How to buy tickets for CodeMash

CodeMash is a very, very popular conference—demand for tickets far exceeds supply.  CodeMash sells out in minutes, and try as they might, the organizers simply can’t make everyone happy, nor assure anyone other than speakers and sponsors get tickets.  Whether you’re registering as a returning alum, or in the general admission, here are a few hints to make your registration easier.

Update: General tickets for CodeMash 2014 go on sale at 3:05 PM ET on 10/29.  If you didn’t know this until now, pay special attention to the section immediately below.  To check the time, you should probably use something accurate, like your cell phone, rather than your watch or the clock on the microwave.

Pay attention to the details

The organizers communicate a lot of information in the Google Group at https://groups.google.com/forum/m/?fromgroups#!forum/codemash.  Pay attention to the details—the day and time registration starts, when alumni emails are being sent.  If you don’t get your alumni email when you should, check your spam folder.  Contact the organizers in the Google Group within a day of them sending the emails.  Do not wait until the last minute!  Set appointments in whatever calendar app you use so you don’t miss the start times.

Tickets are purchased via EventBrite, not through the CodeMash site.  Don’t go to the CodeMash site to register—there is nothing there for you.

Also, understand the rules.  Alumni emails are sent only to attendees from the previous year.  If you went two years ago but not last year, no dice.

Anytime before registration starts

CodeMash uses EventBrite for tickets and PayPal for payments.  You can make your registration a little less stressful by creating accounts on each of these sites, and making sure your profile information is complete and accurate.  If you have a PayPal account but don’t want to use those funds to pay for your tickets, you may need to create a new account and connect it to the credit card you want to use.

Pro tip: use a personal email address to register!  People change jobs, and alumni emails are sent to addresses on record.  Use an address you won’t lose if your employment changes.

Day of alumni registration – reserve hotel room

The CodeMash hotel room block opens up at 8am ET on the day of Alumni registration.  You need to call and say you’re reserving a room for CodeMash.  Be patient, the Kalahari registration staff knows the drill and is awesome.

If you don’t get a room at the Kalahari, make a reservation at a nearby venue, and check back.  There is a great deal of room speculation, and as the speculators don’t get tickets, the rooms free up again.  Continue right up until the conference starts.  Also, in the Google Group, there are often requests for roommates and carpools.

About 10 minutes before registration

Open two tabs in your browser and log into Eventbrite and PayPal.  Confirm your information is correct.  After you log into Eventbrite, open the CodeMash registration page.

Decide what ticket you want—conference only (Thurs & Fri), conference plus one day of precompiler (Weds-Fri), or conference plus two days of precompiler (Tues-Fri).  Make up your mind before you try and register—going back during registration has caused problems and delayed or prevented people from registering.

If you buy a conference only and decide you want to upgrade to precompiler, you can sometimes upgrade at a later date, subject to availability.  No guarantees.

At registration time

Until the exact second registration starts, you’ll see a “no tickets available” (or similar) message.  Use control+F5 to reload the page over and over.  When you see a list of tickets, choose the one you want, and continue registration.  Now, relax.  The worst is over—you have 45 minutes to complete your purchase, and Eventbrite shows you a countdown clock.  Since you should be already logged in, you just need to confirm your information and continue on.

To pay, you’ll be transferred to PayPal.  You should still be logged in, but if not, log in again.  Again, be calm.  45 minutes.  Choose your payment method, complete your purchase.  Make sure you click the link to go back to Eventbrite and complete your purchase!  Once you’re transferred back to Eventbrite, you should see a purchase confirmation.  You’re done, celebrate all over social media and start planning your outfits.

If you don’t get a ticket

Ticket sessions are reserved for 45 minutes.  If a ticket isn’t purchased within 45 minutes, it’s released back into the pool.  About 40 minutes after registration started, come back and try again.  Keep trying, since sessions all started at different times.  If you still don’t get a ticket, put yourself on the wait list and keep watching the Google Group—tickets are canceled up until the conference starts, especially in the final week leading up to the conference and you may be able to score one of these.

