Tag Archives: Ann Arbor Computer Society

3 Days, 3 Events before the Holiday

Holiday week? Lots to do before fireworks on the weekend.

Tomorrow night is Ignite Ann Arbor.  If you haven't attending Ignite talks before, check them out! If you have, I'm sure that you'll be there. Format is 5 minutes per speaker, 20 slides that autoscroll every 15 seconds. No time to get off track. No opportunity to go over. People stay on track, on message, and then they're off the stage.  Talks can be on anything, as long as it's something that the speaker is passionate about.  I'll be talking about the Under-representation of Women in Computer Science (the number of women getting CS degrees peaked the year I graduated from college in 1986, and has been in a steady decline since).  

Ignite Ann Arbor starts at 7 pm, and will be held at the Neutral Zone, 310 E. Washington (yes, that's just down the street from SRT's office!).  Register at http://www.igniteannarbor.eventbright.com.

Wednesday, July 1 is the monthly Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting.  I'm not sure about the topic, but it's election month, so it's really important that members attend.  Meeting starts at 6 pm, at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor.  Pizza will be served.

Thursday, July 2 is the monthly Michigan Python User Group meeting.  The group is still deciding on a topic, but it never disappoints.  Meeting starts at 7 pm at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor.

And on Friday, it will be time to rest.

Events and News from Ann Arbor this week

October snuck up on me.  Tonight is the monthly Ann Arbor Computer Society (AACS) meeting.  I had thought that Bill Heitzeg was going to be talking about Mono, but it turns out that I had some outdated information.  John Fohrman is going to be discussing scrum.  The meeting, as always, will start at 6:00, and is open to everyone (free).  AACS will supply pizza and soda. Members ($20/year) qualify for door prizes.

And, if you're still raring to go after the AACS meeting, stop off for "Coffee House Coders", from 9-11 pm at Espresso Royale on State Street for some tech talk and hacking with friends, powered by coffee.  You can even join in remotely:



Tomorrow night, the Michigan Python user group (MichiPUG) will meet at 7:00 pm.  The topic for this month is "What's Cool in Python 2.6".  Since Python 2.6 final is due to be released, this is a timely topic.

Both AACS and MichiPUG will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor.

No lightning talks this Friday.  Join us on October 10 at 3:30 for the next round of lightning talks.

I also wanted to report some GOOD news from Michigan, this time from my alma mater.  Michigan Tech and the Smart Zone just received a $3 million business incubator grant.  They will use the money to renovate the former UPPCO building in downtown Houghton.  The SmartZone will lease space in the building, along with other tenants. 

The investment will reportedly help to create 355 jobs and generate another $5.1 million in private investment in the Houghton area. Wow!  So area business leaders have already announced a "Mich-Again" campaign, intended to attract Michigan transplants back to Michigan.  Knowing Tech grads as I do, I'm pretty sure that moving back to the Keweenaw would be an easy sell.  With the renovations being complete in mid-2009, Houghton may find itself swatting back those of us who feel strong ties to the area.


Monthly user group meetings this week!

It's the first full week of the month.  Hoping I'm able to get away for some user group meetings.

On Wednesday August 6, AACS (Ann Arbor Computer Society) has Eric Inancich discussing Ruby and Domain Specific Languages.  The meeting starts at 6.  Pizza will be provided by AACS, free of charge.  The meeting's free too, but door prizes only go to paid-up members (note to self: remember to take $20 for annual membership).  AACS usually gives out gift certificates.  

On Thursday August 7, the Michigan Python User Group (MichiPUG) will be discussing the state of Turbo Gears 2.  Created in Ann Arbor by local Kevin Dangoor, another local (Mark Ramm) has taken over maintenance of the TG2 project.  Both are very knowledgeable and it's always interesting to hear where the project is, and where it's going.  MichiPUG starts at 7.

Both meetings are at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 and are free and open to the public. Hope to see you at a meeting or two.

Technology events in Ann Arbor this week and next …

Even though it's summertime, there are still a lot of meetings in Ann Arbor this week, and next.   

On Wednesday, July 2, Chris Sellers will be talking about Amazon EC2 at the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting.  That meeting will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI.  The meeting starts at 6 pm and is free and open to the public.  AACS supplies pizza for all.  Supporting members ($20/year annual dues) qualify for door prizes.

On Thursday, July 3, the Michigan Python User Group will meet, also at SRT Solutions.  Kevin Dangoor will talk about ZODB, the Python Zope Object Database. MichiPUG meetings are free and open to all.

The following week, on Wednesday, July 9, the Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer Group will host Jonathan Zuck, from ACT Online.  Jonathan is a software developer turned lobbyist.  His cause is innovation, and his company ensures that our elected officials are informed about technology matters.  Jonathan's making the user group rounds, visiting Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Grand Rapids .NET user groups with his message about why we, as technologists, need lobbyists.  DotNetRocks listeners may be familiar with Zuck, since he's made several appearances on that podcast, including his most recent visit to discuss OOXML.  AADND meetings are also held at SRT Solutions and are also free and open to all.

