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What Conference? ThatConference! That Joke is Getting Old But I Love It

by Angela 11. April 2016 13:02

Feels like just yesterday I was packing up and moving down another career path, and talking about this awesome conference with a funny name that was having it’s very first year. Can you believe it’s been almost 5 years?!  Well, here we are about to have our 5th ThatConference, and the call for speakers was a whirlwind, and we were blown away with the wide range of topics and subjects that people submit and voted on. This year is going to be so AWESOME! I know, I say that every year, but every year it’s true.

The speaker and session list includes an incredibly diverse range of topics. There are over 40 female speakers, and at least a dozen kid speakers so far - and the list of young campers speaking at the conference is still growing! You know, it’s one thing to be part of a successful conference, that feels really good. But it’s another to have a conference that incites such excitement that you have dozens of kids willing to roll up their sleeves and teach us all some great new skills. I just cannot get over that. I had neither the chutzpah nor the opportunity for something like that growing up, so I love that we can do that at ThatConference. If you missed the call for speakers, and you or your little ones are interested in speaking, keep in mind that we will have Open Spaces sessions to allow for spur of the moment talks.

Needless to say I am so proud to be a part of something like this, and am so grateful to be part of such a passionate and dedicated conference team – especially Clark and Carrie Sell. None of us knew what we were signing on to back in 2010 when the idea was born, including them I imagine Smile

Haven’t heard of ThatConference? Well, get on over to the conference website because I probably can’t do it justice. I hope you, and your family can make it this year! Early bird pricing is in effect, so be sure to grab your tickets and your rooms soon.  They won’t last – trust me on this!

Below are some fun pics from last year that I wanted to share as well, maybe you’ll see yourself in here Smile

Some fun times decorating badges:

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The amazing conference crew:

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Board game night!

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Our glorious stage (and leader!)

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Tags:

ThatConference | community | Cloud Computing | Azure | Mobile | Mobile development | Agile | Scrum | SDLC | web development

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Chicago Code Camp Call for Speakers is Open

by Angela 17. February 2016 08:52

In case you haven’t heard, Chicago Code Camp call for speakers opened last week and we need you! Not heard of Chicago Code Camp? Well, grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair because we have a great story! This is our 8th year, and once again we’ll be staying in downtown Chicago at the Illinois Institute of Technology to make sure we are centrally located and easy to get to by car, train, or subway. It is a day to learn from the community. It is a day to contribute to the community. Please join us by sponsoring, attending, speaking, or all three! We cannot be successful without you. 

The mission of Chicago Code Camp is to provide a credible resource within the IT industry. Our goal is to offer a wide range of opportunities to learn about advancements in our field, to share knowledge from our experiences, and to develop valued relationships with our peers. To that end, Chicago Code Camp is a FREE, day-long event. We are here to connect the talent and expertise within the Developer community of the Windy City, and that includes YOU. Discussions for the day have previously included development and trending topics in .net, java, open sourced frameworks, web, mobile, cloud, robotics, testing, soft skills, and more.

So what ideas, technologies, or strategies do you want to share with us? Everyone has something to contribute, whether its information on a new JavaScript framework, teaching us how to leverage Docker to strengthen our DevOps practices, sharing experiences adopting scrum, or how to handle ourselves better in job interviews. We are looking for a broad set of experiences across just about any topic related to being a technology professional.

Note on our selection process: In order to be fair towards all the speakers who submit for sessions for the Code Camp, the speakers are chosen via a blind voting process by the Chicago Code Camp Advisory Council (CCCAC). The advisory council is made up of various local and regional user group leaders and industry experts. The council will only see the topic title, abstract, and level of difficulty of the talk when voting for the abstract. The council does not have access to the presenter's information. The abstracts with highest votes are then placed into tracks and presenters are notified.

So take a few minutes to absorb some caffeine, think about some topics you’d be willing to share with the rest of the tech community in Chicago, then submit your ideas here: http://www.chicagocodecamp.com/Submissions/WantToShare

 

Hope to see you at Chicago Code Camp this April!  Oh, and general registration is not open yet, but stay tuned for news on that Smile

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Free eBooks on Azure From Microsoft Virtual Academy

by Angela 18. May 2015 08:10

I was just lamenting that I needed to get caught up on Azure stuff, and then saw this amazing tweet from Scott Guthrie:

@scottgu: I just realized there are a bunch of *free* Azure eBooks now available to download through Amazon or online: http://t.co/g5ofSNUWJg

Whoa! It’s like they HEARD me. Creepers.  Anyway, there are a ton of free eBooks available, and some also have Kindle downloads too.  And not just Azure!  You’ll find books on System Center, Windows 10 Preview, Xamarin, SQL Server 2014, and lots more!

You can find the entire catalog of free books here, but below are the ones I am most excited about:

Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure: The “Microsoft Azure Essentials” series helps you advance your technical skills with Microsoft Azure. “Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure” introduces developers and IT professionals to the wide range of capabilities in Azure. The authors—both Microsoft MVPs in Azure—present conceptual and how-to content for seven key areas and describe management tools and business cases.

