Category Archives: Blog

Fourth Year: Thank you once again!

Thank you.

Three years ago The World According to Mitch, a blog that I started because the two or three dozen people to whom I would e-mail my thoughts and insights got sick of getting my e-mails, was recognized by BizTech Magazine as one of the 50 Must Read IT Blogs.  For that year there was no nomination process that I knew of… out of the blue I found out via Twitter that the blog had been put on that list.  There are a few tipping points when the blog readership jumped, and that was certainly one of the bigger ones. (Read A Humbling Recognition)

A year later when the 2012 list was released I was thrilled that The World According to Mitch was one of the few blogs to repeat – I was thrilled, partly because that was the first year that readers were invited to vote for their favourites… and then again in 2013! (Read A Humbling Accolade, A Humbling Accolade, Year 3)

50 Must ReqadThis week my heart leapt when I was informed that once again The World According to Mitch made the list for 2014 as well.  The 50 Must-Read I.T. Blogs 2014 includes this humble site.

I am not going to lie, this year I actively solicited your votes.  I was worried, because I did go dark for a few months… as you might have read, this year has not been a good one for me (personally or professionally), and the number of articles I wrote dropped drastically from previous years.  I am so glad that so many of you stuck with me (and I can tell you that there are ‘friends’ who did not) during my darkest times.  I promise that I will do my best to not disappoint – I will continue to blog and to do what I can to help entertain and inform you all.

For the fun of it, there are only three blogs on this year’s list that have appeared every year… Chuck’s Blog (Congratulations Mr. Hollis!) and CIO Dashboard (Chris Curran of Price Waterhouse Cooper)… and my little site here.  I am humbled to be in such esteemed and respected company.

While I am naming names, I want to congratulate CanITPro, the Canadian IT Pro Connection – or the IT Evangelism Team at Microsoft Canada.  While I am no longer with that team or a resident blogger on that site, it is great to see them recognized for the amazing work that they do.

As you know, I am no longer a Microsoft MVP.  Oh well, I’ll move on.  I did not blog because I was an MVP, I was an MVP in part because I blogged.  I am not going to stop doing what I do because of something so petty.  I am also no longer affiliated with the Microsoft DPE Team.  That is both good and bad – bad because I no longer have the same level of access I had, good because I no longer have to temper my words according to Microsoft’s marketing message.  When Microsoft does something good I will say so and talk about it… and when they blow it (and yes, it happens!!!!!) I am going to tell you (and them) about it.

Thank you all for sticking with me, and as I will do with Microsoft, please tell me when I am getting it right… AND when I get it wrong!

MDG

Rock the Vote!

For over a decade I have been working on this blog, first on MITPro.ca, then a couple of different URLs and every year my readership has grown… and I have worked hard to maintain the level of posts that you have come to expect.  While this year has been a difficult one for me (more to come when I am ready) I am happy to say that I am back on my feet, and the writer’s block has for the most part abated.

So it is the time of year again where BizTech Magazine is asking for you to vote for the top IT blogs… The World According To Mitch has been on the list since 2011, and with your help, I am hoping to retain our place.  However I need your help!  Please vote for me here: https://list.ly/~ZTczk – it only takes a second!  Click on the VOTE button and let them know that The World According to Mitch still matters!

Thanks for your… I am looking forward to another year of IT (and whatever else I choose) blogging!

Mitch

Goodbye TechNet… But not quite.

TechNet

Microsoft is retiring the TechNet Subscription service.

September 1st came and went… most of us in North America enjoyed the long Labour Day weekend, whether we were with family, at the cottage, enjoying the CNE, or doing whatever people who don’t live in Toronto do for Labour Day.

What most of us did not feel was the hard stop of all of our TechNet Plus Subscriptions.  By all rights we should have, but last year, shortly after the TechNet team announced that they would be ending the benefit availability, they announced an extension.  So if you had purchased a valid subscription by August 31, 2013 you would get a 90 day extension… in other words, you can continue to access your benefits until November 30, 2014.

