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    Nominated as MVP of the Year, Platform Dev MVP Matthieu Mezil was among those invited to join S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, and Scott Guthrie, a corporate vice president in Microsoft's Server and Tools Business division, for dinner during last year’s MVP Global Summit. Matthieu seized the opportunity to make an unusual request: “I asked if could visit them during my vacation,” he explained.

    This August, Matthieu traveled from France to Microsoft’s global headquarters in Redmond to meet with the Visual Studio team as an MVP in Residence. “For me, it was sort of a reward for all my community activities. Everyone was very open and inviting. I met many people and it was a very great experience.”

    During his two-week stay, Matthieu rolled up his sleeves and helped build samples for Microsoft’s compiler-as-a-service (CaaS) project code named “Roslyn.” In fact, Matthieu did the initial coding to flesh out the “Implement INotifyPropertyChanged” sample which Microsoft Technical Fellow Anders Hejlsberg showed at the recent BUILD conference in Anaheim. “His efforts resulted in a lot of great feedback on our APIs and ultimately became an awesome demo at BUILD,” said Dustin Campbell, a program manager in the Visual Studio Managed Languages group.

     

    If you’d like to find out more about Matthieu’s work, check out his technical blog: http://msmvps.com/blogs/matthieu.


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    We are excited to congratulate the 143 new Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Awardees and 764 MVPs who were re-awarded today! Today, there are more than 100 million social and technical community members, but only a small portion are selected to be recognized as MVPs. These individuals were chosen because they are exemplary community leaders who voluntarily share their passion and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others. 

    Around 4,000 MVPs are honored each year. They come from more than 90 countries, speak over 40 different languages, and are awarded in more than 90 Microsoft technologies.  Together, they will answer more than 10 million questions this year!

    This quarter, the MVP Award has been extended to recognize dedicated contributions in a new technical expertise: Visual F#.  

    MVPs are deeply involved in their communities and often amplify the voice of the customer to Microsoft. As part of their award experience, MVPs are invited to interact directly with Microsoft product group teams and provide their feedback.

    To become an MVP, candidates are nominated by Microsoft, other community members, or in some cases themselves. Candidates are rigorously evaluated for their technical expertise, community leadership, and voluntary community contributions for the previous year.

    Please visit our nomination page to nominate a community leader to be considered for an MVP Award.

    Interested in staying connected with us and hearing about some of the exciting things MVPs and the MVP Award Program are doing? Stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and join the conversation with #mvpbuzz.


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    Editor's Note: Today Microsoft kicks off the SharePoint Conference for 2011. To coincide with this, the MVP Award Program blog will post an article by SharePoint MVP Becky Bertram.  On Monday 10/10, we will continue with our Developer series.

    If you’re like me, you have a bookcase somewhere in your office where you keep books and documents that you want easy access to because you might want to reference that information at some later date. My bookcase has a shelf where I keep things such as training manuals, design specifications for past projects, industry publications, as well as books by my favorite authors. Unfortunately, after several years of collecting these sorts of materials, I find that the information I’m keeping is pretty outdated. I have to start asking myself if I really need to keep that book about SharePoint 2003 or if that MSDN Magazine from 2006 is really going to be helpful anymore. There comes a point in time where I have to clean out the old so I have room for the new. If I don’t do some house cleaning, I’ll have so much outdated material on my shelf that I’ll no longer easily be able reach for my more recent documents or books without having to sift through a decade or more of old papers.

    The same logic holds true for document retention in an electronic document repository like SharePoint.  Old documents stored in a SharePoint environment take up server space just as my documents take up my shelf space. Reducing the amount of content you keep in your SharePoint environment reduces the cost associated with maintaining large content databases (or file systems, if you’re using Remote Blob Storage). Furthermore, there more documents that are stored in a site, the more important it becomes to adequately organize content (whether that means placing documents in locations where they can be easily found by users, or using well-thought out metadata tags) so that users can sort through the volume of documents to find just the documents they want. By removing outdated material from your site, you’re reducing the amount of time it takes end users to sort through their search results or browse through document libraries to find what they’re looking for. Finally, there are sometimes legal requirements to eradicate documents from a system after a given amount of time.  To sum up, removing old and unnecessary content from your SharePoint environment can: reduce the cost associated with server space, reduce the human cost of wasted time sorting through piles of documents to find the right one, and fulfill legal requirements.

    According to MSDN, “An information management policy is a set of rules that govern the availability and behavior of a certain type of important content.” Retention rules are considered a kind of information management policy. (Note: information management policies are only available for the SharePoint 2010 server product, and are not available in SharePoint Foundation 2010.) You can create retention policies in several ways:

    • You can create a retention policy definition within your site collection, then apply that policy to content types throughout the site.
    • You can create a retention policy that’s associated with a content type that’s defined in the root of the site collection.
    • You can create a retention policy that’s associated with a local content type that has been applied to a list or library.
    • You can create a retention policy directly on a list or library itself.

    Some site templates come pre-configured to allow you to apply information management policies. If you don’t have the ability to apply information management policies in your site collection, you can activate the “Library and Folder Based Retention” site collection feature to make it possible. If you activate the “In Place Records Management” feature in your site collection, you’ll also have the ability to apply separate retention policies for records and for non-records.

    When creating a retention policy, you have the ability to create multiple “stages”. It’s possible to connect these stages so that multiple actions happen within a single retention policy. Furthermore, when creating retention policies on content types that have Date and Time columns, it’s possible to incorporate that property into the retention policy. For example, say you have a content type called “Employee Handbook”, which has a column called “Last Review Date” that’s of type Date and Time. When the document is first created, the value of Last Review Date gets set to the current date. You could then create a first stage in your retention policy that kicks off a workflow one year from the last modified date of the document. That workflow sends an e-mail to the person who created the document, asking them to update the Last Review Date column. You could then have a second stage in your retention policy that gets fired 2 years from the Last Review Date, which sends the item to the Recycle Bin. If the reviewer decides they want to keep the document around, they can modify the Last Review Date column and thereby put off the recycling of the document. Otherwise, the document will be eventually recycled.

    Additionally, it’s possible to create recurring steps in a retention policy. Your retention policy might simply send an e-mail to the owner of the document every year for them to review. If they decide the document is outdated, it can be left up to them to recycle the document manually. In that case, the recurring retention policy simply brings the document to someone’s attention to review for relevance.

    Let’s walk through an example of creating a retention policy at the site collection, then applying that retention policy to a content type we use in a library.

    First, go to the Site Settings page in the top level site of your site collection. Under the “Site Collection Administration” heading, click on the link that says “Site Collection Features” and ensure that the “Library and Folder Based Retention” feature has been activated. Next, return to the Site Settings page in the top level site of your site collection and click on the “Site collection policies” link, (also under the “Site Collection Administration” heading). On the Policies page, click the “Create” button in the toolbar. This takes you to a page where you can create a single information policy that could potentially include multiple types of policies (including auditing, barcode, and labeling policies, along with retention.) Give your policy a name of Created Plus One Year. For the sake of this example, we’re going to create a one stage retention policy. Next to the Retention heading on this page, click the checkbox next to the words “Enable Retention”. Click the link that says “Add a retention stage…”. This will pop open a window that looks like this:

    You have various options for configuring your retention policy. The first thing you need to decide is what your triggering action is going to be; does your retention policy kick in when your document is first created, or when the document is modified? (If you have records enabled, the policy can kick in once the document is declared a record. If your document has a column of type Date and Time, that column value could be the triggering date.) Next, you need to determine how long the retention policy is for. You can enter a numerical value, with your unit of time being days, months, or years. The final decision you need to make is what to do once the specified period of time has elapsed. (Not all of the triggered actions can be applied to retention policies created at the site collection. You’ll be notified if an action is not available.)

    List of Available Triggered Actions

    Move to Recycle Bin

    Items that are placed in the recycle bin are not deleted right away, but will stay in the recycle bin for a period of time (determined by your SharePoint administrator). By selecting Move to Recycle Bin, you’re assuming a document needs to be removed from the site when a period of time elapses, but you’re leaving a “back door” option available, in case you need to recover a document from the recycle bin that shouldn’t have been recycled.

    Permanently Delete

    This is final. Deleting a document means it is no longer in the system anymore, period.

    Transfer to another location

    This is an appropriate option if you’re using a separate library that serves as an archive location. When the retention period elapses, the document can be moved from its “active” location to its archive location.

    Start a workflow

    This allows you to choose to execute a workflow that has already been created, such as an approval workflow.

    Skip to next stage

    If your next stage executes an activity immediately, using the Skip to Next Stage option means you’re essentially making this stage a timer to set off the next activity.

    Declare record

    If you have enabled the use of records in your site collection, this option allows you to turn a non-record into a record when the specified period of time elapses. Since, in many cases, records cannot be altered, this is a way of allowing a document to remain in the system but become static and/or archived in place.

    Delete previous drafts

    This will leave the major versions of the document intact, but will remove all draft versions of the document.

    Delete all previous versions

     

    Since each version of a document takes up valuable storage space, deleting past versions of a document after an elapsed amount of time can ensure the current version of the document is available for use, but unnecessary previous versions are purged.

    For the sake of this example, specify that one year after the document’s Created date, it should be moved to the recycle bin. Your new policy should look like this:

    Now that you have your policy, it’s time to apply it. Create a new document library in your site. Go to the Library Settings page and click on the Information Management Policy Settings under the Permissions and Management heading. You’ll see a list of the content types that are being used in your library. Click on one of the content types. You’ll be taken to a page where you can choose three options: to have no retention, to define a new retention policy for that content type in that library, or to use an existing retention policy that’s been defined at the site collection level.

    Choose the radio button that says “Use a site collection policy:” and select the policy you created previously, “Created Plus One Year”, then click the OK button.

    Now that you have a new retention policy in place, go back to your library and add a new document to it using the content type to which you just added the retention policy. When looking at the context menu for the document, select the Compliance Details option.

    This will pop open a window that will show you, among other things, the retention policy being applied to this document, like this:

    This window will show you the date when the retention action will take place.

    When a workflow is applied to a document in a library, it’s very hard to change the properties of that workflow once the workflow has been initiated. Unlike workflows, when a retention policy is changed, all the documents using that retention policy will immediately reflect that change.

    Hopefully this article has given you an overview of the steps needed to create a new retention policy.

    Here are some starting places to learn more about Information Management Policies in SharePoint 2010:

    Author Bio

    Becky Bertram is an independent SharePoint consultant living in the St. Louis area. She has been building web content management solutions for clients since 1999 using Microsoft technologies. Becky recently authored several chapters in the book SharePoint 2010 Six-in-One including several chapters on SharePoint development.

