Category Archives: Organizations

2011 MVP Award Kit

Last week I received my 2011 MVP Award Kit, just wanted to show you what’s new. The new kit features an innovative design while also being environmentally friendly, the box is about 60 to 70% smaller than the first kit I got in April 2010. Much of this is attributed to the lack of a Crystal Award. An innovative solution was introduced allowing your MVP Award grow with you. So instead of collecting up on a new Crystal Award each year, you are given an Award Disk which you slip onto your Crystal Award. Each year you are awarded, you will be given one these. I think this a very good idea and it saves on space (and believe me, I don’t have much of it).


The new 2011 MVP Award Kit


Opening the package first experience


My new 2011 Award Certificate in the discipline Windows Expert-Consumer


MVP Handbook, Lapel Pin, Award Disk and Name Badge


My Crystal Award, last years certificate award, 2011 Kit and 20 11 certificate award.

Thanks again Microsoft!


My Microsoft MVP Award Kit is here! | Teching It Easy: with Windows

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2010

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2011


Filed under Organizations

Recap: 2011 Microsoft MVP Global Summit

Last week I was in Seattle, Washington to attend my first Microsoft MVP Global Summit. This was a great opportunity for me to meet with fellow MVP’s from around the world. This years summit hosted over 1,500 Microsoft MVP’s from 80 countries in 90 Microsoft technologies. After flying for nearly 24 hours, I made it into Bellevue at 2:35 AM February 27th.

MVP Badge 2011

Sunday was an opportunity to register early, pick up my badge and attend a couple pre-summit sessions if I wanted. I used the opportunity to get some food and well needed rest for the few days ahead.


Another key aspect of the MVP Summit is an opportunity to meet with product teams and engage in discussion with them about your experiences and to really provide feedback at an intimate level. Most of the summit was covered by Non-disclosure Agreements, although my first breakout session was not.

Day 1 – February 28th


Scenes from my first break out session, those two heads in front of me are Gilberto Perera of Gils Method and Richard Hay of Windows Observer


In that session a lot of the scenarios associated with Windows Live and the synergies with other Microsoft products such as Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, Zune and Microsoft Office were discussed and demonstrated. It was great to see a first hand experience of how powerful these products are when used together. Of course, they are great on their own, but you can get some amazing experiences when you use them with other Microsoft products and services.

Evening event


L-R MVP JonPappa (Digital Media MVP), Rob Brown Windows Expert Consumer MVP, Andre Da Costa, Hal Hostetler Windows Expert Consumer MVP, Jake Grey MVP Lead.

Another great experience at the MVP Summit was the chance to meet my fellow MVP’s from around the world. The Attendee Party is a great opportunity to socialize and network with MVP’s and to also talk with your MVP Lead.


MVP’s network and enjoy great food

This was an amazing opportunity for me, along with the great food, it was really cool to meet MVP’s I follow on Twitter or read their blogs everyday. Some of these MVP’s I got meet include @WinObs, @Manan and @Edbott Being able to share that vision, enthusiasm, advocacy and passion for great products and services was truly a great experience. I tweet with a lot of MVP’s over the years and what I keep saying, it is so surreal to actually be able to finally meet them in person and have a conversation. It is one of the most valuable experiences you get out of the summit.

The Microsoft Campus


Heading to Building 92 to get my summit badge!


The Microsoft Conference Center – First day of break out sessions took place here

Visiting the campus for the first time was of course an exciting experience, you always hear about it and what its like there. The first impression is, its HUGE! Its not a campus, but more like a city as my good friend and fellow Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Answers participant Rob Brown describes. Located in the town of Redmond the campus is the headquarters for the Company where the bulk of product development takes place. A total of 40,000 employees work there which is just astounding when you think about it.


A view from within the Mixer located on the Microsoft Commons

Day 2 – Keynote

On day two, we headed to the Meydenbauer Center for the keynote which was opened by Nestor Portillo [Director Microsoft Community & Online Support]. Nestor talked about how the MVP program is more than just a technology meet-up. It was great to see MVP’s making huge impacts in their community outside of the technology industry. It was a great feeling to see MVP’s helping with rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.


