Saturday, 26 May 2012
This report is well overdue, I know. On April 17th I spoke at the first meeting of the Toronto C++ User Group! The room was PACKED:
And as you can see, there's quite an age range represented. The space was provided by bNotions. It was lovely and airy, and I was thrilled to hear their commitment to community across a variety of technologies:
Once I got started, my challenge was to give the one hour version of this talk, and not the six-hour one I plan to do at my Tech Ed precons
in June. Here I am in action (thanks Eran for wandering the room with my camera throughout the talk) explaining the new ranged-based for:
The next meeting will be shared with the North Toronto .NET User Group, covering Windows 8 development in native C++
. Yes, the .NET folks want to hear about this, too! I'll see you there June 4th, right?
Monday, 25 July 2011
So, how cool is this? Guy Smith-Ferrier
is going to speak at the East of Toronto .NET User Group meeting in August. Why? Because he's the kind of community-oriented person who takes time out of a transatlantic family vacation to speak at a user group, that's why. And his topic sounds like science fiction, but it's real:
Mind Control Your Computer In C#
No really. This isn’t some clever session
title. I’m really talking about controlling your computer with your mind. I’m
not making this stuff up. This is real. Today. You put on a headset, you use a
C# SDK and you control your computer with your thoughts. Yes, you are reading this
right – you mind control your computer. It is a reality and it is possible
today. Once you’ve gotten over your disbelief consider the applications.
Applications for the physically impaired alone are a whole revolution. Not to
mention the possibilities for gaming. Want to be shocked and amazed ? Come and
see this session.
The meeting is set for August 24th at the Whitby main library. There's something awry with the website at the moment, and everyone who's talented enough to do anything about it is on vacation, leaving only me, but trust me, we're having a meeting and it's going to be a doozy. Guy is a great speaker - he even wrote and recorded a series of videos
on how to be a great presenter. He speaks at TechEd and runs events in the UK. And it's our tremendous luck that he'll be in our neighbourhood this summer so make sure you join us to see this session!
Monday, 15 November 2010
Wondering what's next in Silverlight? Want to become a Silverlight developer? Want to become a better Silverlight developer? Then you should watch the Silverlight Firestarter on Dec 2nd.
Now there are three ways you can watch this event:
- In person, in Redmond. Register.
- Online, wherever you like. Register.
- Online, with the company of fellow programmers to discuss what you're seeing. I think this is better than online by yourself, so I'm excited that the East of Toronto .NET Users Group is hosting a local Firestarter. Register.
What are they covering? Just about everything:
- The future of Silverlight
- Data Binding Strategies with Silverlight and WP7
- Building Compelling Apps with WCF using REST and LINQ
- Building Feature Rich Business Apps Today with RIA Services
- MVVM: Why and How? Tips and Patterns using MVVM and Service Patterns with Silverlight and WP7
- Tips and Tricks for a Great Installation Experience
- Tune Your Application: Profiling and Performance Tips
- Performance Tips for Silverlight Windows Phone 7
It's running 11:30am - 7:30 pm in Ajax on Thursday Dec 2nd, so you'll need to arrange time off work. Considering all you'll learn about Silverlight, it's well worth the time. Be there!
Thursday, 11 November 2010
Pluralsight has some great offers for user group leaders
that you should really know about. Even if you don't lead a group, make sure your leader knows, because some of these offers are for members. They're offering to send swag, subscriptions, and speakers (oh yes, that could include me, it sure couldn't hurt to ask, right?) to groups. What's more, unemployed user group members can have a free one-month subscription to the Pluralsight On-Demand! library
- a fantastic all-you-can-eat way to get your skills modernized and get you back working again.
I wrote Windows 7 and Visual Studio Extensions courses for the library, and am working on plans for my next one. These are great people who really want everyone to learn as much as humanly possible, and work hard to make that happen. Take them up on this offer and you won't regret it!
Sunday, 12 September 2010
Over six years ago, I helped to found the East of Toronto .NET Users Group
, because I didn't want to drive all the way across Toronto to attend user group meetings, and I was pretty sure I was surrounded by others who felt that way. The meeting location has varied over the years but is always in Oshawa or Whitby. That's about a 45 minute drive from my house, and never slows down because of rush hour traffic. I get to as many meetings as I can.
About a year and a half ago, the Markham .NET Users Group
kicked off, for much the same reason - wanting to learn more, but not wanting to drive for hours to get to meetings. And now our schedules finally mesh and I can speak there. It's also about 45 minutes from my house and immune from traffic problems.
So, on October 25th I will be speaking
in Markham, on Extending Visual Studio 2010
. I hope to cover both finding and using extensions and a tiny taste of writing your own. If you live closer to Markham than to downtown, or North York, or Whitby, then please come out and learn how to make Visual Studio your own! I'll be bringing some cool prizes, too - free Pluralsight training
, for example. Please register
so we know how many to expect.
Thursday, 02 September 2010
I'm having a Coffee and Code of my own in downtown Toronto on September 23rd all afternoon. Actually, I'll start at 11 and be there until 6 to catch the "stop by after work" folks. If you've heard of Coffee and Code at all, you know how this works. If you haven't, I've made a page on our web site about it
. Just drop in and ask me "Is it true that the C++ language is getting new keywords and stuff? How can that be? And does it really matter?" or "Do you have the Windows Phone 7 tools installed? Can you show me an app on the emulator?" or "Is Visual Studio 2010 really nicer than Visual Studio 2008?" or "What local user group meetings should I be coming to?" or whatever else is on your mind.
So stop by any time between 11 and 6 on the 23rd to the Starbucks at Yonge and King. I'll be at the big table at the back, just walk up and say hi. We'll talk about whatever is on your mind, maybe some of you will talk amongst yourselves, maybe you'll show me what you're working on. I'm looking forward to it!
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Telerik is having an Eastern Canada User Group Tour this fall. Evan Hutnick will visit 6 user groups to speak on Silverlight topics. Here are the details for the East of Toronto event:
Monday, September 13, 2010
Development Best Practices
Location: Whitby Public Library - Room 1B
405 Dundas Street West, Whitby, ON, L1N 6A1
In this session, we will
explore best practices of development with Silverlight. This will include a
look at the current toolset (VS2010/Blend) as well as the different options for
architecture and data access (to MVVM or not to MVVM, WCF RIA Services or not,
etc.), as well as how you can structure your application for intelligent reuse
of styles and resources, making it easier to design a large-scale application
with a unified look and feel.
|6:30 - 7:00
||Socialize and refreshments |
|7:00 - 9:00
See you there!
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Another terrific Tech Ed has come to a close. I never really got used to the weather in New Orleans, but I loved the food, I loved that we could walk to just about every dinner or party, and I loved the locals I met. I would have liked a little less walking within the convention centre itself - that building is a mile long and I had to go the whole length and back several times each day!
I have a few pictures from inside for you.
This is the "RD couch" in the community area. Good for hanging out while waiting to be on Channel 9. As you can see, non-RDs were hanging out here too.
The table for the Code Pack was giving away copies of the Code Pack on these slightly bizarre USB keys. I meant to keep one for myself but got carried away handing them out at my session (along with cards for a free trial of the Pluralsight On Demand! library). Also the shot-glass-on-a-string-of-beads is pretty brilliant for New Orleans swag. "Give it a shot!" they say.
This is the room for my C++ talk. That's Juval Lowy, who spoke right before me, up on stage. You can see he did a pretty good job of filling the room, which holds 1000. I got somewhat less than that, but was happy with the turnout and the evals for the C++ talk. Both my talks are available online already, by the way, which is astonishingly quick.
I love the "face time" with Microsoft people (including "my" product teams as well as folks in marketing, developer outreach and education, and so on), with my fellow RDs, MVPs, INETA folks, and speakers of all stripes, and with attendees. Booth duty, where you spend long minutes shifting your weight from foot to foot praying someone will come by, is a bit like of box of chocolates. An eager attendee comes forward, meets your eye, smiles ... for every "can you tell me where to find the blinky Windows 7 pen?" there is a good solid question or expression of interest in my actual technology. I got one question on Wednesday from someone who just wanted to know what booth to go to for it to be answered, only to learn it was this booth and that in fact I was probably the only person in building who could have answered it. I sure liked that one!
