Mario Cardinal

"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" – Marcel Proust


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Great FREE resource for online training

Successful developers never stop learning and technology never stops evolving. Here is a great opportunity for those of you who want to improve their technical skills for free.

I have already written in the past on the importance of continuous education. Several training options are available. Among my favorite options, some cost a few dollars a month like Pluralsight and some are free like Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA).

There is another free online resource offered by Microsoft that is too often forgotten.

channel-9-logo

Channel 9 is one of the premier industry-leading community content sites – there are tons of series’, shows, and events you are able to watch Live or On Demand.

Microsoft really want the community to experience all of the great Channel 9 content because it is a great FREE resource with superior content. Just a few weeks ago Microsoft released on channel 9, the entire contents of the conference //Build/.

Microsoft will do the same next week for the Evolve conference.


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Developing for Universal Windows Platform

I have already written in the past on the importance of continuous education. Several training options are available. Among my favorite options, some cost a few dollars a month like Pluralsight and some are free like Microsoft Virtual Academy.

continuous_training

With the launch of Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015 tool, now it’s time to update your knowledge.

Here is the simplest way to get started:

On this site you will not only find learning resources, but also everything to create your next Windows 10 apps.


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Farewell to Chris Squire

Tales_from_Topographic_Oceans_(Yes_album)I was so sad yesterday to learn about the passing of Chris Squire, the legendary bass player and founding member of Yes. Of all the rock band I’ve listened in my youth, Yes has always been my favorite. Even today, on occasion, I listen to early Yes albums like Tales from Topographic Oceans or its first solo album Fish out of Water.

As I do not follow closely their career, I was not aware that Chris Squire was seriously ill. A few weeks ago, I listened to the song South Side of the Sky from the Fragile album. What a masterpiece. The lyrics expand on the idea that death could be beautiful. Not only do I love the power of this song but I also enjoy just as much the wordless vocal harmonies with Rick Wakeman’s piano. As wrote to me earlier today my childhood friend Luc Viau, “We just lost a great musician who scored the music of our teens.”

Soon, oh soon the light
Pass within and soothe this endless night
And wait here for you
Our reason to be here

Soon, oh soon the time
All we move to gain will reach and calm
Our heart is open
Our reason to be here

Long ago, set into rhyme…


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Your brand is a product

In this post, I present insights about how to reinvent yourselves in a structured way.

As I pointed out last April, I was renewed for a twelfth year as a Microsoft MVP. Sometimes, developers that I met at User Group or during conferences ask me how to become an MVP. The best answer that I read about it is this blog by Mike McKeown: How can I become a Microsoft MVP? I agree with the author that there is no clear-cut recipe on how to become an MVP. It is a happy pairing of passion and personal branding.

Regarding passion, you must let your desires become the determining factor, and it can hardly be taught. In return, it is different for personal branding.

vsts_300Your image and your mind are a product. If you speak French, I just recorded a podcast about personal branding with Frederic Harper. Frederic is the author of the book Success in Programming: How to Gain Recognition, Power, and Influence Through Personal Branding.

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. If you wish to acquire very good knowledge about personal branding, here are two courses offered on the online training site Pluralsight that I attended in recent years and that I recommend:


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Jean Leloup

There are days when happiness is very few things. Today, I received by mail (in advance) the last album of Jean Leloup. This new album “À Paradise City” will officially be available Tuesday, February 3rd.

jean-leloup

This is his first album in six years, and his eighth of original material in 26 years. It’s rootsy and raw, with country-rock elements supported by its perennial guitar groove, offset by acoustic interludes. Here is a great quote that describe my feeling about Jean Leloup:

Jean Leloup does not exist on the same plane as you or I. The Quebec rocker, troubadour, wanderer, lover of life, semi-reformed reveller, would-be philosopher and general mischief-maker has always floated above the crowd. That, along with a transportive catalogue of songs, has made him a hero in these parts – a free spirit, worn down but never quashed by life’s weight, temperamental and at times troubled but forever bouncing back to go another round.

Jean Leloup returns with new album, À Paradis City

The least I can say is that I love Jean Leloup. What’s weird is that my 4 children also share this love. For them too, today, it was the party when they discovered the album. A united family. After several listens, my favorite songs are “Les bateaux”, “Voyageur” and “Zone zéro”. In fact, all the songs are good. If you like Jean Leloup run buy this album. The “wolf” is back and in top form.


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Experiment with a new mobile OS every year

Herbert A. Simon (Nobel Prize – 1976) was interested in the role of knowledge in expertise. He was the first to say that becoming an expert required about 10 years of experience.  He and his colleagues estimated that expertise was the result of learning roughly 50,000 chunks of information.

Malcolm Gladwell highlighted this rule in his book, Outliers: The Story of Success. He states that men and women who have spent more than 10,000 hours to learn something end up being out of the ordinary in this area. In the same vein, regarding software development, Scott Hanselman recommend to ‘’read lots of code and lots of books, pick a language that fits your brain and helps you learn how to think, and when you do think, think about abstractions.

How do you become an expert in architecting mobile applications? Understanding of UX interaction patterns is a key learning for sure. You could read books (and you should) but do not underestimate first hand experiences with real devices. I firmly believe that, of the 50,000 chunks of information to acquire, the most important are the actual experiences with mobile OS. Every year you should experiment with a new mobile OS.

I used to change phones every 6 months. From the initial launch of the iPhone in 2007, I moved to IOS and I have been an enthusiastic user for many years. In 2013, having learned everything I needed to know about IOS and in a need for a phablet, I moved to Android. Last year, I wrote about my experience with a 7-inch tablet Android as a phone.

lumia1320Nine months ago, at the beginning of 2014,  I have migrated to Windows Phone. My current phone is a Nokia Lumia 1320. I am extremely pleased with this 6 inches device and I love the Windows operating system. I agree with Scott Hanselman Windows Phone 8.1 is now definitely as good as Android or IOS.

I would have kept this phone for a while longer, but, unfortunately,  I will changed for an iPhone 5 in the coming weeks. For the upcoming months, I will  thoroughly test the Personal Task Manager that we develop with IOS8. Since we expect that the vast majority of our customers will use IOS8, I want to ensure that the user experience will be perfect. In addition, this will allow me to experiment and update myself with the latest functionalities of IOS8.

So do not be surprised if you see me these days with an old iPhone 5. One day, I will be back with a Windows Phone.  In the meantime, my focus is the good of my product.


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Continuous Training

Successful developers never stop learning and technology never stops evolving. Here is a great opportunity for those of you who want to improve their technical skills for free.

Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) offers online training to help technologists continually learn, with hundreds of courses, in 11 different languages.

mvaThe MVA mission is to help developers, knowledgeable IT professionals and advanced students learn the latest technology, build their skills, and advance their careers. MVA is free of charge, and the entire service is hosted on Microsoft Azure. Be sure to create an MVA account so that you collect points and move up the leaderboard!

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