There was a huge outcry last year, and I was not part of it… partly because I was on contract to Microsoft, and partly because I will still enjoy my MSDN Subscription as an MCT and MVP.  However for the people who relied on TechNet, this is a sad end.  Fortunately you will still be able to use evaluation versions of the software… but we all know it’s not the same.

Even though we have another day, I will still say my fond farewell to the TechNet Subscription.

Reasons Why WordPress Cloud Hosting is a Great Idea

As The World According to Mitch grows in popularity, I get a lot of questions from people about the tools and platform that I use.  So when I was asked by Richard Myers if he could write a guest post about the platform I have been using for the past two years I was glad to accept.  I hope you enjoy his article! –MDG

clip_image002You will find that WordPress hosting is much like many other types of hosting companies that are available for various types of websites. Whether your site is a blog website, or a business website, or designed for advertising products, you will simply enjoy the benefits that come with WordPress hosting.

Getting started with your website

Setting up a new webpage can be quite the challenge because there are many things that you have to have in order so that you can successfully build the website. Being organized and knowing what you are doing is key to having a great webpage. However, no matter how much you organize, you will still find that you are in need of a server in order to properly run your website. Particularly if you are someone that is new at using WordPress or building your website, it might take you some time to learn more about how you are to go about setting your website up. It will all be worth it in the end though once you finally know what you are doing.

There are many options that you can choose from when it comes to choosing the right type of WordPress host that you want.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Within the benefits of hosting your site, you have the advantage of receiving managed hosting needs if you choose too. To have your website managed you will be doing a great thing because of the quality features that come along with it. There are simply so many different benefits that come with managed hosting for your WordPress site.

Web hosting companies

clip_image008After reading more about what benefits you can acquire with cloud, it’s about time that you start searching the internet for the right hosting companies to assist you with the needs that you have for your website. The good thing about hosting is that there seems to be endless companies for website owners to choose from. The downside about having so many options to choose from is that you most likely won’t know where to begin in your search. With that being said, one of the first things that you will need to do is make certain that you choose a web hosting company that will support the needs that you have for a cloud host.

Let’s take a further look at some of the different plans that are available. Since cloud offers multiple plans, you can easily choose the right one that you will suit your website needs.

Individual

Individual plans are typically going to be the ones that are the cheapest. You can easily afford an individual plan, and only pay a few dollars per month just to have your website hosted. It’s a great package deal to choose if you are only looking for the minimum support for your website. However, there will be some limits that you will have to keep in mind before choosing this plan. For instance you only get so much bandwidth and limited storage, so you will need to make sure that what you are getting is what you will need.

Dedicated

The dedicated hosting plan is another option that is available for you to choose from. Generally this option is the one that will be the most expensive, because it offers the max amount of features, including unlimited storage space and lots of bandwidth, because this option is for online websites that are very busy with traffic and have lots of product that they advertise/sell. The dedicated server is also one that is more customized to what the website owners want since they are spending more money.

Knowing which plan is good for you

Another thing that makes WordPress hosting for cloud such a great idea is that you can make a decision on which plan you want according to a few factors. By going through with these factors you can easily make up your mind on which plan you want.

Price

As they say, you get what you pay for. This saying is true when it comes to choosing the right cloud server host for your website. So you will pay more money for more features, but you also have the option to start out with the minimum if you are building small web business.

Reviews

The reviews that people leave about certain hosting websites will give you a heads up on what to expect and they will help you to make a better decision about which host company and plan would be better for you. Overall good reviews on a site should help you to see that the company is well trusted and has a good standing reputation with the majority of people.

One tip would be to try to steer clear of companies that have very few to no reviews at all on their hosting sites because this tells you that they are not well established, or possibly they are not yet a trusted company. There are many companies that you read up on to learn about the benefits and factors of hosting. Just do a Google search.

