# Monday, 21 January 2019

Episode 547

Geisa Faustino on Teaching

Geisa Faustino loves to teach. She developed this love in her previous career as a university professor and continues to teach as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. She explains what she gains from teaching and how she helps others to learn.

Monday, 21 January 2019 08:06:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 18 November 2018

GANGConf (1)Sometimes you can go home again.

I was a member of the Great Lakes Area .NET User Group (a.k.a. GANG) for years and spent some time on the board, including 2 years as President. But I've had much less interaction with them since joining Microsoft and moving to Chicago in 2014.

So, I was excited when my friend Ondrej called to tell me that GANG was hosting a conference and I could speak there if I wanted. I wanted to be a part of this event, so I made the trek from back to Detroit.

The event was held at the Microsoft offices in downtown Detroit. About 70 people came to hear a presentation on both technical topics and soft skills.

GANGConf (2)Cassandra Faris opened the conference telling people how they can manage and  promote your personal brand.

J Tower was next with a presentation on how to use .NET Standard to share code among different types of applications and platforms.

I wrote a presentation about Azure Functions and delivered for the first time at this event.

Kevin Davis's presentation titled "Living your Best (Developer) Life" talked about how to choose and manage your career.

Aydin Akcasu had the best demos of the day, showing Bluetooth devices integrating  with the Chrome web browser.

Finally, Daniel Davis described the benefits of clean code and how to achieve it.

The event reminded me of a similar Saturday event I hosted to celebrate GANG'S 10-year anniversary back in 2011. This is the second year in a row, GANG has held GANGConf and president Ryan Albertson promised to do it again next year.
I hope to be there again for it.

GANGConf (3)

Sunday, 18 November 2018 08:33:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Here is my presentation "Building and Training your own Custom Image Recognition AI" that I delivered in June at NDC-Oslo in Norway.

Building and Training your own Custom Image Recognition AI
Wednesday, 15 August 2018 09:53:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 12 August 2018

Here is my presentation "How Cloud Computing Empowers a Data Scientist" that I delivered in June at IT Camp in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

ITCamp 2018 - David Giard - How Cloud Computing Empowers a Data Scientist from ITCamp on Vimeo.

Sunday, 12 August 2018 09:14:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 11 August 2018

Here is my presentation “Own Your Own Career – Advice from a Veteran Consultant” that I delivered in June at IT Camp in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

ITCamp 2018 - David Giard - Own Your Own Career – Advice from a Veteran Consultant from ITCamp on Vimeo.

Saturday, 11 August 2018 20:09:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 23 June 2018

On May 19, I delivered a presentation titled "How Cloud Computing Empowers a Data Scientist" at the Chicago AI & Data Science Conference.

I described ways that the cloud has accelerated the fields of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence; and I gave examples of Azure tools that facilitate development in these fields.

You can watch the video below or at https://youtu.be/H19IW6nykZo

Saturday, 23 June 2018 08:17:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 18 June 2018

IMG_0860Most of the Norway I saw is defined by towering cliffs, the result of glaciers gouging their way through the country thousands of years ago. Many of these filled with water to became the famous fjords of Norway.

This was the Norway I experienced when I made my first trip here this week.

I was invited to speak at the The Norwegian Developer Conference (“NDC”), so I flew to Oslo after speaking at IT Camp in Romania. I arrived in Oslo on a rainy Sunday night after a week in Romania.

IMG_0920The first 2 days in Oslo, I worked on a Machine Learning project for Bane Nor - the Norwegian national railway. This was a great experience for me, as Microsoft flew in engineers from all over the world and I had an experience to learn about the train industry from the customer and about data science from several experts.

NDC began on Wednesday, so I arrived bright and early to experience it all. The conference was amazing. Hundreds of speakers from all over the world come to Oslo each year for some high-quality sessions. I knew some of the speakers and I had the opportunity to meet many more.

IMG_0873Wednesday evening, the conference organizers treated all the speakers to a boat ride around the islands near Oslo, which was a great chance to meet new people.

IMG_0932My presentation - Building and Training your own Custom Image Recognition AI - was the last one of the day. I was happy to get it over with on Day 1, but I spent much of Wednesday preparing for it. In the end, it went very well. The bright stage lights prevented me from seeing the audience, but I received several good questions afterward, so I think the audience enjoyed it as much as I did.

IMG_0993The day after the conference, I booked a trip to Bergen. Oslo is near the eastern border of Norway and Bergen is on the west coast, so this all-day trip took me across the entire country. It consisted of 3 trains, a bus, and a boat. The boat ride was the most impressive as we traveled through the fjords of central Norway. The trip was designed to be more scenic than efficient and it took us from Oslo to Myrdal to Flåm to Gudvangen to Voss to Bergen. The fjord boat cruise took me to the northernmost point I have ever been, edging out my trip to Upsala, Sweden 3 years ago.

IMG_1028I only had one day in Bergen and I was exhausted from 2 weeks on the road. But I did a lot of walking around the city, and visited 2 art museums, and drank some local beers, and ate reindeer stew and whale steak, and sat by the harbor to watch the sun set at midnight. Scandinavian daylight last for over 20 hours this time of year, making it very difficult for me to pace myself.

IMG_1035I missed Father's Day in America (most European countries celebrate in March), but I will make time with my boys in the next few weeks.

IMG_1049In a few hours, I fly home, tired but content from 2 weeks abroad traveling thousands of miles. I feel like I need to return to Norway and see all the places I missed. Hopefully, NDC will make that happen next year.

Monday, 18 June 2018 00:21:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 10 June 2018


Achievement unlocked: I played Dungeons and Dragons last night for the first time in my life. And I did it in Transylvania!

I am writing this while sitting in the Cluj-Napoca airport, waiting for my flight to Bucharest and my connection to Oslo this evening.

IMG_0762This is the fifth consecutive year I have visited Romania to attend IT Camp. I enjoy it more each time I come - the conference, the people, and the country.

IT camp has become like a family reunion for me. I look forward to seeing old friends from Romania and from Europe and America. Most of them I only get to see once a year, so it is a real treat for me to come here. And, as always, the Hotel Grand Italia spoils me with their excellent service.

IMG_0824The conference continues to grow. Attendance was 500-600 this year (about 10% more than last year) and the speaker list grew to over 40. Session times were shortened to 45 minutes this year in order to accommodate the larger number of sessions. I delivered 2 presentations: "Own Your Own Career – Advice from a Veteran Consultant" and "How Cloud Computing Empowers a Data Scientist". I had a packed room for the first session, with many people standing in the back. A number of people approached me during the conference to ask more questions about my topics and to tell me they enjoyed my talks, which is always a treat.

In between sessions, I met new people, re-connected with old friends, recorded 4 interviews, learned a few things, and Tudy taught me how to play Dungeons and Dragons, even though I was so tired I nearly fell asleep an hour into the game.

IMG_0807Some inclement weather and a need to prepare my presentations kept me close to the hotel during the conference; but IT Camp always includes a field trip the day after the conference. This year, they took us to Sighișoara, a small city in central Romania most famous as the alleged birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Count Dracula.

IMG_0818I am grateful to Mihai and Diana and Tudor and Noemi and the many volunteers who work hard to make IT Camp a success and to make me feel welcome. I got a lot out of this trip.

And how many people can say their first game of Dungeons and Dragons took place in Transylvania?

Sunday, 10 June 2018 20:48:30 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 07 September 2017

If you would like to hear one of my presentations, here is my schedule:






Building and Training your own Custom Image Recognition AI

Downtown Chicago .NET User Group

Chicago, IL


Cloud and Azure and Rock and Roll

Chase Summit

Chicago, IL


Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services

Chase Summit

Chicago, IL


Big Data Solutions in Azure


Chicago, IL


Building Powerful Applications with Angular and TypeScript


Chicago, IL


Mission Mars IoT workshop

DePaul University

Chicago, IL


Building Powerful Applications with Angular and TypeScript


St. Charles, MO


Effective Data Visualization


St. Charles, MO


Building and Training your own Custom Image Recognition AI


Downers Grove, IL


You and Your Technical Community

Great Lakes Area .NET User Group

Southfield, MI

Thursday, 07 September 2017 21:53:41 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 03 July 2017
Monday, 03 July 2017 13:46:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 22 June 2017

Traveling to Stockholm was an adventure. I was impeded by heavier-than-usual Chicago traffic, lost luggage, delayed flights, and a passport that I stupidly left at home on my kitchen counter.

But I made it in time for DevSum 2017 and it was worth the trouble.

I was returning to DevSum for the first time since 2015 and the event has moved from the city center to the Münchenbryggeriet conference center - 2 islands to the south.

After a long trip, I arrived at the conference feeling anything but refreshed. But the staff made me feel at home. They retrieved a lunch plate for me, despite my arrival after mealtime. And I presented that afternoon on Cognitive Services in front of a full room. I had heard that European audiences tend to be more reserved than their American counterparts, but I did not experience that. The crowd laughed where I hoped they would and remained engaged throughout. I drew energy from them.

The speaker lineup at DevSum was really impressive this year. Speakers came from all over Europe and North America, including people like Richard Campbell, Michael Feathers, Markus Egger, Kent Alstad, Tess Fernandez-Norlander, Dino Esposito, and Gil Clereen.

For me, this was not only an excellent opportunity to learn from smart people, but also a chance to interact with many people whose work I respect - either through their articles, books, podcasts, or Pluralsight courses.  The collective knowledge at events like this is always high, but it's even more so when the speaker homes span continents. I was able to meet Michael Feathers and personally tell him the impact his book had on my life when I was a consultant.

The day after the conference, the speakers were invited to a special outing - a boat trip to nearby Fjäderholmarna, lunch, a tour of a local brewery, a beer tasting, and a walk around the island. It was yet another chance to interact with the other speakers.

One difficulty about traveling to Sweden in June is the long daylight hours. The sun does not set in Stockholm until almost 11PM and it rises at around 3AM. This can be disruptive of one's sleep schedule, especially if one is already suffering from jet lag.

But I powered through this issue. And now I am home and paying off sleep debt and dreaming of next year's DevSum.


DevSum home page

My photos

Thursday, 22 June 2017 12:40:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 07 June 2017


This was my fourth year in a row attending IT Camp in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Cluj is a technology hub in the heart of Transylvania. Now in its 7th year, IT Camp attracted over 500 attendees from the region.

Speakers traveled from around the world for this conference. I counted speakers from the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Norway, and (of course) Romania.

Over 500 people attended the event – most from Romania.

The conference was primarily focused on Microsoft technologies, but not exclusively so. The conference began with a speech by Emil Boc, the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca. This was the only talk delivered in Romanian, so I was not able to follow; but it was well received.


The mayor was followed by 4 keynotes:

  • Mihail Rottenberg contrasted his experience starting 2 businesses - BreezeCom, a pioneering wi-fi company in the 1990s; and a winery he recently began.
  • Ben Armstrong described how Microsoft's advances in virtualization are influencing their cloud strategy.
  • Peter Leeson discussed how companies can measure quality
  • Jayson Street related stories of security breaches around the world.

I delivered 2 presentations: Big Data Solutions in Azure; and Building Powerful Applications with Angular and TypeScript. Over 150 people crowded into my room for the  Angular presentation.

The day before IT Camp, I spoke at a local consulting company – Yonder – about how to “Own Your Own Career”.

As always, the day after IT Camp featured a cultural experience to which all the speakers and volunteers were invited. This year, we toured the salt mines in Turda, Romania.


IT Camp was a great chance to connect with a number of influencers from around the world and return to Romania, where I have many fond memories.

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 15:08:03 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 14 May 2017

I was told there would be corn. I did not see one ear of corn.

Last week, I made my first visit ever to Iowa. In 3 days, I drove over 500 miles from Chicago to Dubuque to Cedar Falls to Cedar Rapids to Iowa City to Des Moines.  Between 6PM Monday and 8PM Wednesday (just 50 hours), I spoke at 4 user groups ion 4 different cities

This trip came about as my friend Javier and I were chatting online recently about upcoming speaking opportunities. He invited me to speak at his user group in Des Moines and I asked if he could connect me with other groups in Iowa.


I entered Iowa by crossing the Mississippi from Illinois at Dubuque and I was surprised by the landscape. Cliffs rose along the river and and rolling hills marked the landscape for miles on either side. This contradicted my mental image of Iowa as hundreds of miles of flat prairie and farmland.

The Dubuque group was small but engaged. I talked about Cognitive Services, which is an exciting technology and fun to talk about. The only issue I had was the at Microsoft changed the Cognitive Services web site the day before m presentation and I found it difficult to find some of the features I wanted to show off.

Tuesday morning, I drove to Dyersville, IA to see the site where the 1989 film Field of Dreams was filmed. The Lansing family still owns the farm and continues to maintain the iconic baseball field carved out of the corn field by Kevin Costner. They built it; I came.


I continued for a lunchtime presentation on Angular and TypeScript at the Cedar Valley .NET User Group in Cedar Falls. This was another small group, but I enjoyed it - in part because it was held in the back room of a restaurant that served excellent pizza.

Tuesday evening found me in Cedar Rapids for the CRINETA group, where I give another presentation on Cognitive Services. The room was full as the organizers cross-promoted with the local SQL PASS user group.


Wednesday morning, I stopped in Iowa City for lunch near the University of Iowa before heading west toward Des Moines. This was the most stressful part of the trip as I drove through a driving rainstorm surrounded by semi trucks.

But I arrived in Des Moines for the Iowa .NET User Group and spoke to a packed room on Angular and TypeScript.

I delivered the following presentations at the following user groups in the following cities:

Date User Group City
Mon May 8 Dubuque .NET Software Development User Group Dubuque
Tue May 9 (noon) Cedar Valley .NET User Group Cedar Falls
Tue May 9 (evening) CRINETA Cedar Rapids
Wed May 9 Iowa .NET User Group Des Moines

It was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting people and engaging local developer communities and seeing the sites and driving across the prairie.

Now, I have to return when the corn is in season.

Sunday, 14 May 2017 13:54:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 22 April 2017

The next couple months include lots of travel and lots of presentations

Date Event Host Location
Apr 22, 2017 Big Data Solutions in Azure Global Azure Boot Camp Downers Grove, IL
Apr 22, 2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services Twin Cities Code Camp Bloomington, MN
Apr 29, 2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services Chicago Code Camp Chicago, IL
May 1, 2017 Cognitive Services and HoloLens GoTo conference Chicago, IL
May 8, 2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services Dubuque .NET Software Development User Group Dubuque, IA
May 9, 2017 Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS 2 and TypeScript Cedar Valley .NET User Group Cedar Falls, IA
May 9, 2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services CRIneta : Cedar Rapids .NET User Group Cedar Rapids, IA
May 10, 2017 Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS 2 and TypeScript Iowa .NET User Group Des Moines, IA
May 12, 2017 Keynote: You and Your Tech Community Convergence Detroit, MI
May 20, 2017 Big Data Solutions in Azure Chicago Data Science Conference Chicago, IL
May 25, 2017 Big Data Solutions in Azure IT Camp Cluj-Napoca, Romania
May 25, 2017 Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS 2 and TypeScript IT Camp Cluj-Napoca, Romania
June 1-3, 2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services Music City Code Nashville, TN
June 1-3, 2017 Big Data Solutions in Azure Music City Code Nashville, TN
June 1-3, 2017 Own Your Own Career - Advice from a Veteran Consultant Music City Code Nashville, TN
Jun 6, 2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services Xamarin University Online
June 8-9, 2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services DevSum Stockholm, Sweden
June 28, 2017 Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS 2 and TypeScript Node Indy Indianapolis, IN
Jul 10-12, 2017 The Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Apps Detroit.Code() Detroit, MI
Jul 10-12, 2017 Big Data Solutions in Azure Detroit.Code() Detroit, MI
Aug 3-4, 2017 Effective Data Visualization KCDC Kansas City, MO
Aug 3-4, 2017 Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS 2 and TypeScript KCDC Kansas City, MO
Sep 20, 2017 Big Data Solutions in Azure VS Live Chicago, IL
Sep 20, 2017 Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS 2 and TypeScript VS Live Chicago, IL
Saturday, 22 April 2017 10:57:07 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 18 February 2017

Yesterday, I posted a list of community technical events in the US Central Region.

