Lang.NET 2008 Wrap Up

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Redmond. I was at the Lang.NET conference sponsored by Microsoft. Overall it was great. Microsoft took care of us like royalty and the people and conversations were incredible. With all the big brains around I felt even more retarded than normal, I was definitely an amateur compared to a lot of the people who were attending. The only thing that was unfortunate was that I managed to get a cold just before going out there, which was mild at first, but caused me to miss out on a lot of the free beer supplied (and lots of breweries I haven’t had a chance to try out yet too!) as well as miss the 3rd day entirely! I was really looking forward to seeing the VSX presentation and get a chance to talk to someone about NBusiness and get some integration questions I have been kicking around answered. Also, based on the description of Don Box’s speech I’m really sad to have missed that.

I met a guy there named Ted Neward. He was going to hook me up with a chance to meet with Ken Levy to talk about VS integration. I had to miss it because I was too sick and had completely lost my voice but I have his email address and will probably be sending him an email with a few questions and ideas.
Besides Jason Bock and I there were at least two other people from Minneapolis, Wez Furlong from the PHP group as well as Charles Nutter who works on JRuby for Sun. There was another guy there from Sun named John Rose who had a lot of interesting things to say about the similarities between Java and .NET and also knew a lot about creating programming languages. He talked about a lot of interesting things with me at the Rock Bottom brewery. It’s really encouraging to see that it’s possible to collaborate and discuss topics such as programming languages even between competitors. It seems that programming languages might just unite nerds more than divide them after all.
Overall I’d say that this symposium really revealed an intense focus towards dynamic languages right now. Perhaps it’s just the language enthusiasts who are the most interested in dynamic languages. This was an overwhelming focal point for this event. It’s all very cool stuff and I’m completely sold on the idea of using a dynamic language for developing unit tests first then writing your application. I’m not completely sold on the idea of a dynamic language everywhere however. It seems