There were additional keynote speeches by Microsoft Executives such as Steve Ballmer, Toby Richards and Ron Markezich. This is my second time seeing Steve Ballmer in person and he is always passionate and energized about Microsoft and this keynote speech was no exception. He spoke about his enthusiasm for Microsoft and his strong confidence in the company’s product strategy along with the belief in MVP’s as a key part of that effort to help communicate Microsoft’s products and services to customers.


Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer

Toby Richards keynote focused on improvements to community services and some of the exciting technologies and services that are coming in the pipeline to help customers get answers to problems and get the most out of their technology investments.


Toby Richards, General Manager for the Microsoft MVP Program

The last keynote was provided by Ron Markezich who talked about the Cloud and how much of a critical investment it is for Microsoft and how the Company is committed to it and is seeing a tremendous amount of up take from popular industry brands around the world. I was lucky to have one of my questions answered during the Executive Q&A, which was cool hearing my name called.


Me with two Windows Expert – IT Pro MVP’s, David Nudelman (above) & Elias Mereb (below)



Friendly Microsoft Access MVP’s, I somehow ended up sitting at their table

After the keynote, we went for lunch, then headed back to Campus. During lunch, I had the opportunity to meet a fellow MVP who I participate with on, Kenneth Vansurksum who is from the Netherlands. That was another great moment for me, since I have known Kenneth virtually for years, so it was great to finally chat with and meet him in person.


Me and Kenneth VanSurksum [MVP]

After a another day of breakout sessions, we headed back to the Microsoft Commons for our product group evening event which is another opportunity to socialize and network with fellow MVP’s. One of the perks of an event like the MVP Summit is getting the chance to meet industry professionals or what some would call the stars, like Ed Bott. Meeting Ed was truly one of those great moments, we had a long discussion about our views on Microsoft, its role in the industry and its key competitors. Ed is truly a nice guy who really knows his stuff and is not a ‘fanboy’ as some persons might think. A lot of persons were surprised to know he is an MVP, but if you have been to Ed’s personal blog you will know why.


Ed Bott and Andre Da Costa

One of things I have to point out, Microsoft knows how to feed people, there was no shortage of food throughout the summit, with a variety of dishes catering to the many cultures Microsoft hosted for the 3 day event.



Just a sample of some of the great food!

Day 3 – Last day

My last day of the MVP Summit started off with more Break Out Sessions.


I got the chance to play with some cool Windows 7 slate devices and I was very surprised how usable some of these form factors are. I am not gonna say they are just as intuitive as the iPad since I still believe, Windows 7 is not Touch Centric enough with its point and click UI. The scenarios though make it more powerful in terms of having a device that can be used not only for casual needs but for real productivity office work and even serious play time if you need it.


Fellow Windows Expert Consumer MVP’s from around the world

Before leaving building 31 for the last time, I had a pleasant surprise visit from Windows Communication Manager Brandon Leblanc who I first met in 2007 at the Windows Vista Product Launch. It was great to see Brandon again as were fellow MVP’s some of whom were meeting him for the first time.


Brandon Leblanc, Windows Communication Manager and Me

Safeco Field

My last day in Seattle ended with a bang! A special Attendee Party was kept at the Safeco Field Baseball stadium which gave MVP’s additional time to talk and socialize with fellow MVP’s, Microsoft Product Managers and eat great food.


At the Safeco Field Baseball Stadium


MVP’s enjoying themselves and listening to great music from the Beatniks


My pal Rob Brown

So, all ended well. For me this trip will be forever etched in my memory. The MVP Summit is such an amazing opportunity to interact with cultures from around world and learn so much from each other.


A little sun started to come out in the evening on my last day


My room mate Alan Burchill Group Policy MVP from Australia

I want to give a shout out to my room mate, a cool guy from Australia named Alan Burchill. Although we are at opposite spectrums of MVP Expertise’s, we share that same love for Microsoft products and that passion for technology. It was really great to meet you!

To the Microsoft MVP Community, thank you for making my first Microsoft MVP Summit special. You enabled me to meet amazing people from all around the world, meet product teams and have conversations with an impact. I am already seeing changes based on feedback I provided. That’s amazing! Also, your concierge staff was very helpful and friendly. The food was excellent, there was so much of it, not to mention the free sodas at the Campus. I have to come back next year, the Hyatt Regency was a great place to stay too, will come a little earlier next time.


