Archive for March, 2010

MIX10 Favorites

March 17, 2010 1 comment

I think it’s awesome that the MIX10 presentations and keynotes are recorded and published for all the world to see.  While it obviously doesn’t replace the experience of being there, it certainly eases some of the pain a bit! 🙂

As part of the #NotAtMix crowd, I will be living vicariously through my Tweeps’ posts and the online sessions.  This post will be a repository of the must see videos from MIX.  I should be updating it several times this week, so be sure to check back once in a while for changes.

Day 1 Keynote

Odds are you already saw the Day 1 Keynote: I was fortunate enough to be able to watch it livecasted, and the excitement in the room was very evident at the time, largely by the Twitter traffic.

The big news, of course, is Windows Phone 7.  I’ve never been much of a phone guy: I did quite a bit of PDA and WM5 development when it was new, but it fell out of favor for me and my company.  Phone development just never appealed to me – until now.

I mean, seriously?  Silverlight on the Phone?  You mean I can use the same language and dev tools, not some weird subset?  Scott Guthrie said “This isn’t Silverlight Lite, this isn’t Silverlight Different: this is Silverlight.”  Oh, and in case you haven’t heard – the tools to develop WP7 are free, now and forever.

The implementation of this is mind blowing.  I already have a couple of apps planned for our line of business.  I can’t wait to get my hands on some real hardware. 

Understanding the MVVM Pattern

Laurent Bugnion of IdentityMine gave a stellar presentation on Model View ViewModel development.  I’ve been doing MVVM for a while now, at first unintentionally and more recently as the result of a formal effort, and I’m a big believer in separation of concerns.  My recent presentations typically include a little MVVM because I’m believing more and more that this should be one of the first things a new WPF or Silverlight developer learns. 

Overall, I’d say I’m pretty comfortable with MVVM … or so I thought!  I really got schooled today, and I loved every minute of it. I even learned a couple of things about Blend!  I’ll be watching this video more than once, and I suggest you do the same.

Categories: .NET

Giving Back at Southern Maryland Give Camp

March 16, 2010 Comments off

Hey Folks, I’ve mentioned before that I will be participating in the first Give Camp in the Mid Atlantic region, the Southern Maryland Give Camp.  The event is this weekend, so I wanted to give one more plug in hopes of finding a few more volunteers…

What is Give Camp?

Give Camp is essentially “Coding for Charity”, an opportunity for us geek types to help out nonprofits by donating valuable programming time and resources.  This weekend event promises to be a real challenge: basically 48 hours to design, develop, and deliver real world applications that otherwise the nonprofit agencies could not afford.  Of course, it will also be a great chance to socialize with other developers: I for one expect to learn a lot in the process!

Cool, give me the details!

The event is fast approaching: this weekend, Mar 19-21, a slew of developers, DBAs, designers, and other volunteers will be descending on St. Mary’s College of Maryland.  As of this writing there are 87 registered volunteers for 19 nonprofit projects.  That sound great, but we need 100!

Obviously, the more people we get the more good we can do, but there are a couple of added bonuses if we hit that mark.  First of all, the event organizer, Jim Pendarvis, has promised to have his head shaved on a live video stream and then posted on YouTube!  In addition, our beloved Microsoft Developer Evangleist, G. Andrew Duthie (aka The DevHammer), has promised to have his head shaved into a Mohawk  – although he declined to have the same done to his mustache 🙂

Whatever your motivation, the event could sure use your help!  Go sign up today!

Other Give Camp News

You can follow the event at SOMDGC, and the official hashtag will be #DCAGC.

You can read the University’s press release about Give Camp.

Categories: .NET

Code Camp Season Opener

March 15, 2010 Comments off

Wow!  This past weekend was the 2010 edition of Roanoke Code Camp, and let me say what a fantastic way to start the season!  I’ve been jones-ing for a Code Camp for a while now since my last event was CMAP Code Camp back in November.

Over the last few years, Code Camps and similar events have become vital to my health as a developer.  Beyond the technical knowledge available at the presentations, there is a real sense of camaraderie that exists among the attendees.  This morning back at work someone asked me how the weekend went and I said “Great! It was a weekend full of Geekdom!” 

