# Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 was a roller coaster.

My children – Nick and Timmy – are active and healthy and bright and are turning into young men and leaders. They make me proud every time I think of them. Timmy turned 16 this year and looks more like a man every month.

One of the high points of the year was watching my son Nick achieve a goal toward which he has worked for years. After two tryouts, he is now a member of the Michigan State University varsity basketball team. Nick has been invited to some good teams in the past, but this is the team that has advanced to the Final Four each of the last two years. As a lifelong MSU fan, I was thrilled to see him become a part of this elite team. I am extremely proud of him and it made this a special year.

In March of this year, I achieved a goal of my own when I was named a Microsoft MVP. I’m grateful to Jennifer and to Alan who nominated me and to those who supported me.

One 2010 accomplishment of which I’m very proud is the resurgence of the Great Lakes Area .Net User Group (GANG) - a professional organization that I served as president this year. Attendance nearly tripled from the year’s first meeting to the last meeting and the group is now seen as a model for other user groups in the region. I made a point this year of attending a lot of other user groups, even when I was not the speaker. This helped me steal ideas draw inspiration for GANG.

I renewed several old friendships in 2010, catching up with people I hadn’t seen for years. The Internet helped me with this. In July, my high school class held its 30-year reunion. I attended and had a blast. My contribution to the event was a slide show of old photos of classmates that was projected on a wall throughout the evening. People loved it.

I continued my trend of doing a lot of public speaking this year. 2010 started for me with a tour of Ohio during which I spoke at 4 user groups in 3 days. I spoke at the Cleveland .Net User Group in March and August I spoke at the very first meeting of the newly-formed Lexington, KY .Net User Group (although my presentation was abbreviated due to a bomb threat). I spoke at both Codestock and Devlink this year and even gave a vendor session at CodeMash. I presented at 3 different Day of .Net conferences, the Pittsburgh Code Camp, the Cloud Camp Detroit, the State of Michigan Developer Briefing, and a SQL Server 2008 R2 customer event, sponsored by Microsoft in Cleveland.

I was even a guest on a podcast for the first time (besides my own), appearing on the Community Megaphone Podcast with G. Andrew Duthie and Dane Morgridge.

My own show – Technology And Friends – is stronger than ever. I released over 70 episodes in 2010. I tried to keep a consistent schedule with the show and I’m proud to say that I released at least one show every week since January 18. The show also appears weekly on Channel 17 in ann arbor.

I completed my first full year as an INETA mentor and several people expressed appreciation for the increased communication they received since I took over. I covered four states (MI, OH, PA, and WV) most of the year. Recently Sam Nasr volunteered to take over responsibilities for Ohio.

When I look back on 2010, it is impossible for me not to think of 2009. Those who know me know that 2009 was a difficult year for me, mostly due to the death of my sister Denise and my family’s struggle to protect her daughter’s inheritance. These struggles continued in 2010 as I faced a lawsuit from someone trying to steal most of Denise’s assets. But I completed my work as Denise’s representative and that tragedy is now behind us. The closure left me with a feeling that Denise is finally at rest. In retrospect it was the second most difficult year of my life, but 2010 was a marked improvement.

My family faced another challenge this year when my 78-year-old father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I visited him in the fall and saw a noticeable change in his appearance and his behavior. My father survived two wars and skin cancer, so we will see how he does battling this.

My close friend Souha lost her mother this year, which shook her considerably. I read the eulogy at the funeral and I’ve tried to provide support, but this still pains her.

All told, the good far outweighed the bad this year. The valleys of the rollercoaster helped me to appreciate the peaks.

This has truly been a remarkable year in my life. 2010 brought some problems, but God helped me make it through these problems and, in the end, the problems were far overshadowed by the amazing things that took place these past 12 months.

Friday, December 31, 2010 10:49:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, December 30, 2010

I published over 125 blog posts in 2010. Below are my favorite posts from this site over the past 12 months

Goals for GANG in 2010 (Jan 20)
A banner year for our GANG (Nov 24)
These two posts belong together. In January, I sat down with the new leadership team of the Great Lakes Area .Net User Group (GANG). Together, we laid out some goals for the year and steps to achieve those goals. After the last meeting, I recorded how we were able to achieve each of our goals.

Producing an Online TV Show (Mar 20)
This is a 6-part series I wrote on the steps I take to produce Technology and Friends. If anyone is interested in producing a similar show, this is a good place to start.

DevLink 2010 (Aug 17)
This post is how I want to write every conference summary. I talked about the overall conference, about my presentation, and I shared what I learned at individual sessions. Other conference recap posts fall short primarily because I lack the time to organize my thoughts.

The Elements of Style (Jun 22)
I like this review because it describes both the importance of the book and its importance to my life.

Declaring variables with var (May 13)
This article describes a coding issue I had barely considered until it came up during a code review. I realized at the time, that I didn't have an opinion on the topic. So I did some reading, formed a conclusion and articulated that conclusion. Isn't that what a blog is all about?

Are certifications worthwhile? (May 18)
I finally wrote down my thoughts on an argument I've had many times.

A Dream Comes True (Nov 14)
Hey, guess what? I'm an MVP! (Jul 1)
These are brief news announcements of key events in my life during 2010. I was proud and wanted to share them. So I'm sharing them again here. So sue me.

Thursday, December 30, 2010 11:15:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In 2010, I released 68 episodes of my online TV show - Technology and

I've tried and failed to select my 10 favorite shows. I recognize that some shows are better than others, but I found it hard to whittle a top 20 down to a top 10. I feel strongly about the first two episodes on this list, but the remaining 8 could change depending on the day or my mood. In any event, I'm proud of the show and proud of each episode listed below.

Episode 100
This milestone episode featured clips from previous show. It's light-hearted and entertaining and I think it turned out really well.

Episode 131: 2010 Ann Arbor Give Camp
I'm particularly proud of this one because of the effort I put into it. I started with almost 5 hours of video and somehow got it down to under 20 minutes. I think it captures the spirit of Give Camp very well.

Episode 76-Gary Short on Technical Debt
Gary carries this episode with his humor and intelligence.

Episode 81-Jennifer Marsman on Windows 7 Development
Jennifer always packs a ton into her presentations, so it's no surprise her interview turned out great. All I had to do was ask a couple open-ended questions and listen.

Episode 105-Nathan Blevins on Mindstorm
This is one of the first shows I did with a prop. Nathan showed off a robot and the software that runs it.

Episode 123-Joe Ross on Ford Sync
I like this one because it is a different perspective. The whole interview was filmed in the front seat of a car and we get a close look at the Sync hardware.

Episode 88-Cameron Skinner on VS2010 Architecture Tools
Cameron had a full schedule but made time to share his experience with me. Lots of informaiton in this one.

Episode 77-Mike Amundsen on HTTP and REST
This is a topic that often makes my head spin. I included it because I learned so much from Mike.

Episode 111-Mike Wood on Moving to the Cloud
This conversation isn't extremely technical, but Mike brings up some great points to consider when choosing a technology.

Episode 78-Jim Holmes on Unit Testing
Almost a year later, I still get a lot of comments on this one.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 10:47:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, December 27, 2010

Episode 131

Ann Arbor Give Camp

Monday, December 27, 2010 11:02:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 8:36:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, December 13, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010 8:54:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, December 6, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010 8:52:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)