If you get a ticket

Check out my post An Unofficial Guide to CodeMash: http://rjdudley.com/blog/2012/12/29/an-unofficial-guide-to-codemash/

If you can’t get a room at the Kalahari

There are a lot of nearby hotels in Sandusky, including a Great Wolf Lodge (that’ll show ’em–get admission to two indoor water parks!).  Grab a room at a nearby hotel and watch the Google group–people’s plans change and rooms become available, especially in the two weeks leading up to CodeMash.  The Kalahari will have a shuttle to the nearest hotels, see https://groups.google.com/forum/m/?fromgroups#!topic/codemash/sjL8fHEcPrE.

An Unofficial Guide to CodeMash

Preface: Be excellent to each other.  Please, just be excellent to each other, and have a good time.

In the last few years, I’ve been a sponsor/exhibitor/speaker/attendee at CodeMash, and it truly lives up to the hype of being one of the greatest conferences you can attend. The organizers do an incredible job running the event and choosing the speakers, ad the Kalahari provides a great atmosphere. It’s a large conference, with around 1300 attendees, plus speakers, volunteers and exhibitors. I’m always trying to recall all the good information I mean to tell people when I try to explain CodeMash to first time attendees, so I’m putting it here for future reference.

There are changes from year to year, and I’ll try to keep this post updated from year to year as I attend. Please leave comments if I miss something.

CodeMash is special because it’s unique. They don’t franchise or have regional events (and the organizers request you please stop asking). Enjoy the uniqueness of CodeMash, it’s not your usual conference.

Join the Google Group!

If you’re interested in CodeMash but haven’t joined the CodeMash Google Group, you need to do so. There is a little activity through the year, but starting a couple weeks before speaker submissions, traffic picks up.

In addition to all the information around the conference, this is also the best place to find rides to share, tickets for sale and so on. Activity is high in the two weeks prior to CodeMash with offers to tranfser tickets and rooms.

If you got a ticket/room, but can’t go

First of all, bummer. You can cancel your ticket via EventBrite for a refund, or you can post a ticket in the Google group for someone to buy your ticket (how they pay you is up to you). You can directly transfer your ticket to someone else via EventBrite.

If you had a room at the Kalahari, don’t cancel it. Instead post it in the Google group. The Kalahari will transfer rooms between attendees. There may be a $25 charge for this, I’m not sure, I’ve never done this. If there is, you’ll have to work out how the person pays you. Usually, PayPal is used.

If you don’t get a ticket

CodeMash sells out fast–within minutes of tickets going on sale. Lots of people don’t get tickets. It’s OK, your life isn’t over. Don’t panic, put yourself on the waiting list and monitor the Google group. Tickets are handled via EventBrite, and there is easy functionality to transfer a ticket from one person to another.

If you can’t get a room

Not only does the conference sell out quickly, so does the Kalahari. The organizers have additional arrangements with nearby hotels for pricing and shuttle service (by now you can guess where the details will be posted). Parking is free and plentiful at the Kalahari, so if you’re driving in and staying offsite, consider driving over and offering a ride to others.

There is a cheerleading competition the weekend following CodeMash. When you make your reservation, if you want your family to come that weekend, factor that in. It might be easier to have the family come before the conference, rather than stay after.

The Kalahari provides regular shuttle service to some of the other nearby hotels for CodeMash, information is posted in the Google group ahead of time and is available at registration once you’re there.

Getting there

The Kalahari is in Sandusky, OH, near Cedar Point. It’s not in Cleveland. In fact, it’s a nearly 45 minute trip from the Cleveland airport to the Kalahari. No better from Akron/Canton or Toledo. I live about 2.5 hours from Sandusky, so I just drive over, and I’m not familiar with the transportation from the airport. You’re looking at a pricey cab ride though (roughly $130, plus tip). The Kalahari has shuttle service to/from the airport for about $85 (and $25/person after the first), or you can arrange with one of the local airport shuttles or town car services. Many attendees have used Toms Cruz. Not to sound like a broken record, but the Google group is a good place to find people arriving about the same time and wanting to share a ride.

