Central Ohio Day of .NET Recap

If I could remember Brian H. Prince‘s name for it, that’d be in the title instead of “Central Ohio Day of .NET, as it sounded cooler 😉

On the Location

Anyhow, this weekend I was at Central Ohio Day of .NET down in Wilmington. For those of you not familiar with Ohio, Wilmington is between the three hosting groups’ cities – Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus. The location was easy to get to, right off the highway. I drove down Saturday morning from my brother’s apartment in Columbus, and it was a straight shot down I-71. Easy highway access, easy to spot from the highway, and not bad of a ride from those hosting it – great location, for the most part. Trying to find pizza late at night in the middle of the nowhere, well that’s a different story.

Just Arriving…

After the long ride down, I pulled into the lot and noticed two guys getting out of their cars in front of me. I reached to the passenger seat and pulled out the infamous picture and looked up and at the pic and at the guy and at the pic. Sure enough, I got there at the same time as my buddy Michael Eaton and Dan Hounshell. I called my buddy Mike Slade from the Cleveland group, since I knew from Twitter that he was already down there, and I found out where to go. After checking in, Mike and I walked around and checked out the area and eventually sat at a table. That’s when I took the infamous pic out and went up to Mike Eaton and introduced myself. (Yes, once again, @sadukie pulled the pic on @mjeaton. This time, in real life!)

Eventually, Joe Fiorini made it in and joined Mike at our table. As we were chatting about our presentations for Cleveland and the speaker submissions, we would make note of who walked by and what they were presenting on. Joe made sure to introduce himself to the speakers so that they’d know he was our speaker coordinator here in Cleveland. The badges were a bit tough to read as people walked by, but you knew who was a speaker by the “Speaker” at the bottom of the badge. You could barely read a first name, but the last name was like trying to read legal fine print whenever someone would walk by. You almost had to hope that you’d seen a picture of them online to recognize a person.

Speaking of recognizing people by picture, I finally met the infamous Corey Haines. As he walked towards our table, I picked him out easily. It’s funny though that it took a trip down south to finally meet – he lives up here in the Cleveland area! This was the first time he was not on the Absent list for a Cleveland committee meeting, although it wasn’t technically an official meeting.

Shortly after meeting up with Corey, our group broke up and went to the sessions.

Morning Sessions

The first session I went to was Michael Eaton’s presentation on Castle ActiveRecord and cutting down on writing CRUD. I really enjoyed his presentation, and I’m saying that from the attendee perspective. I do a lot of database work in my day job, and I could easily see Castle ActiveRecord being used by us. Mike had a great example of an expense program written in the n-Tier style – including a business logic layer and a data access layer. Then, with the magic of Castle ActiveRecord, those layers disappeared. I think he did a great job of using the projects as examples, as they really showed ActiveRecord’s abilities well. At the after after party, I talked with Mike about a few things to change, but overall, this was a great presentation!

The second session I went to was Jay Wren‘s presentation on Boo and DSL. I had never heard of Boo, so I was curious to see what it was about. I also had heard little about domain-specific languages, so I wanted to see what I could learn in his presentation. It was interesting to see silly things like “duck typing” (which I understood because we have it in IronPython) and “IQuackFoo”.* Having people like Josh Holmes and Joe O’Brien in the audience made the presentation even more interesting, as they had more knowledge on the topic and could add in comments and questions along the way.

The third session I went to was on F#, co-presented by Amanda Laucher and James Bender. Since their presentation was close to lunch, they did what they could to keep it short but still show us all the neat things that the functional language F# has to offer – including not only shrinking the code but also allowing the fewer lines to show up on a slide in a bigger font 😉 Although there was a lot of Twittering in this session, it still was very interesting and well-presented.


For lunch, they had boxed lunches of turkey or Italian sandwiches, potato salad, a pickle, a cookie, and a can of pop (yeah, we were still in Ohio, so we can still call it pop). I only ate half of my sandwich, but that was because I had other things on my mind at that point. However, the conversation at the table was great!

I sat at a table with Brian H. Prince, Mike Slade, Dave Smith (I hope I got that right), Jeff McWherter, Corey Haines, Dan Hounshell, and Mike Eaton. (I hope I didn’t leave anyone off.)

