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MVP again!

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

It was a special day yesterday, definitely one of a kind.

12 months after I was awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award, I was greeted by a Windows 8 (my platform of choice ever since Developer Preview) email notification that I was renewed for year 2012.


I am speachless.


It’s a very special feeling, because it really comes out of the blue in a way: it really AMAZES me to learn how much Microsoft cares about its communities worldwide, and clearly wants to see ME smile for one more year!

There’s so much going on in my life at the moment, and you can tell by the slowdown in blog posting… but that will actually be a good reason for another story in the very near future.

THANK YOU Microsoft, and congrats to all new and renewed MVPs!

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I’m not entirely sure of why I’m writing this post, and I’m not sure if anyone should be interested to read it, so.. well, you’ve been warned. ;)

I have a dream, I always did: I want to relocate. And I want my destination to be USA or Canada. Is it that difficult? Sure, it is.

I have a job in Italy, one that fits me, and that pays the bills. I bought the car of my dreams a few years ago, I bought a house that I love, and I found a girl that I love more than anything. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? I know I was lucky enough to get all of this, but I’m really not happy with what I achieved so far. I get little-to-no personal satisfaction from my everyday life, and I think I can see how that comes to be: I managed to get many things that I wanted in my life, but not the most important.. I just don’t belong here.

This is something I’ve always had in my mind, and I’m not sure why I’m thinking about this right now, but the feeling got stronger and stronger lately. Possibly because I started to see a few chances that might actually make my dream come true. So what’s the problem, you may ask.

The problem is that I’m SCARED. I’m scared to fly for that long (planes make me REALLY feel sick, and I never was on a flight longer than a couple hours), I’m scared of all the things I’d be leaving behind me, I’m scared that I won’t be up to the task as far as work go, and I’m scared by the fact that my spoken English is awful.

Really, how am I going to survive in an English speaking country when I know I would strive to survive in the most common situations? I can write and read English pretty good for an Italian, everyone always says that to me, but speaking it’s a whole different matter. As much as it can sound crazy, sometimes I fear that I will never get the hang of it.

Then I see pics and videos of USA and Canada, of the ocean, the beach, the sunsets. I take a look at work opportunities, I compare quality of work and achievements of the same businesses in America and Italy, and my dream stays alive..

There we go, I don’t know if I really made a point here but I’m glad that I put this down. I don’t expect hundreds of comments, I don’t even expect one. But I’m glad that I did this, for myself. If anything, it will help me think that if I never give it a try, I will look back at this post at some point, and feel like an idiot for not having the courage to pursue the life I wanted.

Back home. Had FUN.

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

The only negative thing about the last two days was the car trip (I pretty much hate driving and 7 hours in two days isn’t exactly my kind of thing).

It was AMAZING to meet so many MVPs in person. The technical level was unbelievable, and they were also extremely nice person able to make me feel at home even if I was the n00b there ;)

The event was hosted at the brand new Microsoft building in Milan, and we had the chance to take a quick tour of it: it really looks like a nice place to work at (or even have fun!).

I also got to meet one of my all time heroes: despite apparences, he was nice with me too. He’s a cool dude, I can tell you.

MVP Open Days 2011

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I’ll be away for a couple days (next Friday + Saturday) for the Italian MVP Open Days 2011, and this is also the first time that I’ll be able to attend a real-life event as a Microsoft MVP. VERY exciting indeed!

The event will be held @ Microsoft Italy’s headquarters in Milan, and I really can’t wait to take part of it. It will be under NDA, so – as interesting as it may be – I won’t be able to comment much on the actual sessions.

In all honesty, what I’m looking forward to the most is networking with other MVPs and Microsoft’s employees as well. There are so many technically talented people that I “know” from online forums, newsgroups, blogs etc.. and it will surely be a honor to meet some of them in person.

This will also involve a pretty long trip by car, and that’s what I’m not really looking forward to.. but yeah.. it will be worth it. :)


How does it feel to be MVP?

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

It’s been almost a month since I got the awesome email from Microsoft, which was awarding me as MVP for Xbox – I just wanted to share how I feel and what’s changed since then.

First off.. well, I’m the same old dude lol. And in case you’re wondering I live in the same house, drive the same car, and live with the same awesome person who – surprisingly enough – can still stand me every day.

But I do feel GREAT and yes, I’m pretty proud of myself because of the award.
Xbox and its Community have been my main passion in life for years, if not ages. I did a handful of things, founded and developed a lot of websites, building up communities from the ground up, I’ve spent countless hours developing services for Xbox fans, helping out people as an Xbox Live Ambassador, and moderating the forums as well.
And, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters to me is seeing people’s gratitude. I hope that does sound good: you know this thing about me being Italian.. well I’m not sure if my English it’s up to the task sometimes! :) what I meant to say is that all I need to keep going is a single person who says: “thanks, you did something that’s useful to me”. That makes me feel good, and that’s also the main factor when I have to choose to support or drop a project of mine.

