Gadget update

22 11 2011

With the recent and sudden demise of gallery.live.com, the Microsoft site that hosted the various sidebar gadgets I had written, it has not been possible to download these excellent additions for your Windows Vista and Windows 7 machines.

As such, I am pleased to announce these gadgets are now available for download once again from my Skydrive account by clicking on the following links:

Countdown Gadget v1.2.0 – http://bit.ly/CountdownGadget

Melbourne Freeway Times – http://bit.ly/FreewayTimesGadget

Of course, if you wish to know more, please click on the Gadget link of the blog for more details.





Another catchup post

28 06 2010

As another few months have passed since I last blogged on blurg.net I thought I would do a another of my famous catch up posts. I haven’t forgot the site is here as someone emailed me, but rather have been so busy its not been a priority.

Since Christmas lots has happened, I have been busy posting over at my other site,EPM Source Logo epmsource.com, which covers stuff I tend to do on a daily basis. The site is doing extremely well, with visitor numbers climbing steadily and some great feedback from the community. I am aiming for one to two original posts a week, which is pretty hard to achieve. It’s quite easy to repost other stuff, but it’s the originality that is the killer. As well as the site, I also have been spending a heap of time getting the EPM 2010 message out there either in person or in the forums.

MVPLogo2In April I was lucky enough to be awarded a Microsoft MVP award for Project. When I first found out I was nominated I was blown away, then to receive the award a few weeks later put me into orbit. It certainly is humbling to think my colleagues and the community feel that my knowledge in Project was sufficient to be recognised.

Whilst talking about Project, I have also been involved in a heap of public speaking engagements, including:

As well as bending anyone’s ear I can find at the monthly MOSSIG meetings.

On a more personal note, my folks came out on holiday for a few weeks at theIMG_4727 Fuse beginning of the year which was awesome. The kids loved spending time with their grandparents and getting to see there is more to them than an hour a week on skype. I have also been trying to spend more quality time with the family over the weekends, and as a family we have been making sure we use the weekend time wisely. We have had some great times out at the museum, in the city, cinema and generally hanging out and having fun. We’ve also managed to squeeze a number of birthdays and parties into the mix, both kids starting kinder as well as building what felt like the worlds biggest cubby house, dancing concerts and a wedding to boot.

So there you go, as you can see it’s been a busy time, hopefully it will ease up over the next few months so I can get some nerdy posts out… in fact I have one I am working on now. Smile





Sorry, I am using a Myki

20 01 2010

Myki is Melbourne’s new public transport ticketing system. It’s been in the news a fair bit due to the problems it’s been having.  I bought a myki two weeks ago and have been using it in anger ever since. It should be much much simpler to use, and it would be, if it worked all the time.

Of the four times a day I have to touch the myki card on a reader, twice in the morning and twice in the evening. One of those touch’s will fail or take a long long time to scan. Pretty unacceptable, but also damn annoying for those people in the queue behind me whilst they wait for the card to work.

So, I figured it would be good to warn them why you are stooped over at the ticket barrier swearing, so I have designed a t-shirt. It has the same message printed on both side and lets your fellow commuters know why you are holding them up, and why you are muttering swear words to yourself.

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End of a decade

31 12 2009

I was going to write a post about what I have achieved this year, and to be honest there has been a heap. But, it occurred to me whilst I was writing the post that it was also the end of a decade, a pretty big one for me as it goes.

Now I was going to use interpretive dance to go over the major milestones of the past 10 years, but the video camera is broken, so here it is in a smart mosaic format (I won’t rule out doing the dance on special occasions though)  🙂

1. Australia

I came to Australia, just over ten years ago on holiday, but only really decided to stay in the year 2000 after being made an offer by my boss at Admiral (-> CMGAdmiral –> LogicaCMG –> Logica) to stay on as a consultant. It was a huge decision to make, to leave my friends and family and to start afresh. Luckily I had already made a stack of friends in Australia and caught up with a mate from the UK who also lived in Melbourne. On reflection it was the best decision I made 🙂

2. Rachel

In 2001 I met Rachel, since then we have never really been apart. We have been through a heap together, building a house, starting a family and bringing up two fantastic children. She is my best friend and I love every moment we are together.

