Sad to see this happen, have a lot of good memories as a child of that base and flying with my Grandfather George Charity. The black and white photos were taken sometime in the late 40s or early 50s. I have several pictures from George of his days flying in the north. below are some pictures of the planes notably, Austin’s first Beaver CF-FHX. The color picture is of the Georgian bay Airways base that was torn down in the late 70s and is now a park.
The year kicked off with a vacation in Florida staying at Marriott World in Orlando, visits to Sarasota, Tampa and Daytona. Sarasota has one of the most amazing beaches around – Siesta Key. This much needed vacation was a nice break from Toronto weather.
Staying at Marriott world was very relaxing, located in south Orlando, this is a huge hotel with several pools, bars, restaurants and there is also a lot to do in the surrounding area. I first stayed here in 2007 during Microsoft TechEd and planned to return.
Jenna graduated from grade school and is now in High School, I attended her graduation dance – was a lot of fun. They grow up fast!
Bands are doing well, have been playing every weekend to refine my playing style, stage presence and most of all have fun. Playing Toronto and the surrounding areas, I have met a lot of people and caught up with some old friends.
Had the bike out several times this past summer. Patio hopping as I call it, cruise, stop at patio bar….repeat as required. Really enjoying this bike, looks great, relaxing to ride and built like a tank.
Several trips to NYC and NJ this year, mix of training and meetings. Also travelled to Halifax for a conference and returned to Vancouver for a conference as well. Great city, almost moved there in 98 but decided to remain in Toronto due to job and family.
Next year I plan to do much the same, trip somewhere south, weekly gigs with the band, bike rides in the summer and some cycling. No more trips planned to the city or NJ this year.
Each year I wonder what’s next. The industry I’m in is kind of crazy / unstable for the most part – Corporate America mostly. When I talk with others in Europe and Australia, they don’t seem to have the same problem – Merica and its model is the problem. With HP it was the consolidation of the hardware giants (And now they have split due to business model conflict and manageability). In SharePoint land I think we’ll see continued consolidation / acquisitions and further change in the landscape as IaaS and SaaS gains momentum and the technology matures further. Perhaps some venders will rebrand and take a different direction such as applications, add-ons and expand their services portfolio to boost ailing revenues and margins. Seen it before, time will tell…
In one of my favorite cities this week attending MISA BC at the Pinnacle Hotel in North Vancouver – Great location for a conference. For those not familiar with MISA, it exists to promote greater co-operation among local government staff in the IT field by sharing information and developing common solutions on a broader and cost-effective scale. I’m working the booth and attending sessions covering City Next (www.microsoft.com/en-us/citynext/) – Microsoft initiative for Safer, smarter, healthier, digital, and sustainable cities.
More information about the conference can be found here http://www.misa.bc.ca.
The day began with waking up Sunday at 4am to catch a 4 ½ hour flight to Las Vegas that departed at 9am. Expecting Pearson to be busy I was surprised to see little traffic at the airport. I went through Nexus, picked up a Latte at Starbucks and relaxed in the lounge to read my new book for a couple of hours.
Once in Vegas I picked up my luggage, got in a Taxi and was at the Mandalay Bay in no time. A quick shower and emails to friends that were attending and off to the welcome party.
While relaxing at the welcome event I reviewed my conference schedule for the events to make sure I had chosen the sessions I want to focus on. Each day would start early around 8:30am and end at 5:30-6:00pm. For me, I wanted to focus on Mobility, Social and 365. Specifically, Mobility tools, support and direction especially Apple (iPlatforms) support, Social roadmap for Yammer integration, development tools and infrastructure and the 365 service offering and capabilities.
Mondays schedule and highlights:
- The Key Note – The opening video was great. Social, Cloud and Mobile were the key topics. They view social as connect and empower – help people achieve. The Yammer integration Roadmap (think basic to deep integration further out, engineers are thinking about ways to integrate), Sharing the SharePoint way highlighting My Sites capabilities and RSS feeds, the 365 environment (Cloud) they have built is impressive (fast and resilient – the platform is optimized all-round) and Mobility support is greatly improved (Clean and usable). Note there were two engineering teams, one for 365 and other for on premise. The iPlatforms (Pad, Phone) are on the Microsoft roadmap (Finally) and look early next year for more announcements around this. Also look for deeper integration between Yammer and Microsoft products (Office, Skype, SharePoint, Lync).
