Cloud, Development, General, user group, Videos, Windows, Windows 8

Microsoft DevRadio: Community Corner – How I created my Windows 8 app for

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Dev Radio: Community Corner

I had the great pleasure recently to interview Microsoft C# MVP Shawn Weisfeld as part of the Microsoft DevRadio show to hear about the Windows 8 app he built for Tune in and listen to this great story as Shawn describes his experience building the app and how you can watch great user group created content anywhere, anytime.

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Azure, Cloud, Design, Development, Events, Oklahoma, TechFest, Tulsa, user group, Windows 8

Tulsa TechFest 2012

Tulsa TechFest is the premier technical conference in eastern Oklahoma, boasting “the broadest topics in the United States, maybe the world”. Sporting a healthy 18 separate tracks across multiple disciplines including  architecture, software and web development, databases, project management, security, social media, mobile, enterpreneurs, managers, BI & reporting, mentoring and even  a special Windows 8 Track, Tulsa TechFest is one of the largest events of its kind.

It’s primary focus is to provide training/teaching sessions that are immediately beneficial to the broadest range of IT professionals in their day-to-day jobs. They accomplish this with over 40 national/international speakers covering this wide range of topics over 90 to 120 75 minute sessions.

As with all conferences of this type, there is a cost associated with attending.  This year, in keeping with the traditions of the previous 4 years, attendance at the Tulsa TechFest will require you to pay your choice of $2, to be donated to the John 3:16 Mission, or 2 cans of food, to be donated to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. Last year, the event collected 469 pounds of food, and our target this year is to DOUBLE that amount, so please bring whatever you can to support these worthwhile charities.

This is the one that started it all, folks – since their first event, many other communities have been following our example by hosting their own TechFest events including VancouverTechFest, HoustonTechFest, DallasTechFest, AlbertaTechFest, IndyTechFest, and NWA TechFest.

I myself will be featured in the Cloud track talking about Windows Azure, including deep dive sessions on Windows Azure Caching, Access Control Service, Service Bus and Windows Azure Mobile Services.

This is one event you *won’t* want to miss – so sign up today at!

Azure, Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, Featured, Open Source, Students, Texas, Training, user group, Windows 8, WP7

Upcoming User Group Meetings

There are a couple of great-sounding User Group meetings coming up this week that I thought you all might be interested in:

Windows Phone App Developer Group – DFW Dallas TexasSeptember AT&T Mobile App Hackathon Education (Dallas)Friday, 5:00 PM Sep 14
Dallas PHPAn Illustrated Git PrimerTuesday, 7:00 PM Sep 11
DFW C++ User Group, meeting at NCR’s officeLeak Free C++Tuesday, 6:00 PM Sep 11

If you a new to Git, I highly recommend attending the PHP User Group’s presentation. The speaker and I have had numerous conversations about Git, and he does a really good job of explaining the basics. I was going to go and try to ask some of my newer questions about different workflow strategies, branching and such, but a prior family obligation is going to keep me from attending any groups on Tuesday night.

If you’re a Windows Phone or Windows 8 developer, I’ll also recommend the AT&T Mobile Hackathon. I’ve participated in these before and they are very well run by the gang over at AT&T and I know you’ll have an amazing time participating. The prizes are usually pretty good too, so bring your great idea and be ready to crank out some code!

These are just a couple that popped into my Inbox this morning, but there are plenty of other amazing activities to be found around TX, OK, AR and LA – just check and for more details.

Arkansas, Development, General, ITPro, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, user group

Looking for a User Group?

Then I know the place to go!

For a while now, I’ve been maintaining a list of User Groups that meet in my part of the world – TX, OK, LA and AR.  It’s not a comprehensive list (at least I’m pretty sure it’s not) but I’d like it to be.  It’s essentially a listing of all the user groups I know about, or have heard rumors about that I can find online in my four-state area.  Not to be confused with Community Megaphone, this site is not about events or meetings – it’s about groups.  And, it’s not just about .NET groups – it’s about any technical community user group that meets. There are .NET/Microsoft-friendly groups for sure, but also Linux groups, PHP groups, Node.JS groups, iOS groups, Android groups and others too.

Where do you find it? 


