Tag Archives: MichiPug

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  I had thought that Bill Heitzeg was going to be talking about Mono, but it turns out that I had some outdated information.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.

Tech events in Ann Arbor this week

It's the first week of the month again … so there are user group meetings galore.

Wednesday, June 4 at 6:00 pm is the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting.  The topic is PostgreSQL 8.3 and Beyond.  PostgreSQL is a free and open source database.   The meeting will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI.  AACS meetings are free and open to the public.  Supporting memberships of $20/year are available, which help to support the pizza and soft drinks served at meetings as well as the door prizes.  

On Thursday, June 5, the Michigan Python User Group will meet at SRT Solutions at 7:00 pm.  The topic is TBD but some ideas that have been thrown around include: Google App Engine, non-relational databases, and Jython.  I'm sure it will be an enjoyable meeting, as always.  It's a great group, very casual and welcoming (and the meeting is free).  Please join us.

And Friday is the "on" Friday for Lightning Talks at SRT. Head over to SRT at around 3:30 pm for 5 minute talks on any tech topic of your choosing.  We'll go until about 5 so stop by whenever you are free on Friday afternoon.  SRT's lightning talks are free and open to everyone in the community, both for speaking and listening.  We think that the entire community benefits when we all know what others are doing.

Upcoming Tech Events in the Ann Arbor area (and Ohio!)

Yes, it's the first week of the month again.  The Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting is tomorrow night, April 2, at 6 pm.  Jay Wren will be speaking on the Boo Programming Language and DSLs (Domain Specific Languages).  Boo is a statically typed language that runs on the CLR.  It has Python-inspired syntax. 

AACS meetings are free and open to the public.  Pizza will be provided.   Meeting will be held at SRT Solutions' offices, at 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200.  That's at the corner of Fifth Ave and Liberty, just above the Linux Box.  Take the elevator to 2R or come up the stairs and wind around to the right side of the elevator.

On Thursday April 3 at 7:00 pm, the Michigan Python User Group will meet to discuss EasyExtend, which allows you to extend Python syntax.  New documentation tools may be discussed as well.  Like AACS, the MichiPUG meetings are free and open to the public, and held at SRT Solutions.  Pizza will NOT be served, but people often go out after the meeting.

Next week, on Monday, April 7, there is a Flex Camp in Cleveland, Ohio.  Go to http://flexcampcleveland.com/ for registration and more information.  Looks like a fun and interesting event.

On Wednesday, April 9, the Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer Group will meet, at SRT Solutions. Bill Wagner will be talking about how to make good use of the new releases in Visual Studio 2008.  Meeting is free, starts at 6, is at SRT, and yes, there will be pizza.

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!

September Ann Arbor Tech Events

Ah, a new month and more tech events in Ann Arbor. All meetings are free and open to the public.  SRT is happy to say that we will be hosting several of these meetings in our new office, at 206 S. Fifth, Suite 200.  That's at the corner of Fifth and Washington, directly above the Linux Box.  Entrance is on Fifth; take the elevator to floor 2R (or you can take the stairs, but then you have to wind around on the 2nd floor to find our office).

Tomorrow, Wednesday September 5, Dave Strenski of Cray Inc., will be presenting a talk for the Ann Arbor Computer Society, entitled "Estimating FPGA 64-bit Floating Point Performance".  For a brief summary on FPGA (Field Gate Programmable Arrays), go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FPGA.  Dave will talk about the architecture of the Xilinx Virtec-4 and Virtex-5 FPGA chips, and demonstrate how to estimate their performance.  This meeting will be held at SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty (lower level) for the last time.  Starting in October, SRT will be hosting the AACS meetings.

On Thursday, September 6, the Michigan Python User Group will talk about "Python 3.0: What's up with that?".  The group will meet at SRT's offices, at 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200 (see directions above).

On Monday, September 10, at UM's North Campus (EECS 1200), the Ruby MI group will meet.  In addition to open discussion, the meeting will include:

  1. User Group Challenge – Boggle
  2. Ruby/Rails Editors lightening talks
  3. RubyConf*MI

The Ann Arbor Java User group, which usually meets the first Tuesday of the month, has moved its meeting to next Tuesday,September 11, because of the holiday.  Raj Rajen will be presenting Janeeva's experiences with Flex.  The AAJUG meeting will be held at its longtime location at Washtenaw Community College, Room WCC BE250

And finally, the Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer Group (AADND) meets on Wednesday, September 12 for a talk on Windows Workflow (WF) and "Following the Rules", by Michael Wood. AADND will also be meeting at SRT's office, at 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200 (see directions above).

Russell Whitaker: Test Driven Development in Python: A Quick-start Approach (Review/Recap)

Russell Whitaker, a software engineer at Google came to town last Thursday, August 2, to do a tech talk for a special joint meeting of the Michigan Python User Group and Ann Arbor Computer Society.  While the topic mentioned Python, it was pretty generic and could/should be applied across all languages so I hope that people didn't stay away because Python was in the title. It sure didn't seem like people shied away from the talk; the turnout was great, probably about 60 people or so.  The meeting was held at the Google Ann Arbor office, so I don't know if some people were coming just to gawk, but I think most people were interested in the topic.

