Tap My Mind

A Blog by Scott Isaacs

Year: 2007 (Page 1 of 5)

Holiday Party Canceled (For Now)

The WI .NET Users Group Holiday Party I mentioned before has been canceled due to weather.  As soon as it is re-scheduled, we will let everyone know.  I apologize for any inconvenience.


Here’s something that sounds really interesting to me.  About a week and a half ago, Larry Clarkin posted about "coworking", and I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since.  Coworking is an interesting concept.  From the Coworking Community Blog: Coworking is a movement to create a community of cafe-like collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents.

Do you work from home?  I rarely do anymore because of the nature of my job, but I used to occasionally work from home.  I was always fine for the first day or so, but if it was a more than a couple days, it was really hard for me to stay focused.  I would run into roadblocks that would normally not be an issue. 

Coworking would have been ideal for me.  I would have the flexibility and freedom of working from home, but the collaboration opportunities of working at the office.  If I ever start an at-home business, I am sure that I will be looking for coworking opportunities.

Anyway, Larry is starting a coworking group in the Brookfield, WI area.  The first meeting is on December 17 at 1:00 PM at Einstein Bagels on Bluemound.  Of course he has all the pertinent into on his site, so check it out.  Larry also points to the Wikipedia entry and the Coworking wiki (CoworkingMilwaukee) for more info.

I’m not yet sure if I’ll be able to make it myself, but I encourage you to check it out, especially if you work independently.

Toys For Tots Donations

I forgot to mention it in my most recent newsletter to the WI .NET Users Group, so I wanted to post it here.

If you’re coming to the Holiday Party next week, please consider bringing a toy to be donated to Toys For Tots.  As mentioned in a previously referenced post by Dave Bost:

In the spirit of the holiday, we will be collecting toys for Toys for Tots. Bring a toy and have a chance at winning an outstanding prize (TBD). Please make sure that all toy donations are new, unwrapped toys. This allows the Toys for Tots program staff to determine that the gift is safe for distribution and to identify the appropriate age and gender for each gift.

I think this is a great opportunity for us to provide something for a child who would otherwise not receive anything for Christmas.  It’s not a requirement at all, and there is no obligation, but the opportunity to give will be there for you if you choose.


More About The WI .NET UG Holiday Party

So the WI .NET Users Group’s Holiday Party is coming up soon.  Today I was able to increase the registration capacity because Dave Bost from Microsoft was able to come through for us and got us a few dozen more Visual Studio 2008 licenses than previously expected.

By the way, if you’re attending the party to install Visual Studio, Dave has a great post that includes some steps you should take to prepare for the installation.  He also talks about a number of contests surrounding the party.  There is even a contest you can enter even if you can’t make it to the party.

One of the contests is a Demo Contest.  We are looking for a number of people who are willing and able to do a short demo (around 5-15 minutes, depending on participation).  If you’ve been using VS08 or .NET 3.5 and would like to talk about one of your favorite features, please contact me and let me know.  As long as the schedule permits, we’ll allow people to "sign up" to give a quick demo right there at the party, but we’d like to get as many interested people as possible to sign up in advance.

Even though we have again reached our limit for Visual Studio licenses, there is another link to register on our site.  We’d still like to have everyone at the party for the food and fun, so sign up using this alternate link.  Also, by signing up you’ll be added to the waiting list in case anyone the already registered is unable to make it for some reason.

I hope to see everyone there.

I Was Wondering When This Would Happen

Silverlight 1.1 becomes Silverlight 2.0. (Thanks for the heads up, Dave.)

Now I just have to find a way to get to Mix ’08 next year.

Maybe Another Time

So, we got our news today.  It wasn’t what we we hoping to hear.  Some of you will know what I’m talking about.  For the rest of you, I’m sorry, but I’m not really in the mood to talk about it right now.  I guess that doesn’t make for much of a blog post — maybe another time.

And Now This!

Kelly and ScottWithout really going into any detail, Kelly and I are facing some issues and are expecting to hear either really good news or bad news later this week or early next.  We’re both staying really positive, though.

