Tag Archives: SRT Solutions

SRT Solutions takes the next step!

It’s been an incredible year so far, with a whole quarter to go!

In May, I posted that I had joined Netflix in Los Gatos, CA, as Director of Engineering for Cloud Tools (which I’m truly enjoying, by the way). What I didn’t mention at the time was that Bill Wagner and I were in discussions with Atomic Object about buying SRT. It was very important to both Bill and I that our customers and our employees were well taken care of, even as we had decided to both move on to different challenges. Atomic Object offered exactly that.

Culturally, they were a great fit. The two companies are very similar, in terms of both ideal projects and hiring practices. We rarely competed for projects, so we didn’t have much in terms of customer overlap. And, while AO had offices in both Grand Rapids and Detroit, the Ann Arbor market has always seemed quite distinct.

The conversations were immediately productive, and always easy to move forward. We all wanted the same thing — and when people cooperate, great things happen. I couldn’t be more pleased that SRT Solutions has joined Atomic Object!

Carl Erickson, President of Atomic Object, said “SRT is a great company — they’re smart, they have a great reputation for making clients happy, and they care about making software right. We’ll be a formidable team”. A formidable team, indeed! I look forward to hearing continued great news about Atomic Object!

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.

Lightning talks all over the region!

After a year or so of hosting public lightning talks on Fridays, we're finding that it's no longer necessary for us to continue to do so.  We're happy to say that other groups have introduced lightning talks and are holding them in the evenings (of note: Ann Arbor .NET Developer Group, Detroit Java User Group), so there are plenty of opportunities to join in on these talks.  With summer upon us, schedules (and art fair) make Friday afternoon events challenging anyhow, but stay tuned.  We'll announce a replacement for Friday afternoon lightning talks in the fall.

How I spent my software stimulus …

A few months ago, Bill Wagner (my business partner at SRT Solutions) and I were talking about how companies were really pulling together in this economy and doing what they could to help others. I was really impressed with the brillant marketing of Atlassian when they rolled out several of their enterprise tools for $5 for 5 days for 5 users.  Nice.  And so we started to think about what we could do, how we could contribute.  The result of that was the SRT Software Stimulus Lab, which we held last Monday at Automation Alley in Troy.  We held a low-cost, no-frills event.  We told people to bring bag lunches and their own coffee.  We made it cheap for employed developers ($50 early bird) and free for those who are unemployed.  And it was … fun, interesting, and productive.  During the registration process, we asked registrants what they wanted to learn and we found that C#, Silverlight, WPF, and Scala were high on the list, as were version control, unit testing, and functional testing.

We started out the day talking one of the most fundamental and, in my opinon, essential tools: version control.  While most people had used version control in one form or another, many of them had only used tools like Visual Source Safe (which, you will likely recall mainly led to annoyance with your coworkers for leaving files locked).  We talked about tools like subversion as today's tools and looked forward a bit toward distributed version control, like bazaar and mercurial.  We set up a repository for the attendees to access and made sure that everyone was able to do so.

After that, we broke into mainly 2 groups.  One attendee, who I know from the Detroit Java User Group, came to learn more about Scala.  He's a Java developer with a significant amount of experience in Groovy.  I enjoyed my time with him, ane he seemed to have fun too.  I don't think that I sold him on Scala (that wasn't my objective), but I believe he left knowing enough about it to decide if he wants to pursue it further or to determine if he wants to stick with Groovy.  We compared and contrasted some features of the languages, and it was fun for both of us (I think!). People from the other group filtered in and out.  One guy teaches C++ on the side, and he was interested,  Another was a PHP developer who was popping in periodically.  We spent some time looking at unit testing in Scala as well as at a lot of the language features, and the preview of what's to come.  Fun stuff!

The other group worked mainly on WPF and Silverlight. The attendees seemed to really appreciate Silverlight (as well as the demos and tutorials that they worked on with the SRT staff).  The attendees also wanted to delve into multithreaded programming a bit, so the SRT staff came up with some demos and an impromptu discussion on that topic.

All in all, the day was what a Jam session should be: a group of people self-organizing into groups to work on things that they enjoy, free to move on if they changed their minds. I really enjoyed spending time with the attendees and I think that we'll probably do the Lab again sometime.  I know that I won't always get to do Scala.  And that's just fine.  I wouldn't have minded learning more about Silverlight myself!

Lightning talks tomorrow (and a special guest!)

As we normally do on every other Friday, SRT Solutions will hold lightning talks tomorrow at our office.  But THIS WEEK, we have a special guest.  Catherine Devlin, one of our favorite python developers and PyCon and PyOhio organizers, will be joining us!  I first met Catherine at CodeMash 2007,and am thrilled that she's making her way "up north" (from Dayton) this week.  Catherine came to one of our first lightning talks last year.  She always has something interesting to say.

As always, I'm looking forward to lightning talks!  Please join us.

Lightning talks are our way of keeping up to date with what the other SRT developers are doing, as well as what the other developers in the community are doing.  We love it when outside people attend.  People come to listen and to speak (no one is forced to speak).  We'll start at 3:30, with people writing their topics on the whiteboard.  Then we'll start, giving each presenter 5 minutes to talk about the topic of his or her choice, before moving on to the next one.  It's great fun and very informative.

SRT Solutions is at 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor.  That's at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington.  Entrance to our building is from Fifth.  Take elevator to 2R or take stairs PAST Suite 225 to Suite 200.

