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CNBC - America's Top States for Business 2008

I just happened to see the blog post by Jason Edwards about how his state, Texas, is ranked # 1  on CNBC's Top States for Business 2008 rankings.

So of course I was curious, how well would Oklahoma rank? Well it appears we've moved up 4 spots from # 32 to # 28.

What's really odd is the really bad drop from # 9 to # 30 on the Workforce category and the huge jump in Economy from # 26 to # 3.

What's disappointing is Education practically stayed flat from # 47 to # 45 and Technology & Innovation did stay flat at # 35.

Remember folks, this is out of 50!

All this and we border Texas (ranked # 1!). I think Education, Technology and now Workforce are the biggest issues with our state at the moment. Economy, Cost of Doing Business and Cost of Living are practically as good as you can get.

To me, what it sounds like this all means, in Oklahoma you can live cheap and run a business cheap in a strong economy, but don't expect many educated, technically advanced workers. Sad.

Posted by dwalker | 2 Comments

David Yack will be presenting on Exploring the Entity Framework for the Tulsa SQL Server Group!

I had to be in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago now for some cross training and to meet my awesome development team in person for the first time. You have to love the freedom that the internet provides telecommuters. Thank you IM, email, remote desktop, ftp, and on and on.

It just so happened that I found that David Yack, a Microsoft Regional Director and INETA Speaker, was presenting "Exploring the Entity Framework" to the San Gabriel Valley .NET Developers Group my first night in town. It was my first time actually seeing a presentation on the Entity Framework. I was definitely glad that Zain Naboulsi had just presented on LINQ Features in Visual Studio 2008 because he was sure to show the  new LINQ to SQL Classes feature of Visual Studio 2008. You can really see how far the team has come with modeling between the LINQ to SQL Classes and the soon to be released Entity Framework 1.0. Follow them on their new blog: EFDesign.

To put it in away that any developer can understand: DAO, RDO, ADO, ADO.NET and now (ADO.NET) EF (Entity Framework).

Granted there a lot of other options when it comes to separating your data from you business logic, nHibernate, etc. and this is a version 1 product. In my opinion, it looks like it can improve the application architecture in many development departments and across many projects.

There has been some very vocal criticism by way of a "vote of no confidence" mostly from the nHibernate crowd. They do bring a lot of great points and it's obvious from the quick response of Tim Mallalieu, the Microsoft Program Manager leading the team, they are listening and setting their priorities for version 2. This is definitely something I wouldn't sign, because as D'Arcy put it "Our role is to learn." You simply can't move forward if something new is not offered and with my limited exposure to it, I must say it is a very nice step forward.  Kathleen Dollard listed an even greater number of reasons to not sign the petition and I'm sure 99.9% of every developer out there would have to agree with her response to the Entity Framework Petition. Lastly, for those doing their proper research on the Entity Framework, Ward Bell, Product Manager for DevForce .NET by IdeaBlade, made several excellent valid real world business reasons in his response to the petition and why he wouldn't sign it.

I was very excited to hear, the day before flying to Los Angeles, that INETA is sending our first speaker to the Tulsa SQL Server Group. It is none other than David Yack! Woot! It's great knowing what the local developers are about to see in just a few weeks. I can't wait for David to share it with them. Thanks INETA!

I will see everyone on Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 6:00pm for this terrific presentation!

Posted by dwalker | 2 Comments

Zain Naboulsi rocked the house with LINQ Features in Visual Studio 2008!

I felt compelled to blog about the presentation that our regional Microsoft MSDN Developer Evangelist - Zain Naboulsi gave tonight for the TulsaDevelopers.NET users group. Watch out Jason Townsend and the newly formed Bartlesville .NET User Group you are in store for an awesome presentation tomorrow at lunch!

Zain did an awesome job of explaining LINQ in the easiest to understand way that I think I've ever heard it so far. Plus, squashed all reasons for not using it.

