Mission Mars: Toronto – June 16, 2017

Mission Mars

Microsoft is hosting a series of Mars-based technical training events around the world in June and they are stopping in Toronto. It’s also travelling to Montreal and Vancouver.

Mission Mars is a fun, space-themed day-long seminar that utilizes the latest Microsoft tools and services to solve challenging puzzles. Using Azure IoT Hub, Azure Functions and Cognitive Services, your job is to work on the red planet to  “recover the crew and get humanity’s progress back on track”.

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Build Tour Toronto – June 10, 2016

Build Tour 2016

MAY 18, 2016 UPDATE: Registration is now OPEN via https://toronto.build2016.com/register.

The Microsoft Build Tour is returning to Toronto again this year. Just like last year, the event will feature a keynote that highlights the best of Build as well as sessions and demos. You can see a tentative schedule below.

The Toronto event will take place on Friday, June 10, 2016. This is the only event listed for Canada and the only one of the nine within North America. Microsoft Technical Evangelists and lead engineers from Microsoft’s Corporate Offices will deliver the content and it will offer relevant information for ISVs and App Developers. Also included during the day are an Ask the Experts Panel Discussion and Networking Opportunities. The best part is that it is FREE!

Event registration is not open yet. However, you can show your interest by submitting your name and email address. Microsoft will notify you when registration opens.

Agenda

08:30 – 10:00 Registration
10:00 – 11:30 Keynote
11:30 – 13:00 Session
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 17:00 Sessions
17:00 – 18:00 Q & A Panel and Closing
18:00 – 19:00 Reception

Write Once, Publish Anywhere

This article was also published on the Canadian Developer Connection blog under the title Write Once, Publish Anywhere.

Developers love to write code and a great many also like to write blog posts. However, it can be hard to find time to publish blog articles and to keep your site updated. I want to use this space to share an idea that I have been trying recently to motivate myself to put out more content.

I have often said that every developer needs a developer’s blog. As Scott Hanselman eloquently states, Your Blog is The Engine of Community. The benefits of having your own site can be immense:

  • It is a place where you can share your opinions on technology.
  • You can showcase your skills and display your side projects.
  • Demonstrates that you can learn on your own time and that you are abreast of current technologies.
  • That you care about the developer community and you want to give back.
  • All of your posts are searchable and your work is easily accessible to future employers.
  • It shows that you can communicate your thoughts in a professional manner.
  • Serves as a portal to all your social media profiles.

I have been blogging more lately and I have recently adopted the theory of “write once, publish anywhere”. Based on the developer’s axiom of “write once, run anywhere”, it is the idea of producing one item but being able to use it at least two times. Another analogy that I can relate it to is simulcasting in TV. The television episode is created once and then it is distributed to multiple TV stations.

My blogging activities are trying to replicate this philosophy as I want to reuse my articles in several places. First I look for third-party sites that I can submit to initially. Once it appears on the site I then take the same piece and re-blog it to my own site several days later. This way I create content for two sites. I get the benefit of my work being listed on another’s site, RSS feeds, Twitter announcements, etc. and they get fresh material for their pages. As well, I am still providing new content to my own blog.

The nice thing is as .NET developers and Microsoft technologists there are a lot of places where you can contribute articles. The following links are sites you can use to post content to:

In addition, if you search for the term “Write for us” (in quotes) combined with the topic you wish to talk about you will generally find a blog or magazine looking for submissions. Granted, you do not want to author for just anyone so vet the site first. Read a few excerpts and see if the items are of value.

If none of the links above appeal to you then reach out to your favourite website or blogger and ask if they accept guest pieces. They just might surprise you and say yes. Then, once you have found the one you want — go for it! Work with the editors to get it just right for their audience. Even if your content is rejected in the end you will still have a post you can use on your own site.

Do you know of other sites that accept Microsoft-based articles? If so, feel free to add them in the comments!

Build Tour Toronto – June 12, 2015

Build Tour Toronto

JUNE 06, 2015 UPDATE: A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page has been added to the toronto.build15.com site. The page states that “Breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and beverages are provided to all attendees throughout the event.” Conference presentations will be also be available after the event through Channel 9 at channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build As well, a FREE Azure Pass is also being offered to all attendees so they can get up and running with Azure in minutes. The Azure Pass gives you a new account with a $100 credit. More information can be found at toronto.build15.com/azurepass.

