As Caleb pointed out, this year our friend Jay Smith has taken on the goal of spear heading a Community Leadership Town hall at the Tulsa Tech Fest.

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What is a Community Leadership Town Hall? Jay’s post summarizes it well

The evening will be filled with discussions about issues, ideas, and solutions regarding creating, maintaining, and growing user groups and technical communities.   This will be a highly interactive night where everyone will have a chance to suggest a topic and voice their opinion.

Bring your questions, ideas, issues, and willingness to share to the Community Leadership Town Hall – Tulsa.

We know that it’s no small task to pull so many different leaders together, provide content for everyone and keep all of the participants engaged. We’re looking forward to attending and participating! Hope to see you there.

Tulsa Tech Fest – It’s a wrap!

October 14, 2008    Category: Events   7 Comments »

Caleb Jenkins relaxing at the TulsaTechFest 2008 It seems that every year the Tulsa Tech Fest gets bigger AND better. This year was no exception. I’ve been to three Tulsa Tech Fest’s now, and each was has been simply amazing to me. Amazing that they can fit so much in to two days, amazing that the crew in Tulsa can pull so many big name and high quality speakers together, and amazing that each year they run the event so smoothly that it truly feels like a MUCH LARGER conference.

The first year over 450 people attended, last year it was moved to a 2 day event that over 700 people went to, and this year… over 1,000 attendees between two days. This year the cost of entry was 2 cans of food or $2. They raised 469 pounds of food (that’s 360 meals) for local Tulsa food banks. Awesome!

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First, my hat goes off to David Walker and the Tulsa Developers for putting this together.

What is a Tech Fest? It’s sort of like a Code Camp, but where Code Camps are usually smaller with 1 or two tracks and usually only focus only on .NET. A TechFest is usually much larger, with some as many as 20 tracks at a time,  and they usually include a larger range of technologies and topics. (.NET, PHP, AJAX, SOA, JAVA, Designers/UX, Business Development and Process, ALM)

This year’s TulsaTechFest was definitely a huge success! My favorite moment?

The closing keynote was the highlight for me. What a great way to finish of the event. Jef Newsom held everyone’s attention talking about “improving”. Some of which was highlighted by CommunityCast.tv (I blogged about that here)

Jef Newsom - Closing Keynote at the Tulsa Tech Fest 2008

Jef’s talk was on Improving. Not Improving, the company, but on improving in general… or more specifically, improving yourself, improving your code, improving your team and your company. You know, Kaizen.

Jef did a hilarious “Improving the Movie Preview” that grabbed everyone’s attention (staring Jef Newsom as Darrel Hannon impersonating Sean Connery as “the Professor”; also staring Jef Newsom impersonating Seth Meyers impersonating Matthew McConway as “the Level 2 Support Guy”) and then went in to some real practical steps that people can take. Improving/Kaizen - Jef Newsom's closing keynote at the TulsaTechFest 2008

  • Refactoring User Stories
  • Work on one thing at a time
  • Time Box yourself and your work
  • Retrospectives (pluses and deltas)
  • Dealing with positive and negative feedback
  • Be willing to stop the line
  • Conflicts and Compromises
  • Responsibility Redefined

 

Other great moments?

I loved the UX Track. Although I ran out of time on my session on Databinding and Templating in Silverlight (too much databinding… not enough templating)

Rob Howard’s Day 1 Keynote on Enterprise 2.0 really showed how companies across the corporation spectrum are embracing social media concepts from within to connect their people and help them find the resources and answers that they need to be productive. Something that his company Telligent, Microsoft, and many others are now starting to enable and embrace.

Prizes. I’ve never been to a community event before that gave away so much. Including a 50″ Widescreen Plasma TV (each day), a Laptop (each day), a fully loaded work horse desktop(each day), MSDN Team Suit Premium (each day), a couple of Zunes and XBoxes(each day). Plus a TON of XBox games, books, software, Incredible Pizza giftcards, etc.. etc.. etc.. truly amazing.

I got to catch up with old friends as well as meet a TON of incredible people from all over the US the flew out to this event (to speak and to attend). I shot a ton of “bumber” video that we will probably use at the Agile.NET conference in Dallas in November. Buddy Lindsey and I went around one of the after conference meet ups (at Dirty’s Tavern) with a video camera and asked people about Agile development. We didn’t just stop at TTF attendees… we asked everyone. As you can imagine, we got some creative answers from the tavern patrons!

Improvements?

