Tag Archives: User groups

Flex meeting tonight, March 10 at SPARK

An Ann Arbor area Flex meeting is being held tonight, at SPARK.  It's free, and open to all. 

Flex: Rich Internet Application (RIA) Demos and Case Studies

Join users of Flex, and others interested in Flex to view demos of Flex applications and talk about how companies are using Flex. Nick Kwiatkowski, manager of the Michigan Flex User's Group will be the guest speaker.

If you're interested in participating in an Adobe Flex User's Group, this meeting will include discussion around starting an official group and talk about its organization. 

If you would like to be involved, please plan on attending this meeting!

Nick Kwiatkowski, manager of the Michigan Flex User's Group (Lansing area)

Monday, March 10, 2008

6-8 p.m.

SPARK Central-330 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor



Flex User Group meeting next week (Monday)

SPARK and Janeeva are coordinating to determine if there is interest in a Flex User Group.  Toward that end, and toward introducing Flex to people who might not know about it, they are holding a meeting next Monday evening, February 11, from 6-8 pm.

Introduction to Flex : Creating Rich Internet Applications (RIA)

Janeeva and SPARK are pleased to invite you to a seminar on creating RIAs using Adobe Flex technology. Flex is a cross-platform development framework for creating rich Internet applications (RIAs). Flex enables you to create expressive, high-performance applications that run identically on all major browsers and operating systems.

Seminar leaders Raj Rajen and Michael Bergens, both of Janeeva, will use examples to demonstrate the key concepts of Flex, then progressively build upon the examples to illustrate how Flex applications interact with backend server applications. The seminar is designed for web application developers experienced in using Java, PHP, Ruby, Python or .NET.

We will also discuss the potential to create a Flex User Group, depending on the level of interest. If you are unable to attend but interested in a user group, please register anyway.

The session is scheduled for February 11th, 6-8pm, at SPARK Central in Ann Arbor. Please register at www.annarborusa.org/events.

Raj Rajen is currently the CTO of Janeeva Inc., an Ann Arbor based SaaS company delivering Rich Internet Applications to fortune 500 customers. Previously, Raj was an Information Architect at Mechanical Dynamics Inc, MSC Software, and BlueGill Technologies. He has 20 years of industry experience in the IT and Computer-Aided-Engineering space with a focus on Enterprise Systems development.

Michael Bergens is currently a Senior Software Engineer at Janeeva. He is a graduate of the Mendeleyev University in Moscow's Computer Science department.  He wrote and sold his first computer program in 1976, and has more than 30 years of software industry experience.

Attracting a younger crowd to user group meetings

We had a discussion at the office this afternoon that centered around how to attract a younger group of people to the computer user group meetings.  We got several suggestions out of this, but are looking for more ideas.

First of all, WHY do we want to attract a younger crowd?  Well, the average age of the groups (Ann Arbor Computer Society, Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer Group, Ann Arbor Java User Group, Michigan Python User Group) is … well … "experienced". We could all benefit from a younger perspective, and the groups could use an infusion of new members.  Makes sense to tap the untapped market. Winston Tsang tells me that the Ruby User Group is pretty young, and that's interesting.  What are they doing differently, except that it's Ruby?  Well, for one thing, the meeting is held on campus.  That's interesting, because I initially shyed away from AACS when meetings were held on campus because I thought that it was a student group (it wasn't).   I wonder if that would make a difference?

The programming has been pretty "hip" in recent years, and diverse.  AADND has been focusing on .NET content, which has left AACS to mainly do "other than .NET".  That makes sense.

This month's AACS topic is Domain Specific Languages in Ruby.  I think that might attract a younger crowd but I'm not sure.  We'll see.  Oh yes, and AACS provides free pizza to all attendees, as well.

If you know anyone under the age of 30 that isn't in the habit of attending the user group meetings, can you reach out and explain what they are?  Let them know that if they are looking for a job, want to learn more about the industry and/or the Ann Arbor area, or simply want to hang out with other techies for the night, the user groups are a good way to accomplish that.  The meeting is at 6 pm.