3. Abbie

In March 2006, my daughter Abbie came into the world and changed everything. She is awesome. Perfect in every way. I am loving watching her grow up, explore the world around her and learn. I love her inquisitive mind, her pure logic and banter.

4. Jack

In March 2007, little Jack joined his sister in the world. Whilst Jack had a pretty full on couple of months when he first arrived, he has gone from strength to strength ever since. I sometimes forget he is only 2 and 3/4 years old, he has such a developed vocabulary and self awareness. Every week he totally flaws me with what he says, not the words, but also the context

5. Family

Even though I live in Australia, I am in full contact with my family in the UK thanks to Skype and cheap telephone calls. I have been really lucky that Rachel’s family have taken me under their wing and treat me like a son. Unfortunately since being out in Australia a few people have passed on and I was unable to attend their funerals, Grandad Bob, Nan and my cousin Janet.

6. Work

Work has been an interesting one. In the last ten years I have done a number of things including:

  • Sheep Rousing – Working on a sheep farm outside of Geelong
  • Road Crack Counter – Long long story
  • Developer
  • Business Analyst
  • Project Manager

At the moment I have switched back into a consultancy role, specialising in Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (EPM) solutions. It may sound strange, but it’s the ideal mix between my love of all things techy and Project Management (which I am actually quite good if I do say so myself).

7. Nerdy

There have been a number of nerdy milestones in the past ten years. For what started out with me minus any gadgets whatsoever whilst backpacking, has seen me morph into a gadget collecting superfreak. Of course during this period I have had many different computers and run a stack of different software which I am not going to list as it would be way to sad.

8. Permanent Residency

For some damn fool reason, Australia decided that I could stay in the country. Glad they did really as it would have been awful to be paying off a house I couldn’t live in. Up until getting my PR there was a very real possibility that I could have been sent back to the UK, giving up everything I had made in Australia. This was very much the case until 2006, when it was finally granted 🙂

9. Geelong

When I first got to Australia I worked on a sheep farm outside of Geelong, hence when it came to picking a team, they were my first choice. When I was in the UK, sport never really bothered me, but it’s part of the Australian psyche, and if your in Melbourne, you might as well be a leper if you can’t hold your own in talking footy.  Since 2000, I have watched them lose and then win, finishing up with three grand final appearances in the past three years and two wins, the final being an epic battle against my wife’ family team of St Kilda. Way to go Cats!

So there you go, my reflection on the past decade. At the beginning of the decade, when I was seeing the new year in with some backpacking buddies at Wineglass Bay in Tasmania, I had no idea that I would still be in Australia ten years later and all the things mentioned above would have happened. It will be interesting to see in another ten years what transpires 🙂

And on that note, Happy New Year, 2010 is going to rock 🙂





A lap around Project 2010

26 11 2009

Last night I gave my first ever presentation on Project 2010 and Project Server 2010 to the Microsoft Office System Special Interest Group (MOSSIG) in Melbourne. This occasion marked a number of firsts:

  • The first time Project or Project Server had been presented at MOSSIG
  • The first time Project 2010 and Project Server 2010 had been seen by a number of people
  • and most importantly, the first time I have ever presented to a user group.

What I thought was going to be daunting, was actually quite exhilarating. I loved it. The presentation was very light on slides and heavy on showing off some of the awesome features of Project and Project Server 2010. Unfortunately the demo gods were against me, and one part of the demo died, but the rest behaved itself.

Anyway, why am I sharing this with you? Well I have been light on the blog posts here and have been spending my time absorbing all things Project 2010, getting my hands dirty on some big PS projects and starting a new blog where I can share my findings and thoughts with the community called EPMSOURCE.COM.

I will be posting on all things Microsoft EPM over at EPMSOURCE regularly, you can subscribe at http://epmpire.wordpress.com/feed/ or alternatively, go to www.epmsource.com and enter your email address to get the posts directly in your inbox.

Updated 12/1 – blog changed to http://www.epmsource.com, please update your bookmarks.





Corrupted VirtualBox VHD’s

27 09 2009

For the past few months I have been using Sun’s VirtualBox as my preferred VM software. With the shift to x64 computing that is in full flow, the latest operating systems and servers such as SharePoint and Project Server are moving over toe x64 only. Unfortunately Microsoft has made the choice to only offer support for x64 virtual machines via Hyper-V on their server platforms and doesn’t currently offer any consumer product that will run x64 guests.

