Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Unable to access SnapIn config data Store" accessing Web Management Console

For quite some time I had been running into this error when attempting to access the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Management Console application from a Windows 8 machine.

SnapIn config data store error
I had ran a Fiddler trace on the issue and determined that the issue simultaneously reported and HTTP 405 error, which suggested a problem with Windows Authentication, required by the Web Management Console.

Fiddler Trace
Since I really couldn't determine what the problem was, the issue went dormant for more than 4 months. In addition, I never seemed to have the time to troubleshoot it with my friends over at Microsoft... until this past Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013, that is.

As it turned out, there's one "other pre-requisite" if installing the Web Management Console on a Windows 8 environment: Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) HTTP Activation. Simply put, HTTP activation allows a WCF service to relay its messaging asynchronously over HTTP - in this case HTTPS. In Windows 8, HTTP Activation is turned off by default, unlike Windows Server.

The SnapIn config data store is a table in the GPWEBMANAGEMENT database (dbo.SnapInStorage) and stores the URL to the Session Central Service WCF service. I ran a SQL Profile trace and noticed that the Web Management Console was not able to reach the GPWEBMANAGEMENT database on the SQL Server to read the Session Central Service URL. Therefore, the Console was not able to communicate to the Session Central Service to obtain user session or tenant information.

To turn on HTTP Activation on Windows 8:

1. Open Control Panel
2. Select Programs
3. Click on Turn Windows features on or off
4. Expand .NET Framework 4.5 Advanced Services
5. Expand WCF Services
6. Click on the HTTP Activation checkmark

WCF HTTP Activation
7. If you plan to support other protocols in your environment, you can turn on MSMQ Activation, Named Pipe Activation TCP Activation, or TCP Port Sharing as additional options for your WCF endpoints.

Once the services were up and running, the Web Management Console worked like a charm.

Many thanks to Daryl Anderson and Grant Swenson at Microsoft for assisting with this one.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Monday, March 25, 2013

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013: Wrap Up

Convergence is over and I am now back to the daily grind. However and as is customary, this wrap up post serves as a venue to provide some insight into this past event, links to all posts, and of course, suggestions for the next.

First and foremost, a big thank you goes out to my friends at Microsoft for inviting me to this year's Convergence event as a speaker and presenter at the General Session. This is probably one of the highlights of my career in the channel. In particular, I want to send out a big shout-out to the following folks (in no particular order):

  • Aaron Donat, for accepting the co-presenter role with me at GPPC's PreGAME and to help me in continuing building my understanding and knowledge of the Web Client.
  • Pam Misialek, for all her guidance throughout the process leading up to the General Session presentation.
  • Kevin Racer and Daryl Anderson, for inviting me as a co-presenter in our session CSGP32 - Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client For Smaller Companies. Sorry I came down ill on our first go around, but hopefully the second time was great.
  • Errol Schoenfish, for his great introduction of Mark and I and the duel we were about to engage in.
  • Chad Sogge, for his participation at the MVP Breakfast
  • David Musgrave, for his patience in preparing me for the Support Debugging Tool session and for dedicating a great deal of time in making the pre-build 18 release available for the session.

I can't thank the rest of you at Microsoft enough for your continued camaraderie and support: Jay Manley, Jennifer Ranz, Theresa Nistler, Brian Meier, Sivakumar Venkataraman, Jared Hall, Brian Roney, Sarah Purdy, Kelly Youells, and the list goes on and on, so please forgive me if I omitted your name here. You all contributed to making this a great Convergence for me and my wife.

Special thanks to Brian Graftaas for conceding some time on his busy Convergence calendar to talk about the Certified for Microsoft Dynamics program.

Outside of Microsoft, I would like to extend a big thank you to Kim Peterson and Andy Hefer at DynamicCommunities for inviting me to GPPC PreGAME as a presenter, MVP Mark Polino for accepting the challenge of presenting with me at General Session, though we only had a few hours to rehearse in person, MVP Jivtesh Singh for his guest appearance during my session CSGP30 - The Microsoft Dynamics GP Support Debugging Tool,

Now, the links...

