Video Games Retro Flashback

Yesterday, on Twitter, I mentioned that my baby brother was complaining about Wiz Khalifa using a Chrono Trigger song as his background for “Never Been (Part 2)”.  Then, someone asked what Chrono Trigger was, and that inspired this post.  These are some of my favorite video games from my past.


Chrono Trigger (SNES)

File:Chrono Trigger.jpg

How many times did my brothers & sister ask me to save my game so that they could take their turns with the Super Nintendo?  I definitely lost count, as I spent many hours playing as Chrono and friends, travelling through time to meet various characters in the timeline of present, past, and future, solving their problems and defeating the evil Lavos at the end.  The game itself has over 13 different endings.  The soundtrack is great, one I enjoy listening to even to this day.  At the end of the day, Squaresoft put out a great RPG, which took up plenty of my time when I was younger.  You can read more about Chrono Trigger on Wikipedia.


Dragon Warrior IV (NES)

Dragon Warrior IV Box

Before Chrono Trigger, Dragon Warrior IV was my RPG of choice.  Walking between towns, defeating slimes, Ragnar had to save the kingdom of Burland.  This was a 5 chapter RPG, part of the Dragon Quest series. 


Burger Time (Intellivision)

BurgerTime Intellivision Title screen

This was probably my first video game addiction.  Yes, I know I was only 2 years old at that copyright date.  However, my dad got me into console gaming at a very young age.  He taught me other games on Intellivision, but BurgerTime! was my favorite hands down.  Apparently, I liked making hamburgers while avoiding evil eggs, sausages, and pickles!


Super Mario Bros. (NES)

Super Mario Bros. box.png

When I was old enough to play console games without Dad’s help, I fell for the Super Mario Brothers series.  While I didn’t like Super Mario 2 (as it didn’t seem to follow the original Super Mario), I did enjoy Super Mario 3 and a bunch of other Mario games while I could.  From NES to SNES to N64, I enjoyed a variety of Mario games.  I loved playing Mario and trying to rescue Princess Toadstool from Bowser (King of the Koopas), defeating Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and various baddies along the way.


My love for Mario Brothers games still sits with me today.  When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to do a Super Mario Brothers themed nursery.  And boy was I thrilled when my husband agreed to it!  Below is a sneak peek of some of the Marios in the nursery:

image


Conclusion

These are a tiny glimpse of the games I used to play.  Mind you, RPGs and  puzzles are my favorites, but I also played other games as well, especially sports games like Double Dribble, Arch Rivals, Blades of Steel, and Tecmo Bowl.  I’ve definitely been a gamer of some sort for most of my life, feeding into my competitive nature.  Don’t be surprised if a random video game reference makes an appearance; you never know which game I’ll reference next!

Google+ Pages SUX

As some of you know, I’m one of the many people behind the various Stir Trek social media accounts.  Recently, I was asked to set up a Google+ Page for the event, and I figured… “I’ve set up Pages on Facebook before.  How painful could it be with Google+?”

Creating a Google+ Page

After seeing the Google+ Pages section off to the bottom right, I clicked that “Create a Google+ page” link.  Choosing a category was difficult… was I creating a page for the Stir Trek brand? The Stir Trek organization? When in doubt, go with “Other”.

After creating the page, I needed to customize the public profile.  This is where things got tricky.  If you haven’t seen it, the Stir Trek logo is rectangular:

 

StirTrek2012logo

However, Google+ wants a square.  Google+ – It’s no longer hip to be square.  I really wanted to capture both the name and the Avengers “A” (as this year’s movie is The Avengers).  I ended up settling with just the “A”.

All My Life’s a Circle

All these geometric shapes but not a rectangle!  My next idea was to set up circles for the organizers and this year’s speakers.  So I went about creating circles much like I did for my personal Google+ account.  With the circles created, I was ready to add people to them.

