vConferenceOnline - here's another sample video for you now with Ben Hoelting

Next week is the vConference event, here's another sample video, this one from Ben Hoelting.  He is presenting at both the .NET dev conference and the SharePoint conference. 

Give it a listen, Ben is great.

Links on the bottom of the page will take you to registration for the event that broadcasts next week.


vConferenceOnline - Virtual Event Hosting - Video Conferences

Convergence 2009 NOLA looking for content

First, if you've not heard of Convergence before, check it out here.  But in a nutshell, think Tech Ed plus PDC plus customers focused strictly on Dynamics.  Pretty cool event.


Anyhow, are you just dying to hear/learn about CRM as a platform?  You NEED.TO.KNOW more about that Great Plains integration you've been keeping locked in your brain?


Click below, submit your requests and help determine the content.


In addition to the great technology focus, they have some scheduled time for some community service projects to help out the continued efforts in New Orleans.


Content Survey

Are you dizzy from all the PDC tweets too?

I think it's great that those of us that didn't make it to PDC have so much available to us for finding out what we missed so quickly.  But, I am about dizzy from the barrage of info, in tiny little 140 character nuggets.


Here's what I know:


NotAtPDC shows some of the best in people.  If you don't know it, go look.  Sunday evening a group of folks ( I think it started as whining) decided that just because they weren't at PDC, they could still have their own conference.  And holy cow, look what they accomplished.  I even donated some swag.


Geeks with shoes I am not the only geek with a thing for red shoes.


Windows Azure  Way too much for me to put here, click thru, read the release.  (insert sarcastic comment about naming an OS "blue" and comparisons to IBM/Big Blue)


Twitter got very fussy and slow with all the geeks trying to be the first one to share big news from the keynotes.


Good books Our CRM book was in the book store.  Go get one for yourself here.

Hey I'm Famous- or- I was interviewed and sound kinda smart, go listen!

Some guys I know, we'll call them Eric, Eric and Josh, run a pretty cool Webcast series and invited me to join them for an interview recently about my experiences publishing a book. 


Go have a listen, then let's talk about publishing YOUR book?


(thanks Eric, Eric and Josh, it was great, ask me again anytime)


CS Techcast: The Technology Podcast Giving you what IT Professionals Need to Succeed

.NET Developer VConference and discount code

So we are closing in on the .NET Developer VConference, November 5,6,7.  What's the big deal you say.......


Well, here's the top14 reasons to attend (sorry, there were more than 10 great )reasons

  1. awesome technical content
  2. you can attend a technical conference in your jammies without having to explain it to your spouse or your boss
  3. cost of travel is $0
  4. use discount code DYACK983 for $10 off your registration
  5. Kathleen Dollard
  6. Scott Golightly
  7. Tim Heuer
  8. Ben Hoelting
  9. Rob Babgy
  10. Dr Neil Roodyn
  11. Tim Huckaby
  12. Chris Sutton
  13. Rachel Appel
  14. David Yack


This first link is a sample from David Yack's contribution

David Yack session

This link is to the conference site where you can see the sessions and register (remember $10 off with code DYACK983)

.NET Developer Virtual Conference

Are you teaching your children the history they might not learn in school?

What or who influenced your life?  Did someone inspire you?  A hero?  Someone you still think about now and then?  Someone you look up to?  A teacher?  A public figure? 


For me that person has always been Gloria Steinem.  I started on the newspaper staff in middle school, then on to be Editor in Chief of the yearbook in high school, a section editor at the Purdue newspaper.  My high school journalism teacher, Debbie Heitmann, made sure we knew about the history behind many of the important women in journalism.  I was instantly captivated by Ms Steinem and her life and her passion.


I get to meet my hero.


(leaving that sentence there to simmer all by itself for a minute)


Ms Steinem will be attending/hosting a handful of select events in Colorado over the next couple of weeks.  I am attending and/or working at at least 2 of these events.


I get to introduce my daughter to my hero.


(yup, simmer for a second on that)


So, speaking to my daughter about how excited I am, I get the eye rolling sighing teenager response.  I just cannot get her to understand the historical importance Ms Steinem played for American women.  Lucky for me, last week Oprah had her as a guest, and our kids are of the Oprah generation.  So, because she is one of Oprah's heroes, it is ok that she is mine also.