I thought this would be a useful reference to those who want to attend or speak at conferences. This is a living document as I learn about more conferences and as conferences announce their dates.

The problem with this post is that it is time-stamped and will farther and farther down the list of posts as the months pass. So I created a copy of this list and pinned it to the top of my site. You can reach this list at any time by clicking the “Tech Events” tab at the top of each page. Or you can just click here.

Saturday, 18 February 2017 03:16:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 17 February 2017

Here is a list of community technical events (conferences, code camps, etc.) in the US Central Region. I have listed the dates, if they are published. If no 2017 date is published, my estimate is based on last year’s date. I provided a link to each event’s home page so you can check the latest information directly from the source.

Please let me know if I am missing any.

Event Location Start End URL
Event Location Start End URL
CodeMash Sandusky, OH 1/10/2017 1/13/2017 http://www.codemash.org/
SQL Saturday Chicago Chicago, IL 3/11/2017 3/11/2017 http://www.sqlsaturday.com/600
Northeast Wisconsin Code Camp Appleton, WI 3/25/2017 3/25/2017 http://newcodecamp.com/
Indy.Code Indianapolis, IN 3/29/2017 3/31/2017 http://indycode.amegala.com/
SQL Saturday Madison Madison, WI 4/8/2017 4/8/2017 http://www.sqlsaturday.com/604
Twin Cities Code Camp Minneapolis, MN 4/22/2017 4/22/2017 https://twincitiescodecamp.com/#/home
Global Azure Boot Camp Multiple Locations 4/22/2017 4/22/2017 https://global.azurebootcamp.net/
Chicago Code Camp Chicago, IL 4/29/2017 4/29/2017 http://chicagocodecamp.com/
GoTo Chicago Chicago, IL 5/1/2017 5/2/2017 gotochgo.com/
Codestock Knoxville, TN 5/5/2017 5/6/2017 http://www.codestock.org/
Stir Trek Columbus, OH 5/5/2017 5/5/2017 http://stirtrek.com/
Convergence Conference Detroit, MI 5/11/2017 5/13/2017 https://www.convergeconference.org/
Midwest Management Summit Minneapolis, MN 5/15/2017 5/18/2017 https://mmsmoa.com/
Nebraska Code Lincoln, NE 5/17/2017 5/19/2017 http://nebraskacode.com/
Self Conference Detroit, MI 5/19/2017 5/20/2017 http://selfconference.org/
Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference Grand Rapids, MI 5/22/2017 5/22/2017 http://glsec.softwaregr.org/
PHPTek St. Louis, MO 5/24/2017 5/26/2017 https://tek.phparch.com/
Music City Code Nashville, TN 6/1/2017 6/3/2017 http://www.musiccitycode.com/
Codepalousa Louisville, KY 6/7/2017 6/9/2017 http://www.codepalousa.com/
Open Source North Minneapolis, MN 6/8/2017 6/8/2017 http://opensourcenorth.com/
Beer City Code Grand Rapids, MI 6/9/2017 6/10/2017 http://beercitycode.com/
SQL Saturday Iowa City Iowa City, IA 6/10/2017 6/10/2017 http://www.sqlsaturday.com/634
Chicago Coder Conference Chicago, IL 6/26/2017 6/27/2017 http://chicagocoderconference.com/
Detroit.Code Detroit, MI 7/10/2017 7/12/2017 http://detroitcode.amegala.com/
Cincinnati Day of Agile Westchester, OH 7/28/2017 7/28/2017 http://dayofagile.org/
PyOhio Columbus, OH 7/29/2017 7/30/2017 http://pyohio.org/
KCDC Kansas City, MO 8/3/2017 8/4/2017 http://www.kcdc.info/
That Conference Wisconsin Dells, WI 8/7/2017 8/9/2017 https://www.thatconference.com/
MidwestJS Minneapolis, MN 8/16/2017 8/18/2017 http://midwestjs.com/
VSLive Chicago, IL 9/18/2017 9/21/2017 https://vslive.com/Events/Chicago-2017/Home.aspx
Madison PHP Madison, WI 9/22/2017 9/23/2017 http://2017.madisonphpconference.com/
Prairie.Code Des Moines, IA 9/27/2017 9/29/2017 http://prairiecode.amegala.com/
Technology Hub Appleton, WI 9/28/2017 9/28/2017 http://www.technologyhubconference.com/
Midwest Game Dev Expo Columbus, OH 9/29/2017 10/1/2017 https://www.thegdex.com/
M3Conf Columbus, OH 08-2017?   http://m3conf.com/
Tulsa Tech Fest Tulsa, OK 08-2017?   http://techfests.com/Tulsa/2016/default.aspx
CloudDevelop Columbus, OH 08-2017?   http://clouddevelop.org/
Iowa Code Camp Coralville, IA 10-2017?   http://iowacodecamp.com/
DogFood Con Columbus, OH 10-2017?   http://dogfoodcon.com/
Ohio LinuxFest Columbus, OH 10-2017?   https://ohiolinux.org/
DevSpace Huntsville, AL 10-2017?   https://www.devspaceconf.com/
DevUp Conference St. Louis, MO 10-2017?   http://devupconf.com/
MKE DOT NET Milwaukee, WI 10-2017?   http://www.centare.com/mke-dot-net/
Milwaukee Code Camp Milwaukee, WI 10-2017?   http://milwaukeecodecamp.com/
Chippewa Valley Code Camp Eau Claire, WI 10-2017?   http://chippewavalleycodecamp.com/index.html
Detroit Dev Day Detroit, MI 11-2017?   http://detroitdevday.org/
SharePoint Fest Chicago Chicago, IL 11-2017?   http://www.sharepointfest.com/Chicago/
Friday, 17 February 2017 15:14:21 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 14 February 2017

I have a busy speaking schedule coming up. Here are the confirmed events as of today.

Date Event Host Location
2/14/2017 Cloud and Azure intro University of Illinois Champaign, IL
2/16/2017 Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS 2 and TypeScript Northwest Chicago Javascript Schaumburg, IL
2/20/2017 Cognitive Services workshop Womine in Computer Science Champaign, IL
2/21/2017 The Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Apps  University of Illinois Champaign, IL
2/28/2017 Big Data Solutions in Azure Chicago .NET User Group Downers Grove, IL
3/1/2017 Effective Data Visualization Chicago City Data User Group Chicago, IL
3/5/2017 Big Data Solutions in Azure Software Development Community Naperville, IL
3/14/2017 IOT Workshop Mission to Mars Chicago, IL
3/16/2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services Louisville .NET USER Group Louisville, KY
3/29/2017 The Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Apps  Indy.Code() Indianapolis, IN
3/29/2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services  Indy.Code() Indianapolis, IN
4/5/2017 Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services MadDotNet Madison, WI
5/8/2017 TBA Dubuque .NET Software Development User Group  Dubuque, IA
5/9/2017 TBA CRIneta : Cedar Rapids .NET User Group  Cedar Rapids, IA
5/9/2017 TVA Cedar Valley .NET User Group Cedar Falls, IA
5/10/2017 Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS 2 and TypeScript Iowa .NET User Group Des Moines, IA
5/12/2017 Keynote: You and your community Convergence Detroit Detroit, MI
5/22/2017 TBA GLSec Grand Rapids, MI
Tuesday, 14 February 2017 17:43:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 10 February 2017

If you are interested in speaking at a conference, many of them are currently accepting submissions. Below are some open calls for presentations in and around the Central Region. I have submitted to speak at some of them, so maybe I will see you there.

Event Location Start End Conference Link CFP link CFP Closes
Self.Conference Detroit, MI 5/19/2017 5/20/2017 link link 2/13/2017
Open Source North Minneapolis, MN 6/8/2017 6/8/2017 link link 2/15/2017
Codepalousa Louisville, KY 6/7/2017 6/9/2017 link link 2/17/2017
Music City Code Nashville, TN 6/1/2017 6/3/2017 link link 3/1/2017
Chicago Coder Conference Chicago, IL 6/26/2017 6/27/2017 link link 3/3/2017
Beer City Code Grand Rapids, MI 6/10/2017 6/10/2017 link link 3/14/2017
KCDC Kansas City, MO 8/3/2017 8/4/2017 link link 3/30/2017
That Conference Wisconsin Dells, WI 8/7/2017 8/9/2017 link link 4/15/2017
Madison PHP Madison, WI 9/22/2017 9/23/2017 link link 4/30/2017
SQL Saturday - Pittsburgh Oakdale, PA 9/30/2017 9/30/2017 link link 8/1/2017
NEW Code Camp Appleton, WI 3/25/2017 3/25/2017 link link ?
Chicago Code Camp Chicago, IL 4/30/2017 4/30/2017 link link ?
Friday, 10 February 2017 21:52:55 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 04 October 2016

In the beginning,there was CodeMash - a small Tech Conference at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, OH. CodeMash was a developer conference run by volunteers, but it had a twist. The Kalahari features an indoor water park, so attendees could slip away to enjoy the water slides or bring their families, who would enjoy the water park while they attended sessions.

CodeMash was successful enough that some folks in Illinois and Wisconsin created a similar conference - That Conference - at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Last year, a Kalahari opened in Pocono Manor, PA, so naturally someone had to create a tech conference and host it there.

The inaugural TechBash took place September 28-30 at the Pocono Manor Kalahari and I was honored to be a part of it. I delivered 2 presentations: "Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services" and "Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS and TypeScript". The classroom was completely full for the latter talk.

The 3-day conference featured 2 keynotes: Pete Brown opened the event by showing off some of his favourite maker projects; and Glenn Block opened the final day of the conference talking about some of his favourite open source projects.

Speakers came from all over the US and one - Iris Classon - traveled from Sweden to present.

With a limited budget, the organizers did not have a lot of frills at this conference. Meals were simple and after-hours events were limited. There was no bacon bar or giant-size Settlers of Catan game, as we've seen at the other - more established - Kalahari conferences. But the content was excellent and I heard positive feedback from many both attendees and speakers.

Many attendees and speakers brought their families to enjoy the water park - either during the conference or on the weekend following the conference.

At 170 registrants, TechBash is about the size CodeMash was in its first year. The organizers announced their plans to host TechBash 2017 and plan to grow it in attendance and scope.


Tuesday, 04 October 2016 11:11:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 24 September 2016

At the Chicago Geekfest meetup last week, I delivered a presentation on AngularJS 2 and TypeScript. You can see the presentation below.

It’s worth watching just to hear Chris’s introduction at the beginning.

Saturday, 24 September 2016 15:53:03 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 26 August 2016

I have a number of presentations scheduled in the next few months. I hope you can make it to some of them.

Date Event Location Topic  
8/27/2016 PyData Chicago Chicago, IL Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services link
8/30/2016 University recruiting event Purdue University Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services  
9/20/2016 GeekFest Chicago, IL Building Powerful Enterprise Apps with Angular 2 and TypeScript link
9/28/2016 TechBash Pocono Manor, PA Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services link
9/28/2016 TechBash Pocono Manor, PA Building Powerful Applications with AngularJS and TypeScript link
10/5/2016 Dog Food Conference Columbus, OH Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services link
10/5/2016 Dog Food Conference Columbus, OH Microsoft Azure without Microsoft link
10/13/2016 Technology Hub Appleton, WI Open Source Technologies in Microsoft Azure link
10/20/2016 DevUp Conference St. Charles, MO Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to Your Apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services link
10/20/2016 DevUp Conference St. Charles, MO The Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Apps link
11/28/2016 Mobile Monday East Lansing, MI The Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Apps link
Friday, 26 August 2016 16:27:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 20 April 2016


The idea for the Global Azure Boot Camp began in 2013. Community developers from all over the world would hold a workshop in different cities on the same day. In fact, I organized and delivered a Boot Camp in the Detroit area that year, before I joined Microsoft.

On Saturday April 18, the 4th annual Global Azure Boot Camp took place in 161 cities around the world. While some cities focused on presentations and others on hands-on labs, all events provided education on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

Microsoft Regional Director Eric Boyd and Responsive X organized an event in Addison, IL – just outside of Chicago. Based on feedback, he received from attendees last year, Eric decided to reduce the length of the event to a half day, instead of a full day. The event was free to the public.

Eric kicked off the morning with an overview of Azure.


Next, a representative from Baracuda Networks gave a presentation on Azure security.

I delivered a session on App Services, covering Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Logic Apps, and API Apps.


The only downside to the Saturday event was the number of people who registered and did not attend – over 50%. This was almost certainly due to the fact that the Chicago weather that morning was the nicest it had been in a long time. Still, over 60 people showed up to learn about Azure and cloud computing.

Response from the audience was overwhelmingly positive. Many people stayed after to ask questions about Azure and about BizSpark.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016 14:37:01 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 09 April 2016

I have a lot going on the next few months. Here is what is confirmed:

On April 9 (today), I will deliver the opening keynote at EnvisionDo: Tech in 2016 at the University of Chicago.

On April 15, I will talk about Azure App Services at the Global Azure Boot Camp in Addison, IL.

Later that same day, I will mentor student hackers at the Spring MadHacks hackathon in Madison, WI.

On Tuesday, April 26, I will present "Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services" at Geekfest in Chicago.

From April 27-29, I will mentor high school students at the FIRST Robotics competition in St. Louis, MO

On Saturday, April 30, Brian Lewis and I will deliver the opening keynote at the Chicago Code Camp in Chicago.

On May 26 and 27, I will deliver 2 presentations: “Open Source Technologies in Microsoft Azure” and “Adding Image and Voice Intelligence to your apps with Microsoft Cognitive Services” at IT Camp in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

On June 4, I will be one of the hosts of MVP Open Days in Downers Grove, IL.

On June 9, I will present “Building Powerful Enterprise Apps with Angular 2 and Typescript" at Open Source North in Minneapolis, MN.

On June 15, Shawn Wildermuth will interview me for his “Hello World” podcast in Chicago, IL.

On August 11, I will present "Building a TV show with Angular, Bootstrap, and Web Services" at MidwestJS in Minneapolis, MN.

I am waiting to confirm a few others. Watch this space.

Saturday, 09 April 2016 10:56:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 15 February 2016
Monday, 15 February 2016 18:33:27 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 12 December 2015

A couple years ago, J Tower and his team noticed attendance at the Grand Rapids .NET User dwindling. This trend was in stark contrast to the annual GR DevDay conference that attracted hundreds of attendees each year.

Tower came up with a novel approach - he discarded the idea of a monthly user group meeting and replaced it with a quarterly meeting that more resembled a conference than a user group. Because the quarterly meeting took place on a weekday evening and was patterned after GR DevDay, he dubbed it "GR DevNight."

Each GR DevNight begins with a keynote presentation delivered in front of all attendees. After the keynote, attendees can choose from among 3 different presentations - each lasting about an hour.

Each GR DevNight is assigned a theme and all presentations relate to that theme.


At this week's meeting, the theme was Cloud Computing and I was excited to deliver the keynote address. I showed off many of the Open Source and non-Microsoft technologies supported by Microsoft Azure in a presentation titled "Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft."

While driving from Detroit to Grand Rapids, J called me to tell me that a medical emergency forced a late cancellation by one of the speakers that evening. He asked if I could deliver a breakout session in addition to the keynote. I had been working on a presentation about Azure Mobile Apps so I offered to premiere it that evening. GRDevNightBreakout3

It was an excellent event. A hundred attendees packed into a room at Cornerstone University to hear the keynote and they split pretty evenly between the three breakout sessions.

If you run a user group that is struggling to maintain interest month in and month out, a model similar to this might help you to revitalize your group as it did for the the group in Grand Rapids.

photos by J Tower

Saturday, 12 December 2015 18:42:47 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 18 November 2015

IMG_3589_edited-1 Originally, it was 1DevDayDetroit - a multi -platform developer conference in do wntown Detroit; then came some specialized version of the conference, named "CloudDevDay" and  "MobiDevDay", focused on cloud computing and mobile technologies, respectively. 

