Windows 7 Launch Event Here in Cleveland!

In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft is hosting a Windows 7 launch event here in Cleveland on Monday, October 12th. (That’s right – an event here in our own home town! No need to drive a few hours to Columbus or Detroit for the launch this time around!)

“The New Efficiency” will be held at the Regal theater at Severance in Cleveland Heights. The products that will be featured at this event include Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Exchange 2010.

The Developer Track

The Developer track meets in the morning (9:00am-11:35am). There are two tracks within the Developer track:

  • Windows 7
    • “Taking Your Application to the Next Level with Windows 7”
    • “Building Next Generation User-Interface with Multitouch and Ribbon on Windows 7”
    • “Beyond Human Interaction with Windows 7 Sensor and Location Platform”
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
    • “Windows Server 2008 R2, What’s New and What’s Changed”
    • “Windows Server 2008 R2, Build Solutions that Scale Beyond 64 Processors”
    • “Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Network Solutions”

The IT Professionals Track

The IT Professionals track meets in the afternoon (1:15pm -4:45pm). For IT professionals, there are three tracks to choose from:

  • Windows 7
    • “Introducing Windows 7 and the Windows Optimized Desktop”
    • “Make People Productive Anywhere with Windows 7 and the Windows Optimized Desktop”
    • “Manage Risks through Enhanced Security and Control with Windows 7 and the Windows Optimized Desktop”
    • “Streamlining Deployment of Windows 7”
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
    • “What’s in Windows Server 2008 R2 for IT Administrators: A Technical Overview Part 1”
    • “What’s in Windows Server 2008 R2 for IT Administrators: A Technical Overview Part 2”
    • “New Server Deployment and Migration”
    • “Windows Server 2008 R2 Virtualization Technologies– Saving IT Costs”
  • Exchange 2010
    • “Introducing Exchange Server 2010”
    • “Exchange 2010 Voice Mail enabled by Unified Messaging”
    • “Exchange 2010 High Availability and Storage”
    • “Exchange 2010 Archiving and Retention”

Register Today!

Did I mention that you’ll also get a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate just for attending this FREE event?

Space is limited, so make sure to reserve your spot today. For more details (including session descriptions) and to register, check out the launch site.

Sadukie’s Devlink Recap – Day 3 & Conclusion

On the third day of devlink, I spent the day in Open Spaces.

Growing Your Community

I started the day at this discussion, where there were talks of ways to grow your community no matter how you define community. Membership drives were encouraged, as it’s a way to get more people to the group and encourages current members to get the word out. It also helps to find umbrella organizations or generic technical sites – like Cleveland Tech Events or TechLife Columbus – and to have them get the word out about your groups. It was great to hear how others are growing their communities, and I hope to see other communities growing after hearing these ideas.

Advancing Your Career

As it has been said many times:

YOU are responsible for your career, not your employer.

So the question came up…

How do you control your destiny?

When it comes to advancing your career, there were several points made:

  • Where do you want to be? Self-employed? Management? Lifelong code monkey? Something totally different? There are plenty of paths out there.
  • Something that is useful to us developers in advancing our careers is have strong soft skills.
  • If you want to further your career while benefitting your current employer, consider chatting with HR and/or management to see if they have opportunities that could help further your career. Suggest possibly going to conferences, launch events, or user groups related to topics that could impact your projects at work.
  • Get involved in the community. Networking and interacting with others helps get the word out about who you are and can also lead to opportunities you may not expect.

There were other points made as well. Hopefully, the convener got a lot out of the session to help further his career.

Using Twitter Professionally

Jeff Blankenburg convened this Open Spaces discussion on Twitter. At one point, they talked of clients that work with Twitter, including TweetDeck and bDule.

One of the questions that came up was:
If you could follow only one person, who would it be?

Some answers included Alan Le, Scott Hanselman, Rainn Wilson, Darth Vader, and Cobra Commander. I couldn’t really figure out which *one* I would follow at that time. But the more I think about it, the one account I would follow (just on variety alone) would be Guy Kawasaki.

Other things that were discussed were things that shouldn’t be tweeted, including:

  • “I’m eating a bagel.”
  • “I hate my boss.”
  • “This company sucks.”
  • “This person is a ….”

Jeff mentioned something about a study where employees who use Twitter are more productive, but he wasn’t sure where he saw it. I did some searching, and this is what I found:

I noticed that one of the ladies in the discussion – Kathy Malone – was new to Twitter. So after this talk, I chatted with her a bit and showed her how I use TweetDeck, to really get the most out of my Twitter experience. I use columns to track what’s going on at events (like a devlink column when I was here), to see what’s going on with things I care about (like my DigiBookmobile column), and to track other accounts that I’m a part of (including PyOhio, Cleveland Tech Events, TDPE, and Cleveland Day of .NET). Sometimes, I think it’s easier to understand Twitter if you see it in action, which is why I showed her my TweetDeck in action.

Analog Gaming for Geeks

Step away from the computer, and no one will get hurt.

