# Friday, June 15, 2012
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This week, at Tech Ed North America, I participated in something called "Speaker Idol".

Speaker Idol is a contest organized by Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin of .NET Rocks Fame. The contestants are speakers who have never spoken at Tech Ed before and the grand prize is an invitation to speak at Tech Ed next year. Each speaker delivers a 5-minute presentation and a panel of judges rates that presentation afterward.

I entered the contest and delivered a short talk on Data Visualization. The judges liked my presentation but made a number of suggestions about providing more real-world examples.

I won the first heat, which placed me in the finals. The competition in the finals was intimidating to say the least. There were three other contestants: Jeff Fritz (who was the runner-up in the first heat), Seth Juarez, and Jim Holmes. I only met Jeff this week, but I've seen Jim and Seth deliver many presentations and they are both excellent, so I knew I needed my A-game.

Fortunately, the judges liked the fact that I took their feedback and my finals presentation included some practical examples at the end of my presentation. One of the judges paid me a very high compliment, saying that he planned to change the way he did some things based on what he learned in my talk.

When it was over, I came in first place overall.

Speaking at a major contest like TechEd has been a personal goal for a long time, which made it gratifying. Having it happen among competition like that makes me suspect divine intervention was involved.

I'm very excited about this and I wanted to share it right away.

In a few days, I'll have a full brain dump on my experience  at Tech Ed North America.

A crown made by one of the judges

Friday, June 15, 2012 3:09:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, June 14, 2012

Here is a video of Michael Collier's "The Hybrid Windows Azure Application" presentation at the 2012 Detroit Day of Azure.

Azure | Video
Thursday, June 14, 2012 3:43:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Here is a video of Joe Kunk "Windows Azure Data Marketplace" presentation at the 2012 Detroit Day of Azure.

Azure | Video
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 3:29:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Here is a video of John Ferringer's "Office 365" presentation at the 2012 Detroit Day of Azure.

Azure | Video
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:28:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, June 11, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012 3:26:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, June 10, 2012

Here is a video of Jennifer Marsman's "Writing Your First Azure App" presentation at the 2012 Detroit Day of Azure.

Azure | Video
Sunday, June 10, 2012 4:26:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, June 9, 2012

Here is a video of Jennifer Marsman's "Azure 101" presentation at the 2012 Detroit Day of Azure.

Azure | Video
Saturday, June 9, 2012 7:22:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, June 8, 2012

Here is a recording of Brent Stineman’s keynote presentation at the 2012 Detroit Day of Azure.

Azure | Video
Friday, June 8, 2012 5:55:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

I published some of these links last month, but Microsoft has released links for even more free stuff. Check out the cool stuff by clicking the links below.

Friday, June 8, 2012 1:28:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, June 7, 2012

Next week, I will attend my first Tech Ed conference. I don't really know what to expect. Although I attend a lot of conferences, the great majority are small to medium community-run conferences. Larger conferences like this are usually out of my price range. Fortunately, I'll be doing some work for INETA at Tech Ed, so they will pick up my ticket.

I have scheduled a few things.
I will be delivering two Birds-of-a-Feather sessions: Getting Involved in my Local Developer Community: How is it a Win-Win? on Tuesday evening and Is Windows Azure a Contender for my Next Application? on Wednesday morning.
I will be working at the INETA booth, answering questions about how our organization helps user groups.
I signed up to compete in Speaker Idol, a contest in which each contestant delivers a 5-minute technical presentation. Winners of each heat advance to the final round and the grand prize winner is invited to speak at Tech Ed 2013.

I will also be working and presenting at the Community Leadership Summit the day before Tech Ed.

Looking through the web site, I see that Tech Ed offers a great many technical presentations and workshops. I hope to attend some of these. But, more importantly, I hope to have a chance to talk with a lot of smart people and add to my toolbox.

Thursday, June 7, 2012 3:50:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)