Thursday, 31 May 2012
Recently one of my staff went to a week-long conference - her first. I gave her some tips before she went and it occurred to me that others might like them too. I hope you'll apply them to a trip to Tech Ed or some other conference where you can hear me speak.
First, here are some links to some other good posts on the topic. Here's me a year ago
, pointing to John Bristowe's suggestions for going to a big conference. And here's me 18 months ago
, pointing to Joey deVilla's suggestions for meeting people and talking to them. And here's a great question
(with an answer from me) on Programmers.StackExchange about networking at conferences. (BTW I met the asker of that question in person at Tech Ed, which was great for both of us.) And here's me four years
ago with some details on choosing talks to attend.
Now, here's the super condensed version of my advice:
- Plan your sessions in advance, at least two per timeslot. Carry a paper list of session names and room numbers so if you decide to bail on one, you know exactly where to run to, even if your electronics are out of battery and there's no wifi.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, but not so comfortable that you would feel underdressed when talking to a potential employer or other business contacts. You will walk a LOT so choose those shoes with special care. It will be both stinking hot (outside - many conferences are held in hot places at muggy times) and freezing cold (if you end up right under the AC that is set on stun) so have a layering approach.
- Bring your own bag so you can tell it apart from everyone else's, and know just where to find things you need. Leave as much as you possibly can in the hotel room, to save your back during all that walking and to minimize what you might lose if there's any kind of bag mishap.
- Eat at the conference - it's a great time to meet people and this is where I usually bump into people I know.
- Go to the trade show floor, the community area, and the like multiple times. Serendipity will happen but you have to give it a chance
- Pack a somewhat larger bag than you need to - there is a lot of swag at Tech Ed and first timers can't resist lining up for TShirts and the like. Don't be that person who stuffs it all in the conference bag and checks a second bag on the way home. For one thing, someone may accidentally pick up your conference bag thinking it is theirs. Your conference bag and all your other swag should fit in your main bag.
- Pack your days and evenings FULL. Don't you dare watch TV in your hotel room! Go to the labs and try something you always wanted to learn a little more about. Download something that was just released and try it. Go to a party. Write up your notes (or better yet, blog them.) Send your boss late night emails about what a great time you're having and how much you're learning. Watch one of the sessions you didn't get to that day and then figure out if the speaker is likely still at the conference and how you can arrange to find that speaker and say thanks for the talk or ask a question. Fill out the evals for the talks you went to. There is SO MUCH you can do while you're on site, so try very hard to do it all. Make the most of the week, make it intense, and you will get more out of it by fully engaging.
- Try to do at least a few hours of sightseeing - one afternoon or evening - with some friends if you can. Maybe the attendee party is being held in some iconic location? Go to that. Or there's a restaurant in the town that you've always wanted to eat at? Gather a few folks and arrange something. Twitter is great with the conference hashtag - "who wants to go to XYZ tonight?" - I've done this for going on tours too. Gives you fellow geeks to talk to while you sightsee and strengthens friendships if you go with people you only know professionally. But don't overdo the sightseeing - you're here for the conference, remember.
I hope I see you there! The better prepared you are, the more benefit you will get from the conference!
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
I've been putting my schedule together for the talks I want to attend at Tech Ed North America and Tech Ed Europe this year. While I wasn't looking, a bunch more C++ content was added.
Plus some language agnostic sessions that chose to put C++ in their session descriptions, which is a new thing these days.
