In recent years, Microsoft has taken a leaf out of Apple Book and is know known for putting together some pretty awesome product launch and general marketing videos for their Surface Lineup and Windows 11.
Whilst we usually only see these things at annual press events and new product launches such as Laptop Studio or Surface Duo, Panos Panay has recently taken to social media and posted a really awesome mashup reveal of the latest innovations across Windows 11 and the Microsoft Surface Products.
Many of my followers will know that I am a huge fan of Surface and also an MVP for #Windows11, but I must admit, this short video even gave me goosebumps since it really does capture the best of what makes Surface devices truly remarkable and innovative (setting the standard for other OEMs). The video also shows some of the latest enhancements within Windows 11 that were annouced formerly in their Future of Work event on the 5th April, where Panos showed off enhancements to things like Fluent icons, the Start Menu, and Windows Hello.
Windows 11, has the ability to display multiple clocks in the Taskbar. This can be useful in many situations, for example, if you work or communicate regularly with people in different time zones across the world.
Windows 11 can help here as it allows you to display up to two additional clocks from different time zones within the the Notification Center calendar. Here’s how to configure it.
Adding additional Time Zones to the Notification Centre
To add additional time zones to the calendar fly out in Windows 11 you need to follow these simple steps.
Click on Time & Language
Click the Date & Time on the right-hand side
Navigate to Related Links and click the Additional clocks setting
This then opens a legacy Windows Applet where you enter the additional times zones you’d like along with a friendly name like the example below.
Once you complete the steps, and click Apply or OK, the clock will now appear in the Notification Center (or when you press Windows key + N).
How to add multiple time zone clocks on Windows 11 To add another time zone clock on the Notification Center calendar, use these steps:
Just taking a moment to remember Sir Clive Sinclair. A man who inspired many (like me) to get into computing at a young age.
I was never a #zx80, #zx81 or #ZXSpectrum boy myself but my many of my friends were. I personally went down the BBC Micro then Commodore Vic20/Plus4/C64 and Amiga route), but the ZX range inspired many and innovated / kick started the affordable computer games era.
The ZX Spectrum was the successor of the mono coloured ZX80 and ZX81 which had (limited) colour graphics and the unmistakable tinny audio and really was the beginning of the UK games industry. Whilst (IMO) not as good as the completion, it was significantly more affordable than the likes of Commodore and BBC Micro which drove demand and got droves of teenagers into computing. The “hello world” Basic programming era was born!
Who remembers the noise when the games loaded (from tape) as the splash screen was ray traced? Couldn’t resist sharing this video..
Close your eyes and step back in time…
Those games that took longer to load than play, the see though graphics, and games like jetpac and Elite will be continue to be legacies.
RIP Sir Clive Sinclair. #computing #innovation #1980s #gaming #videogames
This week (end of July 21), Microsoft made Windows 11 available to #WindowsInsiders in the BETA channel (it’s been available for a month now in the DEV channel).
To help Insiders (and the general consumer and corporate) understand exactly what did and is going into the development of Windows 11, Microsoft have put together a informative “Windows 11 Innovation Portal”
The portal has a collection of videos from various key Windows 11 developers, marketing managers and Panos Panay himself which look at how general product feedback from users and #WindowsInsiders have helped and will continue to help shape Windows 11.
Other videos in the collection focus on the extensive ways in Windows11’s accessibility features have been designed and there’s then a section of info and videos that introduce some of the newly designed and AI fueled features such as the new start menu, touch keyboard, voice typing, snap view and new “tablet posture”.
So.. If you want to know more (before during or after you’ve installed Windows11) check it out now and let me (and other #WindowsInsiders) know what you think.
I read an article recently about StephenKitay – the Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, who is now Senior Director at Microsoft Azure Space. It got me thinking… Firstly.. what a cool job title…. and secondly… what is Azure Space..
It’s quite cool.. Tech and Space!