Next year, Atlanta:
But I may not have to wait a year for another Tech Ed experience.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
It's true, I signed up for a Windows 7 launch party. So did Chris Dufour. But I didn't have people over to sit on the couch and eat cake while I showed them the cool stuff in Windows 7. We just tossed an hour or so of demo at the start of a user group meeting. I had a one-page demo script which I've put as an attachment on this post. I think different default printers for different networks and a "recent/frequent" jumplist on the Windows Explorer in the taskbar were the most popular features. We also had swag! Here's a picture of mine:
Chris had a similar pile, and some books and such as we usually do, so each attendee (and we had a lot more than usual) left with something - mostly with one of those tote bags. I should have held one back to use on my next grocery trip. Aren't they surreal? After my demo (everything in the mini script, though probably not in that order, followed by boot to VHD) Chris took over and led us through CSLA for "real" part of the meeting.
Nice to see the group back in action, and hope to see plenty of folks there next month!
Katedemo.docx (16.42 KB)
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Want to go to PDC but not sure you can afford it? How would this work for you: a trip to PDC including flights, hotel, and conference admission?
That's the grand prize in the INETA Component Code Challenge. Write an app (web, client, whatever) that uses at least two different components (a grid and a chart? a PDF creator and a calendar? a report and a spreadsheet? You decide.) from the sponsors.
Try it! And maybe see you in LA!
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
I have a favourite piece of advice, and I give it even though it frustrates many recipients. If you want to write, write! If you want to get into public speaking, speak in public! If you want to start a user group, start a user group! If you want to be an MVP, do what MVPs do (advise others and solve problems and volunteer for stuff) and you'll start to get the benefit even before you get the award. I'm not quite saying Just Do It but the fact is the barriers to entry are very very small these days and possibly non existent. Technical writing especially - start a blog or get active on newsgroups and presto, you're writing! Listen to feedback (people telling you you're wrong is bad, people thanking you for your answer or quoting you elsewhere is good) and you will get better. Public speaking isn't much harder to crack because the world is full of user group leaders and similar folks who need someone to speak to them month after month. It's also full of Code Camps and other places to get started (they tend to come with coaching and encouragement too.)
Still some people don't like this advice. They feel held back from what they want to do, and they don't like to be told "nothing is holding you back, you can start whenever you want." Alternatively, they don't want to speak or write or lead for free, they want to be paid for it, and they don't like the idea of starting for free and working hard for years to get that overnight success. So here's a rephrasing that maybe you'll prefer: "80% of success is just showing up." It's attributed to Woody Allen, not a guy I would normally take advice from, but it sure is accurate. Go to the meeting, open the document you're supposed to be writing, be there when someone asks for volunteers, go to the whiteboard and draw as much as you know, put your shoes on and go outside, ... not all at once of course, but these are the "just showing up" tasks that get you on the road to success. Try it.
Monday, 19 January 2009
2008 was a tumultuous year for me so I thought I would start a new tradition of doing a retrospective post.
In January, I started doing something at Trent that I had never done before in ten years of teaching there a course or two a year – teach the same course twice at once, on different nights in different locations. I think the Tuesday night people got a better course since I in effect rehearsed for them each Monday morning . The marking load was a little difficult but I managed it. Also in January I had a geekspeak appearance, and the planning started in earnest for Tech Ed.
In February I spoke at my own user group, which is always a treat, and the Toronto Heroes Happen Here event introduced Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Windows 2008 to Toronto.
March kicked off with SD West, where I did two sessions (Vista programming for half a day, and some Practical VSTS tips) and recorded a video interview. I really enjoyed SD West’s sense of difference – the attendees, speakers, and topics all had a little fresh and unusual twist to me compared to the conferences Microsoft runs. My schedule doesn’t often let me get to third party conferences but it’s definitely enjoyable when it does. Also in March, we closed our Peterborough offices after nearly a decade there, and consolidated back to a single office attached to our home. Times have changed since we set up the Peterborough offices – we have high speed Internet at home, couriers are no longer an important delivery mechanism for us, and we haven’t employed a university student for many years – so we decided paying rent and commuting 45 minutes each way every day was a foolish habit. It really has been one of my best decisions of the year.
April’s big fun was the MVP Summit. My schedule was jam-packed and my only regret was that the C++ team didn’t schedule any boring or irrelevant parts of the day that might have let me go visit another team to broaden my horizons.
In May, Chris Dufour and I held our own Heroes Happen Here launches in Peterborough and Whitby. We had a scaled down version of the Toronto event and enjoyed it a great deal. Then DevTeach came to town – my absolute favourite third party conference always. As well it provided an opportunity for the Canadian RDs to get together and that is never a bad thing!
June, of course, meant Tech Ed. A precon, lunch with Bill Gates, three breakouts, two podcasts, assorted booth duty / ask the experts / etc plus dinners, receptions and side meetings made for a whirlwind week. The sort of thing I work all year to get, to be honest ... I loved it!
I started July by recording a .NET Rocks episode. Another thing I don’t get to do enough of. Then I just settled down and worked on projects for a while. Community activity is always a bit slow in the summer. As my project work intensified (nothing I can announce at the moment) I stayed heads down right through to the end of October when the PDC rolled around. We were all full of pent-up PDC demand after so long without one, and it was good, really good.
Just one week home after PDC, and trying to catch up on that project work, and it was off to Barcelona (maybe for the last time?) for Tech Ed Europe. I would have had an amazingly great time even if I hadn’t placed a talk in the top ten, but I was lucky enough to do just that. The food, the scenery, the weather – I am really going to miss Barcelona.
In December I got back on the community stage by visiting three southern cities to tell the story of Vista Bridge. I got caught in a snowstorm in Baton Rouge, the like of which they get once or twice a century, just to add a little spice to the tale. And that brings us around to the end of the year. What's next?
Monday, 17 November 2008
This month's meeting is November 25th. Chris Dufour will speak on Building Silverlight 2 Data Applications. The meeting is at the Whitby library, but please register
so the food count will be accurate.
Saturday, 08 November 2008
I think I have this finally all sorted out now. This map is a little inaccurate because it depicts driving, but it gets the point across:
Monday December 8th I will fly to Fort Smith (via Atlanta). Tuesday December 9th I will drive to the Northwest Arkansas meeting. Wednesday Dec 10th I will fly from there to Baton Rouge (via Atlanta) and then Thursday Dec 11th I will fly home (once again, via Atlanta.) The talk will be the same at all three, so there's no need to follow me around
The Windows Vista Bridge: How Managed Code Developers Can Easily Access Exciting New Vista Features
Accessing new Windows Vista features is a challenge from managed (.NET) code. The level of interoperability required is out of reach for many developers. The Vista Bridge is a sample library you can use in your own projects today that provides access to new user interface features as well as “behind the scenes” power features. Discover a shortcut to Windows Vista for Microsoft Visual Basic and Visual C# programmers and how you can get involved.
This talk is freshly updated for Tech Ed Europe where I will deliver it Nov 13th. See you there!
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Recently, a young man who has just completed his post secondary education (programming etc) asked me for help connecting to local communities. He's looking for work and he knows from experience that networking and connections are vital. But out of the college atmosphere, it's not always clear where to find people. I suggested user groups, of course. For those of you who live vaguely north-and-east of Toronto, as I do, I suggest:
- The East of Toronto .NET Users Group. I founded it because I didn't like driving all the way to Mississauga for user group meetings. Chris Dufour runs it brilliantly. Expect speakers from Microsoft, INETA speakers from all over North America, me once or twice a year, plus pizza for everyone and door prizes for a handful of folks each meeting. Meetings are generally in Oshawa or Whitby.
- Durham Personal Computer User's Club. More consumer focused than developer, but industry speakers do come and you will meet geeky people in the area. I recognize several names on the speaker list as possible employers of new graduates. They meet in Courtice.
- The Kawartha section of CIPS. Enterprise focused in many cases, IT Pro material as well as developers, and excellent networking opportunities. Meetings are generally in Peterborough and once a year (in January) they specifically hold a meeting for upcoming graduates to talk about employment topics.
It's quite likely that there are Java or PHP or Ruby user groups nearby; if you know of any please leave a comment. Unfortunately most groups suspend meetings for the summers, so it may be a while until they are meeting again. Still, meeting other people is the best way to find a job you will love. Remember, when someone is looking to hire, they aren't doing you a favour - they're meeting their own needs. They will count themselves lucky they met you, or were introduced to you.
Wednesday, 04 June 2008
On Tuesday, Day 1 of TechEd, I was lucky enough to join a small group of people for lunch with Bill Gates. While spending an hour or two with Bill would be an honour at any time, to do so at his last Tech Ed was extra special. The invitees spanned a wide range of the developer spectrum, and what we had in common was our contributions to community. There were Regional Directors, MVPs, MCTs, INETA people, and so on. Bill arrived just in time for a group photo (I'll post it when I get it) and then sat down to answer questions for an hour or more. I was so impressed; more impressed than I planned to be. I found his answers really illuminating and inspiring. Our geeky minds and way of approaching problems can be turned to far more than just designing software. Why not, if you don't have to worry about covering your mortgage payment, try fixing the problems of disease, education, agriculture, and even the United Nations?
