Conferences Meetups Programming Tampa Bay

Scenes from #TampaCC / Tampa CodeCamp 2022

Keiser University Tampa’s building and palm trees.

The 2022 edition of Tampa Code Camp (a.k.a. #TampaCC) took place on Saturday, October 8th, and Anitra and I were there to give presentations, attend presentations, catch up with some old friends and colleagues, and make some new ones.

TampaCC logo

Organized by Kate and Greg Leonardo, Tampa Code Camp has been a local tech tradition for years. While it’s been the de facto local conference for people building on Microsoft/.NET/Azure technologies, it goes beyond that to include Open Source, data science, AI/ML, and soft skills sessions. (My own first presentation at Tampa Code Camp was in 2016, when I presented an introduction to React.)

Tampa Code Camp 2022 took place at Keiser University Tampa, who’ve been gracious enough to make their space available a venue for tech events with 100 people or more for the past few years, including Tampa Code Camp and the BarCamp Tampa Bay unconference. They have a spacious lobby that makes for a great reception/registration and sponsor booth hall, a good-sized auditorium for opening keynotes and lunches (made even better by a patio area), and classrooms of all sizes to accommodate all sorts of talks, each one with a reliable audiovisual setup for presenters.

Some of Tampa Code Camp 2022’s presentations

I was so busy either prepping for my presentation, presenting, or just chatting with people that I took all of two photos. Luckily, a number of people who were there took some and posted them on Twitter; I’ve shared them below and they’re linked to their source.

Here’s the opening keynote, given by co-organizer Greg Leonardo, who talked about the unexpected (and often untold) consequences of moving your back end from on-premises to the cloud, often known as the “lift-and-shift.” There are good reasons to move to the cloud, but the rationale (or more accurately, sales pitch) of cost savings has been oversold — in fact, there’s often a cost increase.

A view of the auditorium at the keynote talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo by Yours Truly.

Another key message from the opening keynote: running things on the cloud isn’t simply a matter of “our old stuff, but now on someone else’s servers.” It often requires a different approach and some re-thinking about how you do implementation and architecture. Some of the things you did when your servers were on-prem can be much worse when moved to the cloud. Watch out for these “onions in the varnish!”

Greg Leonardo delivers the keynote talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Chris Cognetta. Click here for the source.
Greg Leonardo delivers the keynote talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Adnan Masood. Click here for the source.

Here’s Chris Ayers, Senior Customer Engineer at Microsoft, giving his presentation, Dev Containers in VS Code, a handy feature that gives you a Docker container as a development environment:

Chris Ayers gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Marsinah Ahmed. Click here for the source.

We caught Sam Kasimalla’s session, titled IT life cycle and a bit of devops – Industry notes, which presented a solid overview aimed at people who are just entering (or pivoting to) our industry:

Sam Kasimalla gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Joey Hernandez. Click here for the source.

After Sam’s presentation, I raced to my room to give my talk, Build cross-platform visual novels, simulations, and games with Ren’Py, where I walked the group through the development of a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style infosec training manual and a turn-based “Florida Man” RPG-style combat game:

Joey deVilla gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Marsinah Ahmed. Click here for the source.

While I was talking about Ren’Py development, Art Garcia was a couple of rooms over, giving his presentation, Azure DevOps APIs: Things you can do with the APIs, where he covered ways to do things that you can’t do using the Azure DevOps UI, but can if you use PowerShell, the APIs, and some tricks that aren’t well-documented.

Art Garcia gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Chris Cognetta. Click here for the source.
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I’d like to thank Tampa Code Camp for not just providing a free lunch (and breakfast coffee and donuts — much apprecated!), but for estimating high in order to ensure that everybody could get a free lunch. It’s little touches like these that add to these events.

Russ Fustino’s “about me” slide from his Algorand presentations.

I don’t have a photo for Russ Fustino’s session, Web3 – Blockchain Myths for Developers, but we attended that one. Russ has been a local fixture on the tech scene ever since I’ve lived here (nearly a decade!) and we definitely want to catch him. His brother Gary (also a tech scene regular) recorded video of the session, so it should be online soon.

In the same time slot, Chris Cognetta gave his Power Apps in the Real World talk, where he covered Power Platform and Power Apps:

Chris Cognetta gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Marsinah Ahmed. Click here for the source.

After that, Anitra Pavka gave her talk, Manage your manager for fun, profit, and career success, which covered the valuable, vital, yet often-overlooked topic of working with the one person who has control of half your weekday waking life:

Anitra Pavka gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo by Yours Truly.

At the end of the day came Joey Hernandez’ Cyber Incident Response Exercise – From Tech to Exec talk — an excellent topic, because so many companies get this wrong for a multitude of reasons. He talked about TTXs — tabletop exercises, which in cybersecurity are preparedness exercises where you go through the steps of a simulated security incident.

Joey Hernandez presents at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Joey Hernandez. Click here for the source.

Also at the end of the day: Jared Rhodes gave his fourth talk of Tampa Code Camp 2022: Homelab – Private Cloud on a Budget! I’ve been meaning to give homelabs a look.

Jared deserves a prize for being the busiest presenter at Tampa Code Camp 2022, because he also gave these talks:

And he came here from Atlanta to give his talks. I think the Azure team should at least send him some of their nicer swag for doing all this work on their behalf.

Jared Rhodes gives a talk at Tampa Code Camp 2022.
Photo via Marsinah Ahmed. Click here for the source.

Thanks to the sponsors!

Events like this don’t happen without sponsors. First, thanks to Keiser University Tampa for providing a venue!

Events like this go even better when the presenters get a chance to catch up beforehand, hence the long-standing tradition of a speaker dinner. Once again, it happened at the always-reliable, always-fun Tampa Joe’s. Thanks for the food and drinks!

Starbucks was the coffee sponsor. Free coffee? Bless you.

Photo via Leah Parrott.

Thanks to Pomeroy for helping make Tampa Code Camp 2022 happen, and for providing one of the raffle prizes: a Meta Quest 2 VR rig!

Photo via Leah Parrott.

Pomeroy also provided some swag that I needed:

Photo via Leah Parrott.
Photo via Leah Parrott.

Algorand also had a table, and when Russ wasn’t giving his Algorand presentation, he was at the Algorand table, and he answered a number of my questions and hooked us up with nice T-shirts. Thanks, Algorand!

And finally, I’d like to thank Webonology — which is also Greg’s company — for being a sponsor and contributing the grand prize, an Xbox Series X!

Photo via Kate Leonardo.

Please check out these sponsors. They do great work, they supported this great event, and they’re helping to build the Tampa Bay tech scene!

Tech scenes don’t happen by themselves — they need YOU!

What makes a tech scene?

In the end, it boils down to a single factor: techies who take part in building a tech community. There are cities out there with sizable populations of techies that aren’t tech hubs — these are places without people who help build a tech community. There are also smaller places with smaller numbers of techies but have a vibrant tech scene, and these are the places with a handful of active organizers and people who show up for tech events.

Among these active organizers are Kate and Greg Leonardo, who’ve been consistently stepping up and doing the (often, but not always) thankless work of putting together events like Tampa Code Camp and upcoming events for 2023. Thank you, Kate and Greg, for everything you do for the Tampa Tech Scene!

Current Events Meetups Tampa Bay

StartupBus Warm-Up at Green Bench — Tuesday, July 19th!

The Coders, Creatives, and Craft Beer meetup is coming back, starting Tuesday, July 19th at 6:30 p.m. at Green Bench Brewing, where we’ll be throwing a warm-party for StartupBus Florida!

StartupBus is no ordinary hackathon. It doesn’t happen in an afternoon in the comfortable surroundings of a coworking space, cafe, or corporate office. It takes THREE DAYS. On a BUS. With all the regular problems posed by a road trip (such as unreliable power and spotty wifi) as well as additional challenges that the organizers have devised. It’s been described as “Navy SEAL training for techies and entrepreneurs.”

While on the bus, the participants — we call them buspreneurs — form teams, come up with an idea for a startup, and build the business and the software that supports it. At the same time, they’re working on a pitch for that business, and practicing the pitch regularly.

After three days when the bus reaches its destination city — Austin, Texas — the real competition begins. StartupBus Florida’s bus will meet up with the other 4 buses coming from different parts of the U.S. and Mexico, and all the teams will pitch in front of judges in the semifinals. A handful of the best teams will go on to the finals, where they’ll pitch to the finals judges. And one will emerge victorious.

StartupBus Florida traditionally departs from Tampa Bay, and we have a solid track record. We had two teams make it to the finals in 2017 and 2019, and our alumni have gone on to start their own companies, build notable careers, and help grow Tampa’s tech scene. This will be the first StartupBus event since 2019, and we’re excited to be back!

StartupBus Florida doesn’t do what it does alone — it’s backed by our favorite hometown heroes: our sponsors! They are…

  • CoreX Legal, the legal firm built for startups. CoreX know the tech and legal side of all things startup and blockchain.
  • Hillsborough County’s EDi2, where EDi2 is short for “Economic Development Innovation Initiative.” Edi2 provide grant funding and support for events and opportunities that help Hillsborough County’s entrepreneurs become successful.

Join us at the StartupBus Warm-Up! Come meet StartupBus Florida’s buspreneurs (contestants) and conductors (coaches), sponsors, alumni, and fans at Green Bench Brewing in St. Pete.

Questions you might have about the event

Questions you might have about StartupBus:

  • When does StartupBus take place? The event starts with a 3-day bus ride that runs from the morning of Wednesday, July 27 to the early evening on Friday, July 29. The final two events happen in the destination city, with the semifinals on Saturday, July 30 and the finals on Sunday, July 31.
  • Where is the destination city? It’s Austin, Texas.
  • How many people will be on the bus? It varies from year to year, but typically there are 2 to 3 dozen buspreneurs (participants) on the bus, along with 2 – 4 conductors (coaches).
  • How many buses will there be? There will be 4 in total. They’ll depart from Cincinnati, Mexico City, Silicon Valley, and Tampa Bay.
  • I have tech/creative/business skills and want to be a buspreneur. How can I join? Sign up on the StartupBus “Apply” page, select “Florida” and use the code JOEY22.
  • How do I find out more about StartupBus and StartupBus Florida? For starters, there’s the StartupBus site. Tampa Bay’s own tech blog, Global Nerdy, has a number of articles on StartupBus.
Current Events Meetups Tampa Bay

“Meet Me in the Metaverse” happens online on Thursday, July 14 at 7 p.m.!

Hey, techies from Tampa Bay and beyond — are you interested in any of the following:

  • StartupBus
  • The Metaverse
  • Web3

We’re holding an online meetup, Meet Me in the Metaverse, on Thursday, July 14th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in a web-based virtual reality space to discuss the topics above, and you’re all invited to join us! Register here to attend the event.

This isn’t going to be a Zoom or Teams meeting, but a VR meeting. And don’t worry — you won’t need VR gear — any computer with a browser will do. I took the meetup’s VR environment for a test drive, and it presented itself like a first-person shooter, minus the shooting, where you use the W, A, S, and D keys to move and the mouse to change the direction you’re facing.

Here are a couple of screenshots of what I saw during my quick exploratory run:

My first view of the Metaverse venue. Tap to view at full size.
Walking into the lobby. Tap to view at full size.
The view from the top floor. Tap to view at full size.

I’ll be there — join me! Once again, that’s Thursday, July 14th, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and you can register here.

Current Events Meetups Tampa Bay

Scenes from the 2022 Tampa Bay Tech Golf Classic

Tampa Bay Tech Golf Classic flag flying

Last Monday, a good number of the Tampa Bay tech scene got together for a good time for a good cause: the Tampa Bay Tech Golf Classic.

Golfers at the Tampa Bay Tech Golf Classic practicing on the driving range

Organized by Tampa Bay Tech — Tampa Bay’s non-profit technology council, whose mission is to make “The Other Bay Area” a flourishing tech hub — it took place at Carrollwood Country Club and the title sponsor was Okta, where I work (remember, Auth0 is now an Okta product unit)!

Golf carts lined up and filled with players ready to play in the Tampa Bay Tech Golf Classic

The proceeds from the tournament went to the recently-founded Tampa Bay Tech Foundation, whose purpose is to radically connect area students and job seekers to opportunities in the technology community. The Foundation’s initiatives include:

  • Internship development programs
  • Scholarships
  • Talent-focused programming
  • Workforce gap research
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jill-st-thomas.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is karen-popp.jpeg

I was there as a volunteer and got to see Tampa Bay Tech’s CEO Jill St. Thomas and Member Engagement Manager Karen Popp.

Since Okta was the title sponsor, it was only fitting that Chris St. Thomas, Strategic Account Director at Okta, gave a quick opening address:

Chris St. Martin giving the opening announcement at the Tampa Bay Tech Golf Classic

I sharpened my credit card-processing skills selling “super tickets”, which entitled the bearer to raffle tickets, extra drink tickets, entry into a couple of contests, and most importantly, a mulligan:

Joey deVilla on teh credit card machine at the Tampa Bay Tech Golf Classic

Here’s what Tampa Bay Tech’s Karen Popp posted in LinkedIn about the event:

Thank-you to all who participated in the Tampa Bay Tech Golf Classic presented by title sponsor Okta. We’ve got the best members, sponsors, guests and volunteers! It was a sensational event and raised significant funding for our Foundation. Save the date for next year, 4/17/23. Contact me if you’d like to reserve your sponsorship today! I appreciate the #radicallyconnected community we’re building in Tampa Bay!

#techforgood #techcommunity #golfevent

Current Events Meetups Tampa Bay

Tech professionals – UX/Devs networking meetup this Wednesday!

Hey, Tampa area techies! There’s a “Tech Professionals UX/Devs Networking” meetup happening this Wednesday, and Anitra and I will be attending!

Here’s the event description from their Meetup page:

Hi all!

We are a group of tech professionals in the Tampa Bay Area. Designers, Developers and anything in-between. Whether an industry veteran or just getting started in your career, come join us for casual networking over food and drinks!

We will meet outside of Lala’s Sangria Bar on Wednesday, April 6 at 6PM.

See you there!

La La’s Sangria Bar is in Channelside — 203 N Meridian Avenue. It’ll be an outdoor gathering, which should greatly reduce any COVID risk.

Be sure to register for the event on their Meetup page!

We’ll see you there!

Quick summary

Current Events Meetups Programming Tampa Bay

This Wednesday: the Downtown Tampa Software Developers meetup!

There’s a new tech meetup here in “The Other Bay Area” — the Downtown Tampa Software Developers — and I’m planning on attending their next meetup (and getting some dinner) this Wednesday, March 30th, at 7:00 p.m.!

Organized by Michael Berlet, it’s a weekly meetup for software developers at Tampa’s big food hall/gathering place, Armature Works, which provides a wide variety of food and drink.

Here’s the group’s description from their Meetup page:

We are a group of professional, freelance, and amateur software developers living in the vicinity of downtown Tampa.

If you’re sick of impersonal online developer webinars and want to meet, make friends, and network with other developers in physical space, then this is the group for you. We’re informal, and like to chat about work, personal projects, and life in general.

Join us! It sounds like it’ll be fun. You can RSVP on the event page.

In case you need it, here’s the parking map for Armature Works:

Meetups Tampa Bay

Thursday: “Defending the Home Front – Practical Wi-Fi Defense” online!

This Thursday, February 24th at 7:00 PM EST, catch The Neon Temple’s (Tampa Bay’s semi-secret security society) presentation, Defending the Home Front: Practical Wi-Fi Defense, which you’ll be able to catch either in person or online.

Here’s their writeup for the presentation:

An evening covering the overview of wireless defense. We will discuss the challenges you may face protecting your wireless networks. We will also talk about some of tools available for defending your networks. The evening will wrap up with strategies you can implement based on information gained in practical testing . As always we will run through “live” demonstrations as the demo Gods allow.

Find out more on the event’s page, or catch it online on the event’s YouTube page!