Category Archives: Blog

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!

A Humbling Accolade, Year 3

biztech-mustreadit-300Two years ago I had not heard of BizTech Magazine, so when I found out that this blog had been listed on their list of 50 IT Blogs You Must Read I was truly surprised, and honoured.  I then started following them and reading the publication, and that increased the value of the honour.

A year ago this blog was again awarded a spot on the 2012 list.  It was amazing to me that people continue to read what I write, and as I have said before I am thrilled when even one person reads what I write.

Last week the 2013 list was released.  I do not know how many blogs have made the list all three years of this list’s publication, but I am over the moon to find out that I am one of them.  Again, I want to thank the staff at BizTech Magazine for putting me on the list, but more importantly I want to thank you, my readers, who continually inspire me to write.  Without you, this space would be empty.

Make sure you read the list of the 50 Must-Read I.T. Blogs 2013  at www.biztechmagazine.com.

Not thrilled with WordPress today…

image I want to be clear that this is a one-time rant.  I generally LOVE WordPress.  I think it is an excellent blogging platform and I recommend it to everyone who asks.  This is probably ‘just one of those things.’  As well, it is actually a rant about the WordPress App for Windows 8, and not actually about WordPress at all.

Last week I got my new computer, complete with Windows 8.  Of course I am not new to Windows 8 – it has been my primary platform for nearly two years now – and I am certainly not a novice.  As I am sick and stuck in a hotel room for a couple of days (by the way, any Montreal peeps who want to bring my chicken soup will get a prize – don’t know what) I decided to get blogging.

I usually blog from Windows Live Writer.  I have been using it for years, and have never seen a good reason to change.  However I have been hoping since the release of Windows 8 that they would come out with a modern version, and barring that would have tried a different blogging platform if I found a really good one.

I installed and configured the WordPress app, and it dutifully found my blog and all that rot.  I then remembered a colleague mentioning that he had used that app to actually write his articles, and it wasn’t bad.  I decided to try it out.

I started writing, and it seemed pretty intuitive, with some features that even the newest Live Writer doesn’t have (autocorrect).  I was getting into it, but someone pinged me on Lync and I tabbed to that conversation.  When I was done chatting I went bac…. huh?  It’s gone?  It’s not there?  Whatchu talkin bout Willis?  It was simply… gone.  No auto-save, nothing.  It was as if I had never sat down at the computer.

I think we are in dire need of a better app, and until we get one I am back to Windows Live Writer… from which I am happy to say I have tabbed away from several times during the writing of this rant and it has not been lost even once.

Vacation Time!

Dear friends, colleagues, and loyal followers.

I want to thank you for visiting The World According to Mitch.  It is because of you that I have been able to achieve the incredible successes I have over the past year.

Since returning from vacation last January I have posted over 250 articles in this space.  Granted, some of them (maybe a dozen) were older articles that I had pulled from my archives, but the vast majority of them were new, which means that I wrote (conservatively) two hundred and forty articles in 2012.  If writing was all that I did I expect I would still deserve a vacation!

Freedom ResizedBut of course, that is not all I do.  I have spent most of 2012 on contract to Microsoft, which has had me traveling some 190 days… Air Canada and Marriott thank me profusely for that.

On Friday January 4th Mrs. Garvis and I are flying to Miami where we are meeting up with some friends.  On Saturday the four of us are boarding a cruise ship that will take us out of cell phone range, out of Internet range.  We will spend a blessed week cruising the eastern Caribbean with tropical ports of call, fine food, fine drinks, fine cigars, good friends, and hopefully great weather.  We will relax, we will tell jokes, and I will not use my computer for anything work related.

That does not mean that I will not be bringing my laptop along with me; unfortunately my primary laptop crashed and burned last week in my car accident, but fortunately I have a few spares, and I will take one of them with me.  During the week I will write about whatever suits me – probably a travelogue or two – along the way.  It may be about ship-board activity, or I may ponder the meaning of life.  If we are to be entirely honest, I would bet on the former over the latter, and it will likely be with a tinge of leftover intoxication.

