Office hours are back!
“Coming Soon, to a Mall Near You”
So if you haven’t check your favorite news site already, Microsoft has announced plans to open retail stores (for real – we’ve even hired a VP to do it).
Initial, knee-jerk thoughts vary greatly, from the “what are they thinking” to “hey, that could work”..
I’m mixed on this one. The Microsoftie in me thinks this is a bold but needed step to start correcting the negative perception of Microsoft products in the eyes of the consumer (Vista sucks, right? Microsoft’s evil, right?). The amateur economist in me can’t help but be wary of venturing into retail when that industry is hurting so badly.
Since the state of the economy has been discussed to almost a numbing degree, let’s look at the possible positive (and humorous, of course) scenarios surrounding the “Microsoft Store”.
First of all, what will it be called? Should we follow Apple’s suit and just call it the “Microsoft Store”? (Actually, if we’re really following Apple we wouldn’t have a name, just the Windows or Vista logo.) Here are a few thoughts:
The nay-sayers are wondering what the heck will actually be sold in the store. It’s not like we can “sell” Windows Live, SkyDrive, or Photosynth. Well, it sounds like the store will be stocked with new computers (Dell, HP, etc.) loaded with Vista (actually, probably Windows 7 by the time the stores are fully operational), software packages (i.e. Office), Xboxes and Zunes. All the typical stuff, right? Ahh, not so fast. A real hidden bonus for this retail idea is the opportunity to showcase a lot of physical products (i.e. hardware, what you can touch) that the typical consumer may not know about. Let’s look at some of the possibilities (including some obvious ones):
Now, what should the PC’s in the store have on them? Okay, okay – BESIDES Windows and Office. Here’s a short list of software & services that should be readily available for any shopper who saddles up to a machine, including what the “Microsoft Guru” should be ready to show:
Show how the different services work together (example: Use Live Writer to post to a blog, pulling pictures from Live Photo Gallery (or even Facebook), to Spaces.)
Demonstrate how you can use Live Mesh to easily push photos from your PC in Colorado to Grandma in California.
There are several more, but this is a good start, I think.
Take a page from the Apple folks and surround all the set up PC’s with complementary products, such as Windows Mobile phones, Zunes, digital picture frames, etc.
Now of course, you’ll want to stock the shelves with all the software we offer, including OS’s, Office, Streets & Trips, OneCare, etc.
Lastly, there should be an “ask the expert” station where you can discuss any Microsoft-related product issue with (presumably) an expert. There shouldn’t just be sales-oriented people in the store, but rather technical support –types that can put a smile on their face. Lastly, the store employees will need a thick skin as there will undoubtedly anti-Microsoft (justified or not) walk in for the sake of whining & moaning. (As a former tech support guy, I assure you they’re out there.)
These “gurus” should hold regularly-schedules workshops: “Get the most out of your photos", “How to back up my PC”, “Tell me about Internet Explorer”.. those kinds of things.
So we’ve covered signage, inventory, and personnel. What about store layout? I have no idea what this will actually look like, but here’s a rough thought:
The key to getting people in the store will be to move the rows of stocked software (boring to look at) to the back and bring the cool stuff to the front, i.e. Xbox and Surface. If a shopper walking by glances inside and sees some people on a couch having a blast playing video games, and a small crowd of people going nuts on a Surface, that person will have a hard time not venturing inside to check it out.
Okay, so I’ve gone a little overboard here. I had a little time on my hands and found myself getting surprisingly excited by this concept. To start changing perception, Microsoft needs to be tangible and approachable. This could be a great start!
Overview Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition provides advanced tools for database change management and testing and offers functionality to enable database developers and administrators to be more productive and increase application quality in the database tier.
Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition delivers a market shifting database development product that provides a foundation for managed database evolution through the use of an offline, Visual Studio project-centered source code control system together with a suite of tools designed to help understand the impact of proposed changes.
Schemas, DML and metadata can be versioned, code can be automatically reviewed using static analysis, unit tests can be created and executed to ensure quality, and comparisons can be made with test and production systems prior to deployment.
Integration with Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server helps increase the productivity of the database professionals by enabling them to become an integral part of the application team.
Please join Microsoft and Adventos for this one-day course to learn how the Developer and Database editions of Team System work together in the application lifecycle.
Who Should Attend?
Database Administrators, Database Developers
Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
To Register by Phone –
*** UPDATED 4/30/2009 ***
If you attended the Agile & Scrum Essentials event series last fall, then you’ve been expecting this second round! And if you missed it, now you can catch up!
Please join Microsoft and Neudesic for a day in the life of Scrum with Visual Studio Team System 2008 and Team Foundation Server! Agile methods are a set of development processes intended to create software in a lighter, faster, more people-centric way. Many development teams have adopted "agile" methodologies to manage change and to improve software quality. These methodologies promote continuous integration as a practice to build and test software products incrementally as new features are included, bugs are fixed, and code is refactored.
If you missed the first series of Agile & Scrum Essentials last fall; here’s your chance to attend the follow-on event where we’ll briefly revisit the basics of Agile and Scrum and provide a walkthrough of how to configure Visual Studio Team System 2008 and Team Foundation Server for Scrum. Participants will be familiarized with how key artifacts are managed within this popular process template for enacting Scrum in organizations.
Join us for this interactive event as we explore a “day in the life of a Sprint,” that will give you a practical perspective of how Scrum teams leverage Visual Studio Team System for end to end management of the planning, execution and control of Scrum projects. The day will end with an overview of what’s coming in Visual Studio Team System 2010!
Please register today for the event nearest you!
You can also call 1.877.MSEVENT (1.877.673.8368) and provide the appropriate invitation code to register.
I will be at the Denver, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City venues and hope to see you there!
Did I mention this event is FREE?
The PDF can be accessed HERE.
If you want to get a better idea of what SCM tools are being adopted and how Team Foundation Server is faring, I recommend you read this whitepaper. It provides some great statistics around SCM tool adoption in Europe, including TFS, ClearCase, Subversion, and others.
My Thoughts (read the paper first)
Honestly (and not because I’m TFS-biased) the biggest surprise here is the actual adoption rate of TFS. The tool has been out for about three years now, and showing 27% adoption is a terrific indicator how it’s been received in the market.
ClearCase is still (and to no surprise) the big player in larger, heterogeneous shops. It’s always been the big, beefy gorilla. We’ll have to see if that changes in these tough economic times. Teams with existing investments if CC may not want to consider another investment in a newer platform, while others may consider a change for cost reasons as well – it will depend on their current satisfaction with the tool, ongoing maintenance costs, and payment schedule to IBM.
Not surprisingly, open source tools are becoming more and more attractive, not only for their perceived cost (although really, nothing is truly free) but for community-hype. Still, VSS remains toward the top of the “current tools in use” largely due to that fact that it’s cheap and has been used for so many years in organizations that it’s difficult to conceptualize a move to a different platform. I think a natural progression from VSS is TFS, and you’ll see TFS adoption grow as VSS begins its decline.
What does this all mean? It just means that there are several competent tools out there, which makes it all the more important that your organization takes the time to consider multiple offerings, not just the status quo.
I hope to see some familiar faces, as well as some new ones, at this event! Times are tough, so how can you turn down FREE?
FREE Half-Day Seminar: "Writing Effective Business Use Cases" Tuesday, March 10, 2009 in Denver, CO
Ravenflow and Microsoft invite you to join us for a free half-day seminar. Writing use cases is an important part of any product development lifecycle. However, writing "good" use cases is not enough. Effective use cases are used as a basis for system and technical requirements, test plans, and user training. In this seminar, we will provide tips that will enable you to write effective use cases based on current best practices. We also show you how a properly written use case can easily be used in other phases of development. We will provide some tips for developing a process that will maximize the adoption of use cases and demonstrate how RAVEN can automate the use case writing process. Finally, we'll show you how requirements authored in RAVEN can be exported to Microsoft VSTS to be managed as work items.
Who Should Attend? Business analysts or anyone responsible for developing requirements
To register, fill out the form at this link: http://www.ravenflow.com/denverseminar/
Seminar Location and Hours Tuesday, March 10, 2009 8:30 a.m. – noon
Microsoft Office, Denver Tech Center 7595 Technology Way #400 Denver, CO 80237
Map & Directions
I had a great time on Saturday hanging out with 400-ish of my closest friends at the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta! Many of you braved iffy road conditions to make it downtown for this incredible event.
Big hats of to the Yacks for putting this together!
In case you haven’t seen this, Microsoft in partnership with Quest Software, has announced a new plug-in which will provide Oracle database development support inside Visual Studio. This plug-in, available for Visual Studio 2010, is called Quest’s Database Schema Provider. With this, Oracle developers will now be provided with the tools to help them design their database schemas, PL SQL Code, stored procedures and triggers, and to do offline design, development, version control and change management for Oracle databases via Visual Studio 2010.
