Central Ohio Day of .NET this weekend!

The past couple months have been crazy, between wrapping up things for the year at one of my clients and the overall craziness of parenthood, that I forgot to mention – I’m presenting on PowerShell 3.0 this weekend at Central Ohio Day of .NET (CODODN) in Columbus!

What I love about this conference is that it’s purely technical, no soft skills.  If you want a great soft skills conference in the area, check out Kalamazoo X.  However, if you’re looking for super affordable .NET training, CODODN is a great opportunity!  The speakers include published authors, MVPs, Microsofties, and those who are active in the community.  The content is all over the board – including web (HTML5, ASP.NET, JS), cloud (Azure), desktop (Windows 8, XAML), overall (BDD, application security, deployment strategies), embedded (Gadgeteering), and backend (MSMQ, VMs, PowerShell).

Tickets are free or $10.  If you don’t mind giving your email and name to sponsors, then get a free ticket.  Otherwise, if you don’t want to give your email and name to sponsors, pay $10 for the ticket.  Either way, those prices make those tickets a steal – especially if you consider the content and the speakers.

If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, (updated 12/4/2012 9:40pm) it looks like you may be missing this awesome conference, as tickets are SOLD OUT!

Hope to see you there!

Debugging Tools in Web Browsers – 9/15 Presentation Recap

On September 15, I had the privilege to speak at the WebSIGCleveland.org September meeting on debugging things in the browser using native developer tools.  You can find my presentation here:

Debugging Tools in Web Browsers

The main thing I hope people got out of my presentation is that browsers nowadays do come with decent web developer tools out-of-the-box.  I didn’t show Firebug, Colorzilla, or any other add-on that I may use, as I wanted to show the natural power of browsers’ debugging tools.

And for those who saw the second impromptu presentation afterwards, if you want me to blog about the behind-the-scenes of Cleveland Tech Events, leave me a comment here and I’ll post about it!

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.


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!

Submitting Talks, New and Old…

Earlier this week, I was talking with my a few speaker friends on submitting talks for conferences – as I’m specifically looking at submitting talks for:

Strategies in Submitting Talks

It’s interesting to hear some of their strategies. Some of my friends will submit all of their talks that they can do, in hopes of at least one getting picked. Some only submit talks that they’re interested in doing. Some submit talks that they’ve given over and over for the past few years. Some submit talks that they haven’t given yet but would like to give. There’re all sorts of strategies throughout my friends’ speaking submissions.

Preparing to Submit Talks for Multiple Conferences

This morning, I spent time updating my presentation topics and abstracts page. I’ve retired yet another talk, as the technologies have changed and my interests have changed. I’ve also created a new talk, inspired by my recent experiences and research.

I’ve submitted 3 of my talks to CodeMash this morning. One of my talks is brand new, but I think it would fit well with CodeMash and the topics that have appeared in the past and that are still trending. The other 2 talks I’ve given in various forms – separately and mashed together – at user groups and other events. I’ve had fellow community members ask me if I would be giving {insert a topic or presentation here} at {insert a conference here}, and every time I hear people asking for a presentation, I make note of it and try to include it in my submissions. Since CodeMash’s sessions are 60 minutes, I submitted these talks in their whole forms rather than the mashed together version.

By the end of today, I will have my submissions in for Ann Arbor Day of .NET, which happens at the end of October. I’ve got one submission in so far due to requests from the community to submit a talk, but I hope to get at least one more in, possibly my new talk if they’re interested. We’ll see how that goes.

Central Ohio Day of .NET’s call for speakers isn’t open yet. However, they’ve announced their date, which makes it easy for me to check my availability and possibly submit talks. Since I’m already in that groove for submitting talks, it makes it a little easier in determining what I want to submit to Central Ohio Day of .NET.

My Personal Strategies

For me, I’m glad to see all of these Calls for Speakers at once, because then I can get what I want to talk about figured out and submitted all around the same time. These are some of the things I think about when I submit talks to conferences:

  • Is the topic something I’m passionate about? If it isn’t something I’m passionate about, then I’m not delivering the talk. For me as an attendee, I hate going to presentations that are given by a passionless speaker. If they don’t have that positive energy and aren’t excited about the technology, I’m not easily sold on why I should be interested in their topics or ideas. As a speaker, I find that it’s a lot easier to prepare and give a talk on something I’m passionate about. As a speaker, I also tend to notice the attendees engaging more and asking more questions when I show that I’m interested in the topic.
  • Is the topic relevant to the conference? If it isn’t relevant to the conference, I’m not submitting it.
  • Are the technologies/strategies in this presentation still relevant? If the technologies or strategies in a talk are outdated, I look to see (1) if they have been updated, (2) if I am still passionate about the updates, and (3) if they’re worth continuing to present on.
  • Is there public interest in this topic? If there isn’t interest in a topic, then there aren’t people to listen to it or to converse with about it, which means there is no point in delivering this presentation.

