CAT | Connections
It’s been no secret to any of my friends and Twitter followers that I’ve been looking for new opportunities, especially in the Android space. Sometimes the harder you look for something the harder it is to find and sometimes the best things happen to you almost by accident.
In April I saw a tweet show up in my feed about MobileDevCamp NYC. For those that don’t know, it’s basically “get a bunch of developers, designers, and other assorted geeks together and see what they can build in 24 hours.” I first heard about it less than a week before it was scheduled but there were tickets still available so I signed up.
We split up into 14 teams of about six people each. The team I was on built a cross-platform YouTube playlist app for iOS and Android. One of the other members of our team was a developer for the social media site Patch.com. They collect community-specific news and information for individual towns and communities using local editors, writers, photographers, and videographers that actually live in or near the towns they cover.
Apparently something about me impressed him because the next day I received an email from the company inviting me to come in for an interview. Three days later I was downtown interviewing with several people including part of the team in Dublin, Ireland. To make a not-very-long story shorter, an offer was made and an offer was accepted. Starting May 23rd I will be joining Patch.com as a mobile developer working on a project I don’t think I can talk about yet (cause I don’t know if its been publicly announced yet.) I’m very excited to be working with this team. This will be the first time I’ve worked at a large company (frankly, anything more than a half-dozen people is large for me) and the first time I’ll be working with designers, product managers, etc, etc.
As for this blog I’ll eventually move it to a new location. I don’t know yet if Patch.com has a developer’s blog (or wants to start one.) If so, I hope to start blogging there. Otherwise, I’ll have to figure something else out. I still plan on speaking at CodeStock on June 3rd and 4th and at MADExpo on June 30th – July 1st (you can still register for MADExpo here.) Anything after that I’ll have to play by ear.
I tweeted a while ago about how if life is full of up’s and down’s someone was having a lot of fun with all my up’s. With this move, I’ve started to reclaim my up’s.
I’m a bit late in posting this but on November 6th when I spoke on Android and .NET Services at the Fairfield / Westchester County Code Camp I sat down for an interview with Peter Laudati’s Connected Show podcast. The episode is live and available for your listening pleasure here.
This past weekend I once again made the trip to Knoxville, TN for the CodeStock conference. This conference, run by Michael Neel, has, in only a few short years, become one of the more respected US East Coast technical conferences. Version 2010 moved to a new home (the University of Tennessee Conference Center) and added more tracks that really made it the conference with something for everyone.
I had submitted a proposal for a Beginning Android talk and was honored to have it chosen as one of the top five vote getters. Since I drive down from New Jersey and based on last year’s experience, I headed down on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I planned on using the extra day down there to tweak my session.
A few people asked me why I drive down to Tennessee from New Jersey instead of flying. I’m not afraid to fly and enjoy the experience of getting into a giant metal can in one location and, a few hours later, getting out in a completely different location. What I no longer enjoy is the process of getting to that giant metal can. I hate parking at the airport and getting raked over the coals in parking fees. I hate getting poked and prodded by security at the airport and definitely don’t like these full-body scanners nor what passes as security policies these days (I’ll spare you my political views but if you know me at all you can probably guess.) But what I detest the most is queuing in excruciatingly long lines that don’t move. It really makes me crazed just standing there waiting, doing nothing. Since I like to drive just give me a few podcasts and my satellite radio and I’m all set. I was actually surprised at the number of speakers this year that drove instead of flying.
It’s not very interesting going into a minute-by-minute rundown of my time there but I’ll just call out a few high points:
- First high point was Thursday morning. I was sitting in the open spaces area when Kevin Griffin (at least I think it was him; I may be mis-remembering) came in and asked me if I wanted to join in with the Community Megaphone podcast that was being recorded on “Speaker Horror Stories.” What most people at CodeStock didn’t realize is that this was my first time speaking at a conference and my first time speaking on Android. I’ve spoken at small user groups in the past but the last one was almost five years ago. As the podcast unfolded we went around the room introducing ourselves and relating our stories. When the microphone got to me I said I really didn’t have any horror stories because I was a “conference-speaker newb.” The other speakers in the room burst out in applause and really made me feel welcome to the speaker community. Thanks guys. It really boosted my confidence and made me glad I took the plunge. I will definitely do it again.