 

image

Really?  Hmm… I had tried adding organizers first but nothing worked.  I started following the Stir Trek page on my personal account and then tried adding myself to the Organizers circle.  That worked.  But adding anyone who hasn’t added me didn’t work.  Time to invite others to follow the Stir Trek page so that I can come back here and add them to my circles.  Well so much for getting people in their circles before telling people about the page.

A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

The one thing that seemed quite intuitive and easy to work with was the Photos section of the Page.  I was able to create albums for past Stir Trek events and upload pictures without any problems.  So if you want to see things such as the theater posters that our sponsors had designed for last year’s event or even the picture of transporting 50 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, you can check them out in the Stir Trek Google+ Page’s Photos gallery.

A Mostly Frustrating User Experience = Unhappy User

These experiences are just some of the headaches I’ve had with Google+.  It probably doesn’t help that I really haven’t adopted the Google+ platform personally – while people claimed that it would replace Facebook, I’m finding Facebook slightly less painful to use.  However, because we have it set up, I will periodically post updates to the Stir Trek Google+ page and hope that my Google+ experience turns more positive.

Microsoft Billing and Account Management SUX

Recently, I wanted to manage my billing options, as I had an invalid credit card tied to my Zune and XBOX Live account.  Unfortunately, I had the experience of meeting the Microsoft Billing and Account Management site.  This is unfortunate, as it is a site with horrible, HORRIBLE user experiences.

Select from Account IDs 

Yes, somebody didn’t get the memo that exposing accounts as account IDs really is a bad user experience.  Let’s see what I have…

  • Acct ID# 00000-00000-00020-12345 (Personal)
  • Acct ID# 00000-00000-02300-12345 (Personal)
  • Acct ID# 00000-00000-02412-12345 (Personal)
  • Acct ID# 00000-00000-02460-12345 (Personal)
  • Acct ID# 00000-00000-00302-12345 (Business)

Now those aren’t my real account numbers, but these are the options that I’m given. I have no idea what any of these account IDs mean. What’s better… in their respective applications, I don’t see these IDs. So why are you showing them to me as an option? Why couldn’t I get options that look more like the ones below?

  • Hotmail Plus (Personal)
  • XBOX Live (Personal)
  • TBD TBD (Personal)
  • Platform Services (Personal)
  • marketplaceformobile.somerandomstring.US  (Business)

I have no idea what some of these are even for – especially if there’s no service listing for that account.  And TBD TBD… no idea what that even is let alone why it appears there.  Some of these are even cancelled services, so why would I care to manage their Billing if I don’t have them anymore? (Edited note: Talking with my husband, we think this might be a migration of multiple billing systems into one, which could only lead down an ugly path.)

Now one of my accounts looks like it manages my XBOX Live, Zune Pass, and App Hub accounts.  So maybe coming up with friendly names for the accounts is a bit harder for their devs… how about letting the end user create friendly names for those accounts rather than showing them Acct ID# 00000-00000-00020-12345?

Disconnect in Payment Data

I went through the process of removing the invalid credit card from my Zune and XBOX Live account.  Looking at this in the Billing portal though, I see that this card has been marked as Removed on my cancelled MSN Hotmail Plus account. If I switch to my XBOX Live account, I see that same credit card listed, without being marked as Removed.  Really?  Mind you, under both accounts, it shows as Xbox Live (Visa: xxxxxxxxxxxx0000) – same exact name.  Why wouldn’t show as Removed on the XBOX Live account?

400 Clicks Later

As I mentioned on Twitter today, I was having other issues with my Zune account where credits weren’t showing.  Thankfully, @ZuneSupport and the Zune support chat team were able to find a solution that works for my needs.  However, I had Tweeted that I had hoped I wouldn’t get sent to the Microsoft Billing site as it was a headache user experience.  Leave it to one of my friends to point out that there’s the joys of clicking through a lot of screens to get the data you need.  Boy was she right!  Even the context-driven FAQs on the right of each page… click, click, click… ah there’s what I need… maybe.