Afternoon Sessions

I was set on seeing Darrell Hawley‘s presentation on IronPython right after lunch. Originally, I was planning just to spy on the presentation and make note of what not to cover for my talk in Cleveland. But after introducing myself to him after the presentation and talking with him a little, I learned that I’d be the only one for IronPython. So I will be changing my presentation ideas and working on one similar to his for Cleveland Day of .NET. He covered the good and bad of IronPython, and it was neat to see IronPython working inside a Visual Studio environment, as I’ve been struggling with it for awhile. However, seeing him work in that environment also made me appreciate working in the ipy console, as the Intellisense was being extremely non-Intelli.

After IronPython, I needed a break. I was feeling overwhelmed from meeting all these new people and hearing all these cool things on various technologies. I figured an hour break should give me enough time to settle down and find my groove. As I walked out of IronPython, I ran into Mike Eaton and Dan Hounshell again. They were headed out to Open Spaces on “Beyond Bullet Points”, with the intention of closing it down when no one showed up so that they could see another presentation. I figured it’d be a good time to wind down – a short BS session and then a real break while they went to the other presentation. But instead, the open space happened with an amazing group of people – mostly speakers but a couple of attendees as well. Instead of sticking to just BBP, we also talked of Presentation Zen and general questions on presentations and presenters as well. I will be writing another blog post on this, so more on this probably tomorrow.

The last session of the day, I went to hear Brian H. Prince’s talk on “Soft Skillz”. Now he had a swag guy in his talk – a guy who handed out swag to participants during the talk. When I heard Brian say his name, a bell rang in my head. His swag guy was Jon Kruger, who happened to be a classmate of mine (either Dr. Ledgard’s or Dr. Dorf’s data structures classes) at the University of Toledo when I was in the Computer Science and Engineering department (my first two years). I got the chance to talk with him after the session, so I’m glad that I can stop wondering if that was him.

Brian’s presentation was very entertaining to be in. He talked of some valuable points – from having mentors to illegal topics in the workplace to problem solving. He encouraged audience participation, and he managed to keep us engaged. However, he also likes to talk (and they told me he was quiet?!?) and went a little over on his presentation. I wish he had more time, as the slides he rushed through at the end looked like they had some great stories behind them.

The After Party

After the sessions and end of the day giveaways, many people ended up at the Max & Erma’s at the conference center. It was a great chance for us to wind down and chat with everyone. I really enjoyed meeting up with some of my friends, and I’m glad we had other people join our table. Yes, the Cleveland crew is quite a sociable group 🙂

At dinner, we had MichaelDotNet Michael Letterle, Mike Eaton, Mike Slade, Joe Fiorini, Corey Haines, and myself. Eventually, we added John Boker (don’t know if I spelled that right) and Leon Gersing to the table. It was an excellent time to just wind down and relax a little before the after after party. (Thanks to Jim Holmes for the appetizers!)

The After After Party : Poker .NET (Newbies Encouraged to Try)

Jeff Blankenburg hosted a poker tournament that evening. It was a great chance to socialize and relax and just have fun. For not having played Texas Hold’Em since the big blackout, I was glad that I could eventually follow it. Special thanks goes out to Matt Casto, James Bender, Dave Redding, and Mike Eaton for being patient and showing a rusty player like me the ropes. I ended up being the 3rd person to leave my table (out of 8) and it was awesome. To the guys who were going all in pre-flop to leave the game, that didn’t seem to work well at our table. More often than not, that person would win or those people would split the pot, depending on the case. There were definitely a lot of laughs (something about changing Dave’s chips so he had all the pink chips was quite amusing), and I’m glad I had the chance to go 🙂 Jeff definitely knows how to put on a great after-event event!

Final Thoughts

Special thanks to all those who made the event happen. It takes a lot of hard work and great team work to pull something like this off, and it’s definitely been a great experience!

I met a lot of people this weekend, some who I haven’t mentioned or linked to yet. This is definitely a great community to be a part of, and I’m glad I’ve had the chance to not only go to the Day of .NET but to also meet an amazing and talented group of people. Many of us had chatted before on Twitter, and it was nice to finally meet them in person. I’m still very excited about this past weekend, and I know that when I go to lunch tomorrow with my programmers crew, they probably will be telling me to slow down, breathe, eat, and then tell them more. It has been an exciting and memorable weekend, and now I must do all I can so that Cleveland’s Day of .NET is just as awesome!

* Being from a family that used a duck in a company logo, I find great humor in the duck terms.

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