Scott Kerfoot's Blog

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788 - 1860)

It’s been three years since my mom passed away.

clock March 10, 2010 17:58 by author scottker

This month is the three year anniversary of my moms passing.  I miss her every day and still think about her all the time.   Since she passed away I’ve reflected on a lot of things, I recognize now that she was the single person responsible for who I am today and anything I accomplish I can really link back to the lessons that she taught me.  She didn’t teach me lessons like a teacher would, instead she taught me by how she lived her life.  In modern terms, she modeled the way. 

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Some of the things that really stick out for me are:

  • She never thought of anything as a challenge, just more tasks that need to be completed.  In my entire life, I can never remember her seriously complaining about any wrong that was done to her, any task that she shouldn’t have to do, any project that she wasn’t up for or really anything that would stand in her way.  Problems were things other people had.
  • She treated everyone with respect.  It really didn’t matter if you were a bottle washer or a CEO, she treated you with the same amount of respect and dignity.  She never thought that any job was less important than any other and had praise for a job completed well, no matter what that job was.  I wish there was more of that kind of appreciation today and much less of the self importance I see everywhere.
  • She didn’t stop working until the job was done.  When there was a task to complete, she would get the task done no matter how long it took.  It would pain her if things were late or she didn’t deliver the quality that she expected of herself.
  • Sometimes you couldn’t tell, but she always tried to put a little humor or fun into everything.  Not a story teller or jokester, but a quick wit that could bring you to tears.  Besides the wit, there really wasn’t an activity that she wouldn’t try.  Dress up and sing along, sure.  Wear a crazy Halloween costume, why not.  There weren’t really any activities that she wouldn’t try, especially if there were laughs involved.
  • She would do anything for her Darren.  Any opportunity she could get to spend time with him, she would take it.  She would light up whenever he came in the room and immediately drop everything and make him the center of attention.  Pick him up from school, take him to practice, listen to him play those crazy loud drums. help with homework, and of course the numerous trips, sometimes two in a day, to McDonalds.  (I think we are going to celebrate at McDonalds in her memory tonight) 
  • She valued her friendships, I can remember her saying, “I haven’t talked to <insert many names here>, I better call her.”  She always made a point of connecting with the important people in her life, no matter how busy she was.  This is something I really need to get better at.
  • She loved to drive.  Even in the last year of her life, she made the drive from La Verne to Tahoe and back.  Sometimes by herself!  Recently Darren recounted to me how “slow” I drove compared to grandma.  For those of you that have driven with me, that’s saying something.
  • Norway/Sons of Norway (sofn.org) -  As an American of Norwegian heritage, she just loved the ritual, pomp and circumstance of the SOFN.  For 30 years it was probably the biggest activity she had outside of work.  When she retired some time back she really devoted herself full time to participating, leading and promoting the organization.  I just went to one of their annual meetings a couple of weeks back and you could really see the love an appreciation from the members who knew, worked and played with my mom.

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There are some other small pieces of context that you may not know.

  • My mother raised me, completely by herself, from about the age of four.   Being a single mother in the 60’s and 70’s couldn’t have been fun but your never would have known it.  I felt like we were rich the entire time and there really wasn’t ever anything I needed that I didn’t get.  I know now that it really was a heroic effort on her part and she devoted so much of herself, energy and time, to make sure my life was good.  It definitely was.
  • While I do have an older brother, 12 years older than me to be exact, he was already out of the house when I was growing up.
  • My dad only provided spotty financial help while I was growing up, even so, my mother never had a bad thing to say about him and never hesitated to send me off to see him over the summer, even though….
  • My dad basically kidnapped me when I was four, taking me on greyhound busses to the mid-west, Kansas and Iowa, where he hid me with family in those areas.  I remember the bus trip, but not much else.  The way the story was recounted to me by both them, one day my dad quit his job, sold everything and took off while my mom was at work,  I guess being an Iowa farm boy he had enough with the big city.  My mom got the money together and she and my grandma went to the mid-west to find me.  She never gave up and eventually after some time (can’t remember how long) found me.   After some trips to the local court house with her lawyer, she brought me back to Southern California.  He left her with no money, a mortgage and car and she had to fend for herself.  Again, even through all of this, she NEVER had a bad thing to say about him.
  • My entire life, I have never lived more than 10 miles from my mother.  Even through college, getting married, buying houses, she always found a way to stay close.  I never really appreciated having that “safety net” of love and support until after she was gone.  That’s probably the thing I miss the most, dropping by when things are especially tough and getting that reassuring support that I’d handle it.

