Category Archives: Community

Video recording of “Taking the Pain Out of Web Deployments with MSDeploy”!

Shawn Weisfeld, the omnipresent “video guy” from INETA, was there to record my presentation at the Northwest Arkansas Code Camp, and the video has been posted to the INETA site.  You can check it out here.

I haven’t watched it yet because, like most people, I hate the sound of my recorded voice.  I’ll have to eventually, since it would be a great way to help me pick out my public speaking quirks, but I’m kind of dreading it. 😛

In any case, thanks to Shawn and INETA for recording and hosting the video!

Speaking Update

Just a quick note here about some recent and upcoming speaking engagements for me. 

A couple of weeks ago,  I gave my Mercurial presentation at Houston Tech Fest.  This conference gets better and more varied every year.  I saw presenations on everything from Xaml styling to the Core Data API for iOS.  I also got to meet Markus Egger, and spoke to him about writing for the project postmortem series in Code Magazine.  I’m working on a pretty cool project at work right now that I think would be interesting to Code readers, so hopefully I’ll be able to get started on that soon.

Last week I presented at both the Tyson Developers’ Conference and the Northwest Arkansas Code Camp.  I really enjoyed hanging out with some friends from the Northwest Arakansas area, as well as some of the other guys and gals I’m beginning to think of as the “Road Crew”.  No matter where I’m speaking, I’m getting to the point where I know at least a few of the other speakers, not from having worked with them or even lived in the same area, but from speaking at other conferences together before.  It’s kind of cool to start to feel a part of the “Brotherhood of the Demo”.  😉

Coming up soon, I’ll be speaking in Hattiesburg, MS at the Hub City .NET User Group, run by my friend Keith Elder.  I’m putting together an intro presentation on Silverlight for that group, which will be an interesting change of pace.  Most of my previous presentations have been fairly advanced or at least niche subjects, but I think having an intro-level talk in my repetoire will advantageous.

Over the weekend, I also found out that one of my submissions got accepted for CodeMash!  This will be the farthest I’ve ever travelled to speak at a conference, and the trip will end up being pretty expensive, but I’m really looking forward to this one.  The organizers have built up a stellar reputation for CodeMash, evidenced by the fact that all 800 tickets were sold in less than 4 days!  At this one, I’ll be presenting on the Entity Framework Code-First API that was released as a part of the Community Tech Preview 4 of EF.  Since the API is similar in some respects to Fluent NHibernate, I’ll be able to port some of the samples I used in my talk on that to the one on EF.

Hope to see you at an event soon!

Speaking at Houston TechFest

I’ll be speaking at the Houston Tech Fest this Saturday.  I’ll be doing the same presentation that I did at DevLink, “Introduction to Distributed Version Control with Mercurial.”  Planning to get some extra rehearsing done in the next couple of days so it’ll have a little more polish than last time.

I’m looking forward to the Community Leader Town hall the evening before on the Microsoft campus in Houston, led by my friend, Jay Smith. Always great to get together with other South Central community leaders!

Hope to see you there!

DevLink Retrospective

I had a great experience at DevLink last week.

For one thing, I got to hang out with a bunch of really smart people, some of whom I only knew through Twitter or their blogs.  I noticed during the dinner conversations and various Open Spaces sessions was that these guys read… a lot.  I used to be a pretty voracious reader, but that seems to have changed in the last few years.  Personal programming projects, research, and experimentation have taken the place of books in my evening routine.  While those activities may help me stay up-to-date technically, I think I’ve been missing out on bigger picture concepts that will only come from reading.  One of the takeaways from the conference for me was that I need to work on the balance between the two types of learning.  I plan to start going to bed earlier so I can read more.

Another thing that really started to crystallize in my mind at DevLink was that the primary value for me at conferences is networking and discussion with peers.  That’s not to say that the sessions weren’t valuable. On the contrary, there was a ton of great content, and I wish I had been able to see more of it.  But I’m a smart enough guy that I can usually pick up what I need about technical topics online through blog posts, articles, and tutorials.  What I can’t do every day is meet my peers face-to-face and begin to form relationships that are not only personally rewarding, but that can lead to career enrichment as well.  The various Open Spaces sessions I attended played a big part in this mind shift for me.  Kudos to Alan Stevens for helping facilitate such a great experience for the DevLink attendees.

I also got to hang out with some former co-workers from Praeses.  They took me to a restaurant where I watched my first UFC fight.  It wasn’t nearly as barbaric as I had expected, and I honestly enjoyed it a lot.  I may have to start attending the UFC-watching gatherings that those guys have from time to time.

My Mercurial session went pretty well, I think.  Based on the feedback, it definitely needs some polish in places, but I have a little bit of time to do that before I give it again at the Northwest Arkansas Code Camp and Houston Tech Fest.  If anybody who attended my session would like the slide deck, you can find it on my BitBucket account here.