Weather/News Alerts

CodeMash wouldn’t be CodeMash without some sort of blizzard.  Depending on when and how you’re arriving, you may be significantly affected.  CodeMash 2.0.1.4 saw a Level 3 snow emergency on Monday prior, which means you could be arrested if you’re on the roads.  Here are some resources to watch for local travel conditions (remember the Kalahari is actually in Erie County, OH):

http://www.erie-county-ohio.net/(specifically the Sheriff’s office page)

http://www.toledonewsnow.com/

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/

http://www.northwestohio.com/weather/

http://www.northwestohio.com/weather/contents.aspx

http://fox8.com/

While you’re there

The Kalahari in January is basically a bio-dome (if you like stupid movies, that’s a great one). The place is massive and self-contained. If you’re staying there, expect to walk a lot and get lost frequently. Elevators are usually jammed, so knowing where the stairs are is helpful. People with Fitbits or pedometers report walking a couple miles each day! The last couple years have featured a blizzard, which adds to the excitement of being self contained.

The conference supplies WiFi, which can get crushed. Don’t be a hog, only connect the devices you need connected. Once the conference starts, most of the chatter happens on Twitter. It’s where you’ll find rides, dinner offers, parties and so on. Make a column for a search on #codemash. If you’re not on Twitter, you will miss out on the unofficial side activities.

CodeMash has started to use EventBrite as its app.  Additionally, session data are provided via an API and attendees can go to town.  There are apps for iOS, Android, WP8 and Win 8, plus the dead tree version at registration.  There are multiple simultaneous events, so the schedule is something to keep an eye on. Last minute changes are communicated on signs near the registration desk.

Bring business cards or personal cards. Take Moo or VistaPrint up on an offer of free or cheap cards. Few people care about your physical address anymore, but be sure to put all your social contact on there (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook if you’re so inclined). You’ll use these to enter sponsor raffles as well as an easy way to exchange contact information with new friends. These are especially nice if you have a name or social ID which is difficult to spell or remember. If you can, put a vcard as a QR code or Microsoft tag on there.

Your cell phone will die during the day, so pack and plan to carry your charger with you.

What to wear

It’s January on the shores of Lake Erie. Although you’re basically having a grown-up lock-in, a warm jacket and clothes are necessary. There will be probably be times where you’re heading to a nearby restaurant or something, and you’ll get to experience Lake Erie weather (think Edmund Fitzgerald). Otherwise, during sessions, flip flops, shorts and a Hawaiian shirt are perfectly acceptable (not kidding). If you get cold easily, you may want to wear jeans and keep a sweater handy–the air conditioning in the rooms is either too cold or too hot, and everyone’s opinion differs.

According to Keith Elder (2013’s emcee):

Wear whatever is comfortable or that is *you*. If you dress up too much you’ll probably feel over dressed and out of place.

You’ve heard the saying “He/She was dressed to the 9’s” ?

For Codemash you want to dress to the 4’s – 6’s. Hit that sweet spot of comfort-ability, individuality, and geekiness.

Jason Follas (one of the organizers) recommends:

You would be in good company wearing jeans and a t-shirt… Though, it sometimes gets chilly, so having a sweatshirt/sweater can be useful.

You’ll see some people in shorts and Hawaiian shirts. Others will be business casual. I’m betting there will be one guy wearing a bow tie (seriously).

The most important thing is to be respectful of others (i.e., no profane slogans on T-Shirts, or swimwear in the conference area, etc.) and to be comfortable with whatever you wear.

In addition to the bow tie, you’re also likely to see a kilt or two.

Remember those two miles or more of walking each day? Wear good walking shoes, too.

T-shirts from sponsors will be plentiful on the first day. Of course, you’ll want a bathing suit, too, for the party in the waterpark. And, obviously, always pack your towel.

Eating

CodeMash provides breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and breakfast, lunch and dinner on Thursday only. Highlights of the food include the bacon bar and bring-your-own-hot-sauce table. If you have a favorite hot sauce, bring a bottle and share it. If you enjoy hot sauce, this is a treat.