Charlie in Mommy's glassesSo anyway, thinking about that, I started thinking about all of the things that we’ve gone through this year, and since we’ve been together over the last several years.  It hasn’t all been roses.  In the last 13 months, we’ve both lost jobs.  We’ve had some struggles financially due to a declining real estate market.  My grandma died earlier this year.  I’m sure if I tried, I could think of a number of other things. 

And now this!

Charlie's blue eyesIt’s so easy to get caught up in the "and now this" mentality, and just keep piling more things on.  It’s so easy to get discouraged, frustrated, angry, depressed, or whatever.  But for every bad thing that has happened, one or more good things has happened.

When I lost my job last year, within roughly a week, I had four job offers on the table, and I could take my pick, each better (in so many ways) than the job I lost.  Now I work with my childhood best friend, building a company doing things I never thought I would do.  There are struggles and stress to be sure, but it’s an amazing thing to be able to be in this position.  I never imagined that I would have been involved in designing and creating a product like this.  Or that our first client would be a company in the top 150 of the Fortune 500.  Or that it looks like our second client will also be a company on that list.

After losing her job earlier this year, KellyKelly now has three jobs (aside from the "mom thing"), and they’re all perfect for her.  She works a few hours a week at a place that loves having her and gets her out of the house to interact with adults.  She is also a work-from-home executive assistant to one of the top real estate brokers in California’s Central Valley, so she gets to see Charlie all day long between her tasks.  And to top it off, she is starting her own business.  (Buy something now!)  I can say, without a doubt, that I have an amazing wife.

We never did sell our last house.  But we found renters.  Good renters — a young family who pays their rent on time and takes good care of the place.

Charlie deep in thoughtMy grandma died earlier this year, and that was hard for me — especially since I live so far from the rest of my family.  Sometimes, being so far away, I forget, then I remember and feel sad all over again. 

Then I remember that just a few months before she died, before she even knew she had cancer, my grandma had a chance to meet and hold my daughter, Charlize.  I can’t imagine anything that has ever happened — or will ever happen — to me that could be as life changing as having Charlie.

And now this!

See, the thing about the "and now this" syndrome is that it works both ways.  You may have heard it described as being "on a roll", "on fire", "in the groove", or a million other phrases.

Charlie trying to steal the cameraI’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve added a few photos to this post.  As you might have guessed, those are the things I am most thankful for this year.  For that matter, for the rest of my like those are going to be the things for which I am most thankful.

I love my wife.  I love my daughter.  They both love me.  That alone make any struggle or loss seem almost trivial.  I’m blessed and I don’t believe it’s coincidence.  To that, add the rest of my family, my close friends, my faith, my job, my new home, all of my opportunities, and the fact that, through it all, we’re happy.

And now this!

We don’t yet know what "this" is, and it may prove to be a painful process to find out.  But I do know that there is a "this" and when we find it, it will be amazing.

If you pray, please keep us in your prayers this week and next.  Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving from the Isaacs family.

Holiday Party 2007 — Already Sold Out

I recently posted about a Holiday Party that Microsoft is sponsoring for the WI .NET Users Group.  Well, unfortunately, a mere 3.5 hours after making the announcement, the event has filled up.  The Chicago .NET Users Group is also having a similar event, and theirs "sold out" in 2 hours.

Microsoft had a particular number of licenses available for us at this event, and we have already reached the limit.  My contact there is working to see if there is anything that can be done to add more, but he’s not sure yet what will be available.

If anything else comes up and more space is made available I will definitely make an update.  I apologize for those of you that wanted to register but were not able to get signed up in time.  This booked up much faster than anticipated.

Please check back regularly in case more seats are added.  I will send a newsletter update as well if that happens.

Math Is Calming

Not gonna happen...Many of you know that I have a little 14 month old daughter, Charlize (we call her Charlie, and she has a website).  Some of you are aware that 14 months is around an age that is not an uncommon age for first steps.  A few of you may also know that our house is largely covered with wood flooring.