We were given an enormous (and heavy) memento:
It's going on the "bookshelf of showing off" for sure, but the inspiration and the practical information are more to me than the crystal .
Update: Fellow attendees Andrew Brust, Matthew Roche, Daniel Egan, Scott Golightly, Stephen Forte, and Neil Roodyn have blogged their impressions also. So has Soma, who graciously welcomed us all to the lunch and is well known as a friend of developer community people.
Saturday, 08 December 2007
Wednesday December 12th is the Christmas Party for the East of Toronto .NET User Group. Mark Relph will come and talk about where he sees the industry going, your $10 cover charge will cover “nibblies”, and there’s a cash bar. Come and meet your fellow user group members and socialize a little. Please register in advance!
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
The Developer Night in Canada (DNIC) User Group Tour is all set!
Our (East of Toronto) date is April 11th. Register now!
The purpose of this event is to demonstrate how the Microsoft Application Platform provides a robust and secure foundation for building data-driven applications and Web sites. Specifically, this session will examine some of the tools and technologies available for developers including Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals and examine some of the exciting new features of ADO.NET.
Our session will feature our own alumnus, Jean-Luc David:
See you there!
Saturday, 16 September 2006
In October, Kathleen Dollard is coming to the East of Toronto UG! On October 19th, she'll be talking about Generics. Specifically:
Generics open up new opportunities to increase the robustness of your code, improve its performance, and significantly reduce the total amount of code you write. After a brief introduction to generic syntax, this talk dives into using generics to improve the quality of your code. You'll see how easy it is to shift your current collections to generic collections and learn about new features such as robust sorts, finds, and filters across collections. You'll learn how to write your own generic methods and classes. Finally you'll see how to leverage the spectrum of generic possibilities in a business object hierarchy that reduces the total lines of code by about 50%. You'll walk out of this talk understanding how to use generics to improve your own applications.
This meeting is at the YWCA Durham, so when you register, check the map and make sure you know where you're headed. If you haven't heard Kathleen speak before, you need to be there. Here's a little more about her:
Kathleen Dollard is a consultant, author, trainer, and speaker. She’s been a Microsoft MVP since 1998, wrote “Code Generation in Microsoft .NET” (Apress) and is a regular contributor to Visual Studio Magazine. She speaks at industry conferences such as VSLive, DevConnections, and Microsoft DevDays as well as local user groups. She’s the founder and principal of GenDotNet. Her passion is helping programmers be smarter in how they develop by learning to use Visual Studio, XML related technologies, .NET languages, code generation, unit testing, and other tools to their full capacity. She’s currently working on full life cycle improvements, such as better debugging and capturing business intent in metadata and test definitions. When not working, she enjoys woodworking, snowshoeing, and kayaking depending on the outdoor temperature.
I'll be a little crazed that week getting ready to head to Africa, but I'll be there.
Friday, 15 September 2006
Jean-Luc David, newly minted Developer Advisor, returns to the East of Toronto .NET Users Group this month to talk about Atlas, or "Atlas" as the Microsoft guys used to call it, the quotes reminding us all that it's a code name, not a real true blessed-by-marketing-and-the-lawyers name. And now, it's going to be called, sort of, AJAX. Let me quote ScottGu here:
The server-side “Atlas” functionality that nicely integrates with ASP.NET will be called the ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions. As part of this change the tag prefix for the “Atlas” controls will change from <atlas:>to <asp:>. These controls will also be built-in to ASP.NET vNext.
The “Atlas” Control Toolkit today is a set of free, shared source controls and components that help you get the most value from the ASP.NET AJAX Extensions. Going forward, the name of the project will change to be the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit.
Well, whatever it's called (I seem to say that a lot) you can learn more about it at this month's user group meeting. September 26th, 6pm for pizza, 7pm for the presentation, Whitby Public Library. Please register!
Thursday, 07 September 2006
As you may know, I'm listed as the leader of the East of Toronto .NET User Group. I'm just a figurehead though, the real work has been done for a long time by Chris Dufour and Jean-Luc David. During my blogging gap, Jean-Luc accepted a job offer from Microsoft Canada and is now a Developer Advisor. That means he looks after me as an RD, and helps with the user group. He's already doing a terrific job, and you'll never guess who our September speaker is :) (Subliminal message, go register for that meeting now, please.)
Wednesday, 06 September 2006
Sasha Krsmanovic has been working for Microsoft for a very long time, but as a v-, a vendor. This summer they finally made it official and hired him as a regular employee. At the same time he moved roles, so now instead of looking after me as an RD and a user group leader, he's looking after me as an MVP. Works for me!
This is me with Sasha back at realDevelopment06.
Monday, 19 June 2006
This year at Tech Ed USA, the booths had slightly different badge scanning hardware than at past shows. Instead of removing your badge from the holder to be swiped, the boothies could just swipe a bar code on the front. This was used not just at booths, but also for session attendance. Here you see Canada's Technology Triangle guy himself, Dave Totzke, being swiped before my Friday talk:
I know at other TechEds they have used RFID in the badges, and then when you go to do evals you can choose from the sessions you actually attended: makes it easier for attendees and gets an accurate count of attendance. I don't know if session attendance and evals were linked here because I hardly attended any sessions at all. In fact, for those I did attend, I arrived with the speaker before the badge swipers so I never got swiped. I know looking at my own evals they told me how many evals were submitted but not how many people were in the room.
Knowing how many people actually attend sessions and comparing it to how many indicated they would in the scheduling tool helps to put talks into the right rooms... it's as awkward to talk to a cavernously empty room as to a busting-at-the-seams-full one. So I like this. But then, I liked the RFID chip, and I've been told it would never be accepted in North America.
BTW, little piece of language-specific trivia: apparently C++ talks get way more "didn't put it in the schedule" attendees than other languages. Is it because all languages get the same number of spontaneous dropins, and all the C++ folks who planned to attend follow through? Is it because C++ people don't like to use the scheduler? Who knows? I'm just happy that while the number of C++ talks may be less than in previous years, I'm still not in the smallest room.
Saturday, 10 June 2006
I have an HUGELY busy week planned at TechEd. It kicks off with meetings of MVPs and RDs (I have to miss the meeting of user group leaders, everyone had the same "day before TechEd starts" plan) and the keynote Sunday night. My talks are Monday (DEV309 Visual C++: IDE Features for Visual Studio 2005, 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM Room 259 AB) and Friday (DEV444 Visual C++: Debugging and Resolving Loader Lock and Side-by-Side Issues, 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM Room 160 ABC), and I won't miss the Women In Technology luncheon on Wednesday. In between I have so many meetings scheduled, it's a good thing the sessions will be on DVD afterwards because I just won't be able to attend all the ones I want to. And as for Boston tourism... well at least I'll see Fenway
If you're going to be there, drop me a note and let's see if we can have some "face time" of our own.
Friday, 12 May 2006
Jerome Carron from Microsoft will be coming to the East of Toronto .NET User Group May 17th to talk about mobile applications:
This session will be an introduction to developing Windows Mobile applications with Visual Studio 2005. The focus of the session will be on Devices and the Mobile platform, getting started with device development (user interfaces and controls), data management (SQL Server Mobile) and Visual Studio tools for Data Management and close out with a look at Windows Mobile 5.
This meeting will be at the Whitby Library. Please register so we're expecting you.
Thursday, 23 March 2006
It looks like I never added an entry about speaking at Devteach. I just made my travel plans to get there. I love taking the train to Montreal -- I'll end up within walking distance of the conference hotel, save time compared to flying, and travel in comfort the whole way.
Devteach is a delightful conference with a friendly atmosphere. I count 8 RDs among the speakers list, plus a whole pile of MVPs, Julie, and some of my favourite Microsoft people... DEs mostly. There is one track in French and the rest of the talks (about a hundred) are all in English.
My talks are:
- Moving C++ applications to the CLR
- The Future is Concurrent
There's plenty for everyone: web, smart client, data, security, patterns and practices, testing, Team Systems, architecture -- if it's a development topic, someone is speaking on it. On top of that the conference hosts the Canadian User Group Leader Summit (and gives user group members a discount on attendance - contact your user group leader for a code) and the Canadian Regional Director Summit. It's a great place to meet the stars of the Canadian developer community, and a number of folks from the American northeast who love to come up to Montreal. See you there!
