December, 2005

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Canberra was Ready! Perth & Brisbane next on the Tour


    Wednesday night saw the community launch in Canberra, with a bunch of folks I hadn't seen since TechEd 2004.

    We even had some turn up in true geek rock mode - Geoff Appleby rocked, as the photo shows. He was a worthy recipient of Tablet Guy.

    A few of the local Canberra bloggers have written their own account of the evening - Gurkan, John, Eddie, Geoff & Rory all have great summaries.  (Have I missed any?)

    Thursday saw the business launch at the National Convention Center, Rory an attendee and Anthony, one of the presenters, recount the day and DavidLem educates us on the Liebovitz Life Rules.

    The night ended with the next phase of our unofficial Steak House Tour, with a trip to The Charcoal along with our special guests - David Treadwell and Rob & Nicole Caron.

    Next week sees us heading west to Perth and then across the country to Bris-Vegas. There's still places if you want to attend either event.

    [ Currently Playing : I Want You, I Need You, I Love You - Elvis Presley - 2nd to None (02:41) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Off for the summer - See you in 2006


    I'm off for the next few weeks, to enjoy some of my summer holidays. I'm going to be sitting on a beach on the South Coast of NSW - unconnected, unwired and untethered.

    Have a Happy Christmas. Hope Santa is good to you all.

    See you all in 2006!!!!

    [ Currently Playing : I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Jimmy McGriff - Ultra-Lounge Christmas Cocktails, Pt. 2 (06:39) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    The Microsoft Unlimted Potential (UP) Community Conference and Me


    Unlimited Potential LogoI was invited to attend and speak at the Unlimited Potential Community Conference.

    This event allows Microsoft to connect the 180+ Unlimited Potential Community-based Technology Learning Centres (CTLCs) with each other, with a view to achieving synergy and a sense of community. The emphasis will be on the provision of practical and relevant information to centre managers and trainers from these community organisations.

    The Objectives for Community Partners:

    • Access to key information and tools from Microsoft, Community Partners, Government and each other
    • Create a sense of partnership and community between UP centres around the country
    • Share learnings, challenges best practices and practical training tips and tricks
    • Network and up-skill

    I was asked to speak about "Online Communities - What are they & How to get involved", which included a discussion on blogging. Lately it would seem I'm become the Microsoft Australia Blogging Officer (yes, I know Robert Scoble also uses this title, but I'm in Australia, so I will claim the local version of it). I gave the presentation twice, once before lunch and once after. **URL FIXED**

    The agenda looked like this:

    • What is an Online Community
    • What is a blog
    • Why is it important
    • How can you get started
    • Tips to help

    I told some stories, referenced wikipedia, cracked some jokes, praised my wife, plugged msn spaces, searched technorati and used the experience of Mike Seyfang's Learn Dog to demonstrate the value of online communities and the power of blogging. Mike was in attendance and wrote about it on his blog too.

    My presentation is now online (695kb ppt file), and it includes a number of cartoons from Hugh McLeod (who said it was ok to use them). I was in part inspired by a presentation that Robert Scoble had given at the Google Zeitgeist conference.

    So, if you are here because you attended the session, leave me a comment, Tell me what you thought. If it has inspired you to start a blog, let me know the URL and I can come visit and maybe even subscribe.

    [ Currently Playing : Feel Good Inc. - De La Soul - Demon Days (03:41) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    SNARF, the Social Network and Relationship Finder


    I've been SNARFed this weekend.

    I downloaded the MSR application called SNARF (Social Network and Relationship Finder).

    Microsoft Research’s Community Technology presents SNARF, the Social Network and Relationship Finder.

    SNARF was built around the notion that social network information that is already available to the computer system can be usefully reflected to the user: a message from a manager might be seen differently than a message from a stranger, for example. SNARF applies this idea to email triage: handling the flow of messages when time is short and mail is long.

    The SNARF UI is designed to provide a quick overview of unread mail, organized by its importance. The UI shows a series of different panes with unread mail in them; each pane shows a list of authors of messages. Clicking on a name shows all messages involving that person.

    People use a variety of strategies to handle triage; there is no single “best” ordering of email messages to produce an optimal outcome.