Microsoft says that “Azure Space was created to be the platform and ecosystem of choice for the mission needs of the space community” . It’s designed to make connectivity and compute increasingly attainable across industries including agriculture, energy, telecommunications, and government.”
I loved researching and sharing some of what I read. What a great project to be part of… Imagine being asked what do you at a networking event and saying “supporting customers on their space missions off and on the planet, using the power of cloud and space technology to help business across industries re-imagine solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems”
Taking cloud-powered innovation beyond Earth with “Azure Space”.
With the enormous challenges space presents, there also comes great opportunity. The space community is growing rapidly, and innovation is lowering the barriers of access for public and private sector organizations.
Microsoft is the first hyperscale cloud service provider to join the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) as a member organization and they plan to share our unique global threat insights to protect critical infrastructure and strengthen cybersecurity expertise across the space community.
What is the purpose and applications for Azure Space?
“Microsoft are diligently working to make Azure the platform of choice for the mission needs of the space community, bringing our unique global threats insights to protect critical infrastructure and strengthen cybersecurity expertise in the space industry“.
But…. Its not just about sticking Azure in space stations and shuttles.
Putting compute, data and AI into space makes connectivity and compute increasingly more attainable and accessible across the globe and has huge benefits across industries such as agriculture, energy, telecommunications as well as across the public sector and in particular in regions where traditional connectivity and access to compute is more sparse. Third and developing world nations will also hugely benefit. “ our ambition is to grow the entire world community, which is the basis for Azure Space.”
OK so what is Azure Space though?
Azure Space is basically a set of innovative service offerings, a new partner ecosystem and a global strategy focused on specific core areas to addresses never-before-seen security challenges. Azure Space is made up of 3 main things..
Azure Orbital is a Ground Station As-a-Service that provides communication and control of a satellite and enables satellite operators to communicate with and control their satellites, process data, and scale operations within Microsoft Azure.
Azure Orbital brings satellite data directly into Azure, where it can immediately be processed with market-leading data analytics, geospatial tools, machine learning, and Azure AI services.
In essence Azure Orbital will allow organisations/providers of “space connected stuff”, to take full advantage of the Microsoft’s global network and services infrastructure to build new product offerings and services with the edge, 5G, SD-WAN, and AI.
Azure Modula Datacenter
The Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC) is a complete, rugged datacenter solution for organisations/servjce providers that need cloud computing capabilities in hybrid, sparse or challenging environments like space.
Microsoft designed the MDC to support high-intensity, secure cloud computing in challenging environments, such as situations where critical prerequisites like power and building infrastructure are unreliable. Built on Azure Stack(r), it is a self-contained unit the provides the capability to deploy a complete datacenter to remote locations, or to complement existing infrastructure. The MDC runs primarily on terrestrial fiber, low-bandwidth networks, or be completely disconnected.
Azure Orbital Simulator
With space mow opening up to more commercial and government space organisation, the pace and demand of developing interconnected satellite networks increases exponentially.
To aid with this, Microsoft have created Azure Orbital Emulator, an emulation environment that conducts massive satellite constellation simulations with software and hardware in the loop. This allows satellite developers to evaluate and train AI algorithms and satellite networking before ever launching a single satellite reducing cost, time and money as well as human safety naturally. With Azure Orbital Emulator, Azure can emulate an entire satellite network including complex, real-time scene generation using pre-collected satellite imagery for direct processing by virtualized and actual satellite hardware.
“The Goal of Azure Orbital Emulator is to aid the preparation of space missions with the power of Azure.”
Azure Orbital Emulator is already being used Azure Government customers globally.
Microsoft Inspire is Microsoft’s largest (and global) annual partner event and as usual features several high-profile global execs including CEO Satya Nadella and EVP of Worldwide Commercial Business Judson Althoff.
What might we hear about?
Last year, there was huge news and updates around Azure, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Edge as you’d expect with also a focus on new services such as Microsoft Lists, and Power Automate Desktop.