Hopefully we'll have a big crowd on Wednesday for Joe's talk.  And if you can't make it on Wednesday (ahem, or even if you can!), Thursday's MichiPUG (Python user group) meeting will be great as well.  The Thursday meeting is at 7 pm.

Both meetings will be at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor. 


More Lightning Talks!

Nearly 2 weeks ago, we started our lightning talks at SRT on a Friday afternoon.  About 10 people showed up and we had some entertaining and interesting talks, including one by Andrew Turner on geolocation and another from Mark Ramm comparing Javascript libraries.  Catherine Devlin showed up from Dayton was in town on other business and gave her talk on Microformats. Rick Harding talked about Zend Studio and PHP. Jay Wren talked about BoxerP.  It seems that a fun time was had by all.  I got email from several participants who said that they found the talks interesting and informative.

As promised, we're doing it again this week.  Bill Heitzeg has proposed a simple problem that people are invited to implement in their language of their choice.  It's a simple web app, which includes things that almost all web apps need.  It's simply a login page, that allows you to stay logged in for 7 days (or logout) and, once logged in, allows you to add name/value pairs, and display them at subsequent logins.  Bill's more detailed description is available here.  We're hoping people choose to implement this in the language of their choice so that we can compare implementations.

At one point, there was discussion of session cookies and such, but we decided that's an implementation detail.  Have at it.  Just do it in the language of your choice and demonstrate (fully complete) at this week's or a subsequent lightning talk.

 Regardless of your interest in playing along with this comparative collaboration, I hope that you'll join us on Friday at 3:00 pm at our office:206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200 in Ann Arbor.  You're welcome to present the topic of your choice (limit: 10 minute talks) or just listen.

Hope to see you Friday!

Lightning Talks at SRT Tomorrow …

Don't forget to show up at our office (206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, Ann Arbor) tomorrow!  Our series of Lightning Talks start tomorrow, and continue biweekly after that.  We'll start around 3 and go til around 5 or whenever people stop talking about cool stuff, whichever comes first (I do have to leave to get the kids at 5!).

I don't know yet who will come, but that's part of the interest.  Having experienced these in the past, all I can say is, I have high hopes for interesting content that is both informative and entertaining.

I haven't planned ahead much (it's a 10 minute lightning talk!), but I may demonstrate some of the rich interfaces that you can do in Java, such as those that can be found in the awesome book that recently came out by Chet Haase and Romain Guy: Filthy Rich Clients (I finally bought a copy last week).   Java does NOT have to equal ugly.  And tell me, have you EVER heard a better name for a book?

Bill has an interesting talk in his back pocket as well. I think it will be fun!  See you there? 


Boo! (Programming language with Python-inspired syntax)

I wonder if Jay planned it this way.  Was he really saving his talk on Boo for October so that I could make Halloween jokes/references?  Pretty suspicious. 

Anyhow, tonight, at the Python User Group meeting (held at the SRT Solutions office at 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, corner of Fifth and Washington), Jay Wren will be talking about Boo, a statically typed language, which has taken some cues from Python.

Check it out: http://boo.codehaus.org/ 

I'm looking forward to the talk.  See you there at 7:00.

New Month, New User Group Meetings

It's the first of the month, do you know which user group meetings you're going to yet?  Here are some to choose from.

I believe that tonight is the Ruby MI user group meeting, but their website doesn't seem to be responding, so I can't check for sure.

You may recall that the Java User Group is moving its meeting to later in the month to avoid the first week, when so many meetings get our attention.  Keep an eye on their website for an announcement (and here, too).  Instead, hit High Tech Tuesday at SPARK, where Scott Johnston (product manager for JotSpot) will talk about the future of Google apps.  That event costs $25 for non-members and is held at Ann Arbor SPARK, 330 E. Liberty (lower level).  More information and registration at http://annarboritzone.org/eventlist.asp?EventID=1227.

