Tags: , , , , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 10/12/2011 8:29 AM | Comments (0)

It's AZGiveCamp time again! Our third event is coming up in under 2 weeks, Oct 21st-23rd 2011 at the Park Central Mall (Central Ave. between Thomas and Osborn) in midtown Phoenix. Please sign-up to volunteer as a developer, designer, or analyst at http://azgivecamp.org/Volunteer.aspx.

Special appeal: we need graphic designers! If you’re a pro or amateur, it doesn’t matter. Designers are always the most popular people at any GiveCamp!

Those who participated in the last 2 events already know that AZGiveCamp is the local component of a national event where the software development community comes together to support local charities and non-profits by developing or improving their web sites and applications. It's fun, it's agile, it's geeky, and it's good for the community.

We had a fantastic time at the last 2 events and, in Arizona alone, have helped more than 20 non-profits with their development needs. As someone who has now participated in GiveCamps as both a participant and as an organizer, I can honestly say the experience is very, very, worthwhile.

You can find out more about AZGiveCamp at http://azgivecamp.org and about the national organization at http://givecamp.org.

I am very excited about this event and look forward to working with all of you at AZGiveCamp III.

Tags: , , , , , | Categories: Development, Event Posted by bsstahl on 8/24/2011 2:14 PM | Comments (0)

http://www.pluralsight-training.net/microsoft/webcasts/index?utm_campaign=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=VR

When I started at Arizona State University (ASU) about twenty-six years ago, I’d already been programming for five or six years, and building applications for a year or two. I’d done things like create hacking tools and WarGames dialers for my own use, and I’d built a few applications for businesses where I was doing lookups and filing information that was specific to that business, but all of that was very heavy on code and light on technique and reusability. I knew how to use variables and arrays, I knew how to make the computer do what I wanted it to do, but I didn’t know how to write good code. At ASU, there were two classes that I had take freshman year that were part of the Engineering & Applied Sciences core, that really woke me up to the world of Computer Science and the things that we, as engineers, can do with our code. Those classes were “Data Structures in Pascal” and “Discreet Mathematics”. These two classes are really the only classes where I have specific memories of the things I learned so long ago.

I remember, very clearly, in the data structures class, learning about linked-lists. I remember the realm of possibilities that I saw when introduced to this data structure. This really very simple data structure showed me tremendous power as a flexible, reusable foundational element, that dwarfed arrays and the other tools I knew at the time. Linked lists showed me how I could hold the same values as I held in an array with addition metadata that gave me the tools to access the values in a different way, in a way that made more sense for the use-case. I saw in these structures a tool I could use to build reusable frameworks that could operate on data in a way that was much more use-case specific. For example, I could use linked-lists to create a queue structure. Then, if the use-case dictated, I could extend that structure to hold a priority and make the queue priority based. These things, while possible just using flat arrays, were much more difficult and harder to reuse. Other structures like binary-trees had impact on me as well, but nothing like the fundamental power of the linked-list.

I remember, in the discreet math class, learning about algorithms that were, in effect, practical uses of math for programmers. Although that class was not officially geared towards programmers, it was very easy to see why it was a core requirement for the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences. I remember learning about various sorting algorithms and encryption methods, optimum path algorithms and best-fit criteria. Basically, I learned ways of applying mathematics to everyday problems I faced when writing code. As with the data structures class, my horizons were significantly expanded by this knowledge and I have used these tools, and my understanding of these tools, to some degree every day since.

For me, making the decision that I wanted to be a software engineer, as opposed to a hardware engineer, didn’t occur until after I started college. The two classes I have described, had a big impact on proving to me that my talent, and my passion, was for software and that programming was the path that I wanted to take in life.

Now, I see an opportunity, 26 years later, to refresh my memory and update my skills on some of these topics. There have been many changes in software engineering since my time in college. The .NET Framework now provides many of the foundational structures I use daily, and, with the help of generics, those structures will often work in a strongly-typed way on any data type I choose. These topics helped establish the course of my career and I am looking forward to seeing how the tools, and the use of these tools, has changed over time. While I realize that I cannot recreate the “eureka experience” of my original awakening, and that you cannot squeeze 2 full-semester classes into a 1-hour presentation, I am still very excited about attending the Pluralsight webcast on Algorithms and Data Structures tomorrow.