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Some of the things that I miss the most.

  • Watching her and Darren color Easter eggs.  I think Darren did this every year from the time he was three.
  • The entire time from her birthday in late November through Christmas.  I commented for the first couple of years after she passed away that my mom OWNED this time of year.  From incorporating Norwegian food into the menu, to making sure that Darren had Christmas stockings full of goodies, Thanksgiving meals, Christmas Eve/Day, this was by far her favorite time of the year and one I looked forward to every year.
  • See her light up when she was with Darren and seeing how much Darren loved his Grandma.
  • Watching her perform behind the podium at SOFN.  It was so funny to watch because she was 4’11” and the podium was about the same height.  Most of the time all you could see was the top of her head but you always knew it was her.
  • Knowing that if something came up she would always find a way to help.  Running late, forgot to get something, need something made, no questions asked she would just help.  In this world there are very few people you can depend upon, she was always there for me.

I feel fortunate to have had many opportunities over the last year of her life to let her know how appreciated she was and how much I loved her.  If you took the time to read this, and your parents are still alive, make sure they know how you feel, they could be gone sooner than you think.

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Microsoft has some cool jobs open in the San Francisco Bay Area and Phoenix, AZ!

clock February 24, 2010 11:11 by author scottker

I'm in the process of hiring for some really fun field evangelist roles at Microsoft.  I have created a jobs page with a FAQ in case you are interested or know some else who might be looking for a fun technology job.

I've been working for Microsoft for over 9 years, came from my own business for 17 years, and can't think of a better place to work.

Enjoy!

Scott



The current state of calendaring is weak!

clock February 23, 2010 12:23 by author scottker

I understand that the great thing about calendaring standards is that there are so many of them.  However, as a consumer of calendars, a lot of them, there has to be a better way.  We’ve been smart about consolidating our short messages with twitter, our blog posts with RSS readers, even our social lives with MySpace and then Facebook.  Can someone please intelligently explain to me why I can’t have a calendar application that allows me to consume many calendars in a single view.

Yes, I understand that the online calendar providers like Live, Google and Yahoo allow you to get their calendars consolidated.  You can also enable Outlook to do a consolidated calendar.  Unfortunately, in the end they all seem to be mutually exclusive.  All I want is:

  • A single calendar, no matter where I am, Web, PC or Mobile.
  • The ability to configure calendar feeds from places like: Exchange, Live, GMail, Yahoo, Eventbrite, Facebook, and other social groups.
  • The ability for my calendar to know the security context of the individual feed:  Can I write/read, read, or only see free/busy.

The closest I’ve come to this calendar nirvana is using my Microsoft Exchange Calendar connected to Live Calendars using the Outlook connector which gives me read/write access to my shared Live calendars directly from Outlook.  Using this method my work calendar remains on Outlook/Exchange, my personal calendar is on Live and my family calendar is shared on Live.  Using Outlook and Outlook Web Access (OWA) I finally get a decent consolidated view when I overlay the calendars.  The connectivity and latency is even a little better in Outlook 2010.  However, I still can’t get connected to my son’s baseball team calendar.  :-(

Is this really too much to ask?  Anyone seen other ways to tackle this problem?  Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Scott



I’m baaaaack…

clock February 22, 2010 20:15 by author scottker

After an extremely long absence due to time constraints and technical issues, my blog is back.



Office Open XML - The road to portable documents

clock December 12, 2007 17:10 by author scottker

Yesterday we (Microsoft) reached a significant milestone in the development of the Open XML standard with ECMA and ISO.  Once finished, the Open XML standards will be the foundation for document exchange across productivity application from any vendor.  For those of you that don't know, Open XML, the foundational document formats within the 2007 Microsoft Office System, is under review for ratification by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO). The process is currently in the final ballot resolution phase and the final outcome is anticipated in March 2008.