IMG_3604_edited-1A couple years ago, the organizers changed the name to "Detroit Dev Day" and that has stuck! The conference takes place at Cobo Hall in the heart of downtown Detroit and attracts hundreds of attendees from the .NET, Java, JavaScript, Open Source, and other communities.

I was invited to deliver the opening keynote, so I spoke about the Technical Community, how it has benefited me personally, and professionally, and how others could benefit from being more engaged in their local community.

IMG_3606_edited-1I also delivered a breakout session titled "Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft" in which I demonstrated many of the open source and competing technologies supported on Microsoft Azure.

IMG_3611_edited-1In addition, Jennifer Marsman delivered a presentation titled "Introduction to Azure Machine Learning: Predict Who Will Survive the Titanic".

I attended sessions on Testing Android Applications, Visual Studio Diagnostic Tools, Developers working with QA Teams, Web Development Workflow, and Azure Machine Learning.


In addition, I had a chance to interact with many folks from the Detroit Development community - a treat for me as I spent many years living and working in this area and I even ran a user group in suburban Detroit for years.

The feedback I heard from attendees was overwhelmingly positive.

Detroit Dev Day was entirely run by volunteers and has continued as a strong presence in Detroit through its various name changes for the past 5 years. Based on this year's success, I expect it to continue well into the future.

Detroit Dev Day keynote

More Photos

Detroit Dev Day Home

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 14:37:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 30 October 2015

Hurricane Joaquin pounded the east coast much of the week and threatened to cause havoc with thunderstorms in Huntsville, AL, hundreds of miles from the ocean. Chris Gardner, organizer of the first DevSpace conference, crossed his fingers, glanced at the sky and hoped the weather would not deter attendees and speakers.

Huntsville, AL

Ultimately, the thunderstorms did strike Huntsville, but only in the evening and they were not enough to disrupt the first DevSpace conference.

In its first year, the DevSpace conference in Huntsville, AL attracted about a hundred attendees.

Although the attendees were mostly from within 200 miles of Huntsville, the speakers came from all over the US, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and California.

Sessions covered a variety of software development technologies, including JavaScript frameworks, Application Lifecycle Management, PowerShell, Azure Machine Learning, Unity game development, and Python.


There were a surprising number of presentations on Application Lifecycle Management and quite a few talks on soft skills, such as Finding Leadership Opportunities, Public Speaking, and Improving Listening Skills.

Alan Stevens of Knoxville, TN delivered an excellent keynote in which he talked about the inherent imperfections in production code and how we can continually improve that code base.

I delivered 2 sessions: Own Your Own Career - Advice from a Veteran Consultant; and Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft.


Huntsville, AL is also home of the University of Alabama - Huntsville and Chris arranged a student workshop for me at the university the day before the conference. I was able to teach students about cloud computing and Azure and get them to activate their Dreamspark Azure accounts and deploy a web app.

DevSpace is one of several smaller conferences that have started or grown recently in response to the cancellation of DevLink in Nashville, TN.

Conference organizer Chris Gardner announced plans for a 2016 edition of DevSpace.

Chris Gardner

This was my first visit to Alabama and I really enjoyed it. The people were friendly, the area is beautiful, the conference was enjoyable, and Hun4tsville has a quaint, pleasant downtown area. My only regret is that I did not get  a chance to visit the Space Museum. But that gives me a reason to return.

Friday, 30 October 2015 14:21:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 25 August 2015


Now in its fourth year, That Conference is one of the premiere developer community events in the Midwest. Most attendees come from the upper Midwest, but dozens of speakers traveled from all over the country to share their knowledge.

Like many code camps, That Conference features classroom-style presentations, an Open Spaces area for interactive discussions, booths for attendees and sponsors to interact, and food (good food!) in a common dining area.

What sets apart That Conference is its emphasis on family. The conference drew 800 attendees and speakers, but nearly 400 family members accompanied them. It was not uncommon to see strollers pushed down the conference hallways between sessions.

Family attendance did not happen by accident. That Conference is held at the Kalahari resort, which features a huge water park - ideal for family activities. The conference even reserved the water park one evening after the normal closing time for the exclusive use by attendees and their families. Best of all, the conference organized a kids' programming track to teach children about software development and computer science in a fun and engaging way. In fact, many of the sessions in this track were delivered by children - usually the kids of attendees or speakers. DavidAndDavid

I was happy to be a part of That Conference this year - as a sponsor, speaker, and attendee.

As a sponsor, I coordinated Microsoft's presence at the event. Microsoft was the Principal sponsor (the highest level available) and we promoted the theme "Microsoft Is Open" to emphasize Microsoft's support of Open Source Software and non-MS technologies.

As a speaker, I delivered a presentation titled "Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft" in which I talked about how developers using Open Source and other technologies could take advantage of the Azure platform. I organized an open space after my session where I heard how others are using Azure with their own sets of tools. Two people from a nearby open space ended up joining my group.

As an attendee, I sat in on a couple sessions (Wade Wegner's talk on Azure Apps was very interesting), sat in a couple open space discussions, and had numerous conversations with others at the conference. It was great sharing ideas with developers from different technologies and geographies.

DavidAndSeth I was excited to be interviewed by both Seth Juarez of Channel 9 and by Jason Young and Carl Schweitzer for their excellent MS Dev Show podcast. I conducted a few interviews of my own, which will be released over the next few weeks at Technology and Friends.

MaxLynch Of course the content was great and included keynotes from software craftsmanship advocate Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin, Ionic framework creator Max Lynch, and FBI Special Agent Byron Franz, along with breakout sessions on a wide variety of technologies.

I wish I could have attended more presentations at That Conference, but I came away with some new connections, some new ideas, and a lack of sleep. 


That Conference Home Page

My Photos of That Conference

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 16:45:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 22 August 2015

Last week, I had a chance to attend, sponsor, and present at the Midwest JS conference in Minneapolis, MN.

I was excited because, I used to do a lot of web development but switched to other technologies a few years ago. During my time away from web development, JavaScript technology has had some amazing advances as many frameworks were created, rose to great popularity and fell out of favor to be replaced by a new framework. I watched from a distance as the web I knew changed from mostly server side code generating HTML to powerful client-side code calling back-end web services and dynamically updating content in the browser. Although my historical experience began with "classic" ASP and continued through ASP.NET Web Forms and MVC, I've spent the past few weeks learning how to build a site with Angular.

This conference featured very little Microsoft technologies and most of the attendees did not development with Microsoft tools. A quick glance around the room revealed more Macs than PCs. I was nervous because I didn't know many attendees and speakers and because I didn't know how they would respond to a Microsoft employee in their midst.

It turns out that I worried for nothing. I met so many people who were interested in hearing about what Microsoft was doing. Our support of open source technologies the past few years really resonated with this crowd and there was a lot of interest in tool like TypeScript.

I created a talk on Microsoft Edge - the new browser that ships with Windows 10 and replaces Internet Explorer. The audience was interested in the speed of this browser (it's a total rewrite of the rendering engine) and with its support of web standards. During Q&A, one attendee expressed frustration that the Edge team had not announced a version for the Mac.

It wasn't long ago that a non-Microsoft conference would have also been an anti-Microsoft conference. But I experienced none of this. Everyone I met kept an open mind about other technologies - including ours. And I learned a great deal from them about the tools and frameworks that they embrace.

I left with a favorable experience of the JavaScript community and a desire to connect with them more. Of course, my education in this area continues as I try to catch up with the advances of the past 4 years, but conferences like Midwest JS help.

Saturday, 22 August 2015 15:48:07 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 04 June 2015


This was my first time at DevSum and my visit to Sweden. In its tenth year, the conference topped 600 attendees. I was surprised by the number of speakers from America, but this fact was a big help to me because many of the Americans introduced me to other speakers, allowing me to expand my professional and personal network.

Patrik Löwendahl, CTO of Avanade Sweden, kicked off the conference with a thought-provoking talk about the challenges facing the software industry.

IMG_1528 I had a chance to see a few other presentations, including Mike Wood's Azure tools talk (condensed to 50 minutes from its usual 90 minutes); a security presentation by Niall Merrigan, in which he pretended to hack into a bank; and a very entertaining rant by Hadi Hari about "Silver Bullet Syndrome" in which he warned that there  are no easy solutions (such as new frameworks or methodologies )to software problems.

Monday afternoon, I gave a talk on Data Visualization. It's a talk I've given many times before, but I added a few new slides for this presentation and it was very well received. Several people approached me after to tell me they enjoyed it and learned from it.

I also was able to squeeze in an interview with Mark Rendle about the new features of C#.


IMG_1547 I spent a lot of time walking around Stockholm. The day before the conference, a group of conference speakers went to the Vasa Museum, which tells the story of the 17th century Swedish warship inside that sank on its maiden voyage and was recovered 3 centuries later. Tuesday afternoon, Chris Woodruff and I explored Old Town - the oldest part of the city - and took a guided tour of the Nobel Museum.

IMG_1599 Wednesday, Jimmy Bogard and I spent the entire day walking around Stockholm. We toured the museums of the Royal Palace and we visited Skansen - an open air museum, featuring reconstructed buildings from various periods of Swedish history and animals from all around Sweden.

Thursday, I bought a pass for the tourists buses and boats. The bus drove around the city while a recording described each landmark as we passed, telling a bit of the history and culture of the landmark. The boat ride gave a similar tour for the waterways around Stockholm. The city is located on a waterway containing an archipelago of over a hundred islands. These tours gave me a brief overview of the city highlights and also provided respite for the blister that had formed on the bottom of my foot. Following the tours, I went to the Gondolan - a restaurant suspended hundreds of meters above Stockholm that provided spectacular views of the city; then to the Photography Museum, where I saw 4 excellent exhibits. I ended the day, sharing an excellent meal with Ward Bell, Julie Lerman, and Julie’s friend Tricia.


IMG_1775 Friday I took a train to Uppsalla, a university city north of Stockholm, where Tibi Covaci and his family met me and we explored the local church - a beautiful building from the 15th century and walked around the town. A local priest told us that university students were graduating today and that we could expect to hear cannons firing in their honor.

Final Hours

Friday evening, I went for a long walk north and west of my hotel - a neighborhood I had not yet explored. It was good to explore the city, even though I got lost a couple times.

This was, by far, the farthest north I've travelled in my life. The daylight hours in Stockholm are surprisingly long this time of year. The sun rises at 3:50AM and did not set until 9:40PM. This is part of the reason I did not get as much sleep as I should have.

I will carry this trip with me the rest of my life. I visited with old friends, saw a new part of the world, and met many smart people.



More photos


Thursday, 04 June 2015 02:27:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 15 May 2015

Xamarin is a familiar name to mobile developers. The company is known for its tools that allow developers to build applications that will run the same code-base on Windows, Android, and iOS devices, making it easier and faster to build cross-platform applications. This spring, the folks at Xamarin are travelling across America delivering a series of Dev Days - a combination of classroom training and hacking.

The tour kicked off Saturday in Chicago, where I was happy to attend and participate; and Microsoft was happy to sponsor by providing the space.

James Montemagno of Xamarin began with an introduction Xamarin development, followed by an introduction to Xamarin forms. Afterwards, I showed the audience how to use Azure Mobile Services build a backend data store for a Xamarin app. Finally, Michael Stonis - a local Xamarin MVP and instructor at Xamarin University - delivered a presentation on applications for wearable devices.

Of course, there was plenty to eat - most notably Chicago-style stuffed pizza.

You can learn more about Xamarin Dev Days, see in which cities they are scheduled, register for these events, and even request a Dev Days event in your town at http://xamarin.com/dev-days.

Most of the afternoon was spent hacking. Attendees could either build an app of their choice or they could work through a set of labs provided by Xamarin. A few people left after the lectures ended, but many stuck around until the end of the day to put to use what they learned in the morning.  About 70 people attended and most came away with an improved understanding of the platform. And with a full belly.

Friday, 15 May 2015 04:48:41 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 03 February 2015

I’ve scheduled a lot of public events in February and March. I’ll be traveling around the Midwest delivering full-day Web Camps and Dev Camps; I’m giving my first conference keynote (at the ITECS conference in Ft. Wayne, IN); I’ll be visiting a few college colleges; and I’ll continue to attend and present at local user groups. Later in the sprint, I’m flying to Europe to speak again IT Camp –Romania and, for the first time, at Dev Sum in Sweden.

Admission to nearly all of these events is open to the public and either free or very inexpensive. I hope you can make it to one or more of them.

Date Topic Event Location
2/3/2015 Web Development Web Camp Downers Grove, IL
2/6/2015 Effective Data Visualization University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
2/12/2015 Web Development Web Camp Indianapolis
2/12/2015 The Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Services Indiana University Bloomington, IN
2/17/2015 Web Development Web Camp Overland Park, KS
2/20/2015 Web Development Web Camp Nashville, TN
2/21/2015 The Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Services Indiana Tech ITECS conference Ft Wayne, IN
2/21/2015 Keynote: Your Dev Community and You Indiana Tech ITECS conference Ft Wayne, IN
2/25/2015 Web Development Web Camp Edina, MN
3/3/2015 Web Development Web Camp Miami, FL
3/10/2015 Web Development Web Camp Austin, TX
3/12/2015 TBD Houston .NET User Group Houston, TX
3/12/2015 Web Development Web Camp Houston, TX
3/13/2015 Azure and cloud computing Cloud Dev Camp Houston, TX
3/24/2015 Web Development Web Camp Waukesha, WI
3/26/2015 Web Development Web Camp Chicago, IL
3/27/2015 App Studio Development US MVP Open Days Malvern, PA
4/7/2015 Cloud Dev Camp Microsoft Overland Park, KS
5/14/2015 TBD Chicago Coder Conference Chicago, IL
5/21/2015 TBD IT Camp Cluj-Napoca, Romania
5/25/2015 Effective Data Visualization Dev Sum Stockholm, Sweden
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 14:26:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 21 June 2014

Day 4: Thursday, May 22

IT Camp, Day 1

Up early to hear the keynote. Peter Keller talked about fear in organizations - what causes fear; how fear can hurt us; how to manage fear; and how fear can motivate us to achieve new things.

Mihai Tataran and Tudor Damian gave a second keynote - this one about security. The highlight was Tudor's demos showing how easy it was to hack a user's password in a typical corporate environment. The main effect of this second keynote was to make the audience afraid for the security of their data, so it's a good thing it was preceded by a talk about fear.

Later that morning, I gave my Data Visualization talk. The room was nearly full and it was very well received. I was fortunate that I could give this talk in English, even though English was not the first language of most of the audience.

In the evening, the conference organizers reserved much of the hotel dining room and treated the speakers to dinner and drinks. This was a great opportunity to get to know the other speakers - most of whom were European and most of whom I had never met.


Day 5: Friday, May 23

IT Camp, Day 2

I delivered my second presentation - this one on building a Windows 8 game using Construct 2. The audience was great and seemed to enjoy it.

I recorded 2 interviews with Technology and Friends - one with Peter Keller and one with Tudor Damian. Both of these have been published at http://technologyandfriends.com/.

I took more time today to talk with the conference attendees. Unlike most American developer conferences, this one was attended by nearly 40% women. The industry seemed far less dominated by males here than back home, although I did notice only one female speaker.

In the evening, the conference organizers took the speakers to a local restaurant and treated us to another multi-course meal. Again, it was a great opportunity for me to get to know the speakers. Although most of the attendees seemed to be from northern Transylvania, I met speakers from Romania, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Bulgaria, Norway, England and the United States.


Day 6: Saturday, May 24

Alba Iulia

The conference was over but IT Camp reserves the day after the conference for a cultural outing for all the speakers. This year's outing was to Alba Iulia - a beautiful city south of Cluj. Alba Iulia was the first capital of Romania when it gained independence after World War I.

After the bus ride to Alba Iulia, we stopped for an excellent lunch and set out to walk around the city with a tour guide. Alba was a walled city that was well-fortified against attacks but that was never attacked. The country have spent the last five years restoring the city's historic buildings and monuments and the place is gorgeous. Our tour guide was supposedly telling us about the history of the city, but it was hard to tell as he never spoke above a whisper and there were several dozen of us.

