Geek Train from Seattle to Portland

April 12th-14th is the epic .NET Fringe Conference. For those coming from Seattle for the conference, there’s going to be a geek train, there however one major decision that needs to be made. What departure should we board to get to Portland. This is where I’ll need your help to decide. There will be a mini-hack, wifi, food, and likely we’ll actually get the entire car to ourselves with enough of a crew. So sign up, vote, vote often and frequently for your preferred departure time! I’ll see you on the train!

Along with the departure, the trip, events for the trip and more information will be posted on the .NET Fringe site soon, along with additional ideas here.

ALT.NET Portland

There is an upcoming ALT.NET Portland Meetup happening at e-Discovery in downtown Portland. The meetup is happening on the 13th of October. There are several ideas behind this meetup, but I’m going to lay out my personal reasons here.

I’m working diligently to distribute my skills in multiple development stacks. I use Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, node.js, EngineYard, Heroku, and other platforms aside from my current “getting paid” technology stack of ASP.NET MVC & associated tech. The reason is simple; .NET slowly but steadily appears to be dying a slow death everywhere except the Enterprise. Rails, Ruby, node.js, and JavaScript are the primary skills of more than 95% of startups. I’m determined to not get stuck holding the “Delphi” card. I like the bleeding edge of tech, the excitement behind the efforts to keep things moving forward. ALT.NET, has always represented that. In Seattle and Portland that effort seems to be faltering, even losing steam in some regards. I want to help change that. No matter how much I dive into Ruby on Rails and the other tech stacks, I doubt I’ll ever not be working with .NET in some way, form, or manner. So I’d like to work on keeping that enthusiasm going in addition to my other platforms that I work with.

…and thus, ALT.NET Portland Meetup on the 13th. Come have a conversation, a discussion, and maybe even a beer or three afterwards.

…and if you’re in Seattle, don’t forget we meetup every month on Saturday, which for some is a problem. If it is, check out Beer && Code or one of the other great meetups where technologies mix and coexist.

Cheers, and hope to see you at one of these great meetups sometime in the future.

ALT.NET Day #3 & #4

The main conference day of the ALT.NET Conference was pretty awesome. With sessions going on diving deep into technical topics and other things, like where the women are in technology. In addition to the great sessions multiple open source software projects where in progress at the same time. Being able to pair up or just review code with people on these projects was truly awesome!

The Open Source Projects

There were the stated open source project and I also started an additional project that I’ve titled Regiztry.  It’s located on Github at

The Various Sessions

The sessions covered a range of topics, from the RESTful technology with Glenn Block to Reactive Extensions with a host of extremely smart people laying out the usage.

I laid out a session also on .NET and bringing the gap with Ruby on Rails in the startup realm. This session I hope to elaborate on a little bit with a subsequent blog entry.

Overall, another kick ass year for the ALT.NET Conference. I enjoyed it a lot, as I see via Twitter that a lot of other people did too! Always a good thing! So until next year, to all those I met it’s been great, cheers!

ALT.NET 2011 Day #2

Day #2 kicked off a bit late for me. I arrived around 9:30am which was a bummer, but I at least got a bit of breakfast. The first session I went to was the reactive extensions session. Again though, I was late, so I ended up lost from the get go. That was unfortunate. In addition, all of my computers I brought were either unprepared (didn’t have a VM setup on the Mac yet) or broken (the Win7 box wouldn’t boot Windows Explorer anymore, thank goodness for Launchy). In spite of all that I got lunch with a host of devs at Black Raven Brewery. Absolutely great beer there!

After that the nitty gritty hacking finally got started! I attended the AppHarbor Session (@AppHarbor) given by the founders Michael (@friism) and Troels (@troethom) and decided to start a project myself. I immediately had some bad ass cohorts jump on the team! Eric Ridgeway, Ryan Eastabrook, and Joe Balfantz. We got started, in spite of massive OS and System Failures.

The project that we started is called Regiztry and is available via a repo on Github. The idea for this project actually started with a conversation I had with Rodica Buzescu (@rodica) several months ago. The idea is a contribution, or sharing system, to work with or help out startups. Keep in mind, they’re not all landing VC money! I’ll have more descriptions about how this project is going and better descriptions of it in the near future right here on Composite Code. If you’d like to help out startups, the project, or just code with some awesome people like Eric RidgewayRyan Eastabrook, and Joe Balfantz then message me on Github me.

Anyway, that’s what I got for day #2.

ALT.NET 2011 Day #1

Today kicked off with an early morning and a great workshop with Glenn Block (@gblock). The team he is working with has some great things coming for HTTP + REST + WCF that will really alleviate a lot of problems with WCF. In addition to that I’d bet that it will give Microsoft a chance to get back into the web API market.

That brings me to another topic that has come up a lot lately. Anyone that is in the startup scene or web development scene knows that Ruby on Rails has made an absolutely massive impact. I’m talking an impact like the invasion of Normandy! Microsoft has made many shifts to counter the ease, simplicity, and elegance of Ruby on Rails with things like ASP.NET MVC. Overall, the efforts have done a good job and been well received by .NET Developers in general.

However Microsoft has done a horrible job of getting aligned with the Internet startup space when it comes to web APIs. If you’re not sure what I mean, check out Twitter, Facebook, Apigee, and dozens of others. These are all companies that provide web APIs. Another notable one that has had some very money related impact, is the Best Buy API. Allowing people to hook into the API to really turn some revenue and make money. These APIs are almost always non-Microsoft stack technologies. When they are Microsoft, it is usually a hack around ASP.NET MVC or something of that sort to enable a more RESTful type API. With these additions to WCF this puts Microsoft back on some solid footing to compete in this space. I’m really looking forward to being able to pay around with these capabilities of WCF more – and hopefully sooner than later!

The second session of the day was a kind of modern anthropological study of development groups, their culture, and how processes, tools, and team qualities interplay among people. We ended up splitting into 3 (or was it 4) groups and went about various exercises.

I’m not sure the exact conclusions we came to during this session, but it was fun just to discuss each of our development groups. Ranging from topics of how we are forced to use Waterfall (and those clients often end up paying absurd amounts of money for things that should cost them less), how “pairing programming doesn’t exist” which gave us programmers that pair frequently a good laugh, and a whole host of other topics.

All in all, day one has started off great. I’m really stoked to be attending these workshops this year. Last year I was hard at work at… some client related debacle of crazy proportions, frantically looking forward to the weekend when the conference would start in earnest. But this year the team I work with are hittin’ the workshops early and doing the ALT.NET Conference completely.

Tomorrow is a session on AppHarbor, also known as Azure done right, and an xUnit Workshop by Brad Wilson that I’ll be attending. I’m already excited I’m not sure I’ll sleep. Until then, cheers.