If you want to participate in a developer-oriented charity event, check out Ann Arbor Give Camp, July 11-13 at Washtenaw Community College.  

Just outside of the Ann Arbor area, is the Michigan!/usr/group at the Farmington Hills Library.  The topic of their meeting on July 9 is "MythTV".

Oh, and if you were wondering about SRT lightning talks for this week, we've cancelled them because Friday IS the Fourth.  The next scheduled lightning talks are on July 18, which happen to be Art Fair week.  Hmm, we may need to rethink that date.  It seems unlikely that even the half million or so visitors to the art fairs will draw much foot traffic for technical topics!  

Scala talk at AAJUG on Tuesday, March 26

I will be doing an introduction to Scala at the Ann Arbor Java User Group meeting on Tuesday, March 26.  The AAJUG wordpress site is broken, but hopefully people will know about the talk and attend anyhow.

Here's my abstract:

Scala is a multi paradigm language, offering both object-oriented and functional programming that runs on the Java Virtual Machine. The proliferation of multi-core machines is driving interest in functional languages, as they offer a simplified approach toward concurrency. This talk discusses why you should care about Scala as an emerging language, describes unique features of the language, and uses programming examples to demonstrate its use.

AAJUG meetings are held at Washtenaw Community College, Room BE 260, starting at 6:30 pm.

Python Underground, Scala, and Blaze: oh my!

We have several free events coming up at SRT.

On Thursday, January 3, at 7 pm is the monthly Michigan Python User Group meeting.  Discussions will likely center around a project called Python Underground and I've heard rumors of a discussion of the Rails is a Ghetto blog post by Zed Shaw.

This Friday, January 4, we will hold lightning talks from 3-5.  Anyone is welcome to attend (and speak for 10 minute segments).  I'll be doing a talk on Scala, a preview of a section of my upcoming CodeMash talk. 

On Tuesday, January 15, James Ward (from Adobe) and Bruce Eckel (Java guru) will present "Connecting Java with Flex using Open Source Blaze" for a joint meeting of the Ann Arbor Computer Society/Ann Arbor Java User Group

And, some for-fee events in the area as well:

CodeMash is, of course, Jan 10-11 (and the evening of the 9th) in Sandusky, OH at the Kalahari Resort and Indoor Water Park.  If you are planning to attend, register SOON at $175 for the 2.5 days to avoid the procrastinator fee (of $250).

And the Rich Internet Application Jam will be held at SRT's offices, from January 14-16.  Early bird registration goes through January 4, so register before then to save $100 from the $500 fee.  Note: the registration fee includes a copy of FlexBuilder.


Ann Arbor Tech events this week

It's the first week of the month.  Do my children wonder where their mother is? 

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, Brent Hill of Google will be presenting "Everything you want to know about blogs and RSS". That event will be at the Google office in Ann Arbor at McKinley Towne Center, 5th Floor, 201 S. Division, Ann Arbor, from 5-7 pm.  Registration is required, at www.annarborusa.org.

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, Kevin DuBois will be talking about the latest features of Ubuntu Linux, at the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting.  That meeting will start around 6 pm at the SRT Solutions offices, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, the Michigan Python User Group will meet at SRT Solutions offices to discuss distributed version control systems.  Mercurial and Bazaar NG are written in Python.

All of these events are free.  Hope to see you at one or more!

NOTE: There are NO SRT lightning talks this week.  The only December lightning talks will be NEXT Friday (Dec 16) from 3-5 pm, at SRT Solutions offices.


Immersing Students in Research Projects

NSF and Oakland University's REU program

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to speak at the Oakland University REU program, for Computer Science students. The program is funded by the NSF to encourage students to pursue graduate programs and careers in computer science.

Students participate from around the country in this 10 week program and it sounds quite interesting.  One of the groups is doing some biochemistry/neural net research toward drug discovery.  I was surprised to see that the students even receive a stipend to participate in the program (as well as a travel subsidy and housing).  I would definitely encourage college students to apply! 

Yesterday's program brought in several professional women to discuss, in particular, women in computer science fields.  The speakers were all quite different, so I think that the students got a well-rounded view of the industry, from small companies like mine to large companies like Dow Chemical, all of the way to what it's like to direct a university's IT department to what Post-Docs do.   Sadly, I had to miss two of the speaker's presentations, but it was an interesting day.

I talked about my journey to becoming an entrepreneur and how unlikely it seemed to me, when I was a student that I would have my own company. I feel like I'm quite risk averse, but I've really learn to accept the risk that comes along with working in my own business as ME being the one who is managing the risk rather than being at the mercy of my boss (who may or may not be truthful with me about the financial status of the company).