After the bus ride back to the hotel, we were treated to one last dinner. I don’t recall attending a conference that treated speakers as well as IT Camp. From the 5-star hotel accommodations to the food to the conference organization, everything was done well.

After the bus returned to the hotel, the conference treated us to another (excellent) dinner. We hung out in the lobby after dinner talking and I decided I would drive to Budapest in the morning. I had met Adam and Magdolna from Budapest a few days earlier, so I made plans to meet them for dinner.

IMG_0085-L[1]  IMG_0074-L[1] 

This is part 2 of a series describing my 2014 trip to Romania and Hungary.

Photos of Romania

Saturday, 21 June 2014 23:53:30 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 11 May 2014

Dev Days 2014 is a free Microsoft coming soon to a city near you (hopefully).

This event will present some of the content from the Build Conference last month.

Here is the agenda:



8:30-8:45 AM

Welcome and logistics

8:45-9:00 AM

Overview of the day

9:00-10:30 AM

What’s new on Windows Phone and Window 8

10:30-10:45 AM


10:45-12:15 PM

What’s new in Windows Azure

12:30-1:00 PM


1:00-2:45 PM

What’s new in Visual Studio and Team Foundation

2:45-3:15 PM

Close and raffle

The first of these events was Friday in Chicago, where over 100 people registered. The upcoming schedule and registration links are below:

Event Date

Location City


Southfield, MI



Austin, TX



Irving, TX



Edina, MN



St. Louis, MO



Columbus, OH


Meanwhile, there is still one more Enterprise Developer Boot Camp scheduled in Edina, MN. You can register for this free event at this link.

Sunday, 11 May 2014 21:20:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 26 April 2014

I will be out speaking quite a bit this summer. Here is my schedule so far:

Date Topic Event Location
Apr 26 Build and Publish a Windows 8 Game in 1 Day, even without Windows 8 Chicago Code Camp Grayslake, IL
Apr 26 Windows 8 / Windows Phone 8 Cross-Platform Development Chicago Code Camp Grayslake, IL
Apr 30 Azure Fundamentals Azure Dev Camp Chicago, IL
May 6 1-day workshop Enterprise Developer Boot Camp Southfield, MI
May 12 Game Development Workshop Devry - Tinley Park workshop Tinley Park, IL
May 14 Refactor Your Dev Skills Enterprise Dev Day 2014 Columbus, OH
May 22 Effective Data Visualization IT Camp Cluj-Napoca, Romania
May 23 Build and Publish a Windows 8 Game in 1 Day, even without Windows 8 IT Camp Cluj-Napoca, Romania
May 30 Own Your Own Career – Advice from a Veteran Consultant Self.Conference Detroit, MI
June 7 Effective Data Visualization Pittsburgh Tech Fest Pittsburgh, PA
June 11 Refactor Your Dev Skills Enterprise Dev Day 2014 Southfield, MI
June 19 A Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Services Greater Lansing .NET User Group Okemos, MI
July 11-12 TBD Codestock Knoxville, TN
Aug 28 Build and Publish a Windows 8 Game in 1 Day, even without Windows 8 DevLink Chattanooga, TN
Sep 20 Cloud and Azure and Rock and Roll FalafelCON San Francisco, CA
Sep 21 A Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Services FalafelCON San Francisco, CA
Sep 23 A Hitchhiker's Guide to Azure Mobile Services Northern Illinois Coders Rockford, IL
Saturday, 26 April 2014 13:48:17 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 22 April 2014

I am involved in a number of first-party events from Microsoft over the next few weeks. Many people have contributed to the content of these events and they should be very educational. All events are free and last a full day. The dates and registration links are below:

Date Event Location Link
April 23 Enterprise Developer Boot Camp Columbus, OH link
April 30 Windows Azure Developer Camp: Make It Happen In The Cloud Chicago, IL link
May 6 Enterprise Developer Boot Camp Southfield, MI link
May 14 Dev Days 2014 Southfield, MI link
June 11 Dev Days 2014 Columbus, OH link

Below are the official descriptions of these events.

Enterprise Developer Camp

Do you have existing .NET client line of business (LOB) applications? Join Microsoft developer experts, and see how to modernize these applications and move them forward. Learn what the Microsoft devices and services strategy is and how existing applications fit in. See demos, and work through hands-on labs to learn how and why to move your LOB applications to Windows Azure, how to use third-party controls to add a modern look and feel, and how to provide your users the ability to use LOB apps on a variety of devices, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. And do all of this using Visual Studio 2013 and your existing XAML skills!

Agenda Topics:

· Overview

o Get an overview of the Microsoft platform, and discover the main reasons why developers (and businesses) should build on it. Learn what we mean when we talk about devices and services and the opportunities they present.

· Adopt a Services Architecture

o Learn about best practices for building WPF LOB applications that are based on a services architecture. Review the Expenses app that serves as foundation for the session, and explore a number of coding topics.

· Move to the Cloud

o Find out how to cloud-enable the Expenses app so users can access expense data on-premises and off-premises. Walk through the steps, including configuring the WCF service to use SQL Azure, deploying the WCF service to an Azure Web Site, and configuring the Expenses app to use the cloud service.

· Lunch

· Modernize Your App

o Explore new features in Visual Studio 2013 that make XAML development easier. Learn about controls provided by third-party vendors, and see how they can be used to build WPF apps that have a more modern look and feel.

· Build for Multiple Devices

o See how you can take your existing skills and build Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps. Get a basic overview, and then see how to build an Expenses app for both of these platforms to provide users the ability to manage their expenses on additional devices.

Dev Days 2014

Microsoft’s Refactor Your Dev Skills at Dev Days 2014 is a conference where Microsoft shares the latest Operating System, cloud, device, development and developer tools. Much of the material is inspired from the 2014 Build Conference, with exciting announcements expected in all of the categories above. If you didn’t have time to view as many build sessions as you would have liked, and didn’t have time to pull together the key developments, this is the conference for you. These events are meant to distill an overview of the latest developments on Microsoft platforms and highlight some of the best new capabilities coming in each areas below:


  • An overview of what was announced at Build
  • What’s new in the cloud platform?
  • What’s new in building web technology native apps?
  • What’s new in .NET Language apps?
  • What’s new in Visual Studio and Application Lifecycle Management?
  • How to get started using new capabilities.

Windows Azure Developer Camp: Make It Happen In The Cloud

Join a Microsoft Azure Developer Camp and leave with code running in the cloud! This is a free, one-day Microsoft Azure Instructor led Workshop where you roll up your sleeves and get hands-on with the latest Microsoft Azure development tools and technologies.
We will start with the basics and build on to more advanced topics, featuring instructor led
hands-on labs for:
-  Learn how to build infrastructure at the speed of code with Virtual Machines in the cloud
-  Build your first cloud native application, and deploy it into an auto-management environment
-  Easily configure single sign-on for your ASP.NET application, and learn how to extend your corporate identity store to apps in the cloud.
Throughout the day, you’ll hear from local Microsoft Azure Partner specialists and Microsoft product team members. We’ll talk about how Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s open and flexible cloud platform, enables you to quickly build, deploy or move existing applications to the cloud. And don't worry, we speak your development language, .NET, node.js, PHP, Python, and all developers are welcome!
Be fully prepared for this hands-on day of coding by bringing your laptop and signing up for the free Microsoft Azure trial

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 18:08:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 29 March 2014

I am home after touring around Indiana and Ohio this past week, speaking at student groups and user groups.

You can find below my slides and demos for each presentation

Date Event Slides /Demos
Mar 24 Indiana University student meetup download
Mar 25 Cincinnati .NET User Group download
Mar 26 Dayton .NET Developers Group download
Mar 27 Central Ohio .NET Developers Group download
Saturday, 29 March 2014 14:14:38 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 23 December 2013
Monday, 23 December 2013 17:24:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 02 November 2013

Yesterday was my first solo flight for the Microsoft DPE team.

I've been at Microsoft over 2 weeks and I've spent my time learning technologies, filling out forms, learning about the company, and shadowing other evangelists.

But yesterday, I traveled to DeVry University in Tinley Park, IL to teach students how to build games for Windows 8.

The hosts at DeVry were great. They were extremely nice, they accommodated every request I made, they made sure the room was set up properly, and they even bought me lunch (Aurelo's Pizza is to die for, BTW).

I built a sample application of a game in which a player shoots monsters that chase him around a 2D landscape. We used the Construct2 game engine from Scirra Ltd - an impressive tool for building such games. The students followed along with my demo and built the project with me.

The students were great. About 30 high school students traveled to DeVry by bus and 4 DeVry students were in the audience. I was impressed that they not only picked up the tool and the concepts, but that they extended my demo - modifying the game in clever ways. One student flipped the game around so that the monster was shooting attacking humans; another bundled multiple players together so that he fired 10 rounds at once; another replaced all the game characters with NBA players. I was delighted to see so much creativity from high school students.

It wasn't all smooth sailing.  When I arrived, I discovered the only browsers on the student machines were IE8 and Firefox 3. Since these browsers don't support the HTML5 features of the Construct game, we could not use them. But the DeVry IT department quickly fixed this and I now have one more detail to add to the classroom setup sheet I hand to the next event organizer.

I was excited to get my first event out of the way successfully and I'm looking forward to the next thousand events.

Saturday, 02 November 2013 18:42:20 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 21 October 2013

I wanted to speak at Southwest Fox because I had heard good things about conference and because FoxPro was the first computer language I was paid to program in. I have fond memories of both the technology and of the community surrounding this language.

Spending time with FoxPro developers 15 years ago gave me my first taste of a passionate developer community. People who developed in FoxPro believed in its power and often expressed frustration that it didn't have the commercial success of other products. I remember hearing the audience boo loudly when a photo of Visual Basic 6 displayed on-screen at a FoxPro Developers Conference in the late 1990s.

So, here I was - back to my roots - hanging around people who make their living writing Visual FoxPro – a language that finally released its last version a couple years ago.

You would think a community like this would be ready to move onto something new, but that wasn't what I found. There are thousands of applications successfully built with FoxPro and still going strong in Production. And in many cases, the businesses have no compelling reason to migrate these applications to a newer language. I learned there are even some good reasons to stay put, such as the low hardware requirements. As a result, many people have found a good business maintaining and enhancing these applications.

Attendees flocked to Southwest Fox in Phoenix, AZ from all over the world. I met people from New Zealand, Germany, Holland, and Nigeria. They came because this is one of the few events where you can learn about FoxPro in person and meet other Fox developers.

This year marked the tenth consecutive year of the conference and about a dozen people had attended all ten conferences.

It was my first time attending.

I delivered almost 7 hours of content at Southwest Fox - 3-hour session on HTML5; 2 75-minute sessions on jQuery; and a 75-minute presentation on maintaining legacy code. Even though my sessions had nothing to do with FoxPro, many people went out of their way to tell me they learned a lot from them.

Several people told me that Southwest Fox is their favorite conference - an event that attendees look forward to all year. Partly, this is true because so few conferences have a focus on FoxPro; but the most common reason was that people had the chance to see friends they only see once a year.

"It's about the people", said speaker Jody Meyer.

The event felt as much like a family reunion as a developer’s conference.

I am grateful I was invited as part of this family event.

Monday, 21 October 2013 03:57:10 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 06 October 2013

This week was my second visit to DevConnections and first as a speaker. Two years ago, the event was much larger and more spread out across the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas. I enjoyed the conference back then and I enjoyed the conference this year, as well. The content was intriguing, the speaker pool was excellent, the venue was first-rate, and the atmosphere was great.

Because I was a speaker and because I was presenting 2 brand new presentations, I spent the first day in the speaker room preparing my talks. This strategy seemed to work as several people came up to me after my session and during the conference to tell me they enjoyed my sessions.

After my preparation was done, I was able to attend some sessions on Creating Windows 8 Games, Windows Azure, TypeScript, and Do’s and Don'ts of Software Development.

The conference attracted a diverse group of speakers from all over the world and attendees from all over the US. At lunch one day, I met the guy who wrote the online ordering application I use to order my lunch. In the speaker room, I met people from Israel, Italy, and all across the US.

You can download my slides and demos below:
Connecting the Dots: Using Web API, jQuery, and HTML5 Together http://sdrv.ms/1e15q3P
Maintaining Legacy Code http://sdrv.ms/1e15sZu

My notes from attending sessions are below.

Cloud Computing

Mark Minasi
Mark Russinovich

Microsoft moved from
to "DevOps"

System Center Virtual Machine Manager
Windows Azure Fabric Controller

Issues of scaling

Commodity hardware in Azure data center

(e.g., Azure fabric controller runs on multiple servers)

Efficient data centers
2 people watching servers
2 people taking calls

Price breaks buying hardware in huge volume

Customers with global customers need cloud provider with data centers around the world

3rd Phase of Computing
1. Birth of mainframe
2. Client-server
3. Cloud computing

What happens in China?

Cloud is changing jobs - not eliminating them
Managing virtual machines/ monitoring system vs managing hardware

Building Games for Windows 8 – Using GameMaker
Daniel Egan

Step-by-step using GameMaker

Build vector graphics with Inkscape http://inkscape.org/

Keep graphics quality consistent.

Do's and Don't's of Software Projects
Dino Esposito

Big Ball of Mud (BBM)=Spaghetti Code
Not big in the beginning. Grows over time
No single developer can create BBM.

Communication is key
Misalignment btn requirements & features

When individual changes occur frequently, the system changes over time and may require a change in architecture.

Software is not like engineering: More dynamic.

Clean Code

Cohesion: Keep together logically-related methods and classes


Don't be afraid of refactoring

Tools can help

Sunday, 06 October 2013 02:00:09 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 30 August 2013

I limited my travel during July and August because it was the last months I would have my sons at home before they moved out of state for college. But the coming months will be very busy and filled with a  lot of travel. I started this hectic schedule last week with a presentation on Strategies for Refactoring and Testing Legacy Code at the Northwest Ohio .NET User Group and this pace only accelerates into the fal.

Date Event Location Topic  
Sep 14 Code Camp NYC New York, NY HTML5 is the Future of the Web Link
Sep 21 Vermont Code Camp Burlington, VT TBD Link
Aug 30 CloudDevelop Columbus, OH Cloud and Azure and Rock and Roll Link
Oct 1 DevConnections Las Vegas, NV Strategies for Refactoring and Testing Legacy Code Link
Oct 2 DevConnections Las Vegas, NV Connecting the Dots: Using HTML5, jQuery, and Web API Together Link
Oct 16 Great Lakes Area .NET User Group Southfield, MI Connecting the Dots: Using HTML5, jQuery, and Web API Together Link
Friday, 30 August 2013 10:02:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 29 August 2013

I limited my travel during July and August because it was the last months I would have my sons at home before they moved out of state for college. But the coming months will be very busy and filled with a  lot of travel. I started this hectic schedule last week with a presentation on Strategies for Refactoring and Testing Legacy Code at the Northwest Ohio .NET User Group and this pace only accelerates into the fall.

Date Event Location Topic  
Aug 30 CloudDevelop Columbus, OHn Cloud and Azure and Rock and Roll Link
Sep 14 Code Camp NYC New York, NY HTML5 is the Future of the Web Link
Sep 21 Vermont Code Camp Burlington, VT Effective Data Visualization Link
Sep 28 Tampa Bar/Code Camp Tampa, FL TBD Link
Oct 1 DevConnections Las Vegas, NV Strategies for Refactoring and Testing Legacy Code Link
Oct 2 DevConnections Las Vegas, NV Connecting the Dots: Using HTML5, jQuery, and Web API Together Link
Oct 16 Great Lakes Area .NET User Group Southfield, MI Connecting the Dots: Using HTML5, jQuery, and Web API Together Link
Oct 17 Southwest Fox Gilbert, AZ HTML5 is the Future of the Web Link
Oct 18 Southwest Fox Gilbert, AZ How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love jQuery Link
Thursday, 29 August 2013 18:39:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 15 June 2013

Last week, I was doubly fortunate. First, because I had the opportunity to attend my second Tech Ed. Although I attend a lot of conferences, the large, commercial conferences tend to be out of my price range. But more importantly, I was fortunate to be invited to speak at Tech Ed this year. This was by far the largest in-person event at which I have ever spoken and it was a great experience!