The Kalahari has several restaurants on-site, but they get full and are resort pricing. If you have the means to travel (either your own wheels or new friends), there are a number of restaurants a mile or two north (take a right from the Kalahari entrance) on the main road. These include a Buffalo Wild Wings, Olive Garden, Ryan’s Steakhouse, Outback, Chili’s, Applebee’s and Panera. One we found that’s about 15-20 minutes away is the Angry Bull Steakhouse. Spectacular bacon wrapped filet mignon. ’nuff said.

You’re not actually going on safari, although the Kalahari decorators might appreciate you thinking so.  There is a Wal-Mart and other grocery stores a little north of the Kalahari, right around the Routes 2/250 interchange, and you can stock up on supplies once you arrive.

Most rooms have a small coffee maker, and there is a coffee shop on site. However, the coffee shop does not scale well. Regular coffee and tea is available at times during the day, but you’re own your own for other refreshments. There is a Starbucks a couple miles up the road near the other restaurants if you’re dying for your Mochacocoafroppaccinno.

Most rooms also have a small fridge (the suites have a real kitchen), and there is a Wal-Mart and a grocery store a couple miles up the road also. You can stock up on some essentials there.

Remember to hydrate! Bring a favorite water bottle, or maybe you can find a swag one. You will get thirsty with the dry air and moving around.

Social Activities

Outside of normal conference activities, there is an official game room, with dozens of games brought by attendees (bring your favorite), and both an acoustic and electric jam session. Bring your favorite instruments, or the conference supplies some.

In 2013, the Kalahari opened a new bar named Longnecks in the conference center, which will be open for CodeMash each night. Room parties are plentiful, and some sponsors also host activities.

The conference itself

The almost exact session schedule will be available via the apps or (usually) printed in your swag bag. Last minutes changes will be posted by registration and announced at meals. The 30,000′ view for 2013 is posted at https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/codemash/m_zHu0TePpY.

You will not be able to attend all the sessions you want to–there are too many good ones. The law of two feet applies. If you find a session isn’t what you thought it was, move to a different one. Speakers know this too, no big deal. Just don’t make a ruckus as you depart.

In addition to the sessions, there is KidzMash, the unbelievably entertaining Pecha Kucha talks, the game room, Magic the Gathering tournament and the jam session. Plus parties.

Don’t forget to visit the sponsors and thank them! CodeMash wouldn’t happen without them. In addition to cool prizes, they have products which may help you in your daily life, and many sponsors are recruiting talent. You may find an awesome new job there.

Save the WiFi!

One of the complaints about every conference is the WiFi is slow.  CodeMash and the Kalahari have made great improvements but we the attendees need to do our part.  CodeMash has stats on what the largest bandwidth hogs are (and reserves the right to block these).

Please be sure to turn off the following things while you’re here (you’ll be back to civilization in a couple days, and you can resume your normal bandwidth consumption then):

  1. Automatic updates
  2. Carbonite/Mozy backups
  3. Torrents (both downloading content and service as a torrent host)
  4. Streaming radio or video
  5. Tor relays
  6. et cetera.  Be respectful of your fellow attendees.

Additionally, if you know you’ll be in a session with prerequisites, please make sure you download and install these before you leave for the conference.  CodeMash does have an onsite server for prereqs also, so if you find something you missed you can access that.  Information is in the conference book you get at registration.

How to behave

Be comfortable in your own skin. Too often at conferences I see people afraid to interact because they may not be as knowledgeable as the other attendees and they’re afraid they’ll be judged. That’s never the case, especially at CodeMash. What you know has value, what you don’t know is a topic for conversation. Being at a conference is as much about sharing as it is absorbing what is being shared.

CodeMash is not a stuffy, tightly wound conference. The organizers have a sense of humor. Don’t be afraid to relax and be yourself (even if being yourself means you’re tightly wound). You’ll see all kinds of silly things around the conference, enjoy the atmosphere.