I was especially pleased to really understand that Microsoft values our input and our commitment to help making the products you and I use everyday even better. I learned a lot about synergy and how the focus is on making software not only easy to use but able to really add value in a variety of scenarios and change lives for the better.

Thank you,


You can check out the MVP Photo Gallery I created on Flickr here


Filed under IT Professional, My Articles, Organizations

Attending the 2011 Microsoft MVP Global Summit

Microsoft_MVP_logoTomorrow I start my long journey from Jamaica to Seattle to attend one of the hottest events if not the hottest event in the technology industry exclusive to Microsoft MVP’s, the 2011 Microsoft MVP Summit. This is very exciting for me because as a Technology and Microsoft Windows Enthusiast I get to meet the people behind the products we use every day. Also, its a chance to network with hundreds of fellow MVP’s from different technology disciplines from all around the world. Its like a United Nations of Geeks all with similar visions and goals, to help make Microsoft products better and to advocate customer representation.

Being a Microsoft MVP is such a major privilege for me, I am still in awe that I have been awarded. Now for me to experience what some would call the pinnacle of being an MVP is even more incredible when you think about it.

I am excited to visit the Microsoft Redmond Campus and see Seattle, hopefully I will be able to do some quick sight seeing on Sunday if all goes well. If not, just being able to visit Microsoft will be a very exciting experience! I plan to take lots of pictures of the area and regularly take pictures of what is allowed. Speaking of what is allowed, I won’t be able to share anything about the summit itself regarding what will be announced or discussed with Microsoft officials, its all under Non-Disclosure Agreement.

The purpose of the NDA is to protect Microsoft intellectual property, avoid releasing information about products still under development, avoid jeopardizing Microsoft’s competitive edge and just strengthen that trust Microsoft wants to have in us as MVP’s. It’s a privilege, so we have to keep it that way!

It will be a long journey from Jamaica to Seattle, I will have some delays along the way, especially in Miami, with a quick connection in Chicago then straight to Seattle. I am packed and ready to go, but nervous as hell, an excited kinda nervous! You can keep up with what’s going on by following me at and use the hashtag #mvp11 to search for tweets from the summit.


MVP Global SummitMicrosoft Most Valuable Professional
MVP Global Summit 2011 Blog
The Official Microsoft MVP Community | Facebook
MVPAwardProgram – Twitter
MVP Global Summit (mvpglobalsummit) on Twitter



Filed under Organizations

My Microsoft MVP Award Kit is here!

I was awarded Microsoft MVP this past April and have been embracing the recognition and its new opportunities since then. Yesterday, I received my Microsoft MVP Award Kit, which consist of a Certificate recognizing my Community contributions in the area of Windows Desktop Experience. The MVP Award Kit also includes a beautiful crystal award,  MVP ID and pin. Check it out:

Microsoft MVP Award Kit 2010

Its still amazing to receive this recognition for your passion. Its definitely an added inspiration to continue sharing my experiences and knowledge with all of you.

Click here to check out the MVP Award Kit 2010 Gallery


To learn more about the Microsoft MVP Award Program click HERE
Microsoft MVP Award Blog
Microsoft MVP Twitter Account


Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2010
Microsoft Clubhouse Choice Awards – Best Technical Direction – August 2009

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Learn more about the Microsoft Windows Community

Join an online live conversation with Microsoft Community Managers Matt Bernardy and Jake Grey on May 4th, 2010 from 9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. PMT. This is your opportunity to learn more about the Clubhouse, Microsoft Answers, the MVP Program, and to ask questions about all the Windows community programs.  To join, follow these simple steps:

  1. Find out what time this Live Meeting is in your country/region.
  2. Download Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007. We recommend you download the program several hours in advance to avoid technical difficulties during the session.
  3. Enter the meeting and fill in your name.

Join the Event



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Reader Views: Issues with Bluetooth on select Dell select systems

At Teching It Easy, I am open to hearing your experiences and utilizing my blog as a voice of the customer. Today, I am posting a readers experience with Bluetooth on certain Dell systems.