He didn't just stop at explaining it though. He really showed how we can take advantage of the tools provided by Visual Studio 2008 to more efficiently and effectively utilize LINQ in our projects.

He showed us how easy it is to take advantage of the source project Scott Guthrie's posted on his blog: LINQ to SQL Debug Visualizer and drove home the point that you can easily create your own visualizers as well.

It was pretty obvious by the end of the meeting that everyone in attendance was sold on using it and is *maybe* as much as Zain is.

Don't just take my word for. Zain has published 22 webcasts "that can change your life" covering the nuts and bolts of how to effectively use Visual Studio 2008 and his LINQ Features in Visual Studio 2008 is there as well.

I'll be watching them all shortly. Just to see how well the webcasts catch the "Zain Experience".

Of course, he mentioned his now (in)famous Second Life .NET Developers User Group. He assured me that we can jump straight to the island and not have to worry about the non-family friendly avatars that could be found in Second Life. Maybe I can talk my wife into letting me attend one now, we shall see.

Posted by dwalker | 2 Comments

TechEd 2008, 2008 MVP, Hyper-V RTM, Sharepoint-Vista!, Sitecore 6, INETA Community Awards and NEW INETA NORAM Speakers!

Okay. I know. I know. I need to break these up and do blog more often. Being the VP of the INETA NORAM Speakers Bureau, running 4 user groups, planning 2 conferences per year, working a full time job, 4 kids and speaking at various conventions, you get the idea. So, I catch up when I can.

After prepping and then speaking at Microsoft's Developer TechEd 2008, I had a lot to catch up on at work. It having been my first time at TechEd it was definitely amazing. If you're a developer and have never been to one, you are definitely missing out. I would compare it to the World Series for Baseball Fans or the Superbowl for (American football) fans. You have must attend. It is so huge. I'm talking massive numbers of computers around for attendees to hop on and use, learning labs, Microsoft Certification Exam Center on site, Vendors and so many awesome speakers and presentations. They even bought out part of Universal Studios for an Attendees only party! Definitely don't miss it! It was wonderful hearing from so many folks afterwards that my presentation really helped them a lot and how they loved hearing from an industry expert in the field, instead of just Microsoft folks. My presentation "How to use Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 as an Application Development Architecture" focused on two parts: the number of servers and type of architecture required for a high availability SharePoint deployment and how to do things the wrong way and the right with SharePoint development - main walk away point - focus on building powerful and reusable webparts and use as much from the provide application architecture as possible. Don't always go the cowboy way and use the tools that are provided instead of just code slinging. You can find out more about my presentation on my Microsoft MVP profile.

I just read an awesome article today in CodeMagazine from SharePoint MVP and INETA Speaker Sahil Malik - it's a must read - 10 Things You Wish they Told You - Part 1!

I just received the email today, that I have received the 2008 Microsoft MVP - Visual Developer ASP/ASP.NET award. All I can say, besides thank you, is I am just SO glad my date doesn't fall on April 1st (Fool's Day)! That would just drive me crazy. The most frequent comment that I've heard so far, "I figured you would have moved to the SharePoint group this time around". Well, for one, I am not one to "look a gift horse in the mouth". Not to mention, I haven't personally investigated what it takes to make such a move. I did however prove at the 2008 MVP Summit that I can stowaway in the SharePoint sessions.

I will say this. In just T-minus 8 days, I will be contributing even more to the SharePoint community by way of a pretty rocking project on CodePlex that I'm wrapping up with the help of SharePoint MVP Stacy Draper and Rob Foster. So stay tuned! We have several more planned as well.

I just saw that Hyper-V RTM'd! So, I'm going to give it a whirl. When I tested a few months ago, it obviously performed better, but I was so used to Virtual Server 2005 that I chose to wait for it to RTM to try it again. I have already formatted my notebook and am running Windows Server 2008. No more playing around with VPC's for SharePoint development for me. It's given me a huge performance gain!