Current features include:

  • Monthly calendar of events showing all user groups
  • Listing of all user groups, by state
  • Details on each user group including meeting location w/ map, upcoming meeting dates/times, group contact and recurring schedule information
  • Map of all user groups

Planned features include:

  • API for querying groups
  • iCal support for one group, some groups, or all groups
  • Blog/Website badges for one group, some groups, or all groups
  • Support for more complex meeting schedules
  • Integration with CommunityMegaphone (presuming I can do some sort of match on user group name, or something)

Apart from these features, and a bit of a face-lift, the new site needs more data! If you know about any groups in your area that are NOT on my list, please drop me a line at with at least the following info:

  1. Group Name
  2. Website
  3. Meeting Day (e.g. 3rd Monday, or 2nd Thursday)
  4. Meeting Times (start/stop)
  5. Contact Name / Email
  6. Meeting Location Name & Address (+phone, if you have it).

Me and my crack team of data entry clerks (a.k.a. my daughter) will get this information posted just as fast as we can. Also, if you see any data errors, especially meeting times/nights – please also let me know that ASAP and I’ll get that fixed up.

Lastly, if you’re interested in helping out with any of the planned changes, or making it look more pleasing than the default template from MVC 4, I’d love to get your help…

Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, Texas, user group

New Cloud and C++ User Group in Dallas

I’m excited to announce that after a long hiatus, we have a new Cloud user group in DFW focused on Windows Azure as well as other popular cloud topics. This group is currently a part of the also newly formed Dallas C++ user group, and will meet at the same place, on the same night, until they outgrow their current location and need to find a new home.

All the info about this group can be found on my South Central Community website at, but here it is for your convenience:

  • What:  Dallas C++ and Cloud User Group
  • When: Monthly, on the 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Where: NCR Corp in Ft. Worth, TX

Their website is still a work in progress, but I will update the entry on, and probably send out a tweet, once the update is in place.

Their first meeting will by on September 11th and will cover and introduction to Azure for C++ programmers, but all denominations are welcome.  I will be there too, to help get the group kicked off and I’ll be sure to bring some prizes with me.  To get ready for the meeting, make sure you set up a FREE 90-day Azure trial by going to You’ll want that trial after you see how far Windows Azure has come, and all the great features it offers to today’s developers!

Dallas, Development, Events, GiveCamp, Texas, user group

Dallas GiveCamp Announced!

I’m very happy to announce that Shawn Weisfeld has locked on a date and location for this year’s Dallas GiveCamp!

October 26-28, 2012 at CTREC Hilton

For those not familiar with what a GiveCamp is all about, GiveCamp is a weekend-long event where software developers, designers, database administrators and project managers donate their time to create custom software for non-profit organizations. This custom software could be a new website for the nonprofit organization, a small data-collection application to keep track of members, or a application for the Red Cross that automatically emails a blood donor three months after they’ve donated blood to remind them that they are now eligible to donate again. The only limitation is that the project should be scoped to be able to be completed in a weekend.

Last January Dallas GiveCampers gave more than 2,000 hours to charity, 1,000+ drinks were drank, 500 pieces of pizza eaten and 13 charities were helped. Amazing work by a great group of volunteers!!!

Here is a tentative timeline of the deadlines leading up to the Dallas event. Check back at the website often as the schedule may change…

Charity Selection

  • Wed Aug 1 – Charity Applications Due
  • Mon Aug 6 – Selected Charities Announced
  • Wed Aug 22 – Detailed Charity Proposals Due
  • Wed Sep 5 – Final Charities Announced & Project managers Assigned


  • Wed Sep 19 6:00 PM – Developers Meet the Charities & Dinner @ CTREC Hilton

Event Weekend @ CTREC Hilton

  • Fri Oct 26 6:00 PM – Kickoff & Dinner
  • Sat Oct 27 9:00 AM – Breakfast
  • Sat Oct 27 12:00 PM – Lunch
  • Sat Oct 27 3:00 PM – Snack
  • Sat Oct 27 6:00 PM – Dinner
  • Sat Oct 27 10:00 PM – Snack
  • Sun Oct 28 9:00 AM – Breakfast
  • Sun Oct 28 12:00 PM – Lunch
  • Sun Oct 28 4:00 PM – Closing

Wrap up

  • Wed Nov 21 6:00 PM – Lessons Learned @ TBD
Dallas, Design, Development, Texas, user group, Web

UI for Geeks at Dallas ASP.NET

On Tuesday, April 24 from 6:00pm-9:00pm at the Microsoft office in Dallas, the Dallas ASP.NET User Group is hosting Dr. Tobias Komischke and Jason Beres from Infragistics for a session on User-Centered Data Visualization (a.k.a. UI for Geeks).

Topic: User-Centered Data Visualization (a.k.a. UI for Geeks)

In this code-focused talk, you will learn how to create high performance, expressive data visualizations that run on the browser, as desktop apps, and on devices like iPads, Windows 8 tablets and Android tablets. At the end of this talk, you will understand the techniques, tools and technologies you’ll need to implement effective visual experiences.

