So you want to get into speaking? Calls for Speakers…

While I was at CodeMash, I attended an open space on “Getting Started in Speaking”. One of the questions asked was how to find out who’s looking for speakers. Carey Payette mentioned on Twitter that Central Ohio Day of .NET opened their call for speakers. While at CodeMash, we had heard from John Kellar that devLink has opened their call for speakers.

So… if you’re looking to speak in the community, take a look at these links:

PyCon Talks Posted!

The PyCon 2009 team has posted the talks. It looks like they have a little something for everyone.

I will be speaking at PyCon on IronPython (#12 in the talk list). For those who saw my presentation at CodeMash, my presentation at PyCon will be a condensed version of the CodeMash talk.

I am interested in seeing the presentations “Making games in Python – Tools and techniques at CCP” and “Stackless python in EVE, pt. 2”, as I’ve been a huge fan of EVE Online. When I’m not blogging or coding, I can be found mining in game, to help my husband and some of our friends in manufacturing items. One of my side projects currently is to help my husband master the game of “playing spreadsheets”. He’s got an Excel spreadsheet with the cost accounting for some of his manufacturing projects in game, but he recently hooked me up with a database dump, from which I was able to create most of his spreadsheet programmatically.

Looking at the talks list, there is one other IronPython presentation, given by Dino Viehland, the lead developer of IronPython at Microsoft. While I will be presenting what IronPython is at the beginner level (what it is, what you need to run it, some neat things with it), he will be presenting some of the internals of the language. He will also be representing IronPython on the Python VMs Panel. So if you are attending PyCon 2009 and are interested in learning more about IronPython, check out our talks – “Pumping Iron into Python: Intro to FePy” and “IronPython Implementation”.

I hope to meet some of you there!

Dude, I’m Not Getting a Dell – Conclusion

After a lack in communication, several delays, and a reorder, my Dell Mini 9 has arrived.

Dell - Yours is Here

The first thing I did after taking it out of the box was installed Windows 7 on it. So far, I’m extremely impressed – all the drivers loaded nicely, and I haven’t had to do anything special to get it to work. Of a 14GB drive, the operating system took up around 7GB of that. Even with a 1.6 GHz Atom processor and 1GB of memory, I’m not seeing any performance issues so far.

I can’t get over how small this is. As I mentioned last night, if my laptop had a lap, this Mini 9 would be its laptop. This would have been perfect for CodeMash – lightweight, with all the basic features that I would use.

You won’t see me playing EVE Online or any of my graphics intensive games on this. However, you may see me blogging, IMing, Twittering, and even video chatting with this. It has its own built-in camera, making it even easier for me to stay in contact while traveling.

So within my first 24 hours of playing with this, I’m liking it so far. It just stinks that Dell and Adobe dropped the ball and made the process of getting it such a huge ordeal.

Sadukie’s CodeMash Recap

Last Tuesday, I left work early to head out to the Kalahari resort in beautiful Sandusky, Ohio. Although “resort” may make you think of fun in the sun, this was definitely not the case.

Fun in the sun at Kalahari

We had fun in the Nia conference center there, at CodeMash v2.0.0.9.

CodeJam and the other Precompiler (Day 0) Events

CodeMash started on Wednesday with the Precompiler, also known as Day 0. I was part of the team that facilitated the CodeJam, so I spent a lot of the day in the CodeJam room.

We originally had an app set up for people to interact with, but that idea didn’t seem to take off well. However, we had people float in, code, and talk about their experiences. So although it didn’t go as expected, the CodeJam was still a success in one form.

I talked with Corey Haines, and he has some ideas for structuring it differently for next year.

CodeJam in Action

In my break, I did look around to see where some of the other precompiler events were. The Ruby Precompiler event with Joe O’Brien and Jim Weirich seemed well attended.

Ruby Precompiler with Jim Weirich

I would have loved to learn Ruby from those guys or even check out Groovy and Grails or Value Mapping. I heard a lot of attendees speak very well of those sessions.

