# Monday, November 5, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012 12:26:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, November 4, 2012

If you are running a user group or organizing a technical conference, one challenge you will face is finding good speakers.

The problem is compounded by the fact that most such organizations run on a limited budget. Many speakers are willing to freely donate their time because they enjoy presenting, they want to help out, and it increases their reputation. However, it’s not reasonable to assume these speakers will also be able to donate their own money to travel to your group.

Some areas don’t have a large pool of good speakers on which to draw. Even if you are fortunate enough to live in such an area, I still think it enhances local events to bring in some speakers from other areas.

Bringing in a speaker from another area costs money. Someone has to pay for transportation and lodging. Either the speaker will decide to donate his money as well as his time or your group will find the funding to make this travel possible. Fortunately, you have a few options.

INETA: For years, INETA has helped bring speakers to other parts of the country. Recently INETA changed their speaker programming, focusing more on helping speakers who travel within their own region. Currently, there are hundreds of speakers registered with INETA. This expanded the number of speakers, but decreased the maximum amount paid to each speaker. You can request an INETA speaker at http://ineta.org/Speakers/SearchCommunitySpeakers.aspx. I am a registered as a speaker with this program and I know many others also registered and I can tell that it does help to offset at least some travel costs.

Local Sponsors: Because user group audiences are a great target market for recruiters and hiring managers, you can often find companies willing to pay a speaker’s travel expenses in exchange for some free publicity and a few minutes in front of your group. Find out what companies are hiring or recruiting and make a few phone calls.

Evangelists: The job title “Evangelist” is a relative new one in the software world. However, many companies employ individuals as full-time Evangelists. Their job is to spread the word about the company and its technology – often by delivering technical presentations at user groups and conferences. Part of their performance review includes something called “reach”, meaning the number of people who read, see or hear their message. By inviting them to your group, you are increasing their reach. If your audience is in their target market, it probably won’t cost you anything. My experience is that most Evangelists are not focused on delivering a sales presentation; however, it’s worthwhile to verify the topic with the speaker ahead of time.

Speaker Programs: Many companies sponsor a select group of speakers who travel to user groups and conferences. While these speakers are not employees of the company, they do get some of their travel costs offset by the company in exchange for some publicity during the talk. This allows the company to reach a larger audience than they could using only their Evangelists. It also allows many speakers to travel to more events than they could afford on their own. I am a member of such a program - the Telerik Insiders - and it has been very beneficial to me and to Telerik. You can see a list of all Telerik Insiders at http://www.telerik.com/community/insiders.aspx. Several other vendors have similar programs.

These are some resources to find speakers and some ideas for finding funding for speaker travel costs. Don’t let geographic barriers prevent you from bringing the best speakers to your next event.

Sunday, November 4, 2012 12:11:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, November 3, 2012

If you are running a user group or organizing a technical conference, one challenge you will face is finding good speakers.

I recommend starting by looking in your own area for good speakers.

My geographic area (southeast Michigan and environs) is blessed with many good speakers and we often exploit this at local user groups and conferences. Get out and find these speakers. Learn who is speaking at user groups and conferences in your area and contact those people. Better yet, attend those events so you can hear and meet these presenters. Establish a personal relationship with them, so they will be more likely to donate their time to your event.

You can also use your event to help cultivate inexperienced speakers. Multi-track conferences and short Lightning Talks at a user group are great ways for new speakers to gain experience in front of a live audience. At the Great Lakes Area .NET User Group, we host up to two Lightning Talks per monthly meeting. A Lightning Talk is a 10-minute presentation on any topic and is a great way to practice one’s presentation skills in a low-risk environment. Often a member will start by giving a Lightning Talk and will go on to speak at local and regional conferences.

It’s tempting to bring in big-name speakers from other parts of the country, but don’t ignore your backyard. You are likely to find some excellent speakers in a convenient location.

Saturday, November 3, 2012 8:33:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, November 2, 2012
Friday, November 2, 2012 2:43:59 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, November 1, 2012

This screencast demonstrates how to change a Visual Studio 2012 Coded UI Test after you have recorded it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012 2:28:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This screencast shows how to add assertions to a Visual Studio 2012 Coded UI Test while recording your mouse and keyboard actions.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 2:26:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This screencast covers the fundamentals of Microsoft Coded UI Tests, a feature of Visual Studio 2012, Premium and Ultimate Editions. You will learn how to record mouse and keyboard actions to record a simple "smoke test".

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 2:25:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, October 29, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012 2:09:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, October 28, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012 2:11:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, October 27, 2012

This screencast demonstrates how to change a Visual Studio 2010 Coded UI Test after you have recorded it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012 3:22:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)