Wednesday is the Ann Arbor Computer Society, where we will once again here a "non-Microsoft related talk".  For those of you who thought the group was Microsoft-centric, pay attention!  Now that there is a .NET developer group in Ann Arbor, many of the Microsoft talks are featured there and Jay Wren has been working hard to attract speakers from other languages, platforms, technologies.  This month (Wednesday) features "Experiences in  Wireless and Network Access Control @ Oakland University", by Chris Chamberlain of Oakland University.  November's talk is from John Hickey (of Apple) on the Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard release, what is new, what is old, and general mac desktop AND server things.  And December's talk is on Ubuntu Linux, the new release, what is new, what is old and general linux desktop things, presented by Kevin DuBois.  See, no Microsoft in sight!

Thursday's Michigan Python User Group (MichiPUG) meeting brings out Jay Wren, talking about the Boo programming language.  Boo, in case you don't know, is a statically typed language built with Python-like syntax (for .NET). 

The following Wednesday (October 10) is where you will find Microsoft content at the Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer group meeting (AADND).  Martin Shoemaker is going to talk about "Dee Jay: A Voice-Controlled Juke Box for Windows Vista".  Sounds interesting, but that's NEXT week.

The Ann Arbor Computer Society, MichiPUG, and Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer Group meetings are all at SRT's offices.  That's at 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200.  It's at the corner of Fifth and Washington in downtown Ann Arbor, across the street from the Blue Nile and directly above the Linux Box.  Entrance is from Fifth, take elevator to 2R or stairs to floor 2. 


SRT in the media

On Tuesday night, we had an open house for customers and friends at our new office, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200, in Ann Arbor (across from the Blue Nile, just above the Linux Box).  It was great to see people we haven't seen in a while, and we had a lot of fun.

The media seems interested when you open an office.  Perhaps they're starved for a little good news with a (thankfully short-lived automotive strike) and a state government that's threatening to shut down due to a budget impasse.  But SRT opening an office is a nice little story.  We are growing and we are having a lot of fun deciding what interesting things we can do with our new space.  I'm pretty sure that Bill is tired of answering the phone to hear, "Hey!  I had an idea …".  But he's made as many of those calls to me as I have to him, so it's OK.

In our interview with Kelli Kavanaugh of MetroMode Magazine which appeared online today, we mentioned the lightning talks (starting October 12).  We mentioned the user group meetings (AACS and Python User Group here next week). And yeah, the open house too.  But what she really seemed to pick up on in the article was that the stereotypical view of a programmer who sits in a cube all day, bangs out code without talking to anyone, and slides it under the door around midnight after consuming a pizza and a case of Coke is really not all that accurate. Hurrah!  Seriously, I swear I'm sick of hearing, "But you don't LOOK like a computer programmer".  OK, so we all know what those people are talking about because that's mainly what you see on tv and movies (and yes, a few in "real life" too).  But I still maintain (here and in the interview) that good communication skills are essential for computer scientists, especially those who are consultants.  Yes, writing code is fun, but there's SO much more to the job than that.

And yes, most of the attendees at user group meetings are male.  I can certainly understand why some of the moms (especially) don't make it regularly. Now that I have family commitments, it's harder to make it to a lot of user group meetings in the evenings, but it's important for me to be able to attend when I can.  The first week of the month, especially, requires a lot of negotiation around our house, and I suspect it does in some of the guys' houses who have small children as well!

So anyhow, I think it's fun to be around developers who like to talk about what they do and listen to what other people do, and I know I'm not alone in that.  Ed Vielmetti's a2b3 group is quite popular (Thursday lunches; I missed it today while I wrote this blog post). The user groups are popular.  I hope that we're able to snag some younger participants into groups like the Ann Arbor Computer Society, because we have a lot to learn from them as well.  Zattoo guys and everyone else, hope to see you there sometime!

Bill Wagner in Lansing tonight for GLUGnet

Bill is headed to Lansing to speak for the Greater Lansing Area .NET User Group (GLUGNet).  You may recall that Jay Wren spoke for them a week or so ago, but that talk was in Flint. Yes, GLUGnet has a Flint and a Lansing meeting now.  Anyhow, Bill's on his way there, so if you are in Lansing, looking for a talk on C# 3.0 (Think More, Type Less), check out http://portal.artemis-solutions.com/glugnet/