Code Camp 2008 recap

Code Camp 2008 is an excellent programming event sponsored by a variety of companies (including the one one I work for) in South Floida. Its a day of 72 classes at 70 minues each. This year’s agenda is here:

Its a great event. Its completely free, and you can get exposure to a lot of stuff.

7:30 -8:00 – Registration
This was chaotic. There several copies of sign in sheets spewed about. You had to find a page with your name on it, and sign. Presumbably someone later consolidated the lists. After that, we were given the goody package. The goody packages was assembled on demand rather than prepackaged, so the line was pretty backed up.

8:00 – 8:30 – Keynote
There were 600 people crammed into a cafeteria that felt as if it were only intended for 1/2 that number. I fell asleep for 10 minutes and didn’t fall over.

At 8:15, there was a very brief welcome, and code camp officially began.

8:30 – 9:40
I went to “Essential of the Architect and Architecture”. I didn’t have any expectations for this, because that’s how I roll, but if I came up with some, I would’ve been way off. Ron Jacobs from Microsoft was the presenter. He’s a pretty significant character in the great northwest, so it was good to get his view of things.

He described the roll of an architect by breaking it down in to three major components and comparing them to the roles of real people such as Christopher Columbus (explorer) and OJ Simpson’s layer (advocate). It was interesting. I have several take aways from that session.

There were 2 other sessions at the time that would’ve been intresting: Dynamic Data Fields and Tools

9:15 – 11:00
I’ve already mastered the “Science of Great UI” as clearly demonstrated by the multitude of 3 color sites that I have assembled. Its real simple: Use a table for layout, then make everything look ad boring as possible within the cells of the table. Clearly I don’t need a class.

I went to the Web Service Software Factory Modeling Edition. The software factories are basically code generators. It gets you started, you fill in the blanks. The modeling edition is more than that because you can work with the designer and regenerate from the model as you need to. I’m going to have to become more familiar with this.

Stan Schultes was the presenter

11:10 – 12:20
From C# to F# in 60 minutes
This was a good introduction to F#. The gist of it was this: “We can’t make light got any faster”. Computer power has stopped doubleing every 18 months, so we have to make better us of multicores, etc. F# is a functional, scripting, and OOP language all rolled into one. Its great for list based stuff, and it makes it very easy to fire off stuff asychronously. It was nostalgic to watch it in action because most of the commands were issued from a command line. Good stuff.
I just went to the presenters Blog, and the top entry is “VB.NET Must Die”. I love it.

12:20 to 1:20 – Lunch
Once again, 600+ people crammed into the cafeteria. There were rumors of pizza going througout the crowd. I wasn’t keen on the idea of waiting in another line and trying to find somewhere to sit, so Carlos, Steve and I went to Chilis instead.

1:20 – 2:30
High Speed Development in Visual Studio with Code Rush and refactor.
This was great. I installed CodeRush a few weeks ago, but haven’t really used it. I didn’t take the time to learn it. It turns out that there’s a TRAINING window for inflight training. I’m going to turn that on, then most likely buy it when the trial expires.

2:40 – 3:50
For Love or More Money, Developing Your IT Career
I initially thought this was a poor choice, but it worked out. I figured that by “Developing your IT Career”, it would cover how to grow as an IT professional. There was some of that, but mostly it was “how to interview for another job”. It was presented by, a company I haven’t worked with before. (I’ve only changed jobs twice, so I don’t get around a lot.) Despite my initial trepidation, I did get some pointers out of it. (IE: Keep a technical blog).

I’ve always had trouble with the interview process. There’s a lot of etiquette. There are things you should and shouldn’t say, should and shouldn’t do. I have a very hard time accepting that. I like putting my forks AND spoons on the same side of the plate. I don’t care where the wine glass is or the accessibility of my cloth napkin. Just give me food. I’m the same way with the interviews which, amittedly, isn’t good. I want to get a job based on my experience with technology and people, and I would prefer to do that without rehearsing lines in front of the mirror. Thankfully, I don’t interview often.

4:00 – 5:10
“Orcas for Architects” – I think its time to update the presentation name.
This was a 70 minute crash course in all things VS 2008 and beyond. I got a kick out of it. Most was stuff I’m already familiar with, but there were some gold nuggets in there such as ParallelFX. This reminded me of the “can’t make light go any faster” comment earlier in the day. ParallelFX offers some new contructs that will automatically perform certain operations in parallel. It will use the other cores on your CPU to finish things faster.

The first set of example was mostly linear: on a dual core, it was twice as fast. On a quad core, it was 4 times as fast. The second one was graphic based. A quad core was 53% faster.

I told a couple guys about this later that night, and messed it up. I thought it was called PLINQ, but it looks like PLINQ is just part of it.

I’m looking forward to that one.

Wrapup. We once again assembled in the fire-hazard cafeteria. There were some nice raffle items, and closing comments from several of the sponsors. Some of the sponsors put together an after party, but I was unable to attend due to other plans.

It was a great day. I can’t say I learned a lot of detail about anything in particular, but I got a lot of exposure to a lot of cool things, which is important.

Most of my takeaways came from the first Architecture session and the “For Love or Money” session.

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