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.

CodeMash Decisions, Decisions… Precompilers

This morning, as I get settled in after a wonderful holiday season, I’ve been looking at the precompiler descriptions and session descriptions for CodeMash.  It’s hard to believe that CodeMash is next week!  Here are my thoughts so far just by looking at the descriptions.

PreCompiler – Tuesday

This is my short  list for precompilers for Tuesday.

  • Cloud Architecture with Windows Azure
  • Developing Mobile Applications with PhoneGap
  • Developing on Windows 8
  • Speaker Workshop

While the sessions on testing looked interesting, I digest a lot on testing when I’m working with the LeanDog crew, so I’m going to take a break from that.

The Windows Azure session is on my short list for many reasons.  For one, they mention Pottermore in their description and tracking that site’s story from afar, it’s good to see that mentioned.  (No, I’m not a Harry Potter fan.  I’ve more been interested in it from a tech perspective.)  I also have been wanting to work with Azure for some of my personal projects and figured it’d be good to catch a session on it.

The PhoneGap session is on my short list mostly because I’m curious about mobile development tools other than the Microsoft tooling (as I’m playing around with the Microsoft tooling).  Don’t expect to see me playing with Android or iPhone development just yet – taking baby steps as it’s truly nothing more than a side venture at this point.

The Windows 8 session is on my short list because I’ve been enjoying Windows 8 so far and should probably pay attention to Windows 8 development a bit more.

The Speaker Workshop is on my short list because even though I speak at various venues, there’s always room for improvement.  Yes, I’ve been speaking recently for a consecutive 5 years? 6 years?  I’ve been speaking at user groups and conferences (local, regional, and national) since 1999.  But it’s Leon, and I’m sure he’ll have a different perspective on things and offer more nifty pointers for speaking.

PreCompiler – Wednesday

This is my short list for Wednesday.

  • Creative Problem Solving
  • HTML5 Workshop
  • Into the Mind of a Hacker
  • Web Development with Python and Django

Creative Problem Solving intrigues me, as it’s using improv techniques.  One of my mentors is involved in improv, and hearing his tales, it just intrigues me more.  I’ve wanted to catch this in the past but haven’t had the time.  Maybe this will finally be the time for me to catch it!

HTML5 Workshop would help me update my web development roots a bit.  I’ve had a little time to play with HTML5, but not as much as I’d hoped for.

Into the Mind of a Hacker appeals to the white hat in me.  When I was in college, I was known for finding flaws in university systems and reporting them to the engineering’s college computing team.  Boredom at its finest had me getting into things but with good intentions.  Every now and then, I catch sessions like this that remind me of my past.

Finally, the Django and Python session is on my list as I mentioned to them that I may be available to help them with Windows support.  Having tinkered with Python on Windows in the past, it wouldn’t hurt if I helped where I could.  I may be in and out in here though since there are other sessions that I want to catch.

Conclusion

There are too many awesome sessions to choose from – including those that didn’t make it on my short list!  These are just the ones that I personally am interested.  You can see the full list of precompiler sessions on the CodeMash site.

Hope to see you there!

Adventures at Cleveland GiveCamp 2012

This past weekend, I had the fun experience of participating in Cleveland GiveCamp.  This was my 5th GiveCamp overall, 3rd in Cleveland, and 2nd as a project manager.

Why I Love Cleveland GiveCamp

Growing up, my parents raised me to put my skills to work and help others when I can.  Besides being able to put my developer skills to use, I can also take advantage of my abilities to translate tech into plain English by taking on a project manager role, which I enjoy a lot more than developing because it has me dealing with the client more.  While I like writing code, I get more satisfaction in knowing that the big picture is taken care of and that the client’s needs are getting met.  What I love most about Cleveland GiveCamp is that it’s here in Cleveland, my hometown.  It takes place both on a boat and in an airport – no other GiveCamp can claim that.  (Special thanks to LeanDog and Burke Lakefront Airport for giving us space to work.)  The last thing I truly love seeing is that the non-profits here are extremely appreciative of the work and some come back and pay it forward.

Paying It Forward

I have to admit it – I love when previous years’ non-profit representatives come back and volunteer at GiveCamp.  In 2011, we had Sherrie Zagorc from Kiddie City (my project from 2010) helping with the food.  This year, we had three different non-profits from last year come help this year – Tim Smith of Community Greenhouse Partners and Kathy & Rich Wickens of Euclid Beach Park Now and Cleveland’s Euclid Beach Carousel Society.  For non-profit reps to  come back and help out – this is a great thing!  It’s good to see that they not only appreciate the work that was done for them while at the GiveCamp but they remember what was done and come out a year later to again show their appreciation.  I love that they come back like that!