This year we can expect to hear some new enhancements and updates and I expect to see a focus around the recently(ish) announced Microsoft Viva along with more updates around Windows (following the event on the 24th June) and probably some new things none of us are expecting… .
You can register for Microsoft Inspire 2021 on this page with your Microsoft account, Office 365, LinkedIn, or GitHub account.
Now, I don’t need to tell you just how fast #MicrosoftTeams is being adopted across organisations globally, but one thing we are seeing is the shire explosion of new form factor devices by leading (and new) manufacturers into the Teams Collaboration space. Some of these new devices fits into the new category of Microsoft Teams Displays.
Microsoft Teams Displays – are a new category of all-in-one dedicated Teams devices featuring an ambient touchscreen, and a hands-free / touch-free experience “powered by Cortana” (though this is currently only available in the US only at this point).
One of these vendors is Lenovo, who are no means a “new kid on the block” when it comes to end user devices such as tablets, laptops, and desktops, but they are kind of new in the Teams Collaboration Device Space. Interestingly, Lenovo are now also supplying the “PC” component of, not only their new Teams Rooms Systems, but also that of Poly!
You may ask why, when employees have access to laptops, web browsers, smart phones and tablets, all more than capable of running Microsoft Teams, so we need a dedicated Teams Collaboration Display….
Introducing the Lenovo ThinkSmart View
The Lenovo ThinkSmart View is a dedicated personal business communications device for hosting and taking part in Microsoft Teams audio and video calls – the devices of which can be managed by the Lenovo ThinkSmart Manager software, a proprietary software application built for IT departments to easily manage their fleet of ThinkSmart devices.
Designed and certified exclusively for Microsoft Teams, Lenovo calls this a “…collaborative smart device that works from an individual’s workspace…” – it’s a collaboration device really designed for execs or those with a pop-up home office who want to be “free from their laptop or tablet” but still need a video rich and audio rich endpoint and a price point that really appeals.
Lenovo are attempting to “reimagine the personal workspace” with Microsoft Teams displays by integrating the Teams collaboration and communication experience into the home and workplace with high fidelity audio and video.
So, what can you use it for?
Meetings – and it’s really good at them too!
Most of what the device can do is set out by, and limited by what Microsoft allows the device to do since the collaboration device is powered by the Microsoft Teams Android client that runs on the device. Initially, and when first reviewed the device earlier this year, the device was really just for joining meetings and for Teams Phone features, however the update in September 2020 brought the FULL Teams Mobile features to the device including:
Teams Call / Video Meetings with full phone UX for Calls, Meetings & Voicemail
Common Area and Personal Phone Support
Hot Desking Support
Support Live Captions / Subtitles
Full video calling, screen sharing / viewing
Ambient display support – for notifications, and activity views
Raise hand support
Better Together for Calling & Meeting
IM and Chat
Full support for starting, participating, navigating and interacting with Chat
Full access to your recent files and full access to your OneDrive
View your Team and company org chart
My other favourite is the ability for colleagues (or most likely, your kids to leave you a message, voice memo or video memo) on the device if you are away from your desk (more likely..in the loo or getting a coffee!)
What’s in the box?
This is really simple. The ThinkSmart View device and a UK plug.
What’s the Price?
The retail for these is £229 plus VAT – so I definitely put them into the affordable gadget category for most managers/exec that work at home or need a dedicated Teams Video endpoint in their office.
What’s the Spec?
As I said – think of this as a giant Teams Phone. Its runs the same native Teams Mobile app but is perfect as a Teams On-the-go collaboration device – as long as you have a power-plug to power it up as it doesn’t have a built in battery. With this device you get:
5MP wide angle (720p) with a physical camera shutter to cover it for privacy.
Supports software background blur in Teams meetings
Built in microphone with mute switch to temporarily cut the audio.
1.75″ 10W full-range speaker
Bluetooth® 4.2 (LE) – pairing allows use with a headset and support auto device lock.