Now as it happens, Tech Ed North America is sold out, so if you're not registered yet, you have three choices: join the waiting list, watch these sessions online, or get your boss to agree to a slightly larger T&E budget and head to Tech Ed Europe in Amsterdam just two weeks later. There we will have:
- PRC08, my all day Monday precon: C++ in Visual Studio 11: Modern, Readable, Safe, Fast
- DEV316, Tuesday at 4:30 pm: Application Lifecycle Management Tools for C++ in Visual Studio 11 by Rong Lu
- DEV368, Wednesday at 2:45 pm: Visual C++ and the Native Renaissance by Steve Teixeira
- DEV322, Thursday at 8:30 am: Building Windows 8 Metro style Apps with Visual C++ 11 by Rong Lu
- DEV367, Thursday at 4:30: Building Windows 8 Metro Style Apps With C++ by Steve Teixeira
- DEV334, Friday at 1:00 pm: C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism in Visual C++ 11 by me
(Europe doesn't have direct links to the sessions, but they do allow links to the search for C++.) I'll have to miss Steve's talk because Rong and I are going to Belgium, so that one I'll be watching online.
One way or another, please attend or watch these sessions. There's a lot of new stuff happening!
Monday, 28 May 2012
I am having a very lucky year. I've been nominated and accepted as a judge
at the Worldwide finals of the Imagine Cup. I love being around students, and everything I've heard about Imagine Cup tells me that the energy, excitement, and creativity is marvelous to be part of. While I'm there, I decided to stay an extra day (July 11th) so I can offer my one-day C++ training to those who can't make it to Tech Ed in Orlando or Amsterdam. Here's what I'll cover:
- Modern C++ with the Standard Library
- Application Lifecycle Management for Visual C++ 11
- Leveraging Lambdas for the PPL and C++ AMP
- Best practices for C++ developers today
This is not a free session, but the price is even lower than the Tech Ed precons since I don't have travel expenses to get down there and see you all. If you live in Australia, please register and take advantage of this chance to come and learn what's been going on with C++ while you weren't looking! And if you don't, I'd appreciate it if you could spread the word to those who do.
Sunday, 27 May 2012
Some people really go above and beyond for community. They have an idea, and then they make it happen. Take Marc Gregoire
, for example. Our names are similar, and we both care about community, C++, and related topics, but we've never met. That didn't stop him from emailing me to see if I would do a user group talk while I was nearby for Tech Ed Europe. Of course I would! And then he arranged for Rong Lu from the C++ team to come and do one as well. Marc has done all the work of getting the room, the travel arrangements, you name it. All I have to do is take a short scenic train ride, and talk about a topic I'm excited about. That part is easy. The organizing part is hard.
It's going to be a very fun evening. I'm going to talk about C++ AMP, and Rong will cover what's new in VC++ 11. I've seen her speak before, and I know you're going to enjoy it. Be there, Wednesday June 27th at the Microsoft offices in Brussels. (I was kinda hoping for Tuesday, so I could make a joke
, but Wednesday will be fine.) You need to register
, so please do!
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?
Thursday, 10 May 2012
So much C++ news going on lately. Time to clear my queue:
- I updated my C++ Windows 8 Development course for the Consumer Preview of Windows 8. There were a few breaking changes, so if you're working on a Windows 8 app, take a look through it.
- I'm part of a group working on a Windows 8 app in C++ and XAML called Hilo, inspired by the Windows 7 Hilo application. You can read more about it on Scott Densmore's blog, the Parallel Programming in Native Code blog, and the Codeplex site. There's another related blog entry, too.
- There are Windows 8 development camps going on all over the place, but most of them are in managed code. There's a native C++ one happening in Redmond on May 18th, and it's going to be live streamed.
- Don't forget my Advanced Topics in C++ course. I did an interview about it recently.
- Then there's C++ AMP - the topic of the book I'm spending all my time writing. They're hiring. This is a great opportunity for the right developer.
- Oh, and James McNellis spent the last however-many-months answering the question "hey, if native WinRT has all this metadata about types, could you leverage that to implement reflection for native code?" Which for some people was a rhetorical question or interesting thing to muse about, but he went and did it. Incredibly cool.