My Team – New Avenues to Independence/Buckeye Industries

I had the privilege of being the project manager for 1 project this year – Buckeye Industries, a business enterprise of New Avenues to Independence, Inc.  They needed a website and were on a Microsoft-based host.

After getting our team together on Friday, we talked about what was out there.  I had recommended that the team get WebMatrix to see what options are out there.  We originally were considering either mojoPortal or Orchard, as that’s what a couple of us on the team were familiar with.  However, since we needed to set up a storefront and wanted something easy to work with, we ended up using DotNetNuke with the NBStore module.  We also used the helferlein_Form extension for creating contact forms.  I’ll update this post with our final site once DNS propagates.  Special thanks to Joe Brinkman for getting us set up with Applied Innovations hosting.  Here’s our team:

 

Buckeye Industries - Cleveland GiveCamp 2012

Etsuko Dunham, Ryan Marinoff, Karen Knavel (our non-profit contact), me, Matt Lucas, and Toby MacKenzie

This team worked really hard and put together an amazing site over the weekend!  I’m proud to have worked with such a talented team!

The Recap Video

Once again, my awesome husband Kevin volunteered at GiveCamp and took pictures.  You can see most of his pictures on the Cleveland GiveCamp Facebook page.  He also created another recap video.  Check it out:

If the video doesn’t appear above, check it out on YouTube.

Conclusion

I had a wonderful time at GiveCamp this weekend – working with a talented team and helping such a wonderful non-profit.  While it’s an exhausting weekend, it was also quite enjoyable!  I look forward to Cleveland GiveCamp 2013!

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!

Ann Arbor Day of .NET 2011 Recap

Yesterday, I was up in Ann Arbor, Michigan for their Day of .NET event at Washtenaw Community College.  I wanted to thank some of the organizers – Jason Follas, Jay Harris, and Scott Zischerk – for making this happen.  I know how much work it takes to get one of these together, and without them, we wouldn’t have had an event in the first place.  Also thanks to the sponsors – Telerik, TechSmith, ComponentOne, and Applied Innovations – as they also made contributions to help make this a great event.

It was great to see so many of my friends yesterday, and it was great to see at least one speaker outside of the Heartland District.  I was glad to see David Hoerster made it out from Pittsburgh!  For me, I wanted to catch sessions that I’ve been meaning to catch for awhile or sessions that I could learn from to apply to my current projects.  Here’s what I caught yesterday.

Dealing with Data in a Mobile Application, presented by Jeff Fansler

In this presentation, Jeff talked about consuming data, storing data, and caching data.  We looked at sync vs. async and how those worked.  When it comes to storing data, Jeff mentioned three options – isolated storage, Sterling DB, and – now with Mango – SQL CE!  I was already familiar with isolated storage, since I’ve used it in my Silverlight apps.  However, I hadn’t seen examples of Sterling, and his example would have been a good guide for that.  I was a little bummed that there wasn’t a SQL CE example, as I have an app that I’m working on that would benefit from SQL CE.  But alas, I’ve got something new to learn!  The last thing Jeff covered was saving data – both on demand and as a background task.  Overall, I really enjoyed this talk and have a lot to take away from it.  If you were at AADODN and didn’t catch this, you can catch it again at CodeMash!

Going Independent, presented by Michael Eaton

As you may know, I have gone independent, as of August.  I’ve got a couple clients that I’m working on now, and I’m learning to balance my work demands and my life demands.  I caught this session at devLink this past August, and although I had already asked Mike for advice before this, I still learned a bit from it.  As he mentions – when you go independent, you typically aren’t 100% billable – you can’t really bill for invoicing, other accounting business, and other administrivia.  He also mentioned a bunch of other helpful tidbits for those getting started on going on their own.  Like he said in his presentation, the ideas he covers in his presentation are based on what he has experienced in this past decade, and each indie has a different story.  If you didn’t catch this session, it will be done as a PreCompiler at CodeMash!

Develop IT: Intro to PowerShell, presented by Sarah Dutkiewicz

I was asked by Jay Harris awhile back if I would consider submitting this talk to Ann Arbor Day of .NET, and since it’s my favorite talk to give, I was happy to oblige.  Once again, this session was for a packed room, with an interesting audience.  This time around, I didn’t speak to my help files as much as I have in the past.  However, I did continue to keep this slideless and work from a custom module.  You can download the module from http://qtlil.me/aadond2011ps.

