I’m here in Redmond, WA, for the Microsoft Technology Summit, an event geared toward people who have been identified as community leaders in a geographic region and who do NOT predominantly use Microsoft development tools.
Travel here was uneventful. A friend who used to live in Ann Arbor, but now works for Microsoft (Stan Kitsis) picked me up at the airport and after lunch we went off for a hike at Snoqualmie Falls. The waterfall was rushing today, and mist was reaching the observation platforms. We did the hike to the bottom of the falls (about ¾ of a mile). It was a great hike, well worth the climb back up. And the weather here was gorgeous … sunny skies with high clouds.
Tonight was the Evening Welcome Reception at a restaurant near the hotel. This was a nice small party, with most of the people in attendance. There are people here from Thailand, Malaysia, even Australia (I may have missed one country). At dinner, I sat next to Yakov Fain. He is a certified Flex instructor from New Jersey and we both know James Ward, who is a Flex evangelist. In the “small world news”, Yakov lives in a town one over from where my husband grew up. On the other side of me was Duncan Buell, Computer Science Department Chair at the University of South Carolina. We had some interesting discussions about IDEs and teaching kids computer science (in addition to other things). Also at the table was Peter Laudati, Microsoft Developer Evangelist from New Jersey, and Tanya Young, who is coordinating the event. I also met Scott Preston from Columbus who was wearing his CodeMash t-shirt! Cool!
Yakov sent some links to his eBook: "Java for Kids, Parents and Grandparents", in response to Duncan's question about the right balance between spending time introducing OOP and actual coding. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Duncan mentioned that his university is putting together a summer program for kids, using the Alice programming language. Interestingly enough, I’m heading to the Michigan Celebration of Women in Computing conference on Friday night, and there’s a session on using Alice to teach programming at that event. One of my colleagues in Ann Arbor, Aydin Akcasu, has done talks on using the Kids Programming Language (at Day of Dot Net in 2006)
Back to this conference, events kick off tomorrow, with a keynote followed by sessions on Microsoft Research, SOA, Dynamic Languages on the CLR, CardSpace, and XAML/WF/WCF, and the day will finish off with a visit to a local restaurant.