Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 8) – The One About Rocking Out at the HOB, Craft Beers & Bacon, and the Best Hamburger in Chicago

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This week on Episode 8 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show, Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) save the best for last in terms of their most favorite hot spots in Chicago.  And they also talk about the early badge pickup which you’ll be able to do at various remote locations, which are several downtown hotels and at Chicago O’Hare airport.

Microsoft Ignite is offering the convenience of early badge pick-up at the locations listed below in the Chicago area. It’s highly recommended that you take this opportunity to pickup your badge early so that you can avoid the lines on Monday morning prior to the keynote. Early badge pick-up will be available on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 starting at 10:00AM CST.  Please note: This is offer is for the badge only. All other materials including bags must be picked up at the McCormick Place Conference Center.

  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (Terminals 1 & 3)
  • Microsoft Retail Store – Shops at North Bridge
  • Palmer House a Hilton Hotel
  • Hyatt Regency Chicago
  • Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection
  • MileNorth Hotel
  • Drake Hotel

The best for last hot spots in Chicago:

Paddy Long’s Beer and Bacon Pub:
Rated by Yahoo as one of the Best Irish Pubs in America for St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations. Paddy Long’s features 18 beers on tap and specializes in all kinds of bacon. Beer and bacon tastings are offered weekly and a brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Their other location is called Kaiser Tiger located on the West Loop.

Twitter: @PaddyLongs

Revolution Brewing Company:
A great Chicago BrewPub located in bustling Logan Square neighborhood, produces about 50 different styles of beer every year.  Check out their amazing brew and their yummy food. Great atmosphere, great beers, and great food, not to be missed.
Twitter: @RevBrewChicago

Rockit Bar & Grill:
Voted by People’s Choice Award in 2014 as the best burger in Chicago. Rockit is known for it’s cocktails, bourbons and whiskeys, and a selection of 6 craft beers on tap.  Quieter atmosphere downstairs and a much more livelier setting upstairs with pool tables and lots of TVs.
Twitter: @Rockit

Lagunitas Brewing Company:
An amazing brewery in a massive warehouse offering some fantastic beers. Come check out the brewery where they offer tours on weekdays and enjoy some fresh beers in their tap room.  The catwalk tour of the brewery is awesome.
Twitter: @lagunitasbeer

And finally, what is Ignite Rocks?
It is what was formerly known as the Jam Session at TechEd.  Come check out fellow attendees and speakers show off their musical talents, and feel free to take part if you like to do so. Great time to relax, enjoy some great music, and network with fellow attendees.  Ignite Rocks takes place at the House of Blues on Monday, May 5 from 9:00PM-Midnight.

Also recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago. Follow and check them out as well.

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to ask on the Microsoft Ignite Forums, via Twitter, as well as in the Comments section under the video. The Microsoft Ignite team monitors all questions and will respond as they have the answers or information.

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

Stay tuned for the next episode of the Countdown Show, coming up next Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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Ask Harjit Why Microsoft Ignite?

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I’ve been a strong supporter of Microsoft technologies and an influencer on the Microsoft conference scenes, particularly TechEd, and now Microsoft Ignite.  I was invited to join the TechEd Roundtable team in November 2013 for the TechEd conference in Houston, and again in September 2014 for the Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago. Roundtable members are individually selected based on various criteria, including their tech industry, technical background, influence within the IT Pro communities, and professionalism. Roundtable members have the opportunity to meet and discuss with the conference planning team, provide suggestions, address issues or concerns, receive advance information on upcoming news or implementations, and have a direct channel of communication with the key people in the Microsoft events circle.

This week, I’m honored to be featured by the Microsoft Ignite team on all their social media channels with my take on why one should attend the Ignite conference. Thank you to all on the Microsoft Ignite team.  Cheers!  Here’s the Twitter post by MS_Ignite.

“You can have a very broad experience to try and learn about newer things that you’re interested in or you could focus on the stuff you actually do at work and enhance that.”

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You can connect with me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram (@Harjit).

For conversations and interactions on Microsoft Ignite, you can join the following channels:

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 7) – The One About Breaking In Shoes Now, Wrigley Field, Navy Pier and Buddy Guy’s Legends

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This week on Episode 7 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show, Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) take on more questions from the Microsoft Ignite Forums, and take you on a tour of three classic Chicago hot spots.

First up, the top questions this week from the Microsoft Ignite forums:
Question #1: If you only had time to visit one Chicago destination while at Ignite, what would it be?
Answer: Rick enjoyed the river architecture boat tour, which was covered in Episode 3 of the Countdown Show. Joey offered two of his top choices. If you’re an art lover, then the Art Institute of Chicago is the place to be. You could easily spend the entire day from opening to closing and enjoy every single minute of your visit. If you’re a sports fan, then you must catch a game at Wrigley Field.

Question #2: Do you have tips for first-time attendees?
Answer: It’s highly recommended that you keep watching the Countdown Shows, specifically an upcoming episode which will provide plenty of tips for the first time attendees.

Hot Tip: Rick and Joey offer a great tip for all attendees but especially important for first timers to the conference. “Don’t wear new shoes to the conference… your feet will be killing you.”   You’ll be doing plenty of walking, and believe me, you’ll be doing plenty of walking! If you’re planning on buying new shoes for the conference, buy them now and start breaking them in.

Next up, hot attractions in Chicago:
Check out the virtual tour of the top three hot attractions in this week’s segment listed below.

Buddy Guy’s Legends Chicago:
If you’re in the mood for some Blues while in Chicago, then you must check out Buddy Guy’s Legends. You can catch live shows every single night in this cozy little club jammed packed with some amazing Blues memorabilia. Food selection here is yummy New Orleans style, such as the classics po-boys and catfish. Get your tickets in advance and it’s highly recommended that you plan to arrive at least an hour early to get yourself a good seat. Keep in mind that it’s open seating and therefore, there are no reserved seats available. If you plan to check out a show with some friends, make sure that everyone in your party arrives together, as this club fills up fast.
Twitter: @BuddyGuys

Navy Pier:
Chicago’s historic Navy Pier is not only the number 1 attraction in Chicago but a top destination in the Midwest, drawing approximately 9 million visitors annually. Navy Pier has something for everyone with 50 acres of parks, shops, restaurants, an IMAX Theater, Chicago Children’s Museum, a Ferris wheel, various rides, and much more. It’s a great place to take a stroll on the pier and check out the Chicago skyline, and have something to eat and drink as well.
Twitter: @navypier

Wrigley Field:
Play Ball! Any sports fan knows this iconic home of the Chicago Cubs. 101 years of history and a landmark not to be missed. Get your tickets, catch a game, and have a great time.
Twitter: @Cubs

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out as well.

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to ask on the Microsoft Ignite Forums, via Twitter, as well as in the Comments section under the video. The Microsoft Ignite team monitors all questions and will respond as they have the answers or information.

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

Stay tuned for the next episode of the Countdown Show, coming up next Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 6) – The One About The Bag

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One of the most sort after Countdown shows is here and its all about the BAG(s)!  Yup, you heard it right, bags. Not one, not two, not three, but four trim colors.  Each Microsoft Ignite attendee will have a choice of blue, orange, yellow, or green trim colors on ballistic black backpacks. Each bag is identical and comes with a matching water bottle and a removable accessory bag which zips open and can lay flat to allow for easy access. This accessory bag is ideal for cables, adapters, batteries, flash drives, memory cards, and other small items which tend to disappear within a large bag.

In short and sweet, these bags are durable, made of ballistic material, has zippered compartments, pockets, key chain hook, padded backpack straps for comfort, padded back with air channel for support, and completely padded compartments to keep your laptops and tablets protected. Watch the video and see how Rick packs it full with several of his devices including his hefty 17″ laptop. It’s crazy but he demonstrates that it can be done.

So, this week on Episode 6 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show, Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) talk all about the bags. Watch the video for complete details of the bags! For the sake of fun, tweet your choice of trim colors with the hashtags #IgniteYellow, #IgniteGreen, #IgniteBlue, or #IgniteOrange.

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Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to ask on the Microsoft Ignite Forums, via Twitter, as well as in the Comments section under the video. The Microsoft Ignite team monitors all questions and will respond as they have the answers or information.

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

Stay tuned for the next episode of the Countdown Show, coming up next Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 5) – The One About The Session Catalog Update

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This week on Episode 5 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show, Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) shed some light on how to join conversations on social media and on the Ignite Forums, and how you can make the connections with your fellow IT peers and with Ignite Speakers.

They answer some top questions this week from the Microsoft Ignite Forums and below are their responses:

Question #1: How can I meet people from my geographic area or industry?

Answer: First, you can always join the conversation on Twitter using #msignite in your tweets. See what everyone is talking about, make connections, and find like-minded attendees. Even better, get on the Microsoft Ignite Forums! The Forums are open to anyone—you don’t have to be registered to participate. Go to http://channel9.msdn.com/Forums/MicrosoftIgnite to get started. Join existing threads, or start your own. Ask questions, share your opinions, discuss your plans, and connect with peers. It’s a great way to find other attendees from your area or industry and plan time to meet in person at Ignite!

Question #2: How can I learn who’ll be presenting, and get in touch with speakers?

Answer: Check the Session Catalog for new speaker assignments, which have now been added to sessions. Click on the speaker’s name to see their bio, photo, and a list of other sessions they’ll be delivering at Ignite, as well as how to connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, etc. New filters have been added to help you search for sessions by speaker, industry, product, theme… you name it. You’ll also get recommendations of other speakers and sessions to consider adding to your personal session schedule.

Question #3: I’ve already registered. Can I still add a Pre-Day Session?

Answer: Of course! Just go to http://ignite.microsoft.com/register, sign in to your registration record, click on Pre-Day Sessions, Edit, and select the session you would like to attend. There are 17 Pre-Day Sessions to choose from, all are a full-day of focused discussion. Lunch is provided for Pre-Day attendees. Explore the full Pre-Day lineup, and consider adding one to your registration.

Ask your questions on the Microsoft Ignite Forums, via Twitter, or in the Comments section below the video. We’ll get to all questions as we have answers, so keep watching the Countdown Show!

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to ask on the Microsoft Ignite Forums, on Twitter, as well as in the Comments section under the video. They monitor all questions and will respond as they have the answers or information.

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and feel free to reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episode of the Countdown Show, coming up next Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 3) – The One About Getting Certified and Not-To-Miss Places

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It’s Episode 3 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show, with Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow).  This week, Rick and Joey give us a rundown on the basics of Microsoft certification exams at Ignite and later they take us on tour of some of the biggest attractions in Chicago.  Check out the details below.

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

Microsoft Certification:
Microsoft Ignite offers a great opportunity for registered attendees to take exams on-site at a fantastic discounted rate, which is 50% off the regular price.  There will be plenty of information at Ignite for attendees to earn, upgrade, or renew their certifications. Attendees will be able to take advantage of the resources available at Certification Central and receive one-on-one assistance from Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs).

Testing Registration:
You can pre-register for your exams online and secure your testing timeslot(s). You will also be able to register for your exams onsite at Certification Central, however it is highly recommended that you pre-register for your exams in order to secure your preferred exam timeslots which would fill up quickly. To receive the discounted rate of 50%, go to www.microsoft.com/learning and use the promo code IgniteNA.

Exam Prep Sessions:
Exam Prep Sessions are basically study groups led by Microsoft Certified Trainers where they will go through exam objectives and offer testing tips, and focus on helping you pass a specific exam. Session catalogs for exam topics will be coming soon.

Study Hall:
Certification Central offers a Study Hall where you can access a selection of free exam prep resources, try a practice exam, and even find a quiet place to study if you need one. MCTs will be available to answer your questions and provide assistance.
Additional resources to help you plan and prepare for your certification exams:

Not-To-Miss Chicago Tour:
Now, we head over to some shopping, a river cruise, some sightseeing, and aerial views of Chicago. Here’s what Rick and Joey covered in this episode.

Magnificent Mile:
The Magnificent Mile covers a 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue that includes over 460 stores, offering a mile of shopping, restaurants, museums, landmarks, and much much more. This is definitely the place for the shopping enthusiast.
Twitter: @TheMagMile

Art Institute of Chicago:
The Art Institute Chicago is a world renowned museum which received the Travellers Choice Award by TripAdvisor as the number one museum in the USA and in the world. The museum is over 130 years old, and is filled with a great collection of art that will inspire you, including some of the best impressionist collections in the world, outside of France.  Admission to the museum cost $23.
Twitter: @artinstitutechi

River Architecture Tour:
What a great way to explore the city and get some awesome sightseeing crossed off the list by taking a river cruise, known as Chicago’s number 1 Architecture Tour. If you’re an architecture buff or someone who enjoys a relaxing scenic tour, this is a must.
The daytime tours are $40 per person, and the Twilight Tour is $43. Tickets can be purchased online or at the dock which is in the South East corner of the Michigan Ave Bridge at the corner of Michigan Ave and Walker Drive.
Twitter: @CFLCruises

360 Chicago:
Head up 1000 feet to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building for a spectacular 360 degree view of the city.  You’ll find one of the best views of Chicago from this vantage point. For an even cooler experience, give the new attraction known as the TILT a shot, which tilts 30 degrees while you lean into a glass block.
360 Chicago will cost $18, plus an additional $7 if you want to ride the TILT! Open 7 days a week all year long from 9:00AM to 11:00PM, with the last entry at 10:30PM.
Twitter: @360chiviews

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out as well.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Countdown Show which are scheduled to be released every Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 2) – The One with PreDay Sessions and Drinks

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Here we go with episode 2 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show with Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) where they talk about the Pre-Day Sessions and share more of their favorite places to eat and drink in Chicago.  You can’t go wrong with knowing where the hotspots are for coffee, beer, steaks, and cocktails in Chicago.

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

First, we have the Pre-Day Sessions, which will be available on Sunday, May 3, 2015, from 9:00AM – 5:00PM.  There are 17 sessions to choose from presented by leading industry experts with topics that are relevant for IT Professionals and Developers.  Pre-Day Sessions cost $500 and can be added from the Content Catalog via your Microsoft Ignite registration page.  Listed below are the Pre-Day Sessions offered, along with their corresponding presenters:

  • PRE01: Administrator’s Mandatory Check List: The Ultimate Guide to Securing Your Infrastructure – by Paula Januszkiewicz
  • PRE02: Advanced Analytics with Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft SQL Server, and R – by Rafal Lukawiecki
  • PRE03: Project Siena: Create Custom Mobile Business Apps, No Code Required – by Ben Hodes
  • PRE04: Building a Hybrid Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Environment – by Michael Van Horenbeeck
  • PRE05: DevOps Hackathon – by Damien Caro, David Tesar, Vinicius Apolinario
  • PRE06: End-to-End OneDrive for Business Planning, Deployment and Best Practices – by Jeremy Mazner
  • PRE07: Enterprise Management in 2015 and Beyond – by Johan Arwidmark, Kent Agerlund
  • PRE08: Get Ready to Deploy Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 – To be announced
  • PRE09: Hands-on Windows 10 Enterprise Deployment – by Mikael Nystrom, Mike Niehaus
  • PRE10: Hybrid Cloud Management and Automation with Microsoft System Center – by Alex Frankel, Daniele Muscetta, Joe Levy, John Ballard, Laura Cruz, Ravi Kiran Chintalapudi
  • PRE11: Microsoft Office 365 Development On-Ramp – by Andrew Connell, Scot Hillier
  • PRE12: Microsoft Office 365 Network Performance Optimization – by Paul Collinge
  • PRE13: Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Deployment Boot Camp – by Curtis Sawin
  • PRE14: Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 and Office 365 Hybrid Training – by Bill Baer, Steve Peschka
  • PRE15: The Microsoft Azure Cloud for IT Pros – by John Craddock
  • PRE16: Troubleshoot SQL Server Performance Like a Microsoft Engineer – by Bob Ward
  • PRE17: Windows 10: Enterprise Mobility Workshop – by Roel Schellens

Next comes the entertainment.  Rick and Joey had a chance to explore some fine establishments in Chicago and here are the places they talk about in this episode.

La Colombe Coffee:
Great coffee served daily from 7:00AM-7:00PM with awesome roast to please everyone. You’ll have to check out their cold pressed black coffee in the bottle which is unique in it’s own way.
Twitter: @lacolombecoffee

Goose Island Beer Co:
Goose Island offers some amazing selection of craft brews, which are all made on-premise. Grab a bite and a sample of beers, including their bourbon-aged brew which is aged in whiskey barrels.  They also offer public tours on Saturday and Sunday and private tours by appointment only.  Check out their website for more info.
Twitter: @GooseIsland

Tavern On Rush:
Steaks and seafood are their specialty and most famous for their prime aged steaks and chops in Chicago. A casual tavern style ambiance is located downstairs, while a white jacket / white cloth dining is available upstairs which require a reservation.
Twitter: @TavenOnRush

ROOF on theWIT:
Located 27 floors up, the ROOF on theWit offers some stunning panoramic views of downtown Chicago with an intimate, modern bar and nightclub setting. With a capacity of only 250, a table reservation is highly recommended.  Enjoy some craft cocktails, indulge in their small plates menu, and warm up by the fireplace.
Twitter: @ROOFontheWit

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Countdown Show which are scheduled to be released every Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 1) – The One That Kicks It Off

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The first Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show is online and starts the kickoff to a great conference in Chicago from May 4-8, 2015.

Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) are back and brilliant as always.  These shows are very informative, fun, and gets the IT community excited for what to expect at the first Microsoft Ignite Conference and what to look forward to in Chicago.  As a proud member of the Ignite Roundtable team, I’m excited!

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

This episode covers the basics of what the future episodes will cover.  Here are the places mentioned in this show for eating, drinking, and to be merry in Chicago.

Gino’s East Pizza
– Real delicious deep dish pizza in Chicago and not to be missed.
Twitter: @ginoseast

Portillo’s Hot Dogs
– Some of the best hot dogs you will find in Chicago.
@PortillosHotDog

CH Distillery
– Spirits made from farm-to-table with locally grown wheat and rye.
@CHDistillery

The Berghoff Restaurant
– This fourth generation establishment holds the oldest liquor license in Chicago, license #1.  Classic German fare, also serves their own lager, hefeweizen, pale ale, and seasonal beers, plus a selection of Berghoff sodas.
@BerghoffChicago

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Countdown Show which are scheduled to be released every Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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