Conclusion

I hope that one day Microsoft will invest in a great user experience team that can go through their websites and find these problems before we do.  At the moment, there are a lot of painful user experiences on their sites that I use, and the more I have to use these sites, the more I’m tempted to look at alternative solution providers or weigh the cost of abandoning my current services just to get away from these bad experiences.  Painful user experiences are what drives users to competitors who get the user experience right.  Please, Microsoft, save us from the painfulness known as your billing site by working with UX experts on making it easier to deal with.

Interviews Should Not Invade Privacy

While catching up on news yesterday, I saw this article: Job Seekers’ Facebook Passwords Asked For During U.S. Interviews.  This stinks of a lack of trust in employees and cannot lead to a healthy relationship.

Lack of Trust on the Employer’s Side

Having worked for a company where they were leery of some of their employees being active in social networks, I can tell you firsthand that even if you were to comply with the interview and got hired on, you’d have a lot of trust issues throughout your time there.  For me, even though I wasn’t dealing with social networking stuff on the clock, I still felt like my employer had their own agenda by asking me to avoid social networks.  (And to this day, I am very thankful for a dear friend of mine who stayed persistent and talked me out of the insanity of it all.)

“Research”ing Candidates

I can understand companies trying to “research” potential candidates by looking at their Facebook profiles.  I’ll admit that, as an interviewer, I’ve “researched” potential candidates by looking up their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles.  But at the same time, if they’re hard to find or locked down due to privacy, I wouldn’t even consider asking someone for their credentials – that’s truly an invasion of privacy.  Typically, you need a court order to get some of that information!

The other thing I noticed in the article is that the interviewer was looking up his Facebook profile during the interview.  That is not the appropriate time to do research on the candidates.  You would normally want to go into the interview with the data ahead of time. As a common motto goes – “Be prepared.”

The way I see it, it’s one thing for interviewers to do their own independent research.  It’s something different for HR to seek approval from candidates for background checks.  Did you see what I said?  “seek approval” – as in formal background checks need to be approved.  Don’t expect to get a person’s credentials to a private account.  Do the research the right way without making this an invasive process.

“Friend”ing HR People

Another practice they mention in the article is that companies will ask employees to “friend” their HR people.  Again, this is a company’s way of invading/trying to control an employee’s personal life.  Unless the person is in a position to manage the company’s social media – and in which case they should have separate accounts for that – there’s really no reason why a company should have this directive in place.    This is another sign of a company not trusting their employees.

But… I’m an Employer! It’s My Right!

Sorry, employers.  As a fellow business owner, I understand how you want to protect your business’s reputation out there.  But at the same time, you’ve got to trust your employees to do their jobs and let them have a life outside of your company.  It’s part of why you hire them – you see the candidate as capable of doing the job and trust that they’ll do the right thing.  And if you’ve been burned by employees too many times, then you need to revisit your candidate screening process so that you don’t keep getting burned.

If You’re Interviewing with a Company…

Keep in mind that you need to look out for yourself.  If employers are trying to invade your privacy in the interview process, can you imagine what they’d do to their own employees?  Is that really an environment you want to work in?  I understand that the market out there can be rough, but at what point is it okay to prostitute your privacy?

The Plight of Women in Tech Lately

A couple articles/incidents got me thinking, and I wanted to get my thoughts out there.

Boston API Jam – a Hackathon for “Brogrammers”

The Boston API Jam, organized by Sqoot, took the whole “brogramming” idea a little too far.  The idea of female event staff getting beers for these so-called “brogrammers”… just an awful thing.  BostInno posted a great article on the whole incident: Boston API Jam Publishes Event Invite with Sexist Language, Enrages Community, Sponsors Quick to Pull Out.  It was great to read that even the Boston dev community did not approve of  these guys and their actions.

The part that gets me is this part from their so-called “official apology” (as quoted on BostInno):

While we thought this was a fun, harmless comment poking fun at the fact that hack-a-thons are typically male-dominated, others were offended.

It’s clods like these that remind us why the WiT movement exists. We already know that it’s a male-dominated field going into it; we don’t need immature, sexist guys to make that point.

