Conference Recap Extravaganza!

I've been head down preparing and delivering presentations all over the place for the past few weeks, and wanted to share the latest happenings, along with where you can get your hands on the material if you weren't able to attend.

If you're not interested in the retrospective, then you can head over to my talks page to get the skinny and the resources.

Computer Science Career Awesomeness

Grant Park High School was kind of to invite me down and give me control of the computer science class for an hour to talk about "Careers in Computer Science". Being that this is something I often end up hearing or discussing with my peers in the tech community, I figured it would be a good chance to share my knowledge with the future Zuckerberg's and Gates' of the world.

Although I didn't record the engaging conversation with the students, I did manage to make an online presentation that goes through the supporting slides. If you're at all interested, definitely take a look and share your feedback with me here in the comments or via Twitter.

Prairie Dev Con 2015 -- Regina, SK

Here I delivered two presentations: Learning to be IDE Free (Java Edition) and 5 Reasons Why Your Website Isn’t a Native App. The latter is a re-imagining of my Winnipeg talk entitled "From Web to Device: A JavaScript Story", where I received some great feedback from Lori Lalonde and Mario Cardinal.

The presentation transformed from, what was supposed to be a happy tale of how fantastic is it is to share JavaScript code between web and device projects, to a blunt conversation about just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. We focused on the development points, and so far the feedback has been great.

No online presentation or demo recordings are available yet, but you can get the slides and source code here.

CSONHS 2015 Annual Meetup

What you've never heard of the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery? Well, I have and managed to meet and work with some fantastic physicians and educators during my time working for the Faculty of Health Sciences. One of my many projects, along with being part of the Committee for Online Learning (or CoOL the group) lead me to becoming the sort of "tech expert" on some of the new systems installed and used for improving medical education.

I realize it's bit of a departure from what I normally discuss, but that was the idea: to change it up a bit. So far, it has proven to be a very interesting area for me and I hope to stay involved and provide technical expertise to physician educators looking to engage new tech. Plus, with things like HoloLens and Microsoft Band, I think the healthcare and the health education landscape is about to see some major changes.

The Point

No real point other than to share the awesomely busy month I've had sharing and networking around technology and that you can expect to find more of my "talks" show up on the talks page of the site.

Thanks for playing. ~ DW

My Top 5 Sessions Picks - MVP Virtual Conference 2015

Tomorrow marks day one of the first ever Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference. This is awesome, because it's a conference that I can attend that:

  • Doesn't require time off from work
  • Doesn't require funding from by employer or out of pocket
  • Covers a lot of great material

My plan to attend is to tune in at 8am PT (10am CT, in my world) and soak in the inforamation while I go about my daily tasks at the office. Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy.

With that, I've gone through the agenda and list off the top 5 sessions I'm eager to see over the next couple of days. Given, I'll be watching more than that, but these ones just stood out more than others.

Hope to (virtually) see you there! Make sure you remember to register!


Fireside: Cooking with Open Source

Day 1 - 10am PT/12pm CT | Jeff Paries & Morten Nielsen

Not only does this session talk about grilling, but it covers an area of interest: the Maker Movement with Arduino along with the open source side of things. My hope is that this session gives me a taste of what to look forward to when I start tinkering with one of these microcontroller boards.

Node.js for .NET Developers

Day 1 - 3pm PT/5pm CT | David Neal & Alvin Ashcraft

Over the past two years, I've become quite fond of NodeJS thanks to my familiarily and appreciation of JavaScript. I'm eager to see how David frames this session to show .NET developers why NodeJS is something to look into. Hopefully, I'll learn a few things along the way too.

Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Automation with PowerShell

Day 2 - 8am PT/10am CT | Trevor Sullivan

What? An IT-Track session, you say? That's the point. Conferences are meant to expand your horizons and learn a little bit more about what it out there. One thing that has caught my attention over the past month (especially after Build 2015 and the announcement of Nano Server) is Powershell. It seems very IT focused, but with Azure making setting up IT easier for the small-time developer, and Office going the road of SaaS, I think it's time I learn to tool, and language that can help me manage my own little IT footprint.

Roslyn for Normal Developers: It's Not Just for Compiler Geeks!

Day 2 - 9am PT/11am CT | John Robbins & Jamie Dixon

Roslyn is the new compiler for C# and VB.NET for Visual Studio 2015. It's open source, and I'm intruiged because I want to see what developers can do with this technology at their disposal. Sure, it's cool to say your compiler is open source, but why do I care? That is what I'm hoping to figure out in this session.

Windows 10 and Spartan Microsoft Edge

Day 2 - 11am PT/1pm CT | Chris Love & Ryan Hayes

Okay, this one is a gimme, considering my MVP area (that being Internet Explorer). I already know a lot, but I'm eager to see what Chris and Ryan (moderating) have to say being two of other experts in the browser space! You should check it out, as there are some cool things coming down the pipe, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty with them.

Thanks for Playing.
~ DW

Living on the (Microsoft) Edge on May 5 & 6

2015 brought introduced a lot of new stuff in the Microsoft space, including how Windows 10 is changing up the web application game.

One of the big announcements was the name of Project Spartan. It is called Microsoft Edge. The browser, that is greenfield and forever evolving with web standards.

Now that you wanted to learn more about the Edge of the Web with Microsoft, you don't have to wait. The Microsoft Edge Web Summit is coming to you live from Mountain View, California on May 5 & 6 and they are going to get into the details of Edge.

Oh, and it's free, BTW.

Can't Make it Live?

Me neither, but no problem.