I arrived in New Orleans Saturday night and had dinner with Richard Campbell and Tibi Covaci - two of the smartest people I know.

Saturday morning, I woke up early and took a bus with a bunch of volunteers to a New Orleans neighborhood still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina 8 years ago. Tech Ed partnered with several local charities to invite a busload of attendees to help build houses in this neighborhood. You can read more about the event here.

A morning pounding nails left me exhausted but a hot bath later I was ready to attend the INETA Meet and Greet - a chance for those in the developer community to connect with one another. It was also a great chance for me to catch up with others on the INETA Board of Directors, an amazing group of people who put a lot of effort into making the developer community better.

My presentation was scheduled for Monday afternoon, so I spent most of the morning preparing for it. The topic was "Effective Data Visualization" - a talk I have given many times in the past. I was nervous but the presentation went well and the 70 minutes flew by. Over 200 people attended the session and several people approached me afterward to tell me how much they enjoyed the talk and what they learned. Microsoft Evangelist Brady Gaster was kind enough to sit in my session and provide some valuable feedback on my presentation skills. You can watch a recording of my presentation here.

At Tech Ed last year in New Orleans, I won "Speaker Idol" - a competition among those who have never presented at Tech Ed before. Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell of .NET Rocks fame host the contest in which each contestant must deliver a 5-minute presentation, followed by critiquing by a panel of 4 judges. A heat takes place each day during lunch and the finals are held on the last day of Tech Ed. As last year's Speaker Idol champion, I was asked to be a judge this year. The quality of the competition was amazing this year and I was excited to see Jeff Fritz - whom I met at last year's Speaker Idol - finish as runner-up this year. The champion was Jessica Devita, who gave an excellent presentation on Office 365 Migrations. I had a blast judging this event and I'm grateful I was asked to do so.

One advantage this conference has is the number of people on the Microsoft product teams who attend and make themselves available. One section of the trade show floor is designated "Ask the Experts" where Microsoft employees and industry experts make themselves available to answer questions of attendees. I took advantage of this opportunity, getting answers to my question about how to configure startup options for Lync (the menu is hidden until you click the 'Gear' icon); and my question about how to configure DNS to point to my Azure Web Site without prefacing the URL with "www" (I need to add the URL to the "MANAGE DOMAINS" list in the Azure portal).

On Wednesday, I volunteered to work one of the Ask the Experts area and I answered a number of questions about Visual Studio.

Tech Ed features over 700 sessions, which can be a bit overwhelming. I managed to catch a few of these - some in person and some via recordings. My notes are at the end of this article. I'll likely be watching some more videos during the coming weeks. They are available at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2013#fbid=-b30gJBZH1s

Even without Tech Ed, a few days in New Orleans is a pleasant experience. The hotel (Loews) was great; I explored the French Quarter in the evenings; Thanks to Becky Isserman, I experienced my first Beignet (at Cafe du Monde); I attended a number of parties thrown by sponsors; I had dinner with many old and new friends, including Mihai Tataran, Mark Minasi, Brent Stineman, Dustin Campbell, Chris Woodruff, and too many others to list here; I ate too much excellent spicy food; and I walked so much that my feet ached by the time I left.

The only downside was that I had to leave a day early to attend my son's high school graduation, so I missed the closing party at the Louisiana Super Dome that featured a concert by Tina Turner.

All in all, Tech Ed was an amazing experience and I hope to be invited to speak again next year.

Photos of Tech Ed

IMG_4682-M[1] IMG_4671-M[1]

Session Notes


by Brad Anderson

Key Changes to Azure
    BizTalk in cloud
    Billing prorated by the minute
    Web sites now support SSL

Brownfield Development: Taming Legacy Code with Better Unit Testing and Microsoft Fakes

by Peter Provost and Joshua Weber

Legacy Code=Any code without tests
    Risk of change outweighs value of new features
Start writing tests
    Pick something you know; then another thing you know
What test
    Code you will change
    Code that affects what you change
    Test to understand code

Do not test
    Irrelevant edge cases
    Unrelated working code

    Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers
Large methods are painful
    Do too much
    Need to understand it all to make a change
        Refactor into smaller methods
        Single Responsibilty
    Use SENSOR variables
        private Object SENSOR;
        this.SENSOR = somevariable;
        Change what a method does
        Requires a scope with using()

Visual Studio Tips and Tricks

by Dustin Campbell and Scott Cate

Solution Explorer
    Expand class: View members
Right-click  class or method: Scope to: Used By
Filter pending changes

Common metaphor
    Back arrow

CTRL - Last cursor position
CTRL SHIFT - Reverse direction

View | Code Definition
    Always shows definition in a window without navigating away

    Navigate To
    Global Search

    cycles through items on clipboard ring

    Prompt which nested function to step into

Building Modern, HTML5-Based Business Apps on Windows Azure with Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch

by Beth Massi

Rapid Application Development for data-based apps
Handles CRUD for you

Single Page app
"Responsive Design": Layout changes as screen size changes
1. Start
2. Describe your data
3. Create screens for common tasks

Customize screens
Define custom queries

Design or Die: The Challenge to the Microsoft Developer Ecosystem

by Billy Hollis

Software landscape is changing
    Customers expect apps to work on different devices

Layering information in a single panel is now possible

You don't have to be as good as professional designers; You have to be better than you are now
Need basic understanding of composition and a process

Data Grids tend not to be good for touch
    If we expand size of cells to touch, less data on screen

OK to have incomplete metaphors; Mind fills in the details

Gutenberg Principle
    In left-to-right reading cultures, people tend to scan rectangular surfaces from top-left to bottom-right.
    Fitt's Law
        Big buttons are easier to find and use
        Hollis: If buttons are too large, insulting to user (Fisher-Price principle)
    Hick's Law
        Too many options confuse / slow down users

People like wide open spaces

Screen real estate is no longer as valuable as it once was. Easy to swap screens.

Recommended books
    Universal Principles of Design
    Designing with the Mind in Mind

Keys for Design Process
    Create multiple design. Compete for best one.
    Starts with paper (tools constrain your brain to what you know how to make the tool do)

    Observe users in the field

Present multiple prototypes
    Focuses users on differences between options, rather than nitpicking limitations of a design

TypeScript: Scaling Up JavaScript

Jonathan Turner

JavaScript Designed to
work on any OS
(so does Typescript output)

JavaScript code works in TypeScript

Compatibility: Can call into 3rd party javascript libraries from Typescript

Type system
Statically typed
  Better Intellisense
  Type-checking only at design-time (removed at compile-time)

"Play" link: Write Typescript: See compiled JavaScript

Saturday, 15 June 2013 06:25:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 24 January 2013

Here are the slides and demos from my How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love jQuery presentation at the 2013 CodeMash conference.

Demos and Slides

Thursday, 24 January 2013 02:07:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 12 November 2012
# Tuesday, 06 November 2012

I'd like your feedback on a conference I am considering helping to organize.

This idea was originally suggested by Matt Ruma, but I like it and I would like to help him execute it.

The conference would feature speakers delivering 10-15 minute "Lightning Talks" on a technical topic. Following each talk, a designated panel of experienced speakers would provide 5 minutes of feedback to the speaker about his presentation. The feedback would cover the topic, the demos, the speaking style, the slides, anything that contributed to the quality of the presentation. After 2 speakers, we would all take a short break to stretch.

Using this format, we could have 12-15 Lightning Talks in a single-track, all-day conference.

There are two primary goals of this conference.

  1. Audience members could learn from hearing a series of Lightning Talks, possibly getting a brief exposure to some new technologies.
  2. Speakers (particularly inexperienced speakers) would receive valuable experience speaking in front of an audience and valuable feedback on their presentation. One advantage of this format is that delivering a 15-minute presentation is far less intimidating than delivering a 60- or 75-minute presentation.

Part of the inspiration for this conference comes from the excellent Kalamazoo X conference, organized each year by Michael Eaton. However, the speaker feedback and the emphasis on technology rather than soft skills would distinguish this conference from Kalamazoo X.

I'd like to hear your opinions on this. Is it something you would be likely to attend? What ideas could make the conference more successful? Please add your comments below or post them on Twitter with the hashtag #SpeakerConf. You can find me there at @DavidGiard.

Tuesday, 06 November 2012 15:29:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Even though I’m still recovering from delivering 5(!) presentations at the Tampa Code Camp, I am actively seeking new presentation opportunities.

Here is a list of events at which I am currently scheduled to speak:

Date Event Location Topic  
Oct 24 Detroit Google Developers Group Detroit, MI Effective Data Visualization Link
Nov 7 Ann Arbor Computing Society ann arbor, MI How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love jQuery Link
Dec 8 Central Ohio Day of .NET Hilliard, OH A Lap Around SQL Server Reporting Services Link
Jan 8-11 CodeMash Sandusky, OH How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love jQuery Link
Feb 21 Greater Lansing .NET User Group Okemos, MI Persistence In The Cloud: How to Use Azure Storage Link
Jun 3-6 Microsoft TechEd North America New Orleans, LA TBD Link

If you would like me to speak at your event, please send me an e-mail at [DavidGiard] [AT] [DavidGiard] [DOT] [COM].

As always, I am grateful to Telerik for their sponsorship that allows me to speak at so many events.

You can see a list of all my presentations (past and future) at http://www.davidgiard.com/Schedule.aspx

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 15:37:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 21 October 2012

For many, the Tampa Code Camp was an experience to learn about others; for me, it was a challenge and an adventure.

I submitted five talks because I wanted to allow the organizers to pick what they wanted and in case someone else submitted some of the same topics I did. Little did I know that they would ask me to deliver all 5! There were only 6 time slots and I was scheduled for 5 of them! To be fair, I could have e-mailed the organizers and asked them to cancel some of my talks, but I saw the thrown gauntlet and I accepted the challenge.

Because I was speaking almost the entire time, I didn't get to experience much of the Code Camp directly. However, I can say that the audiences in my sessions seemed really energized and there was a lot of enthusiasm at the after-party.

The Tampa Code Camp was held in conjunction with the Tampa Bar Camp. About 1000 attendees turned out in total. I don't know the numbers for Code Camp versus Bar Camp, but it didn't much matter as the sessions all took place in the same 2 buildings. I was told that the Bar Camp tends to include more open source presentations, while the Code Camp was focused more on Microsoft technologies. I love this kind of mix because it gives attendees a chance to learn about things about topics outside their comfort zone and to meet people working in other disciplines.

I did record an interview with Kevin Wolf, who had built a remote-controlled helicopter using a variety of hardware and software. This will be available on Technology and Friends in a few weeks.

I was able to attend this year’s Tampa Code Camp, thanks to the support of Telerik.

All in all, the Tampa Code Camp was a great success for the organizers, for the attendees and for me personally. I will definitely consider this conference again next year.

Sunday, 21 October 2012 16:39:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 07 October 2012

The Horror, the Horror…

I have been delivering technical presentations for a long time and have experienced many highs and lows. Here are a few of the more difficult challenges I’ve faced while presenting.

Expert in the Audience (Cincinnati, OH, 2000)

I used to do a lot of classroom training and my habit on the first day was to go around the room and ask each student to describe his or her experiences and goals. I once taught an XML class that included a module on a new product called “BizTalk”. I knew almost nothing about BizTalk but it was so new that I assumed no one else would realize the extent of my ignorance.

Imagine my surprise when, during Day 1 introductions, I learned that one of my students was a senior Microsoft consultant, who was currently implementing BizTalk Server for his client.

Thinking quickly, I asked this consultant to deliver the final module to the class. We all learned something from him and I was spared any shame or embarrassment.

No Laptop (Southfield, MI, 2008)

I was asked by a Microsoft Architect Evangelist to deliver a presentation at a Microsoft event. The slides and demos were provided for me, but I did not have access to a laptop, so I asked the evangelist to find me one. Unfortunately, he never did, so I ended up borrowing a laptop from a friend at the last minute. This laptop had two major problems:

  1. It was woefully underpowered, so all the demos ran very slowly
  2. Someone had installed an unlicensed copy of Windows on the laptop, so an “Illegal Software” warning repeatedly appeared during my presentation.

No one commented on the warnings that popped up, but the audience grew restless with the time it took each demo to run.

Dead Video (Toled0, OH, 2008)

I arrived at a user group in Toledo to discover that no image would display on my screen. User group leader Jason Follas came to my rescue. Using a crossover cable, Jason connected his computer with mine, which allowed me to remote into my laptop and present from his, averting a crisis. Sometimes one has to think outside the box.

Lost in Genesee County (Flint, 2009)

The Flint, MI .NET User Group met at a New Horizons training center. I had the address and a map, but I drove around the area for at least a half hour looking for the building. I had to stop at each building in several adjacent office parks and walk inside to see if it was the correct one. I finally found the group inside a building hidden behind an unlit parking lot. I only discovered this was the correct location because someone happened to be walking out as I was walking in.

I was 45 minutes late and completely rattled and this as one of the worst presentations I ever delivered.

Overcommitted (Southfield, Lansing, 2009)

I try to avoid overcommitting, but it sometimes happens. One memorable time occurred when I was scheduled to deliver a talk at Lansing Day of .NET; and was subsequently asked to fill in the day before for an event in Southfield. Another presenter was called away by a family crisis, so I had little time to prepare for my 4-hour presentation and I had to create nearly all the materials myself.

I was unable to start preparing for the Lansing presentation until the night before, so I ended up staying up most of the night.

Dead Laptop (Lansing, 2009)

My laptop completely died the morning of the 2009 Lansing Day of .NET. I had to borrow one from Michael Eaton. Unfortunately, I did not have a backup of my presentation (I now use DropBox, so I always have a backup), so I had to recreate it. To make matters worse, I was unable to install the necessary software on his laptop, so I had to forego my demos and only display slides.

The Bomb Threat (Lexington, KY, 2010)

It was a crazy idea to drive down to Lexington, KY and back in a single day; but I wanted to be the first speaker at this new user group. The meeting was scheduled in the basement of a public library. After a five-hour drive, I called my host, who informed me that a bomb threat had been called into the library and the police had evacuated the building and the user group attendees were standing on the corner outside the library. The projector and the pizza remained inside. The building did not reopen until the following day and I ended up delivering the presentation (sans projector and demos) at a local restaurant.

So, What’s the Point?

I share these stories for several reasons

  1. Preparation is the key to success. The more familiar you are with your material and your demos and your hardware and the location of the event, the less likely things will go wrong. You will also be more aware of what can go wrong and ready to deal with it.
  2. It's possible to recover from a mistake. It doesn’t matter if it is your fault or something beyond your control – things will sometimes go wrong. Deal with it and move on with your demo. Don't assume that everything will go well. Have a backup of the completed project or a video or slides showing code. You can still teach concepts even if your demo fails.
  3. Know that it's OK to screw up. If you are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about your topic, your audience will be surprisingly forgiving. Don’t dwell on your mistakes: Learn from them.
Sunday, 07 October 2012 22:07:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 15 September 2012

Several people asked me for my Data Visualization slides, so I am making them available here. You can download the entire deck here.


Saturday, 15 September 2012 22:57:41 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 13 September 2012
Date Event Location Topic  
Sep 15 Code Camp NYC New York, NY Effective Data Visualization Link
Sep 22 SQL Saturday Kalamazoo, MI Effective Data Visualization Link
Sep 25 Software GR Grand Rapids, MI Effective Data Visualization Link
Oct 13 Tampa Code Camp Tampa, FL TBD Link
Nov 7 Ann Arbor Computer Society Ann Arbor, MI How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love jQuery Link
Feb 21 Greater Lansing .NET User Group Okemos, MI Persistence In The Cloud:
How to User Azure Storage
Thursday, 13 September 2012 15:00:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 12 August 2012

I recently delivered a presentation titled “Persistence in the Cloud: How to Use Azure Storage” at the aspconf online conference. A recording of this presentation is available at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/aspConf/aspConf/Persistence-In-The-Cloud-How-to-use-Azure-Storage.

