Category Archives: Events

This category includes posts about upcoming events I am attending, have attended, want to attend, or just want to let others know about.

#MIX11 Day 2 Impressions

Yesterday was the second official day of the MIX11 conference. It was quite clear from the audience reaction that the second keynote was far more interesting and appreciated than day 1. There was an energy in the air that was palpable.

Customers seemed to love each and every part of the keynote — from the virtual 3D ScottGu to the Blue Angels web site being developed in HTML5 and Silverlight. The applause was thundering. I encourage you to go check out the recorded keynote here:

I had a lot of fun talking with developers from all over the world about what they were working on, what they were interested in seeing at Mix and what they thought about the conference so far. I’m always amazed at how inventive our customers are with our software. More so, I’m always happy to see the passions that come out when geeks of various walks of life come together to talk about the field of software development.

I also had the opportunity to watch the Channel 9 booth live as Miguel de Icaza sparred with Scott Hanselman about open source development. The laughs were frequent but more importantly, I think developers had the opportunity to see different views on the same community by both of these dynamic individuals.
I attended the “Future of Windows Phone 7″ presentation to see all of the fantastic features we are adding to the “Mango” release of Windows Phone 7. The list seemed endless. The presentation was literally an hour long presentation that listed the features of the phone that were coming up without much deep dive. From being able to take screen shots to having direct access to the hardware sensors, to the inclusion of new sensors, the list was amazing and should make for a great update to the Windows Phone 7 developer story.

Just as I did the day before, I spent breakfast speaking with developers about what they saw in the sessions the day before. Kevin Griffin said that he attended the Deep Dive into HTML5 and Graphics/3D with Silverlight 5. He said that he enjoyed it, but “it was like watching a DirectX or XNA 3D talk for the first time.” Apparently he felt the session level was misidentified as level 300 when the content was actually level 100. Kevin also said that the HTML5 Canvas discussion proved that it was “tedious to do cool stuff. We need good tooling in order to do that stuff right. Browser support is wonky.” He was referring to the disparity of support between each of the browsers. Of course I’ve known Kevin a long time and I couldn’t resist ribbing him about his new acquisition of a Windows Phone 7 device. He picked one up yesterday and just started learning to develop. I jokingly asked him what was taking him so long to develop his app. “Most good developers I know can have an app ready to submit to the marketplace within hours of getting their device. What’s your problem?”. Of course Kevin is no slouch and he immediately responded “well, I keep trying to use MSDN to learn how to develop my app — that might be my problem.” Yeah, Kevin can give the barbs as well as he can take them.

The MIX11 attendee party was apparently “successful” in all senses of the word last night. I was unfortunately unable to go as I’ve been sick all week. I took this opportunity to rest. Based on the looks of the crowd this morning, they didn’t let the party affect them too much. They all seem attentive.

I’m looking forward to this last day of presentations. However, the MIX11 experience doesn’t end when I get on my flight. We will all be able to “attend” the presentations at Mix online when the session recordings are posted at

Thanks for reading!

Day 1 #Mix11 Impressions — From the Customer

I had the opportunity to sit down with a number of MVPs last night and this morning at breakfast to discuss what they learned at the Mix conference on day one. I wanted to get a sense for what we were doing right and what we needed to improve upon. I thought I would share those thoughts with the public and ask for your input. If you are at the conference, feel free to find me and give me your feedback or leave a comment here and I’ll be glad to start a dialog with you.

Last night I spoke with Dave Ward in depth about his experience. He spoke overall positively about the conference. He said that the keynote wasn’t as exciting as he would have expected but he was overall really pleased with the conference. He attended a breakout session titled “50 ways to speed up your HTML.” He said that they actually covered 57 tips in the session time which is amazing. Dave said that the session was awesome and that he learned at least 2 or 3 things. I laughed and told him “You do realize that leaves you with about a 5% retention rate, right?” Of course he said that he knew a lot of the other things that were discussed but that he was overall very impressed with the quality of the session.

VanThis morning I had the opportunity to speak with Van Van Lowe about his experience with the conference. He said that he too was very happy with the conference and that Mix is his favorite. When I asked what he liked most about Mix that he didn’t see at PDC, he indicated that he enjoyed the web focus because he is a web developer. Strangely enough, I met Van at PDC 2010 while talking with Scott Hanselman. Needless to say this guy gets around to our conferences! Van attended the Orchard breakout session because he said that he has big plans to use Orchard. Van said that he got enough out of the session to get him started and that was basically the point.

I attended the Orchard Session yesterday as well. I was surprised how far this project has come since I blogged about it so long ago. I am good friends with a former developer, Erik Porter, and a current developer, Nathan Heskew, on the Orchard project. Talking with others who attended afterward, they seemed extremely pleased with the progress and many said “this is ready for prime time and it’s so much better than anything out there right now.” and “They’ve thought everything through.”

I’m looking forward to the Mix day 2 keynote just about to start now! See you there!

#Mix11 keynote rolling along.

Sitting in the darkness of the Mix11 keynote with only my Windows Phone 7 i can see the excitement around the IE presentation. We’ve seen some great IE9 demos and seen some hilarious videos. What will come next? The audience is watching intently as we just announced we are 3 weeks into the development of IE10. More to come.

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Why Didn’t You Come to Mix11?

As mentioned in my previous post, I had the opportunity to talk to a number of people — some on twitter, some in person and some even on my way to Mix — about why they didn’t come to Mix.

The responses from the community were very interesting. Of course, I received some very useful and some very comedic responses on twitter.

