Monthly Archives: January 2009

Microsoft Developer Conference – Detroit

28 Jan 2009
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  1 Comments

On January 22nd, I attended the MDC in Detroit.  Since I didn’t feel like braving the Detroit-area traffic Thursday morning, and since I made plans to room with Alan, I drove up the night before.  After picking Alan up at the airport at 6, we headed for the RenCen.

While Alan was off doing “speaker” things, I caught up with Corey and then recorded almost an hour of video for his “How did you get started in programming” video series. :-)   I love how my simple blog post inspired Corey to take it one step further.  I definitely expanded on my story in that 45+ minute interview.  I had a great time doing it, so hopefully I don’t bore everyone to tears. ;-)

After the interview with Corey, we caught back up with a bunch of the speakers and talked for a while about a wide range of subjects.  By the time we were done talking, it was almost midnight, so Alan and I headed up to our room and crashed. 

Before I knew it, it was 6am and my alarm was going off.  Since Alan had some pre-event stuff to do, he was up, showered and dressed pretty damn quick.  I on the other hand, managed to snag another 30 minutes of sleep.

Thankfully, I left my laptop in the room because with no wi-fi at the event, there was no point in hauling it around.  I registered pretty quickly, then caught up with Josh and some other friends.  I originally planned on skipping the keynote because, well, because most keynotes suck. :-)   I’m not sure why, but I decided to stick this one out.  I think 90 minutes is a long time for a keynote, but Ron Jacobs did a good job of giving us the 50k foot view of all the technologies the day would cover.

I ended up hanging out a lot of the day, catching up with friends that came in from Ohio and western Michigan.  The sessions I did try to catch were packed.  I’m not sure what was up with the tiny-ass break-out rooms, but there was standing room only in the sessions I checked out.  Alan was leading the Community Courtyard, so I sat in a few great conversations, almost exclusively focused on the technologies being presented in the breakout sessions.

After the event, a bunch of us went out for pizza (thanks Microsoft for picking up the tab!), hung out and talked (well, tried to talk since it was pretty freakin’ loud).  After pizza, a few brave souls headed to a casino, while the rest of us walked back to the hotel.  My plan was leave around 9 so I’d be home before midnight.  Yea, right.  I ended up getting caught up in a great conversation with Brian, Bender and Chris and didn’t leave until around 10:15. 

While Chris and I drove separately, we were heading in the same direction so we decided to stick close on the drive back.  Of course, it took about 30 minutes for Chris to find his car in the parking garage and then we made a wrong turn based on bad directions given to us by a parking attendant.  We finally got on the road around 11pm.  We decided to take US-12 since it was the most direct route home.  The heavy fog we ran into during the first part of our trip was unexpected, but overall, the trip back wasn’t bad.

When all was said and done, I came away from this event pretty fired up about Windows 7 and MEF.  I actually tried installing Windows 7 on my laptop, but due to some driver-related issues, I bailed and reinstalled Vista.  The features I was really anxious to use were mounting VHDs as drives, booting to VHDs and the decreased resource usage / increased performance.  Hopefully when Windows 7 is fully-baked, I won’t have as many issues.

As for MEF, I’m not sure I’m as fired up today as I was leaving the event.  Again, it comes down to it being an “in-progress, almost-there, kinda sorta” offering that I’m not comfortable using in a production application.  Maybe I’ll re-visit it when .NET 4.0 comes out, but for now, as with Windows 7, I’ll survive without it.

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Goals for 2009

19 Jan 2009
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

On January 5th, Jeff called me out in his “Goals for 2009” post.

My goals for 2009 are pretty simple:

1. Keep the work coming in.

The first six months of 2008 were tough.  While waiting for some contracts to come through last year, I had a really tough time finding work to fill the gaps.  The last six months of 2008 were amazing and I hope to continue that success through all of 2009 and into 2010 (and further). :-)   This means focusing on the business side of things and making sure I’m keeping the pipeline full *without* burning myself out.

2. Write more.

Jeff talked about posting 100 times to his blog and I think that’s a great goal.  I posted 69 times to my blog in 2008.  I think an additional 31 posts is doable. :-)

3. Waste less energy on stuff that doesn’t matter.

Basically, I’m going to try and not sweat the small stuff this year.  Too many people get worked up over things that, in the end, really don’t matter.

4. Continue my community involvement

This includes putting on the upcoming Ann Arbor Give Camp, supporting my “local” (within an hour) user groups by attending / speaking, attending regional technical events and more fundraising for worthy charities. :-)

5. Be healthier

This really means doing more to get off my ass during the day instead of sitting behind my computer for 12+. 

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Codemash 2009 wrap-up

15 Jan 2009
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

Sarah’s pictures
Dave’s pictures
Jeff’s pictures
Alan’s pictures

Codemash 2009 marked my 1-year anniversary of really being out in the community.  Last March, I wrote a post titled “See what happens when geeks socialize?” that described my evolution in the community.  I have come so much farther and made so many new friends and connections since that post that Codemash 2009 was more of a family reunion for me than anything else.