I don’t think twice about submitting new talks – every talk I’ve given was a new talk at one point in time. Most of the time, I try to debut talks at a smaller event – be it in an office environment for a lunch’n’learn, at a local user group, or at a developer community event.


There are different strategies out there for submitting talks to conferences. My advice is find what works for you and stick with it. Do you have any strategies or advice on submitting talks that you’d like to share? Leave a comment here!

This one time, at Pittsburgh Code Camp…

This past weekend, I had the privilege to speak at Pittsburgh Code Camp 2011.1 at Robert Morris University in Moon Township, PA. The talk I was scheduled to give was “Three’s Company – Writing for the Desktop, the Browser, and the Phone”. This is my tips and tricks for choosing WPF or Silverlight and writing as little code as possible for apps on all 3 platforms. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties – blue screens of death and random rebooting of the demo’s VM and video card corruption issues on the laptop – the code wasn’t shown. There will be code coming up after Stir Trek, so in the next couple weeks.

The slide deck is available here.

(Note: This is the second time I’ve had technical difficulties with this talk, so it is getting shelved until after the code is blogged about and things are looking better.)

While I was there, I did get a chance to meet the organizers – Eric Kepes, John Hidey, and David Hoerster. These guys are driving many of the events in the Pittsburgh area and could always use more help! I’m looking forward to joining them again July 15-17th for their first Pittsburgh GiveCamp. I also got to learn about a website called BrainCredits, a great way of tracking your conferences, user group events, and other technical training participation. This site is in BETA, but we’re still going to try it out for this year’s Stir Trek. David Hoerster is one of the people behind it.

I sat through Matt Groves‘ talk on Project Euler, scheduled at the last minute due to a cancellation. If it had been better publicized, it would’ve been better attended. I enjoyed the talk!

I also enjoyed sitting in John Baird‘s Windows Phone LOB talk, as it was nice to see a LOB app on the Windows Phone and not some toy app. He will be blogging on some of the things he talked about, so catch his blog here: http://blog.xamlware.com/

The session though that my husband and I both really enjoyed together was Matt Stultz‘s “.NET in the Physical World”, where he talked of Hack Pittsburgh, netduinos, arduinos, weather balloons, LEDs, and how to control a tri-color LED through a circuit and *gasp* some C# code. But it’s so simple! So cool! My husband has been tinkering with an arduino for awhile – he set it up to poll some temperature sensors so that we could monitor the temperature in the house while we’re away, so that we can see if it gets too hot for our chinchillas. This was a session that he could relate to, and it got a lot of coolness points in my book.

Overall, I’m glad I went to Pittsburgh Code Camp! It was a great opportunity for me to see some of my friends from the community – including Rich Dudley and Joel Cochran. It was also great to meet some of the developers in Pittsburgh’s developer community. I look forward to attending more of their events in the future!

Whatcha talkin’ about? April Edition

Now that the book is mostly finished, I have some free time again, which means I’m back in the community!  This month, I’ve got two speaking engagements that I’m really looking forward to – one on PowerShell and one on code sharing across platforms.

Cleveland C#/VB.NET SIG  – Tuesday, April 26th, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

This month, I’ll be speaking on PowerShell and specifically how it relates to developers.  Since many developers may have only heard of PowerShell in passing, I’ll briefly give an intro to what the language is, what it looks like, and why a developer would be interested in it.  The rest of the presentation will focus on the developer side of things – how to write custom cmdlets and modules and possibly touch on providers, if time allows.

Pittsburgh Code Camp 2011.1 – Saturday, April 30th

I also received confirmation that I’ll be speaking at Pittsburgh Code Camp.  This time, I’ll be delivering my talk on developing code for 3 Windows platforms – Browser, Desktop, and Phone.  This will cover some tips and tricks for writing minimal code to work across all three platforms.

I hope to see some of you at these events!

Summer Speaking Engagements

It looks like I’ll have a busy summer, as I’ve received confirmation over the past couple months on some of my talks.

So if you’ve missed some of my talks, some of them are getting redelivered and some new ones are coming out.  Below are some of my confirmed talks for the summer.


In addition to helping with publicity, I’ve got two talks for PyOhio this year.  This first talk was set to debut later this summer, but it looks like PyOhio will get to hear it first.

A Lap Around IronPython

It’s not just C# and VB.NET that can be used in WinForms, WPF, Silverlight, and ASP.NET. You could also use IronPython! In this session, you will get a quick overview of IronPython and a look into using it with each of the following: WinForms, WPF, Silverlight, and ASP.NET.

The other talk I’m delivering at PyOhio is one that I’ve delivered in other places – including Cincinnati and Dayton this past February.  

