Tap My Mind

A Blog by Scott Isaacs

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Article: How To Have a Successful Day-Long Conference

I am the president of the WI .NET Users Group, and we held our 4th annual Deeper in .NET conference on April 22, 2006 (our first since I became president last year).  The event was a great success, and people keep talking to me about wonderful they thought it was.  I’ve just posted a summary of the work that went into that, as well as our results.

Deeper in .NET 2006 was a great success with about 400 people in total attendance.  We had five incredible speakers – Michele Leroux Bustamante, Scott Hanselman, Julie Lerman, Bill Hatfield and Jason Beres (four on the Speaker’s Bureau) – and we had over $70,000 in prizes (150+ pieces) to give away!

Are you a users group leader?  Many groups are having these day-long, mutli-session events.  Why not yours?  To find out how we made ours a huge success, take a look at this article.

What the F#?!?

Now that I have your attention, I should clarify in case my mother happens upon this and makes me wash out my mouth with SOAP. [;)]  (Sorry.  For some reason I can’t seem to resist the silly geek puns…)

In case you aren’t aware, F# is a new .NET language from Microsoft Research, and a new community site just launched last night in support of that.  “The Hub” (or more completely, “hubFS: THE Place for F#”) is a site that I’ve been privileged to be involved with for a few weeks of BETA now.  I have to confess that I’m not fully up to speed on F#, so that makes this site even that much more valuable to someone like myself.

It is my understanding that Dr. Syme, the architect and designer of F# at Microsoft Research, is the champion of generics in Microsoft’s .NET Framework v2.0.  This stuff must be good.

Check it out.

Deeper in .NET 2006 — A Huge Success

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I didn’t know where to start.  I still don’t know where to start… 

Thank God It’s Friday …

While it wasn’t all fun and games, Deeper in .NET was a lot of fun.  What many people may not know is that Deeper in .NET 2006 actually kicked off on Friday night, April 21.  On Friday we had a little get together with the speakers, some of the local bloggers, and other “friends of the community”.  It was very casual, and the “Welcome to Wisconsin” buffet was perfect — who could pass up fried fish, brats, and other Wisconsin-y things? 

Because one of my friends is a drummer, we were also able to get a couple of bands to come play Friday night for a few hours.  Both A Little Known Nothing and Mood Infusion were great, and they both have CDs available for purchase.

I’m still getting comments about that night.

Then Came Saturday …

The morning started bright and early, and there was a long check-in line by 7:15.  Fortunately, the check-in process was much smoother this year, and thanks to my wife Kelly and her boss Kate (C&C Recruiting), the line moved pretty much non-stop.

To save time searching for pre-printed name tags like in years past, this year, we managed to get our hands on a high-speed label printer, and we printed the name tags off as people checked in.  All attendees had the choice of C# or VB.NET name tag.  Looking back, I should have kept track of the number of each language since about a dozen people have asked me so far.

With tons of prizes to give away throughout the day, we decided to give away a few prizes at the beginning of each session.  So we pulled five random names before Michele, Scott, Julie, Bill and Jason started their presentations.  We still had a ton of stuff to give away at the end of the day, though.

There is no way I can do Deeper in .NET justice in this post.  It was incredible, and I’m very happy with how well it went.  A number of other people have posted about their thoughts on the day.  Here are a few links:

Both Julia and Korby have posted a number of pictures.  One of these days, I’ll get mine up.  If you took any, please send me a link.

(I’m sure I missed some posts, but you can trackback or comment below.)

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday …

Well, since Deeper in .NET finished, I have been sleeping terribly.  Aren’t you supposed to lose sleep before something big, and then sleep better after it is over?  Not the case for me for some reason.  I didn’t lose any sleep leading up to DiDN, but haven’t had a good night’s sleep since.  I think it’s time to break out the Tylenol PM…

Next Year…

This year was a big success, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t picked up some new ideas for next year.  If you have any ideas pelase feel free to let me know.

Deeper in .NET Update

In my last post, I mentioned how many registrants and prizes we had for Deeper in .NET.  Well, both of those numbers are wrong.