So overall – loved the idea of the Precompiler, but I wish I would’ve had more time to check out the other sessions. So next year, as long as the Precompiler comes back, I hope to only be an attendee so that I can float more and see more of the awesome offerings.

Day 1

On Day 1, I had a rough start to the day. I made it downstairs in time to catch some of the Open Spaces opening circle. This year’s theme was Techniques *NOT* Tools!, and there were some interesting topics proposed – including community building, getting started speaking, mentoring, pair programming, personal branding, IronPython Tools, effective knowledge sharing, green practices, what is an architect, and pragmatic thinking and learning.

From opening circle, I headed over to room F, to catch the end of Leon Gersing‘s talk on Scriptaculous and Prototype. Once he was finished, then it was time for me to give my talk on IronPython. Some people have heard me talk of IronPython from the Windows realm, but with CodeMash being cross-platform, I ended up taking a different approach. My demos were run from an Ubuntu 8.10 virtual machine. I was able to show how Mono works, and although MonoDevelop was mentioned, it currently supports C#, and there’s nothing in it yet for IronPython. For me, the weirdest part so far about talking about IronPython in a non-Windows environment is seeing Windows Forms working. Although I had a small turnout, I did have an interactive group, and I did talk with some throughout the conference.

After my talk, I got to meet up with some of the women who were attending.

Impromptu WiT Gathering at CodeMash

They’ve told familiar stories, which were interesting to hear.

From there, I floated around, getting some pics of the event. I spent more time wandering and talking with people that afternoon, and I came out learning quite a bit.

Day 2

On Day 2, I started out by talking with John Kellar about my IronPython presentation, for his Edge of Dev series.

From there, I checked out the Open Spaces board to see what the day had in store, as there was one session I had to catch but it wouldn’t be until after lunch.

Open Spaces on “Getting Started on Speaking”

The first Open Space I caught was Alan Barber‘s topic of “Getting Started on Speaking”. Having been speaking for awhile – currently in my second life as a speaker, having been a speaker almost a decade ago for a short time – I figured it’d be interesting to see who else shows up and what words of wisdom we could share with him.

Getting Started Speaking Open Space

Some of the key questions that came out of that Open Space include:

  • How do you decide what to present on? Do you go with what you know or what you want to learn?
  • How do you become aware of events looking for speakers?
  • How do you get started?

Some key points that came out include:

  • Toastmasters can help for getting started in giving presentations.
  • It all comes full-circle to your passion. If you aren’t passionate about a topic, your audience can pick up on that, and that wouldn’t make a good impression of the topic.
  • It’s not about money. As a speaker, you may or may not be compensated for your time. Some things we’ve found to help bring the cost of speaking down include carpooling and couch surfing.
  • The speaker community is always looking for new blood – it gets stale, and with new blood comes new perspective and new topics.
  • Definitely try to find someone who’s already speaking to help guide you through the process and get you into the community. Find a mentor.

After that session, I was introduced to someone who has had many years in the field and has spoken at other events but hasn’t figured out how to get involved in the technical arena. In a case like that, you need to identify a need (which our community definitely has) and then figure out how to get in (like when calls of talks open for local events).

Overall, it seemed like a lot of questions and points were hit upon. However, if anyone has questions on this, I’m always up for talking more about getting into speaking.

Open Spaces on Mentoring

After the Open Space on speaking, I headed over to Rick Kierner‘s “Being and Choosing a Mentor” open space. Over the past few months, I’ve been contemplating joining MentorNet and reading up on mentor/mentee relationships. So when I saw this open space listed, I figured I’d check it out.

Open Space on Mentoring

Some of the guys kept mentioning company-assigned mentor/mentee relationships and how those sometimes work. Although I’ve never worked for a company that has a formal mentoring program, I do see the flaw in having one. There has to be a certain chemistry there for a mentor/mentee relationship to work – if it isn’t there, the relationship is destined to fail. Company-assigned mentor/mentee relationships don’t always have a way of seeing whether the people involved will work well. It’s almost as if they need their own mentoring matchmaker.

One of the guys asked about having multiple mentors, and I had to chime in and mention that one person may not fill all of their needs, so multiple mentors would be needed to do the trick. Of course, I had to mention Brian Prince‘s “Soft Skillz” talk, because he does mention that point as well.