I also talked about how I try to stay current, focusing a lot on podcasts and blogs.  I told the students about some of my favorite podcasts (all are available for free on iTunes, but also on websites).

  • Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders, for business advice
  • The Java Posse
  • DotNet Rocks
  • IT Conversations

I also really encouraged the students to become involved with user groups in their area (and hoping that one of the students comes out for the July meeting of the Python User Group).  I told the students that in the Ann Arbor area, our user groups are suffering from an aging demographic and that we all feel that we would really benefit from some younger opinions and participation. I know that it's intimidating, but I got some feedback about how to welcome students.  I will likely approach the Ann Arbor Computer Society about doing a program geared toward students and heavily advertise it at the local colleges and universities.

Most of the other speakers discussed work/life balance, which always seems to be a topic at these events, as it was at MICWIC earlier this year.  With 2 young kids at home (ages 2 and 4), this is a work in progress for my husband and I.  The only advice I can offer to students in that regard is to choose their spouse wisely.  Thankfully, I did that right.  One of the participants commented that it didn't seem like any of us had any "down time".  I assured her that I had plenty of down time before the kids were born!  For me at least, it's not the job, but the kids (but they're fun in a totally different way).

We had lunch at the gorgeous Meadowbrook Hall, where photos are prohibited.  There are photos and history on their web page.  If you're in the Detroit area, and haven't visited Meadowbrook, it's definitely worth the trip.

Anyhow, the students were great and I really think that they did a good job with the Women in Computing Day.  By pairing each speaker with a student, they gave each student the opportunity to participate in the process (through introductions).  I hope that they had a good time; I certainly did.

Oakland University's REU program

Meadowbrook Hall, on Oakland's campus

Brooklyn Bridges Program
Brooklyn College in City University of New York (also NSF funded)

Wireless Washtenaw on Wednesday

Wednesday, June 6 at 6:00, preceded by SPARK career event

The Ann Arbor Computer Society is presenting "Wireless Washtenaw" this week.  The meeting starts at 6 pm (with pizza) at SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty (lower level), Ann Arbor, MI.

Preceding that event is a SPARK-sponsored networking and career event for software professionals.  If you're looking for a job, looking for employees, looking for coworkers, or just want to gauge what's up in the area in terms of employment, this is a good place to be.  It's free, and you can simply stay for the AACS meeting afterward (also free).

The Productivity Continuum: Ruby for Big Companies

Meeting review/notes from May 2, 2007

On Wednesday, May 2, Joe O'Brien made the trip from Columbus to present a talk on Ruby for the Enterprise, for the Ann Arbor Computer Society.  We first made Joe's acquaintance in the time leading up to CodeMash 2007, when he saw that we were looking for Ruby speakers and he stepped up (and also promoted the heck out of it, so thanks much, Joe!).  Joe helped to found the Columbus Ruby Brigade, and he's recently written a book on domain specific languages (DSLs), which should be available soon.  The book isn't available for order yet (as far as I can tell), but the title is:

Pragmatic DSLs In Ruby: Fluent Interfaces for your Code by Zak Tamsen, Jeremy Stell-Smith, Joe O’Brien, Neal Ford

I had originally thought that the talk was going to be on Ruby on Rails, but Rails was definitely only a small part of it.  Rails is an example of a DSL used for web programming.  Joe focused on integrating Ruby into the enterprise.  He talked about how you can integrate with Java, if your back end is already written in Java.  He said that he gets dirty looks from Ruby programmers for even suggesting a thing, but Joe strikes me as a pragmatic guy.  He wants to use powerful tools to solve problems, but he understands that it doesn't always make good business sense to go in and rip everything out and start over.

Joe talked a lot about Ruby as an "enterprise glue" language, for accomplishing specific tasks.

After hearing horror stories about deploying Ruby apps, I was glad to hear Joe talk about Capistrano, which he says simplifies all of that.  Another developer whose opinion I trust immensely, Barry Hawkins from Atlanta, concurs.

He described a few other tools, including RubyGems (akin to Python's cheeseshop, this is one-stop shopping for Ruby components). Watir is used for web application testing in Ruby.  It looks a lot like twill (written in Python), to me.

Joe is hosting the Enterprise Ruby Conference in Columbus July 16-18.  It looks like a great conference, with some really great speakers.  The cost is discounted to $199 for user groups (AACS members can contact the AACS for a discount code, and other user groups can get one from Joe).  He's heavily promoting this event to user groups, and I think that's a fantastic idea.

This was a great talk and I was really glad that I was able to attend, and that we were able to spirit Joe up to Ann Arbor to speak.  I don't know if I will get down to the Ruby Conference, but I'm sure it will be a great experience for those who can.



Web testing in Ruby
Deploying Ruby apps
Enterprise Ruby Conference
(blog entry description)