Tag Archives: Michigan

CodeRetreat Michigan to be held at SRT Solutions on Saturday

Saturday, December 3, 2011 marks the Global Day of CodeRetreat. CodeRetreats were conceived as a way for programmers to hone their craft, practicing solving a well-known problem in many different ways over and over again.

If you would like to participate and you are in the Ann Arbor area, register and then head over to SRT Solutions at 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI. The event will be held from 9 am – 5 pm.


JavaFX, Microsoft Surface, and TDD talks this week

The Ann Arbor area is ripe with events this week (apologies to our spouses).

Join up with fellow coders tonight at NSCoderNight, at Sweetwaters in Kerrytown.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday April 15), you will have to choose between attending a JavaFX talk at the Detroit JUG and a Microsoft Surface talk at GANG (Great Lakes Area .NET User Group).  Jim Weaver has solidly embraced JavaFX, and is working on his second book.  I'm thrilled that he's returning to the area, since I missed his talk at the Ann Arbor JUG late last year.  The meeting will be held at ePrize, 1 ePrize Drive, Pleasant Ridge, MI.  I had a hard time finding the location the first time I went there, so definitely check out the directions. The meeting starts at 6:30.

The Microsoft Surface is also pretty exciting.  VectorForm is a Michigan company that has been doing Surface development perhaps as long as the device has been available.  My first view of the Surface was in the James Bond movie (Quantum of Solace), and then I was also lucky enough to see one at CodeMash.  So if you haven't seen the Surface, definitely head out to the Microsoft office in Southfield (1000 Town Center Drive, Suite 1930, Southfield, MI 48075) tomorrow night.  Joe Engalan and Jennifer Marsman will co-present.  The meeting starts at 6:30.

And after the meeting (around 9 pm), join up with CoffeeHouse Coders in person at Mujo's in the Duderstadt Center on North Campus or on their IRC channel.

On Thursday 4/16 for lunch, choose between the monthly A2 Nerd Lunch or the weekly A2B3.  They're about a block apart, so perhaps you can hit both.

On Thursday evening, you have several choices in Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor Startup Drinks at Grizzly Peak, and the Washtenaw Linux Users Group at WCC.

Also on Thursday, but a little further from home, Dennis Burton is speaking at the Greater Lansing .NET User Group with his talk on "Test Driven Development is Driving me Insane".  Dennis will discuss patterns and techniques for writing tests that are more robust and provide better information, including techniques that you can apply to your design when writing new code to make testing easier, as well as tools for working with existing applications that do not have good test coverage.  If you miss his talk on Thursday, catch this talk again the following week 4/21 in Toledo, at Northwest Ohio .NET User Group.

On Friday, you can learn how (and why) to join a non-profit board in the Ann Arbor area.  A2Geeks is helping to sponsor training at the NEW Center, for just $35.

This is your last chance (mine too!) for the 2008/2009 academic year to visit the MPowered Entrepreneurship Hour at UM.  The speaker this week is Joshua Pokempner of Entrepreneur Toy Company.  The meeting is held from 3:30-4:30.

Julie Lerman tonight in Lansing

In case you missed her in Southfield …

INETA Speaker Julie Lerman is still in the area, speaking on ADO.NET Entity Framework at GLUGNet tonight in Lansing.

Bill went out to Southfield to hear her talk last night, and I am still hoping to make it to Lansing tonight.  Since I don't think my 2 and 4 year old would get much out of the meeting (or earn me any good will), my presence is uncertain and totally dependent on the other working spouse in the family finishing up his work on time today.  Crossing fingers!


BarCamp Grand Rapids

July 20-21

Carlus Henry let me know that BarCamp Grand Rapids is being held this weekend.  It definitely looks like a good time.

Even if you can't make it to the BarCamp, the site has some great links about what a BarCamp is and how it's organized, even how to organize one yourself.

It's organized as an Open Spaces event, and I'm a huge advocate.  It would be fun to be in Grand Rapids this weekend, but a 2 year old and a 4 year old (and their dad!) have my attention this weekend.  Would love comments posted on how it goes though!

BarCamp Grand Rapids

Detroit Java User Group Meeting Tonight!

Farmington Hills Community Library at 6:45 pm

This just in … the Detroit Java User Group (which meets periodically, just not every month), is meeting tonight.  Paul Drallos will be talking about using Java 3D to develop an application.

Looks like an interesting talk.  Wish I were able to make it there.


(Thanks to Michelle Flynn for the heads-up)

Detroit JUG
meets in Farmington Hills

Events, podcasts, etc.

