GR DevDay

GR DevDay Speaker Badge

GR DevDay Speaker Badge

Last weekend I made the trek up to Grand Rapids, Michigan for the GR DevDay conference.  This was the second time I’d attended this conference but this time was special – it was my first time speaking at a conference!  I was honored to have my talk “F# Needs Love Too” selected and to have been included in line-up of speakers that included some familiar names like Eric Boyd, Jay Harris, Michael Eaton, David Giard, and Jennifer Marsman.

My talk was in the first time slot immediately following the keynote.  Considering I was up against some HTML5 and mobile development talks I was happy to see such interest in F#.  I thought the talk went well and spurred some good conversation.  Thanks to everyone that attended.  Hopefully you were inspired to take a closer look at the language and see how it can change the way you think about writing software.

Having the first time slot gave me the rest of the day to attend other sessions.  The sessions I selected were:

  1. Collaborate: Windows Phone and Windows 8 – Michael Perry
  2. Make Node.js Package. Become Famous. – Jay Harris
  3. Hot Data and Cool Cash – Joe Kunk
  4. Creating apps with high code reuse between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 – Jennifer Marsman

All of the talks were interesting in their own right.  Naturally I was most interested in the two Windows Phone 8/Windows 8 talks and they didn’t disappoint.  The other two sessions weren’t as immediately relevant to me but gave me some stuff to think about.

I’d like to thank the organizers for putting on yet another great conference.  I thought the event was every bit as good as the last one and was happy to be a part of it.

All Good Things…

IndyNDAThis isn’t the post I wanted to write tonight but I knew the time was coming. The leadership of the Indianapolis .NET Developers Association (IndyNDA) announced in its LinkedIn group that its December meeting will be its last.

IndyNDA has had a good run. Having endured for nearly 12 years it has been a cornerstone of the Indianapolis development community. When I moved to Indianapolis seven years ago it was the go-to place for all things .NET. Having come from a small user group in Fort Wayne I was a bit overwhelmed by the size of IndyNDA meetings at first but it has been part of my life most of the time I’ve lived here, increasingly so over the past four years.

I credit IndyNDA for helping craft me into the developer I am today. Over time IndyNDA broke me out of my shell. Through IndyNDA I’ve learned about things I probably would never been exposed to; I’ve formed relationships with people I’d probably never have met; and I’ve had opportunities I’d probably never have found on my own. I can’t thank the people of IndyNDA enough for its impact on me.

While I’m sad to see the group end I understand. The world has changed a lot in the past decade. When IndyNDA started it was the only game in town. Back then we didn’t have social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; we didn’t have answer sites like StackExchange; and we didn’t have webcasts of every major development conference. All of this comes at a price though and in this case it’s that groups like IndyNDA have diminished importance.

IndyNDA may be coming to an end but I have high hopes for the future of the Indianapolis development community. Per the announcement IndyTechFest will be making a comeback next year and there are certainly other events around town as evidenced by a quick Meetup search. In the meantime though I’d like to thank Brad Jones, Dave Leininger, Dan Rigsby, Joel Dart, Alex Gheith, and everyone else that has led the group through the years. Your contributions are appreciated.

Indy GiveCamp: October 5 – 7

Many non-profit organizations struggle to carry out their mission effectively because they don’t have the IT resources to get the software tools that will support them. At the same time, there aren’t many outlets where software professionals can utilize their specialized skills to contribute something meaningful back to the communities in which they live.

GiveCamp events across the country are filling this gap one weekend at a time by bringing non-profit organizations together with small teams of developers, designers, DBAs, and other software related roles to build something that will help the organization carry out its mission more effectively.  GiveCamp can’t do it without your help though.

This year’s Indy GiveCamp is being held October 5-7 and volunteers are still needed to maximize the number of organizations we can serve.  I understand that an entire weekend is a major time commitment but given that this is my second year participating I can personally attest to how rewarding the experience is.

Last year my team changed how Heart in Education Teacher Outreach (HETO), an Indianapolis-based organization that connects Indiana teachers with teachers in Honduras, promotes its mission, recruits teachers, and accepts donations.  We built a new WordPress-based site that was easier for the organization’s leadership to maintain, organized the site in a manner that focused on their objectives, and extended volunteer involvement by placing the HETO Facebook feed on the homepage.  The site is now the go-to resource for all things HETO.

If you’re in the Indianapolis area and can spare the time for a great cause I highly recommend that you volunteer.  Don’t worry if Indianapolis isn’t convenient for you though since there are GiveCamp events all over the country – just check the upcoming events calendar on the national site.

Faking It Slides Available

Thanks to everyone that attended one of my Microsoft Fakes talks this week. I hope the sessions were beneficial. I just uploaded the slides to SlideShare for you to review at your leisure.

If you attended one of my sessions could do me a quick favor by taking a moment to rate the talk on SpeakerRate?

NUFW (6/12/2012)
IndyNDA (6/14/2012)


Upcoming Talks

If you’re interested in learning about the Fakes framework (formerly Microsoft Moles) that’s included with Visual Studio 2012 you have two opportunities to do so this week.  Those in Fort Wayne, Indiana should attend tomorrow’s (June 12) NUFW meeting.  If Indianapolis is more convenient, feel free to attend Thursday’s IndyNDA meeting instead.  Of course, if you just want to heckle me attending both is also an option!

If either of these events interest you please check the appropriate group’s site for logistics.  I hope to see you there!

IndyNDA – Your Spark Razored my NHaml

When Jay Harris told me at KalamazooX that he was going to be speaking at IndyNDA soon I got really excited. That’s why I’m upset that for the first time in nearly two years I can’t make it!  On the bright side, I’ll be hanging out with my wife in Las Vegas as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary.

This month Jay is going to discuss a few of the ASP.NET MVC view engines, namely Spark, Razor, and NHaml. Jay is a great speaker and an all around good guy so if you can make this event I highly recommend it.

This month’s meeting will be at:

Wiley Publishing
10475 Crosspoint Blvd
Indianapolis, IN 46256

Kalamazoo X in a Nutshell

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend my 3rd consecutive Kalamazoo X conference.  This event has gotten better every year thanks to the efforts of Mike, Mike, Matt, and Mark.  I’ve written about the conference recently so I won’t go into detail about what Kalamazoo X is.  Instead I’ll let a quote from the home page do the work for me:

The X Conference is the other half of your career; the half that makes you stand out.

Kalamazoo X has a rich history full of great speakers with interesting topics and this year was definitely no exception.  As with years past I took quite a few notes, the highlights of which I’d like to capture here and share for you to ponder.  As you read through them I think you’ll find some of the recurring themes begin to fall out naturally.