DevDay 2015, Inspiration, and a quick look back…

So far this year, which is obviously nowhere near finished yet, I have had some amazing experiences. From .NET Fringe, Polyglot 2015, Progressive .NET Tutorials 2015, to Dev Day 2015 and more. I decided to add a little bit more of a personal note in this blog entry because of inspiration I just got from Michał Śliwoń (@mihcall) on his Dev Day 2015 Aftermath write up.

Just as Michał writes,

“Inspiration is like a spark. It can be one brilliant presentation at the conference, one sentence at some session, one hallway conversation with another attendee and I’m excited, coming back with a head full of new ideas. Every conference has this little spark”

and I completely agree. At .NET Fringe I got back into a few things on the .NET CLR stack, namely F# and a little toying around with Akka .NET and micro-services using those technologies. I also had a hand in organizing and the origins of the conference, which I wrote about. At Polyglot 2015 my desire increased to become more familiar with and comfortable with functional programming languages. At the Progressive .NET Tutorials I was again inspired to dive deeper into functional languages and take a look more closely at everything from Weave and other container and virtualization based systems.

Thrashing Code News

One things that this led me to, is to start putting together a list of people who are interested in these types of conferences. I’m talking about the really down to earth, nitty gritty, get into the weeds of the technology, and meet the people building and using that technology everyday conferences. This list, you can sign up for here and do read the article just below the sign up page, as this is NOT some spam list. I’ll be putting in real effort and time to put together good content when the list officially kicks off! I will blog about, and of course get that first email out about Thrashing Code News in the coming months.

Again at Dev Day I was also inspired by many people and got to meet many people. Which leads me to the number one thing that makes these conferences absolutely great. It’s all about the people who attend.

The People

I got to meet Rob Conery (@robconery / We hung out, had beers, talked shop, talked surfing, talked tech and training screencast, discussed future bad ass conferences (again, sign up to my list and I’ll keep you abreast of any mischievious conference Rob & I dive into) and tons more. It was seriously kick ass to meet Rob, especially after not getting a chance to at what must have been a gazillion conferences he and I have both been at before!

I finally met Christian Heilmann (@codepo8) who I also think we must have both been at a gazillion of the same conferences and somehow managed to not meet each other. Good conversation, talk of Seattle, other devlish code happy things – and hopefully a beer or two to be had with good Christian in the near future in Seattle or Portland (or thereabouts).

I had the fortune of running into Alena Dzenisenka (@lenadroid) again doing what she does, which is tell, teach, and show people a whole of awesome F# handiwork. For instance at Dev Day she was throwing down some machine learning math and helping to get people started. She’s also got some talks lined up near the Cascadian (that’s Seattle and Portland, but also San Francisco and Dallas!!) lands if you haven’t noticed, so come get inspired to sling some functional code!

On day one the keynote by Chad Fowler (@chadfowler) was excellent. I’d not realized he was a fellow who escaped the south like I had all while playing a bunch of music! I was able to catch Chad and chat a bit on day two of the conference. His presentation was great, and he’s motivated me to give his book Passionate Programmer a read.

Another individual who I’d been aiming to meet, Mathias Brandewinder (@brandewinder), was also at the conference. I even attended some of his workshop and learned a number of things about F# and machine learning. I’m definitely inspired to dig deeper into many of the machine learning realm and start figuring out more of the truly amazing things we can do with computers and machine learning algorithms – I honestly feel like we’ve only skimmed the surface for much of this technology. Mathias also has a book, that is truly worth buying titled “Machine Learning Projects for .NET Developers“. If you’re curious, yes, I have the book and am working through it steadily!  :)

Gary Short (@garyshort) provided an amazing talk on digging into crop yields via the European Space Agency Data Science Project. I also enjoyed the multiple conversations that I was able to have with Gary from the talk of “really really really awesomely excited Americans” vs. “excited Americans” all the way to the talks on the matter of data science and crop yields themselves. Gary’s talk is linked below, so get a dose of the crop yields yourself, and any complaints be sure to send to his @robashton twitter account!  (But seriously, you should follow Rob Ashton too as he’s got a lot of good twitter nuggets).

Another person I was super stoked to run into again is Tomas Petricek (who I hear might be in the Cascadian lands of the Seattle area in a month or so). I met Tomas at Progressive .NET Tutorials in London and enjoyed a number of good conversations, and his general awesome personality and hilarious demeanor! Not sure I mentioned, but he’s got some wicked F# chops too. He spoke about Understanding the World with Type Providers, which is something that you should watch as it’s an interesting way to wrap one’s mind around a lot of ideas.