Speaker Bios

  • Dr. Tobias Komischke is the Director of User Experience at Infragistics and is responsible for the UX design consulting business.
  • Jason Beres is the VP of Product Management, Community, and Evangelism for Infragistics.


You can register via EventBrite at, or send email to

As a special incentive to attend, this month the User Group will be giving away one whole MSDN Subscription. Each member who brings a guest will receive one extra door prize ticket per guest, which will increase your chance of winning!

Baton Rouge, Development, Louisiana, Students, user group, WP7

Baton Rouge Windows Phone User Group

The guys in Baton Rouge have scheduled the first meeting of the Windows Phone user group. They don’t yet have their own web site, so I’m going to try to help out by blogging the mailer that just went out. For now, head over to their Google Group site to keep up on all the latest details.

Baton Rouge Windows Phone User Group Meeting – November 9th

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011, and for this month, we will be running in conjunction with the .NET User Group, the SQL Server User Group and the IT Pro User Group.  The meeting is on LSU’s campus at Tureaud Hall, which is north of our previous meeting place, Taylor Hall (CEBA). Tureaud Hall is adjacent to the Dairy Science Building/Ice Cream Shop. See this link for an overhead map to Tureaud –

When arriving on campus, park in any of the available spots in the parking lot to the northwest of the building or on Stadium Drive. Alternatively, you can actually park in the same lot as before, to the west of Taylor Hall, and walk north on the sidewalk. 
Our meeting begins in room 204 at 6pm with food and announcements. 

Room 204 – BR .NET User Group and food
Room 206 – SQL Server User Group
Room 211 – IT Pro User Group
Room 221 – Windows Phone 7 User Group
Topic:   Pocket Brewer – Show and Tell

See what went in to creating a simple Silverlight based Windows Phone 7 beer brewing app and the support structure that supports it.    Wayne will talk about the process from File->New Project, app construction, building the supporting website, the submission process, marketplace issues, revenue and in general dealing with the app over the past few months.

About Wayne Odom:

Wayne is a Software Development Project Lead for Turner Industries Group, a large heavy industrial construction company based out of Baton Rouge.   After graduating from LSU with a computer science degree in 2002 he has continuously been developing a variety of software solutions for Baton Rouge businesses, including construction, health insurance, advertising and SEO.    He also maintains a small client base ( and a couple of pet projects including a personal blog(, a beer brewing app ( and an informational Baton Rouge website (

As always, stay after the meeting for a developer garage where you can work with other Windows Phone developers to add polish to your app ideas, or to help you out of a development rut. 

Finally, let everyone know that these meetings are open to the public, especially to students

Baton Rouge, Development, Events, Louisiana, user group, WP7

Baton Rouge Windows Phone User Group

I just heard off the grapevine that there is a new Windows Phone user group starting up in Baton Rouge! For those of you in the area, I *highly* recommend you attend. I absolutely LOVE the format – a little time to chat and eat, a little time for a presentation, then a good 90 minutes for hacking away at building applications. This is the format that I think all user groups should look to adopt – it’s great to hear new information about relevant technologies, but there is nothing like getting your hands dirty actually trying to build applications with that technology.

Here’s the agenda and registration information for those that are interested in attending. I wish I could go myself, but I only just learned of it today and can’t get out to BR that quickly 🙁 I will make every effort to attend one in the coming months – hope to see you there!

When: Wednesday, October 19, starting at 5:45
Where: Sparkhound, Inc., 1st Floor Conference Room

Sponsored: Sparkhound, Inc!

Topic: New development features in Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)
Speaker: Paul Johnson, Sparkhound

Windows Phone Mango release has finally gone RTM and is making its way to handsets across the universe! This meeting will be to spotlight some of the major improvements as well as exploring some code examples that enable us to pull them off.

About Paul Johnson:
Paul is a Senior Development Consultant with Sparkhound, Inc. Though not in an official capacity, Paul is evangelizing the Windows Phone platform whenever and wherever he can.

As with all meetings of the BRWPUG, all time after the presentation is available for discussion of WP app development in an open forum.

5:45-6:15 – Meet, Greet, and Eat
6:15-7:15 – Presentation by Paul Johnson
7:15-8:30 – Phone Garage

RSVP Via @

If you are interested in getting more involved with Windows Phone development in Baton Rouge, or want to find out about future meetings of the BRWPUG, please visit their online dissusion group or contact their organizer at and @pjguitarist.