    SNARF gives the user the freedom to build their own ordering. Each person in their inbox is assigned a set of meta-information: “number of emails sent in the last month,” for example. These metrics can, in turn, be combined to create an ordering across all contacts. For more information, check out the CEAS paper on SNARF.

    I have almost 1,000,000 messages in about 20gb worth of PST files. It has taken a while for SNARF to examine and index my social network. As I write this post, it's still going. Cant wait to see what it tells me.

    [ Currently Playing : DSC-290-2005-12-02 - Adam Curry - Daily Source Code (48:33) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    I almost made it to the Informal lunch on Social Media inside the Enterprise


    I corresponded with Matt Moore recently and we set a time to meet up for lunch, which was scheduled for today

    The meeting got bigger and bigger, and was to included Trevor Cook & Andrew Mitchell, as well as Ross Dawson, and Matt hinted that the recently elusive James Dellow may make an appearance.

    I was all set to head into town, when I got a call from my distressed wife (who was visiting Santa's Kingdom at the time, which may explain WHY she was distressed) about an incident at my son's high school and that I needed to go and collect him. So, off I went to Crows Nest to collect Antony and take him home.

    Now, what this also meant was that I couldn't get back into town in time for the Informal lunch on Social Media inside the Enterprise. Unfortunatly I was unable to contact Matt to let him know I couldn't make it. Luck was on my side however, as I had an email from Ross Dawson, following his recent post on the sorry state of Australian Corporate Blogging, which had his phone number!!  I called Ross and asked him to pass on my apologies about not turning up.

    Guys, I hope those wood-fired pizzas were yummy. I'll be there next time - I promise....

    [ Currently Playing : I Love New York - Madonna - Confessions on a Dance Floor (04:12) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    An encounter with Julian Bajkowski


    I caught up with Julian Bajkowski yesterday. Julian is a journalist working at Fairfax, in Mark Jones' team. We met up to talk all things Vista. I was there with Jeff Putt, our local Client Business Group Director (Hey Jeff, where's your blog)

    In the course of our discussion, I could sense Julian was after a scoop on early Vista adopters in Australia, as well as other juicy insider information.

    Anyways, since I was there to represent developers, I felt compelled to let him know that there is much movement in the developer space around Vista. All MSDN Subscribers have access to the latest bits, an active online developer community is growing around WinFX, local bloggers are writing about using XAML, folks from my team doing demos, in short there is growing buzz around WinFx. And, in the coming months it's only going to get louder.

    I'm looking forward to see what Julian has to say about the encounter. I don't think I was very controvertial, and since he is writing for MIS Magazine rather than a developer magazine, I doubt anything I said will make it to print this time, so I don't think I'm breaking any news.

    [ Currently Playing : The Ricky Gervais Show - Episode3 - Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington - The Ricky Gervais Show on Guardian Unlimited (31:28) ]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger



    I was at a Christmas BBQ today for one of my kids, when one of the parents ran up to me furiously. I thought Brice had hit their kid or something, but it turned out that she worked at a local web development company who had recently switched from PHP to ASP.NET v2.0, and was so happy about the experience, she just wanted to tell me all about it.

    Turns out she is a subscriber to the MSDN Flash, and had wondered if the kid in her son's class with the same surname as me was infact my child. Had she looked at the class sheet we got at the start of the year, she would have seen my email address and the penny would have dropped earlier, but anyways...

    So, I spent part of a sunny Sydney afternoon discussing the merits of web development from a web designer using ASP.NET and how much more productive it is, compared to hacking PHP. The company she works for pumps out 300-400 websites each year for a wide range of small to medium businesses, and so productivity is really important,as is producing standards compliant sites, as well as ease of deployment, not to mention having a set of tools for debugging. I tell you, she was raving about master pages.

    This got me thinking. Surely this isn't an isolated incident. There must be other folks who have made the switch from PHP, or Cold Fusion, or even classic ASP to ASP.NET. If you have, drop me a note. I would love to hear from you too.

    By the way, Brice did infact have an incident later and there were tears involved. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

    [ Currently Playing : Jump - Madonna - Confessions on a Dance Floor (03:46) ]

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