Lightning talks at SRT Solutions on Friday

I wanted to remind Ann Arborites and those nearby, that SRT Solutions is continuing with Lightning Talk Fridays, and the next event is on Friday, January 30.  Lightning talks are a series of 5 minute talks about any tech topic (no powerpoint necessary, although some people use it).   Anyone can speak, anyone can come just to listen.

We'll start at around 3:30 pm and go until about 5.

We really never know who will show up, or what will be discussed.  But it's always interesting …

Join us!

Our very own Patrick Steele joins Compuware Speakers at Technical Seminar Series

May 17, 2007 at 5:30 pm

SRT Solutions' consultant Patrick Steele joins Brian Cassista and James Brown to speak at Compuware.  Compuware is holding an evening networking/technical seminar event on May 17 starting at 5:30 pm.  I would love to attend Patrick's talk, "Taking Advantage of Generics in .NET", but I think that I will be headed over to James' talk on Dependency Injection and Spring instead.  If neither of those suits your fancy, then the Brian's talk on Project Management and Continuous Integration also sounds great.  I just wish I could be in three places at one time!

5:30-6:30 is for networking and hors d'oeuvres, compliments of Compuware.  The 3 parallel sessions will start at about 6:30 and go for an hour, with an hour of questions and answers following.

The event is free, and you can sign up (by May 14) by emailing Mary Johnson or calling (313) 227-7729.  More information can be found at Compuware.

I think it's going to be a great event.  I'm really looking forward to it.

More event info

UI Smackdown 2007 Early Bird Expires Today

If you’ve been planning to attend the User Interface Smackdown 2007 event to explore GWT, Flex, and WPF, today is the last day to get early bird pricing. At close of business today, we’ll be updating the pricing, so if you’ve been planning to attend and have just been procrastinating, the time is now.

We’re also getting really close to reaching capacity for the event. Unfortunately, the “Buy now” buttons for Google checkout don’t seem to support limiting quantity, so we’ve been manually watching registrations.

On a more technical note, I’m going to have to look into tying into the Google checkout API, I think. My wish list for Google checkout includes support for limiting quantity, being able to specify how many items to buy at a given time, and being able to add a comment field, so that people can manually add information about who they are registering. That’s probably a bit much to ask for in the Buy Now button realm, but hey! Anyhow, I’m looking forward to diving into the Google checkout API to see what we can do with it.

And, back on topic: register now if you’ve been planning to attend. Hope to see you there!

Registration link

UI Smackdown 2007 Event Details

UI Smackdown 2007 Explained

Is this wrestling or deciphering software technologies? Definitely the latter!

A few people have asked me about the name we chose for our user interface event on April 4, which will include Flex, GWT, and WPF. Honestly, the name was proposed by one of the participants, and we couldn’t think of one that we liked better!

This will NOT be a confrontational event, and I hope that no one has signed up to witness the World Wrestling equivalent in the software world. Instead, like CodeMash, the idea is to bring together people interested in different technologies and learn an appreciation for what each one provides. We think that this is a huge win for the vendors involved, since it offers an honest glimpse into the perspective that programmers bring to technologies as they evaluate them.

I’m really looking forward to the event. I’ve seen quite a bit of Flex and it’s very impressive. I’ve seen enough WPF to find that compelling as well. GWT sort of serves a different purpose, but we included it because it’s a different approach to the same problem: how do we build user interfaces that customers can use, but that programmers can maintain and understand.

If you haven’t signed up yet, but have been planning to, the time is now (we had some glitches with our registration page, but I moved it to a different site and I think it’s all working now; if you have problems email info@srtsolutions.com and we’ll get you set up). We have had a great response, and we may end up cutting off registrations. The early bird deadline is Monday (March 26), and the fee through Monday is $75. After that, we’re raising the price to $90, but with the rate at which we’re getting signups, I may end up closing registration before we even get to that point. And from my perspective, that’s a VERY good thing. If we need to choose a larger venue for a future event of this sort, that’s just fine by me!

User Interface Smackdown 2007

Explore Google's GWT, Adobe's Flex, and Microsoft's WPF for creating user interfaces

Registration is now open for the User Interface Smackdown 2007, being held April 4, 2007 at the Ann Arbor ITZone (Spark Central). The user interface toolkits that we will discuss and work with include (at least) Google’s GWT, Adobe’s Flex, and Microsoft’s WPF.

I’ve had a lot of fun doing Open Spaces events that Bruce Eckel has hosted in the past year. I exposed Bill Wagner (my business partner and co-founder of SRT) and our consultants to Open Spaces at CodeMash and they all enjoyed the experience as well, so we decided to start doing them locally, and we hope to do about 1 per quarter. Hopefully we will have the next one planned by the time that this one takes place (teaser: we already have some ideas in the works).

We believe that these events benefit the developer community. Not only are they an efficient and interesting way to bring timely knowledge to programmers, but they also bring the community together in a way that fosters continued communication and builds community. This helps everyone.

We believe that innovative user interfaces will be a key differentiator for software offerings in coming years, and learning how to use modern toolkits to build them is essential. We hope that we have a great turnout for this event and that it provides us with the motivation and interest to do more of these in the future, on different topics.

Cost for the event is $75 before March 26, or $90 after March 26 (and at the door, if space is available). Registration also includes continental breakfast and lunch.

This event is sponsored by Adobe, Microsoft, and SRT Solutions.

Hope to see you there!