Today I had two virtual machines chugging along when we had a power outage. Yes I know I should have bought a UPS, but to be honest I would rather spend the money on a SSD 🙂 When the power came back, I couldn’t get the VM’s to boot back up, getting a “Could not get the storage format of the hard disk” error:

image

After a quick Bing, I stumbled upon someone suggesting mounting the VHD in Windows 7 which may fix the problem. Low and behold it did. So in an effort to give something back, here are the steps to ‘fix’ the vhd  in Windows 7.

1. In Computer Management, Choose Action and Attach VHD.

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2.In the ‘Attach Virtual Hard Disk’ dialogue, choose the location of the disk and click OK

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3.When the VHD has mounted you will see it in the list, with a blue icon indicating it’s a VHD

image

image 

The process of Attaching will have fixed the VHD, so now you need to do is detach the drive and it should work in VirtualBox again 🙂

4. Detach the drive by right clicking on it and choosing Detach VHD:

image 

Click Ok in the Detach Virtual Hard Drive dialog, do NOT choose the ‘Delete the virtual hard disk file after removing the disk’ option.

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The VHD should now be fixed and ready to use in VirtualBox once again.





Do you Poken?

19 09 2009

 ... Poken” and you’ll be

Last week at TechEd there were a few people going around with some strange monsters with massive hands attached to their passes. On further investigation I found out these were called Poken and probably one of the coolest things I have seen in a long while.

So what is a Poken? Well it’s an RFID device with a USB interface that when you touch another Poken or ‘High four’ there is an exchange of RFID Id’s.

Now why is that cool? Well when you insert your Poken into a computer USB slot, you are taken to a website where you can configure your contact details and more importantly, your social networking details. So when you High Four someone else, you automatically exchange contact details, but also add them to whatever social network sites you have configured. Tres cool.

Now I just have to hope more people get on the Poken craze so I can use mine a bit more! In the future it would be great for conference organisers to consider giving out something like this as part of the freebies, so you can exchange contact details with fellow delegates instead of it being exhibitors grabbing delegates details.





Yes it’s true, I’m certifiable

14 09 2009

image Recently I started a new role at OBS joining the EPM team in Melbourne which I am incredibly excited about. In order to ensure I become a productive member of the team as soon as possible, I set myself a goal of completing all my remaining MS EPM certification whilst at TechEd.

Well, I am pleased to announce that after successfully completing my 70-633 and 70-634 exams last week, and along with the 70-632 exam I passed last month, I am now a Microsoft Certified IT Professional in Enterprise Project Management with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007.





Tech-Ed 2009 thoughts….

14 09 2009

image

Last week I was lucky enough to attend Tech-Ed on the gold coast. This was my first Tech-Ed after wanting to go for a number of years but not having a job that easily allowed it. This year I decided to fund the trip myself so I could go and to 
sum it up in one word – AWESOME!

Here is my round up of the event, including some thoughts on things I would like to see in the future…

Session choice – There was a raft of sessions to choose from across a number of tracks. I picked a number of sessions and in many cases had three or four options to choose from for each timeslot. From my perspective there were a couple of standout sessions including Reed Shaffners Office 2010 overview, Project Gemini and Will, Lee Hickin and Elaine’s BPOS presentation.

Networking – I really underestimated the networking opportunities at Tech-ed. As usual it was great to catch up with the usual ex SDM Crew and other Melbourne based SharePoint people, but it was also good to catch up with other SharePoint and Project Server people from both Microsoft and other partners.  On the way home I was giving a bit more thought to the networking aspect, next year it would be good to formalise some of the networking aspects other than just the expo hall and adhoc sessions in the local bar. I personally would love to see a Microsoft competency or technology based breakfasts / meetings / dinners similar to what happens at the partner conference for the various groups of partners or people with relevant technology skills could meet up and build their network.

Social networking – Twitter was huge with an absolute stack of posts and information being distributed via the #auteched hashtag. It was funny to go to sessions and see everyone sitting there on their netbooks with Tweetdeck running away :)  I read Jeremy Thake’s post about improving the social aspects and having some kind of twitter integration into the session planning tool would be great. Building on this I would love to see users twitter names on their delegate badges as well as many of us are known by our twitter alta egos.

