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March 9, 2010

A Few Thoughts About Mid-Market IT

Big thanks to Eric Beehler for inviting me to appear on CS Techcast 110 this week. We talked at length about some of the unique challenges facing mid-market IT.

Although the conversation was spurred mostly by the news of Microsoft’s cancelling Essential Business Server v2, we discussed a wide range of topics, including cloud-based services (big shock there) and virtualization.

If you want to skip ahead, my section starts at the 12:52 (or so) mark.

I’ll admit, it was kinda weird being on the other side of the microphone. Flashbacks of SBS Show kept running through my head, but being on the other side of the desk made this the fastest, easiest webcast I’ve ever done.

Check it out. Hope you like it.

|| posted by chris under business, mid-market it, opinion, virtualization, webcast || comments (0) || ||

March 5, 2010

EBS Has Left The Building

Even in a sequined jumpsuit, a skeleton is still dead.

Instead of my typically convoluted Funcave windup involving some theoretical physics, Bluetooth and comic book lore a la “The Big Bang Theory,” I’ll just come right out and say what’s up this time:

Essential Business Server = DEAD

That’s officially official as of right now, which should be 8:00 a.m. Pacific Standard time on March 5th, 2010. So what does that really mean?

In the immediate term, it means there will be no v2 of Essential Business Server. Not ever. Which is a damned shame, because v2 was looking completely and totally badass.

Keep reading!

|| posted by chris under beta, business, clueless, hardware, it pro, kma, mid-market it, migration, nostalgia, opinion, rant, rx, shoutout, thumbs down, thumbs up, time, travel, virtualization, webcast || comments (2) || ||

August 26, 2009

Changing The Future

Channel@Work was really an amazing program. Kudos to all the folks who really made it happen!

Last week, I had the good fortune to attend CMP’s XChange’09 event in Washington, DC. As a vendor-centric show, this kind of event gives solution providers like my company the opportunity to see new offerings from various vendors, give feedback, and forge business relationships that can mutually benefit our companies.

But this year, one of the initiatives taking place during XChange’09 really made me, and a whole lot of others, sit up and take notice.

CMP Media partnered with Microsoft and the Framsyn Initiative to sponsor Channel@Work, a program that sponsored a large group of young people from all over the country who expressed an interest in IT careers to attend XChange. The goal was to give them an opportunity to be mentored by industry veterans, and give them a boost into the IT field.

The boardroom I was assigned to for vendor appointments was located directly across the hall from the Channel@Work workroom. The level of hardware they were working with was really impressive. Plus, they all got to keep the machines they built. 

Activities included team-building, computer-building, direct interaction with executives from IT companies, and the ability to engage with the rest of us delegates. At breakfast one morning, I got a chance to talk with a young man named Che. He told me about his job as a junior network administrator, the kinds of things he’s learned how to do from that job, and his goals for the future. I talked to him about the importance of keeping both his resume and skillset current, of picking and choosing certification exams that give the most options for huim in the future, and the importance of learning not just a given product release, but really understanding the underlying concept about how and why something works.

As part of this program, these young people were working toward completing Microsoft’s 70–653 exam TS: Windows Small Business Server 2008, Configuring, which earns not only an MCTS, but also a Small Business Specialist designation. Both of those achievements will immediately give those young people value to potential solution provider employers like me who focus on the SMB segment.

When the video above was played during the ARC awards dinner on the final evening of XChange’09, I was literally moved to tears. Seeing those kids so eager to learn and hungry for knowledge took me back to when I first started my IT career, and it made me remember how thankful I was and still am to all the people who first believed in me and gave me an opportunity in the industry, within which I’ve thrived for the last 15 years.

I truly believe that if the IT industry is to improve as a whole, it will come from mentoring programs like Channel@Work and others like it convincing young people that an IT career is one that can offer them the kind of fulfilling, rewarding life’s work that we all hope to find, and giving them the initial opportunity to find success.

|| posted by chris under business, freebie, hardware, it pro, media, more cowbell, nostalgia, rx, shoutout, thumbs up, travel, webcast || comments (4) || ||

April 24, 2009

Where I’ll Be In 2009 Redux

 My other car is a JETPACK! I made this kickass pic into a piece of even more kickass Facebook flair. Ping me if you want me to send it to you!

Forget the whirlwind. 2009 now feels like someone just strapped a jetpack to my back and flipped the “On” switch without telling me. Problem is…the person who did that? Me!

Here’s the latest rundown with relevant links to all the talks, places, and conferences currently on my schedule.

