Day three, the final day of the conference arrives. Looking out of the window from my room shows that the weather has not changed much, it is still cold with snow covering more of the ground.
The day started with breakfast for all the attendees at the Great Hall in the Holiday Inn and would be followed by a General Session titled “The Big Reveal”. I caught up with my friends and the presenters for the general session just before grabbing a bite to eat.
Today is “Winthrop Wednesday”, so called because I had given Winthrop Development Consultants business shirts to my MVP friends and it was decided that they would wear them on the third day.
As breakfast was finishing Jivtesh Singh was interviewed by Jesse Byam and Jivtesh made a point of mentioning the Winthrop Development Consultants shirt. To avoid any confusion, the MVPs are not working for Winthrop Development Consultants, they are just showing their support for me and my new business. Thank you so much.
The general session started with Joe Carrol providing some closing thoughts on the conference and the history of Great Plains/Dynamics GP over the years.
After Joe, it was time for “The Big Reveal”, which was a great disappointment as it turned out to be Errol Schoenfish showing us that his taste in shirts had not improved since the general session on Monday and that he could now wear shirts with even larger plaid patterns.
Errol Schoenfish’s Big Reveal
Seriously though, the Big Reveal was really the release of some of the details for the future direction of Microsoft Dynamics GP and the longer term vision.
Some of this vision was demonstrated by Jarrad Hall showing us how Excel refreshable reports could now work from spreadsheets stored in the cloud via Office 365. Previously, you could only refresh the report if you were directly connected to the same network as the Dynamics GP system. Now it is possible to connect to the data source remotely and refresh the data from Office 365.
Probably the most interesting part of the vision is an update to the user interface. Jennifer Ranz and Chad Sogge demonstrated some very early proof of concept code of what the future might hold.
Currently, the Web Client for Microsoft Dynamics GP uses Silverlight to render the Dexterity style controls to make the Web Client look almost identical to the Desktop Client (especially now that the Desktop Client has ribbons). The vision is to have a HTML 5 UI (User Interface) which would remove the dependence on Silverlight and browsers/devices that support Silverlight.
At this stage, the design of this interface is just a concept and is very likely to change before the final release. But to give you an idea on what the possibilities are here are a couple of screenshots.
The next part of the general session was an interview with two customer companies on how Microsoft Dynamics GP worked for them.
The session closed with Errol talking about how his son Tucker had matured with his basic training with the Air Force National Guard. At one stage he was becoming quite emotional, and needed some support from my friend Mariano.
Fun aside, the message that Errol had was two fold, he discussed how his son had changed from a boy into a man and “reimaged” his life and his future. He also mentioned all of the attention to detail that the military drive into their members. Mundane things like how to make a bed, how to fold your clothes and even how to store your toiletries. This attention to detail is drilled into the soldiers every waking minute and there is a reason. Because one day, that solider will be packing a parachute, or cleaning a gun, or tightening a bolt on a vehicle, and without attention to detail, a minor mistake in the real world could cost someone their life. Maybe those “mundane” things are not so mundane anymore.
The closing session was followed by two break out sessions. The first session was:
- Become More Dextrous at Dexterity Development: Best Practices & Expert Tips with Mark Rockwell, David Eichner, Patrice Bremond-Gregoire (standing in for Leslie Vail who was not feeling well), Mariano Gomez and David Musgrave
This session was great as it basically put a great many years of development experience with Microsoft Dynamics GP at the front of the room and opened the room to questions. We also ran through a number of tricks and tips with Dexterity development, such as keyboard shortcuts for the Script Debugger (Ctrl-F1 and Shift-Ctrl-F1) and how they can change Debugger Dictionary Context, using Source Code Control and using separate Dex.ini files for each development project, Dex.ini settings: ShowResids=TRUE, ShowAdvancedMacroMenu=TRUE, ScriptDebugger=TRUE & ScriptDebuggerProduct=0 and much more.
If you enjoyed this sort of open session with a panel of experts, please make sure you let Pam Misialek from Microsoft know, so we can have more (and maybe longer sessions) in the future.
After the Dexterity panel session, it was time for the most fun session of the conference (and I am not biased at all):
- The Support Debugging Tool for Advanced Users with David Musgrave and Mariano Gomez
The room for the Support Debugging Tool session was packed with standing room only, with even the additional chairs I requested.
The session started with Mariano and I introducing each other and providing some facts about each other’s homelands. We both come from beautiful locations, just that Australia has a few more dangerous creatures than San Andres island.
Now it was my opportunity to surprise Mariano. He had no idea that this was coming….. I made reference back to my April Fool’s post for this year on the Developing for Dynamics GP blog: Bring your Bathing Costumes to Stampede in Fargo. In that post I said because the hotel in Fargo where the conference would be held had a swimming pool, that the dress code for the conference would be bathing costumes. If you forgot to bring your own, bikinis and mankinis in a variety of sizes and fluorescent colours would be provided for you. (Apologies in advance if they are still damp from the previous person who used them). So then as Mariano had forgotten to bring his bathers, I presented him with a fluorescent green mankini of his own. To make sure people knew how it should look when worn, I put up the following picture.
