Monthly Archives: November 2007

Independent consultants: unique opportunity with CodeMash

The CodeMash organizing committee realized that a large number of attendees at CodeMash are independent consultants, self-paying for the event.  We realized that we had left them out when we were designing sponsorship opportunities, and so we have introduced a new sponsorship level for the individual.  Priced at $100, you will get a 1-liner in the conference program, which is a great way to promote your business at a very low cost.

Individual Consultant Sponsorship


Listing in the Service Provider list distributed to each CodeMash attendee as part of the CodeMash program.
Listings will include the following for each consultant:

Name, website, and phone number
One line description of service offerings

Available only to individual, independent consultants in the region. Company logo and information not included on the sponsor page of CodeMash’s website.


If you're interested, please contact me at Dianne.Marsh AT codemash DOT org

Google and its mobile strategy …

Well, it's not A gPhone.  But it IS a free SDK for anyone who wants to develop applications for mobile phones.  AND they're asking for input from developers that they will use to further develop their product.  The SDK will apparently be available on November 12! 

They have developed a new mobile operating system, based on Linux.  Java already has a large percentage of the mobile device market, but this lets Google build a mobile-specific platform that developers can use.

And Google apparently thinks that this is even bigger than the idea of a single gPhone.  Rather, any manufacturer can build a phone with a platform supported by Google. 

Verizon hasn't jumped on board yet, but there's speculation that Sprint and T-Mobile have.  I'm really hoping Verizon does, as well.

 For more information, see: 

One Laptop Per Child comes to Farmington Hills …

If you haven't heard about the One Laptop Per Child program, it's worth investigating.  This is a privately funded project, targeted toward providing laptops to children around the world.  The laptops themselves run on Linux, and are pretty much indestructible.  The giving program allows you to buy one, give one for $399.  Interesting.  I did a little nosing around to see which age group these are targeted at.  The answer I found was around 6-16, although the laptops are supposedly appropriate for any age group.  I'm not sure that they would be good for my kids (they're still a bit young, at ages 2 and 4), but it would be fascinating to see if they expressed interest.
Ivan Krstić, director of security and information architecture at the One Laptop per Child project, who also did a keynote at PyCon about this project (much of the software is written in Python), will be in Farmington Hills next Tuesday, November 13, for a public meeting with the Michigan Unix Users Group (MUG).  The meeting goes from 6:30-9:30, and is held at the Farmington Community Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, MI 48334-3302.

 And … rumor has it that he's bringing HARDWARE, which would be very cool to see.  It's a huge honor to have him attend this meeting considering that the public launch of the giving program is the day before the meeting, November 12.  I really hope that the library is packed.

Here's a link to a flyer for the event:


CodeMash early bird deadline is fast approaching

CodeMash is a conference that I'm involved with, as an organizer. Next year's event will be held Jan 9-11 (panel discussion the evening of the 9th, with full days on the 10th and 11th), at the same location as the 2007 event: the Kalahari Resort and Indoor Water Park in Sandusky, OH.

CodeMash a cool event, that brings together developers from all different languages, platforms, and technologies, to learn from one another.  And, it's priced so that anyone can afford to attend.  We know that many companies do not allocate money for training, so we priced CodeMash at the "self-pay" level (it's just $125 for the event, if you sign up by November 15).  The registration fee includes meals (2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 1 dinner).  HOW can we do this at such a low price, when other conferences charge in the thousands?  First, we have an amazing list of sponsors, from small companies to very large ones. Every dollar helps us to put this event together, and we seriously could not do it without our sponsors.  And, it's an all volunteer organizational team, and we have worked pretty hard to put this together because we all feel strongly that this benefits the community.  We couldn't even REACH our sponsors without our volunteer team, since volunteers even take on the responsibility for contacting and soliciting sponsors.  And no, none of us are in sales.  We are all developers.  We're lucky that our sponsors have been so responsive!

