Jeff’s Election Prediction Contest

For those of you who’ve seen Brian Prince‘s “Soft Skillz” talks, you’ll know that politics is one of those topics that shouldn’t be talked about among certain audiences. However, Jeff Blankenburg has decided to hold a contest that deals with politics.

MSNBC has a neat WPF app that you can use to make predictions for this year’s election. Jeff is holding a contest to see who’ll have the closest predictions. You could win a Zune, Visual Studio 2008, or even Vista Ultimate. If you want to know more about his contest, check out his blog post on it!

What’s My Name Again?

When many people first meet me and see my last name, they become so intimidated. I can’t blame them, honestly. “Dutkiewicz” is a Polish last name that’s pronounced nothing like how it looks, which makes it very intimidating. But like I tell everyone who’s run up to my name, I’ve always had an easily mispronounced last name, and I’m actually fairly easy-going about it.

So, Sarah, how do you pronounce your last name?

I’m not going to break out the pronunciation guide with the here.

Software Freedom Day – Cleveland 2008 Recap

Yesterday, I had the privilege to present at Software Freedom Day – Cleveland on python, what it is, and who’s using it. I was hoping to get more in detail with my presentation, but other circumstances wouldn’t let me get that in depth. Therefore, I will have more posts here hopefully over the next couple weeks getting into python a little more for those interested.

When I signed up for the event, I knew only a handful of people there. Some of the guys (like Michael Letterle and Joe Fiorini) help me on the Cleveland Day of .NET planning committee. Joseph James Frantz, the lead organizer of this event, had heard my IronPython talk and wanted me to come and speak here at his event. I also knew Mat Kovach, as I usually see him running around with my buddy Martin Hebrank.

Upon my arrival at Gemini Center, I was greeted by Joe Frantz and met up with the guys who were already there. I also met Seth Keiper and Andy Halko. Joe gave a great keynote explaining what FOSS is and what Cleveland has going for it. After his keynote, Mike Masello talked about Firefox, or as his talked was called “The World’s Best Browser”. He went into various add-ons for it, and I would have loved to hear more about what he’s found.

After their talks, I went to hear Joe Fiorini’s presentation on Git and Github. I’m locked into a Source Safe world, so it was interesting to see what another source control program could do.

We had pizza, wings, salad, cookies, and pop for lunch. After lunch, I ducked into a presentation on VirtualBox. Being stuck on Vista Home Premium, which doesn’t support Virtual PC, I was a little cranky since I hadn’t wanted to get into VMware and just hadn’t had time to look at other options, but I missed working with a virtual PC, like I do sometimes at work. It was nice to see Seth’s presentation and after finding out that there’s a Windows client, it’s given me hope that I can do virtualization without having to upgrade Vista.

After Seth’s talk, I sat through Joe Frantz’s talk on Puppy Linux, another linux distro that can be boot off of media and run from memory. It’s nice when you want to toy around with a barebones linux setup without having to install it on your computer.

I missed Mike’s Microsoft and Open Source presentation, but I was able to double check the last few details on my slides. I also enjoyed talking COBOL with Joe Frantz. It was my first time seeing the language – business CS students would see it, but being an engineer, I wasn’t exposed to it.

My presentation was at the end of the day, and it went off without troubles for the most part. I wish I could’ve gone into more detail with python, especially since I had an audience of developers. Since I had to cut my presentation due to personal issues, I’ll have to make up for it in blog posts.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I’m glad I took the day off of work to present and attend this event. It was a diverse crowd – many of Cleveland’s technical groups were represented. For an event that was put together in such a short amount of time, I found it to be very well done, and I’m eager to see what they’ll pull off next year.

So… mark your calendars… October 30 & 31, 2009 – Software Freedom Day – Cleveland returns! Hope to see you there!

Introducing Cleveland Tech Events…

I’d like to introduce Cleveland Tech Events. Cleveland has a very widespread technical community, but I’ve found that a lot of people haven’t heard of the other groups in the area. In an effort to bring the groups together so that we can have a wider audience to get event information out, I’ve set up this site.

I’ve got an RSS feed setup for its front page, and you can subscribe here. All posts will also show up on Twitter as the user clevtechevents.

If you know of a group that isn’t listed in the resources links on the site, please get me the group’s name and their website address so that I can add them. If you want to be able to add your group’s information on your own, sign up for an account and let me know so that I can set you up with the ability to post your group’s events and other news. And if you want to get your information out there but don’t want to sign up for an account, please email me the information and I’ll get it up there.

Please spread the word and let’s show the other communities what happens when all the technical user groups get together and work as a united community! Check out Cleveland Tech Events for the latest news and events from the various groups throughout the community.

October 30 – VB.NET/C# SIG Meeting on Live Mesh

How many of you are familiar with Live Mesh? If you aren’t familiar with it, you should check it out. Better yet, go check out Jeff Blankenburg’s blog, as he enjoys talking about Live Mesh.

Or better yet… come on out to the next Greater Cleveland PC Users Group VB.NET/C# SIG meeting, this coming Thursday, October 30th, where you can hear Jeff talk of the awesomeness known as Live Mesh.

  • What: GCPCUG VB.NET/C# SIG Meeting on Live Mesh
  • Where: Beacon Place Auditorium, Beacon Place Office Building, Lower Level, 6055 Rockside Woods Blvd, Independence, OH 44131
  • When: Thursday, October 30th, 6:30-8:30pm

If you are planning on attending, please check out their site and contact them so that they have a good idea of how much food they’ll need to order.

For those of you who follow the SIGs, this group does go out after their meetings, over to the Winking Lizard. So come on out for the meeting and come out to socialize afterwards! Hope to see you there!

How to Be an Architect, Graphically Speaking

As I mentioned in my Ann Arbor Day of .NET 2008 recap, I was given a marker and was told to write down what people were saying during Brian Prince‘s “How to Be an Architect” talk. Is that really a good idea? We’ll let you decide…

First of all, an architect is…

NOT the Office Space guy

One of the things that Brian mentioned was ArcReady:

Arc Ready

He mentioned that architects have one foot in the technology arena and one foot in the business aspect of things:

Feet in two spots - technology and business

He mentioned that they should not be architects of the ivory tower or that the tower would burn:

Burning ivory tower

He mentioned something about stalking out business on a golf course:

The celery stalks at midnight...

But he said that although architects should still write code, it shouldn’t be put into production.

Leave it to the code monkeys!

There also was some recommended reading:

Architects read.

The whiteboard in the end looked like this:

Sarah + marker + whiteboard = ...

The end.

Side note: Have no fear. I’m not quitting my day job and going into whiteboard note taking. And by my drawings, I hope you guys realize that I’m a developer but nowhere near a designer.

Ann Arbor Day of .NET 2008 Recap

This weekend, I was up in Ann Arbor for Ann Arbor Day of .NET. I arrived there on Friday, where I hung out with a group of friends for a bit before having to head back to the hotel to finish my presentation. Saturday morning, I was up early to look at my presentation one last time, as I had a 9am time slot.

When I arrived, I saw Todd from Domino’s and Chris Roland working the registration table. Once I checked in, I went to find out where my talk was so that I could setup my laptop. I found Dan Rigsby, and since I knew his talk was right after mine, I figured that he was in the right room. We ran into a room assignment problem, but once we got the right room assignment, Dan and I worked on getting the projector setup for our room.

My talk was on the new data types in SQL Server 2008, which was based on a talk that I had given in September at the Ohio North SQL Server SIG. I briefly covered the datetime data types, as I wanted to focus more on hierarchyid, geography, geometry, and filestream. Since Jason Follas was giving his spatial talk, I sent people to see his talk for more detail so that I would have more time to get into hierarchyid and filestream. My slide deck and scripts will probably be made available by the end of this week.

After my talk, I took some pictures of the event and talked with some of the sponsors. From there, I joined a few people downstairs for lunch, where we had an impromptu women in technology discussion.

AutoCollage from my AADODN Collection

After lunch, I had to confirm rumors that Dave Redding photoshopped a picture of me from Cleveland Day of .NET into his presentation. Sure enough, I made it into the last production of the “C# Variety Show” (albeit someone needs to learn to photoshop things a bit more proportionately). Now if you haven’t seen Dave’s presentation before, let’s just say that it isn’t for the sensitive audience. It’s quite sexist and can easily be seen as offensive, but that’s just Dave. Honestly, as bad as it sounds, I really liked how he explained programming concepts in a way that others could relate to it easily. Poor Dave, though, had a tough crowd – quiet food coma after lunch probably didn’t help, but I think more of us were afraid to be heckled. None of us use delegates… none of us use event handlers… and we got Dave mad enough to swear when he asked how many of us clicked a button in Visual Studio. Oops!

The last session I caught was Brian Prince‘s “How to Be an Architect”. He had me help him pass out swag – yay for green Microsoft stress balls! The stupid move though was giving me a marker for the white board and telling me to write down what they were saying. I’ve got pictures from that session, and I will make a separate blogpost specifically for that. If you haven’t seen Brian’s talks before, I’d definitely recommend checking them out. I’m a developer that has to think like an architect every now and then, but I’m better as a dev than an architect. I liked how Brian explained what an architect is and just what it is that they do. His slides in this presentation are in the same style as his “Soft Skillz” talk, which really bring a point across without killing the audience with bullet points.

There were so many sessions there that I’d have loved to have seen. But I haven’t successfully cloned myself to be in multiple places at once, so I will have to attend more events and maybe catch a few more sessions. However, the main reason why I go to these events is to see the people again, and I met a lot of new people and saw a lot of my friends who I’ve met on Twitter and at the various events I’ve attended this year. This was definitely a great event — thanks to all who made it happen!

Cleveland Silverlight Firestarter – November 1st

I’ve been asked to present alongside some Silverlight experts at the Cleveland Silverlight Firestarter on November 1st. This is a free one day event to educate developers on Silverlight. Speakers include John Stockton, Matt Casto, and Jeff Blankenburg. Special thanks goes out to Sam Nasr, leader of the GCPCUG .NET SIG, for getting this planned!

What is a Firestarter?

Firestarters are events geared to developers, introducing them to various technologies. Other firestarter topics include (but are not limited to) ASP.NET MVC, SharePoint, Mobility, and SQL.

Who should attend this?

Anyone who wants to learn more about Silverlight should attend this. This day-long event will start with an intro and progressively get into detail – including XAML basics, the tools, controls & data binding, and server communication.

How does this cost?

Believe it or not… it’s FREE! (Ok… other than having to give up a Saturday for this, it’s FREE of cost.)

Where is this being held?

It’ll be held at the Cleveland Microsoft Office, which is in Independence, OH. Click here for a map of where the office is.

Where do I register for this event?

Click here to register for the Cleveland Silverlight Firestarter! See you there!

Upcoming Tech Events – October 7th – November 8th

I’m going to apologize ahead of time for the lack of code and technical blog posts. I’ve been working on presentations for a couple upcoming events, and I’m looking forward to a lot of others. So, what’re the tech events that are coming up?

ArcReady/MSDN Unleashed

Every now and then, there are Microsoft events that make their way to Cleveland. ArcReady and MSDN Unlimited are two of those events, and together they make a day of the event. These events are coming to Cleveland this Thursday, October 9th. ArcReady is in the morning, and MSDN Unleashed will be in the afternoon. This event is being held at the Microsoft office in Independence. Check out ArcReady registration and MSDN Unleashed registration for more details.

Ohio North SQL SIG Meeting

Allen White has posted the October agenda for the Ohio North SQL SIG meeting on his blog. This month’s meeting is this Thursday, October 9th. This group meets the 2nd Thursday of the month at the Microsoft office in Independence.

Bennett Adelson-sponsored .NET SIG Meeting

The Bennett Adelson-sponsored .NET SIG meeting will go over jQuery on Tuesday, October 14th. This group meets the 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Microsoft office in Independence.

Ann Arbor Day of .NET

I’m looking forward to Ann Arbor Day of .NET for many reasons. Most of all, I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again. I’m also presenting on the SQL 2008 data types. For those who saw my presentation last month, this is not the same presentation. I’ve taken parts from that presentation and expanded the talk a bit more to get into FILESTREAM.

Ann Arbor Day of .NET is being held on Saturday, October 18th at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For those who attended Ann Arbor GiveCamp, this event is at the same campus.

This event is FREE to attend, but registration is advised, as this event will fill up. So register today!

Software Freedom Day

What is Free Software? Do businesses really use it? What are the benefits of it versus the costs of it? Come out and see sessions on various aspects of FOSS and other Free Software concepts at Software Freedom Day on Monday, October 27th, at the Gemini Center in Fairview Park (Cleveland-area). I’ll be speaking on python and all of its goodness. For more information, check out their website at: Hope to see some of you there!

.NET University

Jim Holmes and Jeff Blankenburg have gathered some of the speakers from the community to put on this introduction to .NET that’s being held down in Columbus on Saturday, November 8th. If you know of any junior developers or even developers who are just getting acquainted with .NET, this event is definitely for them. Check out Jim’s entry on it or go straight to the registration page! (Hurry up and register – as there weren’t many seats left from what Jeff said.)

If you have an event going on that you want me to blog about, drop me a message and I’ll make sure to include it in an upcoming post.