And these guys… they’re learning the lessons the hard way.  They have issued an official apology on their blog.

Me personally… if I were in the Boston community, I’d be one of the ones speaking up against the Hackathon after all the crap they pulled.  But that’s just me.  Sexism – and any other discrimination for that matter –  in the field is one thing that I won’t stand for.

Why I Stopped Telling Young Girls to Go Into Engineering

Reading this article, it got me thinking a lot.  I don’t regret going into engineering – everything makes more sense to me now.  I was born with an engineer’s mentality but really couldn’t understand how I fit in until college.  Being raised the way I was, I learned how to be successful from my parents, and their lessons have taught me to succeed despite random “no” and “you can’t” messages.  There’s a reason why some of my close friends in the industry challenge me with “no” and “you can’t do that” lines – they know that I see them as challenges to surpass.  That glass ceiling people mutter about – it doesn’t exist in my world.  The boys’ club – I kicked down their doors a long time ago and have been able to play with the boys because they know that I’m serious about what I do and am fair competition.

Yes, I was in the minority in my Computer Science and Engineering Technology program.  But I didn’t stand out because of my gender – I stood out because I was active in the student community and played nicely with others.  Even to this day, I’m used to being the token female dev or even the token female architect, but the reason why I stand out isn’t because of my token gender status – it’s more because I’m not afraid to speak my mind and happen to know my field.  I’ve been watching development on various platforms for over a decade, and my observations of the trends as well as observing where things are going are what keep me ahead of the curve. I am me, and with my knowledge, experience, curiosity, and rest of my personality… I stand out.  I’m used to that.

So looking at the “Why I Stopped Telling You Girls to Go Into Engineering” article… it also made me sad.  I can only hope that when women who want to go into engineering find that article, they realize that it is one woman’s experience.  Here are my thoughts on some of the points she made.

Finding an All Male Environment Entirely Focused on the Technology

I have to admit it… I typically prefer working in a mostly male environment.  The cattiness and office drama between women versus that between men are so different, and I’d rather deal with that of men.  But that’s just my personal stance.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t work with female developers or that I don’t play nicely with them – some of my friends are female devs as well.  But they’re like me – can’t be bothered with cattiness or drama.

Instant Gossip in the Office

Gossip exists in most workplaces; this isn’t exclusive to engineering.  She mentioned that there are awkward social situations where working closely with a guy leads to instant gossip.    As someone who’s been subjected to this (both in my past and yes, even currently), I understand why this would get her down.  Honestly, though, when those involved acknowledge that the gossip is there but far from the truth, you learn to deal with the gossip.  You learn to see it as people making up stories because they can’t fathom the reality.  And eventually, you learn to shrug it off and not let the gossip bother you.

Heated Arguments

This happens no matter who’s working in the environment.  Heated arguments are bound to happen, no matter the topic or industry.  When an argument gets heated, step away.  Arm yourself with the facts, and don’t get judgmental in the argument, as that puts people on the defensive side, making them more argumentative.

Quota Filling Conferences

This point drives me up a wall.  If I know that a conference is bringing me on board for my gender rather than for what I have to share knowledge-wise, I’m going to reject that idea.  At the same time, having been on various conference boards, I don’t go out of my way to seek out female speakers.  For me, it’s never about the gender or race or creed of the speaker – it’s all about the content.  On one of my recent conferences, I saw the lineup and an organizer pointed out that there’re now female speakers.  All I could do was *shrug* – that is not a selling point for me, nor should it be a selling point for others.  I honestly wouldn’t notice if a conference lineup was all male or all female unless someone pointed it out to me.  For me, I look specifically at the topics at hand and especially if they interest me.

Lack of Diversity of Thought

She mentions a lack of diversity of thought but also mentions that she doesn’t like to go to tech only conferences and doesn’t seem to like talking with others at conferences.  Then she goes forward to say that she’s lonely.  In this case, it sounds like she needs to get out more to realize that there’s a ton of diversity of thought in our development communities – regardless of the platform or language.  People in our field have random backgrounds – from music to law to psycholoy to journalism to engineering.  We all have different experiences in our careers, which have impacted the way we think.  There truly is a diversity of thought… if you actually go o conferences and talk with other people in the industry.