One great advantage of being at the Kalahari is the social interaction, so if you’re staying offsite, plan to hang around the Kalahari and socialize. Talk to speakers and other attendees. Everyone is available, and you’ll have plenty of chances between sessions, during meals and at the social activities. The sessions are great, but the hallway sessions are often the best. We’ve come up with all kinds of crazy ideas and brilliant solutions around a packed dinner table covered with wings.

To foster an environment of sharing, the organizers have a strict policy against making people feel bad. Briefly, “Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!”

Officially, to quote the CodeMash Anti-harassment Policy:

CodeMash is dedicated to providing an outstanding conference experience for all our attendees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, financial status, hair color (or hair amount), platform preference, or text editor of choice.

We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form, and we would like to take this opportunity to remind all attendees of the basic premise CodeMash was founded on: passionate, but respectful dialog between our attendees. Please treat your fellow attendees with respect, regardless of the context you’re interacting with each other.

Harassment is not appropriate for any conference venue. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference, without a refund, at the discretion of the conference organizers.

When you arrive, check you ego and judgment at the door. Enter with a wide eyed sense of wonder, you’re going to learn some awesome things. CodeMash is a great opportunity to learn from others, so take the opportunity to learn something new and different. IMHO, if you don’t leave planning to try something totally new, and knowing where to start, you did it wrong.

Thank the organizers, volunteers and Kalahari!

CodeMash is entirely run by a team of volunteers, and make sure to thank them for a job well done. From trying to narrow down thousands of submitted talks into around 200 sessions, to arranging hotels, food and transportation, sponsors, A/V and more, the organizers put in a tremendous amount of time and effort. In 2013, expenses for CodeMash were around $610,000 and income from sponsorships and registration was around $640,000, leaving a very tight margin for anything last minute. All the little things add up, so you can see the job in enormous. If you’re so inclined, a hugboard has been set up at http://www.hugboard.com/eacd3af021/contribute.

Also, be cool to the Kalahari staff. They work overtime to ensure a great conference, and it’s a very stressful week for them.

In conclusion

The hallmark of a great conference is one you’re sad to leave, and anxious to come back to. CodeMash provides a great environment, but it’s up to you to make it awesome for you. Participating and interacting are key to making your CodeMash experience awesome. The secret sauce of CodeMash is partly organization, partly Kalahari, but mostly attendees.

FAQs

1. Do I get waterpark party passes if I have a CodeMash ticket but am staying offsite?

Yes!  The waterpark party is a conference event, not a hotel event.  Kalahari guests do have access to the waterpark at all times, which offsite attendees do not, but that mostly benefits guests with families along for the ride.

DevTeach wrap-up

I can’t believe I’ve been back for a week, this week has been a blur.

I have to say thank you to the Montreal .NET Community, JS Tougas, Eric Moreau and Guy Barrette in particular.  JS was my personal tour guide all week, and Eric treated Julie Lerman and myself to lunch on Friday.  Overall, a great bunch of guys.  Thanks also to Jim Duffy for the chat on the plane to Philly.  Hope you got home after your delay.

Montreal .NET UG hosted a party one night, with some excellent beer and munchies.  JS and I loaded up on poutine before heading over.  There were giveaways, and I ended up winning an Aspose Total for .NET subscription because I dropped my business card in the pile.  Awesome!  That pretty much made the trip a wash for my company.  I’m looking forward to using that in the very near future.  JS had to catch his train home, and I had a little work to do, so we gave our door prize tickets to Julie (we’re each claiming 1/3 of anything she won).  Plus, I wasn’t going to try and navigate the underground by myself after a couple beers.

There was plenty of swag given away at DevTeach.  Dozens of thumb drives (I won a couple), as well as a big pile of books and I think 5 MSDN subscriptions.  Microsoft kicked in a copy of Visual Studio 2008 Professional, Expression Web and the Tech-Ed DVDs for all attendees.  Plus, the ever present messenger bag or backpack to take it all home in (from Leed’s, a local company).

Speaking of the Tech-Ed DVDs, they were produced with a beta of Silverlight, and don’t work with Silverlight 2.0 RTM.  Eric has more information about how to play the Tech-Ed DVDs.

