11/14/14

MMS 2014 – Minnesota

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I had the absolute pleasure to present at MMS Minnesota this year. What a well organized and fun event!! Everything was perfect. The location and hotel were top notch! The signs were so cool around the conference rooms!. The Scheduling tool was the best that I’ve come across. The ladies at the registration desk for the event were super nice. The Vendors booths were pretty cool (Keep an eye on Parallels config man tool..hot prospect for managing Macs when new features get rolled out in the coming weeks), certainly introduced me to some new products for future consideration and most importantly the content of the presentations were awesome! Brian Mason and his team in Minnesota, really did a great job with this event. I even heard from some of the attendees that it was much better than MMS in 2013 (before it was canned in favor of Ignite)

I never had the opportunity to attend MMS before, I was flying into this one pretty blind. I presented two sessions with Fred Bainbridge on the subject of App-V. I really hope those who attended enjoyed them. Unfortunately, I was feeling pretty under the weather by the time our sessions rolled around. I guess the drastic change in climate from Arizona to Minnesota caught up with me a little. I wasn’t at my sharpest, that’s for sure. I hope there some of the info in there, kept people interested. I enjoyed presenting anyways :)

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I think that I went to about three SCCM based sessions and obviously hosted my own sessions too with the rest of those that I attended, being focused completely on Powershell! To say I learned a lot about Powershell would be putting it lightly. The sessions presented by Trevor Sullivan,Jeff Wouters and David O’Brien being my personal favorites. If you attended multiple sessions from those guys, I think it gave us a great building block for Powershell, covering just good practices worth knowing like; using splatting in your coding or correct Remoting techniques which were also covered by Aleksandar Nikolic. I’ve never received formal Powershell training, I got an ebook and went through examples and learned that way. I’ve used Powershell whilst working as an SCCM 2012 Admin, Managing App-V 5.0, Working Remotely on another machine and also when creating Custom Actions for MSI Installs. I believe after this event, I’ll be able to go back to the ISE and get more creative. Thanks to all involved for that!

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Trevor (left), David (middle) and Jeff (right) kicking ass!

On Tuesday night, there was a beers session which covered the topic of how to start your own User Group. I’ve tried and failed twice now, to setup User Groups. I took a lot of notes!! I’m planning to give it another go in the new year with some of the info I learned. I got disheartened when I only got about 8 people registered. But I learned, 8 was probably about right for the first few meet-ups anyways and to not even worry if I only had 2 show up. It’s a start! Kittens also seemed to be an obsession by those presenting at this conference!! Which didn’t go un-noticed by the organizers!!

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This was also my first time ever being to the state of Minnesota. The people were very friendly. Every moment that I found myself alone, somebody came up to talk to me. It was such a great networking occasion! I even got invited to visit a lad over in Denmark who flew across for the week. Shout out to Lars! We enjoyed some fine Scottish Whiskey and I think I owe him one! If you are thinking about going next year, do it! You won’t be disappointed. I really hope, I get the opportunity to go back myself! Thanks again to all involved!

I thought for those who attended that it would be interesting to see some of the twitter stats. I tried to be active, live tweeting the event in order to promote it for potential future attendees! Here ya go:

Stats

 

Messages

 

By the way, I won a $20 voucher for tweeting. If you attend a conference, it helps to live tweet. It’s promotion for the event and if you hear a nugget of info that you found enlightening, odds are somebody else in the TwitterLand would also find it enlightening. It’s good to be a community that shares!

Rory

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11/14/14

MVP Summit 2014

Hi All,

Recently, I’ve been in a whirlwind of traveling. Unfortunately, I had a bereavement in the family which meant I had to go back to Ireland at short notice. I’ve also presented at a few different conferences. It’s been a crazy few months, I’ve neglected this site, which is something I plan to correct. I plan to wipe my entire lab environment this weekend and start again. Once I’ve got everything back up and running, I’ll have some great new App-V posts, I’ll also start to put some more finishing touches to App-V recipes that I have in a drafted state. If you haven’t checked out my recipes yet, you can by clicking: HERE , I hope you’ll notice I go into a lot of detail with these recipes to make them as straight forward as possible, the trade off is that it takes a lot of time to post them.

That’s a quick state of the union on my lack of posting and recent activities. Let me tell you a little bit about the MVP Summit!