Conclusion

These are just my thoughts on these articles.  I’m sure others have theirs as well.  Got something to add?  Leave me a comment here, as I’m curious to see what others have to say!  And if you’ve  blogged about it, leave me a link to your blog to check out your post!

Happy International PowerShell User Group Day!

Today, techies throughout the world are celebrating the awesomeness of PowerShell with International PowerShell User Group Day.  Some people are quick to dismiss it as an IT admin tool, but there are other people besides sysadmins who use PowerShell.  I can think of a SharePoint guy, a few SQL Server guys, and yes, even developers, who have embraced the power of PowerShell.

PowerShell Community Groups

There are user groups throughout the world to celebrate discoveries and share scripts done in PowerShell.  Yes, I did say “throughout the world”.  Let’s take a look at the list at PowerShellGroups.org.  Besides the US, I see groups in Denmark, Egypt, UK, Norway, India, and Singapore.  For those who do not have a user group close, there’s even a Virtual Group!

Sponsors of Today’s Celebration

Today’s celebration of PowerShell user groups has been talked about throughout the PowerShell community.  They’ve even gotten some familiar faces in the community to sponsor the day.  So let’s thank these companies for helping make today a success:

Special Meetings

There are special meetings today for user groups to tune into presentations by PowerShell MVP/author/columnist Don Jones, Microsoft’s Hey Scripting Guy! Ed Wilson, and many others.  Special thanks to Interface Technical Training for providing the Remote Live platform for delivering this talk.   The meetings themselves will be broadcast at:

  • 1st broadcast – 12:00 PDT (19:00 Zulu)
  • 2nd broadcast – 15:00 PDT (22:00 Zulu)
  • 3rd broadcast – 18:00 PDT (01:00 Zulu)

To catch these presentations, check out your local PowerShell user group.

Happy International PowerShell User Group Day!

There Are Other Geeks Like You…

Hi!  My name is Sarah, and I’m a programming language junkie.

If only there were a 12-step program for that… maybe then I wouldn’t feel so odd.  Every time I meet a developer who doesn’t understand how to switch between languages or paradigms, I wonder what’s wrong with me.  Every time I meet a developer who doesn’t get that I enjoy coding and really have no problem going from coding at work to coding at home, I feel sad.  Every time I show my excitement for learning more about programming and the art of software development, I feel weird because people around me don’t understand it.

Silly me… I went into a field that I actually enjoy!  There are 9-to-5ers who just don’t get me – they go to work, do their job, collect a paycheck, and go on their merry way doing other stuff.  For me, I’d go home from work only to write more code, working on a side project, or blogging about what I found intriguing or frustrating.

Finding Geeks Like Me

While studying at the University of Toledo, I got involved with the student Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) group.  It gave me a chance to network with fellow EECS students and find others who were just as passionate as me when it came to programming.  It gave me the opportunity to meet minds much smarter than mind and learn from them.  Even when I changed to the CSET program, I still stayed in ACM, as I had found like-minded individuals and CSET really didn’t have a group like that.

I also learned about the local Linux users group that happened to meet on campus.  My then-boyfriend, now-husband’s best friend is a hardcore Linux guy who came up to Toledo for the meetings.  So the group of us ended up going to many of those meetings.  While I was obviously the odd one – female and *gasp* could work with Linux tools even though I loved Microsoft products, I found it great to be in another group of minds that I could understand.  These guys were passionate about Linux, and I was able to show my passion for tech in general by speaking at their group a couple times.  This “user group” thing, I decided, is a good thing.

User Groups – Other Geeks!

Once I moved back to Cleveland, I figured I’d get a job, settle in, and then eventually figure out the user groups here.  Well… I took a tech support job and got settled in, forgetting about the user group thing.  I did talk with a co-worker about the local Linux user group, but I just couldn’t convince myself to go.  I had too many other things keeping me distracted – moving home, finding a job, buying a house, getting married – that I lost interest in the whole user group quest.

