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VS Live is Coming to a City Near You! We Can Save You $500 in Chicago and Vegas

by Angela 24. February 2014 10:13

 

Have you been considering attending VS Live this year?  They are really expanding their locations this year, holding events in Orlando, Redmond, Las Vegas, Chicago and even Washington DC. It’s a great event both to network with like minded technology geeks like yourself, as well as to get some great education around a HUGE number of topics.  Once again, the Chicago ALM User Group has secured a special discount code for members and friends for a couple of these events. So if you were wanting to attend, now we can even save you $500 with our exclusive discount codes: UGCH09 (Chicago) and UGLV10 (Las Vegas).

Topics will include:

➤ Windows Client

➤ JavaScript / HTML5 Client

➤ Azure / Cloud Computing

➤ Cross-Platform Mobile

➤ SharePoint

➤ SQL Server

➤ ASP.NET

➤ Visual Studio / .NET

➤ Windows Phone

 

$500 Discount off regular registration price for ALMUG friends and family using discount codes below.  Discount does not stack on top of early bird discounts. Prices range from $1,795 - $2,095 without the discount.

Your price: $1,595 after discount

 

Chicago Event Links

May 5-8, Chicago Hilton

VSLive Chicago homepage: http://bit.ly/UGCH09

VSLive Chicago registration page:  http://bit.ly/UGCH09Reg

Las Vegas Event Links

March 10 – 14th, Planet Hollywood

URL will direct to event home page: http://bit.ly/UGLV10

URL will direct to the registration page: http://bit.ly/UGLV10Reg

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Chicago ALM User Group Presents: Lab Management in the Cloud

by Angela 12. February 2014 11:22

So, you might have heard, but this cloud thing really isn’t just a fad. And if you’re a TFS user, you might have thought to yourself “Wow, Lab management is pretty rad, but I still don’t have the hardware of personnel required to manage all that infrastructure. It would be awesome if I could extend Lab Management into the cloud!” Sad trombone

We felt that way too here at Polaris.  So we rolled up our sleeves and worked through some of the challenges to make it happen.  Chris Taylor is going to be talking a lot more about it, and doing some demos, at the February edition of the Visual Studio ALM user group this month, at the Aon Center in Chicago.

Join Us Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Be sure to sign up soon! http://chicagoalmug.org/ 

Description:

With the introduction of Lab Management in 2010, Team Foundation Server presented the opportunity to do automated build-test-deploy on Microsoft Hyper-V servers.  Although the tool was extremely powerful and cost of entry far less than any physical implementations it didn’t offer the flexibility of working with pre-existing physical labs as well as other virtualization platforms like VMWare or Parallels.  In Team Foundation Server 2012 Microsoft addressed this by introducing the “Standard Lab” environment in parallel with the “SCVMM Lab” environments.  This now allowed for any combination (virtual or physical) of machines to be added to a lab environment and provided nearly all the same functionality as provided in the SCVMM based environments.

At the same time, Microsoft had been working diligently on their Azure platform, all based in Windows Server 2012 and finally opened up the ability to both provision new virtual machines as well as exposed this functionality to other applications via the Windows Azure SDK. 

Polaris Solutions saw the opportunity to use Windows Azure as a virtualization platform to run automated tests and deployments and the tools necessary to accomplish it.  Come learn about some of the tooling that has been constructed to compliment an existing TFS infrastructure and create hybrid-cloud solutions to further lower infrastructure and  testing costs while creating a more quality product.

Speaker Bio:

Chris Taylor is a Senior Consultant at Polaris Solutions based in Chicago.  Prior to joining Polaris Solutions, Chris spent over 5 years in the Payment Card Industry developing applications for commercial and government credit card programs while extending TFS to integrate seamlessly with traditional enterprise software practices while allowing teams to be more agile/iterative within themselves.  Since joining Polaris, Chris has been focused on improving software quality and integration test automation using Microsoft Lab Management, CodedUI, Windows Azure, and Windows 2008/2012 Hyper-V. 