8″ HD (1200 x 800) IPS touchscreen with auto rotate for landscape / portrait mode
The ThinkSmart View is an interesting form factor device from Lenovo. It’s not immediately clear as to the audience it has been designed for. I think initially it’s designed for the exec or manager’s office – but with the 2020 being the year of “remote working”, this is ideally suited as a second / dedicated Teams end-point…
Audio is surprising good – rather than the often tinny sounds you get from laptop speakers, the 10-Watt full-range speaker in the ThinkSmart View has 2 passive tweeters allowing it to produce loud, crisp and clear audio, and testing on the receiving end (yes, I called my self), the audio picked up by the 360-degree microphone array was also “room system” quality in my opinion. Audio is important…. with virtual meetings, the spoken voice is the most important aspect of the call/meeting and while video is king, now more than ever, you can more easily forgive poor quality video as long as audio is sharp and clear.
For anyone working at home, this is much better than having a Teams Phone on your desk and it’s actually something that would be great in another room (or area) of your home/office, but of course it’s limited to use within #MicrosoftTeams which probably limits that – there’s certainly no danger in your kids or other family members using it for WhatsApp calls for example – though they might inadvertently video call your boss via Teams!
Within the “office environment”, the Lenovo ThinkSmart display can also fill the need for a “walk up and use” video collab device which can be placed in a small focus space or breakout area – especially as it supports “hot desk mode” – the lack of a handset makes it a bit in practical for a common area but you can pair it with a headset (again – great to dedicated use, no so much for common area use).
I think for anyone working at home, this is much better than having a Teams Phone on your desk and it’s actually something that would be great in another room (or area) of your home/office, but of course it’s limited to use within #MicrosoftTeams which probably limits that – there’s certainly no danger in your kids or other family members using it for WhatsApp calls for example – though they might inadvertently video call your boss via Teams!
This a new(ish) form factor, though not entirely unique to Lenovo. The other Teams Collaboration device manufacturer in this space today is Yealink – who’s device is due to launch early 2021 and is rumoured to have a battery as well as being mains powered which is the main thing missing from the Lenovo in my opinion.
As you’d expect from Lenovo, build quality is excellent. There is a premium feel to the device and its weighted on one-side, presumably to prevent accidental movement or repositioning. Its not heavy though – no heavier than a Bluetooth speaker the weight just helps with positioning and premium feel.
At just over £200 (RRP is £240 as of Dec 2020), it’s a great device to buy a handful of, to test out the use case within your organisation – a few of the clients I work with have done just this.
Microsoft has released the much-anticipated sibling to the Surface Go with the announcement of the Surface Laptop Go (which is a bit of a mouthful) that starts at just £549 – for reference this is about half the price of the cost of its big brother, the Surface Laptop 3 which makes the Laptop Go could a seriously tempting device for anyone or any business that is bought into the Surface Brand but doesn’t need the size or power of the premium range.
The Laptop Go is to date, the most “affordable” laptop in Microsoft’s Surface line-up.
Is this like the Surface Go?
If you think of the Surface Go 2 as the “baby Surface Pro”, then the Laptop Go is a “baby Surface Laptop 3″ with a 12.4” screen. It is a smaller, lower-spec device than the Surface Laptop 3 for sure, but it also is quite an uplift from the internals of the Surface Go 2, launched back in March.
The good news is that unlike the Surface Go (which I am a huge fan of and reviewed here), Microsoft has been far more generous with the technical internals of the Laptop Go and hasn’t cut corners on the processor. The Laptop Go features 10th Gen Intel’s Core i5 processors (the Surface Go uses the M3), which provides plenty of performance to handle everyday tasks such as web browsing, watching videos and working on big doc, presentations and spreadsheets.
The Laptop Go is also surprisingly accessory-friendly, with both USB-C and USB-A connections, along with Microsoft’s standard Surface port.
Surface Laptop Go is also hot on security, with Firmware TPM and Fingerprint Power Button for password-free One Touch sign-in on all but the base model. Weirdly there is no Windows Hello camera, which I was surprised at given it’s been a key feature on every Surface model since the Pro 5 and is even in the most entry level Surface Go 2.