- What’s New in Search for SharePoint 2013 – search enhancements focused on the preview pane, making items more visible through grouping (people, sites, documents) instead of displaying in one big result. The visual aspect of this is powerful because you can now identify things quicker. The synonym engine is improved and will make suggestions (e.g. search on PPT and also get Deck) Also, to edit the results page there is a new wizard that helps with this, no more editing of XML to customize results (Finally!).
- Designing Your SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise Deployment – This session was fairly basic and reinforced so basic thoughts of gathering specific functional and capability requirements and then mapping that to features and services within SharePoint. Making use of the Site Templates and their features and the service applications. Then designing availability into the design thinking RTO and RPO.
Tuesdays schedule and highlights:
- Customizing Search Experiences in SharePoint 2013 – The results page there is a new wizard that helps with this, no more editing of XML to customize results. The preview pane and new Meta Data features as well (if properties are blank the crawler will look inside to document to find properties) was demonstrated as well.
- Overview of SharePoint Mobile and the New SharePoint apps – The mobile interface was demo’d on the iPhone and Windows phone. To drive home the difference between 2010 and 2013 they demo’d both and you could see how awful the 2010 sites were compared to today with 2013 – much cleaner.
- Claims Based Authentication – Migrating to the new SharePoint 2013 Identity Model – In this session and upgrade was demonstrated taking a 2010 site from NTLM to 2013 Claims, 2010 Claims to 2013 Claims. No surprises here.
- Designing and Building Your Yammer Community – Interbrew provided an overview of their experience in planning and deploying social. They focused on communication plans to facilitate awareness, purpose and adoption. Moderation to help the communities grow and thrive. Also that their communities were aligned with their brands and design to help people support their brands as best possible. Key message, foster a culture of sharing and helping and social will thrive on its own if you let it.
The attendee party was the highlight of the event, Bon Jovi performed some of his hits (great acoustic version of Living on a Prayer) and some covers at the Mandalay Bay Beach. He played for 90 minutes straight and did a great job of getting techie nerds into the moment – Microsoft did a great job of this event for sure.
Once Bon Jovi wrapped up, the fireworks show started accompanied by AD/DC. When done I was in bed by 10pm.
Wednesdays schedule and highlights:
- User Profile Synchronization Best Practices in SharePoint Server 2013 – A very deep presentation and demo involving powershell. Spencer always delivers on his sessions. Key messages are; populate AD with the information required to enable social, have an operation plan and process to keep AD up to date (Critical). Don’t under estimate the impact UPS will have on your operational process and policy – Data ownership and Quality are the two main concerns and it’s a political endeavor not a technical one.
- Bringing SharePoint to the Desktop: Building Windows 8 Metro Style Apps with SharePoint Server 2013 – During the session the covered developing Windows Metro style applications for Windows 8 desktops and the Surface. After evaluating the Surface look at how Apple applications look and feel. Don’t force people to use a stylus.
- Best Practices for using SharePoint, Mobile and Media to Connect Knowledge and Communities within your Organization – Microsoft demo’d and application they had developed that contained Videos. No surprises, planning, design and modelling are key as well as keeping it simple. Create communities that align well with your objectives. Such as product communications, profession communities and assign moderators to foster it.
- Deep Dive to Plan and Prepare for Your Users to Interact with SharePoint from their Mobile Devices – During this session new features within Visual Studio 2012 were demo’d to highlight wizards that create Mobile ready interfaces for applications. They used Northwind as the database for the Demo. Using the Mobile App Wizard in Visual Studio they created a Mobile application and demo’d it using a mobile emulator.
After the sessions I went back to the room for a shower and met up with friends and went to the Botero at the Wynn and then off to the Tryst for a few drinks and to see Pamela Anderson and finally end the night a Surrender.
Thursdays schedule and highlights:
- Deep Dive of the Social Architecture in SharePoint 2013 – My Sites and Yammer are key to the Social architecture. My Sites have a lot of functionality similar to Facebook and Yammer is being integrated to foster discussions and create communities to enable people to find, connect and help each other. Download the sessions on Social to get a sense of the integration and possibilities.
- Practical Deployment Aspects of Business Intelligence – The most powerful demonstration is the new visual capabilities in Excel. Many visual features have been added to help surface information and communicate facts better. Again, download the sessions and watch to see the power of the tools.