Jeff from Michigan says:


I am contacting you in an effort (however likely or unlikely) to get Dells attention to a serious matter affecting numerous Dell laptop platforms and multiple Bluetooth module versions. Here is the issue-

I have need to use Bluetooth stereo audio functionality (AD2P profile) almost exclusively when I use my laptop.

I had owned a M1330 with the Dell Bluetooth Module 355 module for several years without issue. Last November, I decided to upgrade and purchased an M15x (laptop #1) with the Dell 370 Bluetooth module included, running Windows 7 x64 Ultimate. Not more than one day out of the box, the 370 module failed while watching a movie. It literally disappeared from device manager and no uninstalling/reinstallation of drivers alleviated the solution. The only way to get the radio to be recognized by the operating system was and is, to shutdown, reboot into bios, disable the card in bios, reboot into windows,restart,boot into bios, enable the card and then reboot into Windows. The card would then work for a while but eventually fail again. The module works for short periods of time but if put under an extended load, fails. That and other issues with the M15x caused me to return it.

Contacted Dell and returned the M15x and bought and built a Studio XPS 1645 (laptop #2) to replace it. Received the unit and literally with the 1st few hours, the 370 module failed exactly like the M15x.I thought o.k. a bad card and had tech support send out a new module for the XPS 1645. Received and installed it and the exact same problem happened. Failed when under an extended load. Again called tech support and was then dispatched an onsite tech to replace the entire motherboard and card. No resolution-card failed again. Spoke with a resolution specialist and returned it and again purchased a M15x (laptop #3-really liked the M15x over the XPS 1645) [:'(]

Received the M15x-Bluetooth failure again. At this point, was considering dropping Dell altogether but thought I’d try the Studio 1558 (laptop #4) with the Bluetooth 365 module, in order to rule out the 370 card, first. Ordered and wad delivered on the 5th of April, same exact issue-failure of card under a load. I am returning this defective Studio 1558 and again getting a M15x (laptop #5).

What appears to be happening is that the card will shut down when its heat tolerance is exceeded. Either a manufacturing defect or a Dell engineering issue. I know now through personal experience that there is a serious engineering issue with Dell Bluetooth cards. Either it is an oversight by engineering-maybe they didn’t test the card under a heavy load, or Dell is knowingly selling defective equipment. I realize that the M15x Bluetooth card will fail again-in fact, am 100% sure it will fail, but have bought a Sony Bluetooth transmitter as a workaround.

This is affecting at least 3 different laptop platforms and both Bluetooth modules that Dell sells.

Any help you could provide to get this matter attention is greatly appreciated.


Hopefully Jeff can get some representation or appropriate response from Dell on this issue. Are you also experiencing a similar issue? Have you gotten any feedback, workaround or tips that could help Jeff out? If so, please feel free to drop a few lines in the comments!



Filed under Organizations

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2010

Hello everyone,

I received some exciting news in my inbox this morning! I have been recognized as a Microsoft MVP in the category of Windows Desktop Experience for 2010 for my community contributions over the past year! Over the years a number of my online colleagues have also been recognized for their passion and willingness to help people understand technology and receive the most from their investments.

I feel honored and humbled to join a large community of experts around the world who willingly share their time and knowledge through various avenues such as user groups, newsgroups, online forums, website’s and blogs.

"Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2010 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Windows Desktop Experience technical communities during the past year.

The Microsoft MVP Award provides us the unique opportunity to celebrate and honor your significant contributions and say "Thank you for your technical leadership."

My journey into blogging started back in December 2004 (5 years ago) when Microsoft started their online blogging service MSN Spaces which was renamed as part of the Windows Live wave of Services). Like many I was enthralled by the excitement surrounding the development of Windows ‘codename’ Longhorn which eventually became Windows Vista. From then on my enthusiasm for Windows grew into a passion. Throughout those years I was able to expand my reach through the opportunity of writing reviews and articles for thanks to founders Bob Stein, MVP and Byron Hinson.