I also managed to cut a little bit out so that I could mention Jim Christopher‘s StudioShell.  As a developer with a little bit of PowerShell background, you can make this tool work for you in ways you couldn’t imagine.  For example, we have a client who stored error messages in a class, but our business analysts wanted to maintain those messages.  Rather than manually creating the XML file that we had envisioned, I had one of my teammates show me what he was looking for format-wise, and I got it for him in a matter of minutes.  Most of the minutes were me waiting to install StudioShell in my VM – otherwise, with one line of code, I was able to extract the constant string variables’ names and values and put them into an XML file.

If you haven’t caught this presentation yet, I’ll be giving it in the Detroit, MI-area at MIGANG on February 15.  If you’re interested in hearing it at your user group, please contact me at sarah at codinggeekette dot com.

Stone Soup or Creating a Culture of Change, presented by James Bender

It was great to wind down from the conference with this session. Throughout this session, James talks of how to deal with change in a company.  One of my recent favorite phrases was near the beginning of this presentation – Change where you work or change where you work.  If things aren’t going the way you like, you can try implementing change in the workplace to  make things better.  For example, maybe you work at a company that seems to hesitate with developer training.  Rather than letting them slack in that department, you could encourage your teammates to learn by doing lunch’n’learns.  But let’s say that the company seems to be lacking in ways that you can’t change.  Then maybe it’s to change your work in terms of finding a new place to work.  This is one of many phrases and stories that James’ presentation suggests.  Unfortunately, he is retiring this talk for now.  But if you find yourself trying to initiate change in the workplace and have troubles, James is a good guy to talk with about that.

Conclusion

I unfortunately didn’t stay for the closing ceremony, as I needed to get on the road for a 3 hour ride back to Cleveland.  However, from what I’ve been able to experience, Ann Arbor Day of .NET once again turned out to be a great event, well worth the 6-hour total travel time.  I’m glad I drove up for it!  Thanks again to those who organized the event and made the event happen!

If you, my readers, haven’t had the chance to attend a Day of .NET event, you’re missing quite a bit.  Typically, for a small fee (approximately $10 nowadays), you can get a day’s worth of training from regional experts on a variety of topics.  It’s a great event to learn something new.  It’s also a great event for networking with those in the community, finding other people who have the same problems as you or who have had your problem and may have a solution.  You can always find more on Days of .NET at http://dayofdotnet.org/.  Hope to see you at one in the future!

devLINK 2011 Recap – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 4

Last day of devLINK… I started off in Open Spaces, giving John Kellar and Leanna Baker live feedback on the conference.  It was great to hear how planning worked this year, and I gave them some suggestions for next year.

After giving feedback on the conference, I was off to the Mobile Smackdown.  First of all, Mobile Smackdown is the brainchild of my friend Jeff Blankenburg.  I’ve seen other versions of this at CodeMash and StirTrek, so I was curious to see how the devLINK version would be.  Add to it that I wanted to see how my friends Ben (on Android) and Sam (on Windows Phone) would fare, and I was curious to see John‘s approach to iPhone.  Little did I know, this was John Baker’s first time in front of a group – in my honest opinion, for the first time around, he did an amazing job.  It’s one thing to present in front of a group and totally different to live code in front of a group.  Ben was about one line of code away from finishing in the allotted 15-minute time period. Sam had it all written and just needed to run the code. John still had a feature to add.  I enjoyed seeing the Mobile Smackdown and seeing the different platforms.  It reminded me…

  • Windows Phone – C# – This makes sense.
  • Android – Java – Hey, I can read that! Maybe one day I could write it again…
  • iPhone – Objective C – Um… not a chance.  Reminded me sorta of my C++ days.  Don’t think I’d go back along that route.

Now that I’m on my own, I can finally look into building my Windows Phone apps that I’ve wanted to build for awhile.  But I gotta give the Windows Phone Mobile Smackdown veterans –  Samidip Basu, Jeff Fansler, and Jeff Blankenburg – a lot of credit.  That would be nerve-wracking to be live coding in front of a large group.   However, it did inspire me to get moving on some of these apps.

After Mobile Smackdown, a group of us caught lunch at Niko’s Southside Grill.  I had the avgolemono and stuffed grape leaves, which were delicious.

After lunch, I caught a couple more sessions.  Seeing StudioShell in action in Jim Christopher‘s presentation gave me some food for thought. It’s neat to see navigation of Visual Studio projects with PowerShell.  I also caught Kevin Griffin‘s jQuery Mobile talk, which showed how simple it was to use attributes to easily create a mobile version of a website.

