2010 in review

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2010 was a roller coaster.

My children – Nick and Timmy – are active and healthy and bright and are turning into young men and leaders. They make me proud every time I think of them. Timmy turned 16 this year and looks more like a man every month.

One of the high points of the year was watching my son Nick achieve a goal toward which he has worked for years. After two tryouts, he is now a member of the Michigan State University varsity basketball team. Nick has been invited to some good teams in the past, but this is the team that has advanced to the Final Four each of the last two years. As a lifelong MSU fan, I was thrilled to see him become a part of this elite team. I am extremely proud of him and it made this a special year.

In March of this year, I achieved a goal of my own when I was named a Microsoft MVP. I’m grateful to Jennifer and to Alan who nominated me and to those who supported me.

One 2010 accomplishment of which I’m very proud is the resurgence of the Great Lakes Area .Net User Group (GANG) - a professional organization that I served as president this year. Attendance nearly tripled from the year’s first meeting to the last meeting and the group is now seen as a model for other user groups in the region. I made a point this year of attending a lot of other user groups, even when I was not the speaker. This helped me steal ideas draw inspiration for GANG.

I renewed several old friendships in 2010, catching up with people I hadn’t seen for years. The Internet helped me with this. In July, my high school class held its 30-year reunion. I attended and had a blast. My contribution to the event was a slide show of old photos of classmates that was projected on a wall throughout the evening. People loved it.

I continued my trend of doing a lot of public speaking this year. 2010 started for me with a tour of Ohio during which I spoke at 4 user groups in 3 days. I spoke at the Cleveland .Net User Group in March and August I spoke at the very first meeting of the newly-formed Lexington, KY .Net User Group (although my presentation was abbreviated due to a bomb threat). I spoke at both Codestock and Devlink this year and even gave a vendor session at CodeMash. I presented at 3 different Day of .Net conferences, the Pittsburgh Code Camp, the Cloud Camp Detroit, the State of Michigan Developer Briefing, and a SQL Server 2008 R2 customer event, sponsored by Microsoft in Cleveland.

I was even a guest on a podcast for the first time (besides my own), appearing on the Community Megaphone Podcast with G. Andrew Duthie and Dane Morgridge.

My own show – Technology And Friends – is stronger than ever. I released over 70 episodes in 2010. I tried to keep a consistent schedule with the show and I’m proud to say that I released at least one show every week since January 18. The show also appears weekly on Channel 17 in ann arbor.

I completed my first full year as an INETA mentor and several people expressed appreciation for the increased communication they received since I took over. I covered four states (MI, OH, PA, and WV) most of the year. Recently Sam Nasr volunteered to take over responsibilities for Ohio.

When I look back on 2010, it is impossible for me not to think of 2009. Those who know me know that 2009 was a difficult year for me, mostly due to the death of my sister Denise and my family’s struggle to protect her daughter’s inheritance. These struggles continued in 2010 as I faced a lawsuit from someone trying to steal most of Denise’s assets. But I completed my work as Denise’s representative and that tragedy is now behind us. The closure left me with a feeling that Denise is finally at rest. In retrospect it was the second most difficult year of my life, but 2010 was a marked improvement.

My family faced another challenge this year when my 78-year-old father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I visited him in the fall and saw a noticeable change in his appearance and his behavior. My father survived two wars and skin cancer, so we will see how he does battling this.

My close friend Souha lost her mother this year, which shook her considerably. I read the eulogy at the funeral and I’ve tried to provide support, but this still pains her.

All told, the good far outweighed the bad this year. The valleys of the rollercoaster helped me to appreciate the peaks.

This has truly been a remarkable year in my life. 2010 brought some problems, but God helped me make it through these problems and, in the end, the problems were far overshadowed by the amazing things that took place these past 12 months.