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Yes, I know… it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. True, I shared some of my personal videos from TechEd, plus some resources for attendees to series of presentations I did a little while ago.. but nothing really from the heart; from my personal thoughts or opinions. And isn’t that what a blog (web log) is supposed to be? A journal of sorts?
“No, Kevin. I like the technical information. Don’t get all personal on me here.”
Well.. you’ll just have to oblige me a little bit. As I write this, it’s Saturday, July 24, 2010, and I’m sitting at the airport in Atlanta, Georgia. And while I confess that I’m a little tired after celebrating with thousands of other Microsofties attending Microsoft’s MGX conference (Microsoft Global eXchange – an annual, global sales conference), the week has left me reinvigorated for the company, and for the solutions that IT Pros and their businesses are going to want to take advantage of.
“Isn’t that the point of those kinds of corporate rah-rah events?”
Well.. yes… of course. And so I thought it might be worthwhile sharing with you some of what I have learned, as well as what I’m going to do about it.
1. “Be What’s Next”
Microsoft is finally replacing the “Your Potential, Our Passion” catch phrase with a new one: “Be What’s Next”. That’s not to say that we are no longer passionate for helping you reach your full potential. We are. And nothing is going to change my passion for helping IT Pros get the most out of their infrastructure investments. But we’re also a company that has a lot to be proud of as an innovator in so many areas. We’re pushing the envelope in so many ways; whether it’s a completely new way of gaming interaction (XBOX Kinect), or a new idea on phone user interface (Windows Phone 7). We’re proud to say that we are “what’s next”, and want to help you enjoy and benefit from what’s next, too.
“But Kevin, I’m an IT Pro / IT Manager. I can’t afford to push the envelope along with you.”
I hear you. “New”, “improved”, “upgrade”… These are all scary words to the practical IT Pro and IT organization. Those words mean change, which often (really always) has an element of risk and of instability, which costs time and money. We can’t afford that. We’re not about change for change’s sake. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep aware (or be kept aware) of where information systems technology is headed. You need to keep informed, be ready to adjust when it makes sense for you, your team, and your business, and be ready to “be what’s next” when the time is right for you. And when is the time right for you? When you’re able to show and to prove to the business owners and managers that making this change will save you and your company money; either directly, or through increases in productivity, efficiency, competitive advantage, etc. It’s my job to make you aware of the options you have, and to ease you comfortably through the process.
2. “We’re All In”
Cloud. Online Services. Software plus services. Software as a Service (Saas). Platform as a Service (PaaS). Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). We do it all.
All. Nobody – not Amazon, Google, VMware or Salesforce.com – has anywhere near the breadth or depth that we do in terms of giving you options on how or where you run your computing applications, services, or infrastructure. If this is new to you, you need to check out this site, or BING the phrase “Cloud Computing”.
3. Be PROUD and compete HARD!
Back when I joined Microsoft in 2003, there was a big emphasis on adjusting to the reality of being the “big dog”. The company had been an industry darling-turned-big-guy and hadn’t handled it very well. Microsoft was seen as an arogant bully (sometimes unjustly, but often not), and we were all told basically that as the big-guy we had to walk softly, tread lightly, always say nice things, and just take our lumps. Nobody cares if #2 or #3 make bold claims against their competition, but as #1 we couldn’t do anything to appear combative or defensive or even brazenly competitive. You wonder why Microsoft never answered directly to any of the old Mac vs. PC ads? …even when most of them were misleading, sensational lies? (Yeah, I said it.) We couldn’t. In the long run, it wouldn't have served us very well.
Good news: Those days are over. We have a lot to be proud of. We have so much to crow about.. so expect to hear some major crowing coming from Microsoft. We’ve had so much to be proud of recently (Windows 7, Office 2010, record earnings), plus some amazing things coming; some hardware providers creating devices that are going to blow you away, let alone the excitement of Windows Phone 7 and the XBOX Kinect. My personal goal this year is to become a local Virtualization resource, so that everyone currently running or considering VMware understands the benefits of including a solution that is technically on-par with (in both performance and feature-set), significantly less expensive (how about 3x to 6x less expensive!) and a more well-rounded management solution in the form of Hyper-V and the System Center suite of management solutions.
We’re “leading with our future” in all that we do. That was the recurring theme of the conference. It means that we represent Microsoft as the top innovator in consumer and business software and devices. It means when we interact with you as representatives of Microsoft, that if we do nothing else, we at least leave you understanding what exciting things Microsoft has planned for the future. And that future is definitely a bright one.
So what do you think? Do I sound a little bit drunk on the Kool-Aid?
Perhaps. Share your thoughts in the comments, please.
…and if you’re a developer, you definitely wannabe.
Microsoft is holding some free “boot camp” style events soon for developers interested in learning Windows Phone 7 development .
“Boot camp? What’s that?”
