Dessert in the Desert – Highlights of My First MMS Conference (MMSDE)

At MMS Desert Edition (MMSDE) this week, I got into a (friendly) heated debate over what qualified as BBQ where the other party offered up some very silly arguments related to pulled pork and vinegar sauce. I’m a firm believer in meat. Period. Cook it however you want, call it whatever you want. I just want to eat it. This discussion led to some additional ‘South Bashing’ by this ‘Yankee’ from North Carolina. I was about to walk away when we finally agreed that when you order Iced Tea, it should always be Sweet (which is what disqualifies Texas from being part of the south). We also agreed on the correct way to order a soda (pronounced ‘coke’) in the south. While my new friend may be incorrect about BBQ, we found a common some ground after all.

Kidding aside, MMSDE was amazing! There’s not much left to say that Bryan Dam (Awesome dude, in spite of what the guys on the #configmgr Slack channel say about him) didn’t already cover in his wonderful recap MMSDE – I Survived CamelBack. This was my first MMS conference and I can’t wait to go to MMSMOA in May 2019.


Impromptu Speaking

I got to present with the SMS/SCCM/ConfigMgr Legend Wally Mead! In a last minute change, I was given the opportunity to speak with Wally and Brian Mason in the CM Back to the Basics session. It was so much fun. This was my second time meeting Wally (I shook his hand at Experts Live US once) and he really made an impression on me. It will always be a highlight of my career!

Prepping with Wally Mead
Prepping with Wally Mead

I ‘shipped’ 1811

On Monday night, the ConfigMgr product group decided to ‘ship’ ConfigMgr 1811 Technical Preview. After some vote tampering, I was selected to go up and press the button to copy it out to production. Sure, it was silly, but I felt like a rock star for that brief moment. This is a product that many people have built their careers on and to have the opportunity to become part of the lore is kind of neat.

Shipping 1811 Technical Preview
Shipping 1811 Technical Preview

I ‘tipped’ 1811

During the last night of the conference, there was a Tips and Tricks session which encouraged anyone to come up and share a tip or trick and have a chance to win a Surface Book. There were 30-40 people who participated. For my first tip, I had a tip about the new PowerShell scripts feature in 1811. The best part of the session was that it didn’t matter who you were, you had equal time to share and then got to roll dice for a chance at the Surface. There was no competition and no booing, just encouragement and support from the crowd. It was a chance for everyone to shine. I learned quite a few new things too!

The ConfigMgr Product Group

I spent time with the ConfigMgr Product Group. They were available and present throughout the conference for anyone to speak with them about anything. This is certainly not something that I’ve ever been able to do.

It Felt Like Family

I met so many amazing people! I have only been active in the ConfigMgr community for the past year. Prior to that, I was living under a rock. This year, I have made some great friends and connections, mostly through Twitter, many who I’ve never met. When I walked into the room on Sunday night for the opening reception, I think I recognized at least 50% of the people in the room. This made it easy to ‘make friends’ since we knew each other already from the internet. Get on Twitter! It’s where all the cool kids are!


Texas Sheet Cake

During our Southern Debate, I mentioned Texas Sheet cake and 15 more minutes of uninformed ridicule ensued. As an olive branch to the aforementioned Yankee, I would like to share the recipe for what is likely the best dessert ever made.

Texas Sheet Cake
Texas Sheet Cake

Cake Ingredients

2 cup Sugar
2 cup Flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup Cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Icing Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa
6 Tbsp milk
1 box (1 lb) powdered sugar
1/4 to 1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (This is incorrect. Dessert should never have nuts. But if you must ruin this beatiful cake, add some stupid pecans.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together sugar and flour and put in large bowl. Combine butter, water, shortening and cocoa on a medium
sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour cocoa mixture over sugar and flour. Stir well. Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into a greased floured oblong 11x16 cake pan or 1/4 baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

At 5 minutes before finished baking, in a sauce pan mix butter, cocoa and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat well and mix in nuts. Spread on cake while warm.

Note: I have tested with Cup4Cup Gluten Free flour and it works great with this recipe.


If you can make it to ANY user group or conference, GO!! If you can make it to an MMS event, even better. The sessions will be amazing and the networking, second-to-none. Your career will thank you for it.