I’m posting photos from our summer trip to Santa Barbara on Flickr. Today we hit the annual Solstice Parade, which is like a combination mobile hippie drum circle, dance-a-thon and doo-dah parade. Very community, weird and non-corporate, just the kind of parade I like.
We’re putting the finishing touches on our summer plans. It’s looking 99% likely that I will be in Santa Barbara from the end of June until the first week in August.
This will be a working vacation for me (the projects I’m currently committed to will chug along as normal). This isn’t happening for a few months yet, but I thought I’d mention it now in the context of consulting because I know there are a few technology companies in the area. So if you’re within spitting distance of Santa Barbara and you feel like you’d benefit from my experience, or you just want to grab coffee and shoot the bull for a few minutes, please let me know.
I’ll be speaking at VSLive San Francisco the first week of April. This time around I’ll be giving three talks:
- Creating Facebook Applications Using .NET
- Data-Driven ASP.NET Ajax (an updated version of the talk I gave in New York last year)
- Creating iPhone Applications with ASP.NET
If you’re going to be in town for the conference and want to set aside some time to get together and chat (particularly if you’re interested in getting some consulting help) please leave a comment.
Last weekend we did a fun family trip — we camped at Manresa State Beach, south of Santa Cruz, then on Saturday we drove down to Monterey to see the aquarium.
We took a lot of junk with us when we camped. It was a pain to lug to the campsite, but we used it all. Particularly useful was our new propane-powered camp stove (which we’ve been using to cook dinners out back on our deck at home) and a battery-powered blender which we used to make daquiris. We are living large in nature!
I am spending today preparing for my session at the MySQL conference on Thursday. I’ll be speaking on "MySQL and .NET in the Real World" which will cover my experience creating Approver.com and will also include a run-through of the Visual Studio integration with MySQL.
Last year I created a little command-line tool that generates MySQL data access classes for .NET 2.0. It’s the tool that generates the data access layer for Approver.com. I am going to open-source this tool this week, most likely before my talk on Thursday, and I will do a demo of the tool as part of my talk at the conference. This tool is very simple — it doesn’t do as much as, say, SubSonic or NHibernate. But it does automatically generate about 80-90% of the data access code used in Approver.com, and it has a few ease-of-use characteristics that I wanted — mainly a low learning curve, explicit support for MySQL and .NET 2.0 and no dependencies on external libraries other than what you find in the framework.
I need to do an intro/documentation page that describes the tool. I’ll get to that in the next day or two, then I’ll post here when it’s available.
Here’s a roundup of some of the speaking gigs I’m doing over the next few months:
- I’m speaking later this morning at the Evans Data Developer Relations conference.
- I’ll be doing the world’s briefest demo of Approver.com at the Under the Radar conference in Sunnyvale on March 23.
- In two weeks I’ll be speaking at VSLive San Francisco March 26-27. I’ll be speaking on programming MySQL in .NET.
- On April 17 I’ll be speaking on a panel at Web 2.0 Expo on Entrepreneurship and the Web as a Platform.
- I was just invited to speak at the MySQL User Conference
in Santa Clara April 23-26 — specific subject is to be determined but
it’ll have something to do with .NET and MySQL. It’ll likely be
different than my VSLive talk, since that talk will be
basic/introductory — this talk will have a little more depth.
You might not know it to hear me talk, but I suffer from a few minor professional insecurities. One of them has to do with speaking engagements, which I use as a major barometer of professional success. I did my first talk in front of a technical audience in 1987 (twenty frickin’ years ago, jeez) and since I threw it into high gear in 1996 I’ve flown around the world talking about software development at least a couple times a year.
Public speaking scares the crap out of most people. I happen to love public speaking, and I’m very confident speaking to an audience of virtually any size (getting a show-stopping round of applause during my presentation to 2,000 engineers and the executive team at Adobe’s annual engineering all-hands last year was a high point). But when I speak, I get hyper-focused and obsessive about preparation, and that causes me to go back and think about why I’m in front of this audience and what it all means.
One of the disorienting things about working for big companies like eBay or Yahoo is wondering whether your professional success is a function of the company you work for or whether it has something to do with your skills and experience. Are you objectively terrific or are you just riding the coattails of a worldwide brand?