Designed for on the “Go”
Like the Surface Go, the small form factor of the Laptop Go means it is easy to pop into a bag or simply carry round and despite its weight (at just 1.1Kgs), it does look and feel (so they say) every bit like a Surface. Battery power is claimed to be around 13hrs and supports fast-charging – which can take you from zero to 80% charge in just an hour.
One thing which I had assumed would be an option, is lack of support for mobile data (LTE/4G) which I presumed would be there – it seems the LTE variant is still only available in the Surface Go and Surface Pro X range.
The Laptop Go comes in blue, platinum and sandstone colours.
Compromise or Upgrade?
To keep the price point of the cheapest Laptop Go cheap, there are some compromises in the £549 model.
Graphics: Being a more “budget” Surface device, graphics power is one place where there is some compromise. The Laptop Go includes the more entry level ‘Intel UHD’ graphics chip, compared with the significantly more powerful ‘Intel Iris Plus’ which is included within the Surface Laptop 3.
RAM– The entry level Surface Laptop Go comes with only 4GB RAM which is really the bear minimum anyone should have in a device these days! This is fine if you are mainly using web apps and only a few apps, but if you plan on doing lots of multi-tasking and don’t want to have to keep closing apps to free up memory, you’ll want to opt for the 8GB version,
Storage – The entry level Laptop Go has just 64GB of the cheaper, more basic ‘eMMC’ storage which isn’t as fast as the solid-state drives (SSD) found in the higher specification models.
A small upgrade – makes all the difference
The shortcomings high-lighted above can be easily overcome by throwing a little more money at the Laptop Go.
If you go for the next model up in the range (which is an extra £149), you get
A faster and larger (128GB) SSD
8GB of RAM.
If you want even more, you can change the config up to 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD, though personally at this level I’d be looking at “grownup” Surface!
When can I get one?
It’s available for pre-order now with delivery dates from 27th October 2020 in the UK
Late last night (UK time), Microsoft officially “launched” the next milestone in their Surface Journey with a new form-factor device under the prestigious brand of “Surface”.
What is Surface Duo?
Surface Duo brings mobile productivity to a new level – powered by a new mobile form-factor, two screens and powered by a customised Android OS and Microsoft 365 apps and services.
Surface Duo (images courtesy of Microsoft)
Surface Duo promises to deliver the easiest and most natural way to multitask on the go, bringing together the power of Microsoft 365 apps, services and experiences with the full ecosystem of Android mobile apps all of which can be fully managed, configured and protected with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Defender ATP.
Of course, this is a Surface – not just a device running Android OS! One of the incredible capabilities of this new Surface is its ability to natively connecting to a full Windows 10 experience in the cloud with Windows Virtual Desktop, making Surface Duo perfectly aligned to its vision and enablement of the modern workplace – for execs, for first line workers or as the perfect companion device to everything else!
Running Windows Virtual Desktop on Surface let’s not only allow you to run Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) on a Surface Duo but it will fully support the native device experience and Windows 10 – supporting touch, pen, ink, and biometric authentication in across both the physical device and virtual environments seamlessly.
When is it Available?
Surface Duo will begin shipping on September 10, 2020 and according to Microsoft, “represents the next wave of mobile productivity, inspiring people to rethink what is possible with the device in their pocket“.
What’s the Spec?
Surface Duo will represent the thinnest foldable mobile device on the market with an 8.1″ PixelSense Fusion display connected by a revolutionary 360-degree hinge, allowing the user to view and interact with each 5.6″ display individually or together, across a variety of modes with native support already available across a wide range of Microsoft, and other applications including OneNote, Microsoft Teams and Outlook.
