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A glimpse of the future !

I had some great holidays during this summer, up in the mountains.

And I deliberately chose not to bring my laptop with me so not to be tempted to work. Anyway I used my Windows Phone to check my emails: not on a regular basis but at least to check the most important stuff that was going on. I wanted to take out job stuff from my vacations but I couldn’t resist. Every year I bring my laptop with me mostly for the candidates’ reviews (to see if everything was working the way I was expecting to).

So that was my first lesson: never leave my laptop @ home.

Because after I came back, I switched it on only to realize that the hard disk was broken. Oh my, I was so disappointed, especially because I was not so sure that I backed everything up.

With all the cloud services we now have at our disposal, none of them had all the stuff (at least the recent one) I was supposed to reinstall on my laptop. Fortunately, I made a backup on May, 2011 on my external hard disk so not everything was lost. Also, SkyDrive and Windows Live Mesh did help me in recovering some of the most important files I had.

Having said that, it was not over…

I ordered a new hard disk from HP (thanks to the local IT for the big help!) but it took about a week to have it. In the meantime, my smartcard was not working. Bummer !

As you may know, in order to have Direct Access on Windows 7 working, you have to use BitLocker and then use your smartcard to enable the corpnet access.

So I was lost…

Not to mention I got flu that took me @ home for almost a week.

So I went to the local IT and ordered a new one but it takes some time.

Long story short: I have my laptop (which is great), I recovered most of the files (even better) but I still need my smartcard. Well, close enough, I’m @ 80% I’d say…

Back to us,

during the hiking time back to the mountains I had some time to think about all the activities and top stories and the great collaborations with all the Countries I have the pleasure to represent as the Community Program Manager for the MVP Award Program. I guess everyone does that: when you have time and you’re relaxed, it’s much easier to build your last year’s history. Even better, you have a lot of creativity and lots of ideas that you want to put into action.

So, apart from being stuck right after my holidays, I’m SO READY to start the new (fiscal) year!

And you know what? There are a lot of things happening and planned to happen in the next 90 days. Lots of events, lots of engagements and of course the Microsoft and the 3rd party forums are still running and they get healthier.

You know I’m addicted to the social media and, to me, it’s the best way to monitor what is going on in the communities. As I represent 20 Countries, it’s not that easy to track everything you want to but at least you got what I need.

Also, I found a new way to use my Windows Phone more effectively: basically I created groups in which there are people (aka Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn accounts) that I want to monitor. In that way, and when you don’t have much time to use a PC client, I was able to get the most important things, at least important for me and the Communities.

So from an offline perspective, here is what is going to happen in the next 90 days (again, this is not a comprehensive list):

Mobility Day – Zagreb, Croatia (September 21st)

mobilityday

SQL TUNEIN – Zagreb, Croatia (September 26, 27)

SQLTuneIN

Bleeding Edge 2011 – Gozd Martuljek, Slovenia (September 29th, 30th)

Bleeding Edge

DevReach – Sofia, Bulgaria (October17-18)

DevReach

Microsoft TechDay 2011 Baltic Region (October 18th till 20th)

Estonian page contains links to TechDay Lithuania & TechDay Latvia as well

TechDay Baltics

Microsoft Technology Summit – Warsaw, Poland (October 18-19)

MTS

Sinergija – Belgrade, Serbia (October 18-20th)

Sinergija11

Microsoft Vizija – Skopje Macedonia F.Y.R.O. (October 20-21)

Vizija

Virtualization Conference 2011 – Milan, Italy (November, 16-17)

Virtualization Conference

Windows Professional Conference – Milan, Italy (November 22-24)

WPC

Microsoft Fest 2011 – Prague, Czech Republic (November 26-27)

MSFest2011

ITPro-Dev Connections 2011 – Athens, Greece (November 26-27)

ItproDevcon2011

As you can see many events (or I should say at least some of the most important ones) are happening in the Region, with a strong Microsoft MVP participation, whether the MVPs will be speakers or Ask The Expert. These are events that are community-driven and/or Microsoft-driven with the help of the Communities and I guess it’s a great opportunity for all the community members to stop by to some of these events and have a chance to talk with them about Microsoft technology.

