Winning the big CodeMash prize

About five minutes after I recorded with Jeff and Chris, I walked past Dustin in the hall and went and sat down next to Steven. About two minutes later Dustin called me and said “Jeff is looking for you, you won.” I said huh?

Turns out it won Jeff Blankenburg’s GIANT CODEMASH BLOGGING CONTEST OF COOL.

The Ogio bag custom embroidered with the Visual Studio 2008 logo is the nicest backpack I’ve ever used. It fits a Dell Latitude D820 and a Compaq nc6400 with plenty of room for Sennheiser HD25SP headphones, power adapters, USB flash drives, pens, mice, apples, oranges, chez-its, and grape soda.

The fleece jacket means that I’m a hero I guess. I’m not sure whose. Maybe my daughter?

The backpack was LOADED with all the stuff that Jeff said and

  • Windows Home Server
  • Windows Server 2003 Enterprise
  • Expression Studio


I have so much new software I need to buy a new computer on which to run it all!

Thanks Jeff!

CodeMash Interview

One of the last things I did at CodeMash before winning the big prize was tag along with Jeff McWherter to interview with Chris Woodruff for the CodeMash podcast.

I spouted off some nonsense about Orson Scott Card’s Ender series and leading software developers. Give this a listen for a real laugh.

As Dustin Campbell already pointed out, there are a ton of great interviews there.

We do get into some good discussion on “the community” some of which I posted about previously.

CodeMash 2008 is in the can

What an amazing time! I lost count of the number of deep conversations I had that actually helped me reformulate and solidify my thoughts on countless things.

Things that stand out are: predicting one of Joe O’Brien‘s answers during the pre-conference experts panel. I don’t remember the question, nor the answer. What I do remember is seeing Joe grab for the mic, and thinking “I’ll bet Joe is going to say this!”. I leaned over to Steven Bak, who I was standing next to and said so. It turned out, I was right!

When I talked to Joe the next night over drinks, we had some excellent conversation about the differences between the java, ruby and .NET communities. As a member of the .NET community – but one who follows some of the java and python happenings – this conversation with Joe and Michael Letterle really helped me solidify and rethink the .net community and some of the “” stuff.

My current thinking. The Java and most other language communities are led by the open source leaders. Contrast this to the .NET world where the community is largely led by Microsoft. IMO this movement is largely an acknowledgement of this difference. The solution is easy. We need more non-Microsoft community leadership. What do I mean by this? After all, Microsoft already has programs in place to encourage this kind of activity. Basically these are the MVPs and RDs across the US and the world. These are great programs but they are limited.

In the Java world there is no Sun endorsed community leadership programs (are there?). In the Ruby and Python world there is no corporation or there are many of them, but its the community, not some giant entity like MS or Sun that shape the future of those languages.

So far I haven’t really mentioned any problems. Much of the discussion on the various mailing lists seem to suggest that some problems exist. I don’t think that they do. There is plenty of room for a healthy MS led community the coexist separately, but not independently, from the growing MS-independent community. It already exists. It already happened. When Roy Osherove first posted his “HOT and NOT” list in the context of, it could almost be mapped to a list of Microsoft endorsed technologies and a list of “other”.

There very splendid thing about this situation is that there is plenty of room for both. So, I’ve given up caring. I’ll encourage anyone to talk about and promote anything which they feel works for them and works for others. Anything which makes us better as developer is a good thing!

Getting back to CodeMash, this is why I was very happy to be able to present CastleProject at CodeMash. I apologize to anyone who saw my talk. I thought I could pull of talking about all of Castle as a whole. Maybe one could do it, but I could not. My talk was disorganized and I rambled a bit. That said, I still think that looking at CastleProject as a whole is VERY useful.

Even if you don’t use ActiveRecord, MonoRail or Windsor (I like to call these the big three), there is probably something in Castle which you would find useful. DictionaryAdapter alone is something that any .NET developer would benefit from at least knowing about. Being able to toggle between log4net and NLog without recompiling is a single compelling reason to use castle’s logging library. I’ve used both and IMO each one has its areas of excellence, so I do see a need to be able to toggle between the two.

My brain is still whirling from all the CodeMash conversations. If I can formulate any more thoughts into anything more coherent than the above, I’ll try to do that. No camera this year. I decided against photos. I promise that no matter what anyone tells you, there was more to CodeMash than this:

The Castle talk is shaping up and I’m excited for CodeMash

I previously mentioned it here. With the time at hand it bares mentioning that CodeMash is going to be a rocking good time.

I can’t wait to hear

  • Dustin Campbell talk about F# right after
  • Dianne Marsh talks about Scala. Talk about a functional and object oriented good time!
  • Bill Wagner is going to be talking about implementing IQueryProvider in a talk by the same name prefixed by “LinqTo<T>”. Holy crap! I don’t know how you can fit that into a ~70min talk! I mean, I have seen my fair share of LINQ talks to the point I am tired of hearing about it. I feel like I know the topic well enough now, but a talk on making your own LINQ to <your name here>?  THAT IS AWESOME!
  • I know I won’t be able to make it to all of ’em but the language buff in me wants to see the Groovy, and JRuby talks too.

There is way too much good content and the fact that there are five tracks means I only get to see one fifth of the total content. That is assuming I go to something every time slot, which I already know to NOT be the case.

Diving into some of the edge cases for this CodeMash CastleProject presentation has been a lot of fun. I hear about NHibernate talks the most. IMNSHO Castle’s ActiveRecord is the best way to get started using NH. I hear about any Castle talk going on at user groups or whatever even more rarely. Those are usually just MonoRail or ActiveRecord. I’m excited to dive into Windsor, Dynamic Proxy(not too deep), and even some components and services and especially validation. Those oft overlooked Castle areas are my friends.

Post-CodeMash I plan on diving into F#. I didn’t want to do it, but Dustin Campbell convinced me when he showed me F#’s Pipeline operator. “|>”  As a long time Linux and Unix shell user I do tend to think in pipes. This put me over the edge on my desire to learn F#. So in the tradition of learn a new language every year, 2008 will be the year of F# for me. (Deep inside I know it should be erlang, so I may never forgive Dustin for what he has done to me. He has ruined my 2008 and it is still early January.)

See you at CodeMash