While the full specs haven’t been released, the core specs that have been shared are quite impressive and include:
Less than 5mm thick (so very thin) and only 9.6mm when folded/closed
Two 5.6″ high-res (1,800 x 1,350) Gorilla Glass covered 5.6” AMOLED displays that fold out into an impressive 8.1”, 401 dpi screen
Unique 360-degree hinge design
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SOC
Wi-Fi and 4G (yes, no 5G on initial launch)
11MP Camera (but don’t let the low res get you down as this is Surface so will be a high-quality sensor with excellent low light (F-Stop) support – though I haven’t seen the actual spec on this as yet!
The specs aren’t really the focus – its more about what and how the device helps embrace modern working. Microsoft’s Surface (and now Windows) lead, Panos Panay, and team, don’t really focus on speeds and feeds as the target market for this isn’t the consumer, it’s their loyal Surface and Microsoft 365 customers.
Enterprise Security from Chip to Cloud
There has been a huge focus, on Security (as you’d expect from Microsoft) and Surface Duo has protection built in at every layer with deeply integrated hardware, firmware, and software to keep your devices, identities, and data secure.
Microsoft have taken their custom engineered Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), used across the Surface range and embedded this into Duo too, which enables full control over firmware components. Microsoft have released a detailed document on exactly how they will do this here:
How much does it cost and when can I get it!
Surface Duo pricing starts at $1,399 (US) – no UK pricing yet and not “currently” available for pre-order but expect this to change very soon!
What do you think?
I’ll certainly be getting one as soon as they are available and will provide a full hand-on review once I have my hands on one!
Last week Microsoft opened (after initially announcing back in November 2019) the availability of their new Surface EarBuds.
My Earbuds arrived today and I’m already really impressed (ok I love the Surface brand) – and I hope this blog will gives you a good summary and justifies why I’d recommend you go and grab a pair
Spoiler…. They work with any device, feature gesture controls not buttons, have fantastic battery life and work with any digital assistant…
I managed to pick there up direct from the Microsoft Store for £179 including delivery (Microsoft are currently offering a discount of 10% for teachers, parents, NHS and armed forces)!
Look and Feel
Microsoft’s new Surface Earbuds look quite big on first look (compared to say Apple’s) but I love the them.. They look very pretty “Surface”.
The charging case is sleek and protects them when not in use as well as keeping the charge topped up.
In Ear Feel
So they do look a little big when you first get them out the box and pop them in (I’m used to wearing Platronics 8200 headset so the buds are bigger than what I am used too). After 4 hours though, I had forgotten I was wearing them at all. – They fit really well but Microsoft also supply removable tips in three sizes: small, medium and large. The medium ones were fine for me.
Pairing is simple and can be done like pairing any other Bluetooth device but you can also use the new Surface Audio app which is available across all the 3 app stores.
Pairing is initiated using the pairing button on the bottom of the case and really is oneclick. If you are using the latest Windows10 built the Bluetooth quick pair works seemlessly.
As soon as mine were connected the Surface Audio app popped up and told me there was a firmware update to install which took about 5 mins.
OK, so 4 hours in… Good. Really good.. but a little more bass would have been nice..
With some random #spotify lockdown songs playing, sound was good. Immersive, good mix of bass, mids and treble (if fact bass was better than I expected), though a little bit more bass would have been nice..
Being on COVID-19 lockdown, I don’t get much background noise at the moment. It’s worth pointing out that Surface earbuds do not have active noise cancellation, but I found that because the Surface Earbuds fit snug into my ear I don’t imagine this will be too much of a problem.
The EarBuds have dual microphones per bud and seem to be really good at only picking up the sound you want them too (me). On a Teams call earlier today, my attendees said said they could hear me clearly.
Controls and gestures:
One of the coolest features of the Surface Earbuds is its extensive app integration (not just Cortana). With a triple tap, you can open Spotify and then you can tap or swipe to increase the volume, skip tracks or summon your preferred digital assistant with a 5 second press. These controls also work with other apps… Netflix, Disney Plus..etc
The smooth, flat surface of the Surface Earbuds has perfect senstivity, so even a light tap works. Once I had practices a few times my success rate of using gestures to perform tasks was almost 100%.
