MSDN Flash: Volume 14, Number 20 - September 27, 2010
Editorial News and Notes from Developer Evangelist G. Andrew Duthie

Community Leadership Summit and Upcoming Code Camps

This issue, I want to share some of the information from our recent Community Leadership Summit in Mid-Atlantic, share a new initiative to help you with your Windows Phone 7 applications, plus remind you about upcoming code camps.

Mid-Atlantic Community Leadership Summit

This past weekend, it was my privilege to host the first of what I hope will become a semi-annual event, the Mid-Atlantic Community Leadership Summit. Nearly 40 user group leaders, speakers, and other leaders in the community attended from as far away as Roanoke, VA, Pittsburgh, PA, Hampton Roads, VA, and everywhere in between.

The discussions were wide-ranging, from how to find and develop good speakers and how to work with sponsors to ensure a group has good financial support and giveaways to attract new members, to strategies for dealing with scheduling, particularly how to best avoid scheduling conflicts for larger events, as more and more events are planned in our area.

A few tips that came out of the event:

  • The more that people use Community Megaphone, and get their events in early, the less likely it is that we end up with larger events conflicting with one another. Even if you haven’t finalized the details of your event, put it in with a TBD. You can always email me the details later, and I’m happy to update the event. Or use the Community Megaphone API, and you can update any events you enter when you have the final information.
  • If you run a user group, and rely on volunteers, don’t recruit volunteers by simply saying “we could use some more volunteers.” Rather, approach those who attend regularly and ask them if they could help with a specific task, such as picking up the pizza on the way to the meeting, contacting potential sponsors, or other specific tasks. Being specific makes the help you’re asking for seem less open-ended, and may help you get the help you need.
  • Many groups were concerned about how to improve and maintain attendance. Two suggestions that had met with success at some of the groups were to increase the amount of beginner-level content, and to try having lightning talks (15-minute mini-presentations) which can increase the likelihood of attendees finding relevant content, as well as provide opportunities for more beginner content, and opportunities for new speakers to try their hand at presenting.
  • If your group has a mailing list, find out information about nearby groups and share that with your membership. Likewise, contact the leaders of nearby groups and ask them to share your information with their members. When groups promote one another, everyone wins.

The gangI’ll no doubt have more to share about this event in future issues, but for now I just want to close on this with a big THANK YOU to all of the group leaders who attended, along with a shout-out to Sara Faatz from Infragistics and Rich Dudley from ComponentOne, both local community members, who attended and provided the great perspective of folks who have a deep history with the community, and also represent vendors who sponsor many community groups and events (and they both brought some goodies for the attendees, which was a nice surprise). A big thanks also to Rob Zelt, the president of INETA, as well as local membership mentors Frank La Vigne and Kevin Griffin, for providing their input as well.

Office Hours – Test your Windows Phone 7 Apps on Hardware

In the previous issue, I talked about ways that I may be able to help you. In this issue, I’m adding to that list a new idea - office hours. Office hours is an idea started by some of my peers that consists of me setting up a schedule when I’ll be in a specific location, either one of our local Microsoft offices, or somewhere else that you can find me easily, and one of the main things I’ll be doing is making available the Windows Phone 7 prototype device I have for testing your Windows Phone 7 applications. Let’s face it: while the emulator is good, and does support a number of features out of the box, there are things such as the accelerometer that you can only test on hardware.

Here’s how it’ll work: Each week, before the end of the week, I will post to my blog, and on Twitter, where I will be the following week, and when I'll be there. You can then get in touch with me to schedule some of that time to come in and test your app (and if you’ve got something else on your mind you’d like to discuss or pick my brain about, that’s cool too). Then you come in, we’ll put your app on my phone, and give it a run-through.

Some weeks I’ll be in the DC area where I’m located, and others I’ll be elsewhere in Mid-Atlantic. If I’m going to be speaking at a local user group in your area, I’ll try to schedule time that day at a local coffee shop or co-working facility so I can make sure that folks outside the DC area have an opportunity to take advantage of office hours as well. Got feedback on the idea? Let me know.

Code Camps

An issue of the MSDN Flash in the Fall wouldn’t be complete without a reminder about upcoming code camps…

We’ve got two code camps coming up on Saturday, October 9th, Philly .NET Code Camp 2010.2 and Richmond Code Camp X. While it’s not ideal to have two code camps in Mid-Atlantic on the same day (see the above notes on the community summit, as this was a big topic of discussion there), it can mean less driving for folks who are close to Philly or Richmond.

