Time flies and roles change

Almost 3 1/2 years ago I posted that I was leaving Microsoft to join VMware and since then I’ve let this blog slide. I could make up a bunch of excuses on why I haven’t done anything here, however, the important part is that I’m back and I plan to keep this blog a little more active.

If you have been following me on twitter you may have caught the following tweet back in September:

That’s right – after a great stint at VMware I have returned to Microsoft. My new role is part of the hosting team where I’ll be working with Microsoft’s Cloud OS Network partners (and potential partners) to help them build out new service offerings and solutions.

Watch this space for updates on upcoming events, thoughts on technology, and the occasionally interesting random tidbit of information.

How to find me – my new Contact info

I’m now on Day 8 at VMware and I’m having a great time. I’ve spent most of the last week and half doing the usual new hire stuff – payroll, benefits, account setup, standard training (ethics, finance, etc).

In my last post I promised that I would share my new contact info so here it is:

Business Card Image

Barnaby Jeans QR codeTo make life a little simpler I’ve been playing with as a way of maintaining a digital business card, so if you would like to grab that info either click the QR code or use your favourite mobile app to scan it.

My new gig…

Earlier this month I posted an open letter to my colleagues at Microsoft letting them know that I had resigned from Microsoft Canada. I received many emails asking where I was going, and while not a secret, I didn’t want to publicize it right away.

With only a few days until my official start date (I start June 27, 2011), I’m thrilled to share that I’m joining the VMware Canada team as a Senior Systems Engineer and I’ll be specializing in database virtualization.

This new role is a great match to my previous experience at both Oracle and Microsoft as I get to work with not only the VMware product stack, but also continue to work with both SQL Server and Oracle Database.

Once I have my email and phone setup, I’ll be sure to share them here. In the meantime you can visit my page or connect with me via LinkedIn or Twitter.


Thanks for the memories…

[An open letter to my colleagues at Microsoft]

These are never easy posts to write.  Earlier today I gave my notice and resigned from Microsoft Canada.

Looking back over the past six and a half years I wanted to share some of my fondest memories as I have been very fortunate to work on some great projects with some fantastic people and I will cherish those memories for years to come.

As I think back to the beginning of my time at Microsoft, I want to thank John for taking the chance and hiring an ex-Oracle, ex-Red Hat guy to come and work at Microsoft.  Thanks to Rick and Bruce for those early days, back when there were just the three of us IT Pros, and thanks to Damir for joining the team and helping take on the SQL workload (I had a great time working with you on the SQL launch tour).

I fondly remember my early tours with Bill Hilf and Alec Taylor talking about Linux and Open Source and even managing to get interviewed by Mary-Jo Foley.  As a team DPE has been at the heart of some awesome product launches (SQL, Windows Server, Visual Studio, Exchange, Office, Windows Vista and Windows 7) and I consider myself lucky to have been part of them.  I have been fortunate to have spent lots of time talking to the press both on live TV and in print and I’ve been privileged to be the photographer for both Bill Gates’ and Steve Ballmer’s visits.

DPE truly excels at cross-team collaboration and I saw this in action as we brought TechDays to life and I fondly remember those early Saturday EnergizeIT events we hosted at the MTCC and Congress Centre.  As DPE has grown and changed, I want to thank Mark, John, Dean, Gladstone, and Ryan for the opportunities to work on the IT Pro, Developer, Enthusiast, AMM, and Depth businesses as those experiences will remain with me for a long time.

However, as great as the past six and a half years have been, the time has come for me to move on to my next challenge.  One thing is for certain, this is a small industry and I have no doubt that our paths will cross again. 

Until then, stay in touch.


Improving your cell phone reception

I bought my first cell phone in 1995.  I remember it well – it was an analog Nokia phone and I had bought a full car kit with headset so I didn’t have to hold on to it while driving, and with the external antenna it didn’t drop the signal too frequently.  Fast forward to today, and I have owned more cell phones than I can remember from almost all of the major manufacturers – Nokia, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, Palm, Apple, Samsung, LG, and HTC.  Over the past 15 years the technology has changed, from analog to digital; from phone to PDA; and from PDA to Smartphone.  We have moved from voice only to voice+data, and moved through 3G and now onto 3G+ / 4G. 