By the end of Kevin’s session, I was truly exhausted.  I stopped at Chattanooga Cupcakes, based on a friend’s recommendation.  The red velvet cupcake I had was delicious, and I picked up a peanut butter & chocolate cupcake for another friend.  After cupcakes, I headed over to St. John’s Meeting Place to meet up with some friends for dinner.  Their Caprese salad with fresh heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella that melted in my mouth was to die for.

After dinner, I figured I’d get things on their chargers and start packing.  Instead, I fell asleep as soon as I made it back to my room.  I think the exhaustion of the week finally caught up with me.

Overall, it was a great week.  I learned a lot of stuff that I can apply to my new adventures.  I enjoyed my time with new and old friends, especially those who I only see at these events.  I look forward to devLINK 2012 and what lies ahead!

devLINK 2011 Recap – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 3

Standing room only at 8am… what a way to wake up!  Thanks to all of you who attended my “Develop IT – Intro to PowerShell” talk at 8am.  It was great to share my love of PowerShell and how to get started with those who wanted to learn more.  We started at the basics and then looked at some PowerShell building blocks.  My second session was less attended, but those who were there asked questions that showed they were interested.  We looked at script versus binary versus manifest versus dynamic modules.  Code samples were written in both C# and PowerShell.  Thanks to all of you who attended, and especially thanks to those who left feedback.  I’ve read through the feedback and look forward to expanding on these talks.  As I mentioned, there are some great resources for working with PowerShell:

The music video that I kicked off both sessions with was Highway to PowerShell – Part IV – A New Hope, as performed by Sean Kearney, a.k.a. energizedtech on Twitter:

In the afternoon, I caught my friend Michael Eaton‘s “Going Independent” talks.  Since I’m just starting out on my own with Cleveland Tech Consulting, LLC, I wanted to hear it from him and others as to what are some things I may need to account for.  While I may have talked with some of my friends who are company owners and independent consultants, I still wanted to see what I may have missed.  I learned a lot about myself and my decisions for going forward, including trusting my instinct and not being afraid to walk away if something doesn’t seem right.

Since I left the hotel in a hurry that morning, I needed to take the evening off to bounce back from my rushed morning.  I caught dinner with a group of friends – including Jeff x 3 (Jeff Blankenburg, Jeff Fansler, and Jeff McWherter) and a few others – at The Terminal Brewhouse.  Pizza π Rolls and Mr. Frog’s Super Happy Fun Journey are both very tasty appetizers.

It was also great that Jeff McWherter brought some of his Gravity Works Design & Development employees with him to devLINK.  I really enjoyed hanging out with them!

After dinner, I spent some of the evening hanging out with friends and the rest just resting.  It’s been a great event so far, and I’m already eager to see what devLINK 2012 will have in store for us!

devLINK 2011 Recap – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 2

After spending time with friends yesterday, I needed to take the morning off to catch up on my talks.  After reading my abstracts, I realized that my first presentation wasn’t setup right – it was more setup for a .NET developer user group and not purely intro level.  I reworked that talk to be purely intro level, in hopes that it’d be well-received.  I ran through both talks to make sure that they’d be fine for Thursday morning.  After catching lunch with one of my friends named Jeff, I made my way to the convention center.

Now I noticed on the devLINK site that there was something about the FREE Electric Shuttle through downtown.  Riding it reminded me of my days of riding the local buses here in Cleveland long ago.  It was nice to walk right across the driveway to catch the shuttle and take it to the convention center.

Once at the convention center, I figured out the lay of the land, visited with some of the sponsors including checking out the ComponentOne booth, and headed into a couple sessions.  The first session I caught was “Making (More) Money with Phone 7” by Russell Fustino of GrapeCity.  I enjoyed seeing some tips and tricks for marketing apps on the Windows Phone marketplace – including tips for trial apps, globalization, and other ways to get your app noticed. I was really excited to see the  Runtime Intelligence Service instrumentation in action – some of my friends are at PreEmptive Solutions, which is around the corner from me in Cleveland. The second session I caught was “Managing the mentoring process”, facilitated by Randy Walker.  It was a great discussion with those attending the session on mentoring versus teaching versus managing and what our experiences have taught us.  I really enjoyed this discussion.