It's hard to keep up with it all! Especially when I'm on a book deadline
Saturday, 14 April 2012
Like a lot of folks on Twitter, I have a search column open that notices mentions of my name. It mostly catches spammers linking to places my books can be downloaded for free. But lately, there's been something weird:
Here's how that tweet looked originally (about two weeks earlier):
So the strange spam tweets:
- Have one letter randomly removed
- Have two letters randomly substituted
- Lost the + in C++ and replaced with spaces (common when being passed through a URL)
- Are using the exact same URL as before, so this isn't some weird attempt to be paid for clicks
- Have usernames that appear to be random strings
So there's something going on here, something spammy, but I don't see how they benefit. Is it to dilute an otherwise all-spam stream with some "useful" links? Should I report them to Twitter? If anyone knows, please clue me in.
Friday, 13 April 2012
The times for my sessions at Tech Ed North America and Tech Ed Europe have been announced.
- PRC08 - C++ in Visual Studio 11: Modern, Readable, Safe, Fast is Sunday, June 10th in Orlando, 10am to 6pm. This is the session for those who've been ignoring C++ and are wondering why they keep hearing about it. Please encourage your friends to attend.
- DEV334 - C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism in Visual C++ 11 is Tuesday, June 12th in Orlando, 10:15am - 11:30 am. This session will show you what C++ AMP is all about.
- PRC08 - C++ in Visual Studio 11: Modern, Readable, Safe, Fast is Monday, June 25th in Amsterdam, 9am to 5pm. The same material as in Orlando, just saving some travel time and costs for attendees
- DEV334 - C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism in Visual C++ 11 is Friday , June 29th in Amsterdam, 1pm - 2:15 pm. Again, same material, different continent.
If you or those you influence are not yet registered for the conference in general, and the preconferences in particular (they cost extra and require you to arrive early, so plan ahead) please take care of that as soon as you can. Here are some helpful links:
North America Europe
Hope to see you in one place or the other!
Monday, 26 March 2012
How's this for a renaissance? People are starting C++ user groups!
- The Jerusalem .NET/C++ User Group will cover both topics. They've had their first meeting already.
- The Central Ohio C++ User Group has also had its first meeting and will meet monthly.
- In Austin Texas they're calling it the C++ Meetup and the description sounds a lot like a user group
- The Belgian C++ User Group has its first meeting in April
It's so much fun to see this excitement springing up. There seem to be two popular topics for first meetings: either "What's new in C++ 11" or "Writing Windows 8 Apps". I think these two things arriving together - the huge language and library improvements (and the unexpected synergy of the language changes and the library changes) with the chance to write for Windows 8 in C++and XAML - is producing much more interest than there used to be.
And now the fun is spreading to Toronto! No, I'm not founding the group - I'm surely not the only C++ developer in Toronto after all. But I am honoured to be speaking at the first event on April 17th right downtown (pretty much Yonge and Bloor.) I'd love to dive deep into C++ AMP, or show how the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 is easier to code for, but I think I should begin at the beginning, so my talk is titled What happened in C++ 11 and why do I care? and has this abstract:
C++, both the language and the libraries that come with every compiler, is
defined by an ISO standard. The latest version of the standard, generally known
as C++ 11 after its approval last fall, was optimistically called C++0x
throughout the multi-year process that led to its adoption. Many of the language
changes (new keywords, new punctuation, new rules) and library changes
(genuinely smart pointers, threading, and more) have already been implemented by
vendors who were following the standards process closely.
In this session
Kate will introduce and demonstrate many of the highlights of C++11 including
lambdas, auto, shared_ptr, and unique_ptr. These are all supported in
Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010. You can see how to make your code more readable
and expressive, easier to update, more correct (less bugs and memory leaks) and
faster, not by trading off among those possible constraints but by adopting
modern C++ which gives you improvements in all four areas at once. If you’ve
been ignoring the Standard Library, for example, you must see how lambdas make
all the difference and open a world of productivity to you.
A sneak peek of the next version of
Visual Studio will show you even more C++11 goodness.
If you've looked at my Pluralsight courses
, you'll know that my biggest challenge is going to be fitting this into an hour plus Q&A. This will be an overview, an overture if you like, and should whet your appetite for the meetings to come!
as soon as you can, please spread the word, and I hope to see you there!
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