Guy uploaded his photos to Sky Drive.  He’s the guy in the antlers.

So now that work is settling down a little, it’s time to do a little knowledge transfer with my team.  We have some good challenges ahead of us, and some great new knowledge to help us along.

DevTeach Post Con, Entity Framework with Julie Lerman

Umm, yeah.  That could turn into a conference unto itself.  After you run through the little wizard, you have something pretty easy to use, but under the covers, it’s amazing how much functionality and control they’ve baked in to a version 1 product.

Since EF originated with the ADO.NET team, it’s actually pretty performant.  In some tests Julie ran for a recent CoDE Magazine article, she shows the EF to be about 10x faster than Linq to SQL (which originated with the C# team, but has been transferred to the ADO.NET Team), and faster than even ADO.NET Data Adapters.

I’m pencilled in to present the EF at Pittsburgh .NET in February, and Nate and I are going to begin to incorporate it into Scrumr.  That mean’s there’s going to be some serious rearchitecting of the app, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.  As we go through the process, Nate and I will be blogging about our experiences.

DevTeach, Day 3

Today I got to meet Nitin, publisher of the awesome and free cheat sheets at http://www.refcardz.com/.  All free PDF downloads, covering a range of topics.  They’re introducing 12 new .NET cards next year, but already have Silverlight 2, Core .NET, C# and PowerShell.  Nitin brought some nicely printed ones for deign patterns and Silverlight 2.  This was a sweet bit of swag.

A lot of people stayed late at the UG party last night, judging by the low attendance at breakfast and bleary eyes in the early sessions.

My first session was protecting web apps against injection attacks.  In a way, I’m happy that we already do almost all of the recommended best practices.  There are a few things I need to touch up when I get back.

The Silverlight toolkit is very cool, I can’t wait to get more into Silverlight and what it can do.  The follow-up databinding session didn’t go so well, so not much there.

I did win a couple of USB keys today, and Rally Software gave me a handful of Matchbox-size Mini Coopers with their logo for looking at their software.  Their community edition may find its way into a project in the future as a test drive.

The afternoon is being spent with Rod Paddock and Jim Duffy.  Rod went through Ajaxing applications and a brief tour of the Ajax Control Toolkit.

The always hilarious Jim Duffy did a great talk on refactoring in VB.NET using the free Refactor! from DevExpress.  My team can expect to download and install this tool next week.

Last regular session is using Virtual Earth in ASP.NET apps.  Very excited about this.  My team at work can expect to see some of this next year.

DevTeach, Day 2

I’m in Markus Egger’s (Pubisher of CoDE Magazine) “Intro to Silverlight” talk, and he just dropped the bombshell that the next version of Silverlight will support out-of-browser experiences!  In 2.0, the browser is required to host the controls, but the next version can stand alone.

“Identifying Performance Benchmarks”.  Awesome.  This session alone will pay for the trip.  Cool tip:

select * from orders
GO

will execute the statement once

select * from orders
go 500

will execute the statement 500 times.  Perfmon + profiler = cool, especially when you overlay perfom stats on top of traces.

DB Maintenance Optimization.  Don’t use Database Maintenance Plans, create your own.  They’re not a great tool.  If you have to, research all their options, and choose as few as you need to–you can do some really dumb things.  Windows 2008 Server has scheduled job to defrag filesystem enabled by default.  Using SQL on a SAN, check out http://www.sqlcat.com/ for best practices.  Physical file fragmentation does exist on a SAN, but can be hidden by caching and buffering.  Diskeeper has some guidance.

Expression Blend is cool.  We got Expression Web as part of the conference swag, but we have Blend as part of MSDN.  Blend 2.0 is built in WPF, and parts of VS10 will also be built on WPF.  Blend 2.5 with the Silverlight tools was changed to be an SP.  WPF Spy tools can be used to poke around inside of blend.  Tips: if you don’t know a namespace, hover over the class and hit Ctrl+. to find all namespaces with that class.  I see some great potential for WPF enabled display of information.