Personal Blog entries

So many people nowadays are using WordPress that you can look across the web for blogs and entries about their latest experiences with WordPress. WordPress servers are all great, but there can be some issues that people will mention in their blogs, or they just might have opinions about how something about the platform is working or not working and they want to be able to let other users know to perhaps get tips, etc. So, people basically help each other out by reading the blogs and sharing the latest news on their personal experience with WordPress. You might even want to start your own WordPress blog to keep others informed.

Features

The features for hosting are plentiful and they are features that come in handy for any WordPress website. Read more about some of these features below.

Mobile

Many of the latest WordPress themes have been upgraded so that they are compatible with various mobile phones and other gadgets, such as tablets, iPods, etc.

Plugins

clip_image006WordPress plugins are quite useful as well. Users are able to use various functions that will enable them to customize different plugin settings. Some of the features for the plugins include:

  • SEO
  • Navigation bars
  • Widgets

These are just to mention a select few of the useful features that are available within the plug-ins. The plug-ins on many of the themes are updated on a regular basis as needed.

Themes

You can choose from various WordPress themes which will allow you to personalize and customize the way your website looks.

Author Bio: Richard Myers is an app developer, tech buff and an overall geek. Years of working with servers of all kinds has endowed him with the knowledge that he now likes sharing with anyone who needs his help.

The World… for the World According to Mitch.

Somalia. Greenland. Vanuata. Montserrat. Cook Islands. Samoa. Mali. Sierra Leone. Burundi. Federated States of Micronesia, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea, Niger, Djibouti, British Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands.

What do these sixteen nations have in common?  Certainly not geography – some are tropical islands, others African nations, and of course Greenland should, by all rights, be its own continent (albeit a frozen one).  You cannot even say that they are all members of the United Nations, as Greenland is actually a Danish territory, and the British Virgin Islands are a British territory.

In fact, the only thing that these sixteen states have in common are that they are tied at 1… a single hit has been logged to The World According to Mitch from each in the year 2013.  Mauritania, French Guiana, Vatican City, and French Samoa are ties for second (with two hits each), and Bhutan stands alone with three hits.

In total, over 173,000 hits have been registered to The World According to Mitch to date in 2013.  I guess we sort of hit our stride this year, because with two weeks to go in the year (let’s face it, I expect the numbers to tank from Christmas) we have registered 72,000 more hits than the total of 2012 – a 73% increase year over year.

That number includes visits from 207 countries/territories/protectorates, accounting for every single member of the United Nations except one (No hits from North Korea), plus fourteen others (aside from the aforementioned, Vatican City, the Palestinian Territories (66 visits), Taiwan (1,219 visits), Hong Kong (1,204 visits), Puerto Rico (198 visits), Guam (15 visits), and a number of others.  Interestingly enough, Kosovo – the last of three independent states not members of the UN, also did not register a visit.

Owing to the free nature of the Internet and the fact that one little blog is hardly worth blocking, there were roughly 7,300 visits from countries that would prohibit me from entering (or worse, prohibit me from exiting).  Owing I would hope to my technical articles rather than those of my travels I occasionally am invited to consult for companies based on my blog.  In July of this year I was invited to consult for the national bank of one of these nations – an invitation I politely turned down.

The hottest month of the year (by far) was October… 17,333 visits based on twenty-two posts – eight of which were technical, the others mostly about travels and my experiences in Japan.  However the highest total hits was registered in June (the post was about the flood in Calgary, which I experienced first hand).  The second highest total for a day was in November (I was answering questions for a www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com Jump Start, and posted the link to an article I wrote), and the third highest was in December – the day I wrote about my hat.  Incidentally the week that started with that article was my highest per-day average over a week – 597 hits per day.

While I am not sure I have a definite formula for what does work and what does not work, it seems to me that a solid balance of all sides of me – work, leisure, travel, opinions – is what accounts for the best average for me… I never expect one article to be a home run (although there have been a couple, thanks Server Core and Netfx).  When I balance my articles between the technical and the non-technical both sides of my readership seem most content.  And so that is the direction that I will continue along in the coming year.

