JANUARY 2009 [Volume 1, Issue 1]

Form and List

  • Apology

    We regret to have to start with a profuse apology. Many of you will have noticed that the public website, leader portal and hosted SharePoint sites were up and down very recently for several days. The majority of things are now working again and the technical team is working very hard to keep it that way. They are also working diligently to clean up any remaining issues. If you experience a problem please email technical@culminis.com and cc info@culminis.com. The technical team worked around the clock with assistance from Microsoft to resolve the problems. The technical team will be working towards some preventative measures to mitigate any similar incident in the future.

  • Regional Boards

    We are very pleased to announce that all of the Regional Boards are now in place and the bios for each of the members will be available very soon via www.culminis.com/BOD. Next to each Regional Chair you will see a link that takes you to a page for that Regional Board. This has been a fairly lengthy and necessarily careful process and is a critical step for the volunteer version of Culminis to move forward. Each Regional Chair will be working closely with the corresponding Microsoft Regional Lead to support both the UG leaders and the community as a whole. If you are not familiar with your Microsoft Regional Lead they are listed below.

    Paul Hailey Vicki Rodas Emilio Mansur Vacant - APAC is assisting Sanjay Shetty
    v-pahail@microsoft.com v-viroda@microsoft.com v-emilim@microsoft.com v-sshe@microsoft.com

    Please feel free to contact both your Regional Chair and Regional Lead. In addition, please feel free to contact the Culminis Global Board Vice-Chair and Director of Communications (Graham Jones – info@culminis.com) at any time with issues or suggestions.

  • Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) at TechEd NORAM 2009, May 11-15 in Los Angeles, CA

    Proposals are now being accepted for Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) sessions for the Microsoft TechEd conference in Los Angeles, CA May 11-15, 2009. BOF sessions are open discussion topics of mutual interest to TechEd attendees. They give developers and IT Professionals the opportunity to meet with people who have similar interests and challenges in an open forum environment that promotes discussion and interaction. Anyone attending TechEd who is willing to moderate a discussion is encouraged to enter a BOF topic, see BOF Submission Information.

  • Microsoft Press 25th Anniversary "Free E-Book of the Month"

    Microsoft Press is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a free e-book offer. Read your Microsoft Press Book Connection Newsletter for notification of offers, and to register and download the selection each month.

  • Free Virtualization e-book offer

    Written by industry expert Mitch Tulloch with the Microsoft Virtualization Teams, Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions will teach you about the benefits of the latest virtualization technologies and how to plan, implement, and manage virtual infrastructure solutions. The technologies covered include: Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2009, Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, and Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Register to download the e-book, and sign up for the Microsoft Press Book Connection newsletter which provides news about upcoming releases and other special offers.


  • Offer from Toastmasters

    From a humble beginning in 1924 Toastmasters International has grown to become a world leader in helping people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. The nonprofit organization now has nearly 235,000 members in 11,700 clubs in 92 countries, offering a proven, and enjoyable, way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills.

    One of the key success factors behind a thriving User Group and successfully running dynamic meetings is the ability to have experts speak in an informative and engaging manner on topics they are interested in. Although there are many who present and are either technical wizards or engaging speakers, there are far fewer who are both! Quite apart from the obvious benefits good speakers have to your meetings, the ability for them to present well and to get their ideas across is a critical skill, especially in today's economy.

    The Toastmasters program is a convenient, supportive, interactive and inexpensive way to help improve presentation skills and increase leadership potential by helping participants to communicate more effectively. The program uses time-tested methods in a self-paced curriculum. As participants progress in the program, they receive constructive evaluations from their peers to assist them in becoming a more effective speaker and leader to a broader audience as well as more select audiences, such as your user group.

    Working together with Culminis, INETA, Microsoft and PASS, Toastmasters have identified a number of ways in which they can assist you:

    1. If you have any questions or simply want advice, contact them at the number or email below from anywhere in the world - Toastmasters is a global organization.
    2. They would love to come to one of your user group meetings. At your meeting, they can:
      1. Present to your group on the Toastmasters program.
      2. Provide high-level advice and feedback on speakers.
      3. They can even run a demonstration Toastmasters meeting within your user group meeting.
    3. They can help members of your user group join a local Toastmasters club.
    4. They can set up a Toastmasters club as part of your user group, specifically for your user group.

    If you would like to pursue any of these options, please contact their Corporate Relations department in order to assist you in starting a club or finding a club near you. They look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Corporate Relations Department

    1-949-858-8255 x273


  • New Benefits Coming Soon

    Although we cannot provide final details at the moment there are some exciting new benefits for Culminis member organizations coming very soon. As soon as we have the details they will be communicated to you.

  • The VOICE

    Immediately prior to October 1st, 2008, when Culminis was transitioned to a volunteer organization, the traffic and comment submissions to The VOICE were beginning to grow in a very encouraging fashion. During this transition we have noticed that the use of The VOICE has fallen off substantially so we are, once again, encouraging you to make active use of The VOICE. The BLOG-like facility is an excellent tool put in place by the previous organization to communicate with both Culminis and your colleagues in the community. We strongly urge you to pick up where you left off and begin to use The VOICE again, and fulfill its purpose. Visit The VOICE at http://thevoice.culminis.com/default.aspx

    We appreciate your understanding and thoughtful patience as we continue our efforts to put the volunteer Culminis on a stable and efficient footing in order to best serve our members’ needs. Only through your feedback and suggestions can we gauge how we are doing. So please keep your input coming.