Monthly Archives: November 2006

Why I May Have to Start Using Linux

It’s the little things …

If Windows Update asks me one more time if it can restart my computer, I think that I may snap. It’s going to ask me, in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, there’s no way to STOP it from asking except by rebooting the stinking computer. I need to be able to tell it that I will reboot when I’m darned well good and ready.

Bill tells me that he was in the middle of a presentation once, when the incessant bothering started. That’s even worse than someone IM’ing you in the middle of a presentation (at least you can turn IM off!).

Seriously, it’s putting me over the edge, and I may well grab that Ubuntu install CD before the night is over.

OpenLevel Java Seminar

This unique approach to Java training will be held January 22-26 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I was first exposed to an Open Spaces conference at Bruce Eckel’s Programming the New Web conference in Crested Butte, CO last March. I was a bit mystified at first. The idea was to go, pick the topics that we wanted to discuss, discuss them, and go home knowing more than when we had arrived. No planned agenda. The seminar description listed things that we MIGHT discuss, but the agenda was to be decided by the participants. The idea is that at traditional conferences, the really useful knowledge is what you learn on coffee breaks, or when just standing around, talking to other attendees, so this is a way to organize an entire conference on what you REALLY want to learn, rather than an agenda set forth ahead of time. I loved it. I learned a ton … way more than I had ever learned at traditional conferences.

I even attended a second conference in Crested Butte, with the same flavor: the Web Frameworks Jam. Bruce said that he really hadn’t intended it to be based on OpenSpaces, but that it was going to be a fairly free-formed workshop where groups would work together toward learning and developing with a web framework of their choice. It turned out great, and the group I worked in had a blast with TurboGears.

So when I asked Bruce to come out to Ann Arbor to do some Java training, it felt a bit odd to ask him to do “traditional” training. Both of us kept going back to how much we learned at the Web Frameworks Jam, and we brainstormed a bit on how to make it more customized to the individual learning styles and different skill sets that people arrive with at a training class. And thus, Bruce started to form the plans for an OpenLevel Java Seminar.

The idea is that people will work on exercises from his book, Thinking in Java, 4th Edition. With the OpenLevel concept, people will be able to choose the exercises that interest them most, in the areas where they need work, or want to focus. One really cool aspect of this is that people can move forward at their own speed, but Bruce will be there as a Java expert, to get them over any stumbling blocks that the group encounters. Another really cool aspect is that this is not limited to beginning Java programmers. Advanced Java programmers can come, and be confident that they will not be bored by repeating the things that they already know about the language. Instead, they can move right on to the more advanced topics that they haven’t had exposure to yet (or haven’t quite been able to figure out on their own).

I’m really excited about this seminar. Not only is this the first training that Bruce has done from his book, Thinking in Java 4th edition, but it’s also the first time that he’s organizing it as an OpenLevel seminar. It’s going to be an amazing learning experience, and I’m thrilled that it’s going to happen in our town.

OpenLevel Java Seminar: January 22-26, 2007

(Registration and more details at

CodeMash Early Bird Deadline Coming Soon

CodeMash, a developer conference for programmers of all flavors, is scheduled for January 18-19 in Sandusky, OH. And the early bird deadline is coming up soon. Register by December 18 to get the early bird conference rate of $99. After December 18, the cost goes up to $149.

At any rate, it’s a great deal. With keynotes by Bruce Eckel, Neal Ford and Scott Guthrie … and talks on Python, Java, .NET, TurboGears, and more, I’m already looking forward to it.

Get more information and register now at

Conference Location

CodeMash conference

CodeMash Organizer and CodeMash Speaker Mash it Up on Dot Net Rocks

Dianne Marsh, organizing committee member of the CodeMash Conference and CodeMash speaker, and Bill Wagner, CodeMash speaker, appeared on the Internet Talk Radio Show “Dot Net Rocks” today. Bill and Dianne, cofounders of SRT Solutions, a firm that specializes in mentoring developers, talked to hosts Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell about how broadening your horizons with different technology communities will help you become a better software development professional. At the end of the show, Carl and Richard gave away 2 free tickets to the CodeMash conference.