Facilities – The facilities at the Gold Coast Exhibition Centre were excellent. The quality of the catering absolutely blew me away.

Network – There was a heap of posts about getting the GCECC network up to scratch for the Tech-Ed. The Microsoft team did a fantastic job in getting the network up and running and maintaining the speed. There were a few idiots who thought it would be good to start up bittorrent, with one wally sitting next to me in a session surfing The Pirate BayTechEd 224

Netbooks – The netbooks were fantastic. Microsoft pulled off a blinder with the netbooks that will be the envy of other conferences the world over.  Seeing delegates that haven’t used Windows 7 get blown away by it’s speed and functionality on the netbook was really cool to see and no doubt served to build on the already fantastic reputation of  the software.  My only gripe around this was the TechEd websites, it would have been great to have optimised the sites to work on the smaller screens of the netbooks as this was the main mechanism for access.

Session level – On reflection of the content, I felt that the level of the sessions was more aimed at customers and didn’t really hit the target for the more cutting edge partners. I brought this up with a couple of my colleagues who agreed that a more partner focussed technical track would be good.

Certifications – I had the opportunity to take two exams whilst I was at Tech-Ed at a vastly reduced rate. The process for signing up was incredibly simple and the prometric exam centre well set up and staffed. As for the exams, more on that in a later post.

Hands on Labs – I stumbled across the HOL area late in the piece and had a pretty limited experience. However what I saw and tried out was easy to use and well implemented. I loved the fact that at the end of the lab you could email the lab notes to yourself to try again later. Whilst valuable, it is limited as you don’t have access to the the underlying VM. On the friday afternoon I was hoping to kill some spare time doing some labs, but they had shut, it would have been great to extend the opening times until the end of the Friday. Finally I would love for MS to allow the other HOLs that I hadn’t specifically tried to be available for use / download after tech-ed.

image Free BPOS account – The free BPOS account was a stroke of genius.  I loved trying out the functionality and trying out the full functionality of Office 2010 including Communicator and using it to connect to my peers and people I met during the conference. The only downside to the whole BPOS experience was the need to register and have it configured at the BPOS stand in the expo hall which meant some attendees had to wait a while before it was set up. Next time it would be good if the default password was included on your attendee credentials and the user prompted to change them again.

All in all, I loved the whole experience and can’t wait to go again next year and learn about the next wave of technologies coming through and catch up with my peers! If you get the chance to go, do!





The obligatory catch-up post

16 05 2009

I have been on holiday for the past two weeks which has been a fantastic break. It seems I am always on holiday, and I agree, it does seem that way. This time I decided to take a break between changing jobs again and reconnect with my family and look after my wife while she gets over a particularly painful operation. So far she is doing fantastically and I am incredibly proud of her. Next week I start a new job at a more dynamic Microsoft partner which I am incredibly excited about, there are some great people there and I want to learn and be energised by work again.

During my time off I have had a chance to catch-up on a few things I wanted to do for a while and as is my want, I will share them with you 😛

  • Wrote the first version of iFreewayTimes which I am looking forward to using in anger next week when I start driving to work;
  • Went to the dentist with toothache and came out minus a wisdom tooth which has been pretty damn painful, but is getting better;
  • Took the family to Philip Island for the day and had a great time searching for Penguins with the kids;
  • I went through my twitter following list and was pretty brutal in un-following people. Twitter can be a very powerful tool, but it also can be a great source of noise. I don’t care if you need to go to the toilet, go, don’t tell me;
  • I nuked most of my RSS subscriptions, of the 100+ feeds I subscribed to, I only really read 10 or 15;
  • Learned to love my iPhone (no not that way @grumpywookie), damn it’s a fantastic device;
  • Had an awesome time going shopping with the kids to buy mothers day presents, next week we get to repeat it for Birthday pressies;
  • Was wrapped to learn that the last project I managed for Hyro went live without issue the week after I left to a fantastic reception all around the globe. It was unfortunate it was delayed two weeks so I couldn’t see it go live in person;
  • Installed Windows 7 x64 Release Candidate. Wow. You would have already read all the posts about how good it is, they are true. It really is (more on this in a later post).

So there you have it, I can’t promise I will be blogging any more regularly, but I will try to.