Do not fear, I have not left you empty handed. I would not want to go dark for a week and see my hits drop like a stone.  So in preparation for my absence I have prepared five articles that are scheduled to publish while I am gone.  Three will be published first to my other blog, and two are unique to this one.  I hope you enjoy them, and have comments and questions waiting for me upon my return!

Mitch & Theresa

Yes, this is what I look like in a bathing suit! And yes, she married me anyways!

Friday January 4: Installing NetFx3 on Windows Server 2012

Friday January 4: Microsoft’s 2012 Products: Why can’t they all just work together?

Monday January 7: Shared Nothing Live Migration: Goodbye Shared Storage?

Thursday January 10: iSCSI Storage in Windows Server 2012

Monday January 14: Failover Clustering: Let’s spread the Hyper-V love across hosts!

As you can see I have spent a great deal of focus on storage; In November my colleague Pierre and I sat down to plan out our blog topics, and realized that many of you are playing with Hyper-V, but are stuck in a single host because you don’t have a SAN device in your practice lab.  We agreed that I would write this series taking you from zero to Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2012.  The first article in the series was published in December, and the last three are here.  I look forward to hearing everyone’s comments upon my return.

With that I bid you all farewell, not for long, but just long enough.  Again, I want to thank you again for making my blog one of the most popular IT blogs on the Internet.

Yours Always,

Mitch

Another Humbling Accolade

People may find it weird, but every time one person reads my blog I am thrilled.  It is why (when I have the time) I follow the hit counts on both The World According to Mitch and the Canadian IT Pro Connection religiously.  It isn’t about ego (although I do suppose it is a bit of a boost to that!), rather it is about knowing that I am able to influence, educate, enlighten, and touch people, mostly within the IT Pro community.

While I started blogging in 2002 (it was called something else back then) I only launched The World According to Mitch in July, 2007 – and re-launched it in November, 2010, which is when my current counters were reset and I essentially started with a blank page (replete with a lot of content).  In that first month back up I had 1,567 hits, which for several months would remain the high point (bottoming out in February, 2011 with 746 hits).

I don’t know if I got a lot more serious about blogging at that point, or if I just got better at it, or if frankly I just got better at self-promotion.  However the hits started coming, gradually at first, and the more hits I got the more I was encouraged to post.  I remember teaching a Windows 2008 boot camp in Virginia Beach last July, and while the students did their labs I dug up old posts that I had written and had somehow not made the move to the new site.  For the first time ever I started scheduling posts rather than simply hitting ‘Publish’.  Because I had so many such articles I put them out for 8:00am and 1:00pm daily, a trend that I have more or less followed – I found traffic much better when articles are published at 8:00am, and if I do need to post twice in a day then it is first thing in the morning and first thing after lunch.

Although I got plenty of comments from friends and students, the first official recognition I got for the blog was in September, 2011 when my blog was recognized as one of the 50 Must-Read IT Blogs by BizTech Magazine.  I had read their articles before but did not realize that they read mine as well.  I was thrilled to find out in September that I was recognized on this list for the second year in a row (see article).

This week I was humbled yet again to find out I was included on Evolven’s Power35 Insightful IT Bloggers.  According to the article, this is a handpicked list of insightful bloggers focused on IT.  It means a lot to me because I know there are a lot of really smart people in this industry and I work hard just to keep up with them.  I started blogging because I wanted to share my insight with my peers, and being recognized for that is absolutely heartwarming.

For the month that ends today (October, 2012) the hits on my blog will exceed 14,000 – close to (if not more that) it had in the first 10 months combined (14,099 from November 2010 through August 2011).  I hope that this is an affirmation of the fact that I continue to listen to your needs and wants, and continue to pay attention to the industry.  That is my goal – to remain current, to remain a resource to all of my readers (old and new).  I hope that my students see the blog as an extension of my classes, and that you all see it as a resource to use, reference, and share.

Thanks,

Mitch

A humbling accolade

A year ago I was in Phoenix, Arizona when I found out that my blog, The World According To Mitch, was selected by BizTech Magazine as one of their 50 IT blogs you must read. It was quite an honor to be recognized by my peers.  I was in Montréal, Quebec this year when I was informed I had been selected again for 2012, one of a select few to repeat. Again, I would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen. It truly is humbling, and knowing that this year readers were invited to vote made it all the more special.

