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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,


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.



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!

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