That Conference Day 3



Richard Campbell’s talk was So What About Tablets?. In 90 minutes he took us through the history of the PC and left us with a startling revelation: the days of the computer that you sit at is numbered. All those things that we know about computers, from the mouse to the current state of the GUI is very transitional.  I’ll try to find a link to his talk on the internet, but in the meantime, just listen to .NET Rocks!, his podcast.

Morning Session

After more delicious potatoes wrapped with bacon, I went to hear Jimmy Bogard talk about functional testing in ASP.NET MVC.  At the Motley Fool, we use our tests written in Gherkin to do functional testing, but we also have to create the syntax for our DSL, a weighty process. Hearing him speak on the powers of WatiN and selenium (we use WebDriver for our automation) was pretty neat, and I picked up that if we weren’t invested in Gherkin and Sherpa (our test runner), then there are viable alternatives, though no silver bullets.

Afternoon Session I

Matt Milner talked about ASP.NET HTTP Web API.  How glorious a thing. It essentially does the same things that you can do in MVC when creating a web API (BTDT), but it does them better.  It’s like BASF for your web APIs.  And even better than WCF, it talks barebones HTTP and is easy to configure.  I’m definitely going to spend some time porting some of our internal APIs to it to give it a look see.

Afternoon Session II

Keith Dalby finished out the afternoon sessions on his talk Git More Done.  Don’t know Keith Dalby?  He’s the guy behind PoshGit, a Powershell Git client. As someone who uses just the essentials of Git, I’m impressed with how much there is underneath the surface.  Were it not for the fact that Kiln started out with Mercurial, I probably would have started with Git.

Closing Time

Heading out from That Conference, we decided for one final hurrah and went for dinner at the Ishnala Supper club.  It sits overhanging Mirror Lake, and has some of the best views of the lake at Sunset.

They also make a mighty fine Wisconsin Old Fashioned.

That’s to say nothing of their delicious prime rib.


All in all, it was a great conference, and I’ll definitely attend again.

That Conference: Day 2



Scott Hanselman started out the day with his keynote, Information Overload: Scaling Yourself. As usual, Scott brought it. Spoiler: Twitter has little productive value.

Morning Session

For the morning session I checked out Jon Galloway‘s talk on using the various frameworks inside of ASP.NET (MVC, Web API, *shudder* Webforms) together.  I’ll link to his materials when they’re out, but short story:  MVC 4 is dropping today and Visual Studio 2012 makes this much easier (also dropping today for MSDN people). It makes it possible to not only use the two together, but finally gives an easy ‘upgrade’ path from Webforms to MVC.

Afternoon Session I

I was fortunate enough to catch Leon Gersing‘s talk on Truth and Myths of Software Development.  In his talk, he went into the various myths and truths that he’s encountered, such as TDD being a silver bullet (myth), or that Agile is still alive (myth).  As someone who works at a company that practices Agile development, this rocked my world:



I won’t attempt to mangle the great talk he gave by summarizing it here, but needless to say if you have a chance to see him talk, go. His talks alone are worth the price of admission.

Afternoon Session II

Jason Bock‘s talk on Roslyn filled up the mid-afternoon speaking time, and he filled his talk with really neat examples, like how to use Roslyn to remove regions in code.

As someone who hates regions with a passion, I salute his efforts.

Roslyn is still only a CTP, but the number of things that can be done with it are mind boggling. Imagine being able to have your code automatically sort properties and methods alphabetically? Or have custom warnings based on internal code standards?

Afternoon Session III

The final session of the afternoon was Html5 Game Development with JQuery with Burke Holland.  He built, from scratch, Pong in front of a live studio audience.  He’s putting up the code later this week on his Github account. Even better is that he used CoffeeScript and Node.js’s Jitter to transpile the CoffeeScript into JavaScript for us, so we could see the awesomeness of CoffeeScript  (this may actually get me to use JavaScript more often).

The evening closed out with a Pig Roast, a Groupon sponsored waterpark party, and lots of fun.  The sort of things you’d have to be here for.  But, in keeping with my earlier promise, here is a drink that sums up the evening (iPhone included for scale):



That Conference: Day 1

That conference started (as any good conference should) with breakfast. Delicious breakfast that contained the four basic food groups: caffeine, bacon, ketchup, and sweets.

That conference kicked off today with Leon Gersing @rubybuddha talking about You. Not you, me. But you too. The royal you. You as a person. You as a developer. But not just you, everyone around you.

His talk centered around the person and how we interact with each other.

I won’t attempt to do try to summarize his talk (more than I’ve already done) but I will share just one quote from his talk:

After the morning keynote, it was session time. With too many sessions and not enough me to go around, I settled on attending Scott Hanselman’s talk: “One ASP.NET”. In it, he detailed Microsoft’s vision for ASP.NET. Again, I won’t try to summarize his talk here, especially since it’s helpfully on his blog.

Lunchtime approached and looked exactly like breakfast time (only this time without the bacon wrapped potatoes and cheese curds, much to my disappointment), and then came the afternoon sessions.

I caught Ryan Niemeyer’s Knockout.JS talk (I’ll link to the video once he posts one), and let me just say that there is some cool stuff that can be done with Knockout. Definitely on my list of things to learn.

SignalR – Jeremiah Billman

Jeremiah Billmann showed the power of SignalR by re-creating Rampage in SignalR. Yes, that Rampage

While impressive (really fracking impressive), he unfortunately couldn’t release the code because Warner Brothers doesn’t take too kindly to such things, so sadly it is left in the aether.  


The Kalahari Resort (as you may already know) sits in Wisconsin.  The same Wisconsin that has (as Lewis Black put it) professional alcoholics.

I thought he was kidding, until I saw the resort selling a glass the size of The Stanley cup:


I haven’t yet been able to get any pictures of these in the wild (and at the $23 asking price for the drink, haven’t been able to get The Motley Fool to agree to let me expense it — for research purposes, of course), but when I do, you’ll be the first to see them.  

That Conference: Day 0

I’m on the ground here in the beautiful Wisconsin Dells at That Conference. I’ll be spending the next four days conferencin’, learnin’, and waterparkin’.

Getting ready for my flight into Wisconsin, I started doing my research on the area. Lewis Black enlightened me on the ways of Wisconsin (warning: salty language):

Landing into Miluakwee (Algonquin for “the good land”) , we took on brunch at The Packing House (which has a pretty good brunch, if my taste buds have any say in it), and then we drove the 2 hours to the Dells. Upon arrival, we came upon this:

and this:

After a quick excursion to the waterpark, it was registration time (or, as I like to call it: Free Swag!), and did they ever deliver:

From L to R: CODE training $100 gift certificate, Give Camp advert, Conference handbook, two free drinks for the happy hour or pig roast, iPad stand, CODE magazine, Tshirt. Did I mention that the iPad stand was handmade? Our final stop for the night was dinner at Damon’s Grill, where I happened upon the most awesome thing I have ever encountered… Cheese Curds:

These little gems of deliciousness are Cheese curds lightly battered and fried, and served with a tangy ranch dressing.

There are not words to describe how delicious this jewel of the midwest is. If this ever caught on nation wide? We’d all be fat.

Next time: Conference, Day 1: Kickoff, Recap, and the Stanley Cup of Drinking glasses.