- Getting Your Apps into the Office and SharePoint App Store – There are two store options available both public (Microsofts) and private (establish your own). There is an online article that describes the store well and the process http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/fp179933.aspx
After the sessions I relaxed and had dinner. Did some reading, checked email, did my Yoga and then went to bed at 9:00pm to get back in th EST time zone.
Friday I just relaxed, did my Yoga in the morning, met up with friends in the afternoon and walked the strip. I wrote this while having lunch at the Burger Bar before going out. I recommend the place to those who want good food that’s filling and not over priced – The staff are friendly as well. After four long days of sessions I was exhausted but learned alot.
Saturday morning I had breakfast, checked out and got to the airport early to do some reading and relax. On my way to the Airport I thought about what I could write about in this blog. How I could sum up the weeks experiences. This would take some time so I found a Starbucks and ordered a Grande Latte and began to write and before I knew it my plane was here on time. Once I boarded and settled in and continued writing and watch a movie called The Decendents – great movie. Before I knew it I was in New Jersey checking into the Marriott and having a few drafts at the bar and then off to bed.
Until next time…
Many good memories shared with your Grand Dad!
I got to know about your grandfather through my parents who worked at ‘Campbell Chibougamau Mines’ in Chibougamau, Quebec, (I was working underground in my late teens as a miner at the same mine – mid-1960’s). Not long after I got my private pilot’s license ( still working underground to pay for the privilege…..) I met your grandfather and remained friends from then on.
Sometime after Ron and Liliane moved to Senniterre, he and I happened to be up at Fort George ( Indian village on the mouth of the La Grande River on the East coast of the James Bay. * (has been moved up river to a place called ‘Chisasibi’ ). I was flying a Beaver on floats at time & carrying in a lot of American tourists to various fishing camps – Ron & I had a deal where he’d come down to the float-plane dock at the time of my last flight – he’d get on board with the tourists & me – we’d drop them off at their fish-camp then, we had the airplane to ourselves to fish with right up until dark! * ( of course we’d stop off at ‘choice’ fishing spots that few people knew of). I remember landing on a place called ‘The Seal River’ – we’d hop from rock to rock catching 3 lb speckled trout on a bare-hook! *(No fish story).
Anyway Ron, enjoy sharing a memory I will never forget of your Grandfather – ( a ‘special’ guy). – caio
My grandfather George Charity.
George Met James back in the late 40s flying him in to Georgian Bay to live with eskimos and learn their various forms of art. Mentioned in his book “Confessions of an Igloo Dweller” he tells the story of my grandfather offering him a lift into an eskimo settlement.
Jim also drew several one off pictures for my grandfather as seen in the attached picture from the late 50s.
Well another year is coming to an end with the holidays fast approaching.
Not living in hotels and airports anymore (Some days I really miss it) I find I have less time to write blogs these days.
This year kicked off with my SharePoint 2010 project (that just recently concluded). What an experience! I must say the product has improved since the prior version with better UI, scalability and some improvements to help administrators keep it under control. The product still requires a lot of help from third parties though :) Administration and monitoring really needs help.
Out on the bike a few times but didn’t make it to Huntsville unfortunately. Next year I hope to do the Hwy 35/60 trip mid-summer. Its a very scenic ride with exposed rock, lakes and trees for scenery – nice break from the city.
The band played several times this year but unfortunately split due to creative and attitude differences. It just takes one to kill the fun for the others. It was a great experience playing live on a stage since I’d not done that before – fun yet stressful until you get accustom to it. With this experience under my belt I know what sort of music I enjoy playing and the attitude I’m looking for in the next band. I also learned that if you play in a bar that house a bad sound system you cant hear the other instruments which screws up everyone’s timing. Seriously at this stage, I’m not looking for a recording contract :)
The SharePoint conference was the highlight of this year. Held in Anaheim first week of October it was a fun experience to learn, go to Disney and meet up with past colleagues from HP. Also to meet up with other people I’ve worked with and venders as well at the evening parties. The AvePoint Red party Monday night was the party of all parties.
My goals for 2012 are to join two new bands, take that ride to Huntsville and travel a bit. I hope to attend the SharePoint conference in Las Vegas November 2012.
A recent post in LinkedIn (Clever Workarounds – http://www.cleverworkarounds.com/2011/01/09/more-sharepoint-governance-information-architecture-and-sensemaking-classes-planned/) got me thinking about the SharePoint and the dilemma IT has in supporting it. Looking at the course agenda it appears comprehensive.
