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Dan Stolts

TechNet Flash, Volume 11, Issue 13 - June 17, 2009
TechNet Flash East Region IT Pro Extras from Evangelist Dan Stolts

Tech·Ed + Tough Economic Times + Microsoft Resources + Community + Windows 7 = Great Opportunities

There is a ton of content available from many sources including Tech·Ed 2009. Look at how this – plus help from Microsoft IT Pro Evangelists, literally hundreds of community meetings and events, and many community groups – adds up to great opportunities to expand your technical competence.

In the current economic climate, many of us have a job and many do not. All of us are finding it important to improve our value to current or perspective employers. This is the perfect time to make sure you’re aware of the vast opportunities available, live and online, for increasing the value you add to your employer or for adding bullets to your resume.

The Tech·Ed 2009 Conference in California had hundreds of presenters teaching and talking about the newest technologies available today, as well as the new technologies of tomorrow. You can download some of the content, and can also watch the keynote. While you are there, you will find there are many interviews with the product groups and other experts available to help you expand your technical prowess. In addition to Tech·Ed, Let’s take a look at the massive number of community opportunities available now.

The Microsoft IT Pro Evangelists are making themselves available to help with community events. There are many technology communities. One in particular you might want to look at is Boston User Groups, who have a great calendar of literally hundreds of events and meetings that take place in your local community. (Hint: they do not just serve Boston.) Notice that on the right hand side there is a long list of community groups. Find a topic of interest and show up to a meeting or two. The networking and learning opportunities are endless. Check out Microsoft’s User Group Community site. It has links to many other affiliate groups and community activity links. Mindshare User Groups is one of them. If just attending some of these events or viewing the webcasts is not enough to fill your needs, you may want to start your own user group so you can create and take maximum advantage of the networking and learning opportunities. Most of the time, who you know is far more important than what you know. If you do start your own group, make sure you contact your local Microsoft IT Pro Evangelist to get help and guidance.

With the many new products Microsoft will be releasing in the next 12 months (including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2), there will be a massive influx of online and live events taking place. The trick is finding out when and where these events are going to happen. In addition to the Boston User Groups calendar we discussed earlier, you might want to subscribe to my blog. I am pretty good about posting all events I am involved with. I sometimes post about other events that my team is doing as well. If you want to make sure you are aware of all of them, you can get links to all of their blogs from the TechNet Events Team page. Another really good events resource is the Microsoft Events and Webcasts page. On this site you can browse by type of event (live or online), location, topic, and more. Or, if you prefer, you can just search for events. Remember, this site includes only Microsoft official events so you still need to check out the community sites like Boston User Groups to make sure you do not miss some really good ones.

A few other good sites for getting great content are:

  • TechNet Edge has many screencasts and presentations posted. This site is updated regularly so you will likely want to bookmark it.
  • Thrive has several categories of technology training available. It also features a really cool online IT skills test/game called ServerQuest II.
  • IT Manager Community Hub is for IT managers. If you are one or want to be one, this is the site for you.
  • is a pretty incredible site as well if you know how to use it. It has a vast amount of information. You want to learn about a topic that is Microsoft-related, just click All Products and select the product from the list. This will take you to the main page of that product. If you have not been there in a while, you will likely be amazed at how much content is available. You might want to try the other links from the home page as well. Training and Events as well as Security have some pretty impressive sites. There are more – too many to list.

OK, I know what you are thinking if you have gotten this far. “This is an overwhelming amount of information!” Am I right? So, what are you going to do about it? You have a few choices:

  • You can do a small subset of these things and reap some rewards.
  • You can bookmark this page for follow-up and never get back to it “because life happens.”
  • You can skip it and gain nothing.
  • You can mark your calendar to set some time aside for a daily or weekly recurring event to take advantage of these great resources and opportunities to put the full formula in play (Tech·Ed + Tough Economic Times + Microsoft Resources + Community + Windows 7= Great Opportunities) and reap the rewards of all the opportunities.

I hope you will opt to take full advantage of the opportunities around you. If you do, you will thank me for it in the future.

Before I let you go, let me just share some immediate topics with you that you might want to make a note of and/or mark on your calendar.

If you have not heard yet about, I strongly encourage you to take a look at this incredible engine. I have already made it my default search engine. If you have not seen these videos, you must take a couple minutes to see what is going on. This is clearly the future of Web searching.

How-Do-I Videos
Check out these short How-Do I Videos that focus on specific tasks and show you how to accomplish them, step-by-step. Subscribe to the TechNet videos RSS feed to learn about new videos.

Exchange 2010 Webcast Series

On demand: High Availability
On demand: Overview
On demand: Management Tools
On demand: Archiving and Retention
On demand: Outlook Web Access
June 17, 2009: Architecture
June 22, 2009: Federation
June 24, 2009: Voice Mail enabled by Unified Messaging
June 29, 2009: Information Protection and Control
July 1, 2009: Transition and Deployment

For those that you already missed, you can catch them on demand.

One more thing: if you can take a minute to give me some personal feedback about this newsletter and perhaps some ideas for other topics I would love to hear from you. Send me an e-mail. Also, keep in mind there will very likely be Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and many other product webcasts series scheduled. Keep up with my blog to make sure you do not miss them.

Dan Stolts IT Pro Evangelist | IT Pro Community Lead - North East