By the way some might ask what effect spending a year as a resident blogger for www.canitpro.net had on my own blog.  I would guess that a some of my readers were introduced to me from there (but I also expect some of my foreign readers found that blog because of this site).  I like to think that both blogs complemented each other, with neither leaning heavily on the other.  If the statistics are accurate then any readers I gained while blogging there have remained with me, as only one of the last four months is slightly below any of the preceding twelve… and that was September, when I was in negotiations with a client and trying to remain tight-lipped about leaving my position with Microsoft Canada.

The World According to Mitch received a number of honours this year – for the third year in a row it was listed on BizTech Magazine’s list of 50 IT Blogs You Must Read, and I retained my position on Evolven’s POWER35 Insightful IT Bloggers.  I was also selected as one of the SMB 150 – honoured by my peers with their nomination and votes.

Mitch HatAll in all 2013 has been a banner year for the World According to Mitch banner… and the promise I make to you, my loyal reader, is that I will endeavour to keep up or improve the quality of the posts… and I will try to keep up the pace as well!

May the holiday season bring you and your family blessings of joy, health, and happiness, wherever you are in the world, and whatever holidays you celebrate.  Most importantly, let us all pray for peace in the world in 2014.

Mitch Garvis

Big in Japan…

There has been a rumour floating around that I was not happy at Microsoft Canada.  Whoever started that rumour was not me, and it could not have been further from the truth.  I have loved working with the DPE Team, I have loved almost everything about the past year.

With that being said, over the past few months I have come to the decision that my hands-on experience is getting a little long in the tooth.  I started thinking about taking on a new challenge where I could get my hands dirty again.  After all, one of the reasons I am as credible as I am is because I do have the real-world experience, and do not just live in front of a class.

A gentleman who has attended several of my sessions over the past year approached me in June and asked if I would be interested in discussing a project.  I told him what I tell most people who approach me about projects or jobs: I am always happy to listen.  We scheduled a meeting to have a cup of coffee later in the month.  That meeting turned into two and three and four, until we decided that we both wanted to do business with the other.

Knowing who this man was I was certain that whether we would be a good fit or not, it would certainly be an interesting conversation.  I was not disappointed.  The part that did surprise me though was that this opportunity was to take us both to the head office of the parent company… in Tokyo, Japan.

There is an old expression that says you should shoot for the stars, so that if you miss you will still hit the moon.  This opportunity in Japan is indeed shooting for the stars.  And so I am thrilled to announce that on September 24th I will be boarding Air Canada flight 003, Japan bound.

Unlike all of my previous overseas business trips, this is not for a week or two at a time.  I may get excited that I am going away, but I never have to write an article explaining that things will be changing.

Last week I announced that I was changing teams at Microsoft Canada.  My role there is essentially a Senior Server Champ… although that is not my title, and indeed I do not have one.  I was actually put onto that team because neither side wants to sever our connections, but I am obviously taking a bit of a hiatus from Microsoft Canada.

While this project will see me working with Microsoft Japan as well as some of the product teams in Redmond, I will not be working for them; rather, I will be working for the customer, and not representing Microsoft… for now.

I expect this blog, The World According to Mitch, will continue to thrive… but differently.  I expect that I will want to write a book about what I am doing, and not simply blog articles.

And as for the details… well, it is hard to say.  Until I get there and am told otherwise I do not intend to disclose any information about the customer I will be working for.  Will that change?  I don’t know.  In the meantime, I will be living in Tokyo, and I expect that there will be enough culture shock for me to post interesting (if slightly less technical) articles on a regular basis.  No, I do not expect to be like Tom Selleck in Mr. Baseball, as I am going in with a much better understanding (and respect) of the culture.  That does not mean I will fit in… but here’s hoping I won’t make too much of an ass of myself!

In the meantime I will be in Redmond this week, so there just may be a technical post or two left before I leave!