Category Archives: Ann Arbor

Simple Concurrency with Akka this week in Ann Arbor

If you’re at all curious about writing concurrent, highly scalable, distributed systems, attend the Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts group this Wednesday, June 19, at 6 pm. Nilanjan Raychaudhuri, is a consultant/trainer who works for Typesafe, and he will be speaking this month.

You will find more information on the meetup page.

The meeting is free and open to the public. It will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.


Ann Arbor Scala User Group to meet May 15

While I will be out of town, Nathan Dotz of Detroit Labs has graciously offered to help manage the Ann Arbor Scala Enthusiasts Group. The meeting scheduled for May 15 will continue as planned, with the Scala Koans. The koans are a way to learn Scala in a self-paced way, either in a group or individually.

The meeting will be held at 6 pm on Wednesday, May 15, at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.


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.


Lotsa mobile this week in Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor Computer Society holds its September meeting on Wednesday, September 7. Ann Marie Manzitti will be presenting, “2D Gaming on Android – An introduction to libgdx”. The meeting will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200 in downtown Ann Arbor (at the corner of Fifth Ave and Washington). It starts at 6 pm, and is free and open to the public.

If iPad development is more your thing, go to the Thursday September 8 meeting of the Ann Arbor CocoaHeads, where Chris Adamson will speak on CoreMIDI. CoreMIDI implements the MIDI signaling protocol for virtual and physical musical instruments, and integrates with Core Audio. See what happens when we connect a Rock Band 3 keyboard, a MIDI cable, and an iPad with the Camera Connection Kit. The meeting will be held at SRT Solutions (see address above). Free pizza (compliments of Arbor Moon Software) at 6:30, with the main meeting starting at 7.

SRT’s Mike Woelmer finishes his 3000 mile journey from Portland to DC

One of the things I like the most about my job is that I work with the most amazing people. Mike Woelmer is one of those folks. As a Senior Developer at SRT, Mike has done a lot of interesting work. His versatility is evident in his work. In the time that he’s worked for us he’s worked on calculations in back-end software, representations of data in WPF, an engaging touch screen interface for our survey engine, a mobile application, and used a Python-based web framework for a local customer.

Early this year, Mike came to Bill and I and asked if we thought it would be a problem for him to take a month off to ride across America in his velomobile. You may have seen this interesting bike parked outside our office. It is a bike — entirely human powered. It’s how Mike gets to work most days, riding about 20 miles. But this was a much different trip. This was a trip from Portland, OR to Washington, DC over a period of 4 weeks. That’s 3000 miles, over first the Rockies, then the Appalachians. And a whole lot of country in between. Mike asked if this would be a problem because he would be taking his vacation in one big chunk of 4 weeks. We told him to go ahead. I don’t think either of us really thought hard about what he was doing. No, it wasn’t a problem for the business, but wow … 3000 miles. On a bike. Through the mountains.

A week ago, Mike and the other riders spent the night in Fort Wayne, IN on their way across the country. I threw my kids in the car and headed down there to cheer him on and to recognize his accomplishment in person. When the children complained that our 140 mile car ride was long, I reminded them that Mike had ridden his bike that far, that day (he rode 128 miles last Thursday). When we got to Fort Wayne, we got to see, in person, what Mike had been doing for the previous 3 weeks. Typically on his bike by 6:30 am until about 4:30-5:30 pm, he rolled into camp and set up his backpacking tent (damp from being taken down at 5:30 am). Mike was limited to one bag on the trip, plus what he could carry on the bike, so he has minimal clothes and has to do laundry every few days. He also had to get out to a restaurant and/or grocery store each night, which meant more riding after his ride for the day had technically ended. When we saw him, he was pretty tired, but determined. Oh, and raccoons had gotten into the tour’s snack bag of Clif bars the night before.

And early in the evening on Wednesday, August 24, Mike and the other riders rolled into Washington, DC, the final destination in their journey across America. We’re all amazed at Mike’s accomplishment. There’s one question that remains: will Mike ride into work on Monday … or drive?

Impromptu Ann Arbor area meetup Wednesday with Java/Scala luminaries

Dick Wall (Java Posse, Locus Development), and Bill Venners (ScalaTest, Artima), and Bruce Eckel (MindView Inc.) are in Ann Arbor this week for Escalate Software Scala training. If you’re interested in joining us for an evening meetup, stop by Cafe Habana after about 7 pm on Wednesday, May 25. Cafe Habana is at 211 E. Washington, Ann Arbor, MI. There’s no agenda; this is just a social event.

The night the geeks invade the museum

For the third year, the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum is opening its doors to area geeks and their families. Billed as a giant Science Fair for adults, Tech Twilight offers companies like SRT Solutions the opportunity to show the fun side of being a geek. We get to let our hair down, so to speak, and build something fun that kids and their parents will enjoy while visiting the museum. The event will be held on Saturday, May 21, from 6-9 pm at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum, 220 E. Ann, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

In addition to the individual sponsor exhibits, the museum offers a scavenger hunt for the kids. Kid-friendly refreshments are provided as well.

This is SRT’s second year as a sponsor of the event, and we’ve been looking forward to it since our inaugural appearance last year. Join us! It’s going to be a fun evening for all.

Learn more and purchase tickets for the event at the Tech Twilight site.

Scala training in Ann Arbor next week

If you haven’t already signed up for Scala training with Bill Venners (author of Programming in Scala and ScalaTest) and Dick Wall (Java Posse, Locus Development, Inc.), don’t delay. The first 3 days (May 23-25) will focus on Applied Fundamentals, what you need to effectively use the language for software development. The last 2 days (May 26-27) will focus on more advanced topics. The 2 “sections” are priced separately, with a discount for taking both. Discounts are also available for large groups. You can register at Escalate’s site.

This is a great opportunity for local software developers to get training from experienced trainers who use the language every day. The momentum behind Scala is growing:

  • Scala 2.9 final (stable build) was released last week.
  • Typesafe, a commercial entity was launched and promises to accelerate commercial adoption.
  • The list of companies using Scala is growing, and includes familiar names such as LinkedIn, Twitter, FourSquare, The Guardian, and Siemens.

I’m looking forward to the training class.  Hope you will join us!

A Business Case for New Languages …

Learning new languages has always been a part of our jobs as software developers. We’ve had a pretty long streak with Java and C#, but it’s time to move onward and take advantages of more expressive languages, like Scala.  I’ve written an article for Artima, “A Business Case for New Languages: The Benefits of Scala over Java“, and I hope that business leaders will be encouraged to talk to their staff about how their product development might benefit from moving to Scala.  And, it’s timely.  Bill Venners and Dick Wall, of Escalate Software, will be in town to hold a public training course on Scala the week of May 22.  They will take you from novice to fully comfortable in the language in that 1 week.  I’m looking forward to it!