Wednesday, 08 March 2006
It's all about the presentation layer for the next few months at East of Toronto .NET User Group:
- March 23rd, Justin Lee will demonstrate Atlas, tools to let you do AJAX-y things without hand-coding a TON of script yourself. "ASP.NET “Atlas” is a package of new Web development technologies that integrates an extensive set of client script libraries with the rich, server-based development platform of ASP.NET 2.0. “Atlas” enables you to develop Web applications that can update data on a Web page by making direct calls to a Web server — without needing to round trip the page. With “Atlas”, you can take advantage of the best of ASP.NET and server-side code while doing much of the work in the browser, enabling a richer user experience. This presentation will showcase what Atlas will bring to you, and how Atlas can change the way you develop web applications." Register so we get enough pizza.
- April 5th, we move our regular meeting date to accomodate a mini-Canadian tour by Rod Paddock of CODE magazine. Rod will be talking about Windows Presentation Foundation, formerly known by the much friendlier code name Avalon. "This introductory session will demonstrate how to use Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) to build line of business applications. The session will begin with a tutorial on WPF basics. How to build a basic WPF application, basic XAML constructs, WPF controls, responding to events, etc. The session will then move into the realm of data binding and using controls to best represent line of business style applications (data entry with one to many capabilities). Developers will leave this session with a basic understanding of how to build WPF applications." Again, we really need you to register.
Chris has some great prizes to hand out at these meetings, but more importantly come out to learn and to meet other developers who live, you know, East of Toronto. Both meetings are at the Whitby Public Library so they're easy to get to after work.
Sunday, 08 January 2006
The December lull is past, for sure. Here's where I'm headed in the next month or so:
- January 11th, CNY .NET Users Group, Syracuse NY, Windows Forms: Deploying Applications with ClickOnce: Advanced Topics
- January 14th, Toronto Code Camp, Yonge and Bloor, The Future is Concurrent
- January 17th, Regina .NET Users Group, Regina Saskatchewan, Managing the Software Lifecycle with Visual Studio 2005 Team System
- January 18th, Saskatoon .NET Users Group, Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Managing the Software Lifecycle with Visual Studio 2005 Team System
- February 7th, SouthColorado .NET, Colorado Springs CO, TBD but probably the ClickOnce talk
- February 8th, TRINUG, Cary NC, TBD but probably the ClickOnce talk
That should keep me from being bored, eh?
Wednesday, 04 January 2006
As we flip calendar years I am delighted (even if I'm not really surprised) to learn that I am being renewed as both a Regional Director and an MVP (for C++.) These two programs are both a big part of my professional life. (The RD program is more exclusive, with only 120-140 RDs around the world compared to thousands of MVPs, but the two programs serve different needs, of course.) They each provide me with amazing information and access to the product teams. They open doors for me throughout the Microsoft-oriented world. Most of all, they introduce me to other RDs and MVPs around the world... an amazing team to feel part of. I am also still a user group leader, a member of the INETA North America and MSDN Canada speaker bureaus, and of course I have a business to run with clients throughout North America.
In not-unrelated news, I qualified for Elite on Air Canada and almost halfway to Super Elite. The previous year I just squeaked to Elite... wonder how much flying 2006 holds for me?
Sunday, 18 December 2005
Chris has uploaded the deck and a zip file of code for my "Moving C++ Applications to the .NET Framework" talk to the East of Toronto .NET User Group. If you're still thinking about C++/CLI maybe seeing what it does will help your thought processes.
Monday, 14 November 2005
I've been talking about C++/CLI in public for quite a while now: Tech Ed USA 2004 and 2005, Tech Ed Africa 2004 and 2005, C++ Connections in Las Vegas last week, several private webcasts, and of course in this blog. But in the last 18 months, travelling as far as 10,000 miles from home, I haven't done any part of this shapeshifting talk here in my own home. So it's time to change that. Come to the November meeting of the East of Toronto .NET Users Group and find out why people are saying:
- "I love the .NET Framework, I love C++, and the new stuff looks to provide me a beautiful integration of the two. Question is, once it is released, will I ever code in C# again?" - Ed Ball
- "this new development in C++ seriously undermines the justification for C# as a language. " - Grumpy Old Programmer
- "By standardizing the syntax and semantics of a general purpose binding for C++ and the CLI, Ecma TG5 will provide the huge C++ developer community with a tool that enables them to easily write applications that make full use of the CLI platform, and will provide the developer community targeting the CLI with full support for the powerful C++ language. " - ECMA Standards Committee
- "Visual C++ is positioning itself as the lowest level programming language for targeting the CLR. There should be no cause to use any other language, not even Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL). Secondly, .NET programming should be as natural as native C++ programming. ...If you love C++ and want to use all the power that C++ has traditionally offered, but also want the productivity of C#, then this is for you. - Kenny Kerr, MSDN article
- "C++ is here to stay for a long time and we are committed to providing the best tools for C++ development." - Soma Somasegar
- "now that the language looks just like C# and you still have the power of C++/templates/STL as well, it's staging a major comeback." - Sam Gentile
I dug out some abstract that was kicking around from one of the versions of the talk:
Come and see how real C++ projects are moving to the CLR without a full port or rewrite. Learn how to easily migrate existing native code -- including MFC applications -- to run under the CLR. Strategies for choosing which parts of the application remain native and which are managed will be discussed. See how to take advantage of the power of the framework libraries. Finally, this session will provide guidance on how to build high-performance managed "wrappers" enabling reuse of native libraries.
But that was a one hour talk, and I have such a hard time fitting into a single hour, and this is my user group after all, so expect to see quite a bit more on the general "C++ for the .NET Framework" situation.
Wednesday November 30th, Whitby Library, please register. Pizza and chitchat at 6, C++/CLI starting at 7. See you there!
[updated: the link above now leads to a page that has a registration link. Please register.]
Wednesday, 12 October 2005
I just registered for the global launch in San Francisco November 7th:
(Yes, I will be in Las Vegas that whole week to speak at C++ Connections. I'm just going to the launch on Monday and then to Vegas.)
If a flight to SF is out of the question, why not see if you can get into one of the Canadian dates?
http://www.microsoft.com/canada/launch2005/default.aspx has all the details and registration links.
Didn't act soon enough? Didn't think a launch event could sell out? Watch for announcements of user group launch events through the fall.
Sunday, 11 September 2005
We're having a CODE CAMP in Toronto in January! I'm so excited! A Code Camp is a very different kind of community event, and one that can only happen when you have a strong and vibrant developer community. If you've never heard of it, check the Code Camp Manifesto or just Google for it and find people saying things like this:
"the buzz from Atlanta Code Camp is starting to wear off a bit and let me just say I had a great time."
"I laughed, I cried, I found a bunch of new tools to use."
"When I asked him if it was as good as a commercial conference he said that he thought so. Perhaps even better. And that comes from a guy who was just at TechEd 6 weeks ago."
Now the deal with Code Camps is that they ALWAYS:
- Are free
- Are held outside business hours (typically a weekend)
- Feature a great variety of speakers and topics (except no marketing fluff allowed)
- Provide an opportunity to speak for the first time
Many Code Camp attendees have never been to a daytime or paid-attendance event - we don't all work for companies that make that possible, after all. If you've been to plenty of such events, you might consider speaking at this one: an hour on something you know well because you're doing it at work isn't hard at all, really. This is a great chance to "crossover" to the other side of the microphone. If you haven't been to lots of these events -- you've never been able to get to a DevDays or a VSLive, or heaven forbid something out of town with actual travel expenses -- plan now to set aside a weekend in January to fill your brain with free technical content and get to know the developer community in the Toronto area.
Toronto is a large city, over 3 million people, and the "Greater Toronto Area" supports a LOT of user groups:
And out of all these people, who is spearheading the Code Camp initiative? My two co-executives from the East Of Toronto group, that's who! I'm very proud of that. The GTA is full of good organizers and speakers (and has three Regional Directors on top of that) and I know we will be able to put on an amazing day. Right now Jean-Luc is finding a location and sponsors (or Contributors as Code Camp likes to call them) and shortly he'll be gathering speakers. You should use his blog to get in touch. My firm is sponsoring for sure: a Code Camp is a really low-cost event to put on and reaches a number of developers other events never do.
ps: I wanted to say that this would be the first Code Camp outside the USA, but once again Derek Hatchard has shown what a star he is: there will be a Code Camp in Atlantic Canada just next month. Go Derek!
Update: They've had them in the UK too (http://www.developerday.co.uk/ddd/default.asp ... Benjamin Mitchell is the RD involved in those) and in Australia (www.codecampoz.com.)
Monday, 05 September 2005
The Regional Directors had so much fun doing the GrokTalks at Tech Ed USA, we just couldn't leave it as a one-time thing. So at the PDC, we've arranged an event called PDC Underground. While we won't be filming and uploading the talks, we will be able to accomodate an actual audience. If you're going to be in LA, or if you're there all the time anyway, you want to come to this event. Ten RDs, fifteen minutes each, just the essence of what you need to know about one topic.