The world has changed tremendously since I started blogging. In 2001 my blog was actually targeted email articles, to be replaced in 2003 by my first website, www.e-mitch.com. IT was only in 2005 that my writings would be codified into an actual formal blog, although a few peers and mentors had to twist my arm. They twisted harder when I left Montréal and told me that if I wanted to succeed I had to build my brand.

The process of building my brand began then and has continued to this day.  It continues on my blog, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and at every event that I speak at.  It is the advice that I pass along to every fledgling IT Pro just starting out – build your brand, it will eventually pay huge dividends.

I want to thank the editors and readers of BizTech Magazine for once again seeing fit to honour me this way.  I hope that between The World According to Mitch and the Canadian IT Pros Connection I will continue to deserve your readership!

A Banner Day!

In 2007 I was asked to write a guest blog post for the Canadian IT Pro Connection.  Over the course of the next few years I wrote several articles for them, many of which were cross-posted to or from this site.  However it was last month when I joined the team I went on a blogging frenzy… until I realized that parts of the job were also a bit of a frenzy Winking smile  I’ll be getting back to that this afternoon though.

For now I am thrilled to see that the site banner has changed.  Both Pierre Roman and I are now officially resident bloggers for the Canadian IT Pro Connection.  As of this morning the banner reflects that.

image

As a longtime follower of this blog, remembering back to the days when Rick, Rodney, and others were resident bloggers, we know that we have some big shoes to fill (and hats!) and we will do our best to maintain the quality and relevance of the content.

As always we are interested in your feedback.  If you have a comment a specific post you can put it in the Comments section; if it is on the blog in general (or the team) then you can e-mail any of us directly – my e-mail address is b-mitchg@microsoft.com.

Oh, and for those of you who are sure to comment that they are disappointed that I am not wearing my hat in the banner picture, I’ll try to post one here later on Smile

Thank you!

Over the past few months I have been astounded to see the growth in this site’s readership.  One of my goals over the past year has been to make this site as relevant as possible to as many IT Pros as possible, and I can tell that it has worked.  The site has received a number of awards, and I have to admit that it is really cool when someone comes up to me in a foreign country to discuss an article that I wrote.

In November, 2010 I reset this site and started from scratch; I did not wipe the content, of course… I ported over as many articles from the original site as I thought were relevant.  Thanks to Cory Fowler The World According to Mitch had a new home on WordPress.com, and all of a sudden all of my comments and statistics were reset to zero.

Building my brand has been an uphill battle, and a rewarding challenge.  It is amazing to look back at February of 2011 and see that the site had 746 hits.  Eleven months later, in January of this year, it had (at the time) a record 4,720 hits.  I was thrilled by that number!  I was however surprised to see as I wrote more and more that the number kept going up, month over month.

This morning I woke up and checked the counter; I was watching it all evening last night because there was a very special milestone that would break either Friday or Saturday.  When I went to sleep last night there were 9,950 hits for the month of September, so when I checked the counter this morning and it said 117 hits I knew we had done it… our first ever month with 10,000 hits!  It is certainly a milestone worth celebrating.

Speaking of milestones, there are a few that I have hit this year, and a few more that I expect to.  For example, sometime in the next week the site will welcome its 60,000th visitor of the year (2011 had 26,487 hits).  That is really exciting for me.  Also, since the reset, the site has had (as of Saturday morning) 88,000 hits, which means that at the current pace sometime in early November we will be celebrating 100,000 hits.  Not bad for a kid from Montreal, huh?

I want to thank all of you for your support; I have enjoyed blogging, and will continue to do so.  However I want to make sure that I am staying relevant, so please feel free to ping me and let me know what topics interest you!  I don’t make any promises, but I am writing this blog for you, and so I want to continue to read it!!

Thanks again… here’s to making the next 88,000 as interesting as the last 88,000!

Where’s Mitch?