My love of technology has allowed me to have various stints at website’s such as Longhorn Blogs (now Windows-Now), Extended64, Windows Connected, the Microsoft Clubhouse and most recently The opportunity for me to start my very own blog and share my opinions with you about technology allows me to help and learn from so many of you in return. It has been one of the great aspects of blogging. That’s one of the key things about technology and the essence of the MVP Program itself, the opportunity to share and learn.

I must give special thanks to my readers for coming to Teching It Easy for so many years and reading my thoughts, opinions and reviews. Last but certainly not least, a major thank you to Microsoft for having the confidence in me to entrusted with this prestigious award. To be recognized for your passion is amazing! Of course, with the MVP Award come new responsibilities, which is to bring you information that is always accurate, responsible and dependable while building on that strong spirit of community!

Update: I would like to give special thanks to Corrine Chorney (Security Garden) and @BrianBoston for nominating me. Their confidence in me help to make this a reality.

Thank You!
Andre Da Costa


To learn more about the Microsoft MVP Award Program click HERE
Microsoft MVP Award Blog
Microsoft MVP Twitter Account


Microsoft Clubhouse Choice Awards – Best Technical Direction – August 2009 



Filed under Organizations

Update: Thank you to all who voted! Microsoft Clubhouse Choice Awards

Just would like provide an update on the Microsoft Clubhouse Choice Awards, which recognizes exceptional community authors sharing their experiences using Microsoft Products and Services.

Yesterday, Windows Community Manager for the Microsoft Clubhouse Marcus announced the winners in their respective categories that they were nominated in:

  • Best Technical Direction:  Andre
  • Best Story:  Michael
  • Best Tip or Trick:  Vasudev
  • Outstanding Art Direction:  Technogran
  • Early Adopter:  Richard H.
  • Rising Star: Ali
  • Clubhouse All-Star:  Jamie
  • I am truly honored and happy to have received the award for Best Technical Direction. Its inspiring to know that you found my articles helpful enough to vote for me. To be nominated alone was definitely a surprise and to receive an award on top of it is just terrific. To fellow awardees, a BIG Congratulations, you also have shown your passion, keep it up and I look forward to reading all that great content you keep putting out!

    If you are interested in joining Microsoft Clubhouse, you can learn more at the following link Windows Community Clubhouse Space, I encourage it too. Share your experiences!

    Learn more here



    Got a lovely surprise this evening from @Marcusatmsft, Windows Community Manager for the Microsoft Clubhouse, check it out:


    As we come up on the one year anniversary of the Clubhouse, we’re going to celebrate the Clubhouse Choice Awards.  Our community management team has selected you and your contributions to be nominated as part of those awards.  Look for more information on the Clubhouse Space blog soon, but I wanted to send you this quick note ahead of time to say congratulations on your nomination!

    Best regards,


    Windows Community Manager

    This is absolutely exciting! Why? Well being the first Clubhouse Choice Awards and being nominated amongst an exceptional group of community members who have authored well written articles about their experiences with various Microsoft products, services and technologies. Being nominated alone is a great honor, it is really rewarding to know that my contributions are enjoyed by you the community.

    A big thank you to all!

    You can vote for nominees HERE which is open to the public.




    Filed under Organizations

    Microsoft reimagines its corporate home

    Microsoft Corp.’s plan to redevelop its Redmond campus, more than merely adding new buildings, would significantly reshape major portions of the software giant’s sprawling corporate home.


    Internal company documents describe an extensive series of potential changes — including plans to redesign key campus entrances, replace surface lots with parking structures, establish a centralized campus traffic circle, and create new internal roadways to cross and connect different parts of the campus.


    The documents identify the structures slated for eventual demolition. And they address some potentially controversial aspects of the development plan, such as the company’s proposal to ultimately put new buildings on the existing sports fields at the center of the main campus.


    The latest details come after parts of the plan were disclosed by Microsoft in a filing with the city of Redmond earlier this month. Those plans included a tentative proposal for an additional overpass across state Route 520, creating a new link between the eastern and western sides of the campus.


    Think of it as Microsoft’s extreme campus makeover — albeit in slow motion. The entire campus redevelopment would take place over the next one to two decades, ultimately adding enough space for 10,000 to 12,000 new employees.


    Read the rest here


    Well, I guess there will be enough space for me by the time get there.


    Filed under Organizations