# Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Now in its fourth year, That Conference is one of the premiere developer community events in the Midwest. Most attendees come from the upper Midwest, but dozens of speakers traveled from all over the country to share their knowledge.

Like many code camps, That Conference features classroom-style presentations, an Open Spaces area for interactive discussions, booths for attendees and sponsors to interact, and food (good food!) in a common dining area.

What sets apart That Conference is its emphasis on family. The conference drew 800 attendees and speakers, but nearly 400 family members accompanied them. It was not uncommon to see strollers pushed down the conference hallways between sessions.

Family attendance did not happen by accident. That Conference is held at the Kalahari resort, which features a huge water park - ideal for family activities. The conference even reserved the water park one evening after the normal closing time for the exclusive use by attendees and their families. Best of all, the conference organized a kids' programming track to teach children about software development and computer science in a fun and engaging way. In fact, many of the sessions in this track were delivered by children - usually the kids of attendees or speakers. DavidAndDavid

I was happy to be a part of That Conference this year - as a sponsor, speaker, and attendee.

As a sponsor, I coordinated Microsoft's presence at the event. Microsoft was the Principal sponsor (the highest level available) and we promoted the theme "Microsoft Is Open" to emphasize Microsoft's support of Open Source Software and non-MS technologies.

As a speaker, I delivered a presentation titled "Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft" in which I talked about how developers using Open Source and other technologies could take advantage of the Azure platform. I organized an open space after my session where I heard how others are using Azure with their own sets of tools. Two people from a nearby open space ended up joining my group.

As an attendee, I sat in on a couple sessions (Wade Wegner's talk on Azure Apps was very interesting), sat in a couple open space discussions, and had numerous conversations with others at the conference. It was great sharing ideas with developers from different technologies and geographies.

DavidAndSeth I was excited to be interviewed by both Seth Juarez of Channel 9 and by Jason Young and Carl Schweitzer for their excellent MS Dev Show podcast. I conducted a few interviews of my own, which will be released over the next few weeks at Technology and Friends.

MaxLynch Of course the content was great and included keynotes from software craftsmanship advocate Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin, Ionic framework creator Max Lynch, and FBI Special Agent Byron Franz, along with breakout sessions on a wide variety of technologies.

I wish I could have attended more presentations at That Conference, but I came away with some new connections, some new ideas, and a lack of sleep. 


That Conference Home Page

My Photos of That Conference

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 4:45:04 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, August 24, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015 9:46:19 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, August 22, 2015

Last week, I had a chance to attend, sponsor, and present at the Midwest JS conference in Minneapolis, MN.

I was excited because, I used to do a lot of web development but switched to other technologies a few years ago. During my time away from web development, JavaScript technology has had some amazing advances as many frameworks were created, rose to great popularity and fell out of favor to be replaced by a new framework. I watched from a distance as the web I knew changed from mostly server side code generating HTML to powerful client-side code calling back-end web services and dynamically updating content in the browser. Although my historical experience began with "classic" ASP and continued through ASP.NET Web Forms and MVC, I've spent the past few weeks learning how to build a site with Angular.

This conference featured very little Microsoft technologies and most of the attendees did not development with Microsoft tools. A quick glance around the room revealed more Macs than PCs. I was nervous because I didn't know many attendees and speakers and because I didn't know how they would respond to a Microsoft employee in their midst.

It turns out that I worried for nothing. I met so many people who were interested in hearing about what Microsoft was doing. Our support of open source technologies the past few years really resonated with this crowd and there was a lot of interest in tool like TypeScript.

I created a talk on Microsoft Edge - the new browser that ships with Windows 10 and replaces Internet Explorer. The audience was interested in the speed of this browser (it's a total rewrite of the rendering engine) and with its support of web standards. During Q&A, one attendee expressed frustration that the Edge team had not announced a version for the Mac.

