techdays_ca

Scenes from TechDays Edmonton, Part 4

by Joey deVilla on October 6, 2010

Here’s Rick Claus MCing the lunchtime show:

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One of the lunchtime demos was a tour of all the goodies in the upcoming Windows Phone 7, which was given by Anthony “The Mobile Situation” Bartolo:

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“Windows Phone 7 is HOTT!” You could even hear that he said “HOTT” with two T’s:

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And his Windows Phone 7 device naturally had the Jersey Shore soundtrack loaded:

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Edmonton is the latest city to be added to the TechDays cross-Canada tour, making for a grand total of 8 cities. Being a new city to the tour and judging by the population, we figured that we should expect about 250 people to attend. The Edmontonian techies stepped up and impressed us by doubling that number! Nicely done!

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We love Edmonton’s enthusiasm for Kinect games:

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Here’s Anthony again, doing a turbo talk on Windows Phone Marketplace. He announced to the crowd that although the Marketplace registration fee is CAD$120, if you successfully submit 2 apps before the launch date, we’ll refund it. So start writing those apps!

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The deep tech discussions continued in the Ask the Experts area today:

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And the OnX folks were there as well, providing internet access and raffling off an Xbox 360:

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The whiteboards in the Ask the Experts area were a good place to let your skills and services be known:

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When we say “Come to the dark side; we’ve got cookies”, we’re not kidding!

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There was more than just the Kinect in the Collaboration Lounge, but a whole host of cool machines from our hardware sponsor, Dell. Many of these machines were equipped with touchscreens to show off touch tech and the touch features built into Windows 7:

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The woman in the photo below is playing with a Dell Latitude XT2, my touch-equipped road warrior laptop, standard issue for Canadian developer evangelists on the Windows Phone 7 Champs team:

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Here’s the XFR – we often say that it’s short for “eXpressly For Rick”, who’s notorious for killing technology. The XFR is the military-grade ruggedized version of the XT2 and can be dropped on the floor repeatedly without conking out.

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This is a Dell 19” all-in-one touchscreen-equipped desktop machine:

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Anthony Vranic gives us the lowdown on DirectX and accessing it via managed code. I recommend doing it either with the Windows 7 API Code Pack or if you’re doing games, XNA:

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The last session of the last day is always a little challenging. The audience is tired and thinking about going home, and you have to do a little extra to get their attention. Luckily, I saved some interesting presentations for that slot, and got two great speakers. In the Optimizing the Development Process track, my fellow Developer Evangelist John Bristowe used good ol’ jazz hands to liven up his session on Visual Studio 2010 tips and tricks:

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“These are not the droids you’re looking for.”

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“Hey fellas! What’s cooler than bein’ cool?”

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“ICE COLD!”

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In the Developing for the Three Screens and the Cloud track, Todd Anglin, Telerik’s Chief Evangelist, was giving John a run for his money in the Expressive Presenter Hands contest as he talked about ASP.NET MVC:

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“Oh, waiter! Cheque, please!”

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Here’s Todd getting “gangsta”:

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This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Scenes from TechDays Edmonton, Part 3

by Joey deVilla on October 6, 2010

And now, more photos of the goings-on at TechDays Edmonton! Here are Barnaby Jeans, Damir Bersinic, Dottie Yeates and John Bristowe having a pow-wow early this morning:

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Here’s another shot of Michael Schweitzer talking about the .NET 4.0 Framework in the Optimizing the Development Process track:

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At the same time in the Developing for Three Screens and the Cloud track, Erik Jensen talked about Visual Studio 2010 and Azure development:

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The presence of the Kinect meant that our audience – techies all, a good portion of whom lead rather sedentary lives – got more than their usual dose of exercise:

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Pierre Roman and Rodney Buike take a break during the lull in the hallway that takes place when the sessions are taking place:

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The Ask the Experts area was busy with attendees catching up with presenters and asking them more in-depth questions:

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Here’s Sean Kearney’s presentation on Powershell, which took place this morning:

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Adam Crandall presented this morning on web deployment using Visual Studio 2010:

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…and Aaron Kowall dropped Entity Framework 4.0 science on the Developing for Three Screens and the Cloud crowd:

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This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Scenes from TechDays Edmonton, Part 2

by Joey deVilla on October 6, 2010

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Here’s Microsoft’s Kevin Harris doing the Silverlight presentation on Day 1:

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After Kevin’s session came what might be the hottest session at TechDays this year – the Windows Phone 7 session. Here’s the crowd in the room a good ten minutes before the session started, with most of the seats already gone:

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With a few seats dragged in from other rooms, speaker and long-time Windows Mobile guru Mark Arteaga began his presentation:

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Miguel Carrasco of Imaginet was the track host for the Developing for Three Screens and the Cloud track and kept things running smoothly:

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…while Mark rocked the WP7 demo:

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If you ever need IT pro training, Sean Kearney is your go-to guy. He’s one of the best presenters on the circuit, and delightfully wacky. Just don’t let him have any Red Bull before he goes onstage:

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Here’s the crowd at the Team Foundation Server for Everyone session:

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Aaron Kowall presented the session:

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Edmonton represent! Mack Male of Paramagnus was the track host for the Optimizing the Development Process track:

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Meanwhile, in the Collaboration Lounge, the Kinect games continued to draw in curious onlookers:

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Here’s Blythe Morrow coaching a guy taking the Kinect driving game for a spin:

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We encouraged speakers not to hide out in the speaker prep room and to hang out in open areas like the Collaboration Lounge or the Ask the Experts area, a comfy zone with couches, beanbags and whiteboards. I couldn’t resist drawing a couple of comics. One featured Damir Bersinic, the evangelist in charge of TechDays:

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and the other was to let folks know that if they had any questions about Windows Phone 7, they should come to me:

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Lunch! Here’s the view from the stage in the “F and B” (Food and Beverage) room:

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Along with lunch comes a show – a number of demos of various goodies from the Microsoft platform. Here are Rick Claus, John Bristowe and Rodney Buike setting up for their demos:

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Here’s Damir doing his lunch demo:

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In case you were wondering who picked the sessions for the developer tracks – Developing for Three Screens and the Cloud and Optimizing the Development Process – it was me, in consultation with a number of prominent developers in the .NET community. One of my very first picks was Branching and Merging Practices. It’s a topic covered fairly often in the open source world, but I feel it needs more discussion in the .NET world. Tommy Lum from Habanero presented:

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Miguel did more than just play track host – he also presented! Here he is, talking about how to build web sites more quickly using Visual Studio 2010:

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At the same time in the Optimizing the Development Process track, Michael Schweitzer covered getting the most out of .NET Framework 4.0, which is chock full of developer goodies:

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This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Scenes from TechDays Edmonton, Part 1

by Joey deVilla on October 6, 2010

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Hello from TechDays Edmonton! I’m spending the week in the home of the Oilers, helping run the developer tracks at Microsoft’s cross-Canada tech training conference for developers and IT pros. TechDays takes the content from Microsoft’s big-ticket conferences – TechEd North America, MIX and PDC – gets local heroes to present that content, and brings it all to a city near you at a price in the low hundreds, not the thousands. For the Canadian developer, it’s the conference that delivers the most bang for your buck!

Here’s the venue, the Shaw Conference Centre, as seen on Monday, the day before TechDays, which had some pretty gloomy weather. It’s cleared up since then:

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The conference centre has an unusual shape that takes advantage of its location, a hill on the north side of the North Saskatchewan River:

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Here’s the view looking straight south:

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And here’s the view looking southwest:

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The interior of the conference centre reminds me of the domed city in Logan’s Run:

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The first session in the Optimizing the Development Process track was Real-World Patterns for Cloud Computing:

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Bruce Johnston of Ideaca did the presentation – here are some pics of him in action:

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Meanwhile, in the Collaboration Lounge, Anthony “The Mobile Situation” Bartolo, one of my go-to guys for Windows Phone 7, telcos and Jersey Shore, showed us how Kinect Soccer is truly played:

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Notice that footwork:

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It may look like a blank stare, but don’t let that fool you – he’s simply entering a state of motion-sensing soccer zen

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“That was too easy!”

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He’s moving faster than the camera can track!

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GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Victory dance!

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This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Scenes from TechDays Vancouver, Part 4: Go DevMENTAL

by Joey deVilla on September 20, 2010

Go DevMental: Our event for students

What is Go DevMENTAL?

Since TechDays – Microsoft Canada’s cross-country developer and IT pro conference visiting 8 cities across Canada this fall – is a two-day event, we’ve got the venues for the entire 48-hour period, including evenings. Rather than have the session rooms (which are already set up for an audience, complete with A/V and seating) lie fallow, we decided to put them to good use and hold free community events in the evenings. One of these events is Go DevMENTAL, where we show college and university students what they can build using Microsoft’s tools and technologies and give them a lot of free stuff.

Go DevMENTAL is a two-track conference, with one track devoted to web design and development using WebMatrix, Expression Blend and Silverlight, while the other covers mobile development for Windows Phone 7 using Silverlight and XNA. At the end of the evening, we give the students a token for DreamSpark, our program that gives them free Microsoft development tools and operating systems and a DVD full of goodies so they can start coding right away.

If you’re a college or university student and would like to have an informative and entertaining evening where you learn cool new things, get free cool stuff, connect with industry people and get some help with your career, register for Go DevMental!

Where is Go DevMENTAL?

We’ll be hitting these cities on these dates:

City Where When
Edmonton Shaw Convention Centre October 5
Toronto Metro Toronto Convention Centre
South Building
October 27
Halifax World Trade Centre November 2
Ottawa Hampton Inn Ottawa
(200 Coventry Road)
November 9
Montreal Palais Des Congres November 23
Winnipeg Winnipeg Convention Centre December 7
Calgary Round-Up Centre
(Calgary Stampede Park)
December 14

What Happened at Go DevMENTAL Vancouver?

Go DevMENTAL Vancouver took place on Tuesday, September 14th in the West Building of the Vancouver Convention Centre, a gorgeous venue (for more, see this entry).

I was helping out with the Phone track, so I only managed to get photos for its sessions. My colleages in Microsoft Canada’s Developer and Platform Evangelism team, Christian Beauclair and John Bristowe, took care of the Web track, while Mark Arteaga of Redbit Development and I ran the Phone track.

Here’s Mark setting up for his presentation, as the students and a number of professors milled into the room. We had some drinks and snacks set up in the back; that’s what the line at the back of the room is all about:

Photo of the session room, with Mark Arteaga setting up his computer in the foreground

And we’re off! Mark did the first presentation, which focused on app development with Silverlight.

The audience in the Phone track at Go DevMENTAL Vancouver

By the end of his session, he had a working, skinnable Magic 8-Ball app that responded to the user shaking the phone. The app was flexible enough so that it would be really easy to repurpose it as a fortune cookie app, the Wisdom of Master Yoda app and so on, without having to touch any code.

Mark Arteaga makes his presentation

Mark’s session was followed by a break, which concluded with a quick accordion performance by Yours Truly:

Joey deVilla plays accordion at Go DevMENTAL

Followed by a quick word from Andrew Gottlieb, a Microsoft recruiter who works the UBC campus looking for the next great Microsofties. If you’re looking for a job at Microsoft and you’re a student in the Vancouver area, you’re going to want to drop him a line.

Joey deVilla plays his accordion at Go DevMENTAL as Andrew Gottlieb stands beside him

Then came my presentation, a live-coding exercise in which we start with “File –> New Project…” and in 45 minutes, put together a game in which you get to smack Justin Bieber around. Let it never be said that I let professionalism stand in the way of a good coding presentation‘

Joey deVilla makes his presentation, holding up a piece of paper

Live coding in front of an audience is not for the weak of heart, and you’d better really know your stuff. But when you do it right, it’s fun for both you and the audience.

In these photos, I’m holding up two pieces of paper as a way of explaining collision detection using bounding boxes. It’s not every day you see some goof in an ironic hipster trucker cap talking about videogame fundamentals!

Joey deVilla makes his presentation at Go DevMENTAL holding up two pieces of paper

After the student sessions, I made my way to the faculty roundtable where we chatted with the professors about what Microsoft could do for them.

It was great meeting the students and faculty – I had a great time, and also learned a lot from them. I’m looking forward to the upcoming Go DevMENTAL cities. See you there!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Quick Updates

by Joey deVilla on September 16, 2010

heading home

I’m sitting in the airport lounge in Vancouver, waiting to board my flight back to Toronto. Some quick updates:

  • TechDays Vancouver went very well. Over 800 attendees catching over 60 technical sessions on Microsoft’s platforms, tools and technologies, all taking place in the beautiful West Building of the Vancouver Convention Centre. Thanks to the presenters, staff, and especially the attendees!
  • Successful community events. Rather than have the TechDays venue lie fallow in the evenings, we put it to good use by opening it up for free community events. On Monday, we hosted CloudCamp, a gathering for people interested in cloud computing, and on Tuesday, we held a mini-conference called GoDevMental, which was aimed at students. We’re holding these events in all TechDays cities, so if you live close by, come and see us!
  • Internet Explorer 9 goes beta! Standards-compliant. Hardware accelerated. Clean, minimalist UI. Nifty Windows 7 integration. We’re back in the browser game, people, and we’re playing for keeps. Download the IE9 beta now!
  • Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools go RTM! What happens when you pair a phone with bold new UI and the awesomesauce of Visual Studio? Windows Phone 7, and the developer tools – which include Visual Studio Express for Phone and Expression Blend – have been finalized and are ready for download for free. Download the WP7 Developer tools now!
  • I’ll be at FITC Mobile in Toronto on Friday and Saturday. I’ll be minding the booth at the FITC Mobile conference in Toronto this Friday and Saturday. Come say hi, see the dev tools in action, play with a real Windows Phone and find out what we have in store!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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Scenes from TechDays Vancouver, Part 1

by Joey deVilla on September 14, 2010

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Hello from Vancouver! I’m here at the first stop of TechDays, Microsoft’ Canada’s 8-city cross-country conference series for developers and IT pros. It’s a gorgeous, sunny and almost cloudless day, a nice change from the gloomy weather we had this weekend.

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The sunshine is perfect for our new TechDays Vancouver venue, the Vancouver Convention Centre’s new west building, whose glass walls provide a spectacular view of the harbour, as seen below:

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We’ve been here since 7 a.m., and the conference centre crew were here even earlier. The crowd started arriving around 8, with much of them arriving about 8:30. A little hint, folks: an early arrival means you get registered quickly, and you get enough time to enjoy a free breakfast to boot!

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With the clock approaching nine came the scramble for the session rooms. Vancouver Convention Centre’s West Building is a huge place, and out attendees are going to get a fair bit of exercise getting from session to session. C’mon, people, it’s good for your cardiovascular systems!

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Here’s Miguel Carrasco from Imaginet delivering the opening talk for the “Developing for Three Screens and the Cloud” track:

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And in the “Optimizing the Development Process” track, here’s Bruce Johnston talking about real-world patterns for cloud computing:

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This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

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