You can see a partial session list at  We were absolutely overwhelmed by cool talks this time around and we had to turn down some really interesting talks.  I am confident that the schedule that we've come up with will be of great interest to our attendees. There will be Java, Python, Ruby, .NET, and many talks on technology in a non-language specific type of way.  There will be open spaces where you can propose your own session, and have an interactive conversation with the other attendees rather than listening to a prepared lecture.  It's going to be a great event … again.

The family-friendly location (bring the kids! hang out in the water park!) is intentional, and we have introduced "CodeMash Families" for the 2008 event.  A volunteer organizer will help families to meet one another and perhaps even have some scheduled activities, if that suits them.  This was borne out of last year's experience, where the families who had come along sort of "discovered" one another throughout their time at the Kalahari and eventually introduced themselves.

So anyhow, get in on the early bird pricing.  The $125 entry fee expires November 15.   I'll certainly blog more about this in the upcoming weeks, as we release the rest of the talks and nail down more information.

Slashdot and its Michigan Connection

One of my pet projects over the last few years has been to try to rally the local Ann Arbor community to recognize that we really have a lot of cool stuff going on IN OUR BACK YARDS.  Interestingly enough, many of these cool things are NOT venture funded, will never "go public" and so somehow go unnoticed, even to longtime community members.

Slashdot is my favorite example, and I use it frequently.  What's striking is that even after a year or so of this (ranting), I never seem to run out of people who express amazement that Slashdot IS here.  In Washtenaw County.  Dexter, specifically.

Maybe IEEE Spectrum will change all of that?  This month (November 2007), IEEE published an article about Slashdot. OK, so perhaps IEEE members aren't really the mainstream, but it's great to see it in print.  Last month, I told some people over at SPARK about the Slashdot 10th anniversary party (it was held at Leopold Brothers, and I hear that a good time was had by all … over 200 people signed up to attend).  It's really too bad that the local media has no apparent interest in such good news.  Seriously, when was the last time, you saw any good news in the Ann Arbor Business section?   It's not that the good news isn't here; it somehow just doesn't get published (sigh).

And no, Slashdot isn't the only Ann Arbor area success story.  There are many businesses that are quite successful, from small spinoffs from the University of Michigan to small companies started by people who came here and decided that they wanted to stay.  It's not just limited to software companies either.  For grins, look at ultrafast lasers and optics in general.  Ann Arbor is a hub for development in this research area by many companies.  Want an example?  Picometrix is a great example.  Not only did they start here, but they were recently purchased by a large company in CA (Advanced Photonix) and brought the headquarters to Ann Arbor.  Clark-MXR, Coherix, Michigan Aerospace, General Dynamics, Dexter Research, Ann Arbor Sensor Systems, Optimetrics, Kaiser, and K-Space are more examples. 

And I know that I'm only scratching the surface here.  So what's the point?  The point is that there's cool stuff here and I think we're all better off knowing that.

Mike Finney, president of SPARK, has recently started a blog with MetroMode Magazine.  He's been commending people for "doing something right".  I'm glad that he's doing this.  I don't think that he's actively searching out lists of cool companies (like above), but rather rewarding people for doing something right recently, and that's fine too. I think that all of us should keep ranting promoting the community even to others in this community.  If we don't know what cool things are here, we certainly can't expect others to see how cool we are.  Ann Arbor is a thriving community in a state that is suffering some bad economic times. Let's continue to present the good news that comes out of this area, not only the bad.


MichiPUG tonight, Lightning Friday, and Leopard Wednesday …

The Michigan Python User Group is meeting here tonight.  The meeting will be a Python free-for-all, which should be a lot of fun.  

Lightning Talk Fridays contine tomorrow (November 2), from 3-5.  Come with a topic or just your interest.

Wednesday November 7 is the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting, and John Hickey from Apple will be here to discuss Leopard.

All of the above events are being held at the SRT offices, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor (corner of Fifth and Washington, entrance from Fifth).  Take the elevator to 2R or wind around to the left from the stairwell.

P.S. And if you're not interested in Leopard, then there's an interesting non-computer related talk going on in Ypsilanti at the Corner Brewery regarding Solar Power and Optics, on Wednesday November 7, from 7-9!