After my first job here, I moved on to an IT job – one that felt very much like a dead end.  I felt as if I was isolated from the world, going to work and coming home in the dark.  Add to it that the only windows that were in my office overlooked the shop floor or overlooked the “fun” neighborhood outside.  The passionate developer in me was feeling suffocated and losing hope.  I just had to get out, and I did after almost 4 years there.

The next job, I returned to development and played with .NET a bit.  One of my co-workers mentioned that there was a user group meeting coming up and that I might want to check it out.  “User group” triggered all sorts of memories and started me back down the path of finding the answer to Where are the technical groups in Cleveland?  Back then, they were scattered and I spent a lot of time looking up local user groups in Cleveland.

The first group I attended was a .NET group that did a lot of face-forward presentations, where there wasn’t a lot of interaction between the speakers and the audience.  While I didn’t mind learning a lot, I had hoped to find others who were social like me.  Many months later, that .NET group had a holiday gathering with a SQL group, and I started to see some people talking and I slowly started feeling in my element.  Soon, I found another .NET group that was more social and that group had a WPF group form out of it.  It was nice to finally meet geeks like me – not only did they like learning about new stuff but they liked talking with each other.

The Formation of a User Group List

That question of Where are the technical groups in Cleveland? plagued me for awhile.  Then, in October 2008, I had serious health issues that kept me from going to work.  Since my employer didn’t let us work remotely and since my mind wouldn’t slow down, I had to put it to work.  With about 4 or 5 user groups in the list, I launched Cleveland Tech Events.  Now, over 3 years later, there are over 60 technical user groups on the list.  The site is still solely maintained by myself, but there are many groups out there promoting the site, all through word of mouth and social networking.

Why this “User Group” Thing is Good

If you’ve ever found yourself excited about the technology you’re working with or even playing with, you’ve probably wondered if there were others like you.  User groups are great for finding like-minded individuals who share the same passions and excitement.  It’s great for bouncing ideas off of like-minded individuals and learn from each other.  Also, being able to network with others, you never know where the networking will lead.

Conclusion

So… looking for other geeks like you?  If you’re in the Cleveland area, you can always check out Cleveland Tech Events.  However, if you’re elsewhere, do a search for “{insert tech here} user group near {your city}” in your favorite search engine and get out there today!  (And if there isn’t a user group in the area… you can always check a site like Meetup.com to see if there are people in the area with similar interests and form your own group!)

My Love for Local & Regional Conferences

Recently, I was talking with a local guy who wanted to get more involved with the community, as he wants to eventually go the MVP route with hopes of one day working for Microsoft.  He mentioned that some people told him about conferences like TechEd and VSLive.  While those are great conferences, they’re also expensive – not just the ticket price but also accommodations and other incidentals.  In my reply back, I had to recommend looking at local conferences.  Here are a few reasons why I recommend local and regional conferences over the big conferences.

Quality of Speakers

Something to keep in mind is that speakers have some place they call home, even though they may travel a lot for work.  Here in the Heartland District, we have all sorts of speakers who’ve spoken at the bigger conferences (TechEd, VSLive, etc.) who call Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, or Tennessee home.  Even here in Cleveland, we have quite a few hometown greats who have spoken at national conferences.  So just because we’re in the Midwest and not on either coast does not mean that we’re exempt from having awesome speakers.  What’s nice about having these speakers calling this home is that it’s easy to woo them to speak at a conference close to home – not travelling far from family, giving them time with both the community and their own families.

Cost of Attendance

Looking at TechEd, the student rate is $995.  The student rate – as in a discounted rate –  is close to $1000, which is expensive for a typical student’s budget.  While I may be out of college for almost 10 years now, I remember what it was like to live on a student’s meager budget.  There’s no way I could have afforded going to something like that.  The professional rate is $2195 or that and an additional $400 for the pre-con.  While the “big names” are presenting there, it’s quite a bit of money to see content that we can find online, perhaps by the big name or someone else.  Add to it that this rate doesn’t include travel or hotel accommodations.  All of these numbers add up.

