Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A year at Microsoft & what I've been up to & travel tips

I crossed my one-year mark at Microsoft a couple of months ago, and it's been a fun time! 

I work as a Premier Developer Consultant, so we typically take on short-term work where we help a customer out with something small like a proof of concept, code review, or workshop on specific technologies we choose to specialize in.  We can choose any technology to specialize in (keeping in mind, certain technologies are more in demand than others and we do have to spend a certain amount of hours a year working with customers). I ended up choosing Blockchain, Containers, Azure App Services, and VSTS/DevOps as my main areas.

I swear I haven't disappeared, I have been doing some posts to MSDN and you can see my blog posts here: (some of these are replicated on my blog, some are not!)

I created on a full tutorial for Azure App Services.  This is a step by step, with screenshots, tutorial of how to create a Web App, API App, and Azure SQL DB in Azure and to deploy each piece.. plus how to do the CI/CD (Build and Release) from VSTS to your Azure resources (full blog post on this to come soon):

Also really cool, Michael Crump helped bring some folk to the ToDoList tutorial by posting on his blog Azure Tips and Tricks: Thanks Michael!!!

And lastly, I worked on a Blockchain project with my colleague here, if you want to see a full step by step on setting up a Blockchain app that keeps track of Wikipedia changes go here:

Now, talking about travel: I've been to so many places as a traveling Consultant, and eaten as much food as I could get my grubby hands on in each city.  This year, for onsite work visits I have been to: Alpharetta, Las Colinas, Minneapolis, Philly, Phoenix, Seattle, Burbank, NYC, DC, Ottawa, Miami, Austin, Orlando, Lake Mary, and Portland. 

Travel tips:

  • If you hate cold, buy an electrically heated jacket! Mine is called: "Ororo Heated Jacket" and it was from Amazon, they have it for both men and women. TSA is okay with it as long as you tell them ahead of time what it is or can explain it if they ask about it.. wired jackets, I'm sure, look a little scary under the scanner. 
  • If you hate dealing with luggage, buy an Underseater.  I bought this one, it fits under every seat (aisle, middle, window) on Southwest, United, Delta, and American Airlines as long as you only pack it 80% full.  I can get 2 laptops (MSI gaming + surface), tablet, 4 days of clothes, and all toiletries into this: 
  • Airline rewards are a joke.  You'll be lucky if you can take 20 trips and get 1 free one for vacation out of it, buying airline tickets from work are severely discounted (half what you pay for personal flights), and don't add up to much.  Better seats are kinda worth it, maybe, if you need to bring luggage.  If you get an "underseater" bag like mentioned above, you never need to worry about overhead space anyways.  You are probably better off taking different airlines to get non-stop flights than trying to get rewards out of one airline taking you a long roundabout way.  I think my time is worth more than their terrible rewards points that net very little. 
  • Renting a car is a pain, it takes 30 minutes sometimes to take a tram/walk from the airport gate to the rental car center.  Take uber/lyft/cabs to save time. 
  • Hotel rewards are baller, and my goodness you can rack up points fast. If you get the credit card too, oh my gosh, hello free hotels for every vacation!
  • Hotel points go on sale and you can catch them on Slickdeals sometimes.  These are worth buying when you can get them 30% off.  You can also use hotel points to get hotels that are priced at a premium due to an event because while the $ amount goes up, the points value always stays the same.  
  • Marriott has the best Wi-Fi speeds, period, hands down.  I've gotten so many Marriotts (ranged from low budget to nicer ones) with 10-80mb/s down and up speeds and played DOTA 2 on it happily on the free Wi-Fi, not even paying for the "good" Wi-Fi.  Hyatt's Wi-Fi sucks, forget playing games online you usually get .1-2mb/s up and down. Crowne Plaza Wi-Fi ain't bad. I don't know about Hilton, never really stay there, but I think that is the only chain that allows pets.  
  • Airport food sucks 95% of the time.  Same for the food in hotels. Local food tastes the best.  Chain food is the safest and least likely to mess up your stomach.