A couple things that I hope David and company will consider changing for next year:

The speaker’s dinner was awesome, but there were a TON of amazing people at the dinner that nobody knew (at least I didn’t know them) and most people (or just me) are probably too lazy to look them up on the web site… a quick intro around the room would have been nice.

Attendee party. Last year we all went to the Tulsa October Fest one of the nights. That was a lot of fun with everyone, this year we played Rock Band and ate Subway in one of the conference rooms. Rock Band was fun and all (epic moment: Seeing Tim Rayburn beat our Claudio’s 99% score on drums with a 100% win on vocals. Epic!) but I think that we’d get more participation and interactions if we bring back the October Fest next year (it is Tulsa Tech Fest after all)

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All in all… a great time and I’m looking forward to next year!

Related links:

All photos curtsey Les Stockton and Brent Ozar

Hey, if you aren’t already following CommunityCast.tv – you should 🙂 Just wanted to let you know that we’ve just posted a new clip over there. It’s about 3 minutes from Jef Newsom’s closing key note at the TulsaTechFest… which was awesome! I’ll post more on that later. For now, here’s the clip:

See the full size clip at CommunityCast.tv.

Marathon speaking this week!

October 5, 2008    Category: Events   No Comments »

Marathon speaking this week!

First thing in the morning I fly out to Houston for XAMLFest.

Monday I’ll be speaking on "Building Applications to Support Design, What is a Design Integrator?"

Tuesday I’ll cover "Design best practices, Silverlight on the Web"

Then it’s home for a day to head off to Tulsa for the TulsaTechFest

Thursday I’ll cover "Better Application Design with practical loose coupling" and then "Silverlight with Visual Studio 2008 + Expression Blend" later in the day.

Friday it will be "Developer Designer Zen (Bringing these two worlds together)" followed by "Silverlight 2 : Data & Visual Templates"

6 talks in 5 days… If you’re in the area be sure to stop by and say hi!

 

I had the honor of speaking at the Dallas C# SIG last Thursday. I was asked by a couple of people if my slides were posted anywhere… so here they are on Slideshare. Enjoy!

Here’s the summary of my talk from the C# web page:

This is going to be one of the most unique talks on Silverlight that we’ve ever done. We have no agenda, just a ton of topics, experience and information on Silverlight, UX, and designing amazing user applications. Bring your questions, experience and let’s have a great time discussing all of these topics! We’ll overview Silverlight 1 and 2, the tools, features and abilities of Silverlight as well as walkthrough common scenarios, uses and pitfalls of practical Silverlight development in the field as well as highlighting some of the new and exciting Silverlight 2 features: DeepZoom, Isolated Storage, Data and Visual Templates. Silverlight 2 opens a whole new world of possibilities and options to .NET developers in the Rich Internet Application space. Combining the best of web application deployments with traditional Windows development, this best of breed application platform is changing the world of on-line as well as line-of-business applications. The most significant part of being a successful Silverlight developer is your ability to work well with data, and the ability to work well with designers.

I had a great time!

Each year this event get’s bigger AND better. Last year included a sponsored night out to the Tulsa OctoberFest that was a lot of fun. Big props go to David Walker and the Tulsa Developers.NET group for putting this whole thing together.

I received an email from a friend recently that said something like

Saw you were doing a talk on loose coupling at TTF. Same time as [another talk]. I’m not sure which to pick.

Are you going to lay down the typical Caleb awesomeness, making your session the right choice?

Emphasis added. My response

Well when you put it that way… no, I’m only planning on doing a boring, lame presentation. 🙂

This is one of my favorite talks… I’m telling the story Dependency Injection and IoC through allegory “The Heroic Tale of DI and IoC”. Then showing some high level code examples of Ninject in Silverlight, Castle in WinForms and …

So yeah… come to my session. 😉


(but I can guarantee none of this so called "awesomeness" that was spoken of… my sessions will probably be dull and boring ;) 

Here are my sessions:

  • Better Application Design with practical loose coupling
  • Silverlight with Visual Studio 2008 + Expression Blend
  • Developer Designer Zen (Bringing these two worlds together)
  • Silverlight 2 : Data & Visual Templates

In addition to that, there are going to be a ton of sessions to choose from and an amazing group of presenters, including an incredible closing keynote by Improving‘s own Jef Newsom.

While you’re at it… check out last year’s wrap up from CommunityCast.tv!

All photos are from last year’s TulsaTechFest courtesy Giovanni Galluci



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