Rethinking Enterprise Storage: A Hybrid Cloud Model: Discover how a hybrid cloud model—combining cloud storage services with traditional on-premise storage—can solve multiple storage challenges cost-effectively, all under a single data management system. Focusing on the Microsoft hybrid cloud storage solution, this book offers concise insights on technical, strategic, and practical considerations—so you can begin evaluating potential benefits to your organization.

Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Online: With this ebook, the ALM Rangers share their best practices in managing solution requirements and shipping solutions in an agile environment, an environment where transparency, simplicity, and trust prevail. The ebook is for Agile development teams and their Scrum Masters who want to explore and learn from the authors’ “dogfooding” experiences and their continuous adaptation of software requirements management.

Get them while they are still free!

 

Tags:

Azure | Application Lifecycle Management | .NET | Cloud Computing | Mobile | Microsoft | SQL Server | System Center | Xamarin | SQL Server 2014

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Chicago Code Camp returns to IIT in Chicago in 2015

by Angela 3. March 2015 17:42

So did you hear that Chicago Code Camp is returning to IIT in Chicago?! Very exciting news. And a much shorter commute for me Smile 

What is Chicago Code Camp? Really?! I hope that isn’t a serious question. It’s a fantastic 1-day event! Here is the blurb from the website, because I don’t know that I can sum it up much better than this:

Chicago Code Camp is a community event where developers learn from fellow developers. The one day polyglot code camp's goals are for developer to share ideas, learn from one another, and then develop upon topics of interests that were discovered during events. Our topics from previous years included development (and/or trending practices) in .net, java, open sourced frameworks, web, mobile, cloud, robotics, testing, soft skills, agile and scrum practices, and more.

Sessions range from informal talks and panel discussions to formal presentations. There will be a mix of presenters – some experienced speakers with years in the industry, some that may be speaking in public for the first time, as well as students and first time developers. We are expecting to see people from throughout Midwest region and beyond.

2015 will be our 7th year of Chicago Code Camp and we are happy to return to the City of Chicago and to the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Call for speakers is OPEN so be sure to submit your best ideas! And keep in mind that we do get a lot of submissions, and voting is blind, so bonus points for very detailed submissions and creative content.

 

Lastly, and most importantly because this is a community supported event, there are also sponsorship opportunities. If you are looking to support the community, maybe even use the opportunity to do some networking, advertising, and recruiting of some great local talent, this is a great one to consider! Sponsorship opportunities start at just $500. Find out more on the Sponsors page.

 

 

***********UPDATE**********

Registration is now open, and the event is, as it always has been, completely FREE!

Tags:

.NET | Agile | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | C# | Chicago Code Camp | Cloud Computing | DevOps | Mobile | Mobile development | Release Management | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | Testing | TFS 2013 | Visual Studio | VS 2013

1

DevOps with Chef and Azure Coming to the Chicago ALM User Group this Month

by Angela 4. February 2015 17:12

When: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Where:Microsoft-Chicago 200 E Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

What: Wouldn’t it be great to remove the “it works on my machine” scenario? Don’t you have better things to do with your time then manually configure systems? In this live, hands-on demonstration Matt will introduce you to the concepts of Infrastructure as Code and Automation; show you how we to use Chef  to develop and test system configuration locally, and then deploy them to a production environment in Microsoft Azure. Learn more about Chef on their blog, website, and Twitter!

Who: Matt Stratton is a solutions architect at Chef, where he demonstrates how Chef’s automation platform provides speed and flexibility to clients’ infrastructure. He is devoted to concepts like Continuous Delivery and Infrastructure as Code, and his license plate actually says “DevOps”. He is also a host of the Arrested DevOps (arresteddevops.com) podcast. It’s a great podcast, and I am not just saying that because I have been on it :)

Matt has over 15 years experience in IT operations, ranging from large financial institutions such as JPMorganChase and dot coms, including Apartments.com. He has given presentations at Microsoft-sponsored events, CAMP IT, and various local groups within the Chicagoland area.He lives in Chicago and has an unhealthy obsession with Doctor Who, Firefly, and Game of Thrones.

Agenda:6:30pm dinner 7:00pm Presentation

RSVP Now to Attend

Feel free to invite coworkers or friends who would be interested in this talk, just make sure they pre-register! Security requires it, and then I can order the right amount of food. You can park in the Aon center for a discounted rate after 6pm, but your best bet may be SpotHero if you choose to drive. I’ve seen $10 parking a block away using their service.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | Cloud Computing | DevOps | development | Deployment | Deployment Planning | Continuous deployment | Chef | Continuous Delivery

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St Louis Day of .NET – Links to Blogs and Decks for all Polaris Speakers

by Angela 24. November 2014 15:22

This year was the second year that Polaris Solutions sponsored St. Louis Day of .NET.  In case you’re wondering why were sponsor a conference in St Louis, a) it’s a really great conference, and b) we have an office down there, a quickly growing one too! So if you missed it this year, stay tuned for STLDODN 2015! Outside of ThatConference, it is one of the most affordable, local conference that I have even been a part of. It was focused on Microsoft and .NET technologies, but also included a lot of talks around test automation, deployment and release management, and agile and scrum.