Microsoft recently held two highly successful conferences for developers and IT professionals called Build 2015 and Microsoft Ignite. Both events were attended by thousands of people and during each Microsoft announced exciting new advances for many of its products including Windows 10, Microsoft Azure, and Office 365.

One of the best things that Microsoft does at these events is that they film and then share all of the presentations through their video learning site Channel 9. Many of the videos are available 24-48 hours after each session concludes and viewers can stream or download them in different file qualities. As well, most include the PowerPoint files as well. Click these links to find all the session videos for Build and Ignite.

Microsoft has taken a further step this year by announcing a 26-stop world Build Tour to bring the Build 2015 experience to those who could not attend in person. Each event will showcase highlights from //build/ and include a deep dive for developers into the Windows 10 platform. There will also be coding sessions and demos across multiple devices. Each location will have Partner showcases and Q & A sessions with Microsoft engineers. The best part is that it is FREE!

The only Canadian stop on the tour will be //build/Toronto on June 12, 2015 at the Design Exchange in downtown Toronto. Joe Stegman, Group Program Manager for Microsoft’s XAML User Interface (UI) team, will be delivering the day’s keynote address. There will also be sessions by other Microsoft staffers including:

  • Jeff Burtoft, Senior Program Manager for Developer Experience at Microsoft.
  • Nikola Metuleva, a Program Manager in the Engineering Engagement and Evangelism (EEE) group.
  • Vlad Kolesnikov, a Senior Program Manager in Microsoft Developer Experience group.

To find more information on the event or to register, visit //build/Toronto.

MVP Virtual Conference – May 14 & 15, 2015

MVP Virtual Conference 2015

This week, Microsoft is hosting the 2015 MVP Virtual Conference  (MVP V-Conf). It is a free, 2-day online event which will showcase how Microsoft is making sense of the mobile-first, cloud-first world.  The event runs May 14 & 15, 2015 from 8am to 6pm Pacific Time.

There will be 95 sessions broken down into five tracks:

  • IT Pro Track
  • Developer Track
  • Consumer Track
  • LATAM Track (Spanish)
  • Brazil Track (Portuguese)

The conference will be hosted by Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) from the America’s region.  This year’s theme is “The Power of Community” and it is designed to showcase how the community can help people learn and grow their skills. It also demonstrates how MVPs contribute to their local IT community.

A slew of Microsoft MVPs from Canada are also involved as presenters and moderators. Look for sessions from Colin Melia (@colinizer), Andrei Marukovich (@amarukovich), Mark Schramm (@markbschramm), and Atley Hunter (@atleyhunter).

Steven Guggenheimer (@StevenGuggs), Corporate Vice President of the Developer eXperience (DX) group at Microsoft Corp, will deliver the MVP V-Conf keynote address.

Come learn how the best and brightest independent technology experts are using Microsoft products today.

To find more information on the event or to register, visit the MVP V-Conf site.

Getting started with Curah!

Curah!

I must admit that I had never heard of Curah! from Microsoft until a few weeks ago. Now that I have created my own account and played around with it I can see the potential of it.

Curah! allows you to “Curate the web and share what you know,” according to Microsoft. It is a portal to both share and discover collections of technical content. The premised is simple. You sign in at http://curah.microsoft.com with your Microsoft account and create a profile. Your profile and picture act as a sort of advertisement for your curations. People can look at your background to see if you have knowledge of the areas you are curating.

A curation is designed to target common user questions. It contains a title, description and tags. It also has links to websites, blog posts, videos, infographics, and basically anything else you want to share with others on your topic. You can include whatever you think people will need to learn about the subject. The links can be resources that you used to learn or they can be items you wish you knew about when you were learning your subject.

Curations are easy to create and once they are published become a collection of annotated links available for all to see. Your name remains on the curation. I created three curations easily enough and they were published in no time. I focused on topics I knew well and in the end I built curations on Application Insights, Azure eBooks, and .NET User Groups in Ontario. All of my curations can be seen under my profile.

If you only wish to use the site for technical content research then you do not need an account. You can search for any topic and it will scan curations by description and title. You can also filter curations by their tags.

