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Iowa Code Camp – ahhh

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Our first code camp happened last Saturday and it was a smashing success.

Updated: Cindy’s pictures are uploaded here.

~120 people attended 25 sessions in 5 tracks over the course of the day. We aren’t that big of a market compared to many places that get 200-300 attendees. The vibe of the event was upbeat, the flow was excellent and the speakers were all quality.

Many people and organizations contributed to make this happen. I’d like to thank ITS at the University of Iowa for hosting us, providing the facility and so much more. Ed Hill and Mike Noel went far out of their way to make sure we had what we needed to pull this off.

There were 6 of us that primarily took responsibility for this code camp. Bryan Sampica did much of the marketing and emailed countless people getting the word out. He also arranged though his company to have 50 attendee and 25 leader/volunteer t-shirts made. They were excellent quality and really added to the event.

Javier Lozano brought in a great group of contributors who made all of this financially possible. His work in the sponsor area helped us bring in a great set of prizes for everyone in the closing session. He also did some good things like let us use his company’s conference calling for planning our meetings. We probably wouldn’t have talked much as a group without it (Skype kept failing us).

Greg Sohl handled countless details (the kind I would have overlooked) that really made the flow and experience excellent at the actual event. Without his effort the experience would have been greatly diminished.

Greg Wilson kept the schedule full of high quality speakers and when there was some churn toward the end he stepped up and filled the slots last minute and even filled out the 5th track/room late in the game.

Last but not least, Tom Burns was our liaison for the conference center facility and he coordinated many of the logistical issues with Greg Sohl to make this event run smoothly. He did cool things like coordinate our code camp dinner at The Mill and he got a great Ethiopian blend of coffee(my favorite, thanks).

All of the leaders did much more beyond what I’ve mentioned above, but it would take too long to cover it all in one post. Also, thanks to all of the volunteers who did everything from registering people to setting up the food.

This may seem like excessive thanks, but trust me it is not. An event that runs as well as this only happens because many skilled, conscientious people invest a lot of their own time to make it happen. No one on the planning end of this event got paid a dime for their effort.

I’m looking forward to Iowa Code Camp – Des Moines this November.

Written by Chris Sutton

May 6, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Iowa Code Camp is here

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We just had our final code camp planning session at the Coral Ridge Mall tonight. Javier Lozano, Bryan Sampica, Greg Sohl, Greg Wilson, Cindy Nemmers and myself sat and chatted and planned a few last details. Tom Burns has played a big part of this event, but wasn’t able to make it tonight.

There are 150 people signed up. I’ll do a follow up post after the event too give an update on how the event went.

Written by Chris Sutton

May 2, 2008 at 7:43 pm

2008 Product Launch – Des Moines

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I’m in Mike Benkovich’s session at the Des Moines launch event. The room is almost completely filled up here at the Iowa Events Center. Looks like lots of people are getting to reconnect and learn about some of the new VS 2008 features.

Jeff Brand is in the back here getting ready for his session right after Mike’s. Should be a good afternoon.

Written by Chris Sutton

April 24, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Register for Iowa Code Camp

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We have over 100 people registered for the code camp, and that happened with very little marketing. We are getting ready to do a round of emails to let people know more of what it is about. We should see the numbers come up quite a bit from there.

If you are interested you should register on the home page to let us know you want to attend. Just go to IowaCodeCamp.com if you want to find any other information about the code camp.

Hope to see you all (20 or 30 of you who read this) at the Iowa Code Camp.

Written by Chris Sutton

April 24, 2008 at 10:41 am

Alt.Net

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I’m heading up to Alt.Net in Seattle tomorrow morning to listen and learn. Other Iowans at Alt.Net are Tim Barcz and Nick Parker.

Written by Chris Sutton

April 17, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Iowa, Tech Community, Thoughts

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Twin Cities Code Camp IV

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Yesterday, I was in the Cities at the fourth Twin Cities Code Camp.  It really was a fantastic experience, likely the the best one yet (I presented at the first two code camps as well). From the presentations I attended I would say that the quality of the presentations was very high. They easily would rival what you get at a paid conference. I also met a bunch of people I had never seen in person which is really cool.

Some of the Iowa crowd that went up was Javier Lozano, Bryan Sampica and Greg Wilson. There were several other attendees from Bryan’s company as well. The Iowa presenters and attendees have grown significantly since the first one where I was the sole Iowan as far as I know.