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Free Training When You’re Snowed In, What’s Not To Love

by Angela 2. January 2014 12:15

So it’s been snowing in Chicago, a LOT. I am in Oak Park, specifically, and holy moly did we ever get dumped on. Here, in case you think I’m being a big baby, this was my back deck at 7am this morning and it’s STILL snowing quite hard. There’s almost 10 inches of snow on those chairs right now, and there’s a pergola over them!

WP_20140102_07_54_12_Pro

Anyway, that’s not my point. My point is that I get to work from home this week, thank goodness, and ran across a great set of training classes on Microsoft Virtual Academy to fill some time. It’s free, yes FREE, and there are a LOT of technologies to choose from including ALM.  Although I’ll admit the ALM stuff is pretty light and scarce, and mostly focuses on 2012, so I’ll be nagging some folks about that soon. But there are also classes on Azure, HTML 5, even licensing!

Here is the current list of tools and technologies covered:

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Clicking on Visual Studio I find a lot of great classes to get me up to speed on Windows development, HTML 5, you name it! What you see below is just the first few that came up, it’s a LONG list.

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Best part is you can build up a nice little wish list since you may not have time to take everything today. So build a training plan, or several, and save the classes you like and take them at your own pace. Easy!  I already had one started from a while ago, but need to go back through and update it with some new classes, obviously :-P

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So dig in by starting here. And get some of those Microsoft certifications knocked out while you’re trapped in your house by snowmageddon.

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Efficient Testing with Microsoft Test Manager – Slides Posted

by Angela 24. October 2013 10:42

I wanted to be sure to share out the slides that were presented at the testing events that I recently spoke at. If you happened to attend one of the events where Chris Kadel presented, he should be posting his slides shortly. Now in case you’re reading this post and thinking “what on earth are you talking about Angela?”, Microsoft recently began a tour of the central US focusing on efficient testing, and even if you did NOT attend, you may find the following information useful so read on…

These events lasted a half day, and covered manual testing and collaboration with MTM, automated testing with Visual Studio, and managing environments and automating the Build-Test-Deploy scenario with TFS Build and Lab Management.  My slides are posted on SlideShare, and the agenda is below.  There are still some events open including St Louis, Kansas City, and Minneapolis MN so you may not have missed it entirely.  Sign up soon because these events have been selling out!

How do I integrate better with the team?
QA is near the end of the process chain, so one of the best things they can do to be successful is improve their efficiency and collaborate better with the development team. In this session, we want to answer all of these questions: What if you could draft and select test cases early in the project and ensure you have test coverage by assigning them to requirements? What if the bugs you discover could automatically include data about the underlying behavior of the application and the machine it’s running on?
Are you getting enough information about a release to know what to test? Which new features have been implemented? Which haven’t? Which bugs are supposedly resolved? We’ll discuss how to take advantage of the opportunities for improving collaboration between testers and developers.
What should I automate?
While manual testing is always going to have its place, there are several types of tests that can be automated for efficiency. In this session, we’ll discuss everything from automating functional and load tests to the automation of writing test case steps and designing for reuse.
How do I set up a dev/test environment?
Today’s applications are more complex than ever and it can be very challenging to set up and maintain these environments. Many organizations resort to a small number of shared environments, but you are trying to keep up with frequent developer builds, concurrent projects, and ever-changing data.
This session introduces Microsoft’s Lab Management solution which allows developers and QA to self-provision their own environments. We’ll look at you can take advantage of virtualization (on-premises or cloud) to create environments, roll them back to known states, and attach them to bugs while minimizing the labor in your data center.