At the end of the day, a group of friends stopped for dinner before catching some of the attendee party at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel.  We ended up at Urban Stack – which specializes in burgers.  The Italian burger with sweet potato fries was messy, yet delicious.   Afterwards, I spent some time winding down by playing games with some of my friends.  Overall, it’s been a fun experience so far.

devLINK 2011 Recap – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 1

While planning for devLINK this year, I figured that I’d get there a day early to meet up with friends for lunch, maybe catch a summit in the afternoon, and then head to the VIP dinner on Tuesday. Well some of that happened and some didn’t – for me, meeting up with friends started with meeting up with Kevin Griffin in Atlanta, before our flight from ATL to CHA. We had breakfast before our flight and then, once settled into the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, we met up with friends and headed to The Terminal Brewhouse for lunch.

After catching lunch with friends, a group of us met up and played Killer Bunnies in the hotel lobby. There ended up not being a summit this devLINK, so we just hung out instead. Eventually, we moved on to the VIP dinner at Blue Orleans. It was great to discover that one of the guys I worked with in college – Travis Smith – was also speaking at devLINK – great chance to catch up with him. If there’s something this day showed me, it’s that Chattanooga has food places to find and enjoy and that this week will involve good times with friends.

Cleveland GiveCamp 2011 – Sadukie’s Tales, Part 3 – This One Time At GiveCamp…

This past weekend, I saw how my project managing skills would fare at Cleveland GiveCamp.  First of all, if you aren’t familiar with GiveCamp, check out GiveCamp.org for a basic explanation.  Now for a basic overview of Cleveland GiveCamp, check out this post from Bob at Simplex-IT or even this video made by my favorite IT guy (my husband!):

As I mentioned, I had to manage 2 projects this year – a new website for ASL Advocates and a revamped website for the American Indian Education Center.  In both cases, our clients wanted sites that were easy to maintain.

I have to give a shoutout to my teams – they were awesome.  I got my team assignments on Friday night, and after giving them the notecards I made based on my discussions with the non-profits, I found them to be strong, self-organizing teams.  I walked away for the first standup, and when I got back, I found out that one team had relocated and the other was fine where they were.

Team ASL Advocates included Aoirthoir an Broc, Dave Shah, and Matthew Fousek.  Team American Indian Education Center included Kevin Solorio, Dan Schultz, Marco F Sanchez Chaires, and Gabe Keith.  Both of these teams were great to look after, as I really didn’t have a lot of heavy lifting for either team.  This allowed me to help Team AHRC with their Dreamhost DNS issues and Team Cleveland Rape Crisis Center with their SQL Server issues.  I also got to meet Adam Ryder, one of the GravityWorks guys who really enjoys GiveCamps.  He came in from Lansing, and this was his third GiveCamp this year.

I am very proud of my teams and their work.  Dave and Matt went out to take pictures of A-S-L being signed.  Matt’s hands really brought some life to the ASL Advocates logo on their page.  Gabe really rocked out his designer skills on the AIEC page and even had his daughter – a mini-designer – follow him out one day.  It was great to have a designer on at least one of the teams.

So without further ado, here are my teams’ pages:

ASL Advocates: http://asladvocates.org

American Indian Education Center: http://americanindianeducationcenter.org

I have to also give a shoutout to Kate Hawk and Pat Wolansky at Cinecraft.  They wanted to get involved with GiveCamp and help somehow.  They donated their video talents to one non-profit this year, and ASL Advocates happened to be the beneficiary of that.  They worked on a super short timeline… talked with ASL on Thursday, met at their offices Friday, shot the segment Saturday, and then video edited and had a video ready for us by early Sunday afternoon.  In the GiveCamps I’ve been to in the past, I’ve never seen a donation as awesome as this.  Kate and Pat were a pleasure to work with, and I would highly recommend doing business with them in the future.  You can see their promotional video here:

And to Sherrie Z. of Kiddie City Euclid – one of our 2010 Cleveland GiveCamp projects – thank you for coming out to help in the kitchen and help with snacks.  It’s always good to see when our non-profits come back to help.  This is truly what a community is about – offering our skills to help each other succeed and make it in the world.  Thank you!

Words can’t explain how awesome Cleveland’s community is for stepping up to help 22 non-profits over the weekend.  From organizers to sponsors to staff and volunteers, this event couldn’t have happened without everyone’s involvement.  This year’s Cleveland GiveCamp is yet another reason why Cleveland rocks!

Special thanks to the places that gave us a home this weekend – LeanDog and Burke Lakefront Airport!  Without you guys, we wouldn’t have such great “home”s during Cleveland GiveCamp.  And what other GiveCamp can make the claim of taking place both on a boat and at an airport?  None other than Cleveland!  Again… more reasons why Cleveland rocks!

This one time, at GiveCamp, I really had a lot of fun meeting new friends and seeing old friends.  I am overwhelmed by how supportive Cleveland is of its non-profit community and just who made an impact.