I'm doing "C++ is alive and well":
Abstract: The "C++ for the runtime" in Visual Studio 2005, C++/CLI, features everything developers love about C++ -- including templates and deterministic destruction -- and everything we love about the CLR -- including generics and garbage collection. This best-of-both-worlds approach enables the fastest and easiest interop between managed and unmanaged code. Preserve your legacy without a port, use the same binaries to support old and new clients, control the cost of interop: that's what C++ does so well.
More details and a registration link at http://www.pdcunderground.com/. If you're a member of a user group in the LA area, contact your leader who probably can get you a button to wear.
See you there!
Saturday, 04 June 2005
Tech Ed starts on Monday, there are all kinds of side meetings Sunday, and I'm here early because I did a compressed Ascend day yesterday. So far it is rainy and grey: I feel as though I accidentally flew to Seattle instead of Florida.
I like to get a room with two beds so I can use one bed just to pile up swag. Here's how it looks so far:
All this has to get home with me, and we're not even started yet. If you haven't left yet, remember to leave lots of room in your suitcase! Trust me!
Tuesday, 17 May 2005
With the seven-city Smart Client Deep Dive tour done, I thought it would be appropriate to summarize my upcoming speaking and training schedule.
- May 23-26. Ascend Training (Smart Client Track) Redmond, WA. Teaching Microsoft people and special guests (MVPs, RDs, partners) all about Smart Clients (VSTO, WinForms, and more) in Whidbey.
- June 3. Ascend Training (one day ultra condensed) Orlando, FL. This is a pre-conference event for Academic Days at Tech Ed.
- June 6-10. Tech Ed USA, Orlando FL. Two talks (Monday morning and Tuesday morning - both are C++ talks and who would go to only one of them? See the new syntax, new optimizations, new power for an old friend - search for DEV330 and DEV331), one panel lunch (women in technology), and helping out with the way cool thing the RDs are doing that I can't quite discuss yet.
- June 18-19. DevTeach, Montreal Quebec. A Canadian User Group Leader get-together, and my two C++ talks glued into one “What's New in C++“ presentation.
- October 23-26, Tech Ed Africa, Sun City South Africa. OK, I'm not officially accepted as a speaker yet but I'm pretty sure I'll be there, topics TBD.
- Nov 7-10. C++ Connections, Las Vegas, NV. How real customers are moving to the new C++.
This is just the stuff I'm on stage for. I'm planning to be in the audience at either or both of the PDC and the MVP Summit, both in September. And oh yeah, I have a company to run and some projects to finish. Gotta dash!
Sunday, 27 March 2005
Sessions and abstracts, along with speaker names, are starting to appear on the Tech Ed sessions page. My C++ talks have been christened DEV 330 and DEV 331. You can search on the session code or my name to see the abstracts. Doesn't look like you can start to build your calendar yet, but watch for it.
Since the speaker dropdown is populated, I just had to check: I counted 8 Brians, and 11 obvious women, not counting the chances that an Alex, Chris, or Pat could be a woman. I also see some fellow RDs and some Speaker Bureau folks. Should be a fun week!
Thursday, 17 March 2005
I'm a little late getting this blog posting up... I kind of had to recover from the event. Sam rolled into town in the early afternoon and what a blast! The pre-event agenda was gossip, code names, and assorted gems I will not be sharing. Plus great sushi -- in Whitby, much to my surprise -- and plenty of geek talk. For the event itself we were in a new venue and had to sort out some logistics around projecting and such, but it worked in the end. We had about double our usual attendance. I have never seen so much note-taking! Then when the crowd left, it was time for beer and more discussion, until the dreaded “you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.” Time for Sam to meet a true Canadian institution... Tim Hortons . Other blog entries on the evening: Eli, Sam, and Jean-Luc. Though I notice Sam neglected to mention that he actually likes C++/CLI .
If you're an INETA speaker and you haven't come to my group yet, you don't know the fun you're missing. Just say the word, and I'll request you. And if you live within an hour or two's drive of Oshawa or Whitby, and haven't been to a meeting yet, resolve right now to come to the next one. It may not feature beer, but you'll be glad you came.
Friday, 04 March 2005
Last night I spoke at the Metro Toronto .NET Users Group on Interop between J2EE and .NET apps, using a variety of techniques but especially Web Services. There was a bit of code, but really the emphasis was on philosophy, the kind of “big picture” approaches you can take to make interop happen. I mentioned more than once that it's important to know what exactly you mean by interop and what it is that you want your two (or three, or more) applications to be able to do together. The sorts of projects that really don't work are the ones that start “how can we use BizTalk in our firm?”. Start with a business problem, and if it looks like BizTalk will make it possible to solve the problem, then go from there, but don't pick the solution and then go looking for a problem.
This came back around in the post-presentation questions and chat, and we got to talking about the importance of requirements. I'm hip deep in a project where we spent months just settling the requirements, but as a result the project has moved forward into code after spending years (before I came on board) getting about halfway through design and then stopping and starting over. For Enterprise work (and these interop issues are generally Enterprise) there is simply no substitute for real solid business requirements that are completely nailed down before anyone starts designing, followed by a properly thought through design. I don't go through all that for three day projects, putting together a little Sharepoint web part or some Windows Service that sends email at night about additions to the database today, but I sure go through it for anything that needs more than one programmer or that will take more than a month.
I was reminded of a funny article I read a while back called Agile Bridge Building, which mocks Agile Software Development by dissing bridge design in favour of showing the client Working Wood as soon as possible. Basically, you stick a log out into the river and right away you've started to build your bridge. This process naturally produces requirements, since now we have consensus that the log should actually reach all the way to the other side of the river! Why waste a lot of time in meetings trying to develop this requirement in advance? Once there's working wood, a genuine prototype, the stakeholders can quickly agree on what's important. And all without the hassles of paying someone for requirements and design. There's more, so I recommend you read the whole article. And to be honest, if I lived in the woods and was sick of wading through a small stream to get to the far side of my property, I probably would apply Agile Bridge Building to the problem, just as I don't particularly design every speck of software I write. But I'm glad the folks who built the bridges I drove over today designed them first, and I'm glad I know how to gather requirements, get consensus on functionality, and design the big projects I code before I code them.
Friday, 18 February 2005
Monday the 21st is the February meeting for the East of Toronto user group. Please visit http://gtaeast.torontoug.net/ug_events/936.aspx to register.
This event will consist of an overview of methods for interoperating between Java-based systems and NET including XML document exchange, shared database, messaging, web services, and Java to .NET bridges. We’ll spend the bulk of the time on a detailed analysis of the approaches and methods for web services-based interop between apps and systems running on .NET and other technologies.
I'll be doing this same talk myself March 3rd, so I'll be taking detailed notes while Adam is presenting
Tuesday, 01 February 2005
110.00, 107.50, 105.00, 102.50, 101.00, 100.00
What do these numbers have in common? They are losing bids for the consultant auction . Time is running out, the auction closes tomorrow morning, 9am Eastern, and now is the time to boost your bid and catapult yourself up the list! Lowest winning bid at the moment is $120... let's drive it up!
Monday, 31 January 2005
Apparently some people are hesitant about bidding on the auction in case they win. I know the feeling, do I have enough tough questions to justify an hour of Richter or Prosise time, do I have my act together on Web Services and Interop enough to grill Michele on them properly...
Relax. You don't have to think of it that way. Whoever you win, fire us an email with something that's been bugging you. Like “can you really explain this whole destructors in C++ when it's managed code and the object I'm using wasn't even written in C++?” Or like some of the old emails I cleared out this last week: “how can I uninstall a service?” “how do I restrict forms authentication in ASP.NET to only some folders? How can I force a logout when they browse from a secured to an open page?” and “why am I getting this linker error?”. Maybe that uses up 10 or 20 minutes. Fine, next time you have a toughy like that, send it along. By the time you use up your whole hour, you'll probably have become a friend/colleague/former client who can send questions like that once in a while for the rest of your life.
Or, how about this? Take a look at the talks your selected consultant has prepped for upcoming conferences (get us to send you the abstracts we've submitted) and have us deliver a private session of a useful talk to your whole company over LiveMeeting. There's a free LiveMeeting trial going on, and the talks have to be prepped anyway, so your hour would just be the delivery of the talk, to as many of your colleagues as you can get online at once. So it might end up 90 minutes, we don't mind.
You can't lose! Hell, even if you use your hour to take one of us for a drink the next time we're in the same city, what really counts is you gave $100 or $150 or $200 to help people who have NO clothes, NO books, NO walls around them.... this is a FUNDRAISER so come on, let's raise some funds!