When I speak to IT persons that are not familiar with SharePoint I’m reminded of a discussion I had with an old IBM AS/400 tech (Sam) 15 years ago. He was convinced that Microsoft was evil, that Microsoft was hated by IT types for various reasons. Essentially IT no longer had locked down mainframes and monolithic delivery cycles for applications and features (they lost control) – people could use Office and be more productive. Sam just didn’t get it…
SharePoint takes it to the next step whereby staff can provision team sites with rich functionality, find things faster, build composite applications on top of SharePoint and create a rich tool-set that helps them with their job tasks. From ITs perspective SharePoint puts too much power in the hands of staff which leads to support headaches. They are looking for the magic “Lock down” check-box to make their life easier – it doesnt exist. IT needs to up their game and the business needs to properly fund IT to support the platform.
Properly support means:
- Strong governance – executive support
- One owner that has ultimate control and sam over platform
- Strong Product Management and product management disciplines
- Strict guidelines for usage, monitoring and report to enforce
- Control plans for managing availability and compliance with data and security policy
- Strong Quality Assurance disciplines and experienced team
- Strong development team with strict development and coding guidlines.
- Process and policy for onboard new site and off boarding sites that do not comply with usage guidelines
- Staff for support – 2-3 for day time operation and off shore support for night shift – depend on size of environment
Not a back office appliance (such as a switch or archive appliance) SharePoint reaches deep and wide into organizations and quickly becomes critical from the perspective of staff. Their desire to customize and improve SharePoint pushes ITs Software Development Life Cycle capabilities (such as Quality Assurance) to the limits. If not executed properly staff will cripple SharePoint with customizations, unproven architecture and laced operational diciplines.
Perhaps the course by Clever Workarounds will offer some guidance…
Well…its that time of the year again, I usually write these from a hotel but for the first time I will be at home.
The year began after a great Christmas with the family and a quiet new year, the last time we did something for new years was 2000? Upon returning to work I began planning the SharePoint bootcamp in Reston VA in March. The week was focused on course prerequisites, agenda, locations and assigning work to build the bootcamp. We had to fight internal politics to obtain servers, software etc…that was fun. When deciding on who would fly where, I of course volunteered for the UK and Australia. Two of my favourite spots, actually Australia is my favorite place though the flight time is brutal. After three months of hard work we had a solid one week boot camp that would cover theory and then allow the students to roll up their sleeves and install Trim, SharePoint and work with the integration.
Late April I flew to London and met up with my colleagues there and delivered the bootcamp, of course each day ended at a pub (Ship Inn, The Bridge and Ye Olde Leatheren Bottle, The King and Castle).
On Friday everyone had already departed for home so I hung out at the Keller for a while to enjoy the sights and watched a few bands. I flew home Saturday, did some work around the house and then flew to Australia – arriving Thursday Ausie time after 28 hours of planes and airports. I was tired, the 8 hour stop over in Sydney waiting for my flight to Canberra sucked…HP travel policy, all to save a hundred bucks.
Once I landed, I went to the room and crashed for a few hours, had shower and then went to the HP office. Later in the day I met up with my colleagues there and delivered the bootcamp, of course each day ended at a pub or restaurant (The Civic, King O’Malleys, Chairman & Yip, Tosolinis and The Banana Leaf).
I resigned from HP this year. I worked with some great people and traveled the world – I don’t regret my time there. It was a tough decision but needed change.
Once home on the 19th, I suffered for a week adjusting to EST, I had to force myself to get up and stay awake so that I could sleep at night – my day was upside down.
I joined KPMG as a SharePoint Product Manager May 31st, a new role whose mission is to bring the value of the product to the company, provide a stable and rich environment – something they have not been able to accomplish to date.
The band played three gigs this year, some outdoor events and a part, we are working on finding a keyboardist to round out the sound. We also started a RUSH tribute band, we have our first gig lined up for July 2011, will take time for us to build up enough material – we have 12 songs so far.
Had the car out with my father, that was fun, it hadn’t been out at all this year – hard to believe its 40 years old. Big and loud, its fun to drive but requires nerves of steel since one wrong move would cost thousands to repair.