Personally, I love that Microsoft opted for gestures rather than buttons, which I think would have ruined the feel and pleasure in using these buds… No one likes pressing a large plastic gadget into ones ears!
Microsoft 365 Integration
Being Surface, these are supported by Microsoft 365 apps and can be used transcribe text in Word use live translation in PowerPoint as your present. You can also use these to read your emails in in Outlook on iOS and soon Android too.
That said… I can’t see anything that you can’t do with any other headsets….
According to Microsoft, Surface Earbuds will last 8 hours on a charge, which is among the longest battery life of any wireless earbuds currently available.
The charging case also holds another 24 hours worth of charge, or three full charges.
Mine have been playing to themselves for 5 hrs so far and have just over 30% battery left.
Out and about (test drive)
No strange looks at least.. Certainly different from the apple pods but I really like them. Comfy and don’t feel like they will fall out anytime soon. Sound was good and battery lasted all day..
Couple of days in but love them. Some may criticise the larger pod design when compared to apple for example but it works really well and is needed for guesture control which is really nice and unique. These really feel premium and what I what expect from a device carry the Surface brand.
Intuitive gesture controls
Great feel in your ears
Crisp, sharp and loud sound
Excellent battery life.
Microsoft 365 integration. (but not unique to Surface devices)
I am proud to share with you that last night, I finally received the official Windows Insider MVP Award from Microsoft, for my contributions in the Windows development life cycle community in the past 12 months.
Those that know me and work with me, know I’m passionate about technology and have become a real #MicrosoftAdvocate since running the Microsoft business at @cisilion.
What is it?
The Windows Insider MVP award is an additional award to the over arching Microsoft MVP award. It was created and announced in 2016, and is focusing on Windows and Windows Powered Devices.
What’s the Criteria?
The MVP award program rewards participants who contribute significantly, and voluntarily, to their technical communities. While Microsoft doesn’t publish the exact qualification criteria, the nomination process usually includes includes being nominated, detailing your community activities over the past 12 months, including blogging, speaking engagements, social media and contributions to forums or other technical groups (including answers.microsoft.com and techcommunity.microsoft.com)
What it means
It is an honor to be awarded for my work and contributions to this fine community led by @donasarkar and her team of #ninjacats. Its a bit like a passion and second job at times…. Playing with new and experimental features, suggesting and feeding back and influencing the future development for everyone. It’s a small but great community to be a tiny part of globally.
“Congratulations! Thank you for your contributions to the Windows community, we are excited to welcome you as a Windows Insider MVP. This award is a token of our appreciation, your leadership and passion help make Windows the best yet. We look forward to collaborating with you and all of our Windows Insider MVPs as we continue to strengthen the Windows Insider MVP (WI MVP) Program.”
What are the benefits?
Outside of a nice badge and trophy, the Microsoft MVP title unlocks access directly to the Microsoft product groups, via webinars, email lists, Yammer community and the invitation-only annual MVP Summit at Microsoft HQ in Redmond.
Additionally, Microsoft MVPs gain software licensing benefits to some Microsoft software titles, LinkedIn Learning and other third-party MVP offers. Speaking to other MVPs and WIMVPs, there is feeling that the MVP Community is like a family of enthusiasts and processionals
Whilst I have not been before, all content presented at the MVP Summit (which is held in March each year), is under a strict non-disclosure agreement. This allows MVPs an incredible level of access to hear about upcoming product changes and to influence product strategy and feed back thoughts, ideas and issues.
Microsoft places a huge amount of value on the stories from MVPs on what’s working well and what the road blocks are for the user and professional community.
I’m told content is presented well and that there is a great opportunity for open discussion…I am told there also “time” for some social events including dinners as well as tour of some of the special places on the Microsoft Redmond Campus….but most of all the opportunity to meet the amazing people that design, build and market some of the best products, services and platforms that set out to “empower every personal and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”.
Finally.. I hear there also lots and lots of geeky swag and stickers..