And bear with me if I missed some events: feel free to comment on this post and let me know (I’m still digging around to see what’s going to happen and also starting to have conference calls and Live Meetings with my colleagues in the Region but of course it takes time so any help would be much appreciated!)

Of course I didn’t forget about the MVP candidates’ review, which is, as a matter of fact, the first thing I want & need to make sure it’s okay. So expect a blog post, as always, the 1st of October, late in the day, to see new names/new faces and great community contributors being awarded as part of this exciting community which is the MVP Award Program.

 

So, putting aside all the issues I had after my holidays’ return, I’m VERY VERY excited to start a new year with a lot of activities being so confident that the communities and the Microsoft MVPs will have a big part on the new wave of Microsoft Products and a strong impact on the future of Microsoft Technologies moving forward.

And you know what? I want to be part of it too !! :)

Forthcoming MVP Chat… on Twitter !

If you are a Microsoft MVP, you probably already know about that.

if you follow me (or follow the Official MVP Twitter account), you know it too.

We are going to have the first MVP Official chat Twitter ! Yes, you heard it right !

twitter-mvp

It’s a kind of an experiment, as we usually do these chats privately. The reason why we did that (and we will probably keep on doing that) is that sometimes we collect feedback and share information we couldn’t do it publicly as of the Non Disclosure Agreement.

So, again, I think it’s a great idea because it’ll create a lot of buzz around the MVP Award Program and will enable a free flow of information and discussions.

When, you asked? April, the 28th 2011, @ 9 to 11 a.m. (Pacific Time) which will be around 18-19 if you live in Europe (depending if you are +1 or +2).

I very much like this new way of interactions. Of course you cannot do this for every single topic but most of the times, if something’s sharable, why not? I’m really supportive on sharing interesting stuff as everyone will benefit from that. So probably during the chat we are going to have people who will be “listening” because they are big fans of the MVPs, or just because they are curious; we could probably have people who complain, people who says they deserve to be awarded and plenty more. But, nevertheless I think it’s gonna work and, if it will, I’m sure there will be other “experiments” like that.

The World has changed and in every change there’s something’s good and bad (I would take the Usenet/Forum as an example). And you would be successful for your ability to change and adapt. That’s the only way, especially in this IT world where everything changes so fast (and I totally understand the “frustration” many people have to face. But it’s the nature of things…

Back to the topic: be sure to follow @mvpchat and the #mvpchat hashtag and enjoy !!

Home of Technical Communities

If you are in the IT Market and involved in a local community/User Group, you may have heard about INETA, GITCA and PASS.

These are technical “networks” where you can find relevant information regarding User Group events/articles/content and any other interesting stuff for the topics you may be interested in.

Then we had UGSS, a repository of all the information, including all the topics and all audiences (Developers, ITPros, Information Workers and Consumers).

Now UGSS entered a new phase with the launch on http://www.technicalcommunity.com

UGSS

The web interface is way better than the old one. From a user perspective, it helps you find content and events very easily.

From a User Group President perspective, you can do more. You can search for sponsors, available speakers when it comes to organize an event (by doing a search by audience/product), content and funding. There are also some User Group training kits (they don’t cover all technologies yet) available for you to consume.

It’s very easy to register and, if you are a user like me, you can subscribe up to 10 User Groups everywhere in the world so to be informed on what is going on in the Countries and the topics you are interested in.

So, if you are a technical speaker, this is a good chance to improve your reputation and start collaborating with other User Groups. If you are a User Group President or part of the Board, this is a good way to promote your events and find relevant speakers if you can’t find one, say, on Windows Azure. Also, you can make a request on booking one of the many Microsoft Innovation Centers to hold your event.

The existing data from UGSS have already been migrated but it’s still an ongoing process so please feel free to send an email to ugss@microsoft.com to report an issue or make a request.

Enjoy ! :)

Link to: UGSS – Home

Windows 7 & Facebook

This blog title is voluntarily cryptic or, better, does not explain that much. But, as I said, that’s the way it should be…

Microsoft Poland created a Windows 7 Facebook FanPage where customers and end users can give their opinions/comment on specific topics. Sort of a social forum. I’m sure you know Facebook that well to understand what that means…

In details, they created this page to support Windows 7 customers and let people know of the great potential of this OS.

Now, with the great help of MVPs Paula Januszkiewicz, Grzegorz Tworek and Lukasz Foks, customers have a ”full service package” they can rely on.

With their dedication and help, acting side by side with the Subsidiary, the Page got an astonishing 52.268 likes (as of today) and more than 300 comments in less than 4 months!

windows & facebook

I love to share these “best practices”: please keep ‘em coming ! :)

Link to: Windows Polska | Facebook

IT Camp 2011

It’s a big 2 days timeframe for developers and ITPros in CEE.

On May 26-27, the 2 Romanian communities CodeCamp and ITSpark organized a 2 days event dedicated to both developers and system administrators: the IT Camp 2011

Featuring International speakers, this event, which will be hold in the forth most populous city in Romania (Cluj-Napoca), will see 10 Microsoft MVPs, all of them with different technical backgrounds and from different parts of Europe (you can add their personal Twitter/LinkedIn/RSS from the speakers’ list).

ITCamp

You may want to know what the topics are…well, from their own voice:

“We will be discussing general interest topics such as Private Cloud, security, Windows Azure, RIA using MVC and Ajax, System Center, SQL Server, Dependency Injection in ASP.NET MVC 3, Exchange High Availability, ASP.NET and PHP apps on IIS, Workflow Services in Windows Azure, SharePoint Server support for ISO and COBIT certifications, Link, WCF and REST in the Cloud and more”. So a lot will be covered !

While I suggest you to follow them, you can register here !

Link to: IT Camp 2011

First week, second one..

I didn’t have much time to review and update my blog but, as I’m here in a Starbucks in downtown Seattle waiting to get a bus to the new destination, I thought it was worthy to write down some notes.
The MVP Global Summit (#mvp11) has been a great experience to me, to my colleagues and, to my knowledge, to the MVPs. It’s always amazing to get together in this place, far far away from our hometown. It’s about building relationships, interacting with the Product Teams, engage on with new opportunities and of course having a great time during the evenings. Great technical sessions, an amazing event organization, the Safeco Field Party, the Product Group dinners, I think almost everything was perfect. Of course there’s room to grow and of course some of you may not have been that satisfied with a particular session. But it’s not that easy to accomodate all of you, because of the different backgrounds and skills you may have.
Personally, I’m very happy with the whole event. Every year is better and better.
I had almost 100 MVPs coming from the Region I represent which is huge and my only regret is that I didn’t have the chance to talk with all of you guys. I just wanted to talk with all you but I just couldn’t ! :) At least I met almost all of you which is good.

Time flies and now you’re probably headed back home. I hope you’re taking with you great memories to tell your friends and families..

I’ll see you soon !

Microsoft WinDays 2011 !

Following the great success of the last year’s event,

Croatian WinDays strikes back with a new 2011 promising event !

WinDays2011

" There is no better place to search for new and different ideas than the leading business and technology conference in Croatia – Microsoft WinDays11!”

The Conference will be held in Rovinj, Croatia and it will be split in two conferences:

WinDays11 Microsoft Technology Conference 4 – 7 April, 2011

WinDays11 Business Conference 7 – 8 April, 2011

“Whether you’re an IT professional, company director, an expert in sales, marketing or business development, you can always happen to run out of new ideas. We are all here to help: a great source of ideas runs dry, and it is necessary to look for inspiration. There is no better way to do this than to surround yourself with people who, like you, live and profit from new ideas and their implementation, which is even better, ideas really begin to live only when you share it with others.”

MSWinDays-technology

Featuring MVPs Ilija Brajkovic, Marin Franković, Damir Dizdarevic, Robert Petrunic, Domagoj Pavlesic, Dobriša Adamec, Vibor Cipan and I’m sure many more, covering lots of Microsoft technologies (as you can also see by the picture above): from Lync Server to Windows Phone 7, from Silverlight to IE9 and Office 365 just to name a few…

Feel free to follow the upcoming news and see you in Rovinj! :)

Link to: Početna – Microsoft WinDays11. Prostori ideja. Drugačije ideje

Microsoft Technical Conferences 2011- The All-in-One !

Yes, you read it right:

Microsoft Italy organized the biggest Technical Conference of the year.

Featuring 3 in a row Conferences:

SharePoint and Office Conference 2011

SQL & Business Intelligence Conference 2011

Unified Communications & Collaboration Conference 2011

Technical Conferences 2011

From the 19th to the 21st of April, and in one single place, you will be able to listen and interact with some of the most prominent speakers and gurus of these technologies.

Featuring (for SPS & Office Conference) MVPs Claudio Brotto, Peppe Marchi, Igor Macori and Romeo Pruno.

As well as other MVPs as speakers during the SQL BI Conference: Davide Mauri, Gianluca Hotz, Igor Macori and Marco Russo (as well as Alberto Ferrari, I really rely on this guy Smile)

While during the 3rd one, my friends Andrea Garattini and (former MVP) Massimiliano Luciani (and other important speakers) will “unify” your stuff pretty well ! Smile

With that said, if you’re really into technology and you wanna chat with these important professionals and gurus, you may to register yourself to all of the 3 to get a discount. It doesn’t happen so often to have such a bunch of great Microsoft, Partners and MVPs, together with their community peers, in one place for 3 days so I’d strongly recommend it!

You can learn more about the whole event by clicking the link below…(and I’ll see you there!)

Link to: Microsoft Technical Conferences 2011

MVP Summit–Unofficial Event repository !

Hi,

if you planned to attend the MVP Global Summit (and if you did, please check your registration and make sure everything is correct and your registration is completed) you may wanna know that MVP Joseph Guadagno created an MVP Summit events repository:

“Anyone can create an event on the site, all you need to do is sign in with your Windows Live credentials, and link to create an event will appear.  Please note, the event will not be available until it is reviewed and approved for display”

MVP Summit Events

“MVP Summit Events will be your one stop shop for all events and after parties at MVP11”

Spread the word and see you soon @ the MVP Global Summit

Link to: MVP Summit Events Site Relaunched

24 Hours in the Cloud

Hi all,

just wanted to let you know of an upcoming event, organized by GITCA (Global IT Community Association), called “24 Hours in the Cloud”. The idea is to, over one day, let User Groups present for an hour on a Cloud related topic and then hand over to another group one time zone to the west.

Here are some technical topics suggested so far:

  • KeyNote: Association for Computing Machinery
  • Introduction to Windows Intune
  • Introduction to Office 365
  • Office Web Apps
  • Introduction to Exchange Online
  • Coexistance with and migration to Exchange Online
  • Introduction to SharePoint Online
  • Introduction to Microsoft Lync Online
  • Introduction to the Private Cloud
  • Deploying Hyper-V Cloud
  • Introduction to the Windows Azure Platform
  • AppFabric Overview
  • Windows Azure DataMarket
  • Cloud Security
  • Azure Security Overview
  • SQL Azure Security
  • Single Sign-On from Active Directory to a Windows Azure Application
  • Introduction to SQL Azure
  • Setup and Configuration of SQL Azure Databases
  • SQL Azure Security Using Data Sync
  • Introduction to Windows Azure
  • Windows Azure Security
  • AppFabric Caching
    If you are an MVP, a User Group Leader or a UG member, you may want to talk with your community peers to decide whether to participate having an active part on it by doing a User Group/Association technical presentation.
    How to apply?
    Go to this website and read about the event. Add a comment/blog post to that post to say you’re interested and to submit your ideas on any particular technical topic you may want to present. Also, you can submit your own ideas and apply by sending an email to 24HitC@GITCA.org

Link to: Welcome to GITCA.ORG

MVP Summit 2011- GeekGive !

Thanks to some twitter friends (and particularly to Paul Litwin), they reminded me to publish something about an event, sponsored by the MVP Award Program under the Geek Give “hat”, which will happen right before the MVP Global Summit.

This is definitely a community event, as it deals with unemployed and food caring. Anyone can participate in, and I think it’s a great opportunity to give help to these people while you are in Seattle. I know it’s not the normal sightseeing you are thinking about, but I’m sure it will be a rewarding experience. “Helping doesn’t hurt !).

So please read all the details about this harvesting experience & volunteer !

Link to: mvpsummit2011 – GeekGive

Categories: Community, Events

Code Camp 2010 (F.Y.R.O. Macedonia)

On 6th of November the Macedonian .NET User Group, under the hat of INETA and Microsoft organized Code Camp 2010 event in Skopje, Macedonia.

Macedonian .NET User Group

With more than 500 attendees, they broke a record for community event in the F.Y.R.O. Macedonia. Free online registration service for this event was used. After the first event announcement in their newsletter, they saw some 200 registrations on the very first day!

In the end, on 5th of November an astonishing number of 690 registered attendees was reached.

CodeCamp

Some Quick Facts:
- Date: 06.11.2010
- Venue: FON University – Skopje
- 500 attendees
- Live Meeting 200 streaming sessions attendees
- 70 prizes
- 10h recorder presentation materials
- 1500 photos
- 3h video recorded material from the event
- 300 liters juice and water for refreshment
- 600 coffees, 600 teas, 400 chocolates & 60kg snacks
- 22 members in the organization board

Everyone that could not reach the event on-site at the Venue could follow the sessions live, through MS Live Meeting streaming. Statistics shows about 200 Live Meeting attending sessions during the 10 hours of presentations – much more than expected.
CodeCamp was published on social networks like Twitter where each sessions start was announced. All attendees were joined on their mobile devices on the open Wi-Fi network. They were actively participating in the online conversations, commenting about sessions, speakers and the event.

image

The event saw the participation of 10 speakers, of which some of them MVPs and others from the MKDOT.NET community), in two tracks (here is the agenda of the event)

The feedback got was great, one of the best community event ever held in the Republic of Macedonia.

image

If you wanna see what happened there, just click on this link:)

Link to: Code Camp 2010 | Event from community to community

ITPro Dev Connections 2010: recap

I already blogged about this but I thought it was worth mentioning the great success this event was:

On the 27 and 28 of November, the Top Greek Technical Community Event took place at EKETE, delivered by the local “technical heroes” addressing all technical professionals.

Sold out long before D-day and with a huge coverage in all new media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, forums and blogs) the conference was branded as the one delivered by experienced technical speakers with hands-on knowledge in the technologies presented and a deep understanding of the Greek market.  Attendees came from the private and public sector, Microsoft customer and partners.

In a true community spirit, the two days, rich in content and full of energy, offered technical presentations from level 100 to 400 while giving everyone the opportunity to meet old friends, make new ones and create valuable connections!

After the completion of the event, a super slick Silverlight application prepared by the MVPs will be show casing all presentations, where else… but in the cloud!

Special Thanks from Microsoft Greece to Microsoft Speakers and especially Nasos Kladakis, and a Big ‘Congratulations’ to the local Microsoft MVPs, MCTs and Microsoft Student Partners (George Andritsos, George Birbilis, Antonis Chatzipavlis, George Capnias, Dimitris Gkanatsios, Vaggelis Kapsalakis, John Katsiotis, Panagiotis Kefalidis, Manos Kelaiditis, Aggelos Mpimpoudis, Philippos Panayiotidis, Konstantinos Pantos, Yiannis Panagopoulos, Dimitris Papadimitriou, Chris Spanougakis, Andreas Tsouchlaris, George Varakis) for orchestrating this amazing experience!

And some numbers:

2 days, 400 attendees (260 IT pros + 140 Devs), 31 speakers + 20 volunteers , 29 presentations, 4 parallel tracks with IT Pros & Devs content, 1 Xbox -  Kinect play area, and some Sponsor that were present at the event (including Xerox and Dell)

To me, this is a great example on how Microsoft can easily collaborate with the local communities and User Groups to make successful events so congratulations again !

Link to: http://www.itprodevconnections.gr/?lang=2

A Windows Phone 7 Success Story (MVP branded :))

This is a real-life story regarding a Meetup for Iphone, Android and Windows Phone 7 Developers (Coding Wars ??!!)

Just read on how MVPs András Velvárt and Zoltán Árvai created, in less than 2 hours, a working app, beating up the “competition” Smile !

 

Link to: Just how productive is WP7 development compared to iOS, Android and mobile Web? – VBandi’s blog – Dotneteers.net

How to become an MVP

This is something it has been asked so many times I can’t even count and, thanks to a community contributor who suggested this to me, I decided to make some clarifications around that.

As you may know, the MVP Award Program is an Award for your past community contributions. But what does this mean exactly?

- In short: all the 1:many community activities you may have done in the past. It could be speeches, blog posts, conferences, webcasts/screencasts, forum posts, written technical articles, books and so forth. Again, what is important here is the one –> many relationship. Replying to e-mails from a technical standpoint is a 1:1 relationship, even if you replies to tons to them. So, if you get a lot of them, why don’t you tell the person requesting a technical solution to go to the forums (wherever they are hosted) and ask the community? Because doing so will help other people solving the same issue.

- Back to the Program: it’s about a specific Product. You can do a lot of things, from a community standpoint, and touch a lot of products but think about it: how can you be an “expert” of multiple products and technologies? Tough to answer and tough to evaluate too… – It’s a balance between quantity and quality. I always remember a SQL MVP who once compared some forum posts made by one MVP between the forum posts made by another SQL MVP. The first one replied to almost 1.500 questions. The other one replied to 400 questions (almost). So basically the difference here is that the first one was giving a lot of resources’ links and other links to solve issues while the first one was writing his replies as they were technical articles. Every single one of them. Both of them were (and are) great MVPs.

- It’s about giving feedback. How many times are you giving useful feedback on specific Microsoft Products? How many beta products are you testing? This is another important pillar to make note of. And here are some questions you may have in your head right now: – Does it last forever? No, it’s a 1 year Award and it is re-evaluated each year.

- Do I need to know anyone to be included in this group of individuals? No.

- Is it a lobby? Not at all. Ask me, ask some MVPs if you know any, write me and I’ll give you more details on how it’s a totally different thing. Yes, if you know MVPs you’ll probably get some insights about the Program. And yes, if you are collaborating with a Microsoft Subsidiary will help too. But it’s not mandatory, please bear in mind this.

- So if I don’t know anyone, how can I reach this important goal (of, of course, if it’s is important to you)? You can write to mvpga@microsoft.com to ask and be a potential nomination and also to be a referral for another potential nominee, including: name, technical area of expertise and some examples of his/her community activities. You can also write me and/or you can ask other MVPs to contact me as well. Easy as it is. So, to summarize, the MVP Award Program recognizes community individuals who share their technical knowledge, on a specific Microsoft Product, online and offline. Last but not least, there’s one more thing to mention and I’ll never give up on saying this to anyone who’s involved in a User Group or a community website or whatever the community is located.

- The MVP Award Program is about Passion. You can change your job, you can change your Country for business reasons, you can be married and have kids but you won’t change your passion. And that’s a fact. You can probably lose it, and that may happen. But the Passion? I consider it to be the “Most Valuable Value” of the Program. Now it’s your turn: are you willing to get involved and be engaged ?! :)

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