Also, on my desktop, which is running Vista 64 bit, I followed the step by step guide from Bamboo Solutions Jonas Nilsson, (who presented at my first conference ever - TulsaTechFest 2006!), provided to the community and with just a few minor security tweaks now have WSS running on my Vista Desktop.

Sitecore CMS 6, code named Crestone, was released yesterday (July 1st). I installed it last night and am impressed so far. Performance has been improved and integrated search, cleaner inline and end user publishing and a whole lot more - more details here. I'll be covering more of my thoughts as I get to use it more.

If you don't get the INETA NORAM Newsletter, here's some of the key announcements: Time is running out for you to get your community contributions entered for dates July 1st, 2007 to June 30th 2008 - the deadline is July 14th, 2008. Shortly thereafter, INETA will be recognizing folks with the INETA Community Champion and the INETA Community Excellence Awards! Show us what you got now!

As the VP of the INETA NORAM Speakers Bureau, I included some updates regarding the NORAM Speakers Bureau! First, once Carl Franklin returns from his Speaker Idol world tour he will become active as an INETA Speaker again! And, help me welcome the NEW INETA Speakers: Richard Campbell, and DotNetNuke (DNN) Experts: Joe Brinkman and Chris Hammond, and SharePoint Experts: Andrew Connell and Daniel Larsen!

For speakers only, (at this time), I have created a LinkedIn Group and a Facebook Group to provide better communication and interaction between INETA Speakers worldwide.

I also created a Twitter account: @INETASpeakers, so it's even easier for everyone to see which INETA Speakers are using Twitter and keep up with them and their activities a whole lot easier! You can get also become a Fan of the INETA Speakers Bureau and follow their Twitter activity from the Facebook page I set up here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/INETA-Speakers-Bureau/48220250083. I am making efforts to improve on the communication internally and between the Speakers and the community.

In closing, as I was typing this up, it's now time to wish my wife Happy 14th Anniversary! It was July 2nd, 1994 that she made me the luckiest man alive and after 14 years and 4 kids, it's awesome that we both still feel the same way towards each other, as we did, when we met in High School Driver's Education class. (Now everyone knows why I failed my first driving test.) :)

Plus, I received an email confirming the details that I'll be speaking at the newly formed Bartlesville .NET Users Group on August 8th, 2008 with my presentation titled "How to Build Powerful Webparts for SharePoint 2007".

Posted by dwalker | 1 Comments
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SharePoint versus Alfresco

Sahil Malik has a great response to this CNET Post (Forget file formats. The battle is Sharepoint) in his blog post: CNET - please do your research before opening your big mouth!

I also find it very amusing that the post is date May 21, 2008. I KNOW I have seen this exact same article posted roughly six months ago. I'm still looking for it. Could CNET actually went so far as to just change the date to recycle this crap? I know this for a fact, because I had never heard of Alfresco until the article that was either the exact same article or "disclaimer" by another Alfresco employee.

It's so funny considering Alfresco has some pretty steep licensing fees. I came across this site which had a really good comparison between SharePoint and Alfresco - Microsoft SharePoint VS Alfresco - Part 1 and Part 2.

The main thing to keep in mind when evaluating a CMS solution for your enterprise is to get your information from a reputable source. Better yet, get the products, in trial edition form at least, and do your own comparison.

Obviously, we have to watch for disinformation as it appears from this article that CNET is helping to spread. Alfresco must be getting desperate?

Posted by dwalker | 2 Comments
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Redmond Developer News - Windows 7 Lockdown cover article

The May 15, 2008 edition of Redmond Developer News magazine arrived at my door today. I had to immediately read the cover article: Windows 7 Lockdown. I must say out of everything in the article that is troubling, with the position that Microsoft is and has been taking with Windows 7, is the fact that Steven Sinofsky, now the senior vice president for the Windows® and Windows Live™ Engineering Group, formerly "oversaw the development of the Microsoft Office system".

Don't get me wrong. Microsoft Office is a minimum requirement for 99.99% of every person and is used hours upon hours every day. Yes, the Microsoft Office team has done an excellent job of pushing new versions out every two years.

