Tech Mami Goes (Micro)soft: The Spring Champions Summit


[box type="shadow" ]I am a Microsoft Office Champion. This trip was sponsored by Microsoft. All thoughts, opinions, girl crushes and warm baths are purely my own.[/box] April found me on the west coast again in beautiful Seattle. Yes, I was there to bring them some Silishine but I was also there to immerse myself in awesome. The Office Champs were back on the prowl. What, pray tell were we on the prowl for? New techy wonders to tell you about, of course!


You may think that it was all relaxing bathtubs and delicious food but let me tell you: it was hard work. And fun. Lawd, was it fun!

Where do I begin?

Microsoft Research

We went to this little place called Microsoft Research. I’d tell you where it’s at but, I wasn’t driving and was too busy playing with my Nokia Lumia 928 and taking pics like this…

…to pay attention where they were taking me. Suffice it to say it was on Microsoft soil. One of the first things I saw when I walked in was

Gigapixel Art Zoom

What is it you ask? It’s a groovy project using Microsoft’s panoramic stitching. They used this super cool viewing technology to capture the culture of Seattle and created an image filled with dancers, actors, painters, poets, acrobats and burlesque queens. You can look at this thing for ages and find something different each time.

The incomparable Jevon zooming in to the gigapixel sexiness!

After getting an explanation of what it took to get this going (the project manager in me had a headache at the thought), we got to check out digital assistants. And this, ladies and gentlemen is what gives me the giggles and makes me feel like Christmas.

Elevators, Robots, Cortana, Oh My!

One of the things we talked about while at the research center was how technology is being integrated into our everyday lives to work seamlessly among us.

Like smart elevators that know the difference between someone that’s heading to the elevator and someone that is passing by. And the cutest thing at the Research Center?


This little guy is powered by Kinect and awaits you as you exit the elevator. Don’t know where someone’s office is? Well, that’s what he’s here for. He didn't have a name and y’all know how I feel about that so, I named him. Readers, meet Harrison.

Walk up to Harrison and ask him where Eric Horvitz's office is and he will direct you how to get there. The more exposure he has, the more he learns about human speech and behavior. Pretty cool, eh?

I also got a chance to meet Monica. She was Eric’s assistant. Having been an assistant myself at one point in time, I can tell you that this is scary AND cool all at once. Scary because it makes you wonder if we will have human assistants in the future and cool because…well, it’s just cool.

I told you a little about Cortana last month. I cannot wait for it to show up on my new Nokia Lumia 928! I’m looking forward to it reminding me of appointments, meetings as well as quiet hours and generally teaching C-Boogey about my day to day so that I can do a better job both personally and professionally.

That was day one! Loads of learning, questions, answers and general tech adrenaline rush that leads to lots of ovulating and potentially slapping whoever is next to you as you are exposed to new advances you didn't know would be hitting your phone this year.

Speaking of ovulating: technology is awesome but cool people that you can connect with? I believe the word is amazeballs!

Here are my girl crushes from the summit:

Kimmie the Accessory Expert - We connected last time and did so again. Her style is impeccable and I only hope she calls me over when she cleans out her accessory closet.

Kristin from Fashion Style Beauty - I got a special project planned with this girl and I cannot wait to tell you about it. Also, see pic below! How could I not love her?


Sarah from Style It Online - cuz she's sassy and beautiful and I dig her style! Also, her dog is adorbs!

Nicole from - she's calm, cool & collected and though I only spoke to her briefly, seems brilliantly sarcastic, funny and smart.

The Crew! Who Rule the World? #Girls

Disclosure: I am a Microsoft Office Champ and it's my pleasure bringing you new techy wonders of the world. All opinions are purely my own.

We Are The Champions! #ChampionsSummit

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Seattle as part of the Office Champions program. The Champions Summit was…incredible. My brain seems to be bursting with great thoughts and ideas after everything I saw. It inspired me to write more about how I use technology in the coming year. And how I introduce technology to my clients so that they can better use it. What can I say, this was a complete GEEK trip!

Day One: OneNote

First, allow me to say that I brought the sun with me to Seattle which helped the trip tremendously (you’re welcome, Champions!). That first day we got a chance to get into some details about Office AND my favorite, OneNote. I’ve told you about how I use OneNote and I learned some AHMAZING stuff and had to sign some eggs away in exchange for the info. But guess what, I can share it with you NOW! Check it out:

  • Capture it all. Capture your screen with the share charm and capture documents, magazines and whiteboards with camera scan.
  • Browse and find your notes easier than ever. Search for text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition and find your notes faster than ever before with recent notes and page previews.
  • Annotate and take your own notes on the things you’ve captured. Write better with ink and see your notes in full screen!

To learn more about everything this update has to offer check out the OneNote blog or these videos (OneNote Windows Store App, Reorganize/Search with OneNote and Document/Whiteboard Scanning). You can also go to the Windows 8 store and download the OneNote Windows store app for free.

The Torture

One thing I didn’t like was the torture. I got tortured, y’all! How did they torture me, you might ask? I mean no, the fabulous visit to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum wasn’t it. Neither was the trip to the Space Needle that had me feeling as if I looked over, the needle would surely bend that way. Cuz I’m powerful like that. No.

They gave me a Nokia Lumia 1020, that I got to play with and then had to GIVE BACK! I am still suffering from PTSD (Phone Traumatic Stress Disorder). Here are some awesome pics I took with the 40 MP camera!

It was lovely. It was also great to have all of my documents in the same place. I was able to go through some Word documents and of course, add to my OneNote musings.

The Campus!

The next day found me on the Microsoft Campus. Wow! I saw so many awesome/geeky/beautiful things. And I’m afraid to tell you about them. Because I had to sign additional eggs in order to see all of the fabulousness. I’m under NDA for so much and it’s painful: seeing the most awesomest stuff EVAH and then not being able to talk about it. The CIA should jump in on this form of torture.

I did share these great 3D printings. If you head on over to your local Microsoft Store, chances are you will see one in action. I have dreams of making gifts with my 3D printer (that I don’t yet own).

The piece the resistance? We visited the Microsoft Envisioning Center. Here’s what I can tell you about it: it’s a hands-on experience with the future of business and leisure — and also serves as a laboratory for the company’s engineering teams. I can also tell you that I ovulated about 3 times during the first 15 minutes and Kristin can vouch for me as she was the recipient of my punches (which happens when I see awesome things, usually followed by “shut. Up!” and ovulation). In order for me to not get hauled off to techy jail, I will share this safe video with you.

And don’t get me started on those Bing Webmaster tools I learned about. That might have to be a separate blog all on its own for my fellow social media folks. Awesomesauce!

The Conclusion

2013-11-05 08.05.52This trip meant so much to me. Well over 2 years ago I had my first chat with the Microsoft Office and Windows teams and I decided then that I would be part of whatever they had going on. This was a culmination of a teeny tiny dream that I shared with very few folks.

The icing on the cake is how these products help me get my work done and how in the near future, I will be helping my clients do the same with some pretty amazing tools. I hope you will hang in there with me and come along on this journey. I assure you that you will learn something new and hopefully I will infect you with a little of this excitement I am feeling.

Are you in?


Office365_Champion_BadgeDisclosure: I am a Microsoft Office Champion (woohoo). All flight and accommodations as well as torture mechanisms were handled by Microsoft.