Tags: , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 6/28/2011 2:47 AM | Comments (0)

On a personal note, I’ve signed-up to play in the Reggie Sanders Foundation’s Wiffle Ball tournament which is part of the MLB All Star Weekend.  The event is being held at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Saturday morning, July 9th at 9am.  On hand will be former MLB players and other celebrities and the event is to benefit the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC).  If you are interested in playing, sponsoring, or attending, please contact John Zackery at (602) 421-3479 or by email at jzackery (at) gmail (dot) com.

Tournament Flier

Tags: , , , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 4/6/2011 1:21 AM | Comments (0)
I am very excited to once again be attending the annual Day of ScottGu in Arizona. If you haven't been to this event before, you need to sign up right now (below). Those who have been to previous events are probably already signed-up. For more information, see the text below the signup form or the AZGroups website.

It's here again - Mr. Scott Guthrie is coming back to Arizona. And this year we're bringing special A-LIST guest, Mark Russinovich. Scott is a Vice President at Microsoft in charge of the Web Stack (ASP.net + Silverlight + a bunch of other stuff) Scott has made a special visit to the Arizona.net User Group since 2003 and is committed to the Arizona.net community as long as we can continue to support the event (in attendance).

ScottGu runs a bunch of business product lines inside Microsoft, most revolving around the Web Stack. This included ASP.net Web Forms, MVC, NuGet, Silverlight, and I'm sure a bunch of other things that aren't even public (hint hint).

So What Will ScottGu be demo'ing? Answer: I don't know. Scott says it will be magical like always, but at this moment, I'm not sure what he's going to be talking about.

But maybe that's even a better schedule to have. In years past, I have literally had to rush Mr. Scott Guthrie off the stage, which seems silly. Silly in that we wait all year for him to show up, and then don't give him the time he wants. So this year we're having less sponsored stage time, and more Scott Guthrie Time. (insert hoops and hollars here).

Thanks to all of the organizers, speakers, sponsors and attendees of Desert Code Camp 2011.1.  This is the first time that I’ve presented at a Code Camp and it was a fantastic experience for me.  My session, Building Enterprise Apps using Entity Framework 4, was very well attended with 35 people cramming, standing-room-only, into a room with a capacity of 28 (please don’t tell the Fire Marshall).  The demos went very well (everything worked as it was supposed to) and the feedback I’ve gotten so far was entirely positive.

I will be posting some additional information from the session shortly, including the sample code and the changes I make to the Microsoft All Rules code analysis ruleset, but I wanted to get the session slides up as quickly as possible.

If you have any additional feedback on the session, please feel free to contact me here, or by email or twitter (as shown in the slide deck).

DCC 2011.1 -- Building Enterprise Apps using Entity Framework 4

Tags: , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 2/13/2011 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

For the 2nd time in the last 3 years, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the South Florida Code Camp.  Code Camps are free, community driven technical conferences that take place during off-hours, usually weekends, so I try to make it to as many of them as I can.  I have attended most of our local (Arizona) Desert Code Camp events, and will be speaking at the upcoming Desert Code Camp in April 2011, but I also try to attend other code camps whenever possible to get the broadest range of speakers and experiences.  If you haven’t been to the local code camp in your area, you are missing out on a lot of great technical content and opportunities to chat with some awesome technologists.

I was able to attend a session in each of the 6 time slots for South Florida Code Camp 2011.  I’d like to thank the speakers for all of the sessions as each was useful and worth attending:

  1. Zachary Gramana - Custom Tooling Using a VS Add-In and T4 Templates

  2. Colin Blakey – Building OData/WCF Data Service Providers

  3. Bayer White - Hosting Workflows as WCF Services Through Windows Server AppFabric

  4. Olec Sych – ASP.Net Dynamic Data

  5. Woody Pewitt – Technical Debt

  6. Chris Eargle – Code Like a Ninja: Enhance Productivity with Visual Studio and Just Code

Three of these sessions deserve some special mention. The OData/WCF session was probably the most useful from a technical perspective as the demos gave specific examples of exactly what I’d need to do to implement the technology.  The session on technical debt was the most useful overall, Woody from ComponentOne, who is always a fantastic speaker, gave some specific tools to use to calculate the costs of carrying technical debt. In fact, I was fortunate enough to come-away from the raffle with a license to ComponentOne’s Studio Enterprise product.  I’m especially looking forward to trying out the Silverlight controls. Finally, in the last session of the day, which turned into a free-form Visual Studio tips session, Chris did a great job of going with the flow and giving the already rowdy crowd, exactly what they wanted, including demos of some of the coolest features of Just Code.

