On August 10th 2010 I attended and presented at the PGH.NET User Group meeting named “5 Guys with Code.” According to one of the PGH.NET leaders tweet it looks like the headcount was 60+
The following are some thoughts and highlights from the presentations.
- John Sterrett (Blog | Twitter) – Table Value Parameters with SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft .NET
I presented a feature that is included in SQL Server 2008 and underused by many developers. This presentation shows developers how to pass a DataTable, DataReaders and Lists to SQL Server database objects with only two extra lines of C# or VB.NET code.
As promised below are some reference links
- David Hoerster (Blog | Twitter) – jQuery Code Snippets in Visual Studio 2010
I really liked the jsFiddle.NET tool. It looks like a great tool to mockup some a user interface (more on user interfaces later).
- Rich Dudley (Blog | Twitter ) – A Quick Look at the New SQL CE Engine
Being addicted to databases I very happy to see that I wasn’t the only one presenting a topic based on databases. Rich did a great job explaining what SQL CE can do and what it cannot do.
Rich blogged about his experience (post includes photos, slides and more)
I have to admit that XAML and I don’t get along well. We had a fling a few years ago. XAML cheated on me and I haven’t been the same since.
Ok seriously, I tried XAML a few times and found it very hard to understand. John did a great job going over the common things that are hard to understand when you get started with XAML. John started with some very basic controls and then built a final example that included all the basic controls.
At this summers PGH.NET Code Camp we had a speakers session where one of the presenters said, “Code is considered legacy code when TDD is not applied.” Eric bowling for TDD example showed how anyone can start developing TDD.
This year I made a goal to read six new books and to share my experience with everyone via book reviews. This is the first review of the year and I am excited to give feedback on a book I really enjoyed. Normally self help books put me to sleep but this was an exception as it was informative and entertaining to read. If you plan to do public speaking in the near future I highly recommend this book.
My motivation for reading “Confessions of a Public Speaker” by Scott Berkun is simple. I find myself doing more presentations and I want to improve my craft. This year I will be speaking at PGH.NET Code Camp in April and also at SQL Saturday #36 in Wheeling, WV. Public speaking is not easy for me. I completely agree with Adam Machanic’s blog post. It takes a lot of practice and some reading to see how others succeed. Therefore, I want to take any advantage I can to make my presentations better. The lessons I learned in the first chapter alone made this book worth the $17 on Amazon.
The following are some very important lessons learned. Most people at your presentation hope you do well but also hope your presentation ends soon. It’s funny, after I read this I started laughing because it’s so true. I also learned to know your material but know you shouldn’t be perfect. Normally, I try to be a perfectionist so this is something I had to know. I cannot go back in time and correct my mistakes. Ummm… maybe I can I will have to add this to my todo list. Finally, I learned it’s the mistakes you make before you present that matter the most. I will dive into this with my confession below.
Being that the title of the book is “Confessions of a Public Speaker” it’s only fair to include a confession of my own. With experience I learned that I must take control of what I can control. Three years ago I did my first presentation at the Pittsburgh Code Camp and did a presentation on extending the Reporting Service API’s. While no one booed or threw fruit at me the presentation was a hot mess. I was modifying slides in the speakers room, I didn’t do a practice run of the demos, heck I didn’t go through the audience’s point of view when I built the presentation. If I would have taken care of what I could control (my presentation) this could have been a killer presentation. Regardless, it was a great learning opportunity which made my future presentations much better.
If you want to improve your public speaking I highly recommend Confessions of a Public Speaker. This book will stay on my bookshelf within an arms reach for quite some time.
If you are supporting/running a user group or interested in becoming a technical presenter this blog post will help you. I am starting to help with the Pittsburgh SQL Server User Group and I wanted to share some knowledge learned from working with the Greater Wheeling Chapter of the Association for Information Technology Professionals. If your user group is based on technology (AITP, INETA, PASS) etc. I highly recommend you look into leveraging the resources provided by UGSS and Culminis GITCA.
Today I received an email reminder to sign up for the Q2 UGSS User Group Kit and this motivated me to write this blog post for leaders and presenters who are not familiar with UGSS or GITCA. At the end of the day you need to offer something of value (knowledge, training, networking, swag) for people to attend your events. I want to commend both UGSS and GITCA as they provide support to increase the value of your user group meetings.
Global IT Community Association (GITCA)
For starters Culminis is now GITCA. Global IT Community Association (GITCA) represents over 700 member organizations and over 3.7 million IT professionals. GITCA is the world’s largest international not-for-profit independent organization powered by dedicated volunteers devoted to the development and growth of the IT community by providing services to support leaders and connect user groups, associations, and student IT organizations.
The following is a list of benefits for user groups:
- SharePoint hosting for user group
- LiveMeeting account online meetings
- Event Support
- Community Development
- Access to User Group Support Services (UGSS) more on this below.
To apply check out the requirements and sign up if you qualify.
User Group Support Services (UGSS) is dedicated and committed to serving technical community members and leaders worldwide. UGSS provides resources that will ignite your efforts as leaders and invigorate your experience as members.
The following is a list of benefits for Community Leaders:
- Get speakers for your events – if you are interested in presenting sign up here. Groups will find you and ask you to present.
- Get funding for your events – yes, they will help sponsor your events.
- Get publicity for your events
- Get more publicity for your events
- Get swag (content, demos, samples and more) – the photo below shows some items I received during the last kit.
If you are the leader of a user group, a presenter, or someone who would like to sponsor events apply here. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email at jsterrett at gmail dot com and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.