• frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    'The time has come,' the Walrus said, 'To talk of many things:"


    Yes, the time has indeed come.

    After 22 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, I've decided to leave Microsoft.

    Yes,  you've heard correct. It's time!

    My time with Microsoft started way back on 1991, in Canberra, as a Systems Engineer. I was the first technical guy in a small team of 4 people. I got to Canberra after I had followed a girl (who I had met in Melbourne) all the way to Canberra., That girl became my wife, and over the journey we've spent time in Seattle, Sydney, Seattle again and ultimately Melbourne, which is where I started. Funny that.

    The career summary looks a bit like this

    May 1991

    Sep 1993

    Microsoft Canberra, working as a Systems Engineer

    Sep 1993

    Aug 1994

    Microsoft  Corp, @ Executive Briefing Center

    Aug 1994

    Oct 1995

    Microsoft Corp, in the Advanced Technology Group, working on Interactive TV

    Nov 1995

    May 1997

    Microsoft Australia, MSN Technical Director

    Jun 1997

    Jun 1999

    ninemsn CTO

    Jun 1999

    May 2001

    MicrosofT Region, Digital Media dude

    May 2001

    Aug 2007

    Microsoft Australia, Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE)

    Aug 2007

    May 2011

    Microsoft Corp, Director – DPE Field Community & Readiness

    May 2011

    Sep 2013

    Microsoft, Principle Technical Evangelist, WW Technical Evangelist  Role Owner


    Along the way we had 4 children who have grown up immersed in all things Microsoft - they all have their Nokia Lumias, and Windows 8 tablets, and love their XBOX, I don’t think this will change in a hurry.

    And then, there's my other family - the awesome evangelists I hired, the communitymembers who helped spread the word of the Microsoft platform - from .net, hailstorm, silverlight, to windows phone, windows, windows azure, and everything else in between.

    Thank you all for making my Microsoft time very enjoyable and not feel like just a job.

    This week also sees TechEd on the Gold Coast - and while I am there, we recorded the 100th episode of FranklySpeaking with my good friends Andrew Coates and Michael Kordahi, where I speak with the guys about my time at Microsoft. I had fun recording the session

    I now have a chance to look around, smell the roses and find that next great job that isnt really a job which I can commit my heart and soul into, just like the last one.

    I wont be blogging here anymore - but you can find me at http://frankarr.com,

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Not clicking, waving….


    I’ve been helping my kids with their homework, and one of them (I wont name who, so as to avoid any embarrassment) had to deliver a presentation in PowerPoint. I wanted to add a bit of pizzazz to the experience looked at hooking up a Kinect so that they could present with gestures, rather than clicking with a mouse.

    skeletonSeems like a good idea, right?

    I grabbed the Kinect for Windows SDK, and went looking on codeplex for kinect related samples, where I found the Kinect PowerPoint Control. It was nice, but It didn’t do exactly what I wanted.

    By coincidence, Dr Neil sent me an email about nsquared slyda, which just lets me change between slides using hand gestures.


    We had a practice session and kiddo can move forward and back, with a wave of the hands.

    Next stop, the classroom!!!

    BTW – I see that boffins at nsquared solutions are working on more Kinect apps. I got a ping last night from Dr Neil about nsquared spydar, which is like the Coding4Fun Kinect Turret minus the violence.  I got it set up – now let’s see who comes and uses my PC when I’m away….

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    My Geek Origin Story


    Michael Kordahi, aka Delicate Genius, is asking for Geek Origin Stories.

    How can I not contribute to this worthy cause……

    cbc 1981The year  was 1981, and my high school, CBC StKilda,  got a fancy new Cromenco computer system. I was asked to man the computer lab by my math teacher, Mrs Fagin, and to pass the time, I wrote programs in Structured Basic.

    I remember putting in programs that would  to print out ASCII art – playboy bunny logo and Alfred E. Newman stick in my memory.  After spending time playing in that lab, I decided to following a computing path, even though I had been planning to go on and do medicine. 

    punchcardI signed up for the EDP (or Electronic Data Processing) course at CIT in 1982. In my first year we used punch cards to input out programs. I still have some those punch cards someone in the garage – I’ve carried them for almost 30 years!  In my second year, the class had access to time sharing terminals connected to a PR1ME computer and we worked on PR1ME Information (which was similar to PICK), as well as COBOL and FORTRAN, and in my third year, we had a dedicated Data General system,  we programmed in COBOL and PL/1 and we had access to a new fangled a IBM PC and a software package called KnowledgeMan for our group project.