Sunday, 12 August 2012 17:52:59 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 01 August 2012

I recently delivered a presentation titled “HTML5 is the Future of the Web” at the aspconf online conference. A recording of this presentation is available at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/aspConf/aspConf/HTML5-is-the-Future-of-the-Web.

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:07:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 15 June 2012

This week, at Tech Ed North America, I participated in something called "Speaker Idol".

Speaker Idol is a contest organized by Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin of .NET Rocks Fame. The contestants are speakers who have never spoken at Tech Ed before and the grand prize is an invitation to speak at Tech Ed next year. Each speaker delivers a 5-minute presentation and a panel of judges rates that presentation afterward.

I entered the contest and delivered a short talk on Data Visualization. The judges liked my presentation but made a number of suggestions about providing more real-world examples.

I won the first heat, which placed me in the finals. The competition in the finals was intimidating to say the least. There were three other contestants: Jeff Fritz (who was the runner-up in the first heat), Seth Juarez, and Jim Holmes. I only met Jeff this week, but I've seen Jim and Seth deliver many presentations and they are both excellent, so I knew I needed my A-game.

Fortunately, the judges liked the fact that I took their feedback and my finals presentation included some practical examples at the end of my presentation. One of the judges paid me a very high compliment, saying that he planned to change the way he did some things based on what he learned in my talk.

When it was over, I came in first place overall.

Speaking at a major contest like TechEd has been a personal goal for a long time, which made it gratifying. Having it happen among competition like that makes me suspect divine intervention was involved.

I'm very excited about this and I wanted to share it right away.

In a few days, I'll have a full brain dump on my experience  at Tech Ed North America.

A crown made by one of the judges

Friday, 15 June 2012 15:09:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 07 June 2012

Next week, I will attend my first Tech Ed conference. I don't really know what to expect. Although I attend a lot of conferences, the great majority are small to medium community-run conferences. Larger conferences like this are usually out of my price range. Fortunately, I'll be doing some work for INETA at Tech Ed, so they will pick up my ticket.

I have scheduled a few things.
I will be delivering two Birds-of-a-Feather sessions: Getting Involved in my Local Developer Community: How is it a Win-Win? on Tuesday evening and Is Windows Azure a Contender for my Next Application? on Wednesday morning.
I will be working at the INETA booth, answering questions about how our organization helps user groups.
I signed up to compete in Speaker Idol, a contest in which each contestant delivers a 5-minute technical presentation. Winners of each heat advance to the final round and the grand prize winner is invited to speak at Tech Ed 2013.

I will also be working and presenting at the Community Leadership Summit the day before Tech Ed.

Looking through the web site, I see that Tech Ed offers a great many technical presentations and workshops. I hope to attend some of these. But, more importantly, I hope to have a chance to talk with a lot of smart people and add to my toolbox.

Thursday, 07 June 2012 15:50:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 06 June 2012

Once again, I have filled my summer with conferences and user groups. Here are the presentations that are confirmed.

Date Event Topic Location  
Jun 10 Community Leadership Summit Getting Others Involved: Building a Leadership Team, Recruiting Volunteers & Growing Your Membership Orlando, FL Link
Jun 12 Tech Ed North America Birds of a Feather: Is Windows Azure a Contender for my Next Application? Orlando, FL Link
Jun 13 Tech Ed North America Birds of a Feather: Getting Involved in my Local Developer Community: How is it a Win-Win? Orlando, FL Link
Jun 28 MADExpo Keynote Panel: Raising Geek Kids Hampton, VA Link
Jun 28 MADExpo Effective Data Visualization: The Ideas of Edward Tufte Hampton, VA Link
Jun 29 MADExpo Effective Data Visualization: The Ideas of Edward Tufte Hampton, VA Link
Aug 1 Ann Arbor Computing Society How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love jQuery Ann Arbor, MI Link
Aug 13-15 That Conference Overnight Campouts In The Cloud: How to use Azure Storage Wisconsin Dells, WI Link

In addition, I intend to compete at Speaker Idol at Tech Ed. This is a technical presentation contest hosted by Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin of .NET Rocks fame.

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 15:27:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 20 March 2012

I have the following presentations scheduled

On March 20 (tonight), I will present Persistence In The Cloud: How to Use Azure Storage at the 24 Hours of Pass online conference. Here is a link.

On March 24, I will present Persistence In The Cloud: How to Use Azure Storage at the Detroit Day of Azure in Southfield, MI (http://DetroitDayOfAzure.com).

On March 31, I will present Using the Database Tools of Visual Studio 2010 at the Orlando Code Camp in Orlando, FL (http://orlandocodecamp.com/).

On May 4, I will present Data Visualization: The Ideas of Edward Tufte at Stir Trek in Columbus, OH. (http://stirtrek.com/).

Tuesday, 20 March 2012 23:30:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 09 October 2011

I have a busy month coming up. Here are my confirmed speaking dates the next 5 weeks.

On Oct 12, I will be the host of a panel discussing "The Impact of Windows 8" at the Ann Arbor .NET Developers Group  in ann arbor, MI. Link

On Oct 29, I will present "Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation" at the Ann Arbor Day of .NET in ann arbor, MI. Link

On Nov 5, I will present "Data Visualization: The Ideas of Edward Tufte" at 1DevDay Detroit in Detroit, MI. Link

On Nov 17, I will present "Data Visualization: The Ideas of Edward Tufte" at the Detroit Area FoxPro Users Group  in Southfield, MI. Link

Sunday, 09 October 2011 05:05:30 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 20 September 2011

User groups are a great place to hear technical presentations to industry leaders. User groups tend to attract speakers who live nearby. Bringing in speakers from far away is harder because of the expense and travel time.

This week, the user groups near me (in Michigan) are fortunate that a famous speaker from far away (Vancouver, British Columbia) will be visiting.

Richard Campbell is best-known for the podcasts he hosts (Dot Net Rocks, RunAs Radio, and others), but he is also a featured speaker at many major conferences around the world. This week, he will be presenting The Scaling Habits of ASP.NET Applications at user groups in Toledo, OH; Southfield, MI; and East Lansing, MI. His schedule is below.

Date Group Location Link Registration
Tue Sep 20 Northwest Ohio .NET User Group HCR Manor Care
333 N. Summit Street
Toledo, OH
http://www.nwnug.com http://nwnug10year.eventbrite.com/?ref=ecount 
Wed Sep 21 Great Lakes Area .NET User Group Microsoft office
1000 Town Center Dr.
Suite 1930
Southfield, MI
Thu Sep 22 Greater Lansing .NET User Group TechSmith Corporation
2405 Woodlake Drive
Okemos, MI
http://glugnet.org http://glugnet092011.eventbrite.com

The Northwest Ohio Group is celebrating their tenth anniversary at this meeting. If you attend the Northwest Ohio group or the Greater Lansing group, please register in advance at the links above.

Richard is here because he was kind enough to donate his time to our groups and because of a generous donation from Telerik, who is covering Richard’s travel expenses.

If you are in Michigan or Ohio, I strongly recommend you attend one of these meetings. It promises to be educational and fun.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011 15:35:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I am scheduled to deliver my Data Visualization presentation 4 times in the next few months: At DevLink in Chatanooga, TN on August 18; at the Dayton .NET Developers Group in Dayton, OH on August 24; at 1DevDayDetroit in Detroit, MI on November 5; and at the Detroit Area FoxPro Users Group in Southfield, MI on November 17.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011 05:08:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 09 June 2011

I’m a big fan of the Deep Fried Bytes podcast. I’ve listened to every episode since Keith Elder and Chris “Woody” Woodruff began recording years ago. So I was thrilled when they asked me to be a guest on Deep Fried Bytes this month.

We talked about Data Visualization. I recently developed a presentation titled “Data Visualization – The Ideas of Edward Tufte” that I’ve delivered at the Kalamazoo X and at Codestock. I’m scheduled to deliver it again at Devlink.

Keith was packing for a fishing trip the night we recorded, so Woody and I spoke via Skype for the better part of an hour. I think it turned out very well. I had a blast and I hope I get invited back.

You can hear the interview and download it at http://deepfriedbytes.com/podcast/episode-71-talking-data-visualization-on-an-audio-podcast/.

Thursday, 09 June 2011 15:52:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 04 May 2011

The Kalamazoo X conference isn’t like other conferences. Although it is targeted at technical people and the audience is filled with software developers, the content presented is typically not technical. Instead, sessions highlight soft skills, such as team building and education.

Another major difference between Kalamazoo X and other conferences is the session format: The length of each presentation is limited to 30 minutes – much shorter than the 60-90 minute presentations seen at most technical conferences. This serves to keep the audience focused. It’s rare to see any audience member get up out of his or her chair and walk out of a session, partly because they will miss a significant part of it and partly because the session is always close to the end.

The final major difference is that Kalamazoo X offers only one track. This provides all attendees the same shared experience, that they can discuss and compare afterwards. One never has to choose or feel he is missing something.

This year’s conference took place last Saturday at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and featured something for everyone. Nine speakers delivered ten presentations and the day ended with a panel discussion on Interviewing. A fishbowl exercise during lunch got the crowd excited. 5 chairs were placed in the middle of the room and a topic was thrown out. The ground rules of the fish bowl were: You must be seated in one of the chairs in order to ask a question; and one chair must always be empty. Attendees entered and exited the fishbowl area frequently and the conversation grew excited as ideas fired back and forth.

Kalamazoo X is the brainchild of Michael Eaton, who envisioned a conference that fill gaps he saw in the education of software developers. Technical information is readily available to technical people from a variety of venues, but soft skill training is much more rare and this lack of training often shows up in the lack of soft skills displayed by the developer community.

Kalamazoo X is now in its third year. I have attended all three – including the one last Saturday. I have spoken at two of them. Each time, the success was evident – The room was full, the content was excellent, and the atmosphere was electric. I’ve learned about leadership from Jim Holmes, about Community from Mike Wood and Brian Prince, about self-promotion from Jeff Blankenburg, and about life from Leon Gersing.

I’m already thinking about next year’s conference.

Photos from 2011 Kalamazoo X

Kalamazoo X home page

Photos from 2010 Kalamazoo X

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 15:20:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 02 May 2011
Monday, 02 May 2011 15:48:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 30 April 2011

Below are slides from the Data Visualization talk I delivered at the Kalamazoo X conference today

Saturday, 30 April 2011 15:34:07 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 21 April 2011

I do a lot of technical presentations and those presentations often contain code demos. As a general rule, I favor creating my code demos in advance over typing them in during my presentation. If a demo involves more than a few seconds typing, no one wants to sit and watch the presenter type (or, worse, debug code that he mistyped).

Often I'll have a number of related demos in the same project or the same class. Each demo will be a little more complex or show off a slightly different feature than the prior demo.

In the past, I've added code and commented it out, then commented / uncommented during  the presentation. Here is a sample of this technique.

Unfortunately, this method is error-prone. It’s too easy to accidentally uncomment or comment the wrong line or too many lines, causing errors that you will need to debug quickly and with the pressure of an audience staring at you.

But I've found a different simple technique that works very well for Console application demos. I prompt the user to enter a number - then capture the user's input and run the method corresponding with that number. The Console.ReadLine method allows me to capture the user's input and a switch statement allows me to easily translate a number entered into the appropriate method call. A few Console.WriteLine statements clarify what the numbers mean. Below is an example.

This technique allows you to prepare all of your demos in advance, so you don’t need to change anything during your presentation. I like the fact that the technique does not excessively complicate the code you are presenting. Simply focus on the code in one individual case statement at a time.

Thursday, 21 April 2011 13:20:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 20 April 2011

One thing I really enjoy is speaking at conferences and user groups. I learn a lot and I get a chance to interact with other developers around the country, and I get a rush when I can pull off a really good presentation. Unfortunately, traveling can be expensive and I need to limit my talks to what can fit in my budget.

One thing Telerik enjoys is supporting the developer community. They have great products and presentations at user groups and conferences are a good way to let people know about those products. Unfortunately, Telerik does not employ an army of professional presenters to cover all the events they’d like.

Telerik recently solved both those problems by forming the Telerik Insiders Program. The program consists of people in the community – like me – who enjoy speaking at developer events. The deal is that Telerik will sponsor our trip to a conference or user group and all we need to do in exchange is give away a bundle of their software. This is a great deal for me because I’ve been a fan of their products for a long time and because I love giving away stuff that someone else paid for.

Telerik has recruited a number of outstanding speakers to this program, including John Petersen, Lee Brandt, and Malcolm Sheridan.

You can learn more about this program and request a speaker for your event at http://www.telerik.com/community/insiders.aspx.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 13:04:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 13 April 2011

I recently added a few dates to my speaking schedule. Here is the most up-to-date information.

Date Event Location Topic  
Apr 13 Ann Arbor .Net User Group ann arbor, MI Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation More Info
Apr 21 Greater Lansing .Net User Group East Lansing, MI Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation More Info
Apr 26 Findlay Area .Net User Group Findlay, OH Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation More Info
May 14 Chicago Code Camp Grayslake, IL How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love jQuery More Info
May 17 Northwest Ohio .Net User Group Toledo, OH Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation More Info
June 3-4 Codestock Knoxville, TN Using the Database features of Visual Studio More Info
June 3-4 Codestock Knoxville, TN An Introduction to Object Oriented Programming More Info
Jun 29 West Michigan .Net User Group Grand Rapids, MI Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation More Info

I’m still waiting to hear from DevLink and MadExpo, so this list may grow.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011 15:20:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Last week, I delivered a new presentation on Microsoft Windows Work Foundation at the Microsoft Developers of Southwest Michigan user group in Kalamazoo, MI. The slide deck is below. The presentation was heavy on demos and light on slides, so I had fun with PowerPoint – I included a photo of Mike Eaton on almost every slide. Mike is the president and host of the user group and the man who invited me to speak there. He was impressed enough to suggest a throatpunch was appropriate.

I have retitled this presentation “Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation” and I am scheduled to deliver it again in ann arbor, East Lansing, Toledo, and Flint over the next few months. In addition, I will be presenting on Visual Studio database tools at the Redmond .Net User Group next week.

Below is my upcoming schedule.

Date Event Location Topic
Mar 28 Redmond .Net User Group Redmond, WA Migrating Database Schemas with Visual Studio 2010
Apr 13 Ann Arbor .Net User Group ann arbor, MI Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation
Apr 21 Greater Lansing .Net User Group East Lansing, MI Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation
May 17 Northwest Ohio .Net User Group Toledo, OH Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation
Jun 22 West Michigan .Net User Group Grand Rapids, MI Real World Lessons with Windows Workflow Foundation
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 14:00:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 01 October 2010

On October 12, I will present "An Introduction to the Entity Framework" at the West Michigan .Net User Group in Grand Rapids, MI. More information is available at http://www.wmdotnet.org/

On October October 23, I will present "An Introduction to jQuery" at the Grand Rapids Day of .Net in Grand Rapids, MI. More information is available at http://www.dayofdotnet.org/GrandRapids/Fall2010/Default.aspx

Friday, 01 October 2010 18:16:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 30 September 2010

G. Andrew Guthie and Dane Morgridge invited me to be the featured guest on Community Megaphone Podcast this week.

We talked about community, give camps, user groups, INETA, MVPs, fried foods and kilts.

I had a blast.

You can listen to the show here.

Thursday, 30 September 2010 15:32:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 02 September 2010

Don't let anyone tell you that nothing ever happens in central Kentucky. The Great Pork Chop Incident of Carrollton, KY was still fresh in my mind as I drove the 300+ miles from Michigan to Lexington, KY Tuesday to speak at the first-ever meeting of the Lexington .Net User Group.

The drive down was uneventful and I arrived early enough to review my presentation before the meeting began.

Matt McKnight, who - along with his wife Tiffany - had founded the user group, sent me several text messages directing me to a good parking spot, the ideal building entrance and the location of the meeting room inside the Lexington Public Library.

