a label printer as it is printed it is also programmed," said Relph.

    "The size of the technology is very advanced. Tagged pets are also RFID."

    As technology improves, integration with reader and tag technology will become easier and less expensive, just like we've witnessed with CD players.

    "We envision a day when an RFID is as easy to install as a plug and play printer," said Salter.

    And developers, users, and different software platforms will understand it natively.

    "Current technology is ideal for building those solutions," said Relph.

    "When you're in incubation mode it's only limited by imagination and demand from customers in the market. It is a great case study for the kinds of projects that eChannelline readers will be most concerned about."

    So it comes down to choosing the right RFID system provider.

    "If RFID is going to be mission critical, it's important for customers and partners to have an established company they can do business with," said Salter.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    .NET Podcasts

    • 0 Comments

    The latest trend is Podcasting.  Podcasting = the use of RSS to distribute audio files in a "subscription" model, thus letting the user collect and consumer the feeds at their leisure.

    I hate the fact that this is named after the ipod (obviously).  I will save the commentary on the number of great audio players out on the market for a different blog.

    For now, check out how the DotNetRocks crew are using the podcasts.

    http://www.dotnetrocks.com/

     

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    MLS.ca gets a make-over. Welcome Realtor.ca

    • 1 Comments

    CREA launched a new interactive version of the MLS.ca site called REALTOR.CA.   This is a welcome improvement to a site that every potential home buyer has likely used.  Realtor.ca uses Virtual Earth (yes, that’s 2 major wins for Virtual Earth this week in Canada – 3 if you include ASK.COM in the US) and overlays the listing data onto the map.  I have been looking for a home for months and this is something I have been waiting for!

    image

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    The Microsoft JVM

    • 0 Comments

    Some customers and developers are aware of this, but I wanted to let everyone out there in blog land know about the changes that are coming to our support of the MSJVM.  This could impact applications that you have built in the past, please take a minute to read over the website.

    Background: In a settlement agreement reached in January 2001 to resolve a dispute over Microsoft's distribution of its Java implementation, Sun and Microsoft agreed to limit the duration of Microsoft's use of Sun's source code and compatibility test suites to support the MSJVM. Because some developers and enterprises have expressed concern about their ability to eliminate dependencies on the MSJVM in the time period originally provided, Sun and Microsoft have agreed to a longer period to permit a smooth transition from the MSJVM.

    Please surf over to www.microsoft.ca/java for all the details.

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