Continue reading Improving your cell phone reception

Moving to the cloud? Get free compute time with Windows Azure

Windows Azure Platform

image Are you a developer looking to launch your new web application? Or perhaps you are an IT Pro trying to understand what “the Cloud” means to you.  Or maybe you have a need for some compute time to run some computations.

Regardless of who you are, or why you are thinking about the cloud, Microsoft is making it easy for you try out Windows Azure as well as SQL Azure and AppFabric.

If you visit and select the introductory special you will be able to try a limited amount of the Windows Azure platform at no charge. 

This offer is available through October 31, 2010 and is limited to one per customer.  For full details and disclosure take a look at

If you are in Canada and have question about Windows Azure, my team and I are here to help and can answer your questions.  We would love to hear what you are using Azure for.  Please feel free to email us at

What is this? I just hit F12 in Internet Explorer 8

imageAs I’m sitting in meetings I just caught a tweet pointing me to a website by Pete LePage from the Internet Explorer team at corp.  Pete has a great write up on the Developer Tools within Internet Explorer 8 (and IE 9).  I won’t re-iterate everything Pete has written, but this is something that everyone should take a look at regardless of whether you are a developer, a manager, or just someone who is interested in seeing how a site is structured. 

The good news is you can try this out right now if you are using IE8 without downloading any additional software.

So go ahead, hit the F12 button and see what happens…

Thank you for your support to Conquer Cancer

This weekend is the weekend that I have been training for for a very long time. Tomorrow I’ll be starting my 200km ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls.

Over the past few months the outpouring of support from friends, family, and colleagues has been amazing. I have reached both my personal fundraising goal, and am part of a fabulous team that has collectively raised over $275,000 for Cancer research.

Tomorrow as I set out on the ride I’m hoping to provide both real time view of where I am (visit as well as update twitter ( and foursquare as I make my way along the route.

If you want to follow my progress, either visit or  ( or from your mobile device – )

Thanks again for all your support and I’ll see you on the route!

I need your help…to conquer cancer

In a little over a month I’ll be hitting the road for a two day epic adventure cycling 200km from Toronto to Niagara Falls to help raise funds for cancer research.

As you may have read in my previous post, I have been involved in cancer fundraising for many years, however, just over a year ago I was shocked at the rapid pace that cancer took the life of my mother-in-law and decided that I needed to do more to help find an end to  cancer.

I have committed to raise at least $2,500 before the ride, and with just over a month to go I still need to raise $1,000.  To put this into perspective, I have over 800 followers on twitter, 500+ connections on LinkedIn, and over 350 friends on Facebook.  Assuming that there is some overlap, if each of you only donates $20 we would blow away the fundraising goal and together we would add a significant amount of funding to cancer research.

Any amount will help me achieve my fundraising goals and move us one step closer to conquering cancer and for any donations of $20 or more you will also receive a tax receipt.  Please take 5 minutes right now to donate by visiting

Donate to my ride to conquer cancer (this graphic is updated in real-time so as you donate the amount raised will increase)

If you want to keep an eye on my training you can check out and if you ever want to get together to go for a ride send me an email at

We’re Hiring…Come join the team

As you saw in my previous post, I have taken on a new role and in doing so have left a vacancy in our marketing team.  If you are a passionate customer advocate with a strong marketing background then the role below might be a good fit for you.

Some of the programs that you may have heard of, TechDays, EnergizeIT, and AlignIT are just some of the programs produced and executed by my team, and are all directed and led by the audience managers.

If you are interested in being part of a great team that has outreach to technical professionals across Canada to create lasting relationships, then keep reading. Continue reading We’re Hiring…Come join the team