    After graduating, I entered the workforce as a humble programmer and my first job was converting FORTRAN applications for an engineering company on St Kilda Rd, who were migrating systems. That was the start of many projects during my time

    So there you have it….

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    20? meh - Just another day


    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

    1991 was a big year for me.

    I got married.

    I bought a house.

    My first child was born


    I joined Microsoft on May 20, 1991

    Today marks my 20th year anniversary at Microsoft.

    As I have done for the past few years (19, 18, 17, 16. 15, 14, 13), time to reflect a bit on my time at Microsoft. Yes, I still *love* the job.

    The resume stays the same, but I’m now back in Australia, based in Melbourne.

    May 1991 Sep 1993 Microsoft Canberra, working as a Systems Engineer
    Sep 1993 Aug 1994 Microsoft Corp, @ Executive Briefing Center
    Aug 1994 Oct 1995 Microsoft Corp, in the Advanced Technology Group, working on Interactive TV
    Nov 1995 May 1997 Microsoft Australia, MSN Technical Director
    Jun 1997 Jun 1999 ninemsn CTO
    Jun 1999 May 2001 Microsoft Region, Digital Media dude
    May 2001 Aug 2007 Microsoft Australia, Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE)
    Aug 2007 Current Microsoft Corp, Director – DPE Field Community & Readiness

    This year, I find myself in a different situation -- I don’t have an office, so no 20lbs of M&Ms sitting in a bowl outside my door to share with my work colleagues.

    It’s kinda weird that I have no one to share the moment with. It’s just another day.

    But, I did get a rather large and heavy parcel sent to me.


    which had another box inside


    and inside that box was another box addressed to me


    it was like a Babushka doll!!

    So – what’s in it?

    Well – it’s my 20 year “crystal” from Microsoft. (yeah – crappy photo, I know. I’ll take another one in the morning)


    So – 20 years down, and the future looks promising – skype is joining the family, kinect is going gang busters with it’s own SDK , windows phone is getting Angry Birds soon.

    Seems like there’s a lots to still do, and I’m pretty excited to continue doing it.

    Plus, now that I’m back in Australia – I can get along to some local events, such as DDD Melbourne, PREMIX & REMIX

    Bring on the next 20! Maybe I’ll get some M&Ms just for me and the kids!…

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  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    My second #WP7 App – Saints Footy


    stkildafcOk, so I’m on a roll!  Last week I got my first #WP7 App out.

    This week , I grabbed the v2 of the Social Viewer Template for Windows Phone 7 from codeplex and put together another windows phone 7 app, which I called Saints Footy.

    It has twitter feeds, feeds from news sites and fan sites, and the facebook feed from saints.com.au – the best way to experience Saints Footy on Windows Phone!!

    Now, if only the Saints would win a few more games….

    Big shout out to Nick Randolph and Dave Glover for a wonderful job with the Social Viewer Template. 

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  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    My #WP7 App – FrankArr Tracker


    I’ve been meaning to write an Windows Phone app for ages. I even told Brandon Watson that I would.

    I just never got around to it, until I saw a tweet from Nick Hodge which inspired me to get started

    Nick pointed me to the Windows Phone 7 Social Viewer Application Template that Nick Randolph and Dave Glover had put together.

    The Social Viewer template is a Visual Studio template that allows you to jump start the development of a Windows Phone 7 application. It provides the foundations of an application that can aggregate multiple RSS/Atom feeds, Facebook and Twitter.

    I downloaded the zip file, looked over the documentation the guys had put together, and then I got started.

    First, I got the tools installed onto my Samsung Series 9 laptop.

    Next, I fired up Visual Studio, opened up the Social Viewer App Template and got coding.

    Then I got my kids involved to design the app icon.

    Emma suggested I put “Tech Frank” onto a radar image – so off I went.

    I futzed with Paint.Net for a while trying to get the image just right.  Dave was right – the icon is the thing that took the longest time!

    Bill gave me a few pointers and voila - application icon created!


    So what does the app do?

    Well, you’re going to have to install it and find out for yourself

    Enjoy!! Who knows, you may find FrankArr in your neck of the woods!

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  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    MIX11 or as I like to call it MMXI?


    I made the long trip to the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, which is where MIX 11 is being held this year. 

    See You at MIX11

    It should be a good one this year – the sessions look great and the keynotes are not to be missed.

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again – the team missed an opportunity to play with the name with some good old fashioned roman numeral hijinks.

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