It's not just Art Fair this week

Yes, it's Art Fair week.  Townies know to avoid driving into Ann Arbor unless they're actually GOING to Art Fair.  I have a meeting on Wednesday, so I'm riding my bike from the outskirts of town.  Usually, our friends Melissa Dominiak and Micheal Cole come in to do Art Fair, but this year, they're skipping it, so I am too.  They have an ultra cool gallery in Hannibal, MO now, a renovated church. We were there last October.  The home of Mark Twain, it now has a thriving artist community.  Who'd a thunk it?

Anyhow, other than Art Fair, there are still things to do! GANG (Great Lakes Area .NET User Group) has Julie Lerman coming in to talk about ADO.NET.  Bill blogged about her visit, and it's on our calendar as well.  And as Bill points out, if Lansing is closer, she's speaking at GLUGNet on Thursday as well.

And I discovered a new podcast, thanks to a member of the Java Posse Google Group (thanks Patrick Archibald!).  The Software Engineering Radio Podcast is available on the SE Radio website and on iTunes.  This week's podcast is an interview with Martin Odersky, creator of Scala.  It's queued up and I'm looking forward to listening!

Still waiting on the Google web team to send us the link for the registration for the Google Tech Talk in Ann Arbor on August 2.  Hang in there!

Hannibal Arts Council
Micheal and Melissa's gallery is listed here
Software Engineering Radio Podcasts

Bill's blog entry on Julie Lerman's talk
Julie's speaking this week at GANG and GLUGNet

MTU/IBM offer summer workshop for High School Women

Deadline to apply is May 30!

IBM Sponsored Summer Program in Computing for High School Women at Michigan Technological University

Do you know any high school women who are interested in computing?

IBM is supporting a weeklong workshop for high school girls at Michigan Tech in Houghton, Michigan, June 24-30.  If you know of any young women who are interested in learning more about the field of computing, and who might like to attend this workshop, the deadline is TOMORROW, May 30. Details at http://www.youthprograms.mtu.edu/wics/index.html
For more information, contact Linda Ott (linda@mtu.edu) or call (906-487-2209).

I can and will personally vouch for MTU's summer programs for women, since I attended one (eek!) over 25 years ago now.  Ugh, I wish I hadn't done that math. Anyhow, it's a great program, so if you know of any women who might benefit from attending, please contact them right away.  My recollection is that you pay for your travel to get there, but everything else is covered by a scholarship.  This is a great way for young women to learn about the field of computer science, to meet and interact with other young women who might be interested as well, and also to tour the campus to decide if Michigan Tech is right for them.  I loved it there, and the program is excellent.

Youth Programs for Women in Computing

Kathy Sierra, Jake Baker, and online threats

Here’s a link to the interview on CNN that included both Kathy Sierra (one of my favorite bloggers) and Chris Locke (one of the bloggers mentioned in her post as being involved with the meankids site).


I haven’t posted anything about this on my blog since last week, when I saw her post about the threats. I offered her some support in the comments section of her blog, but I have been struggling with what to write myself. Honestly, I didn’t know Chris Locke or anything about meankids before this incident, and my life has not been improved by hearing about such mean-spirited behavior. I think it’s unfortunate that they have been given a lot of publicity now, and for that reason, I refuse to post any links about them.

But the worlds where computing and marketing meet have been dealt a great blow by Kathy taking a hiatus from blogging (I hope it’s just a hiatus), and I feel like I want to add my two cents to this entire mess.

My company uses moderated comments. Is this censorship? Sure. Would we sensor out comments such as some of those posted on Kathy’s blog? Absolutely. But what Kathy could NOT censor were comments on OTHER people’s blogs, and those threats were much more revealing and frightening than the anonymous comments that were on her blog (of course, I only know what remains, not what might have been removed). If someone were to post threats to me that were posted about Kathy, I’m pretty sure that I would have the same reaction as she did and stop blogging for a while. Or move to a new town and lick my wounds. Yes, I’m serious. As Robert Scoble and his wife posted, having children really does impact how you see these things. Nothing, not a job, not prominence in the community, NOTHING is worth putting my children at risk. And make no mistake, if someone had threatened me in the way that Kathy was threatened, I would see my children at risk and Mama Bear would be out protecting her cubs, not matter what the cost.

But the part that has really kept me silent about all of this til now has been my correlation between this and a local incident that happened here in Ann Arbor several years ago. The threats against Kathy brought all of that back to me. At that time, a student by the name of Jake Baker submitted a pornographic story about a fantasy rape and murder of one of his classmates, whose real name he used in the story. This is immortalized in wikipedia and in court judgments if you care to read the details. The similarities between this case and the threats made to Kathy make me sad. Most of all, the fact that the case against Jake Baker was dropped in spite of actual plans to meet a co-conspirator (my words, not those of the attorneys in the case) to carry out the actions. His right to free speech was upheld, and the judge did not believe that he would have really carried out these actions. Sadly, the case is seen as a precedent to free speech on the internet. The judge’s opinion in that case follows.

