Exciting Adventures at CodeMash – Part 2, Session Days

With CodeMash coming to an end, I figured I better recap my experiences while they’re still fresh on my mind.  I’ve recapped my Precompiler experiences in the previous post.  Now, let’s see how I did on the days with sessions.

Thursday

I had Thursday figured out early on.  I figured I’d wake up early, catch breakfast and an awesome keynote, and then catch some sessions to inspire me for future projects.  Unfortunately, none of that happened, as I managed to wake up in the middle of the night to turn my alarm off and go back to sleep.  Doh!  By the time I arrived at the conference center, I had time to talk with friends, vendors, and other attendees and then make my way to lunch.  It was a great chance that I got to meet my Microsoft MVP Lead, Esther Lee.  She came to CodeMash to meet up with some of her MVPs, as well as other developer MVPs from other countries.  It was great to talk with her and give feedback on products, knowing that our feedback is heard and taken into consideration.

GesturePak

I managed to make it to one session on Thursday – Carl Franklin’s session on GesturePak, used for creating gestures for Kinect for Windows.  I wanted to sit in on this mostly for my own curiosity.  Now that I have a child in my life who seems obsessed with our XBOX Kinect – only 9.5 months old and already yelling at the XBOX to turn on and try to get it to do things, I want to look into writing programs for him that he can interact with.  When I was younger, I used to write flashcard apps in VB6 for my baby brother, who’s 8 years younger than me, so it’s natural for me to want to write apps for my own little guy.  Seeing how easy it was to create gestures with GesturePak, I can only hope to one day find the time to write some apps for Kinect for Windows for Logan to play with.

Friday

I knew I wouldn’t catch much in the way of sessions on Friday.  My goal on Friday was to check out the Arduino session and then relax, as my family was coming.  My dream for Friday came true.

Arduino

I really wanted to check out Sharon Cichelli’s Arduino talk on Friday.  We have an Arduino here at home that has a bunch of temperature sensors connected to it, so that we can monitor our house temperatures.  We originally had kept our chinchillas in a room on our 1st floor and had to make sure their room stayed within a certain temperature range.  However, once I was pregnant, we moved the chinchillas to our basement (where the temperature would be acceptable) and turned their old room into the nursery, where we could monitor the room temperature for our little boy.  We take the data from our temperature sensors and graph it with Cacti.  Here’s a sample of the output from our Arduino:

tempsensors

 

Sharon’s talk was great!  It was great to get other ideas on how Arduinos can be used – robots, video games, ambient clock,  greenhouse monitoring, and many more things.  Honestly, the ideas for using Arduinos are endless.  She also has a great list of resources for getting started with Arduinos.  Seeing how easy it is to work with, I am  tempted to play around with Arduinos more at home.  Either that or – after seeing many presentations on it – I may consider playing with a Netduino and using the .NET Micro framework.

Conclusion

While I didn’t catch much in the way of sessions this year – as the session list just didn’t really jump out at me and excite me as much as it has in the past, I still enjoyed the sessions I did catch.  More importantly, I was happy to talk with people who I see sometimes just once a year at CodeMash and seeing friends in general.  The hallway discussions and chatting with friends at lunch really got me thinking about the rest of this year.  CodeMash was my first big conference since having my son, and it’s great to be back in the community again.

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