We now have over 475 people registered for Deeper in .NET.

And we have over $70,000 in prizes to give away!  We may come close to $80,000 before all is said and done. 

I don’t know about you, but that amazes me.  The way our sponsors have risen to the occasion is incredible.  This event would not exist without them — thank you.

If you haven’t already, register for Deeper in .NET.  It’s this Saturday, April 22, at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee.  It’s free.  It will be incredible!

Prizes, Prizes, Food, Prizes, Content, Prizes, and Incredible Presenters

Over 350 400 425 people have already signed up for Deeper in .NET 2006!  If you haven’t yet, you should too.

Of course, the main reason for planning an event like this is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to learn more about new and interesting topics in .NET, and give you a chance to learn from some of the most qualified, experienced, professional and entertaining speakers around.  That’s why we’ve chosen this year’s roster (see here and here).

Maybe you already know everything, though, about .NET.  You know all the acronyms (WCF, WPF, SQL, ADO, ASP, AJAX) and you know how to use them all.  Well even if you know all there is to know about the topics being covered, there are still two good reasons for you to come to Deeper in .NET:

  • Free lunch
  • Prizes — lots of prizes!  I mean LOTS of prizes!

We have two copies of MSDN Premium with Visual Studio Team Suite (worth over $10,000 each) to give away!  Thank you to our local MVPs, casey and Sean, for donating these.

One will go to a lucky attendee who registers for Deeper in .NET by April 18th.  It’s simple:

  1. Go here
  2. Login (create an account if you don’t have one)
  3. Click the link that says “You are not registered. Click here to register now.” 

That’s it.  Three little steps to have a chance at winning a $10,000 piece of software.

The other MSDN/VSTS license will go to the winner of our Evangelist blogging contest (I already blogged this once here).  Sure that’s a little more work than you have to do for the other copy, but it’s not that hard.  You just sign up for the Evangelist program and start blogging about the WI .NET Users Group and Deeper in .NET.  Free blog hosts and software abound, people, so get blogging.  😉

Even if we didn’t have those two huge prizes, we would still have a ton to give away.  Not counting the MSDN/VSTS licenses, we have over $25,000 in software to give away (and counting)!  Many people are going to walk away with a prize.  Chances are that you or someone next to you will win some software.  Seriously.  I’ve lost count of how much we have.  (Special thanks to Doug from CVNUG for keeping track of everything for me.)

By the time April 22 rolls around, we may well have over $50,000 in software prizes to give away.

So, in summary for those that made it all the way through this post, sign up now.  Register for Deeper in .NET.  Become an Evangelist.  Blog about .NET, the Users Group and Deeper in .NET.  Get involved.  Show up.  Win prizes.

Win MSDN Premium with Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite!!

I just posted about the new WI .NET Users Group Evangelist program.

What I didn’t mention is the blogging contest that is taking place for the next couple weeks leading up to Deeper in .NET 2006.  One lucky member of the Evangelist program will win a copy of MSDN Premium Subscription with Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite, worth over $10,000!  Who wouldn’t want that?!  Well here’s your chance to win one!  Simply sign up for the Evangelist program, start blogging, and you’re eligible.  (There are actually some rules, but they’re simple.  So be sure to check those.)

In addition to the MSDN/VSTS grand prize, the runner up will receive a copy of Visual Studio 2005 Profession Edition and SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition!

So start spreading the word about the WI .NET Users Group and Deeper in .NET 2006.  What have you got to lose?

WI .NET Users Group Evangelist Program

If you’ve visited my site recently (opposed to RSS) you may have noticed a new button I have placed on the sidebar.

WI .NET Users Group EvangelistThe WI .NET Users Group has just launched an Evangelist program.  Being the president of that group, I figured I was also an Evangelist.  🙂  From the UG site:

Are you excited about .NET? Do you attend every WI .NET Users Group meeting, and feel guilty if you miss one? Do you stay up all hours experimenting and learning new things? Do you blog about .NET or tell people about the latest “cool thing” you just learned? Then it sounds like you might just be a WI .NET Users Group Evangelist.