Seriously, though, I’ve always found it a lot of fun to walk away from the computer and play board games with my fellow geek friends. Be it playing Settlers of Catan with the Cleveland guys after Startup Drinks, Apples to Apples with my LAN party friends at New Years, or Killer Bunnies with my friends down in Columbus… gaming away from our computers is a lot of fun. Even at family gatherings, we laugh over games like Phase 10, Trivial Pursuit, and Scattergories. After one of the .NET groups here, we’ve started playing games like Ticket to Ride and Bananagrams while chatting at Applebee’s.

So what happens when I happen to be on a trip with one of my gaming friends? Both of us pack our games and end up having an Open Spaces session on “analog gaming”. We had a good game of Settlers of Catan going (that Jeff won):

Settlers of Catan at devlink

And then we had a game of Ticket to Ride (that Dean Weber won):

Ticket to Ride at devlink

Malachi also brought a box full of games which included Say What?, Polarity, and RoboRally. I think there may have been some Fluxx (maybe Zombie Fluxx or Monty Python Fluxx) going on as well. Overall, it’s a great way to wind down after a technical weekend, and it’s a good way to socialize with other geeks.

Conclusion

I enjoyed my devlink experience this year. I look forward to seeing what John Kellar, Leanna Baker, and their team can come up with for devLink 2010!

Special thanks to Alan Barber for taking so many pics at the event, as they really helped in writing this recap.

Sadukie’s Devlink Recap – Days 1 & 2

A couple weeks ago, I was down in Nashville for devLink, a three-day conference focusing on various topics that would appeal to developers. For the most part, I enjoyed it this year. So what did I enjoy and what was it that I really didn’t like?

Meeting New People, Seeing Familiar Faces

I had been following “devlink” in TweetDeck for awhile, so it was good to finally meet some of the people who were talking about the event. I also finally met a guy who I had been playing online games (Asheron’s Call, Asheron’s Call 2, World of Warcraft) with for many years. It was also great to see many of the guys who I had met at the previous year’s devLink – including Dave Mohundro, Randy Walker, and Tommy Norman.

The Heartland district (OH/MI/KY/TN) had a good representation, but they weren’t the sole group of attendees. devlink had an international audience this year, including some guys who came from “across the pond” (such as Chris Hay and Mark Rasmussen). I finally got to meet Matt Hester, the IT Pro evangelist for this area. I also met a couple of the Microsoft evangelists from other districts – Zain Naboulsi (Houston) and Clint Edmonson (St. Louis). It was good to meet these guys and show them just what we’re about out here. Special thanks to Brian Moore for getting his team to check out what the other regions are doing.

Windows Mobile Development – Day 1.

As many of you know, I’m a web developer in my day job. One of the things I have to consider with one of my sites is the mobile layout. So I figured that I might be able to learn something from Nino Benvenuti‘s deep dive on Windows Mobile Development. I hadn’t done any actual mobile development in many years – back when I was doing VB 6 programming and playing with the Windows CE Toolkit (as it was called back then). So it was interesting to see how Windows CE and Windows Mobile have come along over time. I was able to follow along fairly well. The only thing I wished for at the end was to see more demos. However, I did learn a bit more, which gave me more to think about in my mobile layouts.

WPF 101 – Day 1.

In my day job, I don’t get to play with WPF and client app development stuff. So I wanted to see what WPF was all about, and who better to learn from than my friend Mike Eaton. He didn’t take on the new “Hello World” and create a Twitter client as a demo. But he did use Nate Kohari’s AgileZen as part of his demo. It was also nice to know that there are other tools out there to write XAML besides Visual Studio – including XAMLPad and KaXAML. It was good to learn some things about WPF, but his demos at the end weren’t cooperating as he had intended. Despite the Tennessee demo gods working against him, I still enjoyed his presentation. Seeing AgileZen in action makes me want to look into it more.

My Demo Gods Didn’t Make It Past the TSA – Day 2.

I couldn’t bring my demo gods on the plane with me – the TSA gave me funny looks when these beefy guys walked up with me. They were like “We’re her demo gods.” The TSA was like “No ID? No boarding pass? Not allowed…”. So any demos I had to show during my talk on using Mono cross-platform decided to fail on me. I couldn’t talk between my local machine and my VPC, and there were all sorts of other technical difficulties. Rather than tap dance for the last 40 minutes, I cut my talk short for the attendees to go enjoy the rest of the conference. I felt bad that I couldn’t show it off – but I will be blogging about it in an upcoming post.

Open Spaces, Open Minds – Day 2.

This year, I spent more time in Open Spaces, although I had intended on catching scheduled talks. Some of the talks I sat through included “Turning the Ship from the Galley” and “Making Change Happen”, “Finding Inspiration”, “Creating Online Puzzles”, “Growing Your Community”, “Advancing Your Career”, “Using Twitter Professionally”, and “Analog Gaming for Geeks”.

What I like best about Open Spaces is that you never know who’ll be a part of the discussion or where it will lead.