A Programmer’s Guide to User Experience

The one session I absolutely wanted to see was thankfully not scheduled up against my own. I was able to check out Josh Walsh‘s “A Programmer’s Guide to User Experience” after lunch. He talked of wireframes, drawing UIs on paper, and typography, amongst many other aspects involved in developing with a mind for user experience. It was great to see this presentation, as it reminds me that there are other UX people out there and that my way of thinking isn’t as skewed as I think it is.

Final Thoughts

Closing Giveaway

From what I heard about past events, I’m glad that the user IDs weren’t GUIDs. However, even though they used regular numbers as identifiers, they used to generate the winners, and some numbers were called 2-3 times. Our lottery babes prize guys didn’t seem phased by that. Rumor has it that Jay Farrell wrote a program for them to use next year.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the CodeMash team for putting together an amazing conference – this includes Jeff Blankenburg, Jason Follas, Jason Gilmore, Darrell Hawley, Jim Holmes, Josh Holmes, John Hopkins, Melissa Insko, Dianne Marsh, Brian Prince, Chris Woodruff, and Scott Zischerk.

I went in with an open mind, attended this “larger than life” conference, and came out with an overload of information and many new contacts. I look forward to CodeMash 2010!

Dude, I’m Not Getting a Dell – Part 3

Welcome to this episode of “As Dell Turns”… in this episode, we’ll take a look at why Sarah still doesn’t have her Dell and which big name company joins in on dropping the ball.

The latest ship date on my Dell Mini 9 is now 1/16, but this time it’s because we have an answer as to what the hold up is, the ridiculous wait behind it, and the reorder that shouldn’t take so long (but I’m not holding my breath).

So while I was at CodeMash, my awesome husband had done some more work on finding out why this whole ordeal is happening. Apparently someone isn’t talking, so I’m blogging it for others to understand – either Dell or Adobe dropped the ball but both are getting called out in this case, so pay close attention to your order.

If you ordered a Dell Mini 9 with Adobe 9 (guessing Acrobat or Acrobat Reader, but the emails with the reps only refer to it as Adobe 9, so I will do so the rest of this post) on it, cancel your order now, unless you don’t mind waiting at least another month or so. See, Dell happened to let people order these Dell Mini 9 Windows netbooks with Adobe 9 on it – but there are compatibility issues that are still getting worked out. There doesn’t appear to be any strong commitment of a date of resolving this.

Interestingly enough, when I look at Dell’s site this morning, it says that the Mini 9 comes with Adobe Acrobat Reader 8.1.

So why didn’t they disclose this incompatibility? Better yet, why did they let a 3rd party software package cause this much of a delay? The smart move, on behalf of the consumers, would be to disclose the issue and either offer to downgrade the Adobe package, not install the Adobe package in the first place, or at least disclose the delay and let the consumer choose whether to accept it.

The original order has been cancelled and a new order has been expedited for a Dell Mini 9 with a compatible Adobe product.

Incompatibilities happen, and I understand that. But full disclosure to the customer is something I also believe in, and Dell failed on that part.

CG’s CodeMash Adventures: Morning of Day 0

As I check out Is it CodeMash yet?, I see that the day has finally come. Yesterday, when I arrived at the Kalahari Conference Center, I was totally at a loss for words. This place is larger than life, simply amazing. I have had many people tell me about the awesomeness of CodeMash, and I think I’ll see why they said all that they did.

Last night, I met some of the guys that Joe Fiorini talks about on Twitter. I also met some of the people who follow me on Twitter. It was great to meet the guys last night, and I look forward to meeting more people today. I’m not good at the initial face and name recognition, so please don’t be offended if I don’t say hi right away – come by and introduce yourself!

I will be hanging out at the CodeJam for a bit of the day. So if you’re attending the Precompiler, come to the Indigo room and hack with us there!

Later tonight, there’ll be a Panel Discussion and the .NET Rocks! Show with Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell, so if you’re arriving later, check that out.

This is my first CodeMash, and I’m definitely looking forward to see what’s in store. I hope to blog throughout the event, and I will be taking pictures as well. So for pictures, keep an eye on my CodeMash 2009 Flickr stream.

Hope to see some of you out here!

CG’s CodeMash Countdown: Final Thoughts

Tomorrow is the start of my first CodeMash experience, at the Precompiler. There are so many tutorials that I want to check out, but I will mostly be hiding out in the CodeJam.

It all started in 2007, when my buddy Russ from work told me about CodeMash. He’s gone to past CodeMashes, and whenever he talks about it, his excitement gets to me. I didn’t meet him in time for 2007, but he could have talked me into 2008. However, I also was uncertain of my vacation time and how I would handle taking time off with my husband. Lame excuses, I know… but I didn’t go to CodeMash in 2008.

Of course, I met more people who reminded me of my epic fail – including Jeff Blankenburg, Mike Eaton, Michael Letterle, and Joe O’Brien. Thanks to the push from all of these guys (and all the others who helped), I made it a point to set the dates aside. But I had talked with one of my friends earlier in the year, and he had figured that I’d go and enjoy my first year as an attendee and worry about presenting there the following year. As much as that sounded like a good idea, I knew better – it was pretty much expected that I’d submit talks for it.

So it’s my first CodeMash, and I am going as an event co-lead (CodeJam), presenter (IronPython), and attendee. Thanks to my friends for encouraging me to attend. I’ve been looking forward to it for the past few months, and it’s finally here.

If you are there and you see me, come up and introduce yourself! I look forward to meeting you there!

CG’s CodeMash Countdown: Open Spaces

Today’s countdown feature is the event known as Open Spaces.

While looking at the CodeMash schedule, you may find yourself not interested in any of the topics in a particular time slot. If you find yourself in that position, I’d recommend you check out Open Spaces and see what’s going on there.

What are Open Spaces?

As noted in the Heartland Open Spaces wiki:

“The open-space meeting or open space meeting is a generic term describing a wide variety of different styles of meeting in which participants define the agenda with a relatively rigorous process, and may adjust it as the meeting proceeds. A large meeting of this sort is called an open space conference or unconference.”

– From

What can I expect?

Go with an open mind and some ideas, and come out enlightened. Although topics aren’t decided until the conference itself (based on whatever participants propose), you may have ideas that you want to talk about. Propose a topic, post it on the open spaces board, and show up at the time you plan on talking. Or if someone else proposes a topic you’re interested in talking about, check out their session.

Open Spaces board from devLink 2008

Open Spaces topics may include talks on technologies, tools, methodologies, and everything else under the sun. Check out the Open Spaces area for more details.

If you are neither learning nor contributing in a session you are required to get up and leave and join another session in progress where you feel you’ll be more useful and inspired. – the Law of Two Feet

Who is running Open Spaces at CodeMash?

According to @codemash on Twitter, the Open Spaces at CodeMash are being coordinated by Corey Haines, Steven Harman, and Alan Stevens.

Alan was the awesome facilitator for the Open Spaces at devLink 2008, where the Open Spaces board from above was used. I expect that the Open Spaces at CodeMash will rock just as much – so definitely check them out!

Dude, I’m Not Getting a Dell – Part 2

I’ve chronicled my journey so far with Dude, I’m Not Getting a Dell – Part 1. It doesn’t help the situation that the rep is on vacation, and all that his backup can do is say that it will ship soon. How long does it take to come up with a real explanation for the delay? And why are they evading the question?

They have put free overnight shipping on the order supposedly, but at this point, it doesn’t matter. I don’t have time to prep a new machine in time to use it for CodeMash. The damage is done – they haven’t conveyed a reason at all for the delay.

This experience is enough for me to never consider buying a Dell for a personal purchase – not even with our employee purchase program. Although they may make decent quality hardware, their lack in communication to the customer when it comes to delays is enough to make me want to take my business elsewhere.

Apparently I’m not the only one out there seeing Dell’s shipping issues. I hope others who search this see this thread on the Consumerist before they even consider buying a Dell Mini 9.