My point (and I do have one) is that I seem to be getting about twice as many invitations to speak publicly this year as I did last year when I worked for Yahoo, which is extremely gratifying. So: big thanks to the conference organizers who have agreed to subject their audiences to me in 2007.
Just got a notice from United Airlines that they’re changing the terms of their frequent flier program. If you don’t earn or redeem miles in an 18 month period, you lose the miles completely. They posted a FAQ that explains the rule change. The kicker is this one:
Q. Do other airlines have similar policies?
A. Yes. For example, Delta and US Airways both recently made [similar] changes to their policies.
Remember when there was lots of competition in the U.S. airline industry, flights were cheap and service was good? Good times, good times.
The United change probably won’t affect me anytime soon since I redeemed some miles last year for a trip back east, but it will have an effect on lots of frequent fliers in San Francisco and Silicon Valley since SFO is a United hub.
I am extremely excited to be making my hopefully-triumphant return to the VSLive conference in San Francisco in March.
I started speaking at VSLive in 1997 (back when it was called VBITS). I spoke at most of the VSLive conferences in the U.S. in Europe through 2001 when I went to work for eBay. I even took time out from my honeymoon in 2000 to speak at the VBITS conferences in London and Stockholm (you can imagine how difficult it was to convince my fiancee to add two European capitals to our trip).
VSLive has been one of my favorite conferences to speak at for a couple of reasons. One is its practical focus — it’s about getting things done in the real world instead of talking in grand strategic terms about what technology means, etc. I also really like the mix of Microsoft insiders combined with the regional directors and other consultants — it seems to keep the agenda honest and grounded.
I’ve also made some great friends over the years at these conferences, particularly Andrew Brust (who I met at VBITS Berlin in 1997, the night before he was carted off to the hospital after suffering a fall onstage), Chris Kinsman, who I co-authored two books on ASP.NET with, and Deborah Kurata, who I had an extremely productive working relationship with for a few years in the late 90s.
I have been pitching talks on open-source tools to VSLive for a bunch of years. In 2001 I tried to get them to let me do a talk on NUnit. I was really passionate about unit testing around this time and I was crushed that they didn’t have room for my talk on the schedule that year. Unfortunately, a lot of Microsoft platform developers didn’t get unit testing religion until a unit-testing tool was included with Visual Studio four years later — and only then if you shelled out the big bucks for Visual Studio Team System. NUnit is still a great tool, by the way, and it’s 100% free — I still use it and highly recommend it.
Anyway, I’ve been spending a lot of my time in the last five months coding an ASP.NET application using MySQL, so I figured it might make sense to share what I’ve learned about the pros and cons of MySQL with VSLive attendees. So I’m delighted to announce that my March VSLive talk will be on Programming MySQL with .NET.
I am not sure if this is the first VSLive talk to cover an open-source product, but I am pretty sure that it will be the first MySQL talk at VSLive, which makes it infinitely more exciting for me. I am going to bust my croutons to make this talk as good as the ASP talk I gave around 1999 (in which I demonstrated a common security flaw in ASP and three or four people in the audience unexpectedly jumped up, opened their cell phones and ran out of the room in a panic — that was pretty fun).
If you’re using MySQL with .NET, or you’re just interested in learning more about it, I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions in comments. My plan is to cover the basics of a data-driven app using ASP.NET and MySQL, hit some of the subtle syntactical differences between MySQL and SQL Server, and then cover some goodies like MySQL stored procedures. If there’s something else on that list you’d like to see, let me know.
I am off to the east coast on Saturday to spend some time with family in NYC as well as hobnobbing at a few technology and business confabs next week:
- On Tuesday November 7 I will be at the InfoWorld SOA Executive Summit in New York. I’ll be on a panel covering "Enterprise Mashups" moderated by the always gentlemanly Jon Udell.
- On Wednesday and Thursday I will be in Boston with Patty Seybold‘s "Visionaries" group for some customer-centric user-generated cross-pollination. The portion of this meeting that takes place on Thursday (Nov. 9) from 1 p.m to 4 p.m. is open to the public and it’s free if you RSVP.