But I never made it inside the library. Matt's final text message arrived as I was getting out of my car. That was the moment that everything changed. The police had arrived and ordered an evacuation of the building. I found Matt outside the library and he took me to a local bar, where about 20 user group attendees were self-applying beer to help recover from the emergency evacuation. The bar wasn't adequately equipped for a presentation, so Matt made some phone calls and found that DeSha's Restaurant had an available back room. The entire group headed across downtown Lexington to our new destination.

The restaurant had no projector, so I gave an abbreviated version of my presentation - Writing Your First ASP.Net MVC Application - using only my laptop. It went well. People were engaged and asked good questions and no one complained that my presentation was too long.

I was really impressed with this crowd that was willing to walk 5 blocks across downtown Lexington in order to attend a user group presentation. I think this bodes well for the future of the group.

I'm very glad I was present for the nascence of this group. I expect great things from them in the future.

LEXNUG site.

Thursday, 02 September 2010 20:27:11 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 03 August 2010

I have two presentations scheduled in August

DevLink is August 6-9 in Nashville, TN. I will be presenting Effective Communication in the Workplace.

August 31 is the first-ever meeting of the Lexington (KY) .Net User Group. I will be presenting on a topic to be determined later.

Tuesday, 03 August 2010 05:12:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 27 May 2010

Tonight, I attended the Cloud Camp Detroit, which was built primarily around Open Spaces discussion and a panel discussion in front of an audience. The basics of cloud computing, specific cloud implementations and issues such as security were discussed. The "eyes-front" presentations were limited to half a dozen lightning talks.

I had a chance to interact with a lot of people far more experienced than me in this area. Many of them work outside the .Net world, so talking with them helps me see the software industry in a different perspective.

I filled in for a sick friend to deliver a presentation on Windows Azure. Below are the slides from my presentation. Thanks to Abe Pachikara of Microsoft for supplying the slides.

Thursday, 27 May 2010 05:04:45 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 14 April 2010
  • Saturday April 17, I will be presenting "Building Your First ASP.Net MVC Application" at the Pittsburgh Code Camp at The University of Pittsburgh. More information is available at http://codecamppgh.com/codecamp.aspx

  • Saturday May 1, I will be presenting "Extending your Application with the Managed Extensibility Framework" at the Ann Arbor Day of .Net at Washtenaw Community College. More information is available at http://www.dayofdotnet.org/AnnArbor/Spring2010.

  • Friday August 7, I will be presenting "Effective Communication" at DevLink in Nashville, TN. More information is available at http://devlink.net.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010 11:57:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 01 March 2010

Tuesday March 23, I will be presenting "Extending your Application with the Managed Extensibility Framework" at the Cleveland .Net User Group in Cleveland, OH. More information is available at http://clevelanddotnet.blogspot.com.

Saturday April 17, I will be presenting "Building Your First ASP.Net MVC Application" at the Pittsburgh Code Camp at The University of Pittsburgh. More information is available at http://codecamppgh.com/codecamp.aspx

Monday, 01 March 2010 11:51:35 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 25 January 2010

Tomorrow I travel to Ohio for a user group tour. This is a trip I've been hoping to do for some time. The .Net user groups in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus meet on consecutive evenings, so I am planning to speak at each of these this week. The idea began last summer, when I invited Phil Japikse to come to Michigan from Cincinnati and speak at the Great Lakes Area .Net User Group. I notified the leaders of user groups in Toledo and Lansing that Phil would be in town and they invited him to speak at their groups the same week. Phil asked me to come to Cincinnati in January and he reached out to Dayton User Group president Joe Wirtley about hosting me in Dayton the following night. Joe liked the idea and confirmed the meeting. Later, I contacted James Bender, the newly-elected president of the Central Ohio .Net Developers Group in Columbus about completing the sweep through the Buckeye state. He had already booked Jeff McPherson for January but Jeff was willing to defer his talk to March, allowing me to speak Thursday in Columbus.

Phil and Mike Wood have also arranged for me to speak at an internal user group at the Cincinnati Financial Group Tuesday afternoon.

So I'll be doing 4 user group presentations in 3 cities in 3 days. The topic will be the same for each talk: Extending your application with the Microsoft Managed Extensibility Framework. I've given this talk a number of times in the past, but I recently reworked my presentation and added to my demos. I'm excited to do this tour. It reminds me of a similar tour I did during the fall of 2008, when I spoke at user groups in Toledo, Southfield and Lansing on consecutive nights. By the time I got to Lansing, I knew the material inside and out.

My schedule at public groups this week is

Tuesday 1/26: Cincinnati .Net User Group (http://www.cinnug.org)

Wednesday 1/27: Dayton .Net Developers Group (http://daytondevgroup.net)

Thursday 1/28: Central Ohio .Net Developers Group (http://condg.org)

If you are in or near Cincinnati, Dayton or Columbus this week, I hope you come to hear my talk and to say 'Hello'.

Monday, 25 January 2010 05:09:33 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 11 January 2010

Juanary is offically MEF month. I have scheduled "Extending Your Application with the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF)" at least 6 times this month. The first time was last week, when I delivered a Grok Talk at Sogeti that was available via Live Meeting.

The following presentations will all be about MEF

  • Fri Jan 15 at 3PM, I will be delivering a vendor session at CodeMash in Sandusky, OH.
  • Tue Jan 26 at Noon, I will deliver a presentation to Financial Corp User Group in Cincinnati, OH.
  • Tue Jan 26 at 6PM, I will present at the Cincinnati .Net User Group in Mason, OH
  • Wed Jan 27 at 6PM, I will present at the Dayton .Net User Group in Dayton, OH
  • Thu Jan 28 at 6PM, I will present at the Central Ohio .Net User Group in Columbus, OH

In addition, I will deliver two presentations Fri Jan 22 at the State of MI Developer Briefing in Lansing, MI.

  • At 1PM, I will deliver my MEF presentation (of course).
    At 2:30PM, I will present on "Speeding your application with Microsoft Velocity".
Monday, 11 January 2010 13:48:24 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 09 December 2009

Tomorrow evening - Thursday December 10 - I will speaking at the Flint .Net User Group. My topic is An Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming, a talk I've done twice before.

More information is available here.

This will probably be my final presentation for 2009.

Wednesday, 09 December 2009 07:20:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 09 October 2009

I will be presenting technical talks in Kalamazoo, MI and Grand Rapids, MI. My schedule is below.

Date Topic Event Location  
Oct 22 An Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming Microsoft Developers of Southwest Michigan October meeting WMU College of Engineering Building,
Rm C-123
Kalamazoo, MI
Dec 3
Oct 29
Build Better Software with TFS and VSTS 2010 Sogeti-New Horizons - Microsoft event New Horizons
28th St. Court SE
Suite B
Grand Rapids, MI

Also, my colleague Jesse Murray will be speaking about "SharePoint - The Right Way" at the Great Lakes Area .Net User Group Wednesday October 21 in Southfield, MI. This event is sponsored by Sogeti (so food will be provided). You can get more information here.

Edit: My VSTS 2010 / TFS 2010 talk scheduled for October 29 has been postponed to December 3.
    -Dave, 10/24


Friday, 09 October 2009 15:52:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 21 August 2009

I will be presenting "An Introduction To Object Oriented Programming" at the Findlay Area .Net User Group August 25 (next Tuesday) in Findlay, OH. For more information visit the group's web site at http://fanug.org

This is actually my second time speaking at this group but it's the first time since 2002, so they have probably forgotten.

If you are in Northwest Ohio or central west Ohio, please come.

Friday, 21 August 2009 01:52:59 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 08 August 2009

Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points proposes a radically new approach to creating presentations based on Microsoft Power Point.

Atkinson provides a template (available for download); an outline that splits a presentation into lengths of 5, 15 and 45 minutes; and an abundance of advice on improving your presentations.

After reading the book, I discarded the template and the outline but I embraced many of his ideas.

Here is some of the book's best advice:

Allow your presentation to tell a story.
The first presentation I did after reading this book included a story about consultants Juan and Amal, who had nearly identical skills and accomplishments but received very different performance reviews. Most of my presentations are instructions on how to use software, which doesn't lend itself well to a story format. If possible, however, I try to weave a story into the presentation.

Minimize the text in your slides.
Atkinson recommends eliminating all bullet points from every slide. The only text on each slide should be a headline. I haven't gone that far, but I have drastically reduced the amount of text on each slide. When I open an existing deck, I move much of the slide text into the Notes section. This simplifies the presentation, but keeps the text with the slides when I distribute them to users. During presentation, I make the former bullet points part of my verbal presentation, rather than something the audience reads off the screen. This keeps the audience's focus on me, rather than on the screen.

Use simple graphics
A simple graphic communicates an idea visually. I have been replacing the bullet points in my slides with a headline and a single photograph that relates to the slide topic. The slides become more interesting but less distracting.

Rehearse your talk
I already knew this but the book's reinforcement helped remind me how important it is to be familiar with one's material. Nothing achieves this goal like a couple dry runs through your presentation. Ideally this should be in front of other people (to provide feedback) and in a room similar to the one in which you will be presenting; however, filming your presentation and reviewing it yourself is also very helpful.

I have not bought entirely into the Beyond Bullet Points approach. But I have internalized many of the ideas in this book and my presentations have improved as a result.

Link: Beyond Bullet Points Online

Saturday, 08 August 2009 11:21:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 30 July 2009

NPlus1 is an organization designed to assist architects and lead developers and those aspiring to these roles.

The organization began last year with the launch of the NPlus1.org web site. This site features articles written by and for architects; links to screencasts and other resources; and announcements of upcoming events.

Recently, NPlus1 decided to expand its reach by organizing events of its own.  One of these events - the Architecture Summit - takes place Friday July 31 at the Microsoft office in Southfield, MI.  This event will feature three topics: "Introduction to Object Oriented Programming"; "Software Patterns"; and "How I Learned to Love Dependency Injection". The first topic is optional, as it is aimed at those who are new to Object Oriented Programming and, therefore might struggle with the concepts presented in the other two presentations.

I will be delivering the first two presentations (Intro to OOP and Software Patterns) while James Bender will deliver the Dependency Injection presentation.

It is not too late to register for this event and you can do so at https://www.clicktoattend.com/invitation.aspx?code=139245

Thursday, 30 July 2009 16:00:45 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 24 July 2009

Next week will be a busy one for me. I wrap up my current billable project on Monday and I need to prepare for Friday and Saturday when I will present three different talks in two cities on two days.

In addition, I am scheduled to speak at the October meeting of the Microsoft Developers of Southwest Michigan.  Sadly, a death in my family forced me to postpone last week's MEF talk at the West Michigan .Net User Group. Thank you to Jeff McWherter for filling in on short notice.

Date                  Event Location Topic Description  
Fri. July 31 NPlus1 Architecture Summit Microsoft office, Southfiled, MI An Introduction to Object Oriented Programming
Are you new to OOP? Do you want a refresher on the benefits of Interfaces and the differences between implements and extends? The morning session is a two hour introductory course of Object Oriented Programming. If you are new to OOP the lessons in this session will prepare you for the more advanced topics in the afternoon. link
Fri. July 31 NPlus1 Architecture Summit Microsoft office, Southfiled, MI Software Patterns
Patterns are an important tool to use as architects and developers. They provide a common vocabulary for us to design with, as well as a common approach to a common problem. Come learn about useful patterns, and how to use them in your everyday code. link
Sat Aug 1 Lansing Day of .Net Breslin Center, Michigan State University Using Microsoft Distributed Cache to speed your application
Retrieving data from a disc or a database can be a time-consuming operation. Data that is accessed frequently can be stored in an in-memory cache, which can speed up its retrieval considerably. Microsoft Distributed Cache (aka “Velocity”) provides a framework for storing and managing cached data. In this session, we will discuss how to use this framework in your application and demonstrate some code that implements this framework. link
Thu Oct 22 Microsoft Developers of Southwest Michigan TBD, Kalamazoo, MI Using Microsoft Distributed Cache to speed your application
(see above) link


Friday, 24 July 2009 18:08:56 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 03 July 2009

CodeStock 2009 is in the books. I didn't attend last year, but this year, the Knoxville developer conference expanded to two days and more than doubled the number of attendees.

This conferences ranks high on the important value-per-dollar scale. As a speaker, the $25 conference fee was waived; I shared a ride to Tennessee with five other attendees; and I used the last of my Marriott points for the hotel. All told, I had 2 days of great content for under a hundred bucks in meals and gas. By far, my biggest cost was the two vacation days I had to spend in order to attend.

I saw some very good sessions and met a lot of bright people. In one spontaneous open space, I solicited feedback on the layout of my blog. As a result, I've removed some unneeded links, moved the RSS feed to the top of the main page and enabled Google analytics.

I even had a chance to talk with CodeStock organizer Mike Neel near the end of the conference.

I presented a session on Microsoft Managed Extensibility Framework. It was well-received and many in the audience were actively engaged, asking questions that indicated they grasped all the concepts I was trying to communicate. 

You can download the slides for my MEF presentation from the link below.

The content and samples of this presentation are covered in the articles below.

Friday, 03 July 2009 13:59:07 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 24 June 2009

I'm really looking forward to attending the CodeStock conference in Knoxville, TN this weekend.

The speaker lineup looks amazing (not just because I'm in it) and the two-day format should give me time to talk with a lot of attendees outside of the sessions.

I will bring my video camera to CodeStock in hopes of recording more interviews for my online TV show "Technology and Friends". In this show I interview technologists about their passions.  Past shows have focused on topics such as frameworks, careers, events and community-building. A typical show lasts 10-20 minutes, so it tends to be very focused. You can see the first 29 episodes by clicking here: http://www.davidgiard.com/CategoryView,category,Interviews.aspx

If you would like to be on this show, please e-mail at me at  and suggest a topic you would like to cover.

And if you see me at CodeStock, please stop me and say "Hello".

Join me at CodeStock

Wednesday, 24 June 2009 13:40:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 19 May 2009


I am scheduled to speak at the following upcoming events

CodeStock 2009

The CodeStock conference will be held in Knoxville, TN on June 27.  I will be presentingon Microsoft Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF).  You can find information on this event and register at http://codestock.org/

West Michigan .Net User Group

I will speak again on MEF at the July 14 meeting of the West Michigan .Net User Group in Grand Rapids.  You can find more information at http://www.wmdotnet.org/


I'll quietly spend all of Wednesday May 20 at the Microsoft office in Southfield so that I can attend a series of events throughout the day.  The details are below:

Time: 9:00-11:45AM
Trends and patterns on the client tier
Applying Microsoft technology on the client tier
Register: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032408649
MSDN Unleashed
Time: 1:00-3:00PM
Internet Explorer 8 for Developers
Developing on Microsoft Windows 7
Register: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032409548
Technet Unleashed
Time: 3:10-5:00PM
Windows Server 2008 R2 – Optimize Your Time
Windows 7 – Maximize Your Potential
Register: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032410548

Southeast Michigan .Net User Group
Time: 3:10-5:00PM
Topic: RIA
More information:


Tuesday, 19 May 2009 18:13:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 15 May 2009

Today I gave a presentation (again) on the Microsoft Managed Extensibility framework.  Below are the slides and demos used for this presentation.

ProjetListDemo A simple demo showing the syntax for MEF imports and exports 

DemoAccounting shows how to dynamically add modules to an application at runtime, without recompiling.

Friday, 15 May 2009 03:26:06 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Mr Eaton I expected that the Kalamazoo X conference would be a success but I was surprised by how successful it was.

Everything started with Michael Eaton.  He turned the concept - a conference consisting primarily of talks on soft skills - into reality.  Assisted by a staff of volunteers, Michael secured the venue, promoted the event, signed up the sponsors and recruited the speakers.  The speaker list was impressive - most traveled from Ohio and most have a solid reputation in the development community. 

I was grateful that Mike asked me to speak at this conference and I was excited to do it.

Chris Woodruff A couple weeks ago, Mike suggested that we switch from a multi-track to a single-track event.  This meant that all sessions would be held in the same room and that no two speakers would talk at the same time.  In order to accommodate this format, all sessions had to be cut from one hour to 25 minutes.  This was difficult for those who had already prepared an hour-long talk.  However, nearly all were able to make the adjustment.  (At least one speaker decided to back out after the format change was announced).  For me, this was less of an issue because I had never given my talk before and had barely begun preparing it. 