Thursday, 27 January 2005
The February meeting of the East of Toronto User Group will be on a Monday, due to room issues. Join us February 21st for the MSDN User Group Tour.
We are meeting in room 1011 at the Durham District School Board, 400 Taunton Road East in Whitby. Social from 6-7, presentation starts at 7. Visit http://gtaeast.torontoug.net/UG_Events/936.aspx to register, to click for a map to the location or to check all the goodies we will have for attendees. Come and hear Adam Gallant of Microsoft show you what interop can do in real life.
Wednesday, 26 January 2005
I am learning a lot about how EBay works. In IM with Adam and Julie I think I have figured it out. Let's say you went right now to bid on the auction (good for you!) and you bid $200. Not “$100 now and if I need to then automatically raise me to $200” but just flat out $200. Your bid would still appear as $100. Why? Because there are 30 items available and so far only 27 have been bid for. Once there are more than 30 bids, we will start to see real bids and not just the minimum. So come on, go bid. Believe me you will get more than $100 value no matter who you get, and you'll be helping a good cause.
Sunday, 23 January 2005
Saturday, 22 January 2005
Stephen Forte has posted a voluminous update that includes links to all our blogs and little bios of us all, in case there are one or two you haven't heard of. Check it out.
Friday, 21 January 2005
Here's a blog entry by the surfers I mentioned yesterday explaining some of what they're up to and how desparately it's needed. And Julie has a delightful picture of them, too.
Julie is still getting our ducks in a row with EBay. As you can imagine, you can't just hold an auction and claim it's a fundraiser -- what a fraud opportunity.that would be! There are letters and faxes and suchlike to make sure that everybody is on the up and up. The good news is that because EBay and Paypal are doing this, you can be confident your money (you are going to bid, aren't you?) is going where we say its going. The bad news is I don't have an EBay link yet
Thursday, 20 January 2005
An absolutely stellar group of people, dubbed by Julie Lerman to be .NET Celebrities, have come together to offer up our tiny little bit of help for those whose lives, homes, loved ones, livelihoods, and dreams were washed away on Boxing Day of last year. The immediate “if we don't get fresh water in there they will all die” crisis is past, but there is so much rebuilding work to be done. The agency we've selected is Aceh Aid at IDEP which is local to Sumatra and has been on the ground since the waves hit. This is a nimble and creative group that, for example, teamed up with the surfing community to get boats into the worst hit places while large outside groups couldn't figure out how to reach them. It's going to be an EBay auction with payment through PayPal directly to a US foundation that supports IDEP -- that way for US-based people it will be tax deductible for sure. I am working on an answer for Canadians on that. Of course if your company spends the money to get the advice, then your company can deduct it as an expense, just the same as if you wrote me a cheque for my time.
There are 25 of us up for auction. Top bidder gets their pick of Jeffrey Richter, John Robbins, Jeff Prosise, Michele Leroux Bustamante, Jonathan Goodyear, Andrew Brust, Richard Campbell, Adam Cogan, Malek Kemmou, Jackie Goldstein, Goskin Bakir, Hector M Obregon, Patrick Hynds, Fernando Guerrero, Kate Gregory, Joel Semeniuk, Scott Hanselman, Barry Gervin, Clemens Vasters, Jorge Oblitas, Stephen Forte, John Lam, Deborah Kurata, Ted Neward and Kathleen Dollard. Wow! (And like I need to link to their blogs -- you know who these people are!) Most are friends of mine already, 18 are RDs, 5 are Canadian, all are top notch .NET stars who know their stuff and are in the habit of solving problems for people.
So what we are auctioning is one hour of mentoring. Phone, IM, email, whatever. (We won't fly out to you.) If you're the top bidder, you get whoever you want from that list. Second bidder chooses from the still stellar list remaining. And so on.
Most of us are consultants so you could theoretically buy our time. But that's in theory. My firm doesn't take one hour jobs. We don't really like to take one day jobs. Our preference for mentoring work is to take a $5000 retainer and let you know when you've used most of it up and need to send more. (We make exceptions for some work that's really technically interesting and fun, but we still need to be confident it will go on for a while.) I expect it's a similar situation for the others. That means we're offering something you otherwise couldn't buy. I want you to keep that in mind, then go bid more (a lot more) than you think an hour of my time is worth. The money goes to those who need it, you get a deduction, and you get some important business problem solved. Can't fail!
I'll post a link to the auction as soon as it's live.
Wednesday, 19 January 2005
In fact, you've been able to register for over a week, I just didn't notice until today. Last year it sold out, so if you already know you want to go, start making your plans now. If you register early you save money, there's some sort of sweepstakes to be won, and you'll know one little part of your year plan well in advance. Go on, register.
Me? I'm hoping to be there as a speaker (I submitted a number of C++ talks) or to take advantage of some not-yet-announced-I'm-just-hoping pass for RDs or MVPs or INETA speaker bureau folks or something, so I haven't registered. One way or another, I will be there.
Friday, 17 December 2004
I have just loved holding our meetings at Durham College, but some policy changes there meant that we would have to pay for the meeting room. Like most Canadian user groups, we don't charge membership fees or meeting admission. At the moment the only sponsor of the group is my firm, Gregory Consulting, which pays for the pizza most months (sometimes Microsoft or INETA picks up the tab.) So we've moved to another room. This one will meet our needs very nicely, I feel:
400 Taunton Road East, Whitby (between Thickson and Brock.)
So while we're still East of Toronto, our meetings won't be quite as far east of Toronto as they used to be!
We have no December meeting, so I'll see you in Whitby January 18th and Feb 22nd. Those meetings are planned and should be on the web site soon.
Wednesday, 15 December 2004
Finally the official announcement from INETA that eight super deserving people have been added to the North American Speakers bureau. Two are Regional Directors and friends of mine, Joel Semeniuk and Stephen Forte (get ready to come to East Of Toronto, you two ). All are well known in the speaking world and will be great additions to the bureau. Welcome aboard folks!
Here's a list of blog links stolen from the INETA site:
Update: If you want to learn more about the speakers bureau, or see who's on it, check http://www.ineta.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabindex=2&tabid=14.
Thursday, 25 November 2004
I'll be at the December 2nd meeting of the Canada's Technology Triangle .NET User Group to show everyone Smart Clients, VSTO, and Infopath. I did this session in Winnipeg and saw Derek Hatcher do it in Toronto so I know it has good content. Please register at http://www.cttdnug.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=68 and come out to the meeting. My only worry, based on the many years I spent living in that area, is that I'll have to drive in a blizzard. But we aren't going to let a little snow stop us, are we?
Tuesday, 02 November 2004
I'm going to kick off the Smart Client User Group Tour with a talk in Winnipeg. I'm expecting a slight contrast between South Africa in late October and Winnipeg in early November . The talk is November 10th, details on the Winnipeg UG site.
Friday, 29 October 2004
For November, the Toronto-area user groups are combining our meetings to participate in the MSDN User Group Tour.
Building Smart Client Application using Visual Studio Tools for Office Version 2003
This session provides an overview of how you can use the Visual Studio .NET 2003 project templates provided by Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System to create Smart Client solutions that use Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and Microsoft Office Word 2003. This session will also show the value of InfoPath, how to build solutions and review many of the new features and managed code support. Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 is a hybrid tool that combines the best of a traditional document editing experience, such as a word processor or e-mail application, with the rigorous data-capture capabilities of a forms package.
The speaker is Derek Hatchard, and the meeting is at 200 Bloor St East in downtown Toronto. For directions and to register, please visit http://www.metrotorontoug.com/User+Group+Events/116.aspx. This meeting is being held on the regular East of Toronto meeting date, November 16th. Doors open at 6 and presentation starts at 6:30. Please register in advance not only for the usual food reasons, but to simplify the job of the door security at this downtown building.
See you there!
Thursday, 30 September 2004
Thursday, 23 September 2004
The INETA Speakers bureau, divided into North American, European, and Latin American bureaus, is a wonderful thing. I'm honoured to be part of it, and to speak at user groups across North America. So far, I've spoken at as many Canadian groups through the bureau as at American ones, but that's a little unusual. Some Canadian groups are still looking for speakers, toplevel exciting great speakers, to come to their meetings. So MSDN Canada is setting up a Canadian equivalent. My Canadian group will now get to pull speakers from two pools -- and I will get invitations from two sets of audiences. That sounds like a great plan!
