I've just returned from a trip to Seattle.  Many of you have asked, "What are you doing there?"  So, here you go....

The overall purpose of the trip was technical readiness.  To that end I (mostly) attended a MS-internal conference called TechReady.  Nearly all sessions are presented by the product group and are delivered at deep, technical level.  Many sessions focus on future technologies.  Of course, I LOVED this.  The entire conference is private.  So, no, I can not release any information.  However, I can tell you that you should PAY ATTENTION around the time of PDC (session list) .  Better yet, if you can attend PDC, you won't be sorry.  Here's more PDC Buzz.

In addition to TR, I had the good fortune to be invited to a session at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit held in Redmond by MSR.  There I spoke with a panel, representing women academics in computing.  I was invited because I've been accepted to speak on my Africa (personal volunteer work for SmartCare - electronic medical records collection system) work at the Grace Hopper conference in October in Keystone, CO.  It was quite an honor to meet Telle Whitney there.  She is the CEO of the Anita Borg Institute and chairs the GHC.

Telle Whitney and me

I am wearing my iGive Microsoft limited-edition shirt in the picture with her.  Asli and I launched iGive for a couple of reasons:

1) We were tired of getting ugly, man-sized swag at each conference

2) We wanted a cool-looking shirt that showed how much we (Microsoft) cared.  To get the shirt you must donate to a selected charity that benefits women and kids.

To that end, she and I ran the third iteration of the iGive program at TR7.  The recipient charity was the MONA Foundation.  Because this group has both financial and infrastructure needs, we are distributing shirts for money or technical volunteering time (web programming, etc..).  If you wish to volunteer, pls ping me and I'll connect you to Jason Ward from the MS VS-team.  He is leading the technical volunteers for this project.

We have also gained approval for running iGive at GHC and PDC.  It was great to see how many men wanted shirts for their daughters!

While at the MSR Faculty summit, I met with a group from MSR that is taking a look at StoryTelling Alice.  As part of my work with Microsoft DigiGirlz, I have been asked to advise on a global curriculum repository for them.  I have been investigating various visual programming environments - StoryTelling Alice, PopFly, OpenSim for SecondLife, MS Robotics (RoboChamps) and more.  The group at MSR asked me to write a synopsis of my work and submit it for presentation at next year's MS Academic Days Conference (April 2009).  This conference is actually held on a cruise ship!

This month I am leading a group to implement the first-ever DigiGirlz camp (in SoCal) based on the visual programming theme.  On the plane home from Seattle, I bumped into one of the co-leads, Cindy Palmer, who had been in Seattle for MS-Surface training.  It is quite possible that the SoCal DigiGirlz will be the first to see the new surface for our Irvine, CA MTC!

MS Surface

Oh, and I won't be neglecting my SoCal Developers this month either.  I am scheduled to speak at 3 UGs this month.  LA.NET on Monday, Aug 4; OC SQL (new UG!) on Thursday, Aug 14; SoCal Architects on Thursday, Aug 21.  For a complete list of all SoCal UGs, see this link.

Also Glen and I will be resuming our weekly Channel9 / MSDN geekSpeak shows, starting Wednesday August 6th.

And, oh yeah, I've got a a book to finish too. :)