The format worked really well.  Speakers were forced to cut the fat from their slides and each talk was concise and to the point.  This also gave me the opportunity to watch every session, since I never had to choose between two excellent speakers.

One thing that added to the event was Mike's skills as a Master of Ceremonies.  He introduced each speaker by telling a personal story about him or her.  It was clear he was familiar with all the speakers and had put some preparation into these introductions.

My talk - Effective Communication with your Customer or Manager - was very well received.  Several people approached me afterward and told me how much they enjoyed it.  I'm working on a series of articles on this topic and hope to have them out in the next few weeks.

Leon The most telling thing about the success of the conference was that there were attendance was higher at the end of the day than at the beginning.  Whatever small attrition occurred during the day was more than offset by others showing up.

I'm looking forward to next year.

See more photos here

Tuesday, 28 April 2009 05:38:37 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 27 April 2009

Episode 18

Halfway through the first West Michigan .Net University, Chris Woodruff and Bill Miller sat down with me to discuss why they organized it and how it was going so far.

For more information on this event, you can visit dodn.org/WestMichiganDotNetU or read my earlier posts here and here

17 mins, 50 secs

Monday, 27 April 2009 14:46:43 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The 2009 Central Ohio Day of .Net is now history. 

Josh and Jennifer

I'm happy with the feedback I received on my Velocity talk.  The room was overflowing and several people approached me afterward to tell me they liked it.

By far, the best part of this conference was the opportunity to share ideas and interact one-on-one with bright people in the developer community.

One of the best jobs I ever had was working with the great people at GA Sullivan in Cincinnati.  That company no longer exists but many former employees were in Wilmington for this conference.  It was great catching up with these folks after all these years.

GA Sullivan alumni

The slides for my talk are below:

You can view photos of the event at

Tuesday, 21 April 2009 12:46:29 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 20 April 2009

I enjoy attending technical conferences and I try to make it to as many as I can.  I like talking to and learning from bright people in the developer community and picking up the latest technologies.  Developer conferences are a great way to get this information and there is no shortage of such conferences.

The Kalamazoo X conference is different.  Although the target audience is software developers, the content will focus on soft skills.  Topics such as Leadership and Social Network dominate the agenda.  The conference features four tracks: Soft Skills; Architecture, Design and Process; User Experience; and Career Development.  However each session will be short enough that an attendee will be able to see 100% of the content.

I'll be there to share ideas on effective communication with your customer or manager, a topic I've given a lot of thought to in recent years.

The conference is scheduled this Saturday April 25 at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Center for New Media in downtown Kalamazoo, MI.  You can register and get more information at http://kalamazoox.org/

I hope to see you there.

Monday, 20 April 2009 21:56:13 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 17 April 2009

Tomorrow (Saturday April 18), I will be speaking at the Central Ohio Day of .Net in Wilmington, OH.

My topic is Using Microsoft Distributed Cache to speed your application.  This is similar to a talk I gave last summer at three user groups in Ohio and Michigan.  However, the topic is more relevant now as the release of Microsoft Velocity nears.  I have updated and expanded my presentation and written all new demos for this talk. 

A consistent caching strategy becomes critical as enterprise applications grow in size.  With Velocity, Microsoft finally has a product in the enterprise caching space.

You can get more information and register by clicking the badge below.  I hope to see you there. 

Friday, 17 April 2009 12:41:03 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 06 April 2009

WM .Net University April 4, 2009 - I'll be there!

The dust has settled and the first West Michigan .Net University is now history.  You can view photos of it here.

I was fortunate that my talk (Intro to SQL Server Data Models and T-SQL) was in the morning because I had tickets to the Final Four in the evening on the other side of the state.

Shane and I put together a talk aimed at people with very little database experience.  We agreed that I would cover the basic introductory material first; then he would explain some more intermediate topics.  I rehearsed a story about the history of databases that included people keeping records on stone tablets and storing these tablets in a file cabinet; I wrote a lot of sample queries demonstrating the syntax of a T-SQL statements; and I wrote a series of articles on T-SQL

I turned out that I didn't use any of this material.

We had a small group in our session so we let them set the agenda.   Everyone already had at least a year of database experience so I scrapped the introductory stuff.  I spent far more time than I expected showing off the features of the SQL Management Studio.  We answered questions about the strategies for normalization, backing up data, and primary keys.

In fact, I showed almost none of the slides we prepared.

The good news is that the audience seemed happy with the session.  The got their questions answered without wasting time on things they already knew.  In the end, I think they were glad we were so flexible and so was I.

The feedback I heard on the other sessions was also positive.  Congratulations to Chris Woodruff for organizing a successful event.

Overall it was a very good day.  Oh... and the Final Four?  Well, my Spartans won of course.  It was a great day!

Monday, 06 April 2009 11:34:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 31 March 2009

My talk this morning at ArcReady is Windows Live Services and on Live Mesh.

Click the icons below to download the slides and demos.

Here is a preview of the slides:
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 14:45:24 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 30 March 2009

I have secheduled a lot of public speaking for the next 30 days.  The sessions are listed below.  All these events are either free or charge a nominal fee.  Most will even provide some food. I believe that none of them are sold out yet, so I provided a link to each so you can register.

Architecting for the cloud: Mesh and Live Services

March 31
Microsoft ArcReady
Southfield, MI

Live Mesh is a data synchronization client that has a rich API to build applications on. Live services are a collection of APIs that can be used to create rich applications for your customers. Live Services are based on Internet standard protocols and data formats.

An Introduction to SQL Server

(with Shane Jordan)
April 4
West Michigan .Net University
Grand Rapids, MI

Want to learn about the SQL Server 2008? Want to build normalized data models and learn Transact SQL? Join us in this Introduction to SQL Server session to get a good introduction to building your own data models and queries.

Using Microsoft Distributed Cache to speed your application

April 18
Central Ohio Day of .Net
Wilmington, OH

Retrieving data from a disc or a database can be a time-consuming operation.  Data that is accessed frequently can be stored in an in-memory cache, which can speed up its retrieval considerably.  Microsoft Distributed Cache (aka “Velocity”) provides a framework for storing and managing cached data. 

In this session, we will discuss how to use this framework in your application and demonstrate some code that implements this framework.

Proactive communication with your manager or customer

April 25
Kalamazoo X Conference
Kalamazoo, MI

After 15 years in the IT industry, I've discovered that the single biggest contributor to success is effective communication. In this situation, I'll describe lessons I've learned about how to improve communication with a customer or manager and how to use effective communication to increase the probability of high customer satisfaction.

This is the most ambitious month of speaking I've ever scheduled.  Microsoft Distributed Cache is the only topic above on which I have previously presented and this presentation will be longer and feature a newer API than the one I gave at three user groups last September.

If you attend any of these events, please feel free to find me and say 'Hello'.

Monday, 30 March 2009 18:00:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 28 March 2009

Last year, I noticed there were more local community-driven events than I had time to attend.  I love seeing that kind of enthusiasm for technology among the community. 

These events are great for me because - although I've been in software development for many years - I love to learn and frequently jump at the chance to learn from and share ideas with other experienced developers and architects.

I have noticed that most of these events targeted experienced developers.  Topics tended to be moderate to advanced and speakers assumed a certain level of expertise from their audience in order to grasp their talk. 

This can be frustrating for less-experienced developers.  It's difficult to understand the details of NHibernate when you are still trying to figure out how to write simple queries against SQL Server.

Chris Woodruff first described to me the idea of a .Net University - a community event targeted at those new to .Net programming.  All the content would be introductory, allowing people to learn fundamentals.

I liked the idea immediately.  When I was a trainer, I always spent time on the first day reviewing the basic prerequisites of the class material.  I knew that no one would understand anything about web development if they didn't know how to construct an HTML document. 

So Chris is now organizing the West Michigan .Net University that will be held April 4 in Grand Rapids. 

The morning sessions will all be introductory and the afternoon will feature more intermediate topics.  Each session will be about 3 hours - longer than at a typical code camp.

I'll be there delivering a morning session titled SQL 101, in which I'll explain the basics of working with a relational database - SQL Server in particular.  I"ll describe how to work with data and how to use code and tools to interact with SQL Server.  I've been preparing for this talk by writing a 'Back To Basics' series on this blog.

Other sessions include .Net Bootcamp; Intro To ASP.Net and AJAX; and Real World Architecture.  You can view the complete session list at http://dodn.org/WestMichiganDotNetU/Sessions.aspx

A lot of great speakers have signed up for this event so I'm counting on some great sessions. 

WM .Net University April 4, 2009 - I'll be there!

Saturday, 28 March 2009 22:35:47 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Saturday April 4 at the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus of Grand Valley State Universityin Grand Rapids, Shane Jordan and I will be delivering a session on the basics of SQL Server.  This will cover many of the same topics as the Back To Basics: SQL 101 series I have writton on this blog.

The session is part of the West Michigan .Net University event.  You can get more informaiton and register at http://www.dayofdotnet.org/WestMichiganDotNetU/

West Michigan .Net University

Wednesday, 11 March 2009 14:59:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 24 November 2008

This Tuesday, November 25, I will speak at the ArcReady event at the Microsoft office in Southfield, MI.  My topic is Organizational Dynamics.

Microsoft Architect Evangelist Brian Prince will also be there, delivering a presentation on Mastering the Soft Skills

I'd love for you to attend.  The event runs from 9:00 - 11:45 AM.  It's free but you must register in advance.

You can read details of the event and regsister for it here

Monday, 24 November 2008 11:32:11 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 10 November 2008

The slides for my MEF presentation are now available on Slideshare.  I have embedded it below.

I delivered this presentation at the ann arbor Day of .Net in October and at a Sogeti grok talk in November.

I just signed up for Slideshare and I like the concept but it doesn't seem to support any of the animations or transitions in my slides.  I may need to go to a video sharing service for more dynamic slideshows.

Managed Extensibility Framework
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: mef .net)

Monday, 10 November 2008 12:23:06 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 23 October 2008

Saturday I had the pleasure of speaking at the ann arbor Day of .Net

The event drew presenters and attendees from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, demonstrating what an impressive software development community we have here in the Midwest.

My friend Nino drove up Friday night to stay at my place and we met other out-of-towners for dinner Friday night.

I delivered a presentation on Microsoft's Managed Extensibility Framework ("MEF").  The presentation was well-received.  The audience had many questions about the technology afterwards and I noticed a few people from the audience posting on Twitter about MEF in the days following the event.

A new job and a tight project deadline kept me from working on my presentation until a couple days prior to the event.  The good news is that I had presented on MEF three times in the past.  The bad news was that the API had changed radically since I developed my original presentation.  So I not only had to expand the presentation to fit the time allotted, I had to completely rewrite my demo to match the current API.  I was up most of Friday night and missed all the morning sessions of the conference to finish on time for my 1PM presentation.   Luckily I finished successfully and the demos went off without a hitch.  

I discovered a blog entry by Brad Abrams that helped immensely.  Brad wrote a set of samples using MEF that I loved for their simplicity.  Don't tell Brad, but I borrowed liberally from his samples to populate one of my demos.

After my presentation, I was able to settle in and enjoy the conference.  I attended two sessions, both in the same room which suited my tired body.  Jennifer Marsman showed a bunch of new features in .Net 3.5.  Next Brian Prince discussed the role of an architect on a project.  I've heard Jennifer and Brian speak many times in the past, so I knew they would be good and I was not disappointed.

I did have time to poke my head into a few presentations long enough to snap a photo or two.  If you heard a clicking coming from the doorway, that was me.

After the event, many of us met at a local watering hole for some food, drink and fellowship.  My new employer Sogeti was kind enough to spring for the food and drinks.  I was well worn down but it was great to reconnect with people who share many of my passions.

I actually volunteered to be something called a "Venue Coordinator" for this event.  But, as this was the fourth time the event was held, the folks at Washtenaw Community College knew everything that needed to be done and delivered to perfection.  I ended up doing no work for this role, so I may volunteer as venue coordinator next year as well.

I took some photos at the event, which you can see here.

I also put together a slideshow with a Warren Zevon soundtrack that you can see and hear below: 

Thursday, 23 October 2008 18:11:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 25 September 2008

Saturday October 18 is the next ann arbor Day of .Net.

I'll be delivering a presentation on Microsoft Managed Extensibility Framework.  It should be quite different from the talk I gave last week on this subject because the API recently changed (which means I have some work ahead of me).

This makes the fifth Day of .Net I've attended and the second one at which I've presented.

The other speakers make up an impressive list so I'm excited to be part of this event. 

This event is free but typically fills up so you will need to register in advance if you plan to attend.

Click the image below to get more information and to register.

Day of .Net October 18, 2008 - Be there!

Thursday, 25 September 2008 02:40:28 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 22 September 2008

As promised, here are the slides for the presentations I delivered last week in Toledo, Southfield and East Lansing

Microsoft Distributed Cache (aka "Velocity")

Microsoft Managed Extensibility Framework


Monday, 22 September 2008 14:26:18 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 16 September 2008

I will be speaking at three different user groups this week.  If you are in the area, please come out and listen and say 'Hi' afterward.

I will be delivering two presentations each night:

Extending your Application with the Managed Extensibility Framework

Microsoft Managed Extensibility (MEF) framework allows developers to add “hooks” into their application to make it extensible at runtime.  These hooks allow you or a third party to extend your application dynamically in the future.  In this session, we will review the MEF tool set and build an extensible application and then extend that application using MEF.

Using Microsoft Distributed Cache to speed your application

Retrieving data from a disc or a database can be a time-consuming operation.  Data that is accessed frequently can be stored in an in-memory cache, which can speed up its retrieval considerably.  Microsoft Distributed Cache (aka “Velocity”) provides a framework for storing and managing cached data.  In this session, we will discuss how to use this framework in your application and demonstrate some code that implements this framework.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008 17:39:13 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 10 September 2008

I will be delivering two presentations next Tuesday September 16 at the next Northwest Ohio .Net User Group beginning at 6PM.  The topics are:

Extending your Application with the Managed Extensibility Framework

Microsoft Managed Extensibility (MEF) framework allows developers to add “hooks” into their application to make it extensible at runtime.  These hooks allow you or a third party to extend your application dynamically in the future.  In this session, we will review the MEF tool set and build an extensible application and then extend that application using MEF.

Using Microsoft Distributed Cache to speed your application

Retrieving data from a disc or a database can be a time-consuming operation.  Data that is accessed frequently can be stored in an in-memory cache, which can speed up its retrieval considerably.  Microsoft Distributed Cache (aka “Velocity”) provides a framework for storing and managing cached data.  In this session, we will discuss how to use this framework in your application and demonstrate some code that implements this framework.

HCR Manorcare building at 333 North Summit St. in Toledo.  Click here to view a map.

I'm looking forward to my first visit to this user group in at least five years.

You can read more at http://www.nwnug.com/PermaLink,guid,1877615d-a53b-4b05-b6f6-5d650208af6f.aspx

Wednesday, 10 September 2008 15:47:20 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, 23 February 2008

I delivered the web security presentation yesterday for my customer.  This is the same presentation I delivered as part of the DevCares event last week.  It went much better due to the fact that I secured a much better laptop for the presentation.  

The presentation materials are available here.

Saturday, 23 February 2008 14:30:46 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 17 February 2008

The DevCares event went pretty well.  Over 40 people attended.  I didn't have a decent laptop to use and I ended up borrowing one from a friend but it was not nearly powerful enough to run all the demos on the Virtual PC.  This detracted from the presentation.

I will be delivering this same presentation for my customer next Friday and I have already requested better hardware.     

I got some help from Mike Wood, who delivered this presentation the week before in Cincinnati.

You can view the materials at www.davidgiard.com/DevCares.


Sunday, 17 February 2008 16:47:16 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 14 February 2008

I'll be speaking at the Microsoft DevCares even tomorrow afternoon in Southfiled, MI.

The topics are:

  • Securing your web site from hackers
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office.

There is still time to register at http://www.devcares.com


Thursday, 14 February 2008 16:45:15 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)