On this site, you can find coverage of Convergence using the following links:

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013 - Getting there

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013 : GPPC PreGAME

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013: Day 1

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013: Day 2

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013: Day 3

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013: Day 4

You can always take a look at some of the pictures I took over at The Dynamics GP Blogster on Facebook:

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 Album

Over at DynamicAccounting.net, Mark Polino has some thoughts about the event after couple days of review:

Convergence 2013 Monday

Convergence Update from Tuesday

My Convergence 2013 Thoughts

MVP Leslie Vail, over at Dynamics Confessions has some cool pictures and offer some insights as well:

Convergence 2013 Day Zero

David Musgrave, we miss you!

Volunteer Day at Convergence 2013

Kofi Annan Convergence 2013 Keynote Speaker

MVP Belinda Allen, over at The GP CSI has the following entries on Convergence:

So it begins... Microsoft Dynamics GP Convergence

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence for GP begins today

Microsoft Dynamics GP Customer Story - Shock Doctor

Microsoft Convergence Keynote brief

Microsoft Dynamics GP Project Accounting Convergence Session

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence for GP update - FREE EXCEL DASHBOARD

The Learning Resources page of this blog has been updated with latest Convergence 2013 materials I presented for your  consumption. Please download here:

The Dynamics GP Blogster: Learning Resources

Scroll to the end of the page and click on any of the links to download.

Finally, visit the Virtual Convergence site for links to my presentations. As of this article, they all seem to be up and available, including the General Session.

Virtual Convergence 2013

As you already know, Microsoft Convergence 2014 will be held in the beautiful city of Atlanta, my home base. I hope to see you all here next year.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Friday, March 22, 2013

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013: Day 4

All good things must come to an end, but no one knows how to wrap up things better than the folks at Microsoft. The day had a few good things in store: the closing Keynote with guest speaker and former United Nations Secretary, Kofi Annan; sessions galore; and a mega concert with Matchbox 20.

As for me, I had to skip all the keynote, but very excited I will be able to catch up with it on Virtual Convergence, so I really don't feel I have missed anything.

Came the afternoon, I was up on stage to present CSGP30 - The Microsoft Dynamics GP Support Debugging Tool, my first ever session on the subject without my buddy, David Musgrave, author of the Support Debugging Tool. The session was attended by 166 strong who got a chance to look at 5 demos ranging from the Support Debugging Tool compatibility with the Web Client, to some of the most misunderstood and underutilized features within the tool, to a glimpse into the new Database Validation tool soon to be released with Build 18.

After my session, I went on to interview Brian Graftaas, Program Manager CfMD at Microsoft. I had vowed to interview Brian since Technical Airlift and am very glad I was able to. You can listen to the full interview here:

My final session of the day was CSGP32-R2 - Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client For Smaller Companies. We had 62 attendees for this session and I have to say I enjoyed working with Kevin Racer and Daryl Anderson on this. Unfortunately, I could not carry out our R1 session due to illness, but a quick turnaround in my conditioned allowed me to get on the stage for this one.

Kevin Racer and Me presenting CSGP32-R2

After our session, Convergence 2013 sessions had come to an end. My wife and I met up for dinner at Mulate's, a Cajun institution in the heart of New Orleans, before we headed over to the Matchbox Twenty concert.

Dinner at Mulate's with the La Touché Band
Needless to say, we were treated to our own private concert, courtesy of the La Touché Band, and authentic Louisiana Cajun music band that has traveled the world as ambassadors of the Cajun traditions, music, and culture. It was a true joy to sit down and listen to a few tunes, watch entire families and friends dance, and enjoy some really good food.

Now, I said no one knows closing better than Microsoft and effectively this Convergence won't be any different. For "dessert" we were treated to a full hour concert to the beat of Matchbox Twenty at grounds of the Woldenberg Riverfront Park. The setting was great! Microsoft also provided access to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas were some found refuge from the cold winds.