It wasn't long ago that a non-Microsoft conference would have also been an anti-Microsoft conference. But I experienced none of this. Everyone I met kept an open mind about other technologies - including ours. And I learned a great deal from them about the tools and frameworks that they embrace.

I left with a favorable experience of the JavaScript community and a desire to connect with them more. Of course, my education in this area continues as I try to catch up with the advances of the past 4 years, but conferences like Midwest JS help.

Saturday, August 22, 2015 3:48:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, August 20, 2015

In this screencast, I show off some of the features of Microsoft Edge - the new browser included in Windows 10 - that help end users be more productive.

GCast | Video | Web
Thursday, August 20, 2015 4:14:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, August 17, 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015 9:41:30 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, August 13, 2015

In this screencast, you will learn how to create your own table linked to an Azure Mobile Service and manage the data in this table from a client Windows or Windows Phone application.

Azure | GCast | Mobility | Video
Thursday, August 13, 2015 4:57:51 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, August 12, 2015

At CodeStock last month, I was asked to participate in a Mobile Development Panel. The panel consisted of Ed Charbeneau and Michael Crump were also on the panel, while Sam Basu moderated. A late cancellation left them with an open chair, so Sam asked me to step in at the last minute. I quickly agreed in part because Sam and Michael are old friends and because the other three participants are Developer Advocates for Telerik – a company I’ve worked with in the past and admire.

Ed Charbeneau recorded the panel and released it as an episode of his Eat Sleep Code podcast. You can listen to the panel at this link.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 3:40:02 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, August 6, 2015

In this screencast, you will learn how to turn on authorization in an Azure Mobile Service and allow users to log in with their Twitter account.

G-Cast 3

Azure | GCast | Video
Thursday, August 6, 2015 5:42:58 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, August 3, 2015
Monday, August 3, 2015 4:06:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, August 2, 2015

Today I am grateful for a party at Velichka​'s last night to celebrate her 15 years in the US.

Today I am grateful for a sunny day, some shade, and a tall glass of water.

Today I am grateful that my team is sponsoring more community events than when I first joined.

Today I am grateful for a chance to work with high school students yesterday in south Chicago.

Today I am grateful to Layla and Elizabeth, who inspired me to begin each day thinking of what I'm grateful for.

Today I am grateful for an afternoon with my son yesterday

Today I am grateful for all the people who came to my garage sale this weekend.

Today I am grateful for a surprise visit last night from John and Kim.

Today I am grateful for a late-night swim yesterday.

Today I am grateful to be back in Michigan for a few days.

Today I am grateful that I am 40 lbs. lighter than I was at this time last year.

Today I am grateful for a year in my Old Town apartment - a year that went by much faster than I expected.

Today I am grateful for member access to 1871;

Today I am grateful for dinner with Oksana last night to celebrate her new job.

Today I am grateful for all the videos I produced yesterday.

Today I am grateful I've been able to schedule my long-neglected medical & dental appointments this month.

Today I am grateful for:

  1. All those who came to my office hours the past 2 days.
  2. Two user groups back-to-back on the same floor last night.

Today I am grateful for:

  • An invitation to appear on the Azure Podcast yesterday;
  • An invitation to teach at Xamarin University yesterday.

Today I am grateful to Tim, who rearranged his schedule to pick me up from the doctor office yesterday.

Today I am a grateful for a free Matthew Sweet concert in Millennium Park last night.

Today I am grateful for a few days at home.

Today I am grateful to the organizers and attendees of #codestock2015 for making this an excellent conference and a great overall experience

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Jennifer and Paul.

Today I am grateful for my second trip ever to Appleton, WI - the hometown of my maternal grandmother.

Today I am grateful I'm on a team that collaborates so well and so willingly.

Today I am grateful I finished all my demos yesterday for my new presentation.

Today I am grateful for a Japanese Hibachi dinner last night - tasty and entertaining.

Sunday, August 2, 2015 1:36:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)