Test Driven Development is one of those blessed technologies that has been getting a lot of buzz in recent years.  What I find interesting is that everyone SEEMS to think that they know what it is and certainly some people do, but it's always refreshing to have a talk like Russell did on Thursday, where we don't assume that we're all doing it the same way. One subtlety that Russell stressed that I think is often overlooked is the emphasis on driven, that the goal is not only to test the software, but to drive development forward with the tests that you write.

Russell is a natural speaker.  He did an engaging talk, and even recruited an audience member (Jay Wren) to pair program with him. That was a little stroke of genius as well, in my opinion.  For those people who haven't had exposure to pair programming, I think that the demonstration was particularly effective.  It's important to see how interactive the process is, that it's not one person banging on the keyboard with another back-seat driving.  And, they did their ping-pong programming while sitting on bean bags, which was entertaining as well.

One comment I got after the talk was that part of the purpose of the talk seemed like a recruiting plug to attract Googlers. As one of the people who was in close communication with the organizers of Thursday's event from the beginning, I can really say that wasn't the objective.  The stated objective from the Google organizers was a technical talk, not a recruiting event.  So, I think that two things are in play here.  One, Googlers like where they work, and it really does come across when they talk.  And two, see my previous post. I really do think/hope that they may be checking out the local tech community to see if they can attract talent to staff an engineering office.  I 'm confident that they can. Google just needs to see it.  As an employer in the area, I will admit that it makes me a bit nervous, but raising the bar for creating good places to work is a GOOD thing, for all of us.

Russell's photos are at http://tinyurl.com/ywznsw

Winston Tsang (local Rubyist) also took photos: http://tinyurl.com/2mrh2x, including a few good ones of Russell and Jay pair-programming.

I'm always curious about how people find out about events, and so I asked.  Python user group was the biggest, AACS, AAJUG, Ruby group, and a2b3 were good conduits as well.  Others heard by word of mouth (including a few who read my blog, thanks guys).

AACS/MichiPUG Google Tech Talk Full!

Registration is now closed

Google closed registration for the joint meeting of the AACS and MichiPUG after registrations maxed out around 90.  We're going to have a full house for Russell Whitaker's talk on Python Test Driven Development.  I'm thrilled at the turnout and I sincerely hope that this means that the Google Ann Arbor office will host many more tech talks.  I think that we've shown that we're interested!

If you didn't get registered, don't despair.  Google is bringing in a speaker on the following Tuesday, August 7 for the Ann Arbor Java User Group meeting.  Once that registration link is released, I'll post it here (even if I don't have confirmation on the speaker yet).  Watch the AAJUG website as well: http://www.aajug.org.

Ann Arbor Computer Socieity

Michigan Python Users Group

Ann Arbor Java Users Group

Python Test Driven Development: A Quick-Start Approach

Google Tech Talk in Ann Arbor, August 2

Google has confirmed the speaker and topic for the Tech Talk in Ann Arbor on Thursday that will be a joint meeting between the Ann Arbor Computer Society and the Michigan Python User Group.  Russell Whitaker, Google Software Engineer, will be our speaker.  The gathering will be at the Google offices in Ann Arbor, 201 S. Division, 5th Floor, and will start at 6 pm.

If you do want to attend, you must register ahead of time, as seats are limited.  The registration link is:


I sure hope that Jason Pellerin can make it too.  Jason wrote Nose, an automated test framework for Python.

Looking forward to an interesting discussion, "heavy" appetizers, and paid parking!

Google Tech Talks in Ann Arbor

Details still coming

Google has announced 2 different Tech Talks to be held in the Ann Arbor area in the next few weeks.  Both meetings will be held at the Google offices in Ann Arbor and registration is required because seating is limited, but both events will be free and open to the public.  Google is sending swag, providing (heavy) appetizers, beer, wine, and it even sounds like dessert!

The first tech talk is in coordination with the Ann Arbor Computer Society and Michigan Python User Group, and will be held on Thursday August 2 at 6 pm.  Registration for that event is at:


The second tech talk will be in coordination with the Ann Arbor Java User Group, and will be held on Tuesday, August 7. I don't know what time that will start, but I suspect at 6 as well.  As far as I know, a registration link is not yet available.

We're waiting on the Google folls to tell us who they are sending and what the topics will be.  I'm sure that both will be great events, and I'll post here as soon as we hear!

And a P.S. on "heavy appetizers".  Is this a new term?  Should I know what this means? I went to a wedding reception last week, and called my friend to see if they were having dinner, appetizers, or what.  He said "heavy appetizers" and that if we didn't eat beforehand, we certainly wouldn't go hungry. And he was right.  I laughed, though, because the Google folk described sending "heavy appetizers" as well.  I figure I'm just not in the know.

Ann Arbor Computer Society

Michigan Python User Group

Ann Arbor Java User Group