Archive for January, 2011

Microsoft Technical Conferences 2011- The All-in-One !

Yes, you read it right:

Microsoft Italy organized the biggest Technical Conference of the year.

Featuring 3 in a row Conferences:

SharePoint and Office Conference 2011

SQL & Business Intelligence Conference 2011

Unified Communications & Collaboration Conference 2011

Technical Conferences 2011

From the 19th to the 21st of April, and in one single place, you will be able to listen and interact with some of the most prominent speakers and gurus of these technologies.

Featuring (for SPS & Office Conference) MVPs Claudio Brotto, Peppe Marchi, Igor Macori and Romeo Pruno.

As well as other MVPs as speakers during the SQL BI Conference: Davide Mauri, Gianluca Hotz, Igor Macori and Marco Russo (as well as Alberto Ferrari, I really rely on this guy Smile)

While during the 3rd one, my friends Andrea Garattini and (former MVP) Massimiliano Luciani (and other important speakers) will “unify” your stuff pretty well ! Smile

With that said, if you’re really into technology and you wanna chat with these important professionals and gurus, you may to register yourself to all of the 3 to get a discount. It doesn’t happen so often to have such a bunch of great Microsoft, Partners and MVPs, together with their community peers, in one place for 3 days so I’d strongly recommend it!

You can learn more about the whole event by clicking the link below…(and I’ll see you there!)

Link to: Microsoft Technical Conferences 2011

Gmail cooler than Hotmail ?

During one candidate review and another (:)), I thought about writing a post about e-mail messaging offering. And this is something I’m thinking about for several days.

I wanted to compare the 2 services from a higher perspective (but you can find a detailed one in the link provided below). I selected Hotmail and Gmail as they are the most used e-mail services abroad (so please bear with me Yahoo and AIM users :)).

So the question on my mind was: why users tend to adopt a Gmail account?

There are a number of features we need to keep in mind.

Free space: Gmail now offers around 8 GB available space while Hotmail offered 5 GB, than 25 GB and now it’s almost unlimited (it detects if you need more space, and then it is automatically increased).

Filtering: they are both doing a great job on filtering messages

Spam: both are good in terms of junk emails. Someone would prefer one service or another but the Junk filters are both pretty good

Forwarding: with Hotmail you can send messages from different accounts (“on behalf of”) like Gmail, AOL Mail and Yahoo! Mail. Same as Gmail.

Advertisement: they both have it (on the web)

Security: they both use https encryption

Privacy: well, Google automatically scans e-mails to add context-sensitive advertisements to them. It seems your e-mails not read by a human but a bot will scan them to send ad-hoc advertisements. Also, senders’ emails are scanned too so (and this is one thing that really concerns me), if you have sensitive data to send to your customers, are you sure these e-mails are not really read by someone? What if you work for a Company which is a Google’s Competitor on a particular are? Hotmail uses Country-based advertisement so Microsoft does not need to scan your email messages. And a question: does Gmail “owns” the content you have in your Gmail account? That’s a question for you guys !

Search: Gmail does probably a better job in searching through your folders and emails as it uses the Google search engine (of course if you don’t access your emails through a client).

Web interface: Generally speaking, the Gmail web interface is thin and fast. Hotmail contains more advertisements.

Mobility: both services are accessible via a mobile phone easily. Of course if you have a Windows Phone 7, Hotmail works best. Same as you have an Android phone and a Gmail account (you have a dedicated application for that).

Other services: of course both of them try to drive their own additional services. Calendars, Contacts, SkyDrive, Windows Live Messenger, Office Web Apps, Google Buzz, Google Docs….you name it !)

Attachments: both are good now in terms of sending heavy files

There are probably other features I’m missing here but that’s ok to have an overview.

So, in the end, who wins? I think nobody wins and both are winners. So how come Gmail is perceived as cooler than Hotmail? Hence the reason why you tend to adopt one service for another. Does it depend to your needs? I don’t think so. Does it depend on space or spam filtering or mobility access? Not at all, I’d say.

The reason, IMHO, is brand awareness. Again, Google does a better job in branding its own services. Some of them are better than Microsoft’s ones, some of them are not. It’s the way in which it positions itself in the market. As someone said on Twitter: “#Microsoft writes software to sell software, #Apple writes software to sell hardware, #Google writes software to sell users”. This is no secret and an absolutely true statement: it corroborates what I’m saying here.

+ the power of the Long Tail. If you link branding (remember, Google is an Internet Company) with the Power of Mouth, than your chances of success are enormously higher. People talking about this particular feature or service to other people, online and offline, is the secret of success.

So, in the end, is Gmail cooler than Hotmail ? It seems so. And if you think about it, it’s in your head already. You don’t have to scroll down all the functionalities to see which service is best. It seems it’s already a fact (but it’s not, if you drill down into details). And this has been “caused”, believe it or not, by the Long Tail,  the Power of Mouth, together with a good Branding Awareness.

So, to go Off Topic for a while and apply this to other stuff: you can brand anything. I believe a lot of people in the IT Industry think marketing or digital marketing or whatever you wanna call it is just fluffy/it’s not important. But they’re wrong. If you do it wisely and effectively, it’s the most powerful thing you can do.

Even for yourself (go have a look to this book and read it if you’re interested in this…)

Link to: How Does the New Hotmail Stack Up to Gmail?