I also, after many random conversations about a whole host of conversation in Functional Programming Slack (follow the link to sign up) chats, got to meet Krzysztof Cieślak (@k_cieslak). Krzysztof (and if you can’t pronounce his name just keep trying, you’ll get it right sometime around 2023) was great to meet and catch up with in person. Also great to hear tidbits about what he’s working on since he’s driving some really cool projects, including working on projects like Ionide Project for the Atom Editor.

There are so many people I enjoyed chatting with and getting to meet, which I really wish I had more time to hang out and chat or hack with everybody more. I met so many other individuals, that I already feel like a prick for not being able to write something about every single awesome person I’ve had a chance to speak with at Dev Day and the subsequent days after the conference. To those I didn’t, sorry about that, drinks and dinner are on me when you’re in Portland!

…on that note, get subscribed to Thrashing Code News so I can update you when the rumblings and dates of the next kick ass conferences, hackathons, hacking festivals, or other great materials, learnings, or such come up. In addition, get inspired to speak, or get involved in some way and help make the next conference you attend as kick ass as you’d want it to be! It’s easy, just fill out your name and email here.

…and to Michał and Rafał I’ll be following up with you guys on some of my next confrence efforts coming up in the Cascadian Pacific Northwest (i.e. Seattle/Portland area)! Cheers!

Geek Train from Seattle to Portland

April 12th-14th is the epic .NET Fringe Conference. For those coming from Seattle for the conference, there’s going to be a geek train, there however one major decision that needs to be made. What departure should we board to get to Portland. This is where I’ll need your help to decide. There will be a mini-hack, wifi, food, and likely we’ll actually get the entire car to ourselves with enough of a crew. So sign up, vote, vote often and frequently for your preferred departure time! I’ll see you on the train!

Along with the departure, the trip, events for the trip and more information will be posted on the .NET Fringe site soon, along with additional ideas here.

ALT.NET Portland

There is an upcoming ALT.NET Portland Meetup happening at e-Discovery in downtown Portland. The meetup is happening on the 13th of October. There are several ideas behind this meetup, but I’m going to lay out my personal reasons here.

I’m working diligently to distribute my skills in multiple development stacks. I use Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, node.js, EngineYard, Heroku, and other platforms aside from my current “getting paid” technology stack of ASP.NET MVC & associated tech. The reason is simple; .NET slowly but steadily appears to be dying a slow death everywhere except the Enterprise. Rails, Ruby, node.js, and JavaScript are the primary skills of more than 95% of startups. I’m determined to not get stuck holding the “Delphi” card. I like the bleeding edge of tech, the excitement behind the efforts to keep things moving forward. ALT.NET, has always represented that. In Seattle and Portland that effort seems to be faltering, even losing steam in some regards. I want to help change that. No matter how much I dive into Ruby on Rails and the other tech stacks, I doubt I’ll ever not be working with .NET in some way, form, or manner. So I’d like to work on keeping that enthusiasm going in addition to my other platforms that I work with.

…and thus, ALT.NET Portland Meetup on the 13th. Come have a conversation, a discussion, and maybe even a beer or three afterwards.

…and if you’re in Seattle, don’t forget we meetup every month on Saturday, which for some is a problem. If it is, check out Beer && Code or one of the other great meetups where technologies mix and coexist.

Cheers, and hope to see you at one of these great meetups sometime in the future.

ALT.NET Day #3 & #4

The main conference day of the ALT.NET Conference was pretty awesome. With sessions going on diving deep into technical topics and other things, like where the women are in technology. In addition to the great sessions multiple open source software projects where in progress at the same time. Being able to pair up or just review code with people on these projects was truly awesome!

The Open Source Projects

There were the stated open source project and I also started an additional project that I’ve titled Regiztry.  It’s located on Github at

The Various Sessions

The sessions covered a range of topics, from the RESTful technology with Glenn Block to Reactive Extensions with a host of extremely smart people laying out the usage.

I laid out a session also on .NET and bringing the gap with Ruby on Rails in the startup realm. This session I hope to elaborate on a little bit with a subsequent blog entry.

Overall, another kick ass year for the ALT.NET Conference. I enjoyed it a lot, as I see via Twitter that a lot of other people did too! Always a good thing! So until next year, to all those I met it’s been great, cheers!