See where this is going?

Charlie has been walking here and there for almost two months, but is just now starting to really take off.  She’s finally at the point where she walks more than she crawls.

Tonight was no exception, and she was taking a few laps around the living room.  The center of the living room is carpeted (roughly 15′ square) and there is a 3′ perimeter that is wood.  Also, with the "open concept", the wood extends into the surrounding entry way, dining room and kitchen area.

You can always tell how tired she is by one or more of three indicators:

  • She rubs her eyes,
  • She pulls her knees up under her and lays her head on the floor for a minute (really cute by the way), or
  • She gets a little clumsy

Tonight she took a tumble in the entry hall and clocked her head on the wood flooring.  Basically, it went like this:

  • Smile, happy, walking around.
  • THUD!
  • Calm before the storm.  This part seems like an eternity, but scientists have proven that, in reality, it is only 1-3 seconds.  Somehow babies instinctively know how to mess with the space-time continuum.
  • Crying that makes you wish that pulling your fingernails out with pliers and then pounding them into your tear ducts with a hammer would make her feel better.

Nothing would calm her down.  I picked her up and held her for a minute and tried to soothe her.  I have no idea why I thought that would work, by the way.  Kelly took her and gave it a shot.  She tried the pacifier, which normally helps if she’s more tired than anything else.  She tried talking to her.  She tried singing.  None of the normal things were working.

Then my brilliant wife started saying, "1 + 1 is 2.  1 + 2 is 3," and Charlie started to calm instantly.  Even though she was completely calm by the "mid 2s", Kelly went all the way up to the "10s", and Charlie just watched her the whole time.

Is it possible?  Could it be?  Have the stars aligned?  Is this cutest little girl in the whole world really a geek at heart?  Let me tell you, it made this geek dad smile.  [:)]

By the way, if you have a little girl, or if you want to be really mean to your young son, Kelly is starting up a little side business making accessories for girls.  Buy something so we can send this genius kid of ours to Harvard or MIT in a couple years.

Deeper in .NET 2008 – Planning

So, if you’re a .NET developer in southeast Wisconsin, or if you’ve read my blog for a while, you may know that I am the president of the WI .NET Users Group (UG).  You may also remember that in spring 2006 we had a day-long conference called Deeper in .NET 2006.  It was a great event, with several hundred attendees and five nationally recognized speakers.  Best of all, since the UG is sponsor supported, Deeper in .NET was completely free for all attendees.

Well, after a hiatus in 2007, we are currently planning Deeper in .NET 2008 right now.  While no plans have yet been finalized and everything in this blog post is tentative, I wanted to share some of what we have in mind to get community feedback.

Currently, we are planning to have DiDN08 on April 5, 2008.  The format will be similar to previous years, and we will have 5-6 sessions over the course of the day.  As usual, we will be trying to attract the top speaking talent we can find to present of the topics that are the most interesting in the Microsoft development world.

Although we are already in contact with a few potential speakers, I’d like to give everybody this opportunity give their ideas for both speakers and topics.  Have a burning desire to hear your favorite speaker or author right here in your own backyard?  Let me know.  Really want to find out more about Microsoft’s latest and greatest product that will meet the impossibly difficult business need you are facing at work?  Leave a comment.  Have any other ideas about the conference, or about the UG in general?  My ears are open.  While I can’t promise miracles, I will promise that we will review every suggestion and try to make this conference what our members want it to be.

Also, if you’re a past or present sponsor of the UG and are interested in finding out how you can get involved with this thriving community, let me know.  I will be sending out some e-mails over the coming weeks to those that have sponsored or expressed interest in the last couple years, so be sure to watch your inbox.

As time gets closer, more and more info will be available on the UG site.  In the meantime, I’ll be sure to post anything here on my blog tagged with DiDN.  If you’re a blogger, by all means, blog about it, and trackback to this post, and/or tag it DiDN.  And if you blog, be sure to check out our Evangelist program.

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