Things won't be cold for too long as Matchbox Twenty took the stage by storm playing some of their coolest songs, among them "She's so Mean", by far my favorite - well, maybe one of my many favorites.

Well, concert ended just around midnight and it was time to get back to the hotel to get some rest since I had an early flight at 7:15 AM  and needed to be up by 4:30 AM to beat the possible traffic and security lines due to all the people heading out of town.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013: Day 3

With the General Session gone it was now time to get through some sessions for the day.

The morning started out with a breakfast for the Microsoft Dynamics (AX, GP, CRM, NAV, and SL)MVPs in attendance, hosted by our Microsoft MVP Award Program lead, Melissa Travers.

Left: Melissa Travers (Microsoft), Donna Edwards (CRM), Mariano Gomez (GP), John Lowther (GP), Julie Yack (CRM), Gus Gonzalez (CRM), Jivtesh Singh (GP), Mark Polino (GP)
Right: Per Mogensen (NAV), Chad Sogge (Microsoft), Belinda Allen (GP), Jerry Weinstock (CRM), Charles Allen (GP), Juris de Gruyter (AX), Roohi Shaikh (CRM)
After breakfast, it was time for my first session of Convergence 2013 - CSGP24 - Administering SQL Server for Microsoft Dynamics GP. My session was attended by over 255 people, with just a few seats left for a full room.

The day did not precisely continue as I expected. After my session, I came down with a severe case of conjunctivitis (commonly known as "Pink Eye") and had to quickly seek out an urgent care clinic to obtain a prescription antibiotic. As such my afternoon session, CSGP32 - Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client For Smaller Companies was conducted by my co-presenters Kevin Racer and Daryl Anderson, with Daryl sitting in for me throughout the session.

Frankly, this was a first getting 'sick' at any event I have attended and have to say it was quite frustrating and disappointing. As such, I went back to the hotel to nurse my eyes for the rest of the day - yes, that meant no parties, grr!!!

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013: Day 2

Today's the BIG DAY! My first presentation ever at the General Session. For Mark, this marks his second so he is somewhat of a "veteran".

As is now a tradition at Convergence, the entertainment was in the hands of funny man Rodney Sherwood and the Nick Brophy band. Tell you what... I do love this one-two punch combination and would love to see them back at every event.

Hall I almost at full capacity
The opening keynote was conducted by Wayne Morris (Twitter: @wmorrisoz), Corp VP of Microsoft Business Solutions Marketing, who welcomed the more than 11,500 attendees this year - 25% attending from outside of the United States. Wayne emphasized the upcoming advancements in the areas of marketing, social and mobile within the Dynamics product line, which brought the audience to claps.

Up next was Kirill Tatarinov, President of Microsoft Business Solutions Division. Kirill outlined Microsoft's move to become a "devices and services" organization as the company continues to evaluate its role in the market. "Today, cloud is integral to everything that we do. When we deliver our devices, the service that comes with the device is an integral part of it, and you truly cannot see the chasm, the gap, between the device and the service that comes from the cloud", said Kirill.

The World Today
Then outlined how companies with solid interaction and communication at the executive levels are 4 times more profitable than those whose executives do not communicate.

CxO Communication vs Profitability
Business leaders from Chobani Inc., Habitat for Humanity International, Revlon Inc., Shock Doctor Inc. and Weight Watchers International Inc. shared the stage with Kirill and discussed how their businesses are using Microsoft Dynamics solutions to bring products to market more efficiently, while providing executives with the right tools and information to drive business.

You can find the complete recording of the Keynote on the Virtual Convergence 2013 website, here.
With the keynote session coming to a finish, it was time to go backstage and get ready for the General Session, GENGP01: Getting Inspired with Microsoft Dynamics GP. This was quite the experience since I had to go through the make up artist at first. Everyone was quite relaxed at this point, which brought a lot of confidence to this first-timer. The production staff was quite helpful in navigating the backstage and ensuring that we were informed at all points in time of our next steps.