On Tuesday the 6th, exactly a week after my surgery, I hopped in a car with Jason Farrell and Chris Roland to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to The Kalahari.  My plan was to get there in time for a 7pm meeting with the heartland evangelists (Brian, Jeff and Jennifer) DSC_0025and then hang out with my friends before the Precompiler event on Wednesday.  Since I’m helping to plan a couple major events in the region this year, the influencer meeting was informative, and it was great to see and talk to everyone.  We did have a scare when we found out that the car Leon was driving (passengers were DaveD and Dan) went off the road.  After a few hours in the hospital making sure everyone was ok, they finally arrived at the hotel around midnight.

Chris roomed with me Tuesday night, so after all the festivities, we ended up talking until after 3am.  Good stuff.

Wednesday’s Precompiler event was really cool.  I started out in Joe O’Brien and Jim Weirich’s Ruby session.  I absolutely loved the approach they took.  Essentially, we were given a set of failing unit tests and had to fix them.  After getting through a few of the exercises, I bailed so I could wander around and see what else was going on.  After lunch, I In the Ruby Precompiler sessionended up bouncing between the “codejam” session and Leon’s TDD session. :-)   During the TDD session, I ended up working a bit with Mike Wood.  I also jumped into a conversation IMG_1705.jpgLeon was having with a couple “students” and the next thing I know, it was just me and the 2 attendees.  Leon later said that he could see I had things under control and he was more than happy to move on and help others.

At one point, a few of us (James, Nate, Mike, Corey and Jay) from ##twittertribe sat down for some hacking on a project.  I’m not sure where the project will go, or if anyone will continue to work on it, but it was cool to sit down and talk through things with those guys.  We hung out later in the bar and talked about all sorts of stuff….basically an extension of what we talk about every day in IRC. :-)

Wednesday night was a bit crazy.  Not only did a lot of my friends show up, but my family also arrived.  While my family got settled in and hit the water park, a bunch of started…umm….consuming adult beverages.  After a few hours hanging out with Alan and  some other friends in Alan’s room, I hit the SRT party and then headed back to Alan’s room to chill out before finally making it back to my suite around 3am.  It was great talking to everyone, including the guy that I credit for starting it all: Dustin. :-)

Thursday saw the start of the event as well as the opening circle for the open spaces event.  I spent most of my time hanging out and talking to friends.  For some reason, I wasn’t as excited about the open spaces as I hoped.  Right after the opening circle, I had breakfast with Alan, Jeff and Sara Ford (name drop!).  Overall, Thursday was about talking to friends and reconnecting.

Thursday night was spent “adult beverage free” at the vendor party and then back in Alan’s room for some excellent conversation and music.  I love listening to both Alan and Corey sing and both did their share. :-)

Friday I sat in a great open space about community.  I was surprised by how many people consider the community to be “user groups”.  I called BS on this pretty quickly and tried to steer the discussion to things other than user groups.  We talked a bit about Give Camps and impromtu discussions via skype/irc and IM.  Skype and IRC have become my lifelines over the past few months.  DSC_0074After that, I attended a lunch with the evangelists, a bunch of community members (my friends) and the head of DP&E in the US (Mark Hindsbo – does he seriously not have a blog?).  It ended up being, IMO, a pretty interesting and productive discussion.

The closing circle for open spaces was….well…..different.  Alan structured things a bit different from DevLink so in order to talk, My Code Monkeyyou had to have the “talking stick”…well, in our case, it was Sarah’s code monkey, but still, you get the point.  The giveaways were cool, but I didn’t win anything, so not much to say about it. :-)

Friday night was once again spent with friends, hanging out and talking about a variety of topics.  I met Chris Smith and had a cool discussion about F# before Corey started playing Neil Young. :-)   At that point, all conversations are done for me.

We finally got home around 3pm on Saturday.

I had a hell of a good time and want to thank all the organizers and sponsors of the event.  Codemash continues to get better with each passing year.  I’ve already got the dates for Codemash 2010 on my calendar!

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Top 10 Reasons Why I Hate the Internet

14 Jan 2009
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  19 Comments

1. Top N lists.
2. Stupid people.
3. Expert Sex Change
4. Everyone is an expert
5. Spam
6. Stupid people
7. Repetition
8. Not enough free porn
9. People that get pissed off over silly stuff

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Goodbye 2008, welcome 2009!

03 Jan 2009
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  4 Comments

I was going to write my standard end of the year wrap-up post, but given some recent events, I want to look forward rather than back.  Of course, after saying that, I do want to briefly talk about the last few days of 2008. :-)

If you follow me on twitter, you saw this tweet on Sunday:

“Been at the hospital since 2:30am (ER). Was admitted around 6:30am and will be here for the next 2 days because of this”

On Tuesday morning around 9:15, my gallbladder was removed by an excellent surgical team and then I spent the next 24 hours recovering.  During this time, I was taken care of by a great nursing staff, including someone I graduated high school with. :-)   I was discharged on Wednesday morning and then I spent New Year’s Eve with my wife, kids and some friends playing games.  It’s been a crazy few days, but thankfully things are finally getting back to normal. 

I’m really looking forward to 2009.  In the short term, I’m looking forward to attending Codemash next week and seeing all my friends again.  In the longer term, the latter half of 2008 has kept me extremely busy and I hope to be just as busy all of 2009. I have an upcoming announcement regarding business, but it’ll probably wait until next week.  I had a great time speaking last year and definitely plan to develop new topics and continue presenting at user groups and events throughout the year.

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