That is why they are going to be broadcasting the whole event on Channel 9 along side the Ignite conference. Load it up online and tune into the awesomeness of web standards.

Not sure what to watch? The first two hours with Charles, Paula, and Jacob, there are there's a few others that caught my eye.

Hosted web apps and web platform innovations

May 5, 12pm EDT -- They announced the idea of "hosted web-apps" at Build 2015, where web developers could extend their existing web applications to use native Windows features under specific conditions, like achievements in XBox. This should shed some light on this from the team that is making it possible.

Create Fun & Immersive Audio Experiences with Web Audio

May 6, 12pm EDT -- Web Audio is cool, and I want to see how to use it in my applications. So, that's pretty self explanitory.

What’s new in the F12 Developer Tools

May 6, 10am EDT -- I like F12 developer tools, and the improvements they've been making have bee great so far. I'm eager to see what Andy has in store of us in the next big release.

Advancing JavaScript Without Breaking the Web

May 6, 11am EDT -- People seem to forget that JavaScript is a 20 year old language, and the fact that we are still using today the old stuff remains compatible. It's impressive really, but takes some serious effort. I'm curious to know how the community is advancing my langugage of choice without changing it completely.

Thanks for Playing. ~ DW

MSDevShow...A Dev Podcast Review

I like podcasts. Especially the technical kind, but I find it's challenging to find quality dev podcasts in the sea of options out there.

MSDevShow is one that a discovered, and it did not disappoint.

MSDevShow: Real Conversations with Devs

MSDevShow is hosted by two developers: Carl Schweitzer and Jason Young. They host conversations with other developers who are working on project, or are able to comment on recent trends, or whatever.

It sounds like a pretty standard podcast, but it's not. It's because the conversations sound real.

"Real" isn't Special, is it?

I disagree.

There are great podcasts out there, but generally you need a bit of scripted content that results in someone interviewing another developer. When I hear unscripted podcasts, it generally (at least in my opinion) sounds awkward or boring because someone drones on about something for too long.

On MSDevShow, they real conversations with developers. Sure, there is a bit of a script at the beginning, but it breaks the ice with the guest and gets them chatting, off the cuff on interesting topics. When they get to the conversation with the guest, the real, unscripted, conversation begins.

Conference Conversations in Podcast Form

Ultimately, I really like MSDevShow because it instantly reminded me something I enjoy about developer conferences.

For me the best part of any conference isn't the lectures, or the demos, but the conversations with other developers. When you're at a conference, you end up surrounded by people who are passionate about technology and code, just like me. Combine that passion, with an environment showing people the latest

MSDevShow feels like they go to a conference, find a passionate developer, and record the ensuing conversation. That is something I've found is hard to find in the ocean of podcasts out there.

The Point

I like MSDevShow. Maybe you will too, I don't know, but you should give it a shot. Check out their episode list and pick one on a topic you like. I'm sure they won't disappoint.

Thanks for Playing. ~ DW

Zany Video Game Quotes - Live and in the Cloud

I've been working on a side project for roughly 5 years now, and this past week I managed to finally launch it. Zany Video Game Quotes, is a site worked on acquired by a very close friend of mine. He worked on the content and enlisted me as the lead developer.

Before you make judgement about the design or the code or whatever, you can just take a look at the 15 year old static site that is the source for this. My site is an improvement one way or another. Geocities FTW.

The Developer Details

The code is NodeJS/JavaScript, hosted and fully powered by Windows Azure. Some decisions were made that I'm unsure of it at this point, but it was more important to get something out there and live rather than getting caught in the weeds.

You can check out the source here, and make suggestions on how to improve things in the GitHub issues section. There is plenty of work to be done, I realize, and hopefully some feedback can help steer that direction.

If you're looking to contribute, that is high up on the list of priorities. Because I'm using Azure Table Storage, I'm having a few issues getting things up and running with the Azure Storage Emulator. Hopefully I'll get something setup in the next while, but in the meantime, suggestions are always helpful!

The Point

Of this point: to celebrate the announcement.

Still, there are plenty of things I learned along the way, and I'll be sharing these along the way here on the blog. Here's a few ideas, but if you'd like me to share others, please let me know in the comments!

  • 5 Things I Learned about Side Projects (in 5 Years)
  • Azure Table Storage FTW!
  • Notes on Open Source-ry

Thanks for playing. ~ DW

Traf-O-Data and Windows NT on LGR Tech Tales

In recent days, a specific YouTube channel has my caught my attention. It's called Lazy Game Reviews, and last night I came across a great playlist of only four episoded called: LGR Tech Tales where LGR, the host, goes through a specific event in computer history.

What's so Interesting?

Outside of reviewing old PC hardware and MS-DOS games elsewhere on the channel, this series struck a cord with me because it talks about the beginnings of Traf-O-Data, which we now know as Microsoft.

What I find so facinating, are the Digital Research and IBM OS/2 stories and how they relate to Microsoft. More specifically:

  • When looking for a custom OS for their new PC, Microsoft forwarded IBM to Digital Research. It wasn't until later that Microsoft bought a product and marketed it as MS-DOS 1.0 and took on the contract from IBM, due to frustrations with Digital Research
  • After commissioning a custom OS from Microsoft, eventually IBM gave up the contract and went to develop their own OS. That original OS, formely named PC-DOS, became Windows NT, the OS we all know and love today.

The Point

I've just really found LGR interesting. Looking back at computing history through the 70's, 80's, and 90's shows just how different things have become.

Ultimately, I have no point other than old computers are really cool. If you're interested in that kind of thing, then I suggest you check out LGR on YouTube.

Thanks for Playing.
~ DW