A Blog by Scott Isaacs

Tag: Community Page 2 of 8

RTLB #1: Always Assume Good Intentions

"Rules to Live By" (RTLB) is a new series that I will occasionally be writing here on my blog.  Like every other professional, in every other field, over the years I’ve picked up a lot of things that make my life easier, both professionally and personally.  Most of these things can be summarized in a sentence or two, and I’ve decided to call them Rules to Live By (original, I know).  As much as any other reason, they are here to remind myself of things that I’ve decided to believe in, even if I don’t feel like it one day.

Without further ado, I present RTLB #1:

Always assume good intentions.

This one is not always easy, but I’ve found myself doing this for many years, and it has become second nature.  If I find myself in the situation where someone says or does something that could be offensive in some way, I stop and think, "They didn’t mean it the way it came out."

Most people aren’t intentionally mean-spirited.  Sure, some people are just rude, arrogant, selfish morons, but that is rare.  It is unlikely that they meant to offend me with that comment or action.  There is almost definitely some circumstance I am not aware of that is causing this.  Almost always it is a miscommunication somewhere along the way, on my end or theirs, or both. 

Yes, sometimes it’s my own fault.

Realizing this, it helps keep me from getting unnecessarily angry and reacting in a way that makes things worse, or from sitting and grumbling silently to myself or peers.  Staying calm and humble by assuming the problem is very possibly my own fault, I can often approach the person and work through whatever issues there are, and in the end, we are all happy.

So there you have it, Rule to Live By #1.  I welcome any comments or feedback.  If you have your own rules to live by, I’d love to hear about them.

GiveCamp MKE

I’m very excited to announce that we are planning the first ever GiveCamp in the Milwaukee area: GiveCamp MKE.  In fact, it’s one of the first GiveCamps anywhere.

"What’s a GiveCamp?", you ask.  In short, it is an opportunity for developers, designers, DBAs, project managers and anyone else involved in the software development process to give back to the community.  And we do it by doing what we know how to do best — building software.  We will soon be accepting applications from various charities for software that they need.  It could be anything from a website to a data collection app to a mailing list manager or anything else.  For more information about the whole GiveCamp concept, and to see what other communities have had (or are planning) GiveCamps, please visit the official GiveCamp site.

We’ve been putting a lot of time into this over the last couple weeks, but we’re still not quite there.  Please bear with us as we continue to finalize things, including the website itself as well as more info about the GiveCamp MKE event.  Rest assured that we will be making regular updates to the GiveCamp MKE site, so please check it often or subscribe to the RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss anything.  I’m sure I will also post major updates here as well.

I am very excited about this, and how things are shaping up.  Remember that conference call I wrote about a couple weeks ago?  That was about this.  I just wish I could put all of the things I want to say into words tonight before I fall asleep, but that might take me a couple hours.  :)  So keep checking back here and at the GiveCamp MKE site, and I’ll eventually get it all out there.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to let me know, or to use the contact form on the GiveCamp MKE site.

I Am Excited About… A Conference Call?

For the first time since — ummm — since ever, I am looking forward to an upcoming conference call.  And I’m really looking forward to it.  I don’t want to say too much, yet, because I want to get some very basic details ironed out first, but I will say that it is about a special project we are working on for the WI .NET Users Group.

I’ve been thinking about this project for a few weeks now, and I’ve actually taken notes.  If you have ever been with me to a meeting, that statement alone should let you know how serious I am about this.  I am a terrible (appalling, horrendous, atrocious, apocalyptic) note taker, so much that I often don’t even take a pen and paper with me because I will get more out of my memory of the meeting than from my notes.  But I have notes for this.  And they make sense!

So, if you work in technology in the Milwaukee area, keep an eye on my blog over the next couple weeks.  If this call goes even half as good as I expect, I will be asking for your help!

Community Coding Contest

This is pretty exciting.  Chris Pietschmann, an MVP, a friend of mine, a committee member of the WI .NET Users Group, developer of Virtual Earth controls, and an independent consultant I have worked with in the recent past, has three MSDN Premium Subscriptions to give away, and he is having a coding contest to determine the winners.  He is building a website for this contest at www.communitycodingcontest.org, but the site is not up yet.  In the meantime you can get some basic info from this post on his site.  The contest will run from July 1 through September 30, so that’s three whole months to get something built.