There’s also a code camp coming up in Pittsburgh, PA on Saturday, October 16th.

You don’t want to miss out on these opportunities for great learning and networking, absolutely free!

Did I miss a code camp or other event? Let me know.


To find out about and/or promote upcoming local developer and IT pro community events, check out Community Megaphone. Check out our podcast, too.

You can also find out about local and national developer and gadget stuff on my blog. You should also follow me on Twitter.

Want to learn more about the speakers you'll see at user groups and code camps, and up-and-coming personalities in the developer community? Check out the Community Megaphone Podcast! You can find the podcast on the web, on Zune and iTunes, and you can follow us on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook!

Interested in hosting a Code Camp or similar community event, and not sure where to start? Drop me a line and I can help you get started.

Want to share your information or make suggestions for future updates? You can contact me via my blog.

Until next time...

G. Andrew Duthie
Developer Evangelist, Mid-Atlantic States District

Andrew Duthie has been working with computers since the days of the Commodore PET, hacking game programs loaded from cassette tapes to say funny stuff, and has been writing and speaking about developer technologies for more than a decade.


Meet the Microsoft Evangelists in Your Region

Microsoft Events

Microsoft Developer Dinner for Partners: Developing Mapping Centric Applications for Microsoft Windows Phone 7
September 29, 5:30 P.M., Reston, VA
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Windows Phone 7 Developer Launch - Jump-Start Your Mobile Development (Day 1)
October 6, 9:00 A.M., Washington, DC
In the first of this two-day launch event, we'll take you under the hood of Windows Phone 7 and the Windows Phone 7 platform with a progressive set of learning sessions. We'll start with the basic tools and fundamentals of Windows Phone 7 application development, plus key design guidelines and our philosophy behind the all-new Metro interface paradigm. As the day unfolds, we'll go deeper into Windows Phone 7 development scenarios with Silverlight, XNA, Tools and the Windows Phone 7 SDK. You'll also see how to earn cash for your apps in the fully loaded Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
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Windows Phone 7 Developer Launch - Unleash Your Best App Workshop (Day 2)
October 7, 10:00 A.M., Washington, DC
The second day of this launch event is all about turning those napkin sketches and subway scribbles into real, saleable apps. This event will be a hands-on application development workshop. You'll apply fundamental Windows Phone 7 design principles to build an app and upload it to the fully revamped Marketplace. These work sessions are designed to unleash your creativity and help you move from idea to reality, so go at your own pace or follow along with a proctored group lab. Either way, you'll get step-by-step advice from Microsoft and community experts. It's an unprecedented opportunity to stake your claim in the marketplace - using familiar tools and consistent specs.
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Microsoft PDC10
October 28 - 29, Redmond, WA

Community Events and User Groups

NOVA SQL User Group Meeting
September 27, 7:00 P.M., Vienna, VA
Speaker Chad Boyd presents Service Broker.
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Executive Insights: How Three Washington D.C. Organizations Achieved Work Management Success
October 8, 7:30 A.M., Mclean, VA
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Richmond Code Camp X
Saturday, October 9, 8:00 A.M., Richmond, VA
Attend this fun, free, information-packed day full of social networking and professional development opportunities. Over 40 code-oriented presentation, free breakfast, lunch and snacks. Free WiFi and easy, free parking.
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Hampton Roads .NET Users Group
October 12, 6:00 P.M., Chesapeake, VA
Make Your Website Scream...In A Good Way.
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The Service Bus in the Sky (Cloud Computing Security)
October 21, 6:30 P.M., Alexandria, VA
We'll build a website that allows you to log on with your Facebook credentials. We'll also build a chat application that works through firewalls, and demo it running across multiple networks.
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Windows Phone 7 Firestarter - Hampton Roads
October 23, 8:00 A.M., Suffolk, VA
The power to build smart, visually stunning games and applications is right in your hands with Windows Phone 7. Want to see what's under the hood? This full-day series of learning events for developers will take you behind the scenes with an inside look at the philosophy, design language, and the fundamentals of Silverlight and XNA coding for Windows Phone 7. You'll also see how the Windows Marketplace provides exciting new distribution and monetization opportunities for developers and application publishers.
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