MVP Summit–Unofficial Event repository !


if you planned to attend the MVP Global Summit (and if you did, please check your registration and make sure everything is correct and your registration is completed) you may wanna know that MVP Joseph Guadagno created an MVP Summit events repository:

“Anyone can create an event on the site, all you need to do is sign in with your Windows Live credentials, and link to create an event will appear.  Please note, the event will not be available until it is reviewed and approved for display”

MVP Summit Events

“MVP Summit Events will be your one stop shop for all events and after parties at MVP11”

Spread the word and see you soon @ the MVP Global Summit

Link to: MVP Summit Events Site Relaunched

Import Facebook calendar birthdays & events

Changing Smartphones frequently has the downside of having different calendar approaches.

As I had the chance to see different styles, I realized I was in need of something that would let me give me an overview of everything, in terms of contacts’ updates, events and birthdays.

I found this very useful application called fbcal: basically what it does is to export your events and birthday reminders on Facebook to your calendar in Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple iCal and of course Windows Live.

What you need to do, or at least what I found it to work is this approach (courtesy from ):

Step 1: Go to and click on “Get your Calendars Now”.

Step 2: Now to export your birthday calendar from Facebook, click on “Or download a copy here.” from “Subscribe to your friends Birthday” section of fbCal as illustrated from the screenshot below. You will have to first log into Facebook and give permission to fbCal to access information before you can download the .ics file.


Step 3: Now to import this calendar to Windows Live. Log into Windows Live Calendar and create a new Calendar. Give your calendar any name like “Facebook” and your new calendar will be created.

WL calendar

Step 4: Now select your newly created calendar and click on subscribe. Select “Import from an ICS file” and then browse the .ics file created using fbCal. Clicking on Import Calendar button will import all the birthday reminders from your Facebook calendar to your Windows Live Calendar.

The best part is that the Facebook calendar which you just imported to your Windows Live Calendar will be automatically synched to the desktop client i.e. Windows Live Mail as shown in the screenshot below:


Similarly you can repeat the above steps to import your Facebook events calendar to your Windows Live too by selecting “Or download a copy here.” in Step 2 from “Subscribe to your Facebook events” section of fbCal.

So, in the end, in your phone you’ll see 2 more calendars: one called “fdcal Birthday (in read only) and one called “fdcal Events” which will  be the events you accepted through Facebook.

The process seems complicated but it was really smooth.

Now, I realized I had a lot of duplicate lines in the Windows Live calendar (that contains a lot of calendars, BTW) and, as it integrates perfectly with the Windows Phone 7, I guess I need to spend some spare time on cleaning that up…:)

Link to: – Facebook Calendar Generator

24 Hours in the Cloud

Hi all,

just wanted to let you know of an upcoming event, organized by GITCA (Global IT Community Association), called “24 Hours in the Cloud”. The idea is to, over one day, let User Groups present for an hour on a Cloud related topic and then hand over to another group one time zone to the west.

Here are some technical topics suggested so far:

  • KeyNote: Association for Computing Machinery
  • Introduction to Windows Intune
  • Introduction to Office 365
  • Office Web Apps
  • Introduction to Exchange Online
  • Coexistance with and migration to Exchange Online
  • Introduction to SharePoint Online
  • Introduction to Microsoft Lync Online
  • Introduction to the Private Cloud
  • Deploying Hyper-V Cloud
  • Introduction to the Windows Azure Platform
  • AppFabric Overview
  • Windows Azure DataMarket
  • Cloud Security
  • Azure Security Overview
  • SQL Azure Security
  • Single Sign-On from Active Directory to a Windows Azure Application
  • Introduction to SQL Azure
  • Setup and Configuration of SQL Azure Databases
  • SQL Azure Security Using Data Sync
  • Introduction to Windows Azure
  • Windows Azure Security
  • AppFabric Caching
    If you are an MVP, a User Group Leader or a UG member, you may want to talk with your community peers to decide whether to participate having an active part on it by doing a User Group/Association technical presentation.
    How to apply?
    Go to this website and read about the event. Add a comment/blog post to that post to say you’re interested and to submit your ideas on any particular technical topic you may want to present. Also, you can submit your own ideas and apply by sending an email to

Link to: Welcome to GITCA.ORG

MVP Summit 2011- GeekGive !

Thanks to some twitter friends (and particularly to Paul Litwin), they reminded me to publish something about an event, sponsored by the MVP Award Program under the Geek Give “hat”, which will happen right before the MVP Global Summit.

This is definitely a community event, as it deals with unemployed and food caring. Anyone can participate in, and I think it’s a great opportunity to give help to these people while you are in Seattle. I know it’s not the normal sightseeing you are thinking about, but I’m sure it will be a rewarding experience. “Helping doesn’t hurt !).

So please read all the details about this harvesting experience & volunteer !

Link to: mvpsummit2011 – GeekGive

Categories: Community, Events

A Message to the MVPs

Hi all,

I know it sounds strange as I’m not sending an e-mail but rather posting here.

As you may have seen, I make blog posts about my personal experiences but also (I’d say fore and foremost) about YOUR events. Community events, Meetups, Presentations, Ask The Expert activities, everything that has a sense to promote it I will do it.

Of course I will include Microsoft events as well, in which you participated the most. But all the other community activities you do and you want to spread the word about I’m here to echoes them! I monitor the social media (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn mostly) but sometimes it’s inevitable that I’d miss something.

So my message (and it’s not only to the MVPs but also for UG Presidents) is: let me know when you do something. I think it will have a business value and will help spreading the word for future/potential engagements.

Thank you for reading my notes and keep them coming !! :)

P.S: during the next 3 to 4 weeks I’ll be very busy in doing MVP evaluations so please expect some delays in my replies. And also, please refer to our Regional alias (you know the address :)) as someone will take care of your questions… !