Middle Kingdom Here I Come!

Back in March of 2008 I wrote a series of posts about doing business in China, high context communication and Guanxi.  These were inspired while I was attending an internal Microsoft event.  Earlier this year during a similar event, inspiration struck again and now I’m moving to Beijing!  I’ll continue to focus on driving adoption of Microsoft’s data platform, Cloud and Web technologies with a laser focus on the Chinese market.

imageI see this move as a pivotal next step in my personal development and understanding of culture, technology and emerging markets.  This type of opportunity is exactly why I came to Microsoft back in 2007.  When I go back and read my post, Todo Tiene Su Final, recounting my experiences going through IE’s Global MBA, I’m reminded of the inspiration I felt moving into that big transition in my life.

The past three years living in Seattle, working as a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft have been incredible.  Some of the highlights that stand out are:

I’m really going to miss the amazing Seattle summer, my friends and family, and being so close to Maui; but I’m ultra grateful for the opportunity Microsoft is providing.

imageI have so much to learn, not the least of which is Mandarin!  After doing some research I decided to use fluenz and I’m really impressed by it.  The passion and attention to detail the fluenz team has put into developing their products is immediately clear.  It should be an inspiration for all of us dedicated to delivering high-end user experiences.  My goal is to be conversationally proficient by end of this year.  Wish me luck 🙂

In addition to learning the language and diving deeply into the technology scene I’m planning to doing some bicycle touring and mountaineering which should be a great way to experience the country.  I’ve been getting really into photography lately and I’ll try to post more pictures here.

I find it really interesting how opportunities in life unfold.  For me it’s always been about throwing myself out there and being open to new experience and adventure.  If living in China is anything like my experience living in Spain, I’m sure it will be life defining.

If you are in China and want to connect, just let me know!

Migrating My WordPress Blog to Windows and SQL Server

I recently wrote an article over at http://wordpress.visitmix.com about my experience migrating my blog over to WordPress on Windows and SQL Server which went pretty smoothly. 

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In the next couple of days I’ll go ahead and switch the DNS to my new server at Discount ASP.

Although I’ve been running web site and apps on LAMP since the late 90’s, I’ve really been enjoying PHP on Windows and SQL Server for a number of reasons.

  1. I can develop and test on my own Windows 7 machine or Virtual Machines using SQL Server Express R2 which is FREE.
  2. IIS is really easy to administer.
  3. The Web Platform Installer makes getting up and running simple.
  4. Connecting to SQL Server on my host via SQL Server Management Studio makes developing and managing my database really productive.
  5. Advanced SQL Server features like Spatial and Reporting Services give me a platform for building even more powerful apps.

Some of the things I really like about running on LAMP and miss on Windows include.

  1. SSH access for moving files.
  2. Wealth of information online related to issues when working with LAMP.

There are some tradeoffs but I’ve found the benefits outweigh the downside.  I’ve worked at Microsoft for three years without switching my site so it’s not just because they pay me although it does help :)  All in all, this has been a really good experience and I’d encourage you to give it a try.

Win $10k for Building a Rad PHP App on SQL Server or SQL Azure

Whether you have an established business or have a great startup idea this is an awesome opportunity to win some cash.  The SQL Server team is running a contest for PHP developers building apps on top of SQL Server or SQL Azure with a $10,000 prize.  This includes sites built on top of WordPress or Drupal.

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I’ve actually been working with WordPress on SQL and SQL Azure a lot lately and wrote an article about this contest at http://wordpress.visitmix.com which has a bunch of details of how everything works along with some ideas for building the winning app.

Good luck!

PHP on Windows Training Kit Support for Windows 7 Released

Today we published the March 2010 release of the PHP on Windows Training Kit which fixes a bug in the Dependency Checker for Windows 7. 

I apologize to anyone who tried early versions of the training kit and got the following error message.

Your current OS is not supported by the PHP on Windows Training Kit.  This kit takes advantage of IIS7 new features and will run only on those OS that support IIS7.

If your a PHP developer I’d highly recommend taking a look at this training kit.  There are bunch of really cool demos and hands on labs covering the following topics.

PHP & SQL Server Demos

  • Integrating SQL Server Geo-Spatial with PHP
  • SQL Server Reporting Services and PHP

PHP & SQL Server Hands On Labs

  • Introduction to Using SQL Server with PHP
  • Using Full Text Search over Office Documents in PHP

PHP on Windows Hands On Labs

  • IIS Access Control Features for PHP
  • Using IIS 7.0 Media Features in a PHP Application
  • Troubleshooting PHP
  • Migrating PHP Applications to IIS 7.0

You can download the latest version from the Download Center.

There’s a New Microsoft PHP Guy on the Block!

You may have already run into him but I’d highly recommend following Brian Swan’s work.  He’s got a deep background working with SQL Server and is focusing a lot of his energy making sure the PHP community is successful using Microsoft technology, especially SQL Server and SQL Azure.

He’s already written some good technical articles:

Make sure to add his blog to your favorite RSS reader and follow him on Twitter.