Okay, enough praise, I suppose. Here's my problem and the problem that I am sure everyone else will agree with once the look at it from this perspective: Microsoft Office has been and continues to be notoriously known for years as the worst example of bloatware! I think too many of us have forgotten that over the years, as CPU's, RAM, and disk space has continued at such a rapid pace. I think we need to be reminded. Microsoft Office Suite has things that still need to be addressed take the simple issue I came across at on this Jeff Bell's blog regarding a Microsoft Publisher Viewer. You start to see that not everyone remains happy with Office. Microsoft Publisher has always been treated as an "outsider" to the Office suite. I know a whole lot of people are still upset about the Ribbon interface, even though Microsoft promotes it as the best thing to EVER happen to Office. I personally have grown use to it over time, just as we have grown use to and ignore the bloatware factor.

In Microsoft's defense, what one person perceives as bloatware is a must have feature to someone else. That is why I do hope Windows 7 ends up taking the same path as Windows Server 2008 and more easily allow me to choose the features I want. Other than that, my only request to Microsoft is PLEASE allow the Ribbon to be toned down at least a little. I love tabs (which in my opinion is really all that the ribbon is), but I do learn what the pictures on a button mean, so please let me insert my Tables, Pictures, Shapes, Charts, Hyperlinks, etc without having to actually start at the Text as well. It used to be common practice to allow someone to configure how they want to use their computer - "Small Toolbar Icons", etc. I prefer the desktop real-estate on my two 21" wide Dell LCD's. Oh well, it's only an inch. Give me back the power to make these simple decisions. Why are we moving in the opposite direction? This is my frustration and whole reason of concern. One step forward (every two years) and two steps back (bloatware, no personalization, preferences, or choices, continued incompatibilities and lack of integration with the rest of the enterprise and technology.

To wrap it up, the article does have some other critical things to say about the new process, now under Sinosfy, and that is the tight lipped non-disclosure policies that have been portrayed - translucency versus transparency. For crying out loud, the folks living and working with IT need to be aware of the roadmap if they ever intend to try and continue driving through the fog.

I personally hope Microsoft gets it right with Windows 7. We shall see. I actually prefer Vista over XP. I do occasionally feel the pain of incompatibilities, but I haven't looked back yet.

Posted by dwalker | 0 Comments

Sitecore MailingList Module

I recently had the opportunity to work with the Sitecore 5.3 MailingList Module and since it was my first time, I had to hunt around the API to figure out how to have a site visitor subscribe and unsubscribe from a MailingList. The only thing I could find was this post by Alex Shyba from back in 2005 when I guess it was actually called the Newsletter module.

This post is actually self serving, in that I will never have to hunt for it again. First, you of course have to install the MailingList Module and then Add a Reference to the Sitecore.MailingList.dll in the bin folder. Then add:

using Sitecore.Modules.MailingList.Core;

It needs some parameter validation before being 100%, but here goes:

private void SaveSubscriber(string firstName, string lastName, string email, string gender, string age)
    MailingList list = new MailingList();
    string listID = Sitecore.Context.Database.Items.GetItem("/sitecore/content/modules/mailing list/mailing lists/Newsletter").ID.ToString();
    string name = firstName + " " + lastName;
    string company = "";
    string country = Sitecore.Context.Language.ToString();
    list.PutSubscriber(name, email, company, country);
    // listID parameter says it's listID's although it's not a string array, beats me
    list.Subscribe(name, email, listID);
    // you can send any parameters here that you want
    list.PutSubscriberField(email, "Gender", gender);
    list.PutSubscriberField(email, "Age", age);

private void RemoveSubscriber(string email)
    MailingList list = new MailingList();
    string listID = Sitecore.Context.Database.Items.GetItem("/sitecore/content/modules/mailing list/mailing lists/Newsletter").ID.ToString();
    // Second parameter expects string array of Newsletter Sitecode Id's to subscribe to.
    list.Unsubscribe(email, listID.Split(','));

Let me know if you find it useful or know of something I was overlooking. Most of this was taking from Alex's post and just updated to Sitecore CMS version 5.3.