If you think this applies to you, then by all means, sign up.  It’s free and easy.  You’re already doing the “hard part”.  🙂 

Go here for more info: http://www.wi-ineta.org/evangelist/

Deeper in .NET 2006!

As president of the WI .NET Users Group, I’m really excited about our upcoming conference on April 22, 2006.  Deeper in .NET 2006 will be at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee (map).

We have five great speakers lined up for the day-long FREE conference:

  • Michele Leroux Bustamante — WCF Top to Bottom
  • Scott Hanselman — Anatomy of a Successful ASP.NET Application: Inside DasBlog
  • Julia Lerman — ADO.NET 2.0 Integration with SQL Server 2005
  • Bill Hatfield — AJAX and Atlas
  • Jason Beres — Using WPF to Create Compelling User Interfaces

We’ve also got a number of great sponsors lined up, and a ton of prizes to giveaway to attendees — at the moment we’re somewhere around $15,000 – $20,000 in prizes!  (And we hope to have even more by the time April 22 rolls around.)

Like I said, this event is free to attend — how can you beat that?  You do need to register in advance to “save your spot”, because last year, we had only standing room.  So if you’re anywhere within driving distance of Milwaukee, you should come.  For those coming from out of town, I’m trying to work out a special rate at the hotel, and will post more on the UG site when that is worked out.  I know we have people coming from all Wisconsin, Chiacgo, and Indianapolis.

Also, the UG is still looking for a few more annual sponsors for 2006, so if you work at a company that might be interested in sponsorship opportunities reaching nearly 2,000 .NET developers (*), architects and decision makers, by all means, please get in touch with us.  You can find out more info about our sponsorship programs here.

Most of the information about Deeper in .NET 2006 is available on our site, but if you have any questions, just ask.  🙂  I hope to see you there!!!

* Update: For clarification, our total membership and mailing list is nearly 2,000, and each member will receive a number of e-mails.  Actual meeting attendance is limited to venue capacity and will be somewhere between 500 and 600.  Sorry for any confusion.

An Introduction to F#

The next WI .NET Users Group meeting is on February 21st.  I’m looking forward to the next meeting where our very own optionsScalper (OS) will be presenting “An Introduction to F#” (register here). 

Why am I so interested?  Is it because OS is such a hottie?  While one could make that case, I’d have to say, “No”.  It’s because F# has been described to me as the “math language” of .NET, and you may not know it, but I have a B.S. in Applied Mathematics.    It’s been a while since I’ve had to do any serious “math-like” development, and even longer since I’ve done anything remotely academic, but talking to OS about this has definitely piqued my interest.

If you have any interest in math, finance, a “scripted/functional/imperative/object-oriented programming language”, or just cool, new stuff in general, then you owe it to yourself to attend. Get the details and register here.

Ready Launch Tour 2005

There is a lot going on locally in the MS community over the next couple weeks.  For starters, on November 7, Microsoft will be launching a new series of development packages: Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and Biztalk 2006.  The official launch will be happening in San Francisco, CA.

The WI .NET Users Group is having a Community Launch (aka, Ready Launch Tour 2005) on November 8.  It is a joint meeting with the WI SQL Server Users Group.  Because of the combined meeting, we will actually get started at 4:30.  You can register for either or both of the sessions (VS and SQL) on the UG site.  If you typically receive an e-mail newsletter, you can expect it today or tomorrow.

Then, just a few days later, Microsoft will be having a “local” launch in Chicago.  That will be at the McCormick Place on November 10.  Then in November in Madison and December in Milwaukee, MSDN and TechNet will be having “Best of the Launch”.  You can find links to those events on the UG site as well.

Not many of us in this area are going to be able to make it to the “official” launch in CA on November 7.  So make sure you get to at least one of these other events.  Our Community Launch will be filling up fast because we only have a limited number of seats (although we are meeting in a bigger facility than the Microsoft office where we normally meet). 

So pick one or more of these events and sign up today!!

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