Tag Archives: IT Zone

Ann Arbor user group meetings, Oct 3 and 4

It's going to be a very cool week in Ann Arbor, next week. And no, I'm not talking about the football game.

Got some time to attend some user group meetings? Next week looks VERY cool; I just wish I could be in 2 places at the same time on Tuesday!

The following announcement is from the Michigan Python User Group on Google.

Python User Group

Arbor Networks

Tuesday October 3, 2007

7 pm

There are a couple of opportunities for people to get exposure to Python next week. First, the Python user group meeting, which is usually held on the first Thursday of each month, is being moved to Tuesday Oct. 3 for this month only, to accommodate a special guest speaker, Titus Brown, the author of the Twill testing tool. Jason Pellerin, the author of the Nose testing tool, may also be present, so this is an excellent chance for people to talk about automated testing with folks in the know.

Bruce Webber will be talking about wxPython, which is always a hot topic.

The Michigan Python Users Group will be meeting at Arbor Networks on  
Tuesday 10/3 at 7PM.


The downtown Ann Arbor location worked out well for heading out  
afterwards. Come join us!


Unfortunately this conflicts with a very cool meeting at the Ann Arbor Java User Group (the following is from the Java User Group promo announcement):

An alternative to Code Generated GUIs

Washtenaw Community College

Tuesday October 3, 2007

7:30 pm

BuoyBuilder is a graphical user interface (GUI) designer and object configuration tool. It is for putting together user interfaces composed of windows, buttons, text fields and other visual elements for Java Swing applications. It also allows you to save your designed user interface and recover it back into the tool later for further modifications. But BuoyBuilder is much more than just a layout tool. With BuoyBuilder, you are working with real, live objects. These objects are usually Buoy Widgets, but BuoyBuilder allows instantiation and configuration of virtually any object. It also allows you to make connections between objects, which are persisted when the file is saved and restored when loaded. This leads to a substantial reduction in tedious infrastructure code. BuoyBuilder is a tool for building GUI applications enabling you to get the most functionality out of the least amount of code. BuoyBuilder's philosophy is to simplify application development by reducing the amount of code needed to do the job.


Jack Rosenzweig is the Vice-President and co-founder of 94West, LLC. Jack has worked in the software industry in Ann Arbor for the last 14 years in various roles from field trainer to product manager to IT director to director of development, all at MediaSpan (formerly known as Baseview Products). Jack launched 94West, LLC in the winter of 2006 with his partners to bring BuoyBuilder to market.

Peter Johnson is the President and co-founder of 94West, LLC. Peter has been developing software in Ann Arbor professionally for the last 13 years. Peter is fluent in Java, Swing, J2EE, Objective-C, C++ and C among other languages and environments. Peter wrote BuoyBuilder when he was unable to find anything nearly as good as Apple's Interface Builder for Java GUI design.

Washtenaw Community College

Click for map:

Contact email:


TurboGears Web Development (Wednesday, October 4)

Ann Arbor IT Zone/Spark Central.  330 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor MI
 Wednesday, October 4, 2006
6:00 PM

Mark Ramm is going to be talking about TurboGears at the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting on Wednesday October 4. Here’s an abstract for the talk (from AACS promo announcement):

TurboGears is part of a new generation of web development frameworks
designed to make development of database driven, Ajax enabled, web
applications easier.  The discussion will cover:

1. How well designed frameworks can increase productivity, maintainability,
and generally make web application development more fun.
2. How Ajax is integrated into the core of TurboGears, and how you can use it
to make your web applications more dynamic and easier to use.
3. He'll compare TurboGears to some other popular web development
environments, so you can better evaluate when TurboGears might be the right
tool for the job.

Mark Ramm is the author of the forthcoming "Rapid Web Applications with
TurboGears." He is IT Manager for Humantech, inc. Over the years, he has
programmed Web applications in a wide range of technologies, including
Python, TurboGears, CGI, Perl, PHP, ASP, Java Struts, and Ruby on Rails.
He has written for Linux Magazine and various online publications, and
maintains an IT Management blog (http://compoundthinking.com).
In his free time, Mark is working on a project to designing new collaborative
learning experiences around open source technologies.

AACS meetings are free and open to the public.
      Supporting membership is $20 per year, qualifying you for door prizes and voting

Social Networking for Professionals

Virtual Reciprocity Ring: web based tool for social networking in business

This morning, I attended a seminar for the Virtual Reciprocity Ring, associated with the Ann Arbor ITZone. It’s an interesting concept, borne out of the social networking movement and research by Dr. Wayne Baker at the University of Michigan. The seminar started with a presentation to explain the aspects of this web-based tool for social networking as it applies to professionals. The idea is to build weak links to a number of people with whom you have a common interest. In this case, it’s a business interest, and you build the relationships and trust, and start interacting within the community.

I’ve been to many networking events at the ITZone, but I have to say that I have never been to one as effective as this, mainly because we could solicit ideas, opinions, job candidates, etc. using the web-based tool, instead of the “cocktail party” approach, where you feel like you’re saying the same thing to everyone, but probably forgot to say it to the one person who could have helped you (or you missed talking to that person altogether). It’s all about fostering relationships.

I have seen this same sort of social networking in play in the physical world. I’ve attended conferences, where relationships were formed, and later continued via email. The tool that was presented at the conference today formalizes that a bit. Instead of having an email group, communication is done via the ring, where communications center around requests for help and offers of assistance. Most of the people that I communicated with today were people whom I still have not met. A few people, to whom I offered contributions (often meaning simply advice), came up and introduced themselves following the seminar.

This sort of computer-based communication is pretty effective for computer geeks (not surprisingly). We don’t even have to TALK. We can just communicate via the computer! Not altogether sure that’s good for our growth as communicators, but at least stuff gets done!

I like it. I think that this specific tool needs some refinement (opinions were solicited toward that at this seminar as well). I think that it could be effectively used in a lot of situations that I come into contact with (computer user groups, etc.), but I fear that the cost will be prohibitive. I think that the effectiveness of social networking tools like MySpace is due to the fact that they are free and widely available. By limiting the use of such a product to those who “pay to play”, I feel that the community won’t benefit as much as it could have. But this isn’t at all a MySpace equivalent. It’s an invite-only group, with stated objectives of sharing ideas, services, etc. and paying it forward.

The real key, of course, will be to see if people continue to participate past the few hour session this morning.

The Reciprocity Ring Website
Check it out yourself