More details, speaker bios, and so on are at http://msdn.microsoft.com/canada/speakers/. For those old enough to remember Bob and Doug MacKenzie, a themed announcement is available. Most speakers are MVPs and RDs. If you're active in .NET in Canada, you should know these people -- it's like a crash course on the .NET Canadians. (And yes, I know a few Americans have snuck in there. But just the ones we like . )
Wednesday, 15 September 2004
The September 21st meeting of the East of Toronto .NET Users Group features an appearance by the MSDN USer Group tour.
Come and hear about building Mobile applications using the .NET Compact Framework and SQL CE. Please register at http://gtaeast.torontoug.net/ug_events/702.aspx -- there's even more great Microsoft giveaways this month than usual but I'm going to use the registration numbers as a guide for how much of it to lug to the meeting. If you haven't been to an East of Toronto meeting before, now's a great time. We'll be in our new room, upstairs in the UA1 building on the Durham College / UOIT campus in Oshawa. There's a map on the page where you register. See you there!
Wednesday, 25 August 2004
Monday, 16 August 2004
The East of Toronto .NET Users Group is meeting tomorrow night, Tuesday the 17th. Come and hear Dwayne Lamb and discover all the wonders of adding location information to a mobile application. Please register at gtaeast.torontoug.net so we know how many to expect.
Come out and get a look inside Microsoft's latest addition to the MapPoint family of products - Microsoft MapPoint Location Server. With MLS's SOAP interface, developers can easily integrate the real-time location of a mobile phone into their applications. Fleet management, Mobile CRM, asset tracking, buddy finding and much more are now possible. MLS's Plugin architecture allows for integration with a number of sources of real-time location information from Wireless operator networks to Wi-Fi hotspots and GPS devices. Come out and hear about the new location services that mobile operators are offering and find out how .NET programmers can integrate them into their solutions.
Dwayne Lamb, Visual Byte Inc. is a 15-year veteran of the computer industry and an experienced technology instructor, writer, presenter and developer. Through his work at Visual Byte, and his active involvement in the developer and user communities, he has become a leader and industry specialist in the area of mobile application development and design and has been recognized by Microsoft as a Mobile Device MVP.
In other exciting user group news, I have a room through the fall for the group -- in the same building, but a different room. Starting with the September meeting (which will feature a presentation on building applications for mobile devices from the MSDN Canada team) we will be in UA 2120. But tomorrow it's still UA 1350. See you there!
Wednesday, 21 July 2004
Last night Adam Gallant came (from his sickbed) to speak on game and media development at the East of Toronto .NET User Group. For the summer, we meet in a snazzy new lecture hall at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Adam wanted to draw some diagrams -- with a pen, on paper. That's pretty low tech. But so everyone could see what he was doing, the room has a document camera hooked up to the projector. Fun toys!
You can see in the background there are both whiteboards and blackboards as well. It was never like this when I was a student (my University of Waterloo student number, which I still know, starts 77.)
It will really hurt to give up this room in September when the students come back. Sigh.
Monday, 19 July 2004
The East of Toronto User Group is meeting tomorrow at Durham College / OUIT once again. Please come and see Adam Gallant talk about game and media development:
A lot of software developers have realized the benefits of moving to the managed code environment provided by .NET, and are writing applications using C# and VB.NET. However, one of the most of the most exciting new technologies available to .NET developers is the availability of Managed DirectX, which provides managed access to building rich 3D application and games to .NET developers. Not a poor second cousin, Managed DirectX provides almost identical performance as native DirectX code. In this session, we will introduce DirectX concepts, the Managed DirectX classes, and demonstrate a managed game written in C#.
Please visit http://gtaeast.torontoug.net/UG_Events/627.aspx to register.
Thursday, 10 June 2004
Scott Bellware has to reschedule his appearance at the East of Toronto .NET User Group, much to our regret. We're looking forward to announcing the new date soon. The good news is that Marcie Robillard has stepped up to the plate and agreed to shuffle her “DataGrids and GridViews” talk forward a few months. Same time, same place, same URL. See you there!
Wednesday, 09 June 2004
On Tuesday, June 15th, Scott Bellware will be at the East of Toronto user group (meeting on the Durham Collage / UOIT campus at Simcoe and Conlin.) Scott will talk about Unit Testing and he's bringing his own prizes:
Unit testing is one of the few reliable ways to repeatably validate the quality of your code. Without unit testing, code is more brittle, less changeable, and simply fraught with higher defect rates. All of these issues lead directly to software project failure rates. Unit testing helps to bring a measure of cost-effectiveness to software development and enables developers to fearlessly incorporate new features and refinements into their products. Testing leads to better design, higher quality, and to the Holy Grail of software development - reuse. In this session, Scott Bellware will demonstrate test-first coding techniques, and unit testing tools for .NET.
Two licenses of HarnessIt, Unit Binary's unit testing tool will be given away.
On Thursday, June 17th, Jason Beres will be at the Toronto user group (meeting in Mississauga at the Microsoft offices). Jason will talk about Windows-app-style functionality in a web app, and he's not coming empty handed either:
This discussion focuses on meeting today's IT challenges, using thin client or browser based delivery to maximize ROI while still delivering the rich client features users expect and demand. The discussion will look at the Infragistics Expense reference application as a real world example of some of the power and advanced features that are possible with ASP.NET and outside-of-the-box development tools. We will discuss the challenges of delivering a robust interface utilizing HTML and explore some working code to evaluate solutions.
You will not believe you are looking at a user interface in ASP.NET!!!
Infragistics will arrive at the User Group with NetAdvantage 2004 product give-a-ways, special discounts of 20% off of NetAdvantage for user group members, and a developer resource CD that has a full working trial version of NetAdvantage and both the Windows Forms eBook and reference application as well as the ASP.NET reference application mentioned above.
Remember, meetings are free, membership is free, all we ask is that you register for the meetings on the web site so we order enough pizza. The East of Toronto site has some recurring problems with the Register link disappearing so please, if you go to register and it's not there, email me about it and then try again the next day. An accurate attendance count is so important to us.
Wednesday, 26 May 2004
Today I did my webcast, sat on the panel for the Women In Technology Luncheon, and have been hanging in the Cabana ever since. The Cabanas are so cool! There are so many smart people here, and attendees come by with a problem and a tremendous concentration of smart people gather and solve the problem. And because of the location, everyone seems to come by. I am seeing old friends and listening to wonderful conversations. It's full of RDs, too.
If you're at TechEd and you haven't spent time in a Cabana yet, you really really have to. Trust me. The breakout sessions will be on the DVD. Come to the Cabana and even if you don't have a question, just listen in! There are presentations too, but sit close if you want to hear them.
(If you're here this afternoon, and wondering whose cell phone is playing O Canada, that would be me. It attracts Canadians remarkably well.)
Tuesday, 25 May 2004
This year there are two flavours of speaker shirts at TechEd: the darker (more attractive, I think) blue belong to Microsoft people and the lighter ones to third parties -- that would be me. I wore one of mine today and since I have booth duty tomorrow (RD booth -- 49 and 50 in the Microsoft Pavilion in the Exhibit Hall, come on by) I'll be wearing the other one. I'm hoping to get a third shirt tomorrow. I don't know why I packed any of my own clothes, really, folks have been handing me shirts every time I turn around. No-one gives you pants as swag though. Too bad!
As well as the shirt, I have a slightly decorated badge:
I figure I might as well make myself easy to spot. So if you can't recognize me from the picture (upper left corner) on the bingo card, you can recognize my badge Most of the RDs are wearing the Regional Director Program button also, and we tend to know where each other are. So if you still need a Forte or Huckaby signature, if you missed Clemens and Scott in the RD booth tonight, or left before Goksin arrived (oh yes, he did come by later!) then flag down any RD you see and ask us if we've seen the one you're missing.
I think I just about have one piece of badge bling for every category on my blog. I got an INETA card after I took the picture. I forgot to bring my MVP lapel pin, sorry MVP program.
And of course, I can relax and think about badges and shirts and such because I did my talk and it went well. I will try to get my code (and my slides for that matter) on CommNet.
Wednesday, 19 May 2004
The latest INETA newsletter features a description of the East of Toronto UG's first meeting, written by our own Marcie Robillard. You'll find other useful INETA information and annoucements in there, including TechEd BOFs and the DevSource programming contest.
Finding your way around the new combined campus of Durham College, which has existed for decades, and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, which is brand new, is most certainly a challenge. As far as I can tell Durham has one giant building on the campus, a fractal called the Willey building and divided into wings and blocks named with letters (A, B, and then surprisingly JW.) The University buildings have stirring poetic names like UA1 (for University Academic) and the signs aren't up yet. Construction is everywhere, you have to use temporary roads, and the security guards don't know where the new buildings are. What fun!