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ThatConference – Mark Your Calendars and Call for Speakers is OPEN

by Angela 1. April 2013 16:43

So as a Midwesterner I often feel like we get screwed when it comes to big, cool tech conferences.  ALM Summit is always in Redmond, TechEd is always in Vegas or L.A. (blech), and there are a large number of other big tech conferences that are primarily only held on the West Coast (Mix, VS Live, etc.). So this big news so far this year has been that VS Live is coming to Chicago in May, for one. I’m pretty excited about that, especially with the sweet discount I was able to get for it (see the blog post I linked to above for a $500 discount code to VS Live Chicago). 

Now don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of great, smaller conferences, for instance Chicago Code Camp in a few weeks, and Deeper in .NET in Milwaukee next weekend, are both very good conferences and are both FREE to boot. But another awesome conference you may have missed out on last year was ThatConference. What conference? ThatConference. Yeah, I know, the name is clever, and sometimes confusing, but mostly clever.  It is the next big thing in my opinion, because not only is it owned by, organized by, and delivered by people you know from your local community, but the range of topics is pretty amazing too.  .NET, Ruby, Java, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Tablet, Surface, iPad, you name a technology/platform and it is probably going to be represented there.

As an added bonus, it is a VERY family friendly conference being held at an awesome water park in the Wisconsin Dells, just 3.5 hours from Chicago if you live in my neck of the woods.  Kalahari Resort also has go-karts, laser tag, a large arcade, an indoor ferris wheel, a number of great restaurants and bars, and even a salon and spa if you need a little R&R with your tech!  Stay a few extra days, the room rates are amazing and last year we also got some pretty nice perks (a.k.a. free stuff) from the resort because we were attending the conference.

Call for speakers just opened today and is only open for 2 weeks so hurry up and get your submissions in! Don’t worry if you think your topic is too broad, too niche, too whatever, just get it in there.  There is a great submission guide available on the session submission site too so check it out! The range of topics being accepted is pretty large, as we hope to provide a really well rounded set of options for attendees.  If you have more questions, or would like some help creating your session write-up, join us every Wednesday at noon CST for Q&A on G+.

 

Hope to see you, and your sessions, at ThatConference this summer!

August 12th - 14th, 2013

Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI

 

ThatConference is also on facebook, or Google Groups if you have questions or comments for the world at large.

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Chicago Code Camp 2013–It’s Awesome and it’s FREE

by Angela 22. March 2013 12:54
What is Chicago Code Camp? Well, it’s in its fifth year of awesomeness and if you haven’t checked it out, go do it now.  CCC is a free, community-driven developer conference. Over 350 people have already registered so far! This year, they’ve even adding a full day of Windows Azure boot camp.

 

So if you’ve been to CCC before, go ahead and stop reading because you’ve already registered and know what an amazing free event this is, right?  If you’ve never been, well, it is worth the trip up North (or South if you are in Wisconsin)!  Chicago Code Camp is free, and covers a WIDE variety of great tech topics.  As someone clearly passionate about ALM, I was particularly happy to see the number of ALM related topics at CCC this year, and as usual the speakers are really great too. 

So mark your calendars (April 27th to be specific) and register right now!

 

Here is just a sampling of the ALM sessions:

- Introduction to Git and Github - [Joshua Gall, Aurora Healthcare]

- This *IS* Agile Development - [Gary Pedretti, Centare]

- Version control TFS 2012 - [Prasanna Ramkumar, Magenic]

- ALM with Visual Studio 2012 - [Raj Krishnan, Microsoft]

- TFS 2012 - [James Szubryt, Accenture]

 

More great sessions and speakers are outlined here: http://www.chicagocodecamp.com/Public/Schedule.  Stoked yet? You should be.  Did I mention this is also FREE?

