As I did last year, my trip to Codestock involved stops at user groups in Ohio. My first was on July 22nd when I delivered “Writing Your First WPF Application” at the Cincinnati .NET Users Group. I think the talk went pretty well, but since this was only the second delivery of the talk, I found a couple things I needed to change. After CINNUG, a bunch of us went out for drinks. With the exception of all the World Cup talk, the conversations were fantastic. The night was only marred by the fact that Claddagh’s was short-staffed AND it was the first night for our waiter.
On the 23rd, after hanging out in and around Dayton for the day, I delivered the companion “Writing Your First Silverlight Application” talk at the Dayton .NET Developers Group. The group met at a location in downtown Dayton instead of Wright State University, so I made sure I gave myself plenty of time. Of course, I ended up getting lost and had to call Jim Holmes to guide me to the correct location. I arrived right at 6pm, but luckily I had some time to chill out before my talk as Joe Wirtley gave a good overview of Microsoft Pivot. Once I was up, I spoke for close to 90 minutes. Here’s the write-up (including links to the code) of the talk after I delivered it at the Ann Arbor Day of .NET.
Both groups are fantastic, and honestly, I wish I was closer to both cities so I could attend regularly. The networking before and after both meetings was outstanding. I decided to skip the Columbus user group this year so I could make it to Codestock for the geek dinner, but hopefully I’ll be able to make it down to the user group soon.
Thursday around 2:30, I met up with James Bender for another fun-filled, totally unfiltered drive to Knoxville. We arrived in Knoxville, checked into the Hilton and made it to the geek dinner just as it was ending. Thankfully everyone was simply getting up to head to the next place to socialize. I did have dinner with Mike Neel and his wife Cecile where I learned a lot about Codestock “behind the scenes”. It was interesting to hear and compare with planning for something like the Kalamazoo X Conference. After dinner, there was more socializing.
Codestock in downtown Knoxville was AWESOME. So much better than being out in the middle of nowhere with everyone at multiple hotels. I loved being able to walk out of the hotel and across the street to the venue. My first session was at 11:10 which worried me because it was up against the first (of two) lunch slot. Before my session, I participated in a panel / live Community Megaphone podcast talking about “Speaker Horror Stories”. This was my second time on the CM podcast and I had a ton of fun listening to other speakers relate their stories.
When I arrived in my room for my first talk, I was pleasantly surprised to see a relatively full room. Overall, the talk (Writing Your First WPF Application) went pretty well, but I did run into some demo issues near the end. I received some great feedback for the talk that I will be incorporating before I give the talk again.
Later in the day, I participated in a fantastic panel discussion (more of an open space session actually) on Give Camps. I wish someone had recorded it because there was a ton of great content.
The keynote for the event actually occurred after the sessions on Friday. It was an interesting change and, for the most part, the keynote was good. I think it could have been trimmed by about 20 minutes, but overall, it was enjoyable and I did walk away from the keynote with a $100 Amazon gift card. The rest of Friday was spent hanging out with friends and talking about everything under the sun. I did head to bed a bit early because my next talk was at 8:30am on Saturday.
My “Going Independent” talk was in the first time slot Saturday morning, so after some slide deck re-work, I headed over to the venue around 8am. I really enjoy giving this talk because there aren’t any code demos to get in the way. I had a good crowd who asked some good questions. After the talk, several of us hit the open spaces room to continue the discussion.
Later in the day, I participated in another panel discussion (recorded by David Giard / Technology and Friends) about running a community event. This was a great discussion that involved the panel and a lot of interaction from the audience. I’m not sure when it’ll be published, but when it is, I’ll link to it.
Later in the evening on Saturday, I made an appearance at Alan Stevens’ “Poststock” event, but only stayed for a short time because we (me and Bender) needed to be up early on Sunday for the drive back.
I met a lot of great people (who I won’t attempt to list) and heard about some cool opportunities. I’m already looking forward to Codestock 2011.
I definitely want to thank the user groups for having me down again this year. For as much as I’m in the state of Ohio, I should probably consider relocating at some point.