April

14 – Webcast: Using System Center Essentials with Essential Business Server

20 – IT Pro Tiki Hut Tour, Huntsville AL (click to register)

27 – IT Alliance, Atlanta GA (cancelled)

May

1 thru 11 – The Career Express Tour, Atlanta GA, Charlotte NC, Philadelphia PA, Cincinnati OH, Indianapolis IN, St. Louis MO, Kansas City KS, Denver CO, Santa Fe NM, Phoenix AZ, Las Vegas NV, Los Angeles CA

11 thru 15 – Tech-Ed North America 2009, Los Angeles CA (click to register)

15 thru 17 – SMB Summit, Dallas TX (OFFICIALLY POSTPONED)

June

1 – IT Pro Tiki Hut Tour, Pensacola FL (click to register)

July

13 thru 16 – Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, New Orleans LA (click to register)

August

17–20 – CMP XChange ‘09, Washington DC (tentative)

October

2 thru 4 – SMB Nation, Las Vegas NV (tentative)

You know what really rocks tho? A new service call TripIt. Besides helping me track all my travel info in one super easy-to-use spot, TripIt also shows me which of the people I’m linked to will be nearby at the same time. Social networking for travel, which rocks! If nothing else, it helps cut down immensely on all the “You gonna be there? I dunno, YOU gonna be there?” back-and-forth that typically happens in the back channel around events.

You can sign up for TripIt at http://www.tripit.com/. If you want to add me as a TripIt contact after you join, jump here: http://www.tripit.com/people/chrisrue

|| posted by chris under beta, business, community, it pro, mid-market it, mobility, travel, webcast || comments (0) || ||

April 23, 2009

I’m Getting On The Bus!

It’s officially official…

GotB?

MS Learning picked me as one of the six winners of a free trip to Tech-Ed 2009! Not only that, but I’m taking the road trip option. That’s right…cross-country via bus. Atlanta to L.A. in 11 days, with tons of stops in-between.

Here’s the current itinerary for the Career Express tour, straight from MS Learning’s kickass Born to Learn blog…

  • Friday, May 1st: Atlanta GA
  • Saturday, May 2nd: Atlanta, GA to Greensboro, NC
  • Sunday, May 3rd: Greensboro, NC to Philadelphia, PA
  • Monday, May 4th: Philadelphia, PA to Cincinnati, OH
    • Philly TechFest 2009 at Springhouse, 8:00am – 10:00am
    • Antonia Pantoja Charter School, 7:30am – 9:00am (private event)
    • Edward W. Bok Technical High School, 10:45am – 12:00pm (private event)
    • MCP “Tweet-up” in Columbus (be sure to follow us on Twitter for details!)
  • Tuesday, May 5th: Cincinnati, OH to Indianapolis, IN
    • MAX Learning Luau at MAX Technical Training in Cincinnati, 11:00am – 1:00pm (featuring Windows 7 previews, lunch, drawings and more!)
    • “Bring a Friend” Night at LANTech Training, Indianapolis, 5:00pm – 7:00pm Bring a friend interested in starting a career in IT, and you both might win a TechNet Plus subscription (and your friend might win a laptop, too!)
  • Wednesday, May 6th: Indianapolis, IN to Kansas City, MO
  • Thursday, May 7th: Kansas City, MO to Denver, CO
    • MCP Study Break, Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood, CO, 8:00am – 10:00am (featuring live rounds of “Are You Certifiable?” and Windows Server 2008 exam prep sessions)
    • Ask the Experts at Ameriteach, Greenwood Village, CO, 4:30pm – 8:00pm (featuring live rounds of “Are you Certifiable?” sessions on Windows 7, SQL Server, OCS and more—delivered by stellar MCTs!)
  • Friday, May 8th: Denver, CO to Santa Fe, NM
    • Get Off the Bus! Free day for our intrepid but tired riders—come join us as we explore Santa Fe (follow us on Twitter to see where we’ll be!)
  • Saturday, May 9th: Santa Fe, NM to Phoenix, AZ
    • Glendale Community College, 8:30am – 10:30am (details coming next week)
    • Microsoft Technology Round-Up, Training to You, Phoenix, 12:00pm – 3:00pm (featuring Windows 7 previews and Windows Server 2008 certification sessions—register here)
  • Sunday, May 10th: Phoenix, AZ to Las Vegas, NV
    • “How to Thrive in Your IT Career” at Netcom, 2:00 – 3:30pm (featuring Windows 7 preview)
  • Monday, May 11th: Las Vegas, NV to Los Angeles, CA

That’s a whole heaping lot of places where you can come get your learn on with us. We’ll be delivering technical intros and overview, career talks, and all kinds of stuff that’ll be so amazing, you’ll think you were stealing something. So if you’re within striking distance, I hope that you’ll come say “Heya” at one of our stops!

All that’s really just the start. The Career Express will also be at Tech-Ed 2009 with an “Are You Certifiable” booth where folks can play live rounds of the game for prizes. More details on all that later.

And you can bet I’ll be documenting the whole trip, right here at the Funcave. So stay tuned.

|| posted by chris under community, freebie, hardware, it pro, mid-market it, mobility, more cowbell, thumbs up, time, travel, virtualization, webcast || comments (11) || ||

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