First up was Errol Schoenfish (Twitter: @eschoenf), Director Product Management at Microsoft, who set the tone for the presentation by dividing it into two sections: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and The Future of Microsoft Dynamics GP.

The theme for the first segment of the presentation revolved around how Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 can be Personal, Productive, and Perceptive and each theme would have a presenter showing off how Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 accomplishes each.

First up was Jennifer Ranz (Twitter: @jenniferranz1), Program Manager at Microsoft who demonstrated the personalization capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 by showing some navigation capabilities and interaction with reporting and Business Analyzer.

Errol Schoenfish and Jennifer Ranz on Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Personal
It was show time! Mark Polino (Twitter: @mpolino) and I were next to present the productivity capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 in what would prove to be a duel of MVP top features.

Mark, Errol, and Mariano on Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Productive

Our duel went well with lot's of clapping from the attendees. I personally believe that this format works well for this type of event and should be promoted by you the attendee.

Next up was Brian Meier, to demo the perceptive capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013, by showcasing the new capabilities of the Navigation Lists and integration to Business Analyzer and email via Office 365, and CRM integration.

Errol Schoenfish and Brian Meier on stage
Upon concluding his presentation, Brian returned backstage and for an instance I had a chance to capture this picture: yes, everyone was tweeting!

Twitter-mania back stage: Mark Polino, Pam Misialek (seated), Jennifer Ranz, Brian Meier
To wrap up the General Session and as part of the second segment, Jeff Trosen, Product Unit Manager at Microsoft and Chad Sogge (Twitter: @csogge), Principal Group Program Manager at Microsoft gave attendees a look into the future of Microsoft Dynamics GP and introduced code name GP.Next.

Jeff talked about the availability of functionality for the Web Client and stressed the importance of continuing to log requests for features via Microsoft Connect.

Chad then demoed some of the new/possible companion Windows 8 apps that may be released with GP.Next.

Chad, Jeff, and Errol demoing Companion Apps
With the General Session being a success, it was time to leave the Hall J. I then went to the Expo area where I had a chance to catch up with my friends, MVP Jivtesh Singh (Twitter: @jivtesh) and former MVP and now Microsoft employee, Sivakumar Venkataraman (Twitter: @veeyeskay). We sort of discussed our current Microsoft Dexterity projects and bantered a bit about methods to achieve certain customizations.

MVP Jivtesh Singh and Siva Venkataraman
Back at the hotel, I was able to relax for a bit and off I went to the Latin American Partners reception at the New Orleans Board of Trade. It was great to see my friends from my former employer in Colombia and be able to talk some Spanish for a bit - I really don't get to do so that often.

Maria Ines Bohorquez, Leonel Estrada, Thomas Garcia (ICON)
Well, it's time to say bye for now and stay tuned for Day 3's events.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013: Day 1

It's day 1 of Microsoft Convergence New Orleans and it certainly promised to be an exciting one, since Mark Polino and I had on stage rehearsals for the first time - ever! So, it was just about fitting we meet for breakfast first thing in the morning then go find a quiet place for a couple of dry runs prior to our on stage rehearsal. We went to the ballroom area at the Hilton Hotel and found a space next to the main hallway leading to the ballrooms. Suffice to say, we had a lot of onlookers which made our practice very close to realistic. After all, we were only presenting in front of 5,000 people, so it could not hurt to have people walking by.

Once we did our dry run, we went to the Convention Center Hall E to get our wives registered for the event. The registration process was apparently going very smooth since there were no lines and attendees were picking up badges and bags at a very fast pace.