All of the speakers and organizers did a fantastic job and it was a great event.  Hopefully I will be able to make it back for next year’s event.

Tags: , , , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 10/21/2010 2:42 PM | Comments (0)

The next AZGiveCamp will be held starting January 14th 2011 at the Phoenix campus of Devry University!  Please see AZGiveCamp.org for more details.

Tags: , , , , , | Categories: Development, Event Posted by bsstahl on 12/13/2008 7:48 PM | Comments (0)

Joe Guadagno has posted his summary of The Best of PDC in PHX. This was a great event and I want to make sure those who put it together, spoke, and sponsored it know we are tremendously appreciative of their efforts.  This includes: Joseph Guadagno, Scott Cate and Rob Bagby as well as Microsoft, Robert Half Technology, TekSystems and GoDaddy.

I think that the best summary I can give of my experience at this event is through the tweets I sent in real-time while there.  A few others tweeted about the event as well and you can see all tweets about the event on Twitter Search.  Below, are what I think are my tweets most representative of the experience.

At first I hated that C# didn't have optional params. Now I know that life is better w/o them. Sorry C# 4.0.

Wells Fargo Center has much more comfy chairs than most conference centers #PDCPHX

"...and I say 'thingey' in the most technical way possible." - Rob Bagby #phxpdc

Did Rob Bagby just invoke Don Box? #phxpdc

XBox at the bottom of the hierarchy of needs Rob? #phxpdc

I don't envy @scottcate having to follow Rob Bagby at #phxpdc

Rob Bagby on Intellisense: "I just got nerdly goosebumps". #phxpdc

Notepad!!! #phxpdc

To the non-dev-geek members of my family: no I will not stfu about #phxpdc

I always feel so dirty after demos involving json. #phxpdc

Tunneling an HTTP Put through a Post seems like a massive cluge. #phxpdc

W00t, I finally got @stupiderr on Twitter!

Declarative programming, what a concept... #phxpdc

Rob Bagby is weakening on his anti-Twitter stance. Hit him now while his defenses are down. Resistance is Futile. #phxpdc

"automagically" is a word whose time has come and gone.

It's important for me to know what's available in the Ajax world, but I have no desire to live there anymore. Silverlight FTW!

OK, let's talk Silverlight! #phxpdc

@stupiderr "genie blink"? I am so uncool!

Azure Party Planning Services now live! #phxpdc

Rob Bagby can give presentations on the same topic 2 days in a row that are totally different and both awesome. #phxpdc

#phxpdc Crowd reference to "Hailstorm". Nicely done sir.

Imo the best example of cloud service bus at PDC was in the Don Box/Chris Anderson keynote. #phxpdc

He already said, "you don't need schema"... #phxpdc

First "Animal House" reference of the day goes to Rob. #phxpdc

I don't like the SOAP API for SDS right now. SQL string queries are so 1990s. #phxpdc

Using Linq to project query results into a POCO is awesome. #phxpdc

@steeleprice it means CLR Obj to me. That Linq trick should work in VB too. But then again, I'll always be VB at heart.

@scottcate, @jguadagno, and Rob were all amazing today! Great event! Thank you all!

Tags: , , , , , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 10/30/2003 3:24 PM | Comments (0)
The morning sessions of Day 2 were highlighted by drill-downs into Yukon and WinFS. The most impressive demo of the conference so far was done during the WinFS drill-down by Gord Mangione and Tom Rizzo. They used the Information Agents of WinFS to configure their voicemail application so that when a call came in from a client matching specified custom criteria, and the calendar showed that the user was busy, it would respond to the caller with the time the user's calendar next showed him free.

WinFS may finally make good on the decade-old promise of turning the file-system into a relational database. Its metadata features, including extensible schema, appear poised to make the file-system as programmatically accessible as a database server, with many of the same query capabilities including natural language or SQL style queries.

Yukon also appears to be a major improvement in development technology. This next generation of SQL Server provides CLR (Common Language Runtime - AKA, the .NET Framework) in-process to the SQL Server. This will allow developers to separate the application (or system) tiers physically as well as logically, improving performance, scalability, security, maintainability and extensibility. It will also allow queries to be written in any CLR language, provides structured exception handling for those queries (including in T-SQL) and will allow us to build queries that easily integrate data from various sources (including Web Services).

Needless to say, I am rather excited about many of these developments and am looking forward to installing Longhorn and Yukon on development servers when I return to the real world.