Scenes from TechDays Winnipeg, Part 1

Most of the DPE team (including boss-man John Oxley) are in Winnipeg this week to run TechDays. In between my responsibilities as the guy in charge of the developer sessions, I’ve been running around snapping photos and thought I’d share some with you. Here are my pics of the presenters in both developer tracks, "Developing for Three Screens and the Cloud” and “Optimizing the Development Process”, with some extra shots of the hallways between sessions.

We had Mike Diehl presenting Real-World Patterns for Cloud Computing:

01 Mike Diehl

Meanwhile, in the “Local Flavours” track, D’Arcy Lussier talked about Windows Phone 7 development:

02 Darcy Lussier

And over in the “Three Screens” room, Kelly Cassidy showed his audience how to Jump into Silverlight and Become Immediately Productive.

03 Kelly Cassidy

For the second session of the day, Mark Arteaga shared his Windows Phone 7 knowledge in the first of a two-part series of sessions on Windows Phone.

04 Mark Arteaga

And in the back were these troublemakers:

05 Speakers

Out in the hallway, Rick Claus and Damir Bersinic chatted with Jason Miller:

06 Rick Damir Jason

Over in the “Optimizing” track, we had Aaron Kowall dropping TFS science on his audience:

07 Aaron session

08 Aaron Kowall

Rick and I walked the lunch audience through Windows Phone 7’s features:

09 Rick Lunch

After lunch, Miguel Carrasco showed people how to Build Web Sites Fast Using Visual Studio 2010:

10 Miguel Carrasco

Should “Tron Guy” ever retire, I nominate David Wesst to take his place:

11 David Wesst PowerGlove

Here’s Dylan Smith, talking about Branching and Merging Practices:

12 Dylan Smith

Dylan was followed by Bruce Johnson, who covered Getting Your Return on Investment with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

13 Bruce Johnson

14 Bruce crowd

David, who was still wearing the PowerGlove, talking about Windows Azure:

15 David Wesst

Amir Barylko covered the Top Ten Mistakes in Unit Testing:

16 Amir Barylko

And at the same time, my coworker John Bristowe presented Visual Studio 2010 Tips and Tricks:

17 John Bristowe

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


My Photos from Make Web Not War 2010

I’ll post a more detailed write-up of the Make Web Not War conference later, but I thought that those of you who were there (or wished they were there) would like to see some photos as soon as possible. I’ve posted my photos at full resolution to my Make Web Not War Flickr photoset, which you can view either on Flickr or the slideshow above. The photos all have titles, and I promise I’ll finished the remainder of the descriptions over the next couple of days.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Behind the Scenes at “Star Trek: The Next Generation”

Denise Crosby ("Tasha Yar") leans up against the Enterprise-D's tactical station between shots

For those of you who are fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, there are some lovely “behind the scenes” shots of the cast and crew on the TrekCore site. I’ve posted a couple of my favourites here.

A very young-looking Johnathan Frakes ("Will Riker") poses beside an upside-down model of the Enterprise-D

LeVar Burton ("Geordi LaForge"), Michael Dorn ("Worf"), Wil Wheaton ("Wesley Crusher") and Marina Sirtis ("Deanna Troi") in the dressing room

Michale Dorn ("Worf") reads "Yachts for Sale" magazine

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


Scenes from TechDays Winnipeg

It’s hard to believe, but the seven-city cross-Canada tour known as TechDays 2009 is over. We had the last one – TechDays Winnipeg – on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. Here are some photos I shot during the event.

The Day Before TechDays Winnipeg

Of all the TechDays venues, I would have to hand the “swankiest speaker prep room” award to the Winnipeg Convention Centre, with its wood panelling, private washrooms, loads of closet space, plentiful tables, very comfortable leatherette couches and all-round 1980s styling. I can imagine a young Flock of Seagulls or Duran Duran hanging out here after a show, entertaining groupies:

00 speaker room

During the holidays, many people like to decorate their storefront and home windows with fake spray-on frost. In Winnipeg, where the temperatures were hovering around –35 degrees C (-31 degrees F), you don’t need that stuff – they’ve got the real thing! Here are the side doors on the ground floor of the Winnipeg Convention Centre:

01 frost

Here’s a closer look:

02 frost

And just for kicks, an even closer one.

03 frost

I must tip my hat to the people of Winnipeg for toughing out those kinds of temperatures, year after year.

The Convention Centre had a secret stash of Christmas trees, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice:

04 decorations

One of the perks of being a TechDays Track Lead is that nobody asks questions when you rearrange the signs for an art shot:

05 art shot

Day 1

John Bristowe, track lead for the green-shirted Developer Fundamentals and Best Practices track, just had another baby, so he was tied up with Dad duties (congrats, John and Fiona!). I donned a green shirt took over as acting track lead for his track and recruited D’Arcy Lussier to host my track, the orange-shirted Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform track.

The first speaker for Developer Fundamentals and Best Practices was Jeremy Wiebe, who presented the very popular Tips and Tricks for Visual Studio session:

06 jeremy wiebe

How popular was it? Popular enough that people were overflowing out of the rows:

07 green track audience 1

…and we even had to drag in some extra chairs to create a new row at the back:

08 green track audience 2

This was an attentive crowd. There were a lot of “I didn’t know you could do that in Visual Studio!”-type reactions.

09 green track audience 3

The second session of the day was given by Dylan Smith: Test-Driven Development Techniques:

10 dylan smith

Once again, a good crowd.

11 green track audience

During lunch, my coworker, IT pro evangelist Rick Claus and I did a presentation on some of the new features in Office 2010, with me showing off some of the new graphics goodness in PowerPoint 2010:

12 lunch day 1

The sessions resumed in the afternoon with Uwe Schmitz talking about Patterns for the Rest of Us. I was a bit surprised at how few hands went up when I asked how many people had read or even attempted to read Design Patterns by the “Gang of Four”.

13 uwe schmitz

Most of Uwe’s audience was in the same room as he was:

14 inside audience

But one guy, whose back was made sore by the conference room chairs, took a clever approach. We broadcast all sessions’ projections and audio on a monitor outside every room, so he took one of the comfy chairs in the hallway outside and set himself up for some living room-style viewing:

15 outside audience

I told him that with his sunglasses and the way he was seated, he reminded me of the old ads for Maxell tapes from the 1980s:

old maxell ad

After Uwe was Dave Harris, who presented A Strategic Comparison of Data Access Technologies from Microsoft:

16 dave harris

Day 2

The outside temperature improved for the second day: it became a relatively balmy –20 degrees C (-4 degrees F). What a difference 15 degrees makes!

The first session was Practical Web Testing and was delivered by the team of Tyler Doerksen and Robert Regnier:

17 tyler doerksen robert regnier

I stepped out to drop in on the track which I had put together, my orange-shirted Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform track. While the Developer Fundamentals and Best Practices track typically had big draws on Day 1, Day 2 is when the Platform track brought in the crowds:

18 orange track audience

The session was the popular Introducing ASP.NET MVC, and in Winnipeg, it was delivered by Kelly Cassidy:

19 kelly cassidy

An unfortunate set of circumstances speaker shortages and cancellations means that Rick had to deliver all the presentations for day 2 of his track, Servers, Security and Management. That’s 300 minutes in total behind the lectern. It’s quite fortunate that he knows his stuff and that his theatre training makes him an excellent presenter:

20 rick claus

Meanwhile, back at the green track, Aaron Kowall presented Better Software Change and Configuration Management Using TFS:

21 aaron kowall

During his session, he presented a very important truth: Build automation is not just merely pressing “F5”:

22 aaron kowall

At lunch, Rick hosted a demo showdown between me (representing developers) and my coworker, IT Pro Evangelist Rodney Buike, trying to determine who could do the better Windows 7 demos. I won, thanks in part to my demo of the most obscure Windows features: the Private Character Editor.

23 lunch day 2

Joel Semeniuk needs no introduction. I simply told the audience that “Joel has forgotten more about Team System than I will ever learn. Besides, what I know about Team System can be summarized in the two words ‘jack’ and ‘poop’.” Here’s Joel in action, presenting Metrics That Matter: Using Team System for Process Improvement:

24 joel semeniuk

I love this shot of Joel – he looks like a general addressing his own private banana republic:

25 joel semeniuk

A closer look:

26 joel semeniuk

The most popular afternoon snack was served between the third and fourth sessions of Day 2: Canada’s favourite snack – donuts!

27 donuts

My SD card corrupted the photos of the last speaker of the day, Steve Porter, who did a fine job presenting his session, Database Change Management with Team System. My apologies, Steve!

And finally, to make up for the fact that I did not properly capture D’Arcy Lussier’s hair — an asset in which he takes great pride — in yesterday’s video interview, I now present a close-up shot of his coiff:

28 darcy lussier suave

My thanks to everyone at TechDays Winnipeg – attendees, speakers, staff and organizers – for making it an great way to close out the tour!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Trouble, Incorporated

One of the features at the TechDays cross-country conference is the “Ask the Experts” booth, which is staffed all day by speakers (when they aren’t speaking, naturally) and other local tech experts. They’re there to answer attendee questions about Microsoft tools and technologies, tech trends, the industry in general, the local job scene and so on.

While riffling through the photos I shot over the past couple of weeks, I found these ones I took when I passed the “Ask the Experts” booth at TechDays Toronto and saw the trio of Sean Kearney, Steve Syfuhs and Mitch Garvis. I took one look at them, said “Uh-oh, Trouble Incorporated!”, and snapped these pics. I thought you might enjoy them:

Sean Kearney, Steve Syfuhs and Mitch Garvis

Sean Kearney, Steve Syfuhs and Mitch Garvis

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


My “Microsoft: Stop Making Fun of Us” Slide

I started my presentation at WordCamp Toronto 2009 yesterday – Better Living Through Blogging — with this slide, which got a lot of laughs. A number of people have requested it, and I’m only too happy to oblige. Here you go: share and enjoy!

"I'm a PC" guy holding a gun pointed at "I'm a Mac" guy: "Microsoft: Stop making fun of us."Click the photo to see it at full size.

The image comes from a Worth1000 Photoshopping contest – here’s the original.


My Favourite Slides from Francis Hwang’s Presentation at CUSEC

Slide: "Programming is a big world. You have choices."

Slide: "Q: How is a brain surgeon a kind of artist? A: Why would I want to be an artist? I'm a fucking brain surgeon." 

Slide: "Live some of your life outside of the nerd ghetto."