Now let’s look at some of the local conferences that can attract the big names at a fraction of the cost.  Take a look at conferences like CodeMash (in Sandusky, Ohio in January) and devLink (in Tennessee in August).  These conferences have attracted well-known speakers including Steve Smith, Scott Hanselman, Eric Meyer, and Mary Poppendieck.  These are multi-day regional conferences that are typically more affordable – both in terms of conference costs and accommodations.  They offer typically conference talks, workshops, and open spaces, amongst other networking opportunities for their attendees.  These are the two closest to my home and held here in the Heartland District.  Similar conferences include MADExpo and That Conference.  Other conferences that attract similar caliber of speakers include Stir Trek,  CodePaLOUsa, CodeStock, and Kalamazoo X.  The ticket price of these, even at the professional level, aren’t much greater than $300 for multi-day events – much more affordable than even the student rate of TechEd.

Networking on a Local Scale

While you may be wanting to network with people throughout the world, it might be even more helpful to network with those in nearby communities to achieve whatever goal you’re trying to achieve.  Local and regional events are greater for reaching the local audience (as opposed to the larger conferences that target a wide network).  Other local and regional events in this area that are great to check out include  DevDays, Days of .NET, SQL Saturdays, PowerShell Saturday,  TechNet Events, and MSDN Events.  The costs for these tend to be minimal – usually to cover food.  Some of these events may also be free.

Conclusion

In an economy where employers may not necessarily pay their developers well or even cover their training, events like TechEd and VSLive become even less of an option for training.  However, besides going to user groups where you usually hear about one topic and network with the locals, there are other options.  When budgets are tight but you still want to get a great quality of presented content, take a look at local and regional conferences.  Once you look at them, you’ll find a great way for growing your career perhaps in your own backyard!

The 9 Month Long Get-ChildItem Cmdlet

I’ve got to start off by apologizing for being so quiet here lately. I’ve been ramping down my community involvement, as I’ve had a new opportunity in my life that will be changing things.

Ramping Down

You may not be seeing me at user groups or other events as much as you used to.  This isn’t your imagination.  In January, my main focus was CodeMash.  In February, it was settling in for the last of my travels – speaking on PowerShell at the .NET group in Detroit and then checking out the Central Ohio Windows Phone User Group while in Columbus (for a conference my husband was attending).   Earlier this week, I sponsored the Ohio North SQL Server User Group.  It was a PowerShell-themed meeting, so I couldn’t resist sponsoring the group!  But now, I’m done with user groups and events until Stir Trek on May 4th.   Registration for Stir Trek opens on Pi Day at 1:59pm… so mark your calendars!

Why Ramping Down… and Going Forward

For almost 9 months now, as I’ve told my PowerShell friends, I’ve been running the Get-ChildItem cmdlet and am waiting for a result.  You could say that I’m working on spawning a child process.  Oh the euphemisms I could come up with using technical terms!  Long story short, my first child is due on April 4th, so I’m ramping down my community involvement so that I can focus on my little one’s arrival.

I’m hoping that once I adjust to my little one, I’ll blog more and continue my presence on Twitter.  I’ll also be working on Cleveland Tech Events, as there are a few more features I’d like to add to that site.  Of course, I’ll also be at Stir Trek, as I’m in charge of volunteers again this year.    Then there’s Cleveland GiveCamp, which both Kev and I are already committed to helping out.  As for other events, we’ll see as the time comes.  For the next few months, events will be on a case-by-case basis.  There’s a greater likelihood to find me at a Cleveland-based event that’s a couple hours long than at an out-of-town multi-day conference.

Stay Tuned!

I’m going to try to squeeze a few more blog posts in before Logan arrives. If you have a PowerShell or random question that you’re hoping to see answered here, drop me an email at sarah at this domain, and I’ll do what I can to include it here!