- Second high point was my actual talk. Being so concerned with running out of material I badly misjudged the time and had way more material than I could use. That had to be the fastest 70 minutes of my life. I don’t have the official count of people in my session but it looked like a full house and not many people left before the time was up. My thanks to those of you that came to hear me and especially the ones who gave up part of their dinner time to see the OData demo.
- Third high point was Friday night in the room the hotel set-aside for us to socialize and play guitars. My friend Wendy was playing with a Lego Mindstorm robot and the Microsoft Robotics studio and was having problems getting her program to work correctly. There were a few other people at the same table so here are four professional software developers with probably three or four decades experience combined sitting there trying to make this program work but it wouldn’t go. Then Wendy’s 16 year old son (who was with her at the conference) sits down at the laptop, removes a few components then replaces them, and the whole thing started working. Total time expended by the professionals: at least an hour with no progress. Total time expended by the 16 year old: probably about 2 minutes with total success. Guess we all need to go find new careers. (As a side note it was quite a treat to see a mother and her 16 year old son pair programming. That’s a combination you don’t see every day.)
- Final high point was Saturday night. I was planning on just taking a pizza back to my room, watching a movie, and calling it an early night cause I knew I had a long drive home Sunday. But I went down to the bar anyway and found the DevExpress gang; Gary Short (@garyshort), Plip Winstanley (@plip; who isn’t actually part of DevExpress) and Rachel Hawley (@rachelhawley; one of the famous Rachii) along with Seth Juarez (@sethjuarez; who did a double session on machine learning that I’m really sorry I missed.) We spent the next few hours discussing everything from software development to the geo-political state of the world. If you ever want a really eye-opening experience speak to people from another country (Gary, Plip, and Rachel are from the UK) about their views on your country. Definitely food-for thought. Conversation continued on the patio with Miguel Castro (@miguelcastro67) and John Petersen (@johnvpetersen.) I now know a lot more about 18 and 25 year old Scotch whiskey than I did before.
Next year’s CodeStock conference isn’t scheduled yet but will probably be sometime near the middle to end of June. If you’re on the East Coast (or even if you’re not) you really need to consider adding this one to your conference schedule. I’ll be getting the slides and code from my talk to Michael within the next day or two so be sure to watch your email for his blast. I’ll also post them here and tweet/blog when they’re up.
OK so maybe there won’t be blood but it’s still interesting that Vlad is turning out to be better at playing Microsoft’s game than Microsoft is.
He’s already offering the type of hosted services that Microsoft has only been talking about and is hosting them in privacy-friendly Europe.
Note to self: look into his backup services. Have a couple of clients that have more data than they can cost-effectively back up to tape.
Tomorrow he will talk about what he’s “got in store for her majesty’s prisoners.” Since it used to be a penal colony for England I’m guessing he means Australia.
I make it a point to follow Vlad’s blog. Even though he tends to use a sledge hammer where a more “delicate” approach might be called for you usually end up thinking about his posts for days. The best ones are where he holds up a “business mirror” and you don’t necessarily like the reflection you see.
So the other day he posted this. As StaceyC said in the comments, time to make some popcorn (cheddar for me please.)
As I said in earlier posts concerning SMB Summit the best part of this conferences is connections and friends you make. Two of the best guys I know in this crazy IT business are joining forces to better serve their customers in the Dallas Metroplex area.
And be sure to visit their new offices at 5757 Alpha Rd, Dallas, TX on June 11th 2008 because they will be hosting the Microsoft Across America truck from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. You can preregister here or just drop in.
Good luck guys!