Python 101 for the .NET Developer

The first part of the session will cover the basics of Python – its history, how its data structures compare to those we’re familiar with in the primary .NET languages, its strong and weak points, who’s using it, and why you as a developer – both generally speaking and as a .NET developer – should care about Python. The second part of the session will get into the demos – starting with some basic Python scripts and getting into IronPython scripts, if time allows. By the end of this session, you’ll have an idea of what Python is, why you should know it as a developer and specifically as a .NET developer, and how to get setup and write a basic app in both Python and IronPython.



I was a little hesitant about submitting talks to devLink this year after being bit by the demo gods last year.  But after talking with friends, I submitted a few talks – for the previous year’s devLink, I had submitted something around 5 talks and got 1 accepted.  This year, I submitted 5 talks and managed to get 4 accepted. As you’ll notice, I’m not focused on just one topic – welcome to my world, where I need to know all of these things.

This first talk is an updated version of my talk from Kalamazoo X 2009, with more of a business twist, to apply social networking to your careers.

Social Networking Made Simple

Whether it’s meeting like-minded individuals to talk tech with or connecting with people to hopefully find a job lead in this economy, social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can help boost your career and expand your knowledge. We will look at examples of how people use these tools to get ahead and how you can learn from their experiences and apply their lessons to your life.

The second talk is for those of you who may run your own websites and need to understand analytics.

A Webmaster’s Guide to Web Analytics

As a web developer, it’s nice to see when your site comes together and works well. But have you wondered which pages were getting hit a lot? What about those pages that used to be on your site that are no longer there? Do you have relationships with other websites and want to find out who’s generating traffic to your site? In this session, you will learn the base metrics that come in most web analytics packages and what they mean to you as a web developer. You will also get to see output from some of the popular analytics packages in use and learn more on what might be right for your site.

The talk that is debuting at PyOhio was also accepted for devLink, so if you miss it there, you can see it here too.

A Lap Around IronPython

It’s not just C# and VB.NET that can be used in WinForms, WPF, Silverlight, and ASP.NET. You could also use IronPython! In this session, you will get a quick overview of IronPython and a look into using it with each of the following: WinForms, WPF, Silverlight, and ASP.NET.

Finally, I’ll be showing off how a tool that some people see as an IT tool can actually be used by us developers as well, which could make our IT team’s lives a bit easier with our help.

PowerShell for Developers

PowerShell is a powerful .NET language that bridges the IT and developer realm. Come to this session to see how PowerShell can be used to benefit the developer’s side of things and possibly make IT professionals a little more appreciative of their developers. We’ll start with a few basic scripts to get a feel for the syntax, and from there, look into how we can use PowerShell in our day-to-day tasks – including scripting out website settings in your dev environment for your IT to deploy to live servers or having a quick way to do things like test regular expressions and get assembly information for those DLLs that you are using in your projects. In the end, we’ll look at how to build and use your own custom PowerShell modules in your development projects.

These are the talks confirmed for the summer conferences so far.  I hope to see you at some of them!

Coding Geekette’s Goals for 2009

I was catching up on RSS feeds when I noticed that I was tagged to write another post. So you guys can thank Jeff for getting me to post some of my goals for 2009.

Grow Cleveland Tech Events.

This was a site that I launched in October, and I’m hoping to get it to take off in 2009. The more I get involved in the Cleveland technical community, the more people I talk to, the more publicity this site gets. Not familiar with it yet? Check out the website or follow @clevtechevents on Twitter.

Give more presentations.

It all started at Cleveland Day of .NET 2008, and I’m slowly making my rounds on SQL 2008 and IronPython, separately. I’m hoping to add a Mono presentation to the mix. A list of my current presentations can be seen here. My general focuses in 2009 will be on databases, social networking, and web development. I have a goal of 12 presentations, but I plan on exceeding that.

Talk more about IronPython.

I started tinkering with this language for fun in 2008, and I hope to get a bit more serious about it in 2009. I’ve already presented on it at CodeMash. I’m scheduled to speak about it at PyCon. It’s also been suggested that I possibly present on IronPython at PyOhio. The more people tell me they want to hear about it, the more likely I’ll have awesome demos and a lot more energy in my presentations. If you want to hear me speak on IronPython, email me at sarah at codinggeekette dot com.

Grow this blog.

Almost a year ago, I started blogging here, starting my first technical blog. Over 100 posts later, my post count and RSS subscriber count are at about a 1:1 ratio. This year, I would like to gain more readers. In order to do that, I hope to have more posts with code and interesting examples. There isn’t a concrete goal yet, but give me a few days and I’ll come back and edit that in here.

Breathe easier.

After a year of unknown health problems, I finally got a diagnosis. So in 2009, my goal is to get better control of my disease and hopefully start breathing easier. With the help of specialists and hopefully rehab, this can happen.

Calling out others…

Just as Jeff did, I am calling out some others to post their goals for 2009: