Toronto Code Camp: Saturday, May 1st!

Toronto Code Camp logoThe 5th annual Toronto Code Camp takes place next Saturday, May 1st, in the SEQ building on Seneca College’s York Campus (Seneca@York). If you’re a developer who builds or is thinking of building on the .NET platform, you want to catch this free event!

Last year’s event had over 350 attendees who caught 25 sessions, including the infamous “Data Bondage with Silverlight”, which opened with the equally infamous “assless chaps and accordion performance”. I make no guarantees this year, other than that I’ll be there and that this year’s event will be the biggest and best one yet, with a whopping 40 sessions arranged into 8 tracks.

Seneca@York campus at night

Code Camp happens because of Chris Dufour, .NET community guy extraordinare, who’s been making it happen for the past few years. It’s a free-as-in-beer event, a labour of love carried out by Chris and a team of dedicated volunteers and funded by generous sponsors including The Empire.

Here’s a run-down of Toronto Code Camp 2010’s agenda:

Time What’s Happening
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Keynote
9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Sessions

10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Sessions

12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Sessions

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Sessions

4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Break
4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p,m. Sessions

5:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Break
6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Closing
6:30 p.m. “The Hive” Afterparty
If you want to attend this event, please register!
Later After the afterparty, a tour of York University’s astronomy observatory!


I’ll be present at the event, making myself useful as an official Microsoft representative and as a Windows Phone 7 Champ and Azure go-to guy.

Toronto Code Camp takes place in the SEQ building at Seneca’s campus at York University, which is at 70 The Pond Road. Click the map below to see a Bing map and get directions:

Map to Toronto Code Camp (70 The Pond Road)

See you there!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


More Assless Chaps Photos

I’ll admit it: I like typing out the phrase “assless chaps”. Here are a couple more photos of me showing off said assless chaps in the speaker’s room at Saturday’s Toronto Code Camp (which I wrote about in this post).

Here I am holding up the assless chaps prior to donning them:


…and here I am modelling them for the nerd paparazzi:



Assless Chaps and Data Bondage

Before I begin, let me state that yes, I know that chaps, by definition, have no seat and that the phrase “assless chaps” is redundant. By adding “assless” to chaps, I am simply following one of the golden rules of comedy, namely that adding butt-related humour to anything always makes it funnier.

The Snub and the Challenge

How I came to end up wearing assless chaps on Saturday started innocently enough. I wrote an article about Toronto Code Camp in which I talked about the sessions I was thinking of attending. One of the presenters, Bruce Johnson of ObjectSharp, saw that I didn’t mention his presentation and tweeted that I’d snubbed him:


Actually, learning WPF was on my “to-do” list, so I let Bruce know that I actually was coming to his presentation. In my tweets to him, I fired off this jokey reply:


I figured that I was at very little risk at having to follow through with this promise. Had this been FutureRuby or perhaps some open source conference, I’m sure my challenge would’ve been answered, but I thought: Hey, this is a conference of Microsoft developers! Yes, they’re a bright and talented bunch, and I like them, but they’re an older, corporate, more buttoned-down crowd. They’d never go for renaming a session from “Data Binding” to “Data Bondage”.

But Bruce and the Toronto Code Camp organizers surprised me:


I was actually impressed. I was even a little ashamed that I’d brought some prejudices about Microsoft developers from the open source world with me, thinking that they wouldn’t be cool enough to handle slightly edgy content. Live and learn.

Malabar to the Rescue

“A promise made is a debt unpaid,” as the narrator in the classic poem The Cremation of Sam McGee says, so I made arrangements to get my hands on (or more accurately, ass into) some assless chaps. Luckily, Toronto has Malabar. It’s a great costume shop located on McCaul Street just of Queen West, and they’ve been a great source of costumes for years. That’s where the Ginger Ninja and I got our outfits for Cory Doctorow’s steampunk-ish wedding back in October:


Getting the chaps was easy. I walked into Malabar and simply said “I’d like to rent some chaps, please.”

“What kind?” the woman behind the counter asked.

“The S-and_M-ier, the better.”

“I know just the pair,” said one of the guys. “Let me get them from the basement.”

Malabar rocks.

Putting the “Camp” in “Code Camp”

At this point, you’re probably saying, please Joey, for the love of all things holy, tell me that you wore something under the chaps.

To which I’ll answer: “Yes. Yes I did.” I wore my loudest pair of jeans, a pair of striped jeans in crazy colours that I’ve had since my days at Crazy Go Nuts University, back when I used to go to raves. They went well with the chaps, as you can see in the photo below:


I did promise that the assless chaps would be Microsoft-branded; this was fixed thanks to Colin Bowern giving me an “I’m a PC” sticker that he happened to have in his knapsack:


Later in the afternoon, I ran to the store to get a Diet Coke and saw my reflection in the mirrored windows of a neighbouring building. “Damn, I look good!” I thought.

And as proof of their asslessness, here’s a photo of the chaps from behind. Ladies, please control yourselves; I’m already spoken for!


I walked into Bruce’s presentation moments after everyone was seated and regaled them with Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time, spiced up with a little extra butt-wiggling and ending with rousing applause:


…after which I sat down in the front row to catch Bruce’s presentation. It was quite good, and I did learn a lot about data binding in WPF – certainly enough for me to start exploring that aspect of Windows and Silverlight programming. Just as important – if not more so – I learned that the Windows developer community is cooler than one might be led to believe. Both were good lessons.


Toronto Code Camp: Saturday, April 25th

Toronto Code Camp logoWhether you’re an old hand at developing for Microsoft’s platforms or completely new to The Ways of The Empire, you’ll find the upcoming Toronto Code Camp to be a great way to get some deep information on .NET development as well as a way to meet some of the most active and engaged members of the local Microsoft developer community. It takes place at the Manulife Building (200 Bloor Street East, on the north side between Church and Jarvis) and runs from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and registration is free.

Toronto Code Camp will have 5 tracks in its agenda:

  1. ASP.NET: Covering Active Server Pages technology, which includes Virtual Earth and the new ASP.NET MVC framework, which gives you the goodness of frameworks like Rails and Django and the speed and libraries of .NET. The ASP.NET MVC: Beyond the Basics presentation by Richard Obuhowich is definitely on my own “must-see” list.
  2. Data / Architecture: SQL Server, plus ADO.NET, LINQ and the Microsoft Sync Framework.
  3. .NET Framework: This is a really broad topic, and this year, the sessions will be on building installers with WiX, building extensions to Office and Visual Studio, building SharePoint apps, and a fast introduction to Windows Mobile development by Mark Arteaga that I intend to catch.
  4. Silverlight / WPF: The track for people who want to build rich multimedia interfaces for the web (Silverlight) and Windows (WPF, short for Windows Presentation Foundation). I’m thinking of seeing Robert Burke’s Silverlight from 2 to 3 – or, Silverlight Beyond MIX09 presentation, which is supposed to be PowerPoint-free!
  5. Future / Other: A catch-all track for topics about upcoming developer tools and tech, as well as things that don’t quite fit in the other tracks. There are presentations on the F# programming language (an OCaml-like .NET language), the Azure cloud computing platform, upcoming goodies like the .NET 4.0 framework and VB10 plus a session titled 2D XNA Game Programming for Fun and Profit by Josef Rogosky.

For more details about all the sessions and when they’ll take place, see the Toronto Code Camp agenda.

I’m going to be there, attending as both a developer looking to learn as well as a Sith Lord representing the Empire. I’m going to take notes, snap photos and perhaps even shoot a little video; I’m also going to see what I can do about bringing some swag to give away.

The registrations are coming in fast and furious, so if you want to come, make sure you register now!