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Posted by dwalker | 3 Comments
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Quick Catch Up - New Gig, New Focus, MVP Summit, TechEd 2008!

Okay. Here's a few long overdue house cleaning items:

1. VSLive! Austin - Nov 14, 2007 - my presentation on the .NET 3.0 LIVE! Track went very well - Putting it all together with .NET 3.0: Presentation, Services and Workflows. I finally got to see some of the heavy hitter presenters - Billy Hollis, Ken Getz, Mark Michaelis, Richard Hale Shaw, PDSA, Inc and Michael Stiefel.

2. New Employer - Back in March, I switched employers! I am now a Technical Specialist for The Revere Group, an NTT Data Company. Where I have been focusing primarily on public facing web sites utilizing the .NET Enterprise Content Management System - Sitecore CMS. The last project with my previous employer was deployed the week before I left, utilizing MOSS 2007 for the public facing web site, for the National Professional Paintball League. I definitely feel invested in all the projects that I worked on and hope them, the company and my past co-workers continued success.

3. MVP Summit 2008 - An opportunity that could not be passed up. Seeing the keynotes by Ray Ozzie and Steve Ballmer, plus all the break-out sessions with the product teams, etc, it was definitely priceless. I even tacked on an extra day for the World Wide User Group Management Summit, just wish I could've made the ALT.NET conference that was going on that weekend as well. One thing that amazes me is how many people have said they want to be an MVP. How do you become one, etc. Even after giving them some brief advise with some of the simplest things to do, nothing - just lip service.  The MVP Summit itself is worth it. Get involved in your communities.

4. Tulsa's first annual School of Dev! - After having our first successful TulsaCodeCamp on March 10, 2007, I decided to come up with something new and exciting. Who knows maybe someone will start repeating it, like what's happened with the TechFest events. <hint.. hint> I can provide hosting for anyone who wants to, since I built the SchoolofDev.com site with that in mind from the beginning using WSS (Windows SharePoint Services - will skin it later). If you missed it, take a look at the Agenda, Speakers and over $130,000+ worth of prizes that were given away. Thanks to all our Sponsors. Every attendee could even get Continuing Education credit from Tulsa Community College!

5. Microsoft TechEd - I have had the honor of having my session selected for the Developers Office track - How to Use Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 as an Application Development Architecture: Not your typical Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) development and deployment. Having worked on small projects all the way to large public facing social networking sites, you too can learn how MOSS is much more than just an Intranet-in-the-box solution. It can be utilized as the application development architecture of the future. It offers tremendous time savings for development and deployment. Learn the best practices for setting up your server architecture for redundancy and high performance. Learn the pain points to watch out for as well as all the short cuts to make your next Web application ready for prime time.

Posted by dwalker | 1 Comments
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Microsoft Learning to launch groups for Microsoft Certified Professionals on LinkedIn!

For those that have questioned the value of LinkedIn, it is about to receive a big boost - Microsoft Learning just announced they are going to be launching groups for Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP, MCSE, etc). This is great news.

It is also just alittle confusing, considering that Microsoft made a huge investment in Facebook a few months ago. Why would they pick LinkedIn first? Facebook does already have a few Microsoft groups, like one for Microsoft MVP's, Silverlight Fans, Sharepoint Fans, etc, but for the most part they were created by the community. They should do the same with MCP's as well. The main difference with these groups is that only those that have achieved the respective certifications will be allowed to join the groups.

Either way, kudos for taking advantage of these tools to keep people connected and sharing!


WARNING: Boycott WHOIS via Network Solutions

I have been in the habit for quite some time of still using the whois search by going to netsol.com (Network Solutions). For those that haven't read the Left Behind book series, there is a very similar and ironic twist to the "netsol" concept and it stuck with me.

Anyway, I just learned the hard way today, that Network Solutions is now registering domains that have been searched for via their whois tool.

I was doing some preliminary research on the replacement for this year's TulsaCodeCamp event, since I wanted to come up with something new, unique and maybe repeatable (hint). After seeing the available domain names and weighing the options, I went to register the domain I had picked using my usual registrar GoDaddy only to be informed it was no longer available.

I went back to "netsol" and this time when I searched it said "available here". Looking at their whois record and out of curiosity the whois record via GoDaddy, both said it was registered just today 1/29/08 by Network Solutions and even says "Available there".

Where is INTERNIC? This situation is only getting worse by the minute. Not only are there the lowest of the low, slimiest of the slime, cyber squatters who predatorily jump on a domain and put up nothing but a stupid search script. There's the registrars that charge exorbitant late fees (like 12x annual fees) to renew at about 15 days late, then when you don't bow to their demands, hold on to the domain for several years hosting nothing but the same stupid search scripts.

This is the one time I welcome some form of oversight, whether it be INTERNIC, the US Government, United Nations, somebody please end this. It is so very bad for the public, customers and the general internet populace.

Posted by dwalker | 2 Comments

DotNetNuke Twitter XSL Transformation

I have become a big fan of Twitter. It helps bridge the gap between blog posts and IM. It's also a great way to keep people informed quickly and easily.

Of course, the very first thing I wanted to do was display the tweets on the various DotNetNuke sites I own and operate.

The XSLT transform that comes with DotNetNuke was pretty ugly when displaying the Twitter RSS feed, so I hacked up some modifications using Visual Studio 2008. It provides a great IDE to debug XSLTs. The only spot of this XSLT that will need tweaking for you is the TimeZone Offset (tzOffset) variable. I wanted it to display my tweets time based on my time zone CST.

Feel free to modify this to your hearts content. Let me know if you come up with any cool changes! Have fun! (You can also download it via: http://www.davidlwalker.com/Portals/1/twitter.xsl)

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform>
  <xsl:output method="html" indent="yes"/>
  <xsl:template match="rss/channel">
    <xsl:for-each select="item[position() &lt; 11]">
      <div class="twitterEntry">
          <a href="{link}">
            <xsl:call-template name="getDate">
              <xsl:with-param name="dateTime" select="pubDate" />
              <xsl:with-param name="tzOffset" select="-6" />
          -   <xsl:value-of select="substring-after(title,': ')" />

  <xsl:template name="getDate">
    <xsl:param name="dateTime" />
    <xsl:param name="tzOffset" />
    <xsl:value-of select="substring($dateTime,9,4)" />
    <xsl:value-of select="substring($dateTime,6,2)" />
    <xsl:value-of select="substring($dateTime,12,6)" />
    <xsl:variable name="orighour">
        <xsl:when test="(number(substring($dateTime,18,2))+number($tzOffset)) &lt; 0">
          <xsl:value-of select="(12+(number(substring($dateTime,18,2))+number($tzOffset)))+12" />
          <xsl:value-of select="number(substring($dateTime,18,2))+number($tzOffset)" />

    <xsl:variable name="hour">
        <xsl:when test="$orighour &gt; 12">
          <xsl:value-of select="number($orighour)-12" />
        <xsl:when test="$orighour = 0">
          <xsl:value-of select="'12'" />
        <xsl:when test="$orighour = 12">
          <xsl:value-of select="'12'" />
          <xsl:value-of select="number($orighour)-12" />

    <xsl:variable name="ampm" >
        <xsl:when test="$orighour &gt; 11">
          <xsl:value-of select="' PM'" />
          <xsl:value-of select="' AM'" />

    <xsl:value-of select="$hour" />
    <xsl:value-of select="substring($dateTime,20,3)" />
    <xsl:value-of select="$ampm" />


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Posted by dwalker | 8 Comments

TechFest domination continues! DallasTechFest is finally coming - May 3rd 2008!