Some interesting people I met/saw were D’Arcy Lussier, Neil Iverson (Inetium), Brandy Favilla (New Horizons), Robert Boedigheimer, Chris Williams (Magenic), Aaron Erickson (Magenic), Kent Tegels (DevelopMentor), Jeff Ferguson, Chris Johnson, Saviz Artang, John Thurow, Kirstin (Magenic), Nicole and Kristen (New Horizons) and Justin Chase.

My favorite session was Neil Iverson’s PowerShell for Developers.  It was a fast paced live demo that kept incrementally building.  Rarely have I been so engaged in a session. D’Arcy’s MVC vs ASP.Net talk was also really interesting.  We only had about 6 people in the session, so we went around the room and said where we were coming from in our ASP.Net development experience. Then D’Arcy showed us how he typically structures his webforms applications, and we peppered him with questions.  I learned a lot from the session.

My talk was the second of the day in the large seminar room so we actually had about 50 people in the session.  One thing that was cool was that D’Arcy Lussier did an intro talk right before mine, so I got to build off of what he did in the session before. Mine seemed to go pretty well. There were a lot of questions and interest in what MVC brings to web development in the Microsoft space.

Jason Bock did a great job again bringing this all together.  It’s a lot of work coordinating an event like this.

If you liked what you got at the Twin Cities Code Camp you’ll definitely want to check out the Iowa Code Camp.  We’ll be a little bit smaller, but have some top notch presenters, a great facility and will have great prizes as well.  The registration is right on the home page and is as simple as it gets.

Written by Chris Sutton

April 6, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Solon Public Library

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If you live near Solon, Iowa you’ll want to check out the Solon Public Library.  It is a good facility and has plenty of resources. There is a great audio book library that I use frequently for my 1/2 hour commute up to work. There are meeting/study rooms that your group or club can use for meetings.

There are a whole set of computers that you can use on a timed basis if you don’t have one at home. If you have a laptop there is a free wireless connection that you can connect to as well.

For children, there are Storytime and Babygarten programs weekly.

They are also in envisioning phase of building out the facility and services.  It’ll be interesting to see what new things the library will bring to the Solon Community.

Written by Chris Sutton

March 26, 2008 at 11:13 am

Geek Lunch at the Lindale Mall

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Tim Barcz our new CRIneta.org president is starting to coordinate some geek meals up here in Cedar Rapids, IA. It should be good for our tech community because we usually just get together once a month.  Sounds like we might have 10 or so people show up.  Anyway, we are meeting at noon at the Lindale Mall.  Watch crineta.org for when we do this again.

Written by Chris Sutton

February 15, 2008 at 11:58 am

Iowa Code Camp – Spring 2008

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We are planning our first ever Iowa Code Camp.  It’s going to happen at the University of Iowa’s Conference Center in Iowa City on Saturday May 3rd.

The details are coming together nicely and we already have about 1/2 of our speakers in place.

Our current sponsors are:

  • University of Iowa
  • Microsoft
  • And several others are in the works

We are currently looking for more sponsors to provide some good food, drinks and prizes.

If you are interested in helping in any way, leave me a comment and I’ll make sure to pass your information on to the right person.

Javier has already posted the Code Camp on bostondotnet.org

A New Year in Iowa

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2008 is here and it’s freezing (about 4° F, without wind chill) cold. I pulled out my snowshoes today and hiked for about 40 minutes into a strong headwind. It was a good hike, but I had to duck into a culvert a couple of times to keep my face from freezing. I hope to be outside much more this year (biking, canoeing, hiking, fishing and snowshoeing).

On the tech front I’m going to blog more consistently. Iowa doesn’t currently have many prolific tech bloggers, so I think its time we banded together. Here are a few of the Iowan techies I know: Tim Barcz, Javier Lozano, Arian Kulp, Nick Parker, Tim Gifford and Bryan Sampica.

We are planning the first ever Iowa Code Camp possibly on Saturday March 1st.  There will be more to come on this. If you are interested at all in helping out, please contact me and I’ll get you plugged in. The website is certainly not ready, but I’ll be working on it as I have time.

CRIneta.org held even in attendance and stabilized a bit this year. I’ll likely be president again this year; I’d like to keep the stability and grow the group in 2008. We’ll bring in two Ineta speakers and might get to bring a third national speaker if things work out with one of our sponsors. We’ve also had an excellent experience with our local speakers and want to keep them presenting (Javier, Arian, Nick, Mike Jackson, Eric Johnson and Bryan).

Happy new year.

Written by Chris Sutton

January 1, 2008 at 9:53 pm