It’s a full day of intense introductory training; in this case training on how to get started building applications for Windows Phone 7. Here is the description from the registration page:
Event Overview Join us for a day of Windows Phone 7 hands-on training. You’ll learn how to build Silverlight-based applications that take advantage of the many Windows Phone 7 platform features. We’ll introduce all the basic concepts required to get started building Silverlight applications including the Windows Phone 7 platform and frameworks as well as the designer and developer tools. We’ll also cover the process for submitting your application or game to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. Bring your laptop! Topics covered will be reinforced with an opportunity to explore hands-on-labs using your own laptop. Windows Phone 7 experts will be on hand to help you explore Windows Phone 7 development. PRE-REQUISITE: Bring your ideas and design specs and prepare to build. You’ll also need a computer installed with the Windows Phone Developer Tools available here. The required tools for installation are located here. Seating is limited, due to the hands-on nature of this afternoon lab and the opportunity for one-on-one instruction from Windows Phone 7 experts. Register today.
Join us for a day of Windows Phone 7 hands-on training. You’ll learn how to build Silverlight-based applications that take advantage of the many Windows Phone 7 platform features.
We’ll introduce all the basic concepts required to get started building Silverlight applications including the Windows Phone 7 platform and frameworks as well as the designer and developer tools. We’ll also cover the process for submitting your application or game to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. Bring your laptop! Topics covered will be reinforced with an opportunity to explore hands-on-labs using your own laptop. Windows Phone 7 experts will be on hand to help you explore Windows Phone 7 development.
PRE-REQUISITE: Bring your ideas and design specs and prepare to build. You’ll also need a computer installed with the Windows Phone Developer Tools available here. The required tools for installation are located here. Seating is limited, due to the hands-on nature of this afternoon lab and the opportunity for one-on-one instruction from Windows Phone 7 experts. Register today.
“Cool! Sign me up!”
Hang on there, Junior. Here are the cities and dates (2010), with links to the registration pages. You can sign yourself up:
“Are you going to be at any of these, Kevin?”
Well.. I’m not a developer. At least not anymore. (I used to be a C++ expert developing for Windows 3.1) But I’m probably going to attend the Minneapolis event this Tuesday. I’ve downloaded all the tools, and might go through a tutorial or two before then.
See you there?
Saw this in a tweet today. Watched the video. All I can say is “Wow!”.
This is some more geeky-cool tech from Microsoft Research (Here is the LINK to their article about this.) Can you imagine how cool this will be on a GPS/3G smartphone? …like the Windows Phone 7 I’m going to get later this year?
(Credit where due: The tweet was to this article on The Wall Blog.)
RTW = Released to Web
Yesterday (July 7, 2010) an update to that ever-powerful and ever-useful Solution Accelerator called the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 was released. Those of you already familiar with the MDT already know that this is a very powerful (and FREE) tool from Microsoft that both instructs and then facilitates the creation of deployments of Windows Operating Systems, applications, drivers, updates, etc.. and even allows you to manage “task sequences” that perform operations such as deploying, capturing, or otherwise managing installation images.
This new update adds… well… I think the text from the download page sums it up best:
Some of the key changes in MDT 2010 Update 1 are: Comprehensive tools and guidance to efficiently manage large-scale deployments of Microsoft Office 2010. A new User-Driven Installation (UDI) deployment method that utilizes System Center Configuration Manager. UDI lets end users initiate and customize an OS deployment on their PCs—via an easy-to-use wizard. Automatically detects the true supported platforms for drivers, reducing deployment issues.
Some of the key changes in MDT 2010 Update 1 are:
“Sounds good, Kevin! Where do I get it?”
The downloads plus the documentation are found here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=3bd8561f-77ac-4400-a0c1-fe871c461a89&displaylang=en&tm
For in-depth technical resources about deployment from Microsoft, check out the Deployment TechCenter on TechNet.
And for more information about other Solutions Accelerators, visit the Solution Accelerators home page.
25%-OFF Special TechNet Plus Subscription Promotion – Yes, save nearly $100 off of a new TechNet Plus Direct Subscription!Use Promotion Code TNITQ404 (that’s 4-ZERO-4) at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/subscription
E-mail Technical Questions: Kevin Remde – Kevin.Remde@microsoft.com
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Talking About Windows - http://www.talkingaboutwindows.com
The Windows Team Blogs (includes the Window 7 Team Blog, among others)
Microsoft Office 2010
Office Home - http://www.microsoft.com/office
Office for IT Pros – TechNet Resources - http://technet.microsoft.com/office
Office 2010 Beta Resource Kit Technical Library in Compiled Help format
Resource Kit - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc303401(office.14).aspx
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The Next Wave: Windows Azure
Windows Azure Product Home - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure
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The TCO and ROI Calculator - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/tco/
Windows Azure Case Study: Kelley Blue Book
Search on Windows Azure Case Studies
Windows Azure Team Blog - http://blogs.msdn.com/windowsazure/
For Developers: Getting Started with Windows Azure
For Developers: Windows Azure Platform Training Kit
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Home - http://www.microsoft.com/exchange
Webcasts and Podcasts - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/bb288465.aspx
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 TechCenterhttp://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/2010/default.aspx
Exchange 2010 Trial Downloadhttp://www.microsoft.com/exchange/2010/en/us/trial-software.aspx
TechNet Edge: Unified Communications Solutions Resourceshttp://edge.technet.com/unifiedcommunications/Default.aspx
Exchange 2010 TechNet Libraryhttp://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124558(EXCHG.140).aspx
“You Had Me AT EHLO” – The Exchange Team Blog - http://msexchangeteam.com/
Forums - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/exchange2010/threads