 

Click here to register for Chicago Code Camp 2013

 

19351 W Washington Street Grayslake, IL 60030

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Tags:

.NET 4.5 | ALM | ASP.NET | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | Cloud Computing | HTML5 | MSDN | SDLC | TFS 2012 | Powershell | Productivity | TFS | Team Foundation Server | Testing | Visual Studio 2012 | Visual Studio | Windows 8 | development | git

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VS Live is Coming to Chicago this May! Special Discount for ALM User Group & Friends

by Angela 1. March 2013 10:27

email header2

So in case you haven’t noticed, Visual Studio Live is coming back to Chicago after many, many years of not being here.  This makes me very happy because a) I don’t have to pay for a flight and hotel in L.A. or Seattle, and b) well, see a) because cost is one factor that makes attending great conferences like this so hard to do for some of us.  Regular price of admission is $1,995 for the full 4 days, which isn’t bad when you think of all the awesome content you get.  Early bird registration ends soon and saves you a paltry $200 but wait, I can get you a MUCH better deal than that.

In case you did not make it out to the last Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group you may have missed out on the discount code that I was able to get for all of you.  Sign up right now using the links in this email (or the code UGCH1) and you’ll save $500 off of the $1995 registration too, so it would be only $1495 for the full 4 day pass! This discount only applies to the “Best Value” package including all pre-conference workshops. So no travel costs, no hotel stay, AND save 25%. How can you NOT go? 

 

Visual Studio Live! Chicago tracks include:

  • ASP.NET
  • Azure / Cloud Computing
  • Cross-Platform Mobile
  • Data Management
  • HTML5 / JavaScript
  • SharePoint / Office
  • Windows 8 / WinRT
  • WPF / Silverlight
  • Visual Studio 2012 / .NET 4.5

 

Hope to see you at our next meeting, and at VS Live Chicago this May!

Tags:

.NET 4.5 | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | ASP.NET | Azure | Cloud Computing | git | HTML5 | Microsoft Office | MSDN | SharePoint | Silverlight | Team Foundation Server | TFS | TFS 2012 | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2012 | VS Live | Windows 8 | WinRT

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Sneak Peek of Visual Studio 11 - Coming to a City Near You!

by Angela 24. April 2012 06:34

You may have noticed a little hoopla lately around the coming version of Microsoft Visual Studio’s ALM product line. I’ve been using it for a few months now, and it’s pretty rad! I came across a great set of events coming soon to several cities across the Midwest, to give you a sneak peek at the new ALM capabilities in Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server 11.

This half-day event of presentations and demos will be delivered by your local Microsoft Technical Specialist. In case you are thinking, “my Microsoft whosit?”, 6 months ago this would have been me, so maybe that helps if you knew me before I was a Polarisian, Polarisite, uhhh, I’ll work on that one.  Click below for the city schedule in your area and to view full session descriptions for each event:

Date

Location

Registration URL

5/9/2012

Indianapolis

AM Session - Visual Studio 11

5/11/2012

Chicago

AM Session - Visual Studio 11

5/15/2012

Milwaukee

AM Session - Visual Studio 11

5/17/2012

Downers Grove

AM Session - Visual Studio 11

LOOKING TO EXPERIENCE WINDOWS AZURE? Join us in the afternoon at the same location for a BONUS event. Who doesn’t like a bonus?!  After each ALM event noted above, a Hands-On Experience with Windows Azure will also be happening, where Microsoft will explore how to leverage the Windows Azure platform for your own applications. Microsoft experts will show off the platform's powerful features, walk through tools to get started, and guide you in building and deploying your first cloud based application. The great news for MSDN subscribers is that you get Windows Azure cloud computing benefits for free every month with your subscription. Click below to register for the afternoon session!

Date

Location

Registration URL

5/9/2012

Indianapolis

PM Session - Hands On with Windows Azure

5/11/2012

Chicago

PM Session - Hands On with Windows Azure

5/15/2012

Milwaukee

PM Session - Hands On with Windows Azure

5/17/2012

Downers Grove

PM Session - Hands On with Windows Azure

Visual Studio 11 Beta!

Prepare for the next generation of development. You can’t predict the future, but you can get there first! TRY the Visual Studio 11 Beta Today!

Tags:

ALM | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | MSDN | TFS | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | Testing | User Acceptance Testing | VS 11 Beta | Visual Studio | Work Item Tracking | Azure | Cloud Computing

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