The Value of Geekdom

I’d be willing to bet that most of us aren’t surrounded by other geeks on a regular basis.  Even for me, working at an ISV where software is our business, I am alone in my geekness.  For others it must be far worse: stuck in an IT shop or on a business team where others don’t appreciate or understand the need for geek.  In most business environments, we stand apart.

But at an event like Code Camp, we are but one of many.  While we should all treasure and embrace diversity, it is nice once in a while to be among one’s own!  I had several highlights this weekend, like Alan Stevens’ wonderful presentation “Does your Code Tell a Story?”, but I want to share with you the unexpected high point of the trip for me.

Kevin Griffin and I rode part of the way together, and on the way back we had an awesome discussion about the database design for a new project I am beginning.  We were not in agreement on how to approach the problem, each one passionate about his viewpoint, so the conversation was very lively – and educational.  It really challenged me to rethink how I look at database design and confirmed something I already knew: I don’t know enough about SQL Server.

But the best part was at the end.  I came to the realization, and shared it with Kevin at the time, that THIS was why we need community.  That conversation would have never happened inside the walls of my company.  And it wouldn’t have happened on Twitter or on a forum because it was spurred by a random comment in a face to face conversation. 

And there it really is: we need to guard against cloistering ourselves in our own technology.  We need real, human interaction.  And we need to have those conversations, whether it’s about the tech du jour, or process, or what have you.  We need community time with fellow geeks.

More Geekdom!

I often write about why you should go to Code Camps and User Groups, and I will probably keep doing so as long as they keep having a profound effect on me.  And you know what?  So far I haven’t been let down.

As I said, this was just the season opener: there are plenty of community opportunities coming up this year.  Here are a couple coming up in the near future I plan on attending:

And of course, these don’t include all the possible User Group meetings!  So as always, this is my challenge to you: do yourself a favor and get involved. Find a User Group in your area and check it out. And while you are at it, be sure to join the newly created Mid Atlantic Developer List

So, what are you waiting for? Join a User Group, go to a Code Camp, see some great presentations and meet some great people. Immerse yourself in Geekdom for a day: I’ll bet you’ll like it!

Categories: .NET

March Community Calendar

March 1, 2010 1 comment

Well, after a nice hiatus, the new Community season is underway!  I’ve really been missing it, but starting this week we’ll be back in the swing of things.  March is chock full of Community Goodness:

MSDN Roadshow

Microsoft Developer Evangelists Andrew Duthie, aka the Devhammer, and Dave Isbitski are hosting a series of MSDN Roadshows on Windows Azure. I will be attending this Wednesday, March 3rd, at the Richmond installment.  Roadshows are a great way to learn about new technologies and network fellow developers and Microsoft professionals.  Space is limited, so be sure to Register!


Roanoke Valley .NET User Group (RVNUG), will be meeting this Thursday, March 4th, from 6-8pm.  Chris Hylton will be presenting on The Enterprise Library.

Roanoke Code Camp

March 13th will be the 4th Annual Roanoke Valley Code Camp, hosted by RVNUG and great group of contributors.  I will be presenting a couple of sessions, Silverlight 4: Ready for Business and How I Develop WPF Applications.  I’m really looking forward to it: I hate to play favorites, but if I could only go to one Code Camp, this would probably be the one.  Fortunately, I don’t have to make such a horrible decision!  Space is limited, so make sure you register today to reserve your seat!


March 18th I will be presenting Silverlight 4: Ready for Business at the Charlottesville .NET User Group.  CHODOTNET is a growing, vibrant User Group, and if you are anywhere near there you should definitely check it out!  Be sure to visit the website as the meeting location has recently changed.

Southern Maryland Give Camp

March 19-21 will be the Southern Maryland Give Camp, the first East Coast Give Camp ever!  Give Camp is a charity coding event that promises to be challenging, rewarding, and lots of fun all at once!  A bunch of developers, DBAs, and designers will all converge on St. Mary’s College of Maryland for a weekend of non-stop programming.  The beneficiaries of this effort are a group of non-profit agencies who otherwise could not afford to hire professionals to develop these websites and applications.

And as if that doesn’t sound awesome enough in its own right, if we get 100+ developers to volunteer their time, Andrew Duthie will shave his head into a Mohawk!  Come on gang, I’d just love to see that!

Don’t miss out!

With so many great opportunities, I sure hope to see you out in the Community!  As always, be sure you say ‘Hi’!

Categories: .NET