"It is not the policy of the law to punish those unsuccessful threats which it is not presumed would terrify ordinary persons excessively; and there is so much opportunity for magnifying or misunderstanding undefined menaces that probably as much mischief would be caused by letting them be prosecuted as by refraining from it."

The Jake Baker case (and the ultimate dismissal) alarmed me in 1995, and those feelings were brought back last week, when I read about the threats made online to Kathy. I suspect that a judge in a case against the leveler of the threat against her will find the same way, and that saddens me. If I recall correctly from what transpired in 1995, the idea was that since the “victim” in the story didn’t “hang out” in alt.sex.stories, where the story was published for ALL THE WORLD to see, it wasn’t viewed as a threat that she was likely to have seen. Indeed (again, if I recall correctly, and 12 years can make memories fade), I seem to recall that someone else told her about the site and about the story and that it included her name. And somehow that wasn’t seen as a direct threat, whereas if he had read the story aloud in class, it would have been considered more seriously. Well, this was pre-Google and pre-egosurfing! It’s very easy to find things like this now, so hopefully this litmus test will not be applicable.

I’m left with questions about where Jake Baker is. I sincerely hope that he’s an upstanding member of society who has regrets about what terror he caused. And I hope that the woman about whom he wrote this “fictional” story has long been able to put this behind her, and that she is wildly successful in the field of her choice. I’m sad to think that threats on the internet have not been taken seriously in the past, and that many, many women who have restraining orders suffer from very real violence as a result of “implausible threats”.

And yes, every day, I struggle with thoughts of the challenges that free speech bring, but I do participate in some online groups and I see intimidating, nasty “trolling” regularly. It is not tolerated in the groups that I frequent. There are moderators who remove objectionable, bullying posts and for the most part, this is a good thing. In many cases, I have seen valued members of online communities leave and “go dark” to avoid the trolling behavior because the moderators weren’t able to get to the posts before they were made public. This saddens me, but I totally understand why they would do this. I’m a bit “too exposed” online, but my business makes it so, and it’s a (small) risk that I tolerate for now. If, however, I were subjected to harassment of the form that Kathy just experienced, I would change my behavior. My family is worth more than an online presence.

I truly enjoy Kathy’s blog. The insight that she has provided in the year or so since I have been reading has been invaluable to me. Her wit and her insight are a unique offering to the community. Her way of looking at things, and of getting others to look at things is important is why I will keep her in my list of blogs, and why I hope that she will return someday. In the meantime, I hope that there are things that we can do to make this online community a safer place to be. If that means less anonymity, I’m (personally) willing to accept that.

Sun Project Blackbox Tour

Tour coming to Southfield tomorrow!

I first heard about the “datacenter in a shipping container” on the Java Posse. Today, I got an email from a local friend that Sun is doing a tour of the “Project Blackbox” in Southfield, MI on Tuesday, March 20, 2007.

This demo/tour is open to the public and free. If you want to sign up, go to http://www.sun.com/events/st/loc.jsp

They are holding these events all over the country.

Sounds like an interesting tour. I’m looking at my schedule to see if I have time to attend.

Python User Group Meeting Summary

Python User Group Meeting Summary

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The Ann Arbor Python User Group usually meets on the first Thursday of every month, but Titus Brown was in town this week, so the meeting was moved so that he could attend and participate. Titus talked about Twill, his testing tool. You can use twill to test web apps from the command line using python-based commands, very convenient indeed. His package descended from Cory Dodt’s PBP, and is based on the Python “mechanize” package.

Twill isn’t able to test Javascript, but Selenium does a great job of that. Scotch is a collection of WSGI modules that record wsgi transactions.

Jason Pellerin was also at the meeting, and he talked a little bit about Nose (not much, mainly just about Titus’ use of it, and the fact that Titus has extended it). Hoping he attends more frequently and does some more in-depth sessions.

The original plan, before Titus’ appearance was planned, was that Bruce Webber would talk about wxPython. Instead of rescheduling his talk, Bruce and Titus both talked. It was great. I learned a ton about wxPython, and look forward to trying out some GUI programming in Python with them.

Here is a link to resources from the talk, including both links from Titus and slides and links from Bruce. http://www.michipug.org/index.cgi/OctoberMeeting