The most amazing part is the prizes.  From his blog post:

1st Place – 1 MSDN Premium Subscription with Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite

2nd Place – 1 MSDN Premium Subscription with Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite

3rd Place – 1 MSDN Premium Subscription with Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite

4th Place – Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1 and Visual Studio 2008 Professional

I am also looking for sponsors to donate additional prizes to give away.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’d be happy with 3rd place.  If you work for a company that would like to sponsor this contest, please contact Chris through his blog, or e-mail me and I will put you in touch with him.  If you’re a developer, get those gears turning.

I do have a question for Chris, though.  Chris, why not sneak one of these subscriptions to me and have a contest to give away the other two???

Deeper in .NET 2008 — Today!

If you’re in the Milwaukee area and have nothing to do today (4/5/08), why not come to Deeper in .NET?  It starts at 8AM and will go until right around 6PM.  We have 5 great speakers on the agenda so come on by and see what’s going on.

Less Than 72 Hours Away

Deeper in .NET 2008 is 3 days away — this Saturday!  I can’t believe it myself.  The time has flown by and I’m amazed that everything managed to get worked out.  If you haven’t already, go register to attend — you won’t be disappointed. 

Also, we just made an announcement on Monday that we are adding an Attendee Party after the conference.  Just stick around at the hotel for a while and enjoy the food and fun.  At the time of this writing, there are only about 40 spots left at the party, so if you want to go, be sure to sign up right away. 

You can sign up for both the Deeper in .NET 2008 sessions and the Attendee Party at www.deeperin.net.  Tell all your friends, coworkers and clients that they should come.  I hope to see everyone there!

WI Social .NETworking

Chris just mentioned this so I thought I’d write a follow up post.

Several months ago I created a Facebook group for the WI .NET Users Group, although I never really publicized it, and had actually forgotten about it until today.  Well, today, Chris created a LinkedIn group for the UG, and that prompted me to create a Twitter account for the UG.

If you are a member of the WI .NET Users Group and are on any of these networks, please feel free to join the groups (or follow us on Twitter).

And yeah, I know — it’s a corny title…

Fox Valley Day of .NET

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the first ever Fox Valley Day of .NET in Appleton, WI.  I’m planning to attend, and if you’re anywhere in the area, and are a software developer, I’d recommend you go as well.  They have a good looking lineup of speakers and sessions, and I’m looking forward to it.

Best of all, it’s free.

Their automatic registration process is closed now, but you can still show up and register on site.  If you’re planning to go, I’ll see you there.

Banjo and Open Source

I don’t remember how I found it in the first place anymore, but I recently started listening to a new podcast called PC Load Letter.  It’s two guys that used to work together on Subversion (and now work together at Google) talking about open source software and related topics.  So far, there have only been three episodes, each fairly short, and I’ve enjoyed them.  Especially the banjo in the intro/exit music.  If you like open source software and banjo picking, this might just be what you never knew you were looking for.

Three Years Of Mind Tapping Gooeyness

So I’ve been writing on this site for just over three years now, and this post is #230.  I really enjoy it and wish that I had more things to say and more time to say them.  That said, I’ve got a few goals for the blog for the upcoming year.  In order:

  1. Write more technical posts
  2. Write more community-focused posts
  3. Write more personal posts
  4. Less blogging about blogging

I’d really like to get up to around a dozen posts per month, but I won’t be too disappointed it stays in the 1-2 per week range.

I also have a goal of becoming more active on other social sites, starting with Twitter.  I’ve twittered about 20 things in the last week.  I have to say that using a desktop client (I’m using twhirl right now, but will try any suggestions) is SO much easier than using the Twitter website.  I’ve also been connecting with more people I know on Plaxo and LinkedIn.  I’ve been using Plaxo for a few years now, long before the whole Pulse networking thing.  I really like how it keeps my contacts and calendar in sync across computers.

I have a Facebook and MySpace account, but still can’t seem to really get interested in those.  I also can’t seem to get into the whole del.icio.us thing — I just don’t bookmark that much stuff, and when I do I use Google bookmarks from the toolbar (that’s really the whole reason I have the Google toolbar these days).  Maybe if I saw someone using del.icio.us in person, I would be inspired.  Maybe not.

So anyway, enough blogging about blogging.  Thanks for reading.

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