As I mentioned last week I am now spending a lot of my time as a Virtual Technical Evangelist for Microsoft Canada.  Part of my duties in that role include blogging, which is what brought you here.  However for the time being I am going to post most of my articles on the Canadian IT Pro Connection at http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/.  Most of those articles will be republished here, but there will be a delay of a day or two.  If you simply cannot wait, I urge you to head over to http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/ and read what I (and Ruth & Chris) have to say!

In the meantime I will be coming to a city near you soon… if you are around I hope to see you at one of my events!  Here’s the calendar for the next five weeks:

  • September 12: Windows Server 2012 Launch Event (Vancouver, BC)
  • September 13: Introduction to Windows 8 (Halton IT Pros, Halton Hills, ON)
  • September 19-21: Miami, Fl (training)
  • September 27: Windows Server 2012 Launch Event (Ottawa, ON)
  • October 3: Windows Server 2012 Launch Event (Montreal, QC)
  • October 9: Introduction to Windows 8 (Silicon Halton – Burlington, ON)
  • October 12-14: SMB Nation (Las Vegas, NV)

I hope to see you at one of my events while I am on the road!

ISP Control Issues

It is amazing what we as IT Professionals come across sometimes.  My colleague Sharon Bennett recently posted an article about what (to me) seems like a combination of laziness on behalf of a technician and secrecy (for secrecy’s sake) on behalf of the Internet Service Provider.

http://bennettbusinessconnections.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/does-your-isp-have-control-issues/

I want to be clear, I do not think that most Bell technicians would do what this one did, although it is clear to me that this particular one dropped the ball either because they did not know any better (poorly trained) or didn’t care (poorly motivated).  I confess it has been a lot of years since I last crimped my own RJ-45 cable, but from the pictures that Sharon provides it is easily apparent that this technician tried (and failed) to do just that.  Had he done it right, nobody would have cared.

The fact is in this day of quotas trumping customer service it is a shame that technicians will look you in the eye and say ‘Yeah, your Internet is working properly.’  Well can I connect to the Internet? ‘I don’t know… I haven’t checked.  But I assume so!’

Lesson? Whether you are a consumer or a top IT professional, never let the technician leave before he is able to show you that your connection is working.  Sharon and I might know to look for loose (or disconnected!) cables, but most people wouldn’t.

As for the cable? It just goes to show you that shoddy work is usually indicative of a job shoddily done.

A Report from the MVP Global Summit

The week before the MVP Summit I got an e-mail asking me if I would be interested in blogging about the Summit for Microsoft Press.  As I was planning on blogging anyways I agreed… and rather than posting several smaller articles here, I sent one giant article to Microsoft; it was published today at blogs.msdn.com, and can be read here.  So you know, I am going to be sending them pictures to add to the article… but they wanted it up sooner rather than later!

An Interview with BizTech Magazine

biztech_badge_300In September I was honoured to discover that BizTech Magazine had recognized The World According To Mitch on their list of 50 Must-Read IT Blogs from BizTech (Sept. 7, 2011).  Several weeks ago I was contacted by Ricky Ribeiro, BizTech’s Online Content Manager asking if I would be willing to do an interview about blogging and the IT industry.  I was delighted to do so.  On Sunday the interview was published.

Must-Read IT Blogger Q&A: Mitch Garvis

Sometimes it amazes me that I have come so far… I remember when I first started blogging, and who was responsible for it (there are two people).  I saw one of them in the cafeteria this past week, and I had drinks with the other in December.  When they told me to start (and then told me to publish at my own site rather than the MITPro site) I could not see the value… but I trusted and respected both of them, so I started.  I see the value now, and every time an up-and-coming IT Professional asks me for advice on how to get noticed, I have the same advice for them that Rick and John had for me… Build your Brand.

As hard as it may be to fathom, I remember starting out wondering who would care about what I had to say.  I also remember thinking that a few little articles would not earn me a lot of credibility.  I was probably right… but I have now been blogging for seven years, and The World According to Mitch (the third incarnation of a blog that was born in 2005) will celebrate its 300th article this week (if my Editor approves the complete rewrite she assigned me on Thursday).  We have had over 100,000 visitors, and a plethora of comments and conversations (many of which, unfortunately, were lost in the numerous moves over the years).  I am amazed every time someone refers to my articles as authoritative, and appreciate every single visitor.