In response to my query about why some wouldn’t come to Mix, @ardalis responded, “You’re looking for a list of 6 billion people not going to MIX?”. Touché my friend. I wasn’t looking for EVERY reason some were not attending this year, I was looking to understand what regular conference-goers and community-influentials were not coming and why. Here are some of the main reasons I received:

I’m Working!
Many of the individuals who responded were too busy working to take time off and come to Mix. @brheal said “Wish I could be there! Always falls at the end of tax season (tax software developer).” I thought this was a one-off but I soon received another response from my friend @pmourfield who said “I wish that #MIX11 didn’t fall during the last week of tax season. So wishing I was able to be there!” Apart from tax software developers, others are just too involved with their clients. @mranlett said, “I didn’t make it to #MIX11 this year. Busy satisfying client needs & working on proposals for future work w/future clients.” And of course @dpenton stated that “I have too much work happening right now.” That’s completely understandable on all accounts. I wish you all could be here too.

It’s too Expensive
My friend @akcoder isn’t coming because, in his words, “I am not going because I’m saving my travel/conference budget for PDC.” It seems understandable that most of us have to pick and choose where we spend our money and pay for conferences where we see the most value for our needs. Yet another long-time friend and Microsoft MVP @sarajchipps told me “I’m not, because it is waaaay too expensive for an independent.” When pressed as to what value would be appropriate to make it not so expensive, Sara indicated “That’s a great question, I would want to go to talks and events… I could live without the food and amenities.” She went on “my budget is usually around $500 for a pass when it comes to conferences.” At further prompting and discussion amongst others in the community said “I’ve pretty much gone without MS conferences this year. Last year I was given a few passes, but $1500+ isn’t at all feasible.” It would appear that some of the independents are feeling the squeeze on financial resources. Of course @robwindsor had a solution “Mix should have something like TechEd Exhbit Hall pass ($100). Gets you into Commons and Connect lounge”. That’s a fair point and perhaps we can give that feedback to the folks running Mix. I have it from the rumor mill that Microsoft already loses money at the conferences, but you never know if something like this is possible. This seems to be overwhelmingly more important considering the number of responses in this category. @simonech said that he “cannot afford 2 flight[s] to the US in less than 2 months (been at mvp11)AND ticket + hotel/flight could be off budget for my company.” Truly we must all pick our battles. Response after response from this point forward seemed to point to the cost of the conference — either the cost of the conference itself, or the complete cost after hotel, flight, food, ground transport and of course the conference.

So why haven’t you come to the conference? Why did you come to Mix this year? What did you hope to get out of the conference? Alternatively, why didn’t you come this year? What is competing for your time/money? What would make the conference most valuable to you?

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned until later on this morning when I cover the keynote presentations!

I Have Arrived … At #Mix11 that is

I have just landed and got my bags rather quickly. I’m standing in a rather long line waiting for a cab in sweltering heat (comparatively speaking that is). I have been reading tweets from those who have been here and already joined in the excitement — from Scott Hanselman tweeting about his rehearsals to random conversations I started with those who couldn’t make it. The anticipation is killing me but one thing is for sure, I have arrived at Mix!! The cab line is filled with chatter about design, development and plans for a geek-long getaway. I brought my trusty Nikon D-7000 which at this point weighs a ton on my shoulder. I’ll be sure to put it to use and give you all regular updates. Stay tuned!
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On My Way to Mix11

Be on the lookout for new posts this week. OK, this is really a placeholder post for the “mix11” tag I just added. Move along now. Nothing to see here. 😉

Philly Code Camp 2009.1

I flew to Philadelphia from my home in Pittsburgh to attend and speak at the first Philadelphia area code camp for 2009.

I spoke on Extending IIS 7. You can find my photos of the event on flickr.

I took the opportunity to visit family that I hadn’t seen in ages and to see Philadelphia — a big deal for me as I’m a history buff.

I might be Speaking at CodeStock

OK, so I had intended to announce that I posted a session submission to CodeStock and that voting was open. However, I procrastinated and Shawn Wildermuth beat me to the punch. So in an act of utter creepiness, I am modeling my post after his and invoking his name for extra copy-cat points.

For those of you that don’t know what CodeStock is, think of it as a CodeCamp done better – in two days instead of one. In their own words:

CodeStock is about Community. For Developers, by Developers (with love for SysAdmins and DBAs too!). Last year and idea started at CodeStock to mix Open Spaces within a traditional conference. This year we’re going to crank things up to 11 and rip off the knob – and you’re being drafted to help.

This two-day conference, of sorts, will be kicked off June 26th and costs only $25 to register.

My sessions are in the running, right along side Shawn’s. As he so eloquently pointed out, CodeStock attendees get to pick what sessions they wish to see from all of those submitted by would-be speakers. If my session doesn’t get picked, perhaps I can just watch Shawn. I’m told he has given a presentation or two in his career 🙂

So if you haven’t already, please go register for CodeStock so you can vote on those sessions while you can! Session voting ends on May 15th.

(Thanks, Shawn!)

Charlotte Code Camp – Spring 2009

I flew to Charlotte from my home near Pittsburgh to attend the spring code camp this year.

When I arrived I found out that a Pete Mourfield was not going to make it in time to give one of his presentations. Brian Hitney suggested that I do a presentation at the last minute to fill in. I took the dare and agreed to do a presentation on MGrammar — something I had been checking out for about a week. I had about 50 minutes to prepare. In that time I downloaded the Oslo bits over the slow wifi at the school and installed them on my laptop. I had no slide deck and I had very little idea of how I would procede.

I managed to give a fairly fun presentation and got some great reviews in the process.

You can find some photos of the event on flickr.

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