    You can read Becky’s blog at http://blog.beckybertram.com, her RSS feed at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/BeckyBertramsBlog, or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/beckybertram.


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    Welcome to our first MVP Friday Five! Each week, we’ll be highlighting five MVP blogs that showcase some of the great tips, tricks and insights MVPs are known for—and that set them apart as community leaders.

    Let us know what you think! And if you’re an MVP and would like your blog posts considered for our MVP Friday Five, please provide your URL in the comments section below.

     

    1. How to: Why Can’t I see the Updates of Friends in the People Hub and Friend Tiles? by Windows Phone Consumer MVP, Johan van Mierlo

    Johan takes you through how to change your privacy settings to allow access of your custom post on friend’s Facebook related applications on Windows Phone.

     

    2. Wordpress on Windows Azure: Single-Site Deployment by Expression Web MVP, Morten Rand-Hendriksen

    Morten takes you through a step-by-step tutorial for the process of publishing a single-site deployment of WordPress on Windows Azure.

     

    3. Microsoft Fans Need to get Fired up and Enthusiastic  by Enterprise Security MVP, Deb Shinder

    Debra Littlejohn Shinder argues that it’s time for Microsoft’s fans to stop being afraid to show their enthusiasm and excitement in public.

     

    4. Juneau That You Are On Steroids With Denali? by SQL Server MVP Neil Glenn Barbilla Gamboa

    Neil shares his thoughts on how features in SQL Server Developer Tools (SSDT) Preview can potentially help address some of the concerns on SQL Server development

     

    5. Know About WP7 Page Orientation and Supported Orientations by Silverlight Development MVP Kunal Chowdhury

    Kunal describes the root class of the Windows Phone 7 page includes two attributes called “Orientation” and “SupportedOrientations” which provide you with the option to set the orientation of your page programmatically.


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  • 10/10/11--12:16: MVPs on PASS Summit 2011
  • Editor's Note: Today Microsoft kicks off the PASS Summit 2011 for 2011. To coincide with this, the following MVP Monday guest post is an article by SQL MVP Robert Pearl.

    With 650 Sessions submitted, over 170 technical sessions, 200+ speakers, 2 days of Pre-Con Seminars, Networking with MVPs, experts, peers, face-to-face support with Microsoft CSS and SQLCAT, and even Ask the Experts Pods, folks are gathering far and wide to come together in one super setting in Seattle, Washington.

    The excitement is in the air, and the mood among SQL Server enthusiasts is simply electric! As they all converge at the convention center, the lucky attendees will be treated to several days of all SQL Server, all the time. 

    Yes, summit of all summits, the event to end all events, the best SQL Server training and networking event of the year - the one and only PASS Summit 2011, the largest SQL Server and BI conference in the world, is finally here!

    This conference is planned and presented by the SQL Server community, for the SQL Server community.  Here you will meet and learn from the top industry experts in the world, get the top-notch training, technical tips and tricks, and preview technology and features of the future.

    But, this all-encompassing event is so much more than just SQL. It is as much about SQL as well as networking and making connections you need to take your SQL Server skills to the next level. Take advantage and maximize your PASS experience! 

    Not only will there be incredible days filled with learning, lunching, leisure and laughter, the fun continues into the evenings, as folks network, meet up, review the the day, and plan for the next.  Indeed there will be many sleepless nights in Seattle!

    To say there are so many things to do and so many sessions to see is an understatement. SQL Server professionals need to plan their days accordingly.  And this can be a daunting task. Luckily, the SQL Server Community is here to help!

    A formal first-timer's program at PASS is being sponsored by Confio Ignite8, and Redgate- two pillars of the SQL community. Click through on this first-timer's program link, and you will find all the information you need to know, including a can't-miss First-Timers Orientation and Speed Networking session for all new Summit attendees, a Big Brother/Sister program to guide you through Summit's ins and outs, a schedule of events to help first-timers network, navigate the conference, what to expect, tips, tricks, and more!

    On the site is also a blog round-up of all the SQL Server Industry Experts & MVPs, who have shared their PASS memories.

    Whether you’re a first-timer or PASS pro, you won’t be able to be everywhere during the summit. So let’s take a sample and cross-section of some of our awesome presenters, and see what they have to say.  I engaged some of our speakers, and invited them to participate in a short Q&A roundtable discussion. These dynamic individuals have graciously provided their busy prep time to give you a preview of their sessions, advice, insight, and share their own PASS experiences.

    The Panel

    Allow me to introduce our panel.  Joining our roundtable discussion are, in no specific order, the following expert speakers: (You can click each of their names for a more detailed bio)

    Grant Fritchey, (blog|twitter) SQL MVP and Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software;

    Karen Lopez, (blog|twitter) SQL MVP, Sr. Project Manager and Data Architect for Info Advisors;

    Denny Cherry, (blog|twitter) SQL MVP/MCM, independent consultant, maintains MrDenny.Com;

    Andy Leonard, (blog|twitter) SQL MVP, SSIS expert, Chief Servant Officer at Linchpin People;

    Buck Woody, (blog|twitter) SQL Server SME, speaker and Sr. Technical Specialist for Microsoft;

    Louis Davidson, (blog|twitter) SQL MVP, author, Data Architect for CBN, his site at drsql.org;

    Marco Russo, (blog|twitter) SQL MVP, Consultant & trainer in SQLBI & software development;

    Don Gabor, (blog|twitter) President of Conversation Arts Media, author, professional speaker and networking expert.

    Q & A Rountable 

    I first asked our participants to talk a bit about their presentation, with the question:

    [RP:] What is your session’s goal and/or objective? What you will be doing at PASS?

    Grant, you want to kick off the discussion?

    [Grant Fritchey:]  I'm doing two different presentations this year. The first is an all-day pre-conference seminar that I'm presenting with Gail Shaw. It's called "All About Execution Plans." We're going to do, effectively, a brain dump on execution plans, where they come from, where they're stored, how to read them and how to use them for understanding your queries and then tune the queries. We'll pack as much information into the 7 hours we have as we possibly
    can. My spotlight session is 90 minutes on using Dynamic Management Objects for performance tuning. I'll show you how to put together different DMOs to return useful information that you can then use for performance tuning.

    [RP:] Karen, what about you?

    [Karen Lopez:] I'm presenting on Database Design Blunders, so my goal is to get people thinking about the tricks and traps of working with data in the real world: numbers aren't always numbers; "best" practices aren't always best, etc.  I'll also be asking for audience members to contribute blunders they've seen in the wild, too.

    [RP:] Louis, your sessions are also covering DB design, correct?

    [Louis Davidson:]  [Yes.] All of my sessions focus on design. I find that if you get the design right in the first place you don't struggle against the SQL Server engine to achieve your desired results creatively and with performance. The SQL Server engine is implemented in such a manner that supports relational databases of almost any size, as long as you follow the known patterns. All it takes is a lot work up front and a bit of restraint to think through the problem 1st.

    [RP:] Buck, please share a bit of what you’ll be doing at PASS.

    [Buck Woody:] I'll be doing two presentations at the PASS summit - one in a lighthearted form to introduce folks to the concepts of distributed computing (cloud) technologies. That one is called "This Ain't Your Father's Cloud", and I'll be presenting with my friend Kevin Kline. The second presentation is a little more detailed, and a deeper level. It's on how to leverage distributed systems in a "hybrid" mode, so that you can put the cloud to use right away, and only where it makes sense. There's some great tie-ins to the latest release of SQL Server in that as well.

    [RP:] Denny, tell us all about your session.

    [Denny Cherry:] My big session is the half-day session that I'm doing with Stacia Misner where we will be explaining what is actually happening to the database engine when the BI tools are running against it.  It will be an interesting exploration into how all these tools work together and how using the BI tools against the production systems can and do have an impact into the production workload. [It’s called, “So How Does the BI Workload Impact the Database Engine?”]

    [RP:] Marco, you’re also doing something on the BI track. What are you going to talk about?  .

    [Marco Russo:] I will talk about what is going to change in data modeling for Business Intelligence with the adoption of Vertipaq. It is a common believe that DAX is a simpler language than MDX and only very simple models can be solved by using DAX. However, this is not always the case and DAX can be used as a tool that overcomes the lack of specific features (like the many-to-many dimension relationship)

    [RP:] Andy, you’re actually covering multiple tracks, can you tell us about them?

    [Andy Leonard:] I'm doing a few presentations: [On the BI Architecture, Development & Adminstration Track], a pre-con called A Day of SSIS in the Enterprise, co-presented with Tim
    Mitchell
    and Matt Masson [from Microsoft]; A regular session called SSIS in the Enterprise; [and on the Professional Development Track,] a Lightning Talk entitled Some Thoughts On Community;  a panel discussion on Linchpins – which will discuss some career management lessons to help you become indispensible.

    [RP:] What else will you be doing at PASS?

    [Andy Leonard:] I'm also hosting a Birds of a Feather lunch table Friday focused on SSIS Frameworks, and I'm trying to work in an hour or two at the Expert Pods area (if I can work that in).

    [RP:] Don, as the non-technical person of the group, you will be focusing on the Professional Development track, which actually dovetails nicely with PASS’s big focus on networking and building relationships.  Please tell us more.

    [Don Gabor:] [I will be doing a] 2-hour pre-con workshop “Networking for Business Contacts” on Tuesday 3-5 pm is to show attendees how to make mutually beneficial connections with colleagues and clients that lead to ongoing business relationships.  Topics in this highly interactive workshop include how to break the ice, remember names, continue conversations, change topics, close conversations, leave a positive impression, join other conversations and use social media to follow up.

    [RP:] You’ll also be facilitating a special interactive session called “Speed Networking: Making Connections in a New York Minute” on Tuesday evening.  

    [Don Gabor:] Yes, after a brief, humorous presentation of networking “worst practices,” attendees will have a series of 5-minute, one-on-one meetings where they will exchange cards, share their professional backgrounds, area specialties, products and services, plus their “who-do-they-want-to-meet” wish-list.

    Comedian Johnny Carson once joked, “A New York Minute is the interval between a Manhattan traffic light turning green and the guy behind you honking his horn.”  Come join this event during Tuesday night’s Welcome Reception and see how speed networking can make finding new business contacts faster than you ever thought possible.

    [RP:] BTW, as an added bonus, everyone who attends this workshop gets a copy of Don’s best-selling book, How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends, (Simon & Schuster).

    [RP:] So, now that we know what all of you here are going to present at PASS, let’s move on, and have you all tell us what excites you the most about the PASS 2011 Summit.  In short order, Grant?

    [Grant Fritchey:] That's easy. It's the people. The chance to meet all the people whose blogs, books and magazine articles I read all year long is just amazing. I get a chance to build direct, personal relationships with these people and that just wouldn't be possible any other way.

    [RP:] Karen, back to you.

    [Karen Lopez:] While I'm looking forward to the massive amount of learning, it's the networking and meeting with SQL friends in person that makes me hop on a plane to Seattle this year.  I keep in touch with others in the SQL community via Twitter and other social networks, but getting together with people in real life is awesome.

    [Denny Cherry:] [Definitely.] The PASS summit is a great time to learn and a great time to see friends from all over the world that you don't get to see very often.  It isn't often that you get so many top notch people from a single field in the same place all giving information away for basically nothing (don't forget speakers aren't getting paid for their sessions).

    [RP:] Andy, you feel the same way?

    [Andy Leonard:] I attend PASS to meet new people and reconnect with old friends. Social media is awesome! It allows folks to get to know each other without ever meeting face-to-face. The PASS Summit is a great place to make and meet friends.

    [RP:] Marco, you came all the way to Seattle from Italy to be here, what excites you?

    [Marco Russo:] I’ll be happy to meet old and new friends, most of them I only know through written mails and other docs. And, of course, I’m excited to talk about DAX and other changes that are coming with SQL Server Denali.

    [RP:] Louis, your turn, and then Don.

    [Louis Davidson:] Honestly, there are two things that are equal in stature that I probably wouldn't go if either of these were removed. Getting an idea of what to learn about next excites me the most, as it helps to keep me ahead of the pack and direct me what to write about and what to do for my customers/coworkers. The other thing is the people. It is so wonderful to have this tremendous online community on twitter, forums, etc, but getting a chance to shake a hand, see a face, some I have known for 12 years, some I have never met, makes it an exciting experience.

    [Don Gabor:]  What excites me about the PASS 2011 Summit is meeting new people, reconnecting with those I’ve met at past Summits or worked with as a part of Andy Warren’s and Steve Jones’ Mentoring Experiment. My goal is always to find people with whom I share professional and general interests. That’s when the PASS Summit gets really fun!

    [RP:] Speaking of fun, I want all of you to share a quick first-time experience or memorable moment for you at PASS.  Marco, you kick this one off.

    [Marco Russo:] I was so happy to encounter people I only written to before the first time I went to PASS Summit. And today, after many years, I still get motivation from these in-person encounters.

    [RP:] Karen, give us a memorable moment

    [Karen Lopez:] So many of them to think of, but i have to say the most memorable part of my first PASS Summit was seeing how many men chose to wear a #SQLKilt and t-shirts supporting Women in IT.  One of my professional interests is encouraging girls to take more math and science courses and I believe this issue is something that we all have to support, so seeing everyone supporting the cause was great.

    [RP:]  Yes, well that certainly is memorable. J  I know you are a champion and promoter of WIT.  Denny, can you top that?

    [Denny Cherry:] This isn't my first timer experience for myself, but what I saw of other first timers.  Me and a group were sitting in the Sheraton bar one year and a guy still with his name badge came in looking a tad bit lost.  So we told him to pull up a chair and join us.  The look of amazement that a random group of strangers wanted him to join them was just great.  I have no idea what the guy's name was, or even where we was from, but he stayed with us for a while before heading off to hopefully do something else fun.

    [RP:] Grant, I’m sure you have a memorable moment as well.

    [Grant Fritchey:] The first time I went up to a speaker after their session and asked a question that the speaker didn't know the answer to, was an event for me. I just figured those people knew everything. Great thing was, the person asked me for my email address, looked up the answer and sent it to me, personally. Great moment!

    [RP:]  Louis, is your experience similar?

    [Louis Davidson:] The most memorable experience for me was when one of my heroes asked me a question about SQL Server. It was that point that I realized that we were all in this together, and not everyone knows everything.

    [RP:]  Don, you’re first PASS Summit was last year in 2010.  What was your most memorable experience there?

    [Don Gabor:] At the 2010 Summit I met with Andy Warren, Steve Jones and several other PASS MVPs for an early breakfast at a little coffee place a short walk from our hotel. It was memorable for me because everyone there treated me as part of the PASS community, so I felt comfortable and welcome—even though I’m not a technology person. 

    [RP:]  We’re glad your back, Don.  It is also true that a brief encounter can change your life?  It truly can be transforming, and have a positive effect on your career and success.  Andy, you experienced such a moment.  Please share.

    [Andy Leonard:] My first Summit was 2004 in Orlando. I arrived thinking that any day I would be fired for impersonating a database professional. I left that event a database professional. I blogged about the pivotal moment in my career and described “Why I Love The Pass Summit

    [RP:] This year there has been a terrific campaign to get first-timers at PASS to fully engage with their colleagues and peers.  An enormous effort has been initiated to push first-time attendees to step-up, get involved, network, and get the most out of the summit. On that note, what is your advice to first-time PASS attendees, and those who want to enhance their career, or get more involved in the SQL community?  Buck?

    [Buck Woody:] I can’t tell you how many technical conferences I’ve been to in my life — I started a really long time ago, when the conferences were normally held in small hotel conference rooms with only a few dozen folks.

    But PASS isn't all about presentations. There are "Birds of a Feather" tables set up by topic, so that you can access amazing talent on any topic you care about in one place. The vendor pavilion has a huge amount of both services and products companies all aimed at SQL Server, there are keynotes each day where you learn the strategy Microsoft is taking for the future, there are parties each night, and of course you simply can't beat the pure networking you can do with people who work with SQL Server every day.

    I have a full article of my recommendations on attending a technical conference, specifically entitled, “How to Attend a Technical Conference”. (Click on the highlighted link to read).

    [RP:]  Marco, do you agree with Buck that PASS isn’t just about presentations?

    [Marco Russo:] Sure. Don’t spend all of your time in technical sessions. I mean, these are important (don’t miss mine! :-) but spend at least 10-15% of your time in social networking. Visit stands, booths, talk with sponsors, talk with Microsoft, participate to the “informal” discussion all around.

    [RP:] Louis, your thoughts on engaging with the SQL Server Community?

    [Louis Davidson:] I think there are two ways to approach the SQL community: as fun, or as work. I definitely fall more deeply into the fun category. My goal with the SQL community is to enjoy my craft in a way that is void of managers asking me to do stuff in a less than ideal manner because of time. So I make sure that all of the things I do in the community are things I have fun with. Some folks use the community to enhance their career as consultants, I personally work as a permanent employee for a non-profit, and so the community may help me in my next career, but doesn't do much in the short run.

    In either case, it is important to get what you want out of the community in a manner that you can enjoy and live with. There are a lot of people that come and go, but longevity in the community comes from gradually becoming a citizen of the community and doing it for a sustainable reason. I mean, after nearly 12 years of doing this stuff day and night, I occasionally get burnt out. But the camaraderie and friends I have made keeps me coming back.

    [RP:] Denny, give us some of your first-timer advice

    [Denny Cherry:] The most important piece of advice I can give to people that are coming to PASS for the first time is to spend as little time in your hotel room as possible.  There are lots of people there that want to talk and make new friends and everyone there has a common ground that they can talk about, SQL Server.  You don't have to drink all night with the crazy folks, but go and hang out somewhere find some other attendees to talk to.  You never know who you'll find.  Personally I've made some great friends from sitting in the hotel bar to the Tap House and just randomly walking up to groups of attendees (they aren't hard to find, trust me) and just introducing myself.

    [RP:] Andy, you want to jump in here?

    [Andy Leonard:] My advice to first-time attendees is: Don't be shy. Yes, it's true you don't know anyone. With the exception of the minority of folks who know each other, no one knows anyone. It's ok. If you see someone you want to meet, go introduce yourself. You may have to step out of your comfort zone some - do it. Trust me on this: they're people just like you. With rare exception, people who have reached a pinnacle in their career are decent, hard-working folks. Those who return to the Summit year-after-year remember their first experience as well. If at all possible, they will make a minute to chat with you.

    [RP] And, on getting involved with the sql community?

    [Andy Leonard:] Although PASS is large and the Summit is an awesome event, there's much more to the SQL Server Community than PASS. There are other events and opportunities out there; including SQL Skills Immersion events, SQLCruise, SQLBits, SQLPeople, SQLInspire, and many more. And there's the virtual community online at Twitter and Google+.

    [RP:]  Karen, and then Grant – give us your first-timer advice.

    [Karen Lopez:] The best advice I can give is to talk to people in the sessions, don't hide out in the corners; don't just go back to your room to eat. The SQL community such an amazing group there's no need stick just with your co-workers or to eat alone.  I'd also encourage everyone to at least follow the Twitter stream #SQLPASS so that they can be part of the "other conference" on at the same time. Joining in on the conversation is even better.

    [Grant Fritchey:] Totally agree.  Don't go back to your hotel room. Find out where people are heading. Follow #sqlpass on twitter. You don't have to post anything, just watch for people whose session you attended. See where they're going and go there yourself. That's your best bet to start the networking process. And if you're no good at talking to people, then take Don Gabor's two hour seminar on Tuesday to learn that too.

    [RP:]  Certainly a great recommendation, Don, don’t you think?  J

    [Don Gabor:]  Well, I already spoke about my networking sessions.  My advice to first-timers and everyone else is to take the initiative, introduce yourself and network with the PASS leadership, volunteers and session speakers. [That’s what I did.] These people will help you make the best connections and help you get the most from the conference.

    [RP:] Finally, let’s talk about the future a bit. What in your opinion will have the most impact on either the future of SQL Server or the DBA?  How many of you bet the future will be built around the cloud?  Andy?

    [Andy Leonard:] I believe the confluence of hardware advances and cloud computing are going to have the greatest impact on the future of SQL Server and the DBA.

    [RP:] Grant, what’s your take on how SQL Server in the Cloud (SQL Azure) will affect the future of the industry?

    [Grant Fritchey:] I think a very large percentage, 30-40%, of all the databases today that are sitting on someone's machine or on an under-utilized server, are going to go to the Cloud. We're going to see an explosion of the small, secondary, data sets out there. It won't put anyone, or very few, out of work, but it's going to change that work pretty radically. You're going to have to know more about that technology to be competitive going forward, because 1/3 of your job will be there.

    [RP:]  Buck, care to chime in about this?

    [Buck Woody:] The two most disruptive changes for the DBA, [in my opinion] are Business Intelligence and how far it's being pushed down into user tools and of course the cloud. Both are covered in great depth at the PASS summit.

    [RP:] Microsoft has indeed been investing big time on cloud integration.  Louis, what is your opinion on SQL Azure?

    [Louis Davidson:] Part of me thinks that a product like Azure is going to be that next big thing that changes everything from a DBA standpoint, but it doesn't seem realistic that it can replace all local databases. Truly, when they get the concept of a database container than can be moved from local server to the cloud that is seamless to the user experience, I think the whole cloud experience is going to be very much more palatable.

    [RP:]  Interesting.  Perhaps that is indeed the plan, with the advent of contained databases in SQL Server Denali, where a contained database has no configuration dependencies on the instance of the SQL Server Database Engine therefore making it possible to easily move the database to another instance of SQL Server.   

    So let’s talk a little bit about the next version of SQL Server, aka Denali.

    [Louis Davidson:] For Denali, I would certainly suggest readers get into the contained database concept as heavily as they can, to get ready for the future!

    [RP:]  Marco, what features in SQL Denali stand out as most significant to you?  And, then let’s hear from Karen.

    [Marco Russo:] High Availability and columnar indexes are the most important features of Denali, in my opinion.

    [Karen Lopez:] I'm looking forward to the features that address non-relational or extra-relational data stores.  Not all data persistence needs to be normalized or stored in the same way.  We can support all kinds of data usages now.

    [RP:] Denny, what do you feel will have the biggest impact on the future of SQL Server?

    [Denny Cherry:] The one thing that will impact the future of the SQL Server Product is the people that use it.  Microsoft gives the general public a huge amount of influence in how they steer the product in the future.  If you come to PASS sign up for one of the Microsoft Focus Groups (I did a couple my first year and found them to be very interesting), submit ideas for new features on connect, etc.  Not all the ideas will make it into the product, some may be set aside for several releases, but they will take the ideas and put them on the list of possible features for the next release.  It is just a matter or what they have enough time to actually get into the product.  Some of the great features that are being introduced in SQL Server "Denali" are showing up there because one of Microsoft's customers requested them on Connect and the community voted those items up.

    [RP:] Don, from a career perspective, what do think the future holds for the SQL Server DBA?

    [Don Gabor:] Being good (or even great) technically as a SQL Server DBA will not be enough to secure one’s job in the future. I believe that a DBA’s ability to connect with and bring additional customer service value to his or her company, colleagues and clients will be his or her greatest career-accelerating asset.  

    [RP:]  Well, that’s all we have for today.  I want to thank all my panel participants in this lively and insightful discussion!  Their contribution to this piece is greatly appreciated by me, as well as the SQL Server Community. Make sure you catch all of their excellent sessions at PASS,and enjoy!

    In Closing 

    I hope these unique perspectives on PASS and the SQL Server industry will help everyone attending the summit, as well as those reading, to understand what a tight knit supportive community we truly are.

    Don’t forget to visit the PASS Summit Web Site for all necessary details, and be sure to plan accordingly.  Now get out there, learn, have fun, and remember to mingle (that’s party talk for networkingJ) Two final words to sum up this summit sensation –

    IT’S SHOWTIME!

     

    About the Author

    Robert Pearl, President and Founder of Pearl Knowledge Solutions, Inc., and SQL MVP,  has grown through the ranks as a solutions-oriented Senior Database  Administrator/Engineer and has over 12+ years of experience in the management of  critical database operations. His focus has allowed him to become an expert in  Microsoft SQL technology. 

    In searching for a simple clear-cut solution  to manage multiple SQL Servers, he has developed SQLCentric – a web-based  database monitoring and alert system with the DBA in mind. It has won Best  Performance and Database Monitoring in SQL Server Magazine's Reader's Choice in  2004, and the Silver Award in the Community Choice Awards in 2010. Mr  Pearl also participates in online forums, has also contributed several articles  on MS SQL Server to SQLServerCentral.com, other sites and publications, and  covers local events in the New York City area.He was Chief  Marketing and Co-coordinator of the New York SQLSaturday#69, arranging speaker  interviews, sponsors.

    He maintains a regular blog at SSC.com, called  PearlKnows. http://www.sqlservercentral.com/blogs/pearlknows/default.aspx


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  • 10/12/11--10:00: MVP Open Day Brazil
  •  Editor's Note: The post is authored by MVP Lead for Brazil JP Clementi

    The 2011 edition of the MVP Open Day Brazil happened on September 28th at Microsoft Brazil Headquarters in São Paulo with the goal of enabling MVPs to understand and discuss the present and future of Microsoft products and technologies, to provide a rich networking environment among themselves and the Microsoft team, and to identify future engagement and contributions opportunities.

    The Open Day brought together not only 62 MVPs from Brazil but also MVPs from other countries in the region such as Chile, Uruguay, and the USA. Besides MVPs, local product teams and technical evangelists were also attending helping creating an even better environment for rich discussions and networking. Overall there were over 90 attendees at the event this year.

    The day-long agenda was co-created with an advisory panel of MVPs itself, local product teams and technical evangelists. So as well as ensuring plenty of networking opportunities the agenda included: 

    • Nestor Portillo – MVP Program Director
    • Paulo Iudicibus – DPE Director
    • Roberto Prado – National Competitiveness Director
    • Décio Farias – Windows Phone Product Manager
    • Luciano Condé – Azure Product Manager
    • Alex Schulz – Developer Evangelist
    • Paula Nobre – Windows Product Manager
    • Mauro Sant’Anna – Developer Security MVP
    • Danilo Bordini – CORE IO Product Manager (Windows Server, System Center, Forefront)
    • John Sirmon – Sr. Program Manager (SQL Community Advisory Team)
    • Jeff Woolsey – Principal Program Manager Lead (Windows Server and Virtualization)
    • Rodrigo de Carvalho – Dev & Tools Product Manager
    • Brian Keller – Sr. Technical Evangelist (ALM)
    • Rodrigo Pinto – Office Product Manager
    • Ana Carolina Garini – Visio & Project Product Manager
    • Ricardo Senna – Office 365 Specialist
    • Daniel Ferreira – MSDN & TechNet Site Manager
    • Rogerio Panigassi –MSDN & TechNet Site Experience Program Manager
    • Yuri Diógenes – Sr. Technical Writer (Windows Security Team)

    MVP Open Day 10 Year Award Presentation

    MVPs Renato Haddad and Claudenir Andrade in the company of the current MVP Lead – JP Clementi, former MVP Lead – Leonardo Tolomelli, and former MVP Lead and current MVP Program Director – Nestor Portillo. 

    From Renato Haddad | @rehaddad

    Since I became an MVP in 2001 I was able to observe how the role of contributing with the community trough learning and sharing knowledge is important to all of us. The fact of donating knowledge is the best way of learning and helping others because so much information are passed all at once that I feel it’s our duty to understand the prepare the best way to transmit the message to the community. This friendly atmosphere around the MVPs allowed me to understand the necessity and the importance of better preparing our developers, fact that unfortunately our educational structure in Brazil is lacking, so, it’s only fair and gratifying to be able to help and do our part. The fact is that I share only with the intent to help, without expecting anything in return because I believe doing my part is already a start for a better Brazil.

    There have been so many good moments throughout all the years, relationship with Microsoft Brazil and USA, events, presentations, trips to the Summits, anyway 10 years is almost one third of a professional life. I can only thank the friends at Microsoft, the community for the opportunity to contribute to all, I am the one who is very thankful for being part of this team

    From Claudenir Andrade | @ClaudenirAndrad

    “If you ask me to highlight two important qualities and that I managed to cultivate with the help of the community and the MVP program, are: humbleness and availability. If I were to put these two sentences on a mission to the Microsoft MVPs, it would be the following: share the little you know or your expertise with everyone in the community, and do it from the most beginners at universities or forums to more experts in events, articles, and face-to-face meetings. This availability and selflessness to share knowledge without expecting anything in return from the community is what fascinates me, and in the end the community always recognizes those who help and contribute.

    I thank Microsoft, also thank Leonardo Tolomelli that took care of MVPs at the time that "we were six", Nestor Portillo at the time we were "twelve" and now the JP Clementi has managed very well this select group of 90 professionals that cause impacts and leave his mark on the community. This is it… "Leave your brand, change the world, or .... go home" ;-)”  

    Some Tweets from MVPs Following the Event Using the Hash Tag #MVPOpenDay

    I also take the opportunity to share below some of the open feedback received on social media channels and some of the final numbers of the event.

    • “Schedule 100%, excellent content and network. I hope this is the first of many!” Fernanda Saraiva – SharePoint MVP @fefesaraiva
    • “The MVP Open Day boils down to Opportunities and networking…Excellent event.” Erick Albuquerque – ASP.NET / IIS MVP @_ealbuquerque
    • “Excellent content from the #MVPOpenDay, the interaction with the product team and the networking are essential”   Marcelo Sincic – Windows Expert IT Pro MVP - @MarceloSincic 
    • “#MVPOpenDay BR Unique event to interact and discuss with several PMs. Full day with NDA content and feedback #mvpbuzz” Eduardo Petizme –Forefront MVP @Petizme
    • “#MVPOpenDay BR @MVPBrasil: It was a great opportunity to engage with the local Microsoft team. Organization and presentation grade 10!” Idevar Junior – Windows Expert Consumer MVP @IdevarJr

    Until Next Time!

    Overall it was an amazing experience for me since it was my first MVP Open Day as MVP Lead. To have a chance to meet and network with most Brazilian MVPs, to meet other MVPs from Latin America and the USA, to promote a rich environment for everyone to have a chance to learn and engage in topics ranging from Microsoft’s strategic insights and specific technical information, was definitely very rewarding to me.

    Until the next MVP Open Day!

    Até mais, (See you later)

    JP Clementi

    http://twitter.com/jpclementi

     

    About the Author

    JP Clementi is from São Paulo, Brazil and is currently the MVP Lead for Brazil. He holds a bachelor and a master degree in Computer Science from Georgia SW University, where he was on a tennis scholarship and was inducted to the hall-of-fame in 2007. JP has over 10 years of experience in the IT industry with work experience both in Brazil and in the USA. Besides being a technology enthusiast, he remains a huge tennis fan and during his spare time enjoys playing and spending time with his wife and family.




     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     





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    MVPs, mark your calendars! It’s time again for our online MVP Twitter chat.

    On Thursday, October 20, from 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM (Pacific Time) we are inviting MVPs to join us online for our third MVP twitter chat. This chat is for new and veteran MVPs alike, but many of the questions that we’ll be asking are directed to help the newly awarded MVPs learn more about and network with the MVP community. At our last chat we had about 450 participants join us and saw about 1,500 tweets come through with our #MVPChat hashtag. It is a great opportunity to network with other MVPs, learn more about being an MVP and the MVP community!

    How Can You Participate?

    • Follow @MVPChat, we’ll be moderating the chat from that account.
    • Log in to Twitter at 8:00 AM Pacific Time and follow the hashtag #MVPChat
    • Ask questions. We’ll be collecting questions from MVPs and asking them throughout the chat, so tweet your questions for the group with the hashtag #mvpchat or @MVPAward to have yours asked!
    • Answer questions. We’ll be tweeting questions with a Q and the question number (example Q4 for question four) throughout the chat. Whatch for these questions and provide your input, because who is more of an expert on what it’s like to be an MVP than you, the MVPs?
    • Network with other MVPs by posting introductions and comments from your own Twitter account; include the hash tag #mvpchat so your post is captured as part of the chat. 

    Tips and Reminders for Participating

    Keeping up with the #MVPChat hashtag in real time can be tricky. Use these sites to make it easier.

    Worried about spamming your followers with tweets from the chat?

    • Start your tweets with @mvpchat and your followers will not see your tweets in their feed unless they are also following @mvpchat
    • Let your followers know you are in an #mvpchat for the next hour and your stream will be busy. 

    Do You Have Questions for the MVP Chat?

    In addition to asking questions during the event, we would love to hear your questions now! Please, leave your questions in the comments below and we’ll be collecting them for the chat. Then, tune in on October 20, 2011, for the answers.

    We can’t wait to see you all there!


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    Welcome to another MVP Friday Five! This week, we have five more MVP blogs for you filled with the kind of great tips, guidance and insight that you have come to expect from MVPs.

     

    1. 10 Laps Around Silverlight 5 (Part 1 of 10)

    By Silverlight: Architecture MVP Michael Crump | @mbcrump

    In this series Michael covers the new features in Silverlight 5. He takes you step-by-step through the process of getting started with Silverlight 5 and then dives into the features that are the most important to you. 

     

    2. How to Wake up a PC Using Waitable Timer

    By Visual C++ MVP Youngjin Shin |@codemaru

    Youngjin writes about the hidden function of Waitable timer in Windows PC to wake up your PC automatically at the time you would like to use it.

     

    3. More Fun with Powershell and XML – Getting Flow Rule Source Attributes from an MA Config Table  

    By Forefront Identity Manager MVP Carol Wapshere | @miss_miis

    Carol shows you how she used powershell to extract a list of source attributes from management agents to get a list of AD user attributes synchronized by DirSync.

     

    4. PASS Summit 2011 - The Final Day

    By SQL Server MVP Allen White | @SQLRunr

    In reading this post you almost feel like you are at the PASS Summit! Allen provides insight into activities on the final day.

     

    5. 5 Minute Guide to Exposing .NET Component to COM Clients

    By ASP.NET/IIS: Development MVP Li Chen

    In this short post, Li shows how to create clean COM objects in .NET by watching out just a few simple things.

     

    If you’re an MVP and would like your blog posts considered for our MVP Friday Five, please reach out to your MVP Lead or provide your URL in the comments section below!

     

     

     

     

     

     


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    Editor's Note: The Following MVP Monday post is by Visual Studio ALM MVP Anuj Chaudhary

    Overview

    More and more teams today are moving towards developing their products/services based on agile methodology. The product keeps changing frequently and if the bugs aren’t discovered in time, the cost of fixing them can be considerably high. Hence it’s important to have the ability to test on a frequent basis and in a rapid manner.

    In Extreme programming which is a type of agile development, the term Continuous Integration has evolved which says Test Early and Often. Continuous Integration is the process of improving the product quality along with maintaining the rapidness of delivery by replacing the traditional practice of performing testing activities after the development is complete.

    The automated build, deploy and test mechanism in TFS 2010 aims for Continuous Integration. It provides the ability to perform automated build, deploy and test on demand. A daily build could be scheduled which builds the latest code, deploys it to an environment and runs the tests on it. Every code change is tested in this way and bugs are caught just in time.

    TFS 2010 Architecture

    TFS 2010 architecture comprises of the components listed below.

    Team Foundation Server

    Team Foundation Server (TFS) provides the team the capability to coordinate and integrate their efforts. It provides the following:

    • Source control mechanism
    • Creating work items (User Story, Feature, Test
      case, Bug, etc.)
    • Build, Deployment and Test mechanism
    • Reporting mechanism
    • SharePoint Integration

    System Center Virtual Machine Manager

    System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) is used to manage machines having virtualization enabled.

    Virtual Machine Host

    Virtual Machine Host (VM Host) is a machine having virtualization enabled and has to ability to host virtual machines on it.

    Virtual Machine

    Virtual Machine (VM) is a software implementation of a programmable machine. It is hosted on a physical machine having virtualization enabled.

    Build Controller

    It is a background process that manages a set of build agents.

    Build Agent

    It is a background process that receives build commands, runs the build and reports the results. Multiple build agents are managed by a build controller.

    Test Controller

    It is a background process that manages a set of machines which have the test agents installed.

    Test Agent

    It is a background process that receives test run commands, runs the tests and reports the results. Multiple test agents are managed by a test controller.

    Lab Agent

    The lab agent communicates with the TFS application tier. It’s a background process running on the virtual machine to configure, monitor and report on status and errors.

    Test Manager

    Test Manager is used to create test plans, tests suites, assign test cases and run tests. Multiple test runs can be managed and analyzed in the Test Manager.

    Lab Manager

    Lab Manager is used to create and manage virtual environments. These virtual environments are used to deploy build and run tests on VMs managed by the SCVMM.

    TFS 2010 Workflow

    The below diagram describes the step by step process to automate the Build-Deploy-Test workflow using TFS 2010.

    Conclusion

    TFS 2010 Build-Deploy-Test mechanism provides the ability to build, deploy and test each and every build in an automated fashion to make sure that regressions are caught in time. Due to the integrated Reporting capability, the management team is always aware of the current status of the product. Thus the team achieves the goal of rapid delivery along with maintaining the quality of the product.

     

    Author's Bio

    Anuj is primarily focused on Software Testing and Automation. He has Extensive work experience on Manual testing, Automated testing, Performance testing and White Box testing. Anuj Contributes in Visual Studio ALM community and specifically in testing areas which involve Visual Studio Unit tests, Web tests, Load tests, Coded UI, MTM and Lab Management. http://www.anujchaudhary.com/

     

    MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide our readers with a guest post from one of our MVPs every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.


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    Congratulations to Expression Blend MVP Xiao Yuan Chuang  and ASP.NET MVP Ouch Liu, champions of the Kinect for Windows application contest held during the most recent Taiwan Tech Days--just a couple of months after Microsoft released the software development kit (SDK) beta for Kinect for Windows.

    The SDK delivers Kinect capabilities to developers who build applications with C++, C#, or Visual Basic by using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.

    More than 500 developers submitted Kinect for Windows applications at Taiwan Tech Days when the pair’s “Model Maker” took home the top honors. Take a look at them modeling “Model Maker” here!


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    We had an exciting morning as MVPs from around the world joined us for our 3rd Official MVP Twitter Chat. As we mentioned in a previous post, we held an MVP Twitter Chat this morning from 8-9 AM Pacific Time today, October 20, 2011. Over the course of one hour we had over 200 people actively participating in a conversation focused on new MVPs and their questions. During our chat the #mvpchat hashtag trended in at least eight different cities including the Redmond/Seattle area and cities in California, Texas, France, Brazil and India. What resulted were more than 900 nuggets of MVP wisdom and advice in 140 characters or less. Below we’ve included some of the highlights from this morning conversation.

    What’s the best way to network with other MVPs?

    • I'm booked for the summit. (flight anyway) #mvp12
    • All of it. Any of it. Whichever works best for you. :)  
    • The MVP Summit of course :)
    • Conferences!
    • I'm still trying to figure that out.  :)  Code camps, user groups, online events are probably best for me.
    • Just be at conferences, present, tweet, facebook like you do normally... You connect "automatically"
    • Local events and the MVP Summit
    • Actually Summit is an excellent place to network with other MVPs. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook aren't bad either. 
    • Just about any venue such as Twitter, Facebook and other forums.  Just be aware of NDA limitations on those sites.
    • Twitter/LinkedIN, followed up by SQL Conferences such as #sqlpass & #sqlsaturday 
    • Twitter keeps in touch all yr round
    • Twitter and the MVP summit.
    • As for in person - local user groups and most certinaly the annual summit.
    • MVP Summit is really an incredible experience... and THE place to meet others MVP
    • I think Xbox MVPs are a bit unique in that we network through gaming! Horde anyone? ;)
    • I agree. Summit is THE place to be once in a year. But local groups are better for networking with your peers
    • Twitter, Events, MVP Summit, MVP Distribution Lists
    • Twitter and going to conferences... MVP Summit (I haven't went yet)
    • Plus network with your MVP Lead - a big must do!  
    • Twitter is actually the way I've most successfully networked with other MVPs - followed by conferences.
    • Twitter's my choice. :3  
    •  Network with our MVP Lead @abhishekkant who also keeps up the discussion on mail list and also Monthly Hour
    • Conferences, mailing lists, forums, and of course the Summit.
    • Late on  Local user groups, Twitter, G+, and the Summit
    • Go to local UGs/conferences to meet MVPs in your geo area. Find out if there are "Insiders" lists in your subject areas.
    • Facebook is nice as well, we have a french speaking MVP facebook group which is nice

    What is the most important learning resource for MVPs?

    • Each other.  I learn more from other MVPs, via twitter, blogs, conferences, etc - then anywhere else.  
    • Peers. Always peers. Either at local UG's or at the summit, socail networks or other places
    • For the technologies I follow, the blogs of the PM. Books on my favorite subjects.
    • Blogs, books and conferences
    • For me the most important learning resource is each other. Second is articles on the web.
    • Blogs, StackOverflow, conference sessions posted on @ch9
    • I learn a lot from blogs and my twitter stream. Of course, conferences as well
    • I learn by doing and reading blogs.
    • Self exploration of new stuff as well. RT @alvinashcraft:  Blogs, StackOverflow, conference sessions posted on @ch9
    • MVP's blogs, Build/MMS/TechEd Videos & PPTs at ch9
    • PG DL Really! Other are available public in the Internet  
    • Helping the community.  Helping others with their problems gives you problems/perspective that you'd never see on your own.
    • Peers and MS PMs.
    • IMHO feedback from people you help :)
    • The net from where we get to know the MSDNblogs, TechNet blogs, channel9 videos, discussion list and of course books
    • Watching the discussions in the MVP thread :-)  Of course, blogs, articles, etc.
    • Also learn from various forums, Answer the Qs , also get your Queries cleared

    What advice do you have on being a 'new MVP'? Caveats? What do you need to watch? How do things go around Summit?

    • If you're a new MVP, don't miss the MVP summit. The first one is always special :-)
    • Get as active in the community as possible.  Caveats: Watch your NDA ;)  For the summit - just go, it's great! 
    • Meet as many people as possible and enjoy yourself! 
    • There is a ton going on during the Summit. Make sure you experience as much as you can.
    • Advice for new MVPs: Connect with your lead and other MVPs. Attend Summit. Ask Questions. Meet peeps. Ask more questions.
    • Just continue to do what you were doing before the award - that is what got you recognized in the community.
    • Don't violate your NDA.  :) 
    • Do those things from network with fellow MVP's and your MVP Lead.
    • Take advantage of the network of peers and access to Microsoft teams, but otherwise "business as usual" for the most part!
    • Don't be afraid to speak up, and challenge things as needed.  Watch how other MVP's interact on the public/private thread.  :-)
    • Catch up with friends at the summit but also take the time to meet people in other groups. A lot of experts==a lot to learn
    • I would say: don't forget the NDA. Get excited, but don't forget it. Enjoy all the new friends you'll meet!
    • Keep in contact with your MVP Lead for any help
    • Being an MVP opens up many opportunities, be sure to take advantage of them and keep contributing to the community.

    What is the most exciting thing you have experienced as a result of being awarded as an MVP?

    • I wouldn't necessarily say "exciting" but all of the MVPs I've met have been fantastic people.
    • Interaction with product teams, opportunities to speak in the community about technology, Summit ranks fairly high as well!
    • Most exciting thing is just the number of opportunities that become available. But you have to seek them out.
    • Meeting Anders and attending the Summit
    • The MVP summit and knowing a lot of great people
    • 1) Using the tools to better the community confidence in MS tech. 2) Networking with equally passionate people.
    • Mailbox and twitter timelineexploded, the whole company got cake by the boss. My 1stonline meeting was also very cool  
    • Being able to give back more to the community
    • The product team interactions, summit, and networking top my list of most valuable experiences from being an MVP  
    • Meeting other MVP's and having dinner with Anders Hejlsberg
    • I have more friends now than ever! From Microsoft, other MVPs, community guys. This is the biggest benefit
    • The most exciting thing is gaining so many friends world-wide.
    • This'll sound corny but...meeting one of my best friends @janac.  
    • Interacting with the same experts who have developed the products we use
    • Dream to have a click with @scottgu  and @shanselman
    • Meeting the #Surface team and the other #Surface MVPs was extremely cool as well
    • Meeting developers at the summit that literally helped me get started programming.
    • So many great MVP & Microsoft friends like @patricia_eddy & many many more.  
    • Meeting with my fellow mvps! I feel like we're family :)
    • I've met so many awesome people like @tromboneforhire @aceattorney and @aka_Scratch. And there's many more like them.
    • Most exciting: attending a keynote with Bill Gates speaking, his last as the head of Microsoft.
    • Meeting a few Xbox employees I knew beforehand in person. :D
    • Live meeting with my new peers. I was 'sitting' between my heroes as one of them. Uncanny.   

    What is the biggest change in how you connect since you became an MVP?

    • The only change is that there are many more opportunities to connect.
    • Biggest change is that social media is now part of how we connect rather than something a few do and most can't find time for.
    • The opportunities to do some things I would have never done otherwise and to be able to talk things with Microsoft folks.
    • I think my connections have broadened in scope - but the mechanisms haven't really changed.   
    • I've began using Twitter alot more, mostly thanks to @pj_forgione for finding me. :)
    • Being an MVP has opened doors which is crucial for running Charity events. It was much more difficult to connect before my MVP
    • I found I connect to my peers more. They come to me and I learn from their questions
    • The biggest change for me is a great partnership to the local Xbox team, with a lot of mutual respect going on
    • Meet other experts on MS products, great networking and get advanced information from MS
    • I address concerns directly with the product team rather than ranting publically.
    • Hmm.  Change?  I guess in-person contact. I try to meet with any & all MVP's that come to NYC. (when I can)
    • But I specifically blogged to ask people not to treat me differently. I am still just Joost
    • Def better opportunities 
    • Being a Zune MVP has allowed me to help indie artists get their voices heard over the mainstream noise.

    Has the MVP Award opened career doors or helped you advance?

    • Yes definitely. It helps me in my work and I have now so much more knowledge that helps me do my work better
    • I don't think the award has directly helped in my career yet.
    • Yes as you are now considered the go to guy for a particular technology
    • I hope it will ;) 
    • It has certainly helped with credibility in the marketplace.
    • No but it has broadened my contacts base at many levels.
    • Absolutely fantastic for that   
    • The MVP award has helped me learn more information, more quickly.  This extra knowledge helps my career tremendously.  
    • I agree with the credibility part as well.  My MVP status was a key in a partnership I recently began with another site.
    • It's all about the glamour! :)
    • Definitely yes, a lot of the current projects in my enterprise came from contacts from my MVP network
    • Not yet (in 20 days not much happens) but definately planning on that
    • It looks good on my professional bio. It may have helped me secure some book deals.
    • Not yet, but I hope it does. A good step into something bigger for something I love doing. :)
    • Definitely has beyond reaching out to community members and mentoring aspiring MVPs
    • Credibility and respect, but nothing monetarily unfortunately 
    • This helped me to increase my Visibility in Career as well as in my organization.
    • May have? I am guessing it definitely did. Got me my first two book contracts directly due to connections.  
    • Yes, but it's really more about the connections as far as career advancement goes.
    • I hope! First of all is an important achievement for my job
    • Definitely, this was my 2011 Microsoft-centric goal...  2012 -> MCT  ;)

    What is the most important advice you can give to someone that would like to receive the MVP Award?

    • Contribute to your community and be passionate about what you do.  The recognition will follow.
    • Participate a lot in the community and be passionate about what you do! It shows! Also, network network network!
    • Focus on doing everything you love which helps the community - the award will hopefully come naturally.  
    • Stop talking about how much you want to be an MVP and just pursue your passion  
    • Best advice: Be active. Don't be a troll. Make a difference. Get involved!!! 
    • Don't be afraid, or reluctant to share your experience. Nobody gets things riht on the first try.
    • Don’t go after the award for attention or prestige, you are an MVP to serve the community not the other way around.
    • Be yourself, do what you love to do, be visible and be an inspiration to others. oh, and have fun doing what you do!
    • Get active in the community... blogs, forums, twitter, user groups, and code camps!
    • Advice? Just keep doing what you're doing. We don't do what we do for the award, we do it because we enjoy helping
    • Don't work for it, be passionate, and be yourself. It works! :)
    • Be active, be passionate about your product of choice, sincerely help as many people as you can.
    • Be as authentic, active and passionate in a technology (with a product team) as you can. Working with
      multiple DE's help.
    • "Be excellent to each other."
    • And my personal addition, a Yoda ripoff: don't try becoming MVP. Just BE MVP.
    • Don't make the MVP award your goal. Be awesome in the community and let things happen naturally.
    • Focus not on the award but on helping others
    • Do things with passion, do because you love technology, don't do it just for the award. Your passion will be recognized
    • Don’t do it for award. Do it and keep doing it. You'll be recognized.
    • Don't focus on it, because MVPs will one day be non-MVPs again. Majority who have it don't need it to be great.  
    • Community, blog post, social media, just overall active in your fav technology
    • Be active on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Forums, UGs  
    • Don't do it for the award. Your love for your community and product will get it for you.
    • Continue to do what you love doing   don’t make being an mvp the goal. it's the icing on the cake, not the cake :)
    • Act as a MVP regardless of the award status.     
    • My real advice is to blog as often as possible, share experiences, get involved in the SQL Community, write, present, etc.
    • Start participate in the MSFT forums, start a blogg, twitter, join conferences, and help your local MSFT office
    • If you're passionate about, tell it, tell it to everyone.  Passion is
      contagious and often its own reward. 
    • Participate to forums, communities and meetings in order to meet other tech enthusiasts and share opinions
    • Passion is the magic word... be Pasionnate ;)
    • Be active on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Forums, UGs

    This is just a sampling of the amazing contributions that MVPs made during chat. We will update this story with a link to MVP Tony Champion's (@tonychampion) tool which captured the entire chat soon!

    Thank you again to everyone who joined us today and provided such great advice. We hope you enjoyed the chat as much as we did, and we look forward to more MVP Twitter Chats in the future.


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    Welcome to this week's MVP Friday Five, filled with more information, insight and instruction from MVPs! We have compiled five more stories that were published by MVPs this week covering a broad range of topics we hope you'll enjoy.

     

    1. Community and Consulting: Is there Time for Both?

    By Visual C#: Development MVP David Giard | @DavidGiard

    In this article, David explains the benefits of contribution out in the technical community, even if it appears to take away from paid work.

     

    2. RealWorldWPDev Part 4: The Panorama

    By Windows Phone Development MVP Matt Hidinger | @MattHidinger

    This post is part four of Matt’s series on walking through building a polished, functioning Windows Phone app from start to finish.

     

    3. PASS Summit 2011 Highlights

    By SQL Server MVP Kalen Delaney | @sqlqueen

    Kalen discusses her experience as an attendee at PASS Summit 2011, including what she syas was the best part of the conference: the community.

     

    4. Roslyn: InvokeActivity Using T4

    By Platform Development: Development MVP Matthieu Mezil |@MatthieuMEZIL

    Matthieu discussed how to encapsulate InvokeActivity into an Activity and how T4 metacode can use Roslyn in order to get method information.

     

    5. Put Your SlideShare Presentations on Your Facebook Profile and Page

    By PowerPoint MVP Ellen Finkelstein | @EFinkelstein

    There’s a Facebook app called the SlideShare app that allows you display your SlideShare presentations on your Facebook profile, and in this blog post, Ellen gives you step by step instructions on how to use it.

     

    We are always looking for more MVP stories for our MVP Friday Five series. If you’re an MVP and would like your blog posts considered for our MVP Friday Five, please reach out to your MVP Lead or provide your URL in the comments section below.


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    Editor's Note: The Following MVP Monday post is by Exchange Server MVP Glen Scales

    In this blog post I’ll demonstrate how you can use Exchange Web Services (EWS) via the EWS Managed API to access an Exchange Mailbox calendar and view any appointments that are Online Lync meetings and access information associated with this appointment type. The working examples I’ll show are written to work against Exchange Online and Lync Online from the Office365 suite but they are also valid to use within a private cloud or on-premise deployment of Lync 2010 and Exchange 2010. 

    When a user schedules an Online meeting in Outlook 2010 the Lync specific information associated with that appointment gets stored in a number of MAPI properties on the Appointment Item. Below is example of these Mapi properties on an Appointment Item as viewed in a Mapi Editor 

    To access this information in the EWS Managed API requires the use of Extended Properties which allows you to access the underlying Mapi properties of any Item in the Exchange Store that you access via EWS.

    Working with Calendar Data in EWS

    To make this information a little more meaningful I’ll go through step by step the code you would need to write to access an Exchange Online Users Calendar, retrieve the appointments for the next month and filter and display the Lync specific appointments.

    Step 1 – Working out the EWS Connection details

     The first step when writing any EWS Managed API code is you need to work out the details of the Client Access Server (CAS) that your requests are going to be sent through.  Exchange
    provides the ability to find the most appropriate CAS server to use via the use of Autodiscover. Programmatically with Exchange Online the following code provides the most efficient way of getting the URL to CAS server for EWS.

    Step 2 - Connecting to the Server 

    Once you have the Url of the CAS server to connect to you are then ready to connect to the mailbox. In regards to authentication with the credentials that you are going to use to access the calendar if you are accessing a calendar other than the mailbox those credentials are associated with you have the following two authentication options. EWS Impersonation allows you to have a single service account that will then connect to a number of calendars while impersonating the owner of these calendars. Delegate access where the user has been granted specific rights to those calendars they are accessing. This example will use Delegate access. The following code fragment demonstrates how to connect to exchange and specify the user’s calendar folder you wish to access

    Step 3 – Retrieving Calendar Appointments for the next month

    To get the Exchange Server to return the Appointments the owner has scheduled for the next month in EWS you use a FindItems operation with Calendar Paging. Using Calendar paging means you’re telling EWS you want it to expand any reoccurring Appointments in the calendar because in the Exchange Store reoccurring appointments are only represented by one object with the recurrence pattern stored in a property. One of limitations of using Calendar paging is that you
    can’t use this in conjunction with a SearchFilter (Restriction) that would limit the results return based on a particular property of an Item (in this case where it’s an online appointment). What this means is that to do the final filtering of appointments you need to do some client side logic. The other thing to note when you’re using FindItems is that this operation only returns a subset of properties on an Appointment, properties such as attendees need to be loaded using a separate GetItem operation. In the example below I’ve used the Managed API’s LoadPropertiesForItems method which does a batch Get Items operation on all the Items for which you wish to retrieve the requested properties on.   The Following example shows how to retrieve all the calendar appointments for the next month and filter out those that are Online Lync Meetings the results are then stored in Datatable which then could be bound to datagrid etc … 

    Author's Bio

    Glen Scales is a freelance software developer and engineer based in Sydney, Australia who specializes in using Microsoft Exchange APIs to create customized solutions for a range of clients and industries, particularly in the realm of cloud-based services within messaging environments. He has been an Exchange MVP since 2004, contributing regularly to the Exchange development forums on TechNet and creating and sharing open source code libraries and scripts on his blog (http://gsexdev.blogspot.com)

     You can also follow him on twitter via @glenscales


     MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide our readers with a guest post from one of our MVPs every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.


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    The Springboard Series Tour travels to South America next month—and the first stop includes a roundtable meet-up with local MVPs in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    If you’re not familiar with the Springboard Series Tour, it’s a series of one day events that cover a lot of new Microsoft technologies with a focus on deep dive demos. The brainchild of Microsoft Windows IT Pro community manager (and MVP in a previous life) Stephen Rose, the Springboard Series comes to major cities around the world to give IT pros hands-on experience with new Microsoft tools and solutions.

    Windows Expert-IT Pro MVP Elias Mereb will be joining Stephen to present at TechDays on November 21st in Santiago, Chile. Elias will present in Spanish and Stephen will have a translator at his events.

    You can find all the details here. And if you’re in Sao Paulo, Lima, Buenos Aires, or Santiago next month, it will be a great chance to connect with community and we know Stephen would love to say “hi.”


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    We’re excited about the five posts we have to offer you for this week’s MVP Friday Five! This week, many MVPs were talking about the Windows Phone, so we have posts from MVPs in four different technical expertise with their perspectives on the topic. All five posts have great tips and information that you expect from MVPs.

     

    1. Window Phone APPortunities – Go Mango!

    By Silverlight MVP Cigdem Patlak | @crocusgirl

    In this post Cigdem provides an overview of the many Windows Phone content and developer opportunities out there. She also discusses the recently released Nokia Lumnia.

     

    2. Using Bing Maps SOAP Services API in Windows Phone Application

    By Visual C#: Engineering MVP Fahao Tang

    In this article, Fahao shows several demos around Bing Maps SOAP Services. This article covers four services: Geocode Service, Imagery Service, Route Service and Search Service.

     

    3. Video Import for Windows Movie Maker

    By PowerPoint MVP Shawn Toh Liang Zhou

    Shawn gives some tips on ways to easily convert video to a file type that Windows Movie Maker supports so that you can quickly and easily edit video without video-editing software.

     

    4. Property Change Notification When Using SQL CE on Windows Phone 7.1

    By Client App Dev: Development MVP Jérémy Alles | @japf

    Jérémy shares a quick syntax trick he’s using to send property change notifications in a Windows Phone 7.1 application.

     

    5. The Power of Windows Phone’s Shazam-like Music Search

    By Zune MVP Marques Lyons | @tromboneforhire

    Marques shares his experience testing out the Windows Phone music search and gives some tips for easily accessing the music later.

     

    We are always looking for more MVP stories for our Friday Five series. If you’re an MVP and would like your blog posts considered for our MVP Friday Five, please provide your URL in the comments section below or reach out to your MVP Lead!

     

     

     

     

     

     


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    Editor's Note: The Following MVP Monday post is by Silverlight MVP Michael Crump

    Introduction

    The official Kinect SDK by Microsoft has been released and I’ve recently had the chance to play with it. Before we get started you may be asking, “What is it?” Let’s see how Microsoft defines it: The Kinect for Windows SDK beta is a starter kit for applications developers that include APIs, sample code, and drivers. This SDK enables the academic research and enthusiast communities to create rich experiences by using Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect sensor technology on computers running Windows 7. In other words, it will allow you to plug in your retail Kinect and be able to create applications that use its microphone and cameras.

     

    Getting Started

    Start by reviewing what hardware you will need and download the tools to build a Kinect Application.

    Supported Operating Systems and Architectures

    • Windows 7 (x86 or x64)

    Hardware Requirements

    • Computer with a dual-core, 2.66-GHz or faster processor
    • Windows 7–compatible graphics card that supports Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0c capabilities
    • 2 GB of RAM
    • Kinect for Xbox 360® sensor—retail edition, which includes special USB/power cabling

    Software Requirements

    Additional Downloads

     

    After SDK Installation

    After installing the SDK , plug in your Kinect. When you see the “Found new Hardware” Dialog then double click on it and the following screen should appear.

    If everything goes well then you should see “Ready to use” on all of the following devices.

     

    Starting your First Kinect Project

    One of the first things that I was wondering after downloading the Kinect SDK is how to build applications using it. The answer is WPF. You can also use WinForms, but we all love XAML right? I’m not going to walk you step-by-step how to create a Kinect Application as that has been done before. What I am going to show you is 2 crucial steps that you will need to follow in order to build your first Kinect project.

    The first thing you need to do after creating a new WPF project is reference Microsoft.Research.Kinect.dll. You should be able to find it if you browse out to where the SDK is installed.

    The second thing you should do is make sure your project has the Platform target set to x86 as shown in the screen shot below. 

    By simply following these two steps you will be able to develop Kinect applications with ease.

     

    Speeding up your Kinect Development.

    We are all looking for ways to speed up our developing time while avoiding costly mistakes. When starting development for Kinect, you may find the following template/toolkits invaluable:

    Kinect Contrib

    KinectContrib is a set of VS2010 Templates that will help you get started building a Kinect project very quickly. Once installed, you will have the option to select the following templates shown below:

    Coding4Fun Kinect Toolkit

    The Coding4Fun Kinect Toolkit contains extension methods and a WPF control called the Hover Button to help you develop with the Kinect SDK. You can view a full list of the extension methods and a brief description by looking at the chart below:

     

    Conclusion

    As you can see, things are already getting easier for those working with the Kinect SDK. I imagine that after a few more months we will see the SDK go out of beta and allow commercial applications to run using it. I am very excited and hope that you continue discovering new things with the KinectSDK. I would also invite you to connect with me on Twitter and subscribe to my blog. Thank you for reading.

     

    Author's Bio

    Michael Crump is a Silverlight MVP and MCPD that has been involved with computers in one way or another for as long as he can remember, but started professionally in 2002. After spending years working as a system administrator/tech support analyst, Michael branched out and started developing internal utilities that automated repetitive tasks and freed up full-time employees. From there, he was offered a job working at McKesson Corporation and has been working with some form of .NET and VB/C# since 2003.

    He shares his findings in his personal blog: http://michaelcrump.net and he also tweets at:@mbcrump

    MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.


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    Netherlands Surface MVP Dennis Vroegop has teamed with entrepreneur Freena Eijffinger to develop an innovative touch diagnostic tool that helps diagnose autism in children using Microsoft Surface technology.

    The inspiration for the tool, Autitouch, began when it took more than seven years for doctors to diagnose Asperger’s Disorder in Freena’s brother. She began searching for a more interactive, computerized model that could accelerate the process, and discovered the potential that Surface technology had to offer.

    She teamed with Dennis early in the development process, who volunteered countless hours helping to create the tool. “Developing for Surface is just like any other piece of software,” said Dennis. “You have to have a design, skilled developers and designers, and of course a lot of passion.”

    With the help of a large grant, the support of two medical universities in the Netherlands, and Microsoft’s donation of a Surface Unit, Autitouch is poised to help people and families with autism all around the world. By developing intuitive software through a Natural User Interface, children from 3 years of age and up are able to “make contact with” and “communicate through” hardware such as the Microsoft Surface – something these children could not do before.

    A six-month research project in collaboration with the psychology department of the VU University in Amsterdam recently showed promising results for Autitouch. It has opened the door to seek official validation through a study with 400 participants, which is expected to commence in February or March next year.

    You can find out more about the tool and the work Dennis has been doing here.


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    Another week has come and gone and we’re serving up another MVP Friday Five for you! We have a wide variety of posts for you today from MVPs in many different technical expertise.  As always, all five posts have great tips and information that you expect from MVPs that were all published this week.

     

    1. 30 Days with the Cloud

    By Windows Expert-Consumer: Author MVP Tony Bradley |@TheTonyBradley

    This in the first post in Tony’s 30 Days with the Cloud series where he will publish a new post on his journey through all things cloud for thirty days!

     

    2. Configuring Forefront TMG 2010 HTTPS Inspection Inclusion List

    By Forefront MVP Richard Hicks | @richardhicks

    Richard Hicks runs through the process of Configuring Forefront TMG 2010 HTTPS Inspection Inclusion List.

     

    3. Coded UI Tests : AutomationId or How to Find the Chose One (Control)!

    By Client App Dev: Development MVP Jonathan Antoine | @jimix90

    In this article Jonathan tell you all you want to know about the AutomationID Property!

     

    4. Pitfalls of the New Technology and Version Upgrades

    By Visual C#: Architecture MVP Jaewoo Ahn

    In this article Jaewoo talks about why customers and field engineers find it difficult to upgrade to a newer .Net version. He uses real work examples that help the reader understand the voice of .Net framework development from the field.

     

    5. Test Case Customization

    By Visual Studio ALM MVP Dave Lloyd | @dlloyd

    Dave shows you how to change the Tested User Stories tab to allow for Bugs.

     

    We are always looking for more MVP stories for our Friday Five series. If you’re an MVP and would like your blog posts considered for our MVP Friday Five, please provide your URL in the comments section below or reach out to your MVP Lead!


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    Editor's Note: The Following MVP Monday post is by Data Platform Development: Training MVP William Vaughn

    What’s this all about?

    2012 marks the 40th year that I’ve been working with data. Along the way I’ve (had to) write COBOL, 360 Assembly Language, BASIC, C, Visual Basic and Visual Basic.NET programs to produce reports. Each time I had to learn a new language it meant I had to learn a new set of report development tools. I can say with some certainty that the technology created to generate reports from RDL report definitions is the easiest I’ve had to learn and use.

    How does Reporting Services Work?

    Most developers who have to create reports should have discovered the ability of Microsoft Reporting Services to host and manage a catalog of RDL reports. These reports can be built in a variety of ways—the most popular being the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) tools or Report Builder. But what many developers have not discovered is that this same (well, almost the same) RDL can be leveraged to render reports using the ReportViewer control.

    Let’s make a quick review of how RDL is processed so you’ll understand where the ReportViewer control can help build report-rich applications. First, you’ll need an RDL report. As I said, you can use BIDS to create a report which is persisted during development as an RDL extension file. Once it’s deployed to the Reporting Services report catalog, it’s encrypted and protected using a sophisticated rights-management scheme. Included in the RDL are all of the details needed to

    • Open the connection—including providing hard-coded credentials or instructions to use SSPI authentication.
    • Define any user-provided report parameters—including providing default values, acceptable values and parameter datatype constraints.
    • Generate any logic-initialized report parameters.
    • Define additional property or code expressions.
    • Run the queries needed to return report data using the parameters defined.
    • Define the report layout—including sorting, grouping, page-breaks, and any report data filtering specifications.

    Once the RDL is defined, the hosted Reporting Services engine uses the RDL to render the report by:

    • Opening the connection to the data source(s)—including dealing with (well, almost) connection issues.
    • Generating the user parameter UI dialogs and capturing the values.
    • Merge the report data into the report—this includes executing any expressions imbedded in the RDL.
    • Generate custom charts, maps or special report layouts like matrix reports.
    • Automatically handle data retrieval to help improve performance as the user interactively scrolls through the report.

    What Reporting Services Can’t Deliver

    Over the years report developers been asking Microsoft to make a number of changes to the report processors used to render the reports to further simplify their jobs. While some progress has been made, even the Denali versions of RDL still don’t provide:

    • Anything in the way of a programmable report parameter user interface including the ability to build a report-parameter “report control” to customize how report parameters are displayed and captured. This also includes the basic inability to toggle parameter visibility in expressions.
    • The ability to shield users from errors that inevitably pop up (literally) when things go wrong as reports are processed.
    • The ability to capture user “click” events as they navigate through the reports. While we’ve had programmable “Action” operations, there are far more interesting events to capture as I’ll discuss in a minute.
    • The ability to generate reports from non-supported data sources including Microsoft’s own SQL Server Compact Edition, custom data structures and Web Services (without having to write a custom data source extension).
    • The ability to manage complex Visual Basic code classes in the same BIDS/Visual Studio solution. Currently, BIDS does not support the ability to create even simple Visual Basic code classes for inclusion in reports or for generating external report-referenced DLLs.

    The ReportViewer Control to the Rescue

    Thankfully, the ReportViewer control has the ability to handle all of these thorny (and common) issues quite nicely, but before I get started let’s visit one sticky reality: Each version of Reporting Services (including Denali) supports a unique report processor capable of interpreting a single version of RDL. So far, there are 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010 report processors in existence. Each is capable of rendering its corresponding version of RDL. Unless Denali (SQL Server 2012) creates another version of RDL (which it might) that means you’ll need a ReportViewer that matches one of these versions.

    That’s the rub. Until Denali, the ReportViewer was one generation behind BIDS. That is, the ReportViewer that shipped with Visual Studio 2008 would only (locally) process 2005 RDL. Visual Studio 2010 would only work with 2008 RDL. The Denali version of the ReportViewer control is purported to work with the current (2010?) version of RDL.  In any case, the ReportViewer control can also use its built-in Server class to render any version of RDL but you revert back to the limitations described above.

    So, why is the ReportViewer control better? First, consider how the ReportViewer’s report processor is different. Check out Figure 1. Note that unlike the Reporting Services hosted report processor, the ReportViewer in “local” mode does not handle any of the data retrieval tasks at all. These are all up to your code. Local mode means the RDLc file is accessed directly by the application either from a local file or one available via URL. This also means the RDLc file is a bit different. It has its DataSources reconfigured to ensure the names match up with the report layout behind the scenes.

    Figure 1: The ReportViewer's report processor

    With the ReportViewer, you have the flexibility to:

    • Generate the parameter UI any way you like. This means you can show, hide, format and configure the parameter UI in code. This gives you infinite flexibility when it comes to populating pick lists—perhaps from a local data cache or code class. In the (simple) example in Figure 2, I’ve created a custom toolbar that helps provide an alternative to the inflexible UI generated by Reporting Services when using server-rendered reports.

    Figure 2: Custom Parameter management UI

    • Generate reports from any conceivable data source. All the ReportViewer needs is any structure that supports iBindingList. This means you can pass an array, a DataTable or almost anything you want. This also means you can open a connection to some third-party or custom database—even a SQL Server Compact Edition database you’ve generated with (or without) the Local Data Cache feature in Visual Studio. This also gives you the option of handling exceptions in any manner you choose. You decide what to do if the database is busy or unavailable or the user credentials don’t permit access to the data.
    • Capture a host of events as the report is processed. This includes events that fires when items are clicked (DrillThrough, Click and others) or when exceptions occur (ReportError).

    While I don’t have a lot of room left to get into expressions (that’s in another blog entry), consider that expressions can play a major role in the usability and performance of your reports—both developer performance (how fast you can create and maintain reports) and report performance (how quickly the report can return useful information).

    If you have Visual Studio already installed on your development system, you can create BIDS report projects that fully support inclusion of Visual Basic class modules that can be incorporated in the report Code property or for externally referenced DLLs. Add to that the ability to create application test harnesses to make sure these functions and constants are working. Of course when working with ReportViewer control projects you also have the same capability in the report/application solutions. No, the expressions must all be in Visual Basic—no C# here unless it’s an externally referenced DLL.

    I discuss the ReportViewer control in depth and illustrate a number of innovative features and a way to generate application client-picker user interfaces just using RDLc reports in my webinars held monthly by Progressive Tech Conferences. See http://betav.com/blog/billva  and search for “Progressive” for more information. There’s also a long chapter on the ReportViewer in my “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server (7th Edition)”.

    Author's Bio

    William Vaughn is a 40-year veteran of the computer industry including 14 years at Microsoft. He’s the author of a dozen works of what he calls “technical fiction” including “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server (7th Edition)” published by Addison Wesley. His company has also published his new novel “The Owl Wrangler” available on Kindle and print-on-demand from Amazon. Over the last few years he’s focused on Reporting Services and gives monthly webinars on the subject for Progressive Business Technology. See http://betav.com/blog/billva and http://theowlwrangler.com.

    MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.


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    Editor's Note: The Following a post by Silverlight MVP Brian Noyes

    It was a great week at the DevConnections Las Vegas fall conference and I thought it would be good to write a short post about the conference and why I think more developers should target this conference whenever they get a chance to attend one. This is my eighth year speaking at DevConnections, and it remains one of my favorite conferences both to speak at and attend. 

    DevConnections has a number of advantages over a lot of other conferences out there. For one thing, it is not just one conference, it is really a meta-conference combined with WinConnections for the IT crowd containing eight or so separate sub-conferences including ones focused on both developer and IT topics.  That allows you to get a number of tracks per conference across multiple disciplines that you can pick and choose from. If you want Silverlight content, you go to the Silverlight conference tracks. If you want ASP.NET, there is one for that. For core .NET topics, there is the Visual Studio conference. And so on.

    The speakers at the conference are also the very best from throughout the US and the rest of the world as well. Just take a look at the speakers roster and the number of well respected names you will see will surprise you. I also like the fact that the content is very focused on what developers need today to get their jobs done better. You get some brief exposure to the future technologies and the paths of migration to them, but the core content is more actionable and based on shipping technologies. For the more future looking stuff, they include things like the evening panel discussions I participated in last night on WinRT and Cloud adoption to discuss and learn about where we are headed. But when you attend the main conference breakout sessions it is all very code focused with lots of demos and sample code that the attendees can walk away with and use in their own projects as soon as they get back to their jobs. 

    Last week was an intense week for me presenting four session and participating in a discussion panel. I presented sessions on WCF service technologies, Async frameworks and patterns, Silverlight validation, and desktop client extensibility. I had lots of good questions and interaction in the sessions with the attendees. That is one of parts I love the most – the interaction with the crowd – hearing what they find challenging, trying to come up with answers and solutions on the fly. 

    So if you haven’t had a chance to make it to a DevConnections conference, you need to try harder! Come for the content, come for the answers, come for the choices in content, or… well it is in Vegas.

    Author's Bio:

    Brian Noyes is Chief Architect of IDesign, a Microsoft Regional Director, and Silverlight MVP. He is a frequent top rated speaker at major conferences worldwide including Microsoft TechEd, DevConnections, DevTeach, and others. His most recent book is Developers Guide to Microsoft Prism 4, and is the author of Developing Applications with Windows Workflow Foundation, Smart Client Deployment with ClickOnce, and Data Binding with Windows Forms 2.0. Brian got started programming as a hobby while flying F-14 Tomcats in the U.S. Navy, later turning his love for code into his current career.


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