You can do this type of offline database development today in Visual Studio Team System with SQL Server. Support for DB2 is on the way, and this announcement will add Oracle to the list. What does all this mean? Simply that Visual Studio Team System is rapidly expanding its already robust ALM capabilities and abilities to support the entire lifecycle, regardless of platform.
This importance announcement was made at this year’s VSLive conference in San Francisco.
You can read more about it via the following links:
Times are tough, so how can you turn down FREE?
FREE Half-Day Seminar: "Writing Effective Business Use Cases" Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Phoenix, AZ
Who Should Attend? Business analysts or anyone responsible for developing requirements
To register, fill out the form at this link: http://www.ravenflow.com/phoenixseminar/
Seminar Location and Hours Tuesday, March 17, 2009 8:30 a.m. – noon
Microsoft Office 2929 N. Central Ave. #1400 Phoenix, AZ 85012
Sorry, I gotta put on my sales hat for a minute. In today’s economy, I want to make sure you get he biggest bang for your buck, not only with your existing investments, but any investments you’re looking to make.
Take a look at these deals below – I guarantee one of these will look appealing to you!
Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of innovation around of technologies that make it easier for the end user of an application to interact with systems. This innovation has been a boon for the end user because it has provided them a more natural interface with systems that span the web, computer, and phone. However, this has caused the complexity of systems architecture and development to increase. The focus of this session will be on how to prepare and manage this complexity within your organization.
Facilitated by Microsoft, the premise of this event is to provide an open forum where architects can meet to discuss technologies with their peers. This forum will provide first-hand experience and best practices that will enable its members to learn from each other and transfer knowledge. Please join us for this great opportunity to learn, share and network with your peers and other company leaders.
The Value of the Client – In the past, the choice of how an end user interacts with an application has been dictated by IT and often without regards to the usage. Recently, as the population has become more tech savvy and are experiencing interactions on the web, computer, and the phone their expectations have increased tremendously. Many organizations now have to support multiple standards and technologies to accommodate their user base. We will discuss the opportunities and challenges this presents.
Creating Powerful Applications on Computers and Devices – The web has been a boon to application development and deployment, but it doesn’t always fit every scenario. There are certain classes of applications which provide a better experience when running on a device and utilizing local hardware. The ubiquity of the mobile device has also extended the expectations of users with anytime/anywhere access.
The Future of the Client – The pace of change in client technologies over the past few years has been tremendous and is expected to continue to evolve. From support of new device types such as tables and walls, to continued improvements in interactions on the web, client, and the phone the client will become more and more important from a technology perspective and more strategic to the organization.
12:30 PM Lunch and announcements
01:00 PM The Evolution of the Client
01:45 PM The Changing Face of the Web
02:45 PM Creating Powerful Applications on Computers and Devices
03:45 PM The Future of the Client
04:15 PM Raffle and close
Senior Architect, Developer & Platform Evangelism
Joe Shirey is a Senior Architect Evangelist for Microsoft based in the Denver area. In this role, Joe works closely with customers and the community to help them understand where Microsoft technologies fit into the architecture of their solutions. Prior to joining Microsoft, Joe was a Vice President at Interlink group where he was responsible for service and delivery for Interlink's Denver market. In the past, Joe was a Microsoft Regional Director, a member of the Microsoft Architect Advisory Board, and sat on the .NET Partner Advisory Council. Joe has more than eighteen years of hands-on technical and functional experience in project management, systems analysis, design, development, and implementation. Joe attained his Microsoft Certified Architect award in 2005.
Technology Evangelist, Developer & Platform Evangelism
Woody is a Technology Evangelist with Microsoft in Southern California. He gets to work with all kinds of people who are interested in Microsoft development technologies. He is an experienced teacher/trainer and is a part-time instructor at University of California San Diego.
Before joining Microsoft in 2005 he worked for as a Principal Engineer for a Microsoft partner, InterKnowlogy. He has been involved in software and system architecture, code, development and infrastructure reviews and analysis of several fortune 500 companies for salability, security, performance and standards & practices. He is also an accomplished author, having written Microsoft Official Curriculum and has authored several published magazine articles.
Maroon Bells 1
7595 Technology Way Suite 400 Denver Colorado 80237
Event ID: 1032404033
We’re currently working on a consolidated event calendar/list/RSS feed for the Western US. Right now, there are several places you need to go to get a relatively comprehensive list of Microsoft events in your area, including MSDN Events, Technet Events, Microsoft Worldwide Events, and blogs (hopefully this one!).
Are there other places you look? Let me know! Our ultimate goal is to provide you a comprehensive listing of Microsoft happenings in a single location, ideally via RSS feed as well.
Send me mail or comment on this post below and let me know where else you look.