Convergence Registration

Next, it was time for our on stage rehearsal in Hall J. Once there, we had a chance to go up twice to finalize the little details of our presentation and get some final feedback from the Ovation team and Microsoft - I will remember not to dance around next time! Rehearsals were fairly quick so off we went to the speakers registration room to check in with Grace, Ace, and Trace... I know and I wasn't even trying to rhyme it either.

Registration was quick so Mark went off to deliver his GPUG sessions, Sex, Lies and Refreshable Excel Reports and What to Know Before the Auditors Ask:  Risk Management and Controls in Microsoft Dynamics GP, the latter presented with Andy Snook. For me it was a rather quiet afternoon, so I returned to the hotel to clear my mind and work a bit on the General Session scripts.

I returned to the Convention Center for the Welcome reception at the Expo hall, where I had a chance to walk around the booths and say hello to some of my favorite ISVs in the channel.

Of course, you had the colorful Rockton Software booth (#1851), which resembles a really fun bar. There I caught up with Jim Pelikza, a fellow Atlanta resident.

Rockton Software
It's always fun to visit the folks over at Reporting Central, over at booth #1855, for whom it's become a tradition to hand me down a nice jersey with my name on the back.

The Reporting Central Team
My friends over at AdvTrex (booth #2352) and their now very popular TitaniumGP product are always a joy to catch up with.

AdvTrex Team
After strolling around for a while, I ran into my friends over at I.B.I.S Inc. (booth #2522), and fellow General Session presenter, Mark Polino.

IBIS Inc. Team
Needless to say, Polino is always a riot and nothing says riot more than this:

Got Mark? t-shirt
To be honest, you have to be out of your mind or deeply in-loved with Mark to wear this t-shirt and I am neither. However, I did get a kick out of it.

I also stepped over to the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client booth where I ran into fellow co-presenters Daryl Anderson and Kevin Racer, and my old time friend Brian Roney. It was good to stop by and talk to these dudes as they are fun bunch.

Daryl Anderson, Kevin Racer, Brian Roney
I also caught up with Brian Graftaas, who currently the Program Manager for the Certified for Microsoft Dynamics GP program at Microsoft. Brian and I will be sitting down for an interview which I will release as a podcast upon my return from Convergence.

Brian Graftaas & John Hannick
The Expo halls closed around 8:00 PM so it was time to go back to the hotel to catch the tail end of the Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics NBA game and get some rest for the big day ahead.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Monday, March 18, 2013

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013 : GPPC PreGAME

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Dynamic Communities events. Also, it would be my first time presenting for this week.
The days started out with a relaxing breakfast with my wife. After that, it was all business. At 10:30 AM I headed over to the ballroom area to get registered for GPPC.
GP Partner Connections Banner
The registration desk was buzzing with Katie Froeber, Shanna Hensch trying to wrap-up placing the badges inside the clear holders. This process was very time consuming and they still had a bunch of badges to filled out by hand, since they were not printed.

After helping out with the badges, it was time for the GPPC Welcome Session along with the Ask the MVP. The session featured Jesse Byam as the host who did a fantastic job at keeping attendees warmed with his jokes as the ballroom was freezing!

As is customary during these welcome sessions, we had a representative from Microsoft announce some of the immediate upcoming product and partner oriented events. This time around it was Jay Manley's turn to do the honors.

Jay Manley, Microsoft
Some of the product and partner events announced are as follow:

  • Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 SP1 will be available by mid April.

  • Business Portal for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 will be available by mid April and will be SharePoint 2010 ready.

  • Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Feature Pack (R2) is scheduled to hit the market some 18 months from now.

  • Web Client updates are scheduled to be released every 3 months, with service packs still within a 6 month cycle, with Payroll and HR ready to hit the block after Convergence.

  • Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Airlift 2013 will be from September 18 - 21 in Fargo, North Dakota, once again hosted by GPPC. Both Microsoft and GPPC have vowed to keep this conference on a yearly basis.
After the GPPC Welcome, it was time to hit the stage with my esteemed MVP colleagues, Belinda Allen, Frank Hamelly, Jivtesh Singh, Leslie Vail, and Mark Polino.

