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December 2007
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February 2008

Do your user group members blog about your group?

I was thinking today about user groups, specifically INETA groups, since they are near and dear to my heart.  I have been to a gazillion meetings, my group, groups close to me, groups far far away from me.  Not once do I recall anyone suggesting their own member blog about the group.


We get most of our growth from referrals.  There are businesses based on teaching us how to grow a referral based business.  Why don't we ask our members to be proactive in our groups' growth?  Who better to bring more people? 


As our groups grow, all members can benefit.  We get a much bigger pool of brain power and can learn so much from each other, and this is one of the primary reasons for user groups.


A challenge- ask your members to blog about meetings.  Before they happen.  A report after it's over.  Get the word out.

New web site for SouthColorado.NET user group!

Go ahead, go have a look (Site link here ).  It is much prettier than before (don't hate me because I think pretty is important, we all enjoy eye candy).  It is just a beginning, but it was years in the making (can you hear the trumpets?). 


We will of course expand it and make room for sponsors and job postings and book reviews and speaker content and anything else people remind us that was forgotten.


Thanks Dave, looks great!

Is this really big brother Microsoft?

Story here about a new patent application submitted by Microsoft.  Basically a software application that not only monitors the work people are doing on their computers but offers help when "needed" and keeps tabs on performers and slackers.


First thing that comes to mind, do they actually plan to USE it or do they just plan to patent it and hold the patent.  I'd imagine MS owns a gazillion patents and does not utilize most of them.  This could (COULD) be a good thing.  A save the world from big brother thing.


Next thing that comes to mind, is what's in it for me?  (hey, at least I am honest!)  How would this tool help my development team?  I am not sure it really would.  How can I tell it during set up about the innovative things we do around here?  By the time I'd get it all set up, it would be outdated.  So it seems for this team it would hold no value.  There would be an endless cycle of setup and corrections as we moved forward.  Spend that resource on coding instead, much better answer.


But for other places I guess it could set a dangerous precedent if not used well.  But how could you use it and not cross that mythical line?  Maybe in a prison?  Or public school?  (my son would tell you they are one in the same).  I could see a teacher using this tool to help isolate students that need more help but are afraid to ask.


I guess my point is, Is this a can of worms you really want to open Microsoft?

Educate yourself and VOTE

Yes, a political blog post.  Keep reading, I promise it is not going to be controversial.


I was at a meeting this evening, a group of individuals of differing political opinions, discussing politics.  IT WAS WONDERFUL.  Mutual respect of differing opinions.  No fear of criticism.  No personal attacks.  Just like it should be.


At this meeting each of us had a chance to hop on the "soapbox".  (no boxes were harmed in this spectacular display, the box was there as a metaphor only).  I really had planned to pass when it was my turn.  It was my first time coming to this group and I figured I might be better off holding my tongue until at least the 2nd meeting.  I have been know to have a big mouth at times.


But then listening to the others made me realize what I needed to talk about.  This is something that really bugs me, but so few people talk about it.


A vote without knowledge should not be counted.  Now I know there is no real way of enforcing such a thing.  We need to police ourselves.  Hold ourselves morally accountable to ourselves.  I really don't care if you are democrat, republican or Martian.  Learn what is important to YOU.  Then find your causes, find your candidates.  VOTE.


A challenge to us all.  On election day, when you are facing that ballot, when you see an item that you have not educated yourself on, pass it up.  Do not place a vote simply to vote.  Only vote when you know what it means.


(hopping off the box now)

"The BIG Event"

This came across my email twice today (thanks Tim and Joe).  I have been hearing about it for a while now, but it looks like crunch time and time to register.  It should be a great event, down and dirty learning, not a lot of fluff.


Do you miss the old Dev Days events?  Do you wish that you could attend a TechEd or PDC, but don’t have the time or budget to get to one?  Well the Big Event is for you.  Come spend a day with us as we delve into developer and architect topics during the day.  With a mix of some your favorite local presenters as well as some from Redmond. 

The day will begin with a keynote from the Microsoft Patterns and Practices teamPeter Provost, a senior development lead from P&P will join us to discuss what P&P has delivered and how you can get started with their guidance.

The day's events will cater toward both developers and architects, with tracks accommodating both audiences.  For developers, Rob Bagby will discuss exposing and consuming data using the Microsoft stack.  He'll explore new data services frameworks for developers to exploit.  Developers will also be able to learn how to use Office as a developer platform and realize the power of integrating functionality within Office applications themselves, using managed code!  We've also brought in VB developer extraordinaire Beth Massi from the VB team to talk about what is new in VB9 for developers and some surprises you might not have known about.  This line-up is must see!

The architect track will examine topics such as why user experience matters.  Discussions around why we should be paying more attention to the user experience and what mistakes inhibit application adoption.  Peter Provost from P&P will also discuss Agile Development methodologies at Microsoft and how it has been adopted.  Finally the Live Platform will be examined.  Live is much more than search and Virtual Earth...this session will examine the whole Live platform offerings available to architects.

This really is going to be a great day of interaction!

The event is completely free to attend for anyone (registration is required).  Details and registration link are below, we look forward to you attending!

When: Thursday, January 31, 2008 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Where: Marriot DTC, 4900 S. Syracuse St, Denver Colorado 80237

Registration is appreciated: Click here to register

Compass on Business article

For the last few years I have been participating in economic forecasting surveys through the Business Leaders Confidence Index.  The same group publishes Compass on Business magazine (click here ).

A few months ago I was contacted and asked to be interviewed for an upcoming article.  I figured, sure, why not, painless.  Right?


Well, it was painless.  And this interview has now been published.  You can find it here.  


Pretty cool if you ask me.