Browsing articles tagged with " Microsoft"

Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre (MCEC)–Great Stuff

Jun 28, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Careers, Data, DLBlog, Fun  //  No Comments

I love getting to see new technologies changing the world.  The opening of the new Vancouver Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre included prominent Microsoft and Canadian leaders, including our Geek Prime Minister.  Take a few minutes to see how all my favourite buzzwords come together:

Microsoft + my Canadian BF + Jobs + Deep Learning + AI + Machine Learning + Investing + Accessibility + YVR + SEA + Innovation + Prime Minister "knows how to code already" + Geek + Big news for Canada

This sort of “making a difference” is why I keep getting out of bed in the morning.

Educator Grants for Microsoft Azure

Sep 8, 2015   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Cloud, Database, DLBlog, NoSQL, Professional Development  //  2 Comments

Are you an educator teaching at an accredited university or college?  Do you want Azure cloud subscription grants for you and your students?  All you need to do is register with some basic information at:

The current grant amounts (subject to change and regional differences, of course) for reference:

Azure Grant $250/month instrcutor, $100 month Student

If you teach a technology-related course, you may be eligible for these grants.  Remember, Azure includes more than Microsoft technologies, so these grants can cover a wide variety of course subjects.

Canadian IT Pros: Win a 3D Movie Pack

Want to do some learning AND have a chance at winning one of 200 3D Cineplex Movie Prize Packs?

Just register and complete 2 Microsoft Virtual Academy courses about Windows 10, the cloud, and more.



So get registered, take two modules or more, and tell me what film you see with your winnings.

Microsoft Canada Needs Your Feedback

Mar 19, 2013   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun  //  1 Comment

(plus an opportunity for PRIZES!)

We often work with Anthony, Pierre and Mitch, the evangelists from the IT Pro team at Microsoft Canada. They asked us to share this important message with you.

The team at Microsoft Canada is focused on ensuring that they help set you up for success by providing the information and tools you need in order to be get the most out of Microsoft based solutions, at home and at work.

Twice a year, Microsoft sends out the Global Relationship Study (GRS for short); it’s a survey that Microsoft uses to collect your feedback and help inform their planning. If you receive emails from Microsoft, subscribe to their newsletters‚ or you’ve attended our any of their events you may receive the survey.

The important details:

  • Timing – March 4th to April 12th 2013
  • Sent From – “Microsoft Feedback”
  • Email Alias – “feedback@e–
  • Subject Line – “Help Microsoft Focus on Customers and Partners”

Many of you already read the Microsoft Canada IT Pro team’s blogs‚ connect with them on LinkedIn and have attended their events in the last year or so. So you may already know that you’re their top priority. So they want to hear from you.

Pierre, Anthony and Mitch use the GRS results to shape what they do, how they do it and if it’s resonating with you. Tell them what you need to be the “go-to” guy (or gal). Tell them what you need to grow your career. They want you to be completely satisfied with Microsoft Canada.

Online Resources

This year, Pierre, Anthony and Mitch have delivered 30 IT Camps and counting across the country. Giving you the opportunity to get hands on and learn how to get the most value for your organization. They have a few more events planned this year, so keep an eye on their plancast feed for events near you. Based on your feedback, topics they’re planning to cover will include:

· Windows 8

· Windows Server 2012

· System Center 2012

· Private Cloud

· BYOD – Management and Security

That’s not all. They’ve heard you loud and clear so in addition to hands on events, they’re also delivering more technical content online via the IT Pro Connection Blog. Windows 8 continues to be a big area of focus for them. They covered a lot of great content at launch and they’ve complimented that with new content like:

· Security Concepts

· Enterprise Focused Content

· Windows 8 and System Center 2012 Integration

In addition to this, there are some valuable online resources you can use like Microsoft Virtual Academy, Microsoft’s no-cost online training portal. Or software evaluations (free trials) on TechNet that allow you to build your own labs to try out what you’ve learned.

There are some great SQL Server labs there, too.

Let Microsoft Canada Know What You Need

Regardless of how you engage with the team at Microsoft Canada‚ you’d probably agree that they hear you. They’d also encourage you to continue to provide that great feedback. They thrive on it‚ they relish it‚ they wallow in it and most importantly of all‚ they action it. So please keep connecting with them and keep it coming! Pierre, Anthony and Mitch are listening.

Resources, Tools and Training

· Tim Horton’s Gift Card Contest – We’re giving away 350 Tim Horton’s gift cards, all you have to do to qualify is download a free qualifying software evaluation (trial). Download all three for more chances to win, but hurry, the contest closes soon.*

· Windows 8 Resource Guide Download a printable, one-page guide to the top resources that will help you explore, plan for, deploy, manage, and support Windows 8 as part of your IT infrastructure.

· Windows Server 2012 Evaluation – Get hands on with Windows Server 2012 and explore the scale and performance possibilities for your server virtualization.

· Microsoft Support – Get help with products‚ specific errors‚ virus detection and removal and more.

· Microsoft Licensing -Visit the Volume Licensing Portal today to ask questions about volume licensing‚ get a quote‚ activate a product or find the right program for your organization.

*No purchase necessary. Contest open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. Contest closes April 11, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Three-Hundred-and-Fifty (350) prizes are available to be won: (i) $10 CDN Tim Horton’s gift card.  Skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. For full rules, including entry, eligibility requirements and complete prize description, review the full terms and Conditions.

Judging, Hiring, Prizes and Leeches… #bethenext

Jul 10, 2012   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Database, Fun, Professional Development, SQL Server  //  5 Comments

If you’ve ever been on the interviewer side of a interview, you know how tough it is to make judgements about someone and their work in a very short, unnatural situation and time frame.  I’ve been invited to participate in something even more exciting…a reality show Be The Next Microsoft Employee.  This web-based reality show is a contest run by Microsoft Learning for hiring a new SQL Server professional.  Four contestants, Alex, Chris, Michael and Stacy, compete in a series of challenges given to them by Buck Woody (@buckwoody | blog ) and guest judges like me.  Like all reality shows, these challenges aren’t going to be mundane, sit-in-a-quiet-cube-and-take-a-few-hours-to-plan-your-solution efforts.  I hear some even involve spiders, water, catapults and leeches.  Okay, that might just have been Buck scaring people again. Or not.

We will be judging victims candidates on the quality, completeness, professionalism and technical correctness of their solutions.  That part is just like in real life…except for cameras, producers and an entire professional film crew. And leeches, I think.  Just to make all more fun.

Anyway, the trailer for the reality show is up now.  Episodes will start going up on the Microsoft Learning website on 24 July. 


You Can Win, Too

Microsoft Learning is also running a prize contest for viewers.  You can win a free training class from New Horizons and certification exam vouchers from Prometric. This contest is open to nearly everyone, so not just US residents.  Register for a chance to increase your SQL Server skills. 


Stay tuned here for more exciting details, plus behind-the-scenes posts and photos. Seeing the contestants, knowing the judges…this is going to be one heck of a ride…

Bring Better Jobs for Returning Veterans – in just 5 Minutes #SQLFamily

Dec 12, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun, Need Your Help  //  No Comments


Super w00t!  I just read the most amazing news at

I’ve blogged recently about how small things that the data community does can make a significant difference in the world. The Microsoft SQL Server Team will donate $50, up to $20,000, to the Pragmatic Works Foundation.  The foundation will provide training to returning veterans: SQL Server, soft skills and interview coaching.

We just learned about the Pragmatic Works Foundation, a non-profit that provides free technical training to veterans, the jobless, and underemployed.  In 2012 the foundation will be embarking on a campaign to bring better jobs for returning veterans. The classes will be taught at military base hotspots around the United States and will primarily focus on introductory technical training for SQL Server and soft skill training and interview guidance. At the end of the class, job placement assistance is given to help the veterans find jobs. The cost to train each veteran for a week is approximately $50. 

So, for the first 400 submissions*, the SQL Server team will donate $50 per submission to the Pragmatic Works Foundation. You can submit your #SQLFamily stories to, along with your name and email address. Or, send us a link to your blog or your Twitter handle if you post your story online. We will feature a selection of submitted stories weekly on this blog into the New Year.

I can’t even describe how excited I am that a relatively small number of people, sharing their knowledge and passion with each other, have managed to grow this into something that can touch so many lives.  And that we have more opportunities to make an even great difference in the future.   I can’t wait to read some of the stories!

But we need your help.  Please take 5 minutes to send your #SQLFamily story to so that we can max out the donations for this great cause.  Need some ideas?

  • Have you ever attended a SQLSaturday or User Group and had a discussion about how to solve a problem?  Share it.
  • Have you learned something new by chatting with someone on Twitter? Share it.
  • Have you solved a problem faster by getting help wit the #SQLHelp hashtag? Share it.
  • Did someone in the community help you with a totally non-SQL, non-data problem? (Thanks, again Noel, for that downtown parking space for a week). Share it.
  • Did someone blog about something and it made your job easier? Share it.
  • Have you ever just felt better that others were out there to help? Share it.
  • Have you already blogged about #SQLFamily? Share it.

We need 400 submissions to make this happen.  You have 5 minutes, I know it.   Get your story in now.  Make a difference in someone’s life, right now.

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