Running a bit late, it was time to meet up with Kerri Garbis, President at Ovation Communication to do our first rehearsal for the General Session. Kerri provided Mark and I with some great tips for our General Session delivery. After our initial rehearsal, it was time to meet up with the Microsoft Product Management team over at the Keynote Session room, in Hall J for a walkthrough of the stage and what Mark and I were supposed to do when we got there on Tuesday morning.

I have to say, the shared size of the room can be a bit intimidating and to know we will be in front of 5,000 people makes for great excitement! Can't wait for the General Session to begin!

Hall J - Keynote Room

I personally had a unique opportunity to see the video and sound engineers at work, fine-tuning every little gizmo to ensure a successful Convergence opening. There are literally 100's of computers, miles of cables, milliards of connections, speakers, cranes, at any given moment back there with an army of people moving around constantly.

Pam Misialek then showed us our way to the stage for our presentation and walked us through some details including where we would be positioned, our stance, how we should address the audience, the monitors, etc. This was a really cool experience for me, since this is the first time I am delivering a presentation in such setting.

Pam Misialek and Mark Polino
The projection screens are definitely theater size and the General Session is sure to be a success. The projection on these screens is done from the back stage, which really caught my attention. At the back of the stage the image is flipped horizontally, which makes it appear in normal mode when seen from the front stage. This technique reduces the glare caused by front projection and creates a smoother, softer image.

Projection Screens in Hall J
One last look at the room from the stage reminded me of the responsibility ahead. Mark and I feel pretty well about our 5 minutes of fame and are sure ready to put on a good show - MVP style!

A look at the room from the stage
Well, it was time to return to the Hilton Hotel where Aaron Donat and I would be delivering our PreGAME session, Implementing Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client. We had really good attendance to our session, which ran a good 30 minutes over its original schedule. We walked through all the Web Client elements and provided live demos of Web Client and Web Management console, explaining all the different challenges with things like certificates and ports. We strongly encouraged partners to attend one of the deep dive sessions offered during Convergence and/or to join a training class.

After our session, it was time for a little R&R at the GPPC partner reception. The reception featured a Jazz group and quite a bit of interaction between partners.

GPPC partner reception
My wife and I had quiet dinner plans for the evening and went out to the ultra famous Commander's Palace where we started out with a couple Hibiscus Martinis, "Hand-crafted Jamaican Hibiscus tea, fresh squeezed lime and Bombay Sapphire come together beautifully to make a cocktail that is as stunningly beautiful as it is delicious and refreshing". Our dinner ended with a great Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé with warm whiskey cream and a cup of New Orleans style coffee (with chicory).

Well, it was time go get some rest since a new days awaited with General Session rehearsals on stage and GPUG sessions.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Microsoft Convergence New Orleans 2013 - Getting there

Well, I am finally in New Orleans, Louisiana!

The city is named after Orléans, a city located on the River in Centre, France, and is well known for its distinct French Creole architecture, as well as its cross-cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is also famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz), and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city is often referred to as the "most unique" in America.

In this occasion, I have the pleasure of traveling with my beautiful wife, Marina. We both headed to the airport around 11:00 AM Atlanta local time to catch our 1:30 PM flight to New Orleans. At the airport, we ran across Aaron Donat, Escalation Engineer at Microsoft, on his second leg (of three) from Fargo, North Dakota. Aaron and I will be presenting a session on the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client at GP Partner Connections (GPPC) PreGAME.

Aaron Donat
Aaron and I got to go over the objectives of our session and had a chance to catch up on a few projects we are both collaborating on, which made for a fun departure wait time.

The flight from Atlanta to New Orleans was an easy 50 uneventful minutes trip, so there was only time for a few pretzels on board my favorite airline, Delta Airlines. The air over the Gulf - that would be the Mexican Gulf - tends to be a bit dense, so the view is tinted by a haze, but still breathtaking.