The reason why I chose to sit through the “Turning the Ship” and “Making Change” open spaces was to hear what others are doing to get change to happen. I am one of those who would turn the ship from the galley – I’m not management, and I’m not high in the chain. However, I know that if I can do a great proof of concept, I can get the right ears to hear me out and possibly put my ideas in effect. But it’s really all about knowing how to convey the change you want to see, why it would be useful and beneficial to implement, and how to put it in action. It was good to hear how others handle the situation.

With “Finding Inspiration”, I had a feeling I knew why Mike Eaton had called for it. What happens when you start feeling burned out? What if you get tired of speaking on the same thing over and over and aren’t sure where to find that thing to get your passion going again? That’s what came up in this talk. The suggestion I have on this is to look at other communities. When I get tired of looking at pure .NET, I have fun looking at IronPython – still working with .NET but looking also into the Python community, a different audience that can be just as inspiring as the .NET community. Step away from the community that you associate with the most and meet new people. Break from a routine and do something different. Sometimes, you have to change it up a bit to find that inspiration.

After a rough presentation, I was happy that I was heading back to an Open Spaces topic that didn’t require a lot of heavy technical thinking. The last Open Spaces session I sat in on the second day was “Creating Online Puzzles”. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever. This discussion provided a lot of feedback and ideas for its SQL sequel. More levels, different approaches, more sites… definitely looking forward to the next adventure in online puzzle creation, and I’ve got a lot more ideas to add after talking with people.

At the end of Day 2, I was feeling a bit beat and ended up going back to the hotel to catch dinner with friends. Special thanks to Mark and Daniel of the Sophic Group for coming down, checking out the event, and treating us to dinner.

Stay tuned for Sadukie’s Devlink Recap – Day 3 & Conclusion.

Counting Down to devLink

Once again, I’m getting ready to head to devLink, a conference put on by developers for developers. It’s a great opportunity to network with some of the most talented developers in this part of the country. I feel like a little kid counting the days til Christmas – I’m that excited about devLink! But why?

Networking with People

I look forward to reconnecting with friends and meeting new people as well. I haven’t seen some of my friends since Columbus GiveCamp, others since Stir Trek, and still others since CodeMash. So it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a lot of them, and I look forward to socializing with them.

You never know who you’ll meet at devLink. This year, I hope to meet more people who’ve been following me and who I’ve been following on Twitter. I also am supposed to be meeting a guy who I’ve been playing online games with for many years, which I’ve been looking forward to for awhile now. If you haven’t met me in person yet but are going to be at devLink and happen to see me there, introduce yourself!

Learning New Things

There are plenty of things that I’ve been interested in, but I haven’t had time to focus on them as I’ve been focusing more on IronPython, Python, SQL 2008, Silverlight, and Mono – the topics of my latest presentations. I’m hoping to possibly catch a few sessions on things related to ASP.NET and databases in general, as that’s what I tend to focus on in my day job.

But the deep dive sessions and the scheduled talks aren’t the only ways I’m looking to learn. I’m looking forward to talking with others and hearing their stories. Most of all, I’m looking forward to learning more from the more casual conversations – be it while hanging out in general or in the area known as Open Spaces.

Open Spaces

On Friday, we have the Open Spaces opening circle – where you will hear the basics of Open Spaces, how they operate, and how to get involved. Whoever shows up to talk about a topic is who’s meant to be. If you don’t feel that you’re getting anything out of a particular discussion, feel free to invoke the law of 2 feet and find something that will catch your interest.

I’ve been to a variety of events now that have done Open Spaces, and I’ve seen all sorts of topics. My favorite Open Spaces discussions include “Software Craftsmanship in the MS Culture” (done at the July Cleveland C#/VB.NET SIG), “Microsoft and Open Source” (run by Sara Ford at devLink 2008), and a talk on building a community (another from devLink 2008). I liked how improptu the topics were and that the people who showed up were truly interested in the topics at hand. When you get people who are truly interested, discussions tend to move a lot better.

I’m curious to see what people will propose for topics this year. I’ve been thinking about this, and VBA is not “all the way”… so we’ll see if I run with that at all.

At the end of the conference, there’s a closing circle to recap the lessons and experiences of Open Spaces. If you’ve participated in any of the Open Spaces discussions during the event, I’d highly recommend going to the closing circle to see how it all went.

Microsoft Tag Rumors

If you were at Central Ohio Day of .NET in April, you probably remember the Microsoft Tag hunt. Well, it’s on again for devLink. Want to know more about when and where? Keep an eye out for those Tags, and make sure to have your Tag reading device with you to join in on the fun!

Conclusion

devLink has a little something for everyone. Their talks have been broken up into the following tracks: SharePoint, Project Management, Database, Web Application Development, Architecture and Practices, Languages, Client Application Development, and the Open track. I’ll be speaking on Friday afternoon about Mono, MonoDevelop, and using C# in cross-platform development. I’m anticipating a great event this year, and I hope to see you there!