Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Look at the Windows Azure ISV Guest Post Series

A few months ago, on the Windows Azure blog, I announced a new Windows Azure ISV Blog Series, where our worldwide Windows Azure team would be writing about the ISVs we’ve been working with, and the applications they’re running on Windows Azure. We’ve had some really cool posts since the announcement, with ISVs from the US, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, India and Brazil.
  • BrainCredits, a system to help people track all their informal learning on a virtual transcript. Written by BrainCredits co-founder David Hoerster.
  • Digital Folio, an Internet browser plug- that allows end users to compare prices and find product suggestions while shopping online.
  • Sociobridge, a Content Management System for Facebook pages, from ReedRex.
  • Tribe of Noise, a social networking community for musicians and the music business. Written by Tribe of Noise founder Hessel van Oorschot.
  • FieldVisor and ScadaVisor, web-based services to help oil and gas companies streamline production activities and increase production output. Written by Fielding Systems founder Shawn Cutter.
  • CloudNinja for Java, a multi-tenant reference application for Java-based apps in Windows Azure. Written by Shreekanth Joshi, AVP Cloud Computing at Persistent Systems.
  • Kern4Cloud, a multi-tenant information management service sold in a SaaS model with subscriptions managed and paid through the Windows Azure Marketplace. Written by Miguel Parejo, CTO at Softlibrary.
  • SQL Azure Federations. Exploring the use of SQL Azure's scale-out capabilities through federated shards, as well as an open-source sample application. Written by Trent Swanson, Principal, Full Scale 180.
  • Qeystone and Continuous Integration. A look at Minitab’s efforts to bring their Qeystone product suite to Windows Azure, including their use of Continuous Integration. Written by Michael Yeaney, Enterprise Web Architect at Minitab.
  • Icertis: Workflow and Contract Lifecycle Management. Icertis built their latest contract management system from the ground up to take advantage of Windows Azure, with specific attention toward workflows (both hosted workflows via Workflow Foundation and SharePoint Online workflows). Written by Monish Darda, CTO at Icertis.
  • Linx: LinxWeb, a multi-tenant Point-of-Sale application running on Windows Azure, taking advantage of blobs and CDN to reduce load on Web servers and database. Written by Fernando Chaves, e-Commerce Manager at Linx.


These are all real-world examples and in-production systems, and the folks writing about them are sharing some great info about their architecture decisions.

There are several more stories queued up, and I’ll keep this list updated as they’re published.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Join my team at Microsoft!

Oh, this is too-cool news! My team has a new job opening, for an OSS-savvy individual who wants to bring their skills to Windows Azure. One lucky victor will get to do some really cool stuff!

  • Present to CxO-level and help to define cloud strategy for ISVs
  • Engage in “complementary” communities (non-.NET languages, non-Microsoft 3rd-party apps) through presentations, blogs, and other channels
  • Drive technical architecture and design for our top ISVs
  • Coach and grow worldwide team of technical and business evangelists
  • Deliver on technical readiness activities for partners and the internal worldwide team
  • Work closely with internal Product Groups and Business Groups to give product feedback, influence product roadmap and priorities, and remove technical blockers

Ideally, you’re situated somewhere around Silicon Valley or Redmond. But don’t let that deter you from submitting your street-creds and giving it a shot!

The job posting is on the Microsoft Career site, here.

Questions about the position? Feel free to leave comments here. Or… you can email me at Microsoft or DM me on twitter (even if it’s just to let me know that you applied, or that you might know someone else who might be a good fit), and we’ll go from there.

Monday, April 2, 2012

April Foolery 2012 at Home

Being the jokester that I am, you can naturally assume that this trend runs in the family. Indeed, my children seek out every opportunity to play tricks on Dad. Even when they were little tots, I recall such classic attempts as “Daddy, your cell phone is on fire! APRIL FOOLS!” Of course, the moment I played a trick on them, they’d return to their juvenile roots, complete with crying and running to Mom for support.

Fast-forward a few years. My son, a recently-anointed teenager, seemed just about the right age to be targeted this year. Problem is, he’s a smart kid, familiar with my constant pranks and jokes. So I went with something juvenile, assuming he’d get a good laugh out of it. Little did I know he’d take put aside all logic and reasoning, and simply fall for the prank…

The Setup

A bit of history on my son, and why this prank worked… He’s become a bit of a gamer, and now has his own YouTube channel. He produces lots of Xbox gaming walkthroughs, and more recently has gotten into some really cool music video production with Sony Vegas Movie Studio, synchronizing FPS play with some of his favorite songs. His latest montage can be seen here.

As part of his world of gaming, he’s become enamored with Microsoft Points. Between stocking stuffers and bing searches, he accumulates points and turns them into downloadable content for various games.

Combining YouTube and Points: What if something came along that offered him increased viewership and a bunch of points to go with it?

The Prank

I receive at least one Xbox Live email update monthly, and there are often promotions announced. I decided to take one of these emails, alter it, and forward it to my son. The premise:

  • I won 10,000 Microsoft Points in a March Madness contest
  • My gamertag would be featured in an upcoming online ad campaign
  • I was willing to give my son all of my points, and ask Microsoft to use his gamertag instead, to help promote his YouTube channel (and yes, I know YouTube is not a Microsoft-owned property).

I barely spent any time on the fake email, as I was merely looking to get a laugh out of the absurdity. Here’s a snippet of the email:


Yes, it’s littered with errors: capitalization of Xbox, “gamer tag” being two words instead of one, inability to transfer points, etc. Yet, he completely believed it (maybe because he was in the middle of editing his next video blog post?). He was my bestest friend. He was dreaming of the possibilities, of the increased friend requests, downloadable content, and more! He even tweeted about it. Here’s a conversation snippet:





He was about to publish a video-blog, telling the whole world of his spoils. Fortunately I let him in on the joke beforehand – I really wasn’t out to embarrass him, and I’m pretty sure he actually would absolutely hate me if I let the joke go that far.


This morning, he posted a vlog about the incident (starting at the 3:00 mark). He was a good sport about it, even as he tore apart the email, pointing out all of its glaring errors. And… he’s now threatened to get even with me. Maybe today, maybe next week, only that I should not count on him waiting until next April 1. I guess it’s time to brace myself for the worst…