Highway 90 view from over Lake Saint Catherine

Upon arrival at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, we went straight to claim our luggage and find our way to the taxi line. At the main lobby down to baggage claim area, the first visual element is a great sculpture from renown artist Steve Kline.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
On our way to the hotel and approaching the downtown, the first major landmark that stands out from the freeway is the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team. The Superdome was used as a "shelter of last resort" for those in New Orleans unable to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina when it struck in late August 2005.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Approaching the Hilton Riverside Hotel, we passed just in front of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, home of Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013. They were still a number of cranes and personnel putting the final touches to the different facilities inside the Convention Center that will be hosting the approximately 11,000 attendees.

Hall D at the New Orleans Convention Center
Well, my wife and I finally made it into the hotel and checked in after leaving Aaron at the Hyatt Hotel. Our room had a great view to the New Orleans Port.

View of the New Orleans Port from my room at the Hilton Riverside Hotel
It was time to find something to eat. After all, our flight was short and therefore no on board service was provided. On our way to get some food we strolled down Poydras Street and capture a couple images of Fulton Street walkway...

Fulton Street walkway
... and plastered banners announcing Microsoft Dynamics Convergence. Definitely, a lot of hoopla to make our presence felt in New Orleans.

New Orleans is Microsoft Dynamics Convergence-ready
Well, after some strolling and quite undecided where to have some food, we hopped a cab and went to the French Quarter.

The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighborhood in the city's East Bank. When New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the city was originally centered on the French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré ("Old Square" in French) as it was known then. While the area is still referred to as the Vieux Carré by some, it is more commonly known as the French Quarter today. Although called the "French" Quarter, most of the present day buildings were built under Spanish rule and show Spanish colonial tastes. The district as a whole is a National Historic Landmark, and contains numerous individual historic buildings. It was affected relatively lightly by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as compared to other areas of the city and the greater region.

My wife and I ended up having some late lunch at Deanie's Seafood Restaurant. Deanie's is been around for over 50 years and is considered an institution by both locals and out of towners alike. It was time to order some good oysters and gumbo with a good Amber. You have to visit this place to appreciate some good seafood.

Off we went to another institution in town: Cafe du Monde.

Cafe du Monde

Café du Monde is a coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. It is best known for its café au lait and its French-style beignets. The coffee here is blended with chicory.

Cafe du Monde staple items: a darn good cup of coffee and beignets (French Doughnuts)
The location at the lower end of the French Market was established in 1862. For over a century it was one of two similar coffee and beignets places in the market, the other being Morning Call, which was established in 1870 and moved out of the Old French Market in 1974 to the urban area of Metairie, Louisiana.

The afternoon crowd at Cafe du Monde
It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for Christmas Day and days when "the occasional hurricane passes too close to New Orleans", and is patronized by both locals and visitors. Due to Hurricane Katrina, the shop closed at midnight on August 27, 2005. Although it suffered only minor damage, it remained closed for nearly two months. Owners took advantage of the low traffic time afterwards to refurbish the eating areas and kitchens. Definitely a good place for people watching, and good luck finding somewhere to sit.

On our way back to the hotel, we passed next to Jax Brewery.

Jax Brewery, a unique New Orleans landmark, was once the brewing and bottling house of Jax Beer from 1891 until the mid 1970s. Today the converted brewery holds exclusive and distinctive New Orleans shops as well as nationally known stores. A museum devoted to the brewery is free and open to the public. Stroll through the shops of Jax Brewery, grab a bite to eat or admire the view of the Mississippi River from the Museum or the building's beautiful patio.

Famous JAX Brewery
Back at the hotel, I was bound to run into someone, right? Well, I found the team from Fastpath along with Pam Misialek, who this time managed to jammed her foot into a hole and is now hopping around.

Pam Misialek, Andy Snook 
Well, it was time to go to bed as we had been walking around for about 4 hours. My wife managed to blistered her big toe and that's the story for another blog.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC