Interview with an Azure MVP and Wiki Ninja: Alex Mang


I thought about giving Alex 5 more descriptive titles and making the blog subject/title really long, but hey, probably better not to do that. =^)

Welcome to this week's interview!

Here is Alex's MVP profile:

Mang Alex's avatar

https://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/PublicProfile/5001719?fullName=Alex%20%20Mang

And his TechNet Profile:

 

Alex's stats:

  • 6 Wiki Articles
  • 30 Wiki Edits
  • 82 Forum Answers
  • 241 Forum Replies

  

And as an MVP, I know Alex well, and the impact he's making on the Azure services with his fantastic feedback!

Here are some of Alex's top Wiki articles:

 

And I have to say, that on this article (Diagnostic Logs – Get Them Like A Pro), I loved the top image:

sherlock

  

Okay, enough lollygagging! Let's get to the interview!

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Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?

I’m Alex Mang. I’m currently located in one of the Art Nouveau capitals of Eastern Europe, namely Oradea (Romania) which was also the reference city for all map creators some time ago as it was crossed by the 0 degree meridian for roughly 200 years (1464-1667). In other words, if your city, island or continent was discovered by Christopher Columbus or any other explorer who related to his explorations, my city might had something to do with it. People also commonly find me speaking at various Microsoft-centric conferences throughout Europe, at webinars and in on-line forums – my main focus is on Azure and anything related to Azure.

1 Speaking at a local user group meeting

  

What are your big projects right now?

Professionally speaking, along with a team of talented software developers, I’m currently on the verge of releasing a new event management and on-line ticketing system that aims to revolutionize the entire event management market. There’s not really much I can say about it right now, so let’s focus on my community related involvement: I recently got fully Azure certified, meaning that I passed all possible exams related to Azure and have plans on becoming a certified trainer with CompTIA by May – this should hopefully bring some extra visibility. I’m also looking forward to some of my engagements at upcoming conferences this year and my previous community-related activity also recently got me the biggest award anyone could ever receive, namely the title of Microsoft Most Valuable Professional.

2 With Raffaele Rialdi, at ITCamp 2015

  

What is TechNet Wiki for? Who is it for?

TechWiki is the place to visit if you’re a user of anything Microsoft and are a technically inclined individual. It is a collection of valuable articles written by experts throughout the world who care enough to share their passion and knowledge in a specific field. Therefore, digesting the TechWiki articles on a regular basis is a must if you’re interested in coming up with the best architectures and practices, proven over and over again throughout a myriad of installments.

I am first and foremost a TechWiki consumer – I try to keep up with all the good articles and every now and then transform them into subject topics for the user groups I attend. If it just so happens that I stumble upon a technically piece of magic which isn’t well enough, I also like to transform it into a TechWiki article myself.

As a contributor you don’t necessarily have to be an article author. Maybe you have, just like I used to have, a problem finding THE TOPIC to start with. Or maybe you’re afraid that your article won’t be appreciated. You can also contribute by translating articles, keeping them up to date or correcting any of the spelling or grammar mistakes which were accidentally left unedited.

I’ll be honest: so far I haven’t contributed much as an editor, mostly because I like the original author to get full credit of the article he or she wrote. Sometimes I might however propose a few changes here and there so that the article is maintained up-to-date. You know Azure – one week away and boom, everything changes! J

 

What do you do with TechNet Wiki, and how does that fit into the rest of your job?

Besides my community related involvement via conferences and forums, I also like to blog on alexmang.com every now and then and most of my topics cover Azure-related services and features. And if it’s not Azure, it most certainly is a Microsoft piece of technology (mostly either SQL Server or ASP.NET). One of my very first TechWiki articles (which, funny enough also made me an Azure Guru) was about using Azure in order to use country-specific streaming services (e.g. Netflix, Spotify etc.) outside their list of accepted countries. In a few words, it’s a series of PowerShels cmdlets for provisioning VMs and configuring Routing and Remote Access Service. This not only helped me quickly get the necessary PowerShell cmdlets back every time I was on a business trip and wanted to keep up with my favorite shows, but apparently also helped hundreds of users in Asia and Eastern Europe experience such services.

Besides describing hacky ways of getting around such security layers, my articles usually describe tips and tricks for application developers – how do you get something done and why you should care about it is the style I commonly use when I write an article. For example, in one of my most recent articles I described why the announcement of ASP.NET’s support for WebHooks wasn’t covered deep enough – did you know that the NuGet package which handles WebHook events also takes care of everything, actually EVERYTHING, related to sending WebHooks requests (even subscribers, event filers and such)?

 

What is it about TechNet Wiki that interests you?

There are some key people worth following, who share their deep technical knowledge in a particular subject. Then there are article authors who are completely new to TechWiki but somehow come up with very well-written and thoroughly documented articles – it’s always a pleasure to see their contribution.

 

In what other sites and communities do you contribute your technical knowledge?

I’d like to think of myself as a regular speaker at the largest Microsoft-centric conferences in Romania such as ITCamp and Microsoft Summit, but people were also able to meet me in Belgium for Azug’s CloudBrew conference as well for the past two years (which, as the name suggests, takes place in a Belgium beer brewery). I’m also one of the worldwide organizers of Global Azure Bootcamp, which is a great opportunity for any software developer to meet fellow professionals, learn more about Azure and grab a delicious lunch on a spring Saturday, in Oradea.

3 With Microsoft Romania Evangelists and fellow speakers at Microsoft Summit 2015

 

What are your top 5 favorite Wiki articles?

One of the very best articles (isn’t an actual TechWiki article afaik, but could certainly be one) and which I also use every know and them in my internal company courses related to user experience is ‘integrated Assistance… and your elevator’ (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/user_ed/archive/2016/01/31/10133765.aspx). It’s a great article. As it’s so difficult to choose from the plethora of excellent articles available on TechWiki, I’d fill in the rest with any of my own – this does make me extremely arrogant, but hey – at least I don’t get to be too picky.

 

What could we do differently on TechNet Wiki?

Well, there isn’t really a particular thing I’d do differently, but there might be a few things which could use some polishing. For example, the Cloud Portal Wiki doesn’t really work nowadays, considering that there are no links whatsoever posted on the page. Besides that, I’d also try to categorize the article library so that articles can get more attention – but this should probably happen somehow auto-magically rather than have people edit the same page of links. In addition, I was always wondering how come popular search engine results don’t usually return TechWiki articles. Maybe there’s some SEO work which requires someone taking a look at it? Or do users simply miss adding the necessary tags on their articles?

 

Do you have any tips for new Wiki authors?

Is there something which ever troubled you or which took a long time to figure out? Write it down, explain it, document it and let others know about it. Don’t be the “if it was difficult to write, it should be difficult to understand” kind of guy! Become involved, write that article down and become a Guru yourself!

 

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Wow! It's a pleasure having you contribute such great content to TechNet Wiki. This is the way we love content… quality over quantity!

  

Everyone, please join me in thanking Alex for his great contributions to the community!

  

Wherever you go, there you Wiki,

   – Ninja Ed

Comments (7)

  1. Nice to meet you Alex Mang

  2. Thanks Alex for sharing your info. Nice to meet you!

  3. The Belgium Azure enthusiasts meet in a brewery! =^)

  4. Great interview! Nice knowing you Alex, keep rocking!

  5. You know, it’s been almost a week, and it finally sunk in (even though I read it once or twice) that you picked your favorite article as my blog post about elevators:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/user_ed/archive/2016/01/31/10133765.aspx

    Ha! Good times!

  6. Also, you have a great point about the cloud portal. We didn’t have much content when we created it, but since then we’ve built out a huge library of cloud/Azure content that should be better represented. Thanks!

  7. (Yeah, it takes me like three weeks for something to sink in. That’s how it works!)

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