Apr 25

Some photos of your truly Rock Staring it up at the 2008 MVP Summit party at EMP, what a blast!!!

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Give me a Pepsi and I'm a Rock Star gone wild.

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The band is just fantastic, thats really what I think, but by the way, which one's Pink?

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Party on Garth!!

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The big guy letting fly with the moves and I'm pretty sure that the US Geological Survey knew I was rocking as well.

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Now as much fun as I had singing and dancing my brains out, the guys from India were a hoot and proved that Bollywood is everywhere.

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Apr 20

Given I just read this article in the Seattle Times about Steve Ballmer at the MVP Summit I was just at I'd like to make a couple of comments about Steve, in that at the Summit Meetings we might be seeing a little different Steve then what others might see.  Granted as MVP's we have invested in Microsoft technologies, but the fact is we have invested to the point that we typically have expert knowledge in our area and are not bashful about pointing out problems or offering suggestions on how we think it could be made better.  We are not afraid of going toe to toe with Microsoft Management (I did a presentation to a senior Microsoft VP as to why they should change the default setting in the IE browsers and yes they did ultimately change them, certainly not just because I said so, but I'm sure that they took what I said and gather similar information from a number of other people and hence made the changes) or members in their teams if need be, but we do so in the spirit of making the product or experience better for everyone (mindless bashing doesn't benefit anyone).  So when Steve arrives at the MVP meeting he has a great opportunity to get feedback from experts on how Microsoft and its products are doing and he does take full advantage of it.  Last year we got the opportunity to meet with Bill Gates and two things I'll say about both of them is:

1. They do admit to making mistakes and learn from them so the next attempt will be better

2. They do listen and certainly their ability to comprehend what the speaker is communicating or trying to communicate is amazing

Now I was at both of the Steve Ballmer youtube frequented youtube rants (developers, developers, developers, and his I love this company) and anyone who was at those certainly understands what Steve was saying and was happy to hear it.  For example at the 'developer rant' it was a room full of developers and he wanted everyone in that room to know how much he and Microsoft valued coders and there was a lot more to his talk then what the youtube clip showed and every developer left that room feeling pumped about being a coder.  Frankly I think every company's CEO should do a 'developer rant' inserting those who make their company successful, but most of them think their employees are just minions to be used in their own personal pursue and obtainment of glory and riches and hence their developer rant would end up being me, me, me, me, me..... whereas Ballmer knows who makes Microsoft and the software industry successful and even more importantly is those people know that Ballmer knows as he told them, developers, developers, developers, developers......

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Apr 18

Today was the closing day from the 2008 MVP Summit and I got to sleep in to 8:00 am which was good consider what time I was finally able to get to sleep last night after the big party and yes there was a pain to factor waking up as I was stiff and had ample sore muscles from rocking my brains out last night.

The first talk was by Ray Ozzie and one thing that I've been very happy with as a long time Microsoft shareholder is the length of the transition period for the transfer of Bill Gate's roll at Microsoft as its been like 2 years.  I don't know of many companies that have that sort of transition planning so I know it will go well.  Ray is very focused on the User Experience and often asks teams at Microsoft to describe products and features from a users perspective which is good as technology is a just a tool to enable and empower people.

Steve Ballmer was next, and he is always very frank at these meetings and acknowledges area where perhaps things didn't work out or as well as they would have hoped but you also know that Microsoft doesn't fear failure and doesn't expect everything they do to be successful, but they do expect to keep trying and I think this is ultimately the power of Microsoft as they just keep bringing it on.  He made a couple of jokes about Yahoo, and acknowledged that Google is a market leader in search but again they will keep trying.  Now the Canadian MVP Group was once again united in our Hockey Jerseys and even Got Steve to put one on:

Now there was one question asked which was truly different and interesting.  An MVP from India asked how well Steve sleeps at night and he answered that he sleeps very well and needs and gets about 7 to 8 hours a night, which is very interesting as I'd bet 95% of the MVP attendees likely suffer from sleep depravation.  He talked about having some balance in your life which I hope might motivate me to get more sleep and a little better balance.

The rest of the day I spent in optional sessions.  There was a Home Server session that I would have loved to go to, but I considering the role that SQL Server is going to play in our new product I thought I better go and spend some time hearing about SQL Server 2008.  So I went to the SQL Server Compact presentation, the SQL Server Manageability session and the SQL Server Business Intelligence reporting.  As a product designer you don't need to know everything about anything, but you do need to be aware of what products can do and where and how they are evolving and today I got some of that information for SQL Server.  I've been told that one of the SQL Server Databases that I designed x years ago is now one of the largest databases in the world and I'd had watched that company after I left scale that database up and was very impressed with SQL Server and how easy it was to scale, and so I look forward to even more success with SQL Server 2008 in this new product.

I'm going via our MVP bus tomorrow from Seattle to Vancouver and from there flying back to Calgary.  Given the bus will be leaving at 7:55am I'm packing up tonight so I can check out of here quickly in the morning.  I'm hopping that the trip to Vancouver will give us a chance to talk about and share all the things we learned this week.  While I've had a blast down here, and again leave with far more information in my head then I arrived with, I am looking forward to getting back home to my family, so with that I'll close it up for now and start packing.

2008 MVP Summit was a raging success and an absolute blast!!!

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Apr 18

There will be lots more videos/pics as MVPs recover enough to post

 

This one has the best sound so far and will give you an idea of how good the bad was.  Jeremy Moskowitz doing the Eagle's Hotel California.

 

A group of Argentineans MVPs doing AC/DC's Highway to Hell.  I might be suffering form a bit of post traumatic shock syndrome as this morning I had a flash back from one of these guys yelling at the end of the song, I'm going to jump and then does a swanny off the stage into a group of people whom I'm not sure they were really expecting him to drop in like that.

 

Careful with these as the sound overwhelmed the camera mikes so its fuzzed out.

 

Mow Green's Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Sprit and announcement of the RockBand winners from the night's competitions.  And for another view of Mow Green

All I can say is I'm glad it was too dark to film the crowd.

 

The Beatle's Hard Days Night

 

Some Rock Band Action

Tough crowd

 

 

I'll post more later.

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Apr 17

OK let me make the day description somewhat short as it was what happened tonight that really earned the headlines.  Once again in a misguided effort to prove to me that mornings exist I was up at 6:30am, but this time having had even less sleep then the night before, and once again I experienced the hell that is call morning.  I don't like them, never have and most likely never will, so I think its time for the world to experience my paradise of an existence without mornings, a world where one can feel free to stay up as late as one needs to do work or kick back and relax, without having to suffer the ravages that is morning, but alas apparently I have to arise early yet two more mornings, otherwise I would say MVP Summit is perfect.

Since our group is a little new there really wasn't much that directly applied to us, but of course having 'Developer' in our name means I can go and hang out with fellow geeks and hear about things like future releases of WPF which was interesting, and given how much I've been hearing about Silverlight I thought I better go hang out with those guys for a bit and learn some more about Silverlight 2.0 which I must admit was rather interesting.  One thing that impressed me about the presenter is he showed only a couple of powerpoint slides and then a couple of videos (one that had at least 12 picture in picture videos all running smooth as silk on his laptop, most impressive) which were cool and then he jumped in and started coding, building some demos and such which was impressive really as he was fearless as to what he was doing and trying to do, which ultimately leaves you with a feeling that he really believes in the tool and shows that its very capable.  I still have some questions about localization but otherwise I can see myself cutting some Silverlight code very soon.  Given that flash is one of the apps that Silverlight wants to compete with, the question is who do you get eyeball share as Flash is king and youtube etc are all solidly Flash turf.  Microsoft must be confident that Silverlight is worthy as they got the exclusive rights for the Summer Olympics and it will be available to view online via Silverlight, no small investment there.  They have assembled the largest media server farm and such ever to make this work, toss in the NBA and MLB and Microsoft just might be able to get enough market traction to give Flash a bit of a challenge which will no doubt draw a response from Flash so everyone is going to benefit from this competition.

This afternoon I went to the Microsoft company store and being the nice boss/guy, I bought all my team stuff, and stuff for the family and others etc, got some books and such for me and ultimately I spent a truckload of dough, but I really was planning ahead this time as I did bring down an empty suitcase so I can get it all back.  Ultimately after leaving the company store, I went back to my hotel as I had to have a nap before going to the MVP Party tonight as these mornings are killing me.

Now the MVP Party.  Anyone and I mean anyone who thinks that Geeks can't party should have been at this party, as I'd have to say in 5 years as a MVP this was the rockingest party ever.  This was an out and out wild animal show, a total blast and had EMP not kicked us out we would have been going all night easily.  To give you an idea of how much fun it was, I forgot to eat, even though there was tons of excellent food everywhere and I'm a big guy and I really like food but I was way to busy rocking.  I have not rocked like that in 25 years or longer and I know I'm going to pay for that dearly in the morning and likely for the next couple of days at least (I'll be surprised if I even have a working voice tomorrow).  Yes it was a rock star extravaganza and they were out in full force and wouldn't you know it I only got a couple of pictures but given the number of photographers that were there, I'm sure you will find no end of photos posted on the Internet of this amazing party (I'll add links as I find them).  I hope they do this at TechEd and PDC as it was a blast.

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MSeng from DSLReports with a couple of Rock Stars

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More rock stars and let me say I don't think anyone had more fun then the guys from India as they were COMPLETELY and TOTALLY nuts.

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We all know that Canada rocks!!!

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These boots were made for walking and she did a heck of a job singing it.  So what Microsoft did was hire a live band and really really good one (the play list they had was unbelievably impressive and huge) and basically we had live Karaoke, and everyone had a huge blast, singing, dancing, singing along, hooting and yelling, it was amazing how much fun everyone had and how much everyone got into it and there were some TOTALLY AMAZING singers.  I didn't get his name but one of the MVPs from Winnipeg did Metallica's Enter Sandman which brought the house down.  I took a brief trip to where they were playing Rock Band and the crowd down there was having a blast, but the live Karaoke was definitely killer and I spent pretty well the whole night there rocking with everyone else.  I didn't even go into the EMP displays, the Science Fiction Museum, eat or nothing as I was rocking my brains out.

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What a place to play RockBand, the JBL theatre at the EMP.

All I can say is Thanks Microsoft for the incredible party and if I'm moving a little slow tomorrow I'm sure you will understand.