Topics discussed:

  • Objectives of CodeMash conference: bring together developers of different languages and platforms to learn from one another.
  • Lots about Python, including IronPython
  • How SRT best serves its clients with its multi-platform, multi-language approach

Our radio hosts

Developer Conference for ALL developers


Announcing Thinking in Java OpenLevel Seminar

SRT Solutions is pleased to announce that Bruce Eckel will be coming to Ann Arbor January 22-26, 2007, to train developers in Java. This seminar will provide training in Java 5 for developers from beginning to advanced. This model will be tailored to the individual learning styles of the participants.

You'll be doing exercises from the 4th edition of Thinking in Java, in groups and within a supportive environment. You will move at the speed that is comfortable for you, learning at your optimal rate. Guidance is available if your group gets stuck.

For more information and to register for Java 5 training, go to

Thinking in Java: An OpenLevel Seminar

CodeMash Speaker Evaluation Underway

CodeMash is a conference that will be held in Sandusky, OH January 18-19, 2007 at the Kalahari Resort. We’ve lined up some really great talks for CodeMash. Here is a small sampling:

·Dave Donaldson: Let NHibernate be Your Data Layer
·Joe Wirtley, Dan Hounshell: Real World Continuous Integration using NAnt, NUnit, NCover, FxCop, and More
·Owen Taylor: End of Tier Based Architecture
·Chris Judd: Scripting for Java
·Mary Poppendieck: Lean Software Development
·Ben Carey: Beyond TDD: Exploring the Benefits beyond Testing
·Bill Wagner: Curry Favor with Closures:  An Introduction to Functional Programming

And more …

We’re going to have a birds of a feather session with technical book writers. How could we resist, with some great authors at the conference, including Bruce Eckel, Neal Ford, Bill Wagner, Jason Gilmore, and more.

And … we’re also going to have a language experts panel, moderated by Bruce Eckel.

And, of course, we have 3 really cool keynotes: Bruce Eckel, Neal Ford, and Scott Guthrie.

Get your reservation in early. Early bird prices ($99) end December 18.

CodeMash Conference

CodeMash … and Football!

Have I mentioned CodeMash? LOL! Even my conversations IRL these days seem to find their way to CodeMash. So no one will fall over when I mention CodeMash and football in the same blog post, right? Well, at least not my real life friends …

Yeah, we were being daring, putting together developers of all languages and platforms to learn from one another. Back when the conference planning started (ahem, discussions last spring!), we didn’t really THINK about football. But … it’s happened. One of the longest standing rivalries in college football has escalated to be The Game. Not just for the Big Ten Championship, but likely for rights to go to the National Championship. And it is coincidentally occurring on the same year that we’re putting together Michigan and Ohio programmers for CodeMash.

In this family, my 1 year old son signaled “touchdown” before he said “Mommy” (and I was OK with that). And my 3 year old daughter yells, “GO, GO, GO! RUN!”, and “NO!” at all of the appropriate times. Yup, we’re huge football fans. MICHIGAN football fans.

Sadly, even though Josh is an Ann Arborite, he isn’t really a football fan. So, on the organizing committee for CodeMash, it’s me against the Ohio guys (many of whom are in Columbus). They’ve been polite, even as they were apologetic in their hopes that Michigan would lose to Notre Dame in the early season, setting up a OSU/Notre Dame national championship. But alas, we know what happened (reminder to the Fighting Irish: it was 47-21 MEECHIGAN!). I didn’t gloat. I just quietly sat in meetings throughout the year, hoping that both teams would go UNDEFEATED into the UM/OSU matchup.

So on November 18, I’ll be cheering on Chad Henne, Mike Hart, and Steve Breaston (no trash-talking on my buddy Breaston, Kirk Herbstreit!), and all of the other guys including the AWESOME defensive line. And then the following Tuesday, I’ll go back to our weekly CodeMash organizing meeting with “the Ohio guys”.

So come one, come all to CodeMash! We’ve got Java and Python and .NET … and even some people from both Michigan and Ohio State!

CodeMash – I'll be there!