So, I have watched the episode with my daughter.  Have watched part of it with my son (we will finish it before he can watch mythbusters again).  They need to know this stuff, don't they?


Thinking about the responses of the kids, the eye rolling, the annoyance, etc, made me realize how good of a job Gloria Steinem and all the other brave, loud, troublesome women have done.  We have a generation that can't even comprehend what it could have been like "back then".  The can't imagine that world.


I don't label myself as a feminist.  There are too many stereotypes associated with that.  I am a woman.  I do not live my professional life expecting to be treated any differently than a man.  Why would I?  I am just as intelligent (often times more so) and qualified as they are, even though I am by far outnumbered in my line of work.  Who cares?  Treat all the same, regardless of gender or any of those other factors that don't mean a darn thing when it comes to getting the job done.


After all that rambling, if you are still with me, click below to view specific info about the events in Colorado and to register, most are free and just need a head count.

Register for events at BPW Colorado

Attribute Replicator has been released for Microsoft CRM 4.0

So, this awesome tool is proof that whining works!


Let me explain...


I was working on some massive customizations of CRM for a real estate focus-use.  Making loads of custom attributes.  Loads of custom entities.  Soon it was obvious to me that I needed a way to re-use these custom attributes as much as possible.  Having to manually do them each, in each instance, was killing me. 


There was no tool out there.


I work in a custom software shop.


See where this is going?

It went something like this (repeat for every developer I would encounter in the office each day, many times over Live Messenger as well)

(Insert name of your favorite developer, in your BEST whiney voice):

Why can't we make some thing to automate all these customizations?  Why do I have to do them OVER AND OVER AND OVER again EACH AND EVERYTIME?  Why???  Just go make me something won't you??!!


And now we have the Attribute Replicator.  It comes as a free download with a book purchase from the site below.  But here's what it does...


You are doing CRM customizations.  Either you are doing loads for an in-house setup or maybe your a firm that does many of these for clients.  You wind up liking your custom attributes.  You get more comfortable making custom entities.  Now you need to save time, by not configuring new ones each time, over and over again for the same exact thing.  What the Replicator can do is load your entities and attributes from your CRM, make them available for re-use and assignment to other entities in the same CRM.  AND.  It allows saving of Attribute Packs for re-use over and over and over again.  So you do your first few rounds of customizations, you save the Attribute Pack for later.  Three months later boss comes up with some new ideas and you just pull up the Attribute Pack, apply it and tadah, almost automagically it's all done.


Anyhow, the tool is free with the book purchase.  If this is something you want to buy separate from the book, drop me an email.


Microsoft CRM 4.0 as a Rapid Development Platform

The office lizard debacle

Our office building has lizards.  I have blogged about them before, the babies ones were falling from my ceiling one day, raining lizards.  I have also mentioned Adrienne, my co-worker, and her absolute fear of them.  As the weather in Colorado gets colder, the lizards come inside.  They don't normally bother anyone and they keep the building free of bugs.

Imagine this, think Lucy and Ethel.


We were all (Ben, Cathy, Adrienne and me) getting ready to take Ben to lunch for his birthday.  I was in the doorway out of our office suite, at the top of the stairs.  I needed to tug the band of my shirt down, so I grabbed it on both sides, just around the sides.  When I did this, I felt something weird, then it was on my hand.  When I looked down at my hand, there was a lizard, clinging to my hand for dear life.  I just said "ew"  (note, said, not screamed, they annoy me, but that's about it) and the lizard got tossed pretty hard to the ground as I shook my hand.  I didn't intend to hurt it, but it startled me.

Now Adrienne.  She saw what was happening and jumped up on top of the couch at the top of the stairs.  Screaming.  Loud.  Very loud.  I started laughing.  Ben and Cathy saw parts of this and were laughing also.  We were all pretty loud.


Lizard hobbled over from its landing spot and went under the couch.  The couch Adrienne was standing on.  This did not go over well.  Meanwhile, while Adrienne is truly frantic, we couldn't help but laugh even more, just what good friends would do.  Right?


Pretty soon, people from the surrounding office suites came to check on us and all the noise.  Wanting to make sure we were all ok.


We calmed down.  I washed the lizard off my hands.  We went to lunch.


We laughed all afternoon.  I did have a bit of a case of the heebie-jeebies, looking for more lizards on me for the rest of the day.  You would too.