Last week was the first time I ever referred to myself as a professional blogger, but I suppose I am.  I do not get paid to blog, but do get paid to do what I do in part because I blog.  I love doing it, and was not surprised by the envious cries of ‘How do *I* get a job like that?’ The answer is simple… build your brand, build up your library of articles, and most of all make sure that you absolutely love writing (It helps if you are good at it)!  I do… I always have, and thank my high school English teachers for that daily,

If I am the luckiest man in the world it is because I have an amazing family, I get to work with amazing technologies, and have an amazing job that affords me the opportunity to speak to and interact with some amazing people.  If someone were to ask me what are the qualities that make my blog successful I suppose it is the combination of my vast life experience and travels, combined with a love of life, a passion for technology, and an understanding that talking about high-level subjects does not mean you have to talk over peoples’ heads.

You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.

If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t know enough about it.

Albert Einstein

I often hear from people who stumble across my blog who say “Wow… I have no idea what you are talking about, but it sounds really interesting.”  I do not dumb my articles down, but I do try to explain high-level concepts in clear, concise terms.  I have been asked to explain concepts such as Server Virtualization to non-technical audiences before, and I do… however you also have to know who your intended audience is, and speak to their level.  My technical articles would be useless if I wrote them for non-technical people.

The truth is that most of my articles will be easy to understand by anyone, but without the prerequisite knowledge of the subject matter they would not be able to do anything with them.  Occasionally I hear from someone that ‘Wow, I read your article, and I was actually able to understand what you were talking about!” That is because I make things as complicated as they have to be… and no more so.

I will continue to write as I have, and will aspire to do better.  I will try to continue to write about topics that I find interesting and relevant… that goal seems to have served me well over the past seven years.  Thank you for reading. -Mitch

A Humbling Recognition

mustreaditblog_160x200Last week a tweet came across my Twitter feed from Amy Babinchak congratulating me on being one of the fifty must-read IT blogs.  I had to turn to Bing for the details.  It turns out that BizTech Magazine published an article titled 50 Must-Read IT Blogs from BizTech.  The honour comes complete with a badge that you can add to articles and e-mails (and I suppose business cards and letterhead and maybe even storefront signs).  It looks strikingly similar to the one attached here!

I have been blogging since before it was fashionable, and since before it was called blogging. If you were on my mailing list in the late 1990s and early 2000s then chances are you would receive my writings periodically in a mass e-mail. I assume that these helped me find my way onto numerous spam lists, and I only wished there had been an easier way for me to share my opinions with so many people.

I feel like Sally Field in 1985 (You like me… you really like me!)… I was surprised and humbled to be mentioned in the same article as some of the companies and people whose blogs made up the list.  My friend Sean Daniel definitely deserves to be there (sbs.seandaniel.com) and the Tenable Network Security people who make Nessus is a no brainer, along with people like the CTO for EMC (Scott Lowe) and Hitachi Data Systems (Hu Yoshida).  A number of VMware employees made the list (Steve Jin and Duncan Epping) which is great to see, as did several Microsoft, Cisco, Citrix, and cloud bloggers (which certainly demonstrates a trend in the industry).

The World According to Mitch is all over the map; it is because I am truly an IT generalist with a great many interests.  It is easy to say ‘Mitch must be working with System Center Essentials this year because he posted three articles on it…’ but they may be intermingled with posts about virtualization, clustering, laptops, and travel.

As I wrote in a recent article (that will actually be published next week) The World According to Mitch was named temporarily (four years ago) because I had to change the name (I was no longer the president of MITPro, so The President’s Blog didn’t work), and because the movie The World According to Garp was on TV at the moment when I was prompted to enter a name.  Some (my mother, actually) thought it was an egotistical name, but it really fits because I write about a myriad of topics about everything from my point of view.  Who knows?  I might keep it.

Thanks again to the folks at BizTech Magazine for the recognition… I hope I can continue to blog and deserve the title!