After the laughter eventually died down, we finished the quick overview with slides and got down to the best part of the presentation: the demonstrations with scenarios and solutions.
We brought back the style from our popular Convergence session, where Mariano described a problem that consultants and administrators of Microsoft Dynamics GP face and can relate to and then asked “Can the Support Debugging Tool help?” to which the audience respond “Yes it can!”.
We broke the demonstration down into three primary stories based around:
- Identifying resources, automatic logging and scripting (both SQL and Dexterity)
- Resolving Security issues, setting up security and providing security data to auditors
- Solving SQL permission and database data and table structure issues before upgrades
The last story showed off the capabilities of the yet to be released Database Validation feature which is still in beta.
After the session Mariano and I had a chance to meet with many of the session attendees as well as getting a few photos.
Lunch was a boxed lunch which allowed for those needing to start their travel home or to get to other meetings or training sessions to do so as quick as possible. Mariano and I went to a Collaborative Development meeting at the Microsoft campus where ISVs could have an open discussion with the Microsoft Dynamics GP development team about everything that the future holds for the product.
After the meeting, Emily Halvorson (who spent a year working for a partner in Perth), took Mariano and I down to Carol Widman’s Candy Company. I was on a mission to get Chippers (chocolate covered potato chips) for me and a box that John Lowther requested too. It was then that I realised that Mariano did not know what Chippers were, so that was quickly rectified by a quick taste test at the shop’s counter. Needless to say, Mariano bought a box for himself as well.
We then headed back to the Holiday Inn and sat in the bar area for a little while, gathering the group together before heading off to dinner. This is when we caught up with Belinda Allen who had lost her voice after (during?) her presentation on Business Intelligence. It was really funny to watch her struggling to communicate, eventually she starting typing on her phone to say what she wanted… which for some reason included calling me a pig a number of times. 🙂
For dinner, we went to Passage To India, one of my favourite restaurants in Fargo that makes authentic Indian food (without needing to be too hot). Butter Chicken, Rogan Josh and Garlic Naan with Basmati Rice… yum.
Clockwise: Leslie Vail, Sheila Jefferson-Ross, Mariano Gomez, Rubal Kaur, John Lowther, Sheila Ochoa, Emily Halvorson, David Musgrave, Belinda Allen and Jivtesh Singh
After dinner, we returned to the Holiday Inn’s Spirits saloon bar for some light hearted chocolaty fun. I had one and half packs of Arnott’s Tim Tam (Original) biscuits/cookies left and could not take them home with me (against quarantine regulations). So, we had no choice but to consume them as Tim Tam Slams with hot chocolate.
Useless Fact: Tim Tam biscuits were named after a horse that won the Kentucky Derby! In 1958 Ross Arnott attended the race day and decided ‘Tim Tam’ was the perfect name for his new biscuit.
If you have not eaten a Tim Tam before, they are best described as a chocolate coated, chocolate cream filled cookie sandwich. The Tim Tam Slam is way fun party trick way of eating them, where you nibble off the chocolate at both ends and then use the Tim Tam as a straw to drink a hot drink. As soon as the liquid enters your mouth, you must throw the entire Tim Tam into your mouth before the chocolate melts and the cookie disintegrates. If you hesitate, you will end up wearing the chocolaty mess. If you do it right, and I apologise for the language here, it is like a chocolate orgasm in your mouth.
What I found out this trip is that John Lowther has become a connoisseur at the Tim Tam Slam and an expert instructor. To the extent that he does not share the packet of Tim Tams I give him with anyone and also eats every last Tim Tam as a Tim Tam Slam! So here is John showing us how it is done and also instructing Mekorma’s Craig Klapman how to do it right after this disastrous attempt from Convergence 2010.
WARNING: Some of the videos contain adult language.
John Lowther doing the Tim Tam Slam at reIMAGINE 2014 in Fargo (direct link)
Craig Klapman doing the Tim Tam Slam at reIMAGINE 2014 in Fargo (direct link)
For more videos from the night, check out the playlist below:
- YouTube Playlist: Tim Tam Slams at reIMAGINE 2014 in Fargo
Eventually we ran out of Tim Tams and energy and called it a night. I was leaving Fargo in the morning and needed to be up, fed and packed to leave reasonably early.
Now, if anyone else would like a stylish Winthrop Development Consultants business shirt in Black or White and in Men’s and Ladies’ styles, let me know I might be able to get some more made. I had not included merchandising in my business plan, but am quite willing to be flexible. 🙂
This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.