Last year, I received my MVP award for the first time on October 1st, which gave me very little time to plan and organize my trip to Redmond. But I got really excited and decided, no matter what, I had to go. I didn’t get a wide choice of hotels, the flights were a little pricey and I had to use PTO to go. I also, only got to attend 2.5 days. BUT, I really made the most of it. I got there on the weekend and drove up to Vancouver on the Saturday morning around 4am and explored the city. I got back to Seattle around 4pm and explored that great city! On the Sunday morning I got up early, yet again and took the ferry to Bainbridge and drove up to the Olympic Game Park to see the internet famous, waving Bears :)

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This year, I got there good and early again. Arriving on the Friday night. On Saturday morning, I drove down to Portland, Oregon and got some Doughnuts at the renowned Voodoo Doughnuts and then drove out to Multnomah Falls! A site that is amazing! It made the driving, well worth it! I got back to Seattle that evening and walked around the place, taking in the cool vibe of the city, watching the antics of the fish mongers down at Pike Place Market, Marveling at the beautiful scenery out over the Puget Sound, and stopping by Serious Pie for some dinner! One of the best Pizzas that I’ve ever had! A wonderful first day!

Second day was even better! On Sunday, I drove to Mount Rainier, it was a long trek again. When I got to the gate the Park Ranger there informed me that I needed chains on my tires, that it was mandatory after the 1st of November. I said, it’s a rental so I don’t have any. She then told me, She can’t stop me from going in, she can only tell me about their policy, which makes the whole mandatory thing a bit confusing! I decided it was worth the risk and it was! It ranks as one of the most unique places that I’ve visited in the entire country!

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Enough about the weekend tourism! Let’s get to the Summit.

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Firstly, I should say that the Microsoft Campus is incredible. You really need to see it to believe the enormity of the place! It’s also breath ‘takingly’ beautiful in Redmond around that time of year (Early November) the leaves on the trees had changed colors. The campus was colored in a beautiful contrast of yellow, green and red. If there was any blue leaves, it would have completed the Microsoft logo colors!!

I got there quite late on Sunday, so I registered for the event, got some greasy fast food and went to bed. Got up early on Monday morning, had some breakfast and drove to the Campus. My first day was nothing but App-V and it was amazing! I would have to say, over the two years that I’ve attended, this was my favorite day. We had a really great, fun and innovative session in which we all brainstormed around what is most important to us with App-V. I won’t go into details, as I don’t want to break NDA! #NDA :) but it was interesting to see what my peers chose vs what I chose. It was also cool to be in the room with members of the App-V team and see their reactions.

Monday was also the day that I presented! I had the absolute pleasure of presenting with Ruben Spruijt who is a leading experts and one of the most highly regarded gurus in the Industry. We’ve worked together over the last couple of years on the Application Virtualization Smackdown White Paper which can be found HERE , I learned a lot by presenting with him and watching him do his thing. It has inspired me to work on my own presenting technique.

Monday was also the day I met some of the newer App-V MVPs such as Cody Lambert, Bram Wolfs and Ralph Jansen, all very nice and cool people. They seemed to fit right in with the group. When the sessions were finished for the day, we all met up at the Commons. All Product Groups were invited to hang out together. I was late however, due to losing my rental car..like I said, the campus is enormous!! I wasn’t the only one either!! I met the same guy twice around the parking areas who also couldn’t find his car. What a maze! On Tuesday we had a day learning some more about App-V, UE-V and RDS. Session of the day had to go to Tim Mangan a.k.a The Godfather of App-V and Benny Tritsch who I guess would be Dr. RDS :) I’ve seen Tim present a couple of times before, he’s a master, he really just seems so comfortable speaking to a large crowd. Although, I’ve met Benny before at other conferences, I never had the pleasure to see him actually speak. He was incredible! He said so many really concise and profound things about the current tech and where it needs to be. Simply amazing! Tuesday night we got to see, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella speak. #NDA, sorry! While I was there, I happened to bump into Charbel Nemnom who is a Hyper-V MVP in the Middle East, with whom I’ve had a few conversations with over the last few months! It’s really cool seeing so many people from so many different regions, all brought together by technology. Great job, Microsoft!
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After that, the other App-V MVPs, Product Group and I went to nice a Mexican restaurant called Cactus in downtown Bellevue and had a few cervezas. Of course, we mostly talked shop. #NDA :-) It was a fun night and unfortunately was to be the last time I got to speak with the group this year. My hope is that next year, Ralph and Bram can come over earlier and join in on my weekend sight seeing before the Summit. It was their first time in the United States! I want to show them more than just the Campus and Bellvue next year. I only had time to attend one morning discussion, before heading over to the visitor center and then on to the airport. Unfortunately, I missed the group event again this year, which is a shame and in the end, I think maybe I could have stayed and attended. But as I was presenting at another conference the next week, I decided to not push my luck with my employers and split early. Hopefully next year, I’ll get to stay all week!

Just like last year, I had a great time! The App-V Group is great and I love being a part of it! It’s inspired me to knuckle down again and keep active in the community. I guess all of the presentations at conferences in the last few months, was a good start but I know I can blog much more useful stuff and at a more detailed level. So watch this space!

In closing, If you have any aspirations to become an Microsoft MVP in your expertise of choice, go for it with all you’ve got. It is so worth it! It’s a lot of work but you won’t regret it.

Rory