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A day in Bradford

You know it\’s been a good day overall when faced with a 3 hour or so drive late at night in the dark and rain, you crack on, don\’t stop, and enjoy the drive home (and beat the SatNav prediction by 23 minutes to boot !)

Yesterday was the Black Marble Tech Day;. It was their 9th or so, but my first. I\’d decided to go because:

  • Eileen Brown was presenting on Social Media in the evening
  • They were attempting to summarise the current Microsoft Wave in just one morning
  • There were a lengthier session on Azure, a thing in which I have some interest, but I thought a non-Microsoft centred (but Microsoft involved) presentation would be interesting
  • And finally, but no less importantly, I would get a chance to hook up the night before with our friend Mark who I\’ve not seen for a while.

So, the morning session was ambitious to say the least, one slide showed in detail the product mix at Microsoft and the goal was go through each area. Currently the slides are not posted, but I hope to link here later. Suffice to say that the icons and text were pretty damn small, and the product mix extensive. That gave me pause for thought on what they would manage to squeeze in. The whole could easily have been turned over to just this one presentation.

What really puts the ambition into perspective is if you take just one of Microsoft\’s new products from last year. Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft have released a Feature Components Diagram, but it\’s 2.5MB and you probably haven\’t got a printer format large enough to make it readable! On my 30\” screen I can read 1/8th of this chart at a time. So someone bright spark put it onto Seadragon and this works well – it\’s 13,122 x 7,188 pixels.

So, my point – if just 1 product\’s new feature set charts needs to be printed A0, what hope has a presented to spin round the entire business platform for Microsoft in just a few hours? To be blunt, none. But I was pleasantly surprised at the presentation – it went through shedloads of information in an informative way, and led me to think a bit more about a few clients and projects I\’m involved with (and inevitably I also came up with about another 20 major projects to kick off in the home office).

Lunch was an absolute delight. One of the best I\’ve had at an event for ages. Some companies try so hard to be fancy and impressive. Most of the time, I just want a couple of good sandwiches, made with proper bread. They came up trumps!
The afternoon was dedicated to Azure. BM and Microsoft speakers discussed what\’s happening with Azure, new business models, and a number of case studies which did more to convince me of some of the benefits – these were specific \”I need computing power, and I need it now\” examples where, with some process re-engineering, the companies could truly utilise what\’s on offer.

However, there are still some major issues for me with cloud computing:statutory duties for data protection are a deep concern
  • statutory duties for data protection are a deep concern
  • robust geo-location of your data
  • decent penalties for cloud failure
  • the ability to check out as well as check into the cloud

For me, though, we need a major cloud failure (and I don\’t mean Google Docs doing down for a few hours, or the Sidekick Fiasco. When a major cloud player goes bust I will watch with interest how the user community makes the transition elsewhere, and how the industry supports them. Only after such an event will things mature.

Then finally, in the evening slot Eileen Brown gave a 1 hour talk on using \”Using Digital Marketing and Social Media to Build and Maintain your Online Brand\”. I came to this from a couple of angles – despite the time I\’ve known of and known Eileen, I\’d never seen her present, and I was interested to see how my sub-optimal use of Social Media could be improved.

After the hour, I\’d emailed myself 10 or so \”urgent\” things to do. That\’s close to a record for me! I\’ve got some really useful ideas buzzing around my head now.

Oh, and of course, it meant I spent a day in God\’s Own Country !!

Updated 30/01/10: Oops, sorry some typos crept, and I\’ve corrected those.

By P J Bryant

Ramblings of a freelance IT Consultant working for some nice SME's, large organisations, resellers and the usual friends and family! Bit of

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