As we get ready for Christmas this year it will be without my father, he passed away on December 18th 2010 from a long battle with heart trouble. Thankfully we have many pictures from last years Christmas and some video as well. Its sad that it happened early in the morning, my mother was at home getting some rest since she had been there all day and I planned on being there in the morning to visit. Still fighting the flu (that would’nt go away) I thought I’d make him sick if I went to soon – life is a series of curve balls.
I’m looking forward to the new year, biking with my daughter, hope to ride the bikes more and play more gigs in 2011.
All the best.
After 10 years I’ve decided to move on… Sitting in the Starbucks at by the Circular Quay in Sydney, I remember back to how much has changed since my first day at Compaq in early 2000, I remember the first day on the job vividly. My manager had quit the first week, the infighting was unbelievable, people were bitter and negative, and the desks were either empty or had junk piled on them – I couldn’t rely on or trust anyone. After my first week I came home to my wife and said “I made a mistake joining Compaq”.
Then came the HP merger and constant downsizing, 24 rounds of it to be exact that occurred over a 4 year period (it was painful) each quarter was like a tour of duty, you never knew who would return (Get axed). I watched the consulting group in Canada go from 300 strong to a dozen on a good day (I watched the same happen in the US) – the company waffled terribly and was so lean it couldn’t execute. So lean in fact that in 2007 I was assigned two full time projects, one in LA and the other Miami because there were no SharePoint consultants (were all let go or quit) – what was my manager thinking?
The constant downsizing and job loss fear had major impacts on culture. I remember having drinks with an HP Services Executive and while chatting with her she broke down, cried and said she hated her job, her boss and the company. An executive in the Software group based out of Toronto that purposely sabotaged a project because he didn’t like the services group and its US based manager. Also remember getting calls from colleagues telling me that managers were attacking them, yelling at them and making threatening comments. At that point I realized this once great company was in trouble, its employees miserable, the culture self-destructing and its customers pissed!
For me HP was a life lesson (reinforcement of what I believed in), staying focused on my clients and team and by doing so, success will follow. Also to not act like the managers I worked with, they were not leaders, not involved, didn’t add value, didn’t facilitate or lead at all. Also to the people that always had an opinion or after the fact advice or comments that didn’t help. Being a non accountable useless bystander was common – the danger of large organizations.
Today, I look back with no regrets since I was able to travel the world, meet and work with many great people. The most memorable moments are my trips to Sydney, Los Angeles, Munich, Miami and London. Being in Australia for a month before Christmas in 2005 (and again in 2010)and staying at the Marriott down by the Quay was an amazing experience – if I was a few years younger, I would have accepted the job offer to work there. In Los Angeles in 2006 (and Burbank) we hung out at the Whiskey among other places on Sunset Blvd and in Burbank at PF Changs and Gordon Biersch. In Germany, both Munich (2008) and Stuttgart (2009) were fantastic trips, the scenery food and beer were great. In Miami (2005/06) hanging out with the Microsoft team on Lincoln Road and down by the beach (Mangos specifically). Working with some major companies and publishing several articles. Being a member of the Microsoft alliance team was a great experience since it gave me the international and corporate experience that was a key stepping stone in my career.
Key lessons learned:
- Hardware and services models conflict with each other – sales cycle, acumen and staffing to name a few. This is due to short transactional sales model.
- Software and consulting models conflict with each other – there are services beyond product installation. Not quite the same as hardware but close.
- Mangers that made their name selling servers are not effective managers in the services industry – different skills set and experience.
- Threatening and yelling at your staff won’t improve sales or consulting quality.
- Not investing in your people, products and services will lead to ruin – competition will catch up and surpass you.
- Not having a strategy that aligns your offerings will result in a commodity sales model.
- Telling your clients your committed while you axe your consulting team is a lie and they see right through you.
- Organizations can grow to a point where they can no longer execute effectively.
- Constant downsizing depletes your IP and ability to execute.
- I must be in control of my career and not rely on a manager.
With HP exiting consulting back in 2008, the Microsoft business back in 2007, no longer investing in its employees, pay and holiday cuts, excessive infighting, toxic politics and having passed up several opportunities in the past to move I decided this opportunity was the right one for me. For those HP staff who I accidentally omitted from my “Moving on…” email, I can be reached at email@example.com and if you’re ever in town look me up, there is a cold pint waiting for you and extra seat at the bar for us to chat and catch up on things. I wish my HP colleagues the best of luck in their future endeavors.