Our Microsoft Developer Evangelist, Chris Koenig, just announced it on his blog - DallasTechFest will be May 3rd 2008.

Yet another city is destined for the inevitable world domination of TechFest.

All signs point to some big numbers in 2008. Since all the events have been very successful so far (TulsaTechFest, VancouverTechFest, HoustonTechFest, IndyTechFest and AlbertaTechFest), it would seem logical they will repeat next year as well. Thereby, doubling the number of TechFest events. I am proud to say TulsaTechFest is a trend setter.

I think we should all let John Kellar (Founder and Chairman of Nashville's devLink and before that Co-Founder of Little Rock's TechExpo) that the answer to his twitter "should there be a devLink 2008" is a resounding yes and no. NashvilleTechFest has a nice ring to it, eh?

Posted by dwalker | 1 Comments

TechFest: achieving world domination! HoustonTechFest was a blast!

This post really should have came before my TulsaTechFest.com post chronologically, but I already had that one prepared, so I picked the lowest hanging fruit first.

I had the opportunity to speak at the first annual HoustonTechFest.com on August 25th, 2007. It was a very awesome event. Michael Steinberg and the team from the HoustonDNUG did a terrific job. I got to talk to Ben Scheirman, who I got to meet recently at the OKCodeCamp where we were both presenting again as well, fellow Commodore-64 starter Scott Bateman. It's always great to see Microsoft supporting these community driven events with the likes of Chris Koenig, Zain Naboulsi, Phil Wheat and of course Brad Abrams speaking.

It was very inspiring to see that the concept I began with TulsaTechFest in 2006 has started to spread into the larger cities. VancouverTechFest was the first thanks to Rob Chartier and Richard Campbell. They even started up a manifesto for it. Which we tried to follow, but we very successfully found that only having content on weekends doesn't appear to be as successful as the weekdays (see previous post) and below numbers.

My Windows Communication Foundation Presentation:

The thing that I find most astonishing is that even after a whole year of it's release, the .NET 3.0 Framework is still unheard of by many attendees to these types of events. Therefore, even though as a presenter I feel like Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is old news, since I have been studying and presenting on it for a year and half while it was still in Beta. I will just continue to bring the personal in-depth experience on the production usage of WCF in a high volume environments as well as consistently looking for the best way to present on the technology in easy to understand terms. With nothing more than the end goal of getting developers to start studying, learning and at least experimenting/playing with this and the rest of the .NET 3.0 Framework. Do I even have to say that these things have not changed much in the newly released Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 - .NET 3.5 Framework? The tools only continue to improve thanks to the Microsoft Patterns & Practices Team and the WCF Service Software Factory project, which Nov 9th released version 3.0 - Modeling Edition! Definitely download this and the 2.0 version and start seeing what interconnected application development can do for your enterprise solutions.

With good reason, I had to delay this post. I just happened to come across Bill Steele's post regarding IndyTechFest.com! It is amazing to see an idea start to benefit all these other communities! It's a good thing I started it with pure intentions - the contribution to the community, if I had been seeking ulterior motives I would have done things a lot differently.

Here's the events in a chronological order for everyone:

  1. October 14, 2006 - TulsaTechFest 2006 - 20 tracks, 119 sessions, 60+ speakers, 650+ registered, 360+ attendees
  2. November 14, 2006 - Santa Fe TechFest - details unknown, info from J. Michael Palermo Blog
  3. November 15, 2006 - Phoenix TechFest - details unknown, info from J. Michael Palermo Blog
  4. February 24, 2007 - VancouverTechFest - 4 tracks, 28 sessions, 25 speakers, 575 registered, ??? attendees
  5. August 25, 2007 - HoustonTechFest - 7 tracks, 36 sessions, 29 speakers, 865 registered, 476 attendees
  6. October 13, 2007 - IndyTechFest - 5 tracks, 26 sessions, 16 speakers, 370+ attendees
  7. October 19 & 20, 2007 - TulsaTechFest - 16 tracks, 100 sessions, 67+ speakers, 870+ registered, 650+ attendees on the 19th, 400+ on the 20th
  8. November 10, 2007 - AlbertaTechFest - 3 tracks, 18 sessions, 15 speakers, almost 200 attendees

