State of the Org: Website, Games, Summit, and More

Announcements, PowerShell Summit

I wanted to share a quick update on, Inc.
First, a couple of Web designer friends of mine have volunteered to do a visual re-theme of the site. Below is some of their early work, and you're welcome to comment; I'll just remind you that they're volunteers and doing this as a favor. So be nice! You'll notice that one of these reflects the layout a smartphone would use, which trims much of the "chrome" in favor of the content. They haven't tackled the forums yet - that's harder, and will probably come last.
3-001 3-002 3-003
Second, in the last quarter of the year we're planning a move from our current shared hosting plan (my company is actually hosting the site for free) to a more dedicated plan - likely in Azure, since that offers us redundancy without the need to actually pay for two servers. We'll set up a 2-server system with one server dedicated to the database, and the other the Web site, which reflects what we have now under the shared plan. We'll remain on the current LAMP stack, just running inside Azure. That takes a lot of work to set up and test, and the schedule will depend largely on our volunteers' time, but it's in the works. The move should help a bit with some of the performance. It's crazy expensive compared to "free" (around $3600/year max, although obviously it's based on usage so that's kind of a worst-case guess), but we're growing to the point where we need it and it isn't any more expensive than a dedicated server. I love that the Azure folks are smart enough to offer a LAMP stack. Own the back end, who cares what people do with it!
Third, we've disabled a few site features that were really eating up page load times. Most you won't notice, but the "badges" functionality is presently turned off. We haven't deleted any data, so we can bring that back, but for right now it's unavailable.
Fourth... and off of the Web site... the PowerShell Summit North America 2014 is about 12% sold out. As of today, our 2013 alumni and shareholders no longer have a reserved block; our TechLetter subscribers still have a reserved block through September 15th, at which point everything goes on sale to the public. The velocity of sales has been good, and we should be able to hit our next scheduled payment to the event venue. We are still holding back about 50 slots for 2014Q1, for those of you who can't register until next year. But I wouldn't hold out for those if you don't have to. It does not look, at present, like we'll have many (if any) additional discounted memberships - in order to hit our numbers, it's likely everything will hold to full price. If we do offer any discounts, it'll be absolutely last-minute. Also, our team is getting going on content, and you should see a Call for Topics real soon, now.
Fifth, the PowerShell Summit Europe 2014 is coming along, but not really going anywhere. Ha! By that, I mean we're simply too far out (more than a year) for venues to be able to talk to us. So we're holding tight until September and October this year, when we can start checking pricing and availability. Madrid snuck on to our short-list of cities, along with Munich, Milan, and Amsterdam, due to the presence of a large MS conference facility there. If anyone lives in Europe and speaks Spanish, and wants to be our liaison to communicate with MS Madrid, please contact me (via the Site Info menu above). It'd be nice to have someone local who can contact the office and see what we can do there, or at least put us in touch with an evangelist over there who could work on our behalf.
Sixth, don't forget that Mark Schill has announced PowerShell Saturday 005 for Atlanta. Mark's also been tasked to help one or two other organizations put on their own PowerShell Saturday, so if you think you'd be interested, please contact him. Having done this four times already, he's got a good grip on how to go about it.
Seventh, we've got some great new guys acting as editors for the TechLetter, and the September issue will be their first go at it. Wish them luck and give them your support! We're also looking to launch free online TechSession webinars next month; I'll probably run the first one, and there will be a required (and free) registration process, and it may be bumpy. But we're going to try and do those monthly. They'll supplement the new MVA offerings from MS, and get back to the days with TechNet did a whole series of different free webinars. Once we start, please help spread the word - if we're not getting good attendance or recording views, we won't keep doing it.
Eighth, I'm unsure if we'll be doing a Winter Games event or not. We had someone volunteer to coordinate it, but I haven't heard any details from them, and I'm kinda getting overbooked on my end, which will make it tough to do up whatever Web site they might need. We're going to play this one by ear.
Ninth... and before I make it to a full strike... I want to express my deep gratitude for everyone that's helping make this community work. The Forums are obviously a big piece, and it's been fantastic to see so many of you jumping in and volunteering your time to help answer questions. Truly, I feel that this whole thing is finally taking off and that it's a real community. Along those lines, in Q4 this year, we're going to announce (so start thinking about it) a PowerShell Heroes award. This will be for folks who have not already received some kind of recognition (like MVP) for helping out in the community, so that we can formally offer them a thank-you. Awards will be by nomination, and will carry no benefits whatsoever (grin). But start thinking of who you'd like to thank, and why.
OK - that's probably enough for the morning. Thanks for coming along for the ride, and have a great rest of the week!

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