If you did attend, I wanted to make sure to point you at my slide decks, as well as the blogs and slide decks of some of our other presenters. If you missed them, I spoke on both TFS deployment and management as well as agile adoption, Josh did presentations on machine learning with Azure and ASP.NET identify framework, Clint did a really great presentation on Application Architecture and another on Advanced OOP, and Jeff talked about a topic near and dear to my hear as well – TFS Consolidation and migrations.  If you attended the pre-compiler sessions you may have even run across our newest Polarian – Alejandro Ramirez. Great stuff, all of them! Here is a roundup of how to find more information on those speakers, and to get their slides:

  • Angela Dugan: You’re already on my blog :) slides are here
  • Clint Edmonson: Blog and slides
  • Josh Gillespie: Blog and slides
  • Jeff Przylucki: Blog and slides to be posted soon, check back in a few days!
  • Alejandro Ramirez:Blog and slides

 

A couple of us even made it into the podcast line-up while there as well! I’ll be appearing on an upcoming edition of Technology and Friends, and both myself and Alejandro got a chance to sit down with the great team behind St Louis Tech Talks

Lastly, be sure to check out the STLDODN twitter feed (and search on #STLDODN) for some great tweets, links to the other great podcast episodes recorded live during the conference, as well as links to some of the other presentations.

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Going to ThatConference? You SHOULD be!

by Angela 12. July 2013 12:36

This year is the second ThatConference and it is going to ROCK. Not only can you spend 3 days in the Wisconsin Dells hanging out with your peers learning about .NET, Java, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Ruby, PHP, agile, Azute, TypeScript, JavaScript, Node JS, Angular JS - has your head exploded yet? And that’s not all that’s being covered, I just got tired of typing in technologies. It’s quite mind-blowing. So pretty much anyone interested in tech will get a lot out of this conference.  Why pay thousands to go to a conference focusing on just one specific language, vendor, or platform? ThatConference is for the community, by the community. And we mean that.

Best part, it’s only $349 and that includes all sessions, keynotes, food, and a heck of a pig roast at the waterpark. You even get s discounted rate for the Kalahari both during the conference and the weekend before in case you want to make a vacation out of it.  I know I am!  Also, did I mention it is at an amazing water park?  With go-karts, laser tag, a climbing wall, a ferris wheel, need I say more? AND, as if that was not awesome enough, for a very small amount (just $39 total) you can even add your family to the fun.  We now have a kids’ track. The Family schedule can be found here: http://www.thatconference.com/Schedule/FamilySchedule 

Check out the session list here: http://www.thatconference.com/sessions. Note: MY session is Monday morning, so hope to see you there! Smile

Here are the specifics (you need to go to registration to see this, so maybe I can save you some clicks):

Attendee $349

The 2013 attendee ticket. Full access to over 125 sessions, keynotes, food and one epic water park. But be careful, water and electronics don’t play together. Ziploc bags not included.

Family Ticket $39

That Conference is a family friendly conference and this year we continue to improve on our family experience. This year we have a dedicated family schedule that includes 2 family sessions each day. Your family will have the opportunity to meet a few animals from the local zoo, to learning how to build some awesome robots with Lego. But that isn’t all! This year families will get their own badges, join us at our daily happy hour, beat another geek during game night and of course join us for a spectacular dinner at our signature pig roast and more. All that fun does come at a very small cost. For just 39.00 per family, you’re helping That Conference bring such epic fun to all.

GiveCamp & The Humanitarian Toolbox (Sat & Sun)  $0 – Heck yeah, it is FREE

On August 10th and 11th, That Conference will host the 2013 Midwest GiveCamp. This year, Midwest GiveCamp and That Conference will team up with the Humanitarian Toolbox in a quest to help build software in support of disaster relief. This is a free event and food will be provided.

Coderetreat ( Sun ) $0 – Heck yeah, it is FREE

On ** Sunday August 11th from 11AM - 7PM** That Conference will host a free Coderetreat. Coderetreat is a day-long, intensive practice event, focusing on the fundamentals of software development and design. By providing developers the opportunity to take part in focused practice, away from the pressures of 'getting things done', the coderetreat format has proven itself to be a highly effective means of skill improvement. Practicing the basic principles of modular and object-oriented design, developers can improve their ability to write code that minimizes the cost of change over time. More information found here: http://coderetreat.org/

Tags:

.NET 4.5 | ALM | ASP.NET | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | Cloud Computing | HTML5 | MSDN | Mobile development | SDLC | TFS 2012 | Team Foundation Server | U/X | User Experience | Visual Studio | Windows 8 | iOS | JavaScript

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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

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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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