The MVP award has already offered me some new, exciting opportunities, expecially in reagards to networking with other MVPs and Microsoft’s employees. I feel so lucky that I’ve got this chance: so far almost every day has been a surprise and I’m really excited to see what’s to come. It will definitely be a GREAT ride.

And looking back, I know I probably wouldn’t have done all of this if it wasn’t for a few, very special persons. So here’s a personal thanks, whether we worked together, they inspired me, helped me out, or they gave me the opportunity to do new exiting things.. just know that you are responsible for my passion and commitment to the Xbox Community.
So, thanks to my buddy Squidpunch, to THE velvet voice Deaconblade, to Trapper Markelz – co-founder of 360voice, to the allmighty Trixie.. and A LOT more persons who aren’t friend with me anymore.. because I forgot to include them in this post! Sorry, you know that Zaam loves you either way.


Stay hungry, stay foolish

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON


This comes from a huge Microsoft fan who also owns an iPod, iPhone, iPad, Macbook, iMac.

There’s a lot to learn from you attitude and strong spirit. RIP.

MVP Award for 2011

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I just got an email a few minutes ago, informing me that I’ve been awarded the Microsoft MVP Award 2011 for Xbox.

I’m totally speachless, as this is my first time as an MVP!


If you’re not familiar with the program, check out the official Microsoft Most Valuable Professional website.

I’ve been a regular in several Microsoft’s communities from quite a good while (newsgroups in the good old days, various tech forums, and the forums above all), so I had the chance to know some members of the program with time.. and that’s why I’m even more honored and excited to join such an exceptional group of people.

A HUGE thanks goes out to Microsoft, to Alessandro Teglia, and to everyone else who brought me to this point. Obviously I’m not familiar with the insights of the program at all, but here’s hope that this will open up a few new opportunities to give back something more to a Community I truly and deeply love. :)


Working on…

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I’ve been working on a new project lately, and it’s honestly one of the most interesting I’ve been working on in ages.

It’s been years since I first said I shall drop (classic ASP first and then) PHP in favour of ASP.NET, but I never really got to it. Well, it looks like the time has come. Plus, I’m also learning the ins and outs of Windows Azure, which is another thing I had in my agenda from quite a good while.

The bad news? I can’t say a single word about this project right now.. so yeah, just take my word for it for the time being.. Zaam is a happy panda!

New server, new design

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I’ve started moving my websites to a new server I got: WP7applist came first and now it’s my blog’s turn. For the record, I went from a small dedicated server in Italy, to a pretty good VPS in the UK with Xtraordinary Hosting, and the performance increase have been impressive so far!

With the move, I took the chance to update the blog’s design and drop the pre-made theme I had in favour of a new one I designed. Nothing fancy, but you can tell it’s strongly inspired to the Metro UI which I literally love lately so yeah.. I’m pretty happy of the results so far.

Oh and if you’re reading this it also means that your DNS cache has been updated and you’re indeed browsing the brand new server. Things should be smoother from now on!

I’m a software developer, I guess.

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

That’s what I do for a living, and that’s what I’m good at. But is it what I want to do for the rest of my life?

I remember a few years ago when I didn’t have a job, and used to dedicate most of my time to software development, solely for passion. One day I was chatting on MSN messenger with a good friend of mine, other than one of the most skilled software programmers I knew. Well I was kind of shocked to find out that he had a job in the managment field, I was like.. “you love development as much as I do, and you’re so good at it – why are you some kind of manager instead?”
I’m not sure of the answers I got at that time, but I do know that I can answers that myself right now.

As I grow older, I realize that what I would love the most is that all the skills and experience I made through years of software development would be a background for my work. A strong background, but not the central part of my work day.

In the last few years I’ve been building A LOT of fansites for passion: every project of mine starts with days of planning, a good amount of development and then countless hours of public relations, marketing, promotion etc etc.. Well the point is I find the last part to be the most enjoyable at the moment, expecially when things are successful. And I know I’d totally love to have a team of developers working for me to get stuff done, instead of doing everything myself.

Does that mean I don’t like software development anymore? No. Does that mean I don’t love it like I used to? No. Does that mean I’m looking for something “different”, something more? I believe so.

I’m not quite sure of how one in my position would go in order to acquire skills and competencies in fields such as managment, marketing, sales.. but I guess I’ll find out soon, and hopefully have the chance to switch to a slightly different kind of daily job. In the meantime, I constantly keep an eye on Microsoft’s careers website hoping I’ll get a chance from the company I admire the most. One day..