If there hasn't been one already in your area, why not start one? There's just a couple major differences between a TechFest and a CodeCamp - TechFest can be any thing technology oriented, Microsoft Exchange, Sql Server, Data Security, Project Management, etc, where as a CodeCamp is typically "developer centric". A TechFest can have sponsorship, vendors, etc. - why not have the funds to provide bigger prizes, T-shirts and just an all around bigger event?

www.TechFests.com will be up shortly ( it is currently redirecting to TulsaTechFest) to be the one stop location for locations, dates and details on any and all TechFests.

Posted by dwalker | 1 Comments

TulsaTechFest 2007 a Smashing Success!

This is my long over due post regarding this year's TulsaTechFest. I have quite a few excuses like the long hours I worked on the MOSS and WSS projects mentioned in my previous post. Instead of spewing those, I will just try and post once a night until I get caught back up. I'm sure I'll have to skip a few, but I should be able to catch up quickly enough.

Building off last year's success for the first annual event with attendance then of approximately 360 on the Saturday only event, this year blew the lid off. This was our first attempt at charging and making it a Friday and Saturday event. We received overwhelming sponsorship support that we decided to refund the 200+ paid attendees and make the event free to all again. This pushed our pre-registration numbers to over 800. Organizers expected the actual attendance to be either evenly split or higher on Saturday and were surprisingly shocked. While we are still awaiting exact final counts, what we have so far is 650+ checked in on Friday and 400+ checked in on Saturday.  While facilities cannot be booked until after the first of the year, we are already tentatively planning the dates for TulsaTechFest 2008 to be Thursday, October 16th and Friday, October 17th. We do still plan to include some content on Saturday, October 18th, but will probably consist of some deep dive training.

Lunch for 650+ people on Friday was an interesting feat and we narrowly squeaked by with the largest Domino's pizza order ever delivered at one time of 125 pizzas. We over compensated by ordering 175 pizzas on Saturday, then as we did last year, delivered the left overs to a nearby homeless shelter.

It was not surprising the event attracted so many people from surrounding states, considering we had 5 Microsoft employees presenting, over 15 Microsoft MVP's, with a total of 69 speakers, and 100 sessions. Details can still be found at www.tulsatechfest.com and details from the 2006 event can now be found here: 2006.tulsatechfest.com.

Posted by dwalker | 0 Comments

Work - The new largest public MOSS site and another rocking WSS site!

My blog has been silent for longer than I would have liked, but for good reason. My announcement is now 4-6 weeks (at least) delayed, but we have pushed IMHO the largest public MOSS (Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server v3.0 2007) site live. FanU.com is a social networking site for collegiate football and basketball fans with a ton of unique features. Everyone who signs up has the ability to blog, upload photos and videos, plus bomb and praise others. We are still adding features, like forums, points (achieved through using the site) and games.

We put together an excellent team of 7-9 developers (with limited or no prior experience with Sharepoint) and pushed version 1 of the site in 3-4 months. They did a terrific job, as well as the designers and everyone else on the team.

Just two weeks ago now, we launched our second site using Sharepoint. This time using WSS (Windows Sharepoint Services v3.0 2007) - www.coxhelpcenter.com. If you are Cox Communications customer in the Oklahoma area then go there for your first level technical support questions and have them answered by the Virtual Cox Representative. They are pilot testing it in our area. If it achieves their goal of reducing the number of help center calls, they will increase the regions covered. This form of virtual interaction is a speciality of my employer www.winnercomm.com. They pushed their first one a few years back for www.NTRA.com as a Virtual Q & A (http://www.ntra.com/ntrau_index.aspx).

Posted by dwalker | 2 Comments
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