All in all, it was definitely worth the trip up to Nashville, and I hope to make it back next year.

Speaking in August

This month, I’m speaking at not one, but two conferences!

The first will be DevLink, next week on the 5th thru the 7th in Nashville, TN.  I’ll be giving a presentation on “Distributed Version Control with Mercurial”.  I’m looking forward to catching up with a bunch of friends who are planning to attend.  If you’re going to be there, come see my session at 11:30 on Saturday!

The next one will be SQL Saturday in Baton Rouge on the 14th, where I’ll be giving my “Introduction to NHibernate and Fluent NHibernate” presentation again at 2:45.  I’ve done that one so many times lately, I think I could just about do it in my sleep at this point.  😉

Hope to see you there!

My First “Speaking Tour”

I took a trip up to northwest Arkansas earlier this week to speak to several different .NET User Groups in the area about NHibernate.  On Monday evening, I spoke at my user group “alma mater”, the Fort Smith .NET User Group.  It was great to see a bunch of my old friends from Data-Tronics, including group president David Mohundro.

The next day, I was quite busy.  I met Robby Gregory and a few other Wal-Mart employees for lunch, and at 1:30 I spoke at the Wal-Mart internal .NET User Group.  I then moved on to the Tyson internal user group (known as “DevLoop”) at 4:00, and directly on from there to the Northwest Arkansas .NET User Group at 6:00.  I enjoyed hanging out with Jay, John, Devlin, Michael, and several others at Jose’s afterwards, but by that time I was pretty beat.

I’m really glad that I’m getting to start speaking more (big thanks to my new employer Falcon Applications for letting me keep the dates only a week after I started the job!).  I’ve submitted a session for the Dallas TechFest, plan to submit one or two for DevLink, and will continue to try to speak at other user groups later this year, as well.  Looks like I’m well on track to meeting at least one of my goals for 2010!

Thanks to all the user group leaders who invited me up; I hope to be able to visit again some time!

A Plan for 2010

Everyone on my blogroll is taking the opportunity of the new year to take stock of 2009 and make public plans for 2010, so I thought I would join in.

In 2009, I made an effort to start speaking a little bit more.  I spoke at my first code camp, the Northwest Arkansas Code Camp, on the Harding and LSU campuses for recruiting trips for my employer, as well as the Baton Rouge .NET User Group.  I hope to continue ramping that up in 2010.  I’m presenting at my home meeting, the Shreveport .NET User Group, later this month, and I have a trip scheduled to the northwest Arkansas area in March.  I’d like to make it down to southern Louisiana at some point, too; the guys down in Lafayette and New Orleans in particular need some love.

I also need to step up in promoting the SDNUG this year.  I felt like I was able to kind of coast for a lot of 2009 with our current set of attendees, and didn’t really make as much of an effort as I could have to make more people aware of the group’s existence.  I’ve already begun to remedy that this year by seeking out area software companies and making phone calls, which will hopefully yield some more members.  I need to get on top of speaker scheduling, too, both within the group and without.  There are several group members that I think would make great presenters, I just need to convince them that it’s a good idea!

I want to start blogging more, as well.  One post a month just isn’t where I want to be.  I think having a regular schedule will help with that, so I’m pledging right now in public to post something on my blog at least once a week.  That plan may take a hit when my daughter is born in February, but I’m going to give it my best effort.

I think something else that may help with blogging is having an area of focus.  I’ve really been interested in application lifecycle management lately, especially after all the stuff I saw at PDC, so at least for now, I think I’ll focus on Team System and TFS for a little while.  I’ve been listening to the back catalog of Radio TFS, which has been great, and I plan to seek out other additional resources for ideas. I’ve recently installed TFS on a virtual machine to play around with, so hopefully that will lead to some ideas, as well.

I hope you had a great 2009; here’s to 2010!

A Visit from Zain

Last night the Shreveport .NET User Group hosted our resident developer evangelist from Microsoft, Zain Naboulsi.  He gave a presentation that gave us a little taste of what’s in store for Visual Studio 2010.  Some very cool stuff; I especially like the dump saving/loading and the ability to tear off code tabs for better multi-monitor use.

More important than the presentation, though, I think, are the ideas Zain has for moving our group forward.  The evangelist territories were recently rearranged so that Zain is the evangelist for the state of Louisiana.  You can expect better communication and coordination between the user groups in Louisiana, including aligning our meeting dates so that we can make it easy for a speaker to make a tour through the state and catch most of our meetings.  I’m also looking forward to seeing what we can do to make sure the word is out about our group.  One of the biggest challenges we’ve run into is making people aware that our meeting exists and that it can be a great free resource for developer education.

I look forward to seeing what comes of some increased attention toward our group from Microsoft!