So, give Curah! a try – either if you are looking to find a resource or if you would like to create your own curations to share your expertise.

Free Azure Training Resources

This article is also available on the Canadian Developer Connection blog under the title Get Ready for Global Azure Bootcamp.

In honor of Global Windows Azure Bootcamp, which will be next month on April 25, 2015, I decided to create a list of free Microsoft Azure training resources to help you prepare. If you would like to participate in a Global Azure Bootcamp you can find a participating location near you.

Books

Microsoft Press recently started releasing a series of new Azure books:

However, other free e-books on Azure also exist:

Videos

There are several great sites where you can find Azure video training:

Channel 9

There is two types of Azure video content available on Channel 9.

  • The first are traditional Azure videos which can be found by doing a search for the word Azure on the main page.
  • The second are two weekly shows that cover Azure. Bothcan be accessed from the links in their names or as a video podcast in iTunes.
    • One is Azure Friday, a show hosted by Scott Hanselman, which presents videos on the latest Azure releases in bite-sized chunks. Most shows are about 10-15 minutes in length. You can also download every Azure Friday video using this PowerShell script by Microsoft’s Marc Gagné.
    • The other is the Microsoft Azure Cloud Cover show. This program is more in-depth and the length of a show can range from 25 minutes to one hour.

Microsoft Virtual Academy

The Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is a traditional video learning environment where you can watch full-length training videos on designated topics. You can either choose to sign in to chart your progress or you have full access without logging in. The videos are not just Azure based but cover all types of Microsoft technologies. The Azure courses are constantly being updated. Generally, the courses are recorded as a live event so you can follow along if you wish or you can watch the recording later. Most courses also have assessments after each module so you can gauge your progress.

Within MVA is a series called Microsoft Azure Fundamentals which contains an introductory course on Azure and subsequent courses on websites, storage and data, and virtual machines.

Microsoft Azure YouTube Channel

Many people may not know there is a Microsoft Azure YouTube channel as well. Here you can find all sorts of videos about things like how to Supercharge your Datacenter to working with Docker in Azure. Subscribe to the channel to stay up to date. You can also find all of the Tuesdays with Corey series by Corey Sanders here as well.

Pluralsight

Pluralsight is a third-party company dedicated to producing high quality videos for developers around the world. They have 40+ beginner, intermediate, and advanced trainings on Microsoft Azure in their catalog. Pluralsight offers a 10-day trial where you can watch an unlimited amount of videos for free.

Podcasts

We touched on video podcasts above but there are also audio podcasts too that cover Microsoft Azure.

  • The Microsoft Cloud Show is hosted by Andrew Connell and Chris Johnson. They offer the latest news on the cloud and how they see it.
  • The Azure Podcast offers insight into different areas of Azure in these short, timely podcasts.

Articles

Hands-On-Labs, Online Training & Certifications

  • Azure Readiness – A repository in GitHub that contains all of the content to run your own Dev Camp. This repository has both the slide decks and the Hands-on-Labs for you to learn at your own pace.
  • AzureConf 2014 – A virtual conference in October 2014 that was hosted by Channel 9. This one-day event had a keynote followed by several presentations. All of the sessions were recorded for Channel 9.
  • Azure IaaS for IT Pros Online Event – A four-day virtual event in December 2014 that was hosted on Channel 9. This was billed as in-depth Azure training for IT Professionals. You can learn all about Azure IAAS in this series of videos.
  • Building Real-World Cloud Apps with Windows Azure – An online e-book designed to walk you through creating an end-to-end cloud app. Although it is from June 2013 it still has some relevant information.
  • .NET Azure Documentation – Contains information on combining Azure with .NET and Visual Studio. Lots of samples here to work with.
  • Learning map for Azure Websites – Follow the guidance on this page for an effective learning path through Azure Websites content.
  • Microsoft Azure Documentation Center – Houses all of the Microsoft Azure information you will need.

Certifications

Tools

  • trywebsites.azurewebsites.net – Experiment with Azure Websites for one hour with your Google or Facebook account —­­ free of charge and commitment.
  • Azure PowerShell – A module that provides cmdlets to manage Azure through Windows PowerShell.

Blogs & Sites

User Communities

Events

Azure on Twitter