Despite that, about 30 brave people managed to find us in UA1350, a super cool brand new lecture hall, and to hear Ed Musters talk about Garbage Collection. Shortly after I got home I learned we've got our official INETA status. Our name, at least for the moment, is East of Toronto .NET User Group. My next mission, since we have status and I've booked speakers until November, is to increase my swag inventory and to make the web site hum with downloads and information. And one attendee has already agreed to edit the campus maps to include the building we meet in
Monday, 17 May 2004
This morning I've had two emails asking if the user group is meeting Tuesday. YES IT IS. Please come, Ed Musters will be talking about .NET Garbage Collection. You can register at http://gtaeast.torontoug.net/535.aspx and I want you to register so we know how many are coming. Tell your friends, and I'll see you there!
Thursday, 13 May 2004
Or whatever it is we end up calling ourselves. We're meeting on Tuesday the 18th, 6pm. It's not in the same place as last month - we outgrew that already. It's on the campus of Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, in a brand-new building called UA1 that isn't on the campus maps yet. Apparently it's just east of (and connected to) the Justice Wing (JW) of the Willey building. They suggested we park in the Champions lot and come in through the Athletic Centre.
Ed Musters, president of the Toronto group, will be speaking on Garbage Collection. Please visit the group site and register for the meeting so that we order enough pizza. There were issues registering before today, I know, so go do it while you're thinking of it, OK?
Monday, 26 April 2004
The first meeting of the east of Toronto user group filled our room when up against serious competition in the form of a vital hockey game (hey, it is a Canadian user group, after all.) So I'm pleased to say that I have a room for the summer that holds TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY people. I rather doubt we'll fill that. I'll need a new room in September though, so drop me a line if you know of one.
And if you've joined my group (or someone else's) you can come to the special user group event at VSLive on May 5th -- whether you've registered for VSLive or not! Then afterwards you can come to the VSLive Midnight Madness which actually starts at 8pm, again whether you've registered for VSLive or not. It's like a free peek at what VSLive is like, so you'll know for next year, and a user group event at the same time. We're going to have a round table featuring INETA speakers who are speaking at VSLive: me, Keith Pleas, Richard Hale Shaw, and whoever else agrees to do it -- I'm not the only one who can line up speakers quickly, and this event is pulling together quickly.
You have to be a member of a user group, so if you plan to head to the Congress Centre in Toronto Wednesday night next week, join the group nearest you now, then register online. See you there!
Wednesday, 21 April 2004
Whenever you hold a free event, whether it's a user group meeting, a Microsoft-sponsored event, or a free seminar, you can expect about 50% of those who register to show up. We had 30 people registered for last night's first meeting of my new user group. A lot of people told me “I would love to be there, but I already know “What is .NET?” and I am NOT missing this hockey game.” So we expected about 10.
Instead we got 33, it was standing room only and I didn't even care that my aging laptop, no doubt sensing the imminent arrival of its replacement, currently on a truck headed to me from the States, blue screened on about slide 5! I just talked while it rebooted.
Next month we will be in a bigger room! Go Oshawa! (And thanks Leafs after all: without the game more people would have come than we could have fit in the room.)
Monday, 19 April 2004
And don't the stupid Maple Leafs, who clearly did not check with me before the game, go and lose last night, forcing a Game 7 which will be Tuesday -- my UG meeting!
Come on, east-of-Toronto people, you don't need to watch the game, we'll give you updates at the break or something. Or maybe it will go double-overtime again meaning you can watch the end when you get home.
My new user group (that doesn't really have a name yet) is meeting on Tuesday the 20th. That would be tomorrow. Over the weekend I realized it would be good, at this first meeting, to list the next few meetings and their topics. So I emailed three people who had said they would speak. By this morning I have five speakers booked and confirmed. What a great gang! So if you come to Oshawa on the third Tuesday of the month, you're going to see one of these terrific speakers: Ed Musters, Scott Bellware, Adam Gallant, Marcie Robillard, and Jason Beres. I'm still looking for more, and I'm also looking for sponsors, so if you're in the Oshawa / Durham / east-of-Toronto-but-not-exactly-Ottawa-yet zone, let's talk!
Why did I put this under consulting life? Because I think it's funny that we could sort all this out over a weekend. None of us have normal office hours, and none of us mind making firm commitments using email and IM.
Friday, 09 April 2004
I've been working for a while on setting up a .NET user group for people who live east of Toronto. I'm not sure what it will be called: Eastern GTA, Oshawa/Whitby, Durham, I really don't know. The first meeting will be in Oshawa at the EDS offices on April 20th from 6-9pm. I'll present “What is .NET?“ and introduce the people who are helping to organize the group. We plan to meet the third Tuesday of every month and to run very much like the Toronto .NET UG, which I helped to found.
For more details including a map and directions, please visit http://gtaeast.torontoug.net and register. (We have to order the right amount of pizza.) Attendance is free, membership is free, even the food and drinks are free. Meet other people who live east of Toronto and are working on .NET. See semi-famous people like DataGridGirl and me. Learn more about a specific .NET topic. How can you go wrong?
See you there!
Tuesday, 06 April 2004
I really enjoyed speaking at the Twin Cities .NET User Group April 1st (no fooling!) and just haven't had a minute since then to stop and write about it. I repeated the Remoting talk I did in Montreal and it went nicely. I got to meet another RD (Farhan Muhammad) and an MVP from South Africa on his way to Seattle, Simon Stewart. He did another full talk after mine, on GDI+. Some interesting material on speeding drawing -- I liked it.
Monday, 22 March 2004
My favourite sysadmin downloaded dasBlog for me (thanks to Clemens for writing it) and installed it, leaving me with only the task of filling it up with stuff. I can't write much today because I'm getting ready to go to Montreal tomorrow for the Montreal Microsoft .NET Architecture User Group where I'm going to talk about Remoting. Looking forward to the train ride already.
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On this page....
|Toronto C++ User Group Update
|Mind Control Your Computer In C# - Guy Smith-Ferrier at the East of Toronto .NET User Group in August
|The Future of Silverlight - attend the local Firestarter event
|User Group Leaders: great Pluralsight offer
|Speaking at the Markham .NET Users Group, Oct 25th
|Hosting a Coffee and Code
|East of Toronto Sept 13th - Telerik comes to town
|Tech Ed Wrapup
|Our windows 7 Launch Party
|INETA Component Code Challenge
|Just Showing Up
|2008 in review
|November Meeting of East of Toronto
|Mini INETA Tour in December
|Joining Local Communities
|A Lunch to Remember
|East of Toronto .NET User Group Christmas Party
|Developer Night in Canada (DNIC) User Group Tour
|Plan ahead: October East of Toronto .NET UG Meeting
|Reminder: September East of Toronto .NET UG meeting: Atlas/Ajax
|My loss is Microsoft's gain
|Sasha gets a blue badge
|Badge Scanning at Tech Ed
|Headed for Boston
|Mobility at East of Toronto
|East of Toronto: Atlas in March, Avalon in April
|Some speaking dates in the near future
|Slides and Code from my C++/CLI talk
|The C++/CLI talk comes to the GTA
|Toronto Code Camp!
|The Spirit of GrokTalks at PDC: PDC Underground
|Tech Ed, Day -1
|My speaking and training schedule
|Tech Ed site is populating
|Wowee! Sam Gentile at East of Toronto
|Agile Bridge Building
|Reminder: Interop at East of Toronto
|What do these numbers have in common?
|The auction - what if you won?
|February meeting of East of Toronto User Group
|We need more bids
|Fundraising auction is live on ebay!
|Links, Bios, and update on the Tsunami Fundraiser
|Tsunami Fundraiser update
|Registration is open for Tech Ed 2005
|Another new meeting room for the East Of Toronto group
|Woo Hoo! New INETA Speakers
|Smart Client tour comes to Kitchener Waterloo
|Speaking at the Winnipeg .NET Users Group
|November: User Group meetings combined
|Oshawa - Canada's most popular city
|MSDN/INETA Canadian Speakers Bureau
|MSDN User Group Tour comes to East of Toronto
|UG meeting report
|MapPoint Location Server -- East of Toronto, Tuesday Aug 17th
|A High-tech way to do Low-tech
|User Group meets tomorrow
|Speaker Change for Tuesday June 15th
|Meetings next week of the Toronto and East of Toronto User Groups
|Tech Ed, Day 3
|What am I wearing?
|May INETA Newsletter
|Garbage Collection for Adventurers and Explorers
|Yes, the UG is meeting tomorrow
|Next meeting of the "East of Toronto" User Group
|Bigger room for the user group, and a special event at VSLive
|By the way, Leafs, thanks for nothing
|Well, that was easy
|New .NET User Group
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