ALT.NET 2011 Day #2

Day #2 kicked off a bit late for me. I arrived around 9:30am which was a bummer, but I at least got a bit of breakfast. The first session I went to was the reactive extensions session. Again though, I was late, so I ended up lost from the get go. That was unfortunate. In addition, all of my computers I brought were either unprepared (didn’t have a VM setup on the Mac yet) or broken (the Win7 box wouldn’t boot Windows Explorer anymore, thank goodness for Launchy). In spite of all that I got lunch with a host of devs at Black Raven Brewery. Absolutely great beer there!

After that the nitty gritty hacking finally got started! I attended the AppHarbor Session (@AppHarbor) given by the founders Michael (@friism) and Troels (@troethom) and decided to start a project myself. I immediately had some bad ass cohorts jump on the team! Eric Ridgeway, Ryan Eastabrook, and Joe Balfantz. We got started, in spite of massive OS and System Failures.

The project that we started is called Regiztry and is available via a repo on Github. The idea for this project actually started with a conversation I had with Rodica Buzescu (@rodica) several months ago. The idea is a contribution, or sharing system, to work with or help out startups. Keep in mind, they’re not all landing VC money! I’ll have more descriptions about how this project is going and better descriptions of it in the near future right here on Composite Code. If you’d like to help out startups, the project, or just code with some awesome people like Eric RidgewayRyan Eastabrook, and Joe Balfantz then message me on Github me.

Anyway, that’s what I got for day #2.

ALT.NET 2011 Day #1

Today kicked off with an early morning and a great workshop with Glenn Block (@gblock). The team he is working with has some great things coming for HTTP + REST + WCF that will really alleviate a lot of problems with WCF. In addition to that I’d bet that it will give Microsoft a chance to get back into the web API market.

That brings me to another topic that has come up a lot lately. Anyone that is in the startup scene or web development scene knows that Ruby on Rails has made an absolutely massive impact. I’m talking an impact like the invasion of Normandy! Microsoft has made many shifts to counter the ease, simplicity, and elegance of Ruby on Rails with things like ASP.NET MVC. Overall, the efforts have done a good job and been well received by .NET Developers in general.

However Microsoft has done a horrible job of getting aligned with the Internet startup space when it comes to web APIs. If you’re not sure what I mean, check out Twitter, Facebook, Apigee, and dozens of others. These are all companies that provide web APIs. Another notable one that has had some very money related impact, is the Best Buy API. Allowing people to hook into the API to really turn some revenue and make money. These APIs are almost always non-Microsoft stack technologies. When they are Microsoft, it is usually a hack around ASP.NET MVC or something of that sort to enable a more RESTful type API. With these additions to WCF this puts Microsoft back on some solid footing to compete in this space. I’m really looking forward to being able to pay around with these capabilities of WCF more – and hopefully sooner than later!

The second session of the day was a kind of modern anthropological study of development groups, their culture, and how processes, tools, and team qualities interplay among people. We ended up splitting into 3 (or was it 4) groups and went about various exercises.

I’m not sure the exact conclusions we came to during this session, but it was fun just to discuss each of our development groups. Ranging from topics of how we are forced to use Waterfall (and those clients often end up paying absurd amounts of money for things that should cost them less), how “pairing programming doesn’t exist” which gave us programmers that pair frequently a good laugh, and a whole host of other topics.

All in all, day one has started off great. I’m really stoked to be attending these workshops this year. Last year I was hard at work at… some client related debacle of crazy proportions, frantically looking forward to the weekend when the conference would start in earnest. But this year the team I work with are hittin’ the workshops early and doing the ALT.NET Conference completely.

Tomorrow is a session on AppHarbor, also known as Azure done right, and an xUnit Workshop by Brad Wilson that I’ll be attending. I’m already excited I’m not sure I’ll sleep. Until then, cheers.

August 2010 ALT.NET Seattle & Inaugural Android Meet Up

ALT.NET Seattle Meet

This weekend I attended the ALT.NET meet up.  For more information on future meet ups check out these resources:

We covered some great topics around not using IoC (Justin, where were ya!?), REST and what it really is, and lots of things around WCF.  We all adjourned briefly for some burgers at Blue Moon and went right back at it.  If you’re serious about architecture, frameworks, and coding in general (in general in the .NET stack) you should definitely check out this group.  Anyone can come and jump in, easy to participate and everybody is great about helping each other out.

Inaugural Android Mobile Meet Up

This group was great also.  I forget how many exactly, but in excess of 40 people were there, possibly even 60 or so.  The session were great and the organizer did a top notch job of getting the pizza in, introducing the speakers, and getting some appropriate props for F5 Networks for hosting!  Thanks Benn for a job well done.  For more information or to attend the next meet up check out

Other Meets

This week there are also a number of meet ups that I hope to attend;