As part of the ISO process for considering Open XML as an ISO standard, a technical committee at ECMA is reviewing and responding to all (3,522) comments submitted by National Standards Bodies during the first phase of the process.  On 11/19, ECMA issued a first batch of proposed dispositions to 662 of the 3,522 comments.  On December 11, 2007, ECMA is issued a second batch of new dispositions bringing the total number of proposed comment dispositions to just over half of the total received (literally 50.1%). 

Included in the proposed comment dispositions are a number of significant and positive changes to the original ECMA Open XML standard submission – with the work done to date, we believe that ECMA is taking the National Body comments seriously and proposing revisions that will make the Open XML standard better.

The ECMA announcement is available here:

http://www.ecma-international.org/news/TC45_current_work/New%20set%20of%20proposed%20dispositions%20posted.htm

Open XML Developer Site: http://openxmldeveloper.org/ 

Open XML information on the Microsoft site: http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=open+xml+site%3Amicrosoft.com&src=IE-SearchBox 

Additional information from Brian Jones, Microsoft Office PM Over halfway there… including some positive changes to the Open XML standard



Announcing Partner Huddle for Professional Developers

clock December 12, 2007 12:17 by author scottker

Are you a Professional Developer or Architect working for a Microsoft Partner Organization in the U.S.?  Then you may want to consider joining Partner Huddle, an online social community for members of the Microsoft partner community.  To learn more about the social and how to join check out the following blog Tis The Season For Partners on Facebook.

Act now and you may qualify for a special holiday offer that expires on December 17th.



Web 2.0 - A Platform Perspective post by David Chou

clock November 26, 2007 11:45 by author scottker

My collegue David Chou does a great job of distilling the new platform, here is an excerpt... 

Collectively, the rich cluster of "Web 2.0" sites on the internet form a services foundation from which applications and functionalities can be built upon, without needing any additional dedicated infrastructure. As a result, this collection of cloud-based services form a new kind of "platform" to create a new breed of applications. David Chou provides a perspective on what “Web as a Platform” means in the Web 2.0 world, and a generalized view of the cloud-based platform. Check out the full blog entry here.http://blogs.msdn.com/dachou/archive/2007/11/25/web-2-0-a-platform-perspective.aspx


Free Voice based 800 information Service

clock November 9, 2007 06:27 by author scottker

We're all so busy that we sometimes don't have the time to check out new technology.  However, this time please take a minute and check this one out.  A while back Microsoft bought this great little company TellME.  Today I had a chance to use it and I'm BLOWN AWAY.  Instead of using your cell phone 411 service, try calling 1-800-555-TELL (8355) or send a text message to 83556 (I put in  Sam's Club in Glendora, CA) or pull up http://m.tellme.com on your mobile device.  You can do a free directory search OR get sports scores OR a host of other things.  Here is a link to some tips for using the service as well:  http://www.tellme.com/products/TellmeByVoice/TellmeTips

I now have a TellME contact entry that I can handsfree dial from my car!

Sometimes it's the small things that make the biggest difference.

Scott



I had no idea SharePoint could do this...

clock October 31, 2007 08:54 by author scottker

I love SharePoint, it's easy to customize, the lists are flexible, it integrates directly into office (especially the calendars into Outlook) but I had no idea is was this community friendly.  Take a look at the "Community Kit for SharePoint" on the http://www.codeplex.com site.  It's a site template you add to SharePoint to give you community functionality on top of the SharePoint infrastructure.  Super Cool!

http://www.codeplex.com/CKS

 Scott



Latest http://maps.live.com is so cool...

clock October 31, 2007 04:38 by author scottker
Check out this post by Tim Heuer about some of the latest functionality just added to the http://maps.live.com  This stuff is absolutely amazing, you have the ability to record a 3D tour of a saved collection and save it as a WMV file.  He demonstrated a simple collection as well as posted it to Silverlight Streaming using a custom Encoder template.   

Post: http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2007/10/29/virtual-earth-3d-recording-windows-live-maps.aspx

Scott



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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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