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Got my Microsoft MVP Award again for the 5th year!
I just got my MVP Award e-mail in the area of Exchange for the 5th year.
 
It is an honor to be selected as a Microsoft MVP since there are only around ~30 or so Exchange MVP in the US and ~120 world wide.  In order to become an MVP you must be nominated by others in the technical community you work with, Microsoft employees, or other MVPs. Each year a panel of Microsoft employees reviews the contributions of each nominee for quality, quantity, and level of impact on the technical community.
 
So basically you have to write articles, blog post, or otherwise contribute to the technical community and be recognized for your work.
 
In order to keep your MVP status each year you must continue to contribute to the community.  This year I was so busy with my job at Mimosa Systems, that I haven't had time to contribute as much as I normally do.
 
In general I felt I did not have enough time to do the the thinks I wanted.  So next year I'm 1) Getting a new job (already turned in 2 weeks notice and have a couple of contract deals already) 2) Getting a place in the mountains closer to the stuff I love to do.  Big post on this area coming later...
 
Here's what I did in 2009:
Got my Microsoft MVP Award again for the 4th year!
I just got my MVP Award e-mail in the area of Exchange for the 4th year.
 
It is an honor to be selected as a Microsoft MVP since there are only around 30 or so Exchange MVP in the US and 120 world wide.  In order to become an MVP you must be nominated by others in the technical community you work with, Microsoft employees, or other MVPs. Each year a panel of Microsoft employees reviews the contributions of each nominee for quality, quantity, and level of impact on the technical community.
 
So basically you have to write articles, blog post, or otherwise contribute to the technical community and be recognized for your work.
 
In order to keep your MVP status each year you must continue to contribute to the community.  This year I was so busy with my new job at Mimosa Systems (blog post on this topic), who creates an Exchange E-mail archiving solution called NearPoint, that I haven't had time to contribute as much as I normally do.
 
Here's what I did in 2008:
 
Got to love corporate influenced politics...
I friend of mine, Glenn Deans from Atlanta, forwarded this to me, asking me why I didn't ask Steve Ballmer about this last week at the MVP Summit. :)
 
Anyways this post "The Norway Vote - What really happened" goes over how the VP of Standard Norway removed everyone from a voting process until the vote went the way he wanted!  This relates to Microsoft since the vote was for the OOXML standard (Office Open XML), which Microsoft created and is pushing for (criticism of it).  Microsoft has since turned the standard over to an independent committee, called Emca International.  The standard was intial based on an XML file storage format used by 1st by Excel in 2000 and is like the default format used by Office 2007.  (Based on my quick read of the wikipedia page about it.)
MVP Summit

Well this year's Microsoft MVP Summit is over and MVPs from around the world on heading home. This year's summit was great, minus the food, again. The highlights were the deep technical information on what's coming out in E14 (next version after Exchange 2007) and the attendee party last night at the Experience Music Project (EMP). Sorry, I can't go over any of the details on what's coming in E14 (all MVPs are under VERY strict NDAs).

The party at the EMP was great mainly due to the geek factor (not counting the 100s or 1,000+ geeks [MVPs] there. There is a sci-fi museum that had props, books, and other items from sci-fi going back at least 50 years. Paul Allen (one of the founders of Microsoft) owned most of the items, so he must be an über sci-fi fan. The main focus of EMP is on music and it had a lot of interactive exhibits and memorabilia all around the building. The building itself was also quite amazing, no square angles and very organic looking from the outside. The different exhibits ranged from electric guitars, drums, and keyboards that people could just jam on in a "booth" to "Simon says" type interactive training sessions with an instrument. Besides the standard stuff at the EMP there was a live band and karaoke setup so the MVPs or their guest could get on-stage with a live band and sing or scream their heart out (most were pretty bad). There was also a setup with all four instruments for the game Rock Bank projected on a large screen in an auditorium room, which had a good size audience. A bit/lot of alcohol gave people the liquid courage to get on stage at both places and the distortion of senses to enjoy it also J

The closing speakers were Ray Ozzie (Chief Software Architect @ Microsoft) and Steve Ballmer (CEO and early [1980] member of Microsoft). Ray talked a bit about his philosophy and the vision of Microsoft moving forward and thanks the MVP for helping Microsoft make their product better. He then took some Q&A from the crowd. Steve then talked about how the MVP program is really looked highly upon by everyone at Microsoft. He then did a Q&A session and there were two very interesting items that came out of this. The first was that Steve said if any Microsoft employee wasn't responding to e-mail (one MVP complained about the lack of e-mail response from his local Microsoft reps) to send him the e-mail and he would make sure we got a response! The second was a challenge to the MVPs to switch their default search to Microsoft Live Search for a week sometime this year. He said Microsoft is planning to make some additional changes to Live Search and he wanted us try it for a week and then send him an e-mail with our feedback. Even those we are all Microsoft MVPs, Live Search is not the mostly commonly used search engine (by a long shot). So it will be interesting to see how that week goes since he has to know that most MVPs have a blog and are going to blog about that week's (when TBD later) experience, in addition to e-mailing him. I'm looking forward to that week and to see what happens. As always it was great to see Steve speak, he is one of the most enthusiastic speaks and you can tell he loves and is VERY VERY passionated (spelling is an inside joke to my fellow MVPs who might be reading this) about his company!

Looking forward to next year!!!

At the Microsoft MVP summit in Seattle this week
I'm in Seattle this week for the MS MVP Summit.
 
At the summit MVPs get to spend two full days with the product groups (developers and managers) in their area of expertise.  At these sessions mostly the up coming versions  and issues/feedback about the current version are discussed.  The MVP summit really goes to show how much Microsoft is committed to working with the people out in the field to get, understand, and act upon "real world" feedback.
 
This year Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer, and Ray Ozzie, chief software architect, are the key note speakers.  Last year it was Bill Gates and I think Ballmer were.
Exchange, SharePoint, and Outlook 2007 articles

I've talked to a few technical friends of mine in the last few weeks about Exchange 2007 and SharePoint 2007. Most of them haven't had the time to spend with either of these products since they were release, which was is Dec 2007. It came up in the conversation that I had a few articles I have written on these topics. So I thought I would post the links to them on my blog.

There are all posted on http://www.outlookexchange.com:

What's New and Cool in Exchange 2007
Interested in what's new, cool, and changed in Exchange 2007?  If so check out this article and the various links provided in it. 

Integrating SharePoint and Outlook 2007
This article covers how to integrate SharePoint lists with Outlook items. It goes over how to get Calendars, Tasks, Contacts, and Document Libraries in SharePoint to show up in Outlook 2007.

Testing Exchange 2007 - Part 1
In this series of articles I will cover the key areas that really need to be looked at for tested, before planning for, and definitely before starting your migration to Exchange 2007.  The first part covers how the changes in Exchange 2007 can affect applications and why it is so different from Exchange 2003.

Testing Exchange 2007 - Part 2
In the second part of this article series I cover DR, clustering, scalability, server roles, and calendaring.

Creating a two node CCR cluster with Exchange 2007
In this article I will cover setting up and configuring Exchange 2007 in a two node Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) cluster.  CCR clustering is new to Exchange 2007 and provides the ability to cluster without the requirement of an expense shared storage system.