Dynamic Data is awesome in theory.  It’s immediately most useful in master data admin pages, but special steps are necessary to secure dynamic data.  This is partly because of issues in securing ASP.NET routing.  Also, since it can rely on Linq to SQL, dynamic SQL is used, and the login user needs access to all tables we want to access, including the master data tables.  There is an example on securing dynamic data on Codeplex (access via http://asp.net/dynamicdata/ and go to samples).

Last session of the day is Query Execution Plans, with Brad McGehee again.  A lot of this I know from Kim Tripp’s webcasts in the past, but SQL 2005 has some differences over SQL 2000.  I’m amazed he can create such bad databases and queries on purpose for the demonstrations.  That takes effort when you’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to do things correctly.

Tonight DotNetRocks recorded a session, and the Montreal .NET UG hosted a party at a nearby bar.  I ate poutine, which are fries covered with gravy and what translates into “cheese crap”, but what we call curds.  BTDT, and I don’t think I need another helping this week.

Dev Teach, Day 1

Keynote was a thoughtful talk by Ted Neward of Thoughworks.  Ted say’s we’re in a perfect storm of development due to the emergence of tools, virtualization, processors and something else I couldn’t note because he flipped the slide so fast.  Sounded reasonable, though.

First session this morning was a conflict for me–I attended an interesting talk on SQL Server CLR Objects, but there was also a good talk on WPF with Expression Blend at the same time.  Bill’s talk was as much a warning as to how you can screw up your database as much as the power of SQL Server CLR Objects.  It was good to know that SQL 2005 can host CLR 3.5 apps.  The demos came from Bill’s book Hitchhiker’s Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server, which is going to find its way to my bookshelf soon.

Currently, we’re in a Moulin Rouge type of theater, complete with heavy red velvet curtains and a disco ball.  I don’t know whether to expect Lean Software Development or a Can-Can dance.  Some attendees are sitting in the box seats, it’s kind of funny.

VSTO with WPF is mind boggling.  Tim Huckaby is even more wound up than I am when presenting.  Definitely will need some supplemental reading.  You can do a lot of really cool stuff with this technology, and this will probably find its way into out enterprise in the future.

Project Estimation Madness–outstanding.  Joel is a great speaker, and the session materials will be incredibly useful.

DevTeach, Day 0

Preconferences started today, but today was my travel day.  Just the usual–circling Philadelphia for over 30 minutes, then a mad sprint to the flight to Montreal.  I barely made the plane, but my luggage didn’t.  Fortunately, US Air got my bag on a later flight, so I have fresh clothes for tomorrow.

It looks to be a very busy four days, with three solid days of sessions and an all day post-conference with Julie Lerman on the Entity Framework.

I’ve promised Craig I’d do a presentation at Pittsburgh .NET User Group on the EF, so I’ll be bringing back what I learn.

It’s Official – Scrumr is #2!

A huge thank you to everyone who voted for Scrumr in the Community Coding Contest— were #2 by two votes.  The #1 project was CCConfig, and given the growing interest in agile development methodologies, we’re humbled but not terribly surprised to see two agile projects at the top.

Two other projects which deserve mentioning are the Active Directory Roles Provider and aspNETserve, both of which may play a role in future development of Scrumr.  The AD Roles Provider hooks ASP.NET membership into AD groups, making roles administration part of the AD environment–definitely a plus in some corporate environments.  aspNETserve would allow Scrumr to be run locally on a machine without IIS installed.  Potentially, with SQL Server Express as the datastore, this could be used to make Scrumr as portable thumbdrive app, too (just like ScrewTurn Wiki).

And a very, very huge thank you to Chris Pietschmann, the MS MVP who had the cool idea of a contest to give away the MSDN subscriptions.  Thanks, Chris, hope you decide to do it again next year!

Please vote for Scrumr!

In my spare time, I’ve been working on an open source project management tool called Scrumr.  Scrumr is a lightweight app for managing sprints per Scrum methodology.  You can find out more about the project at http://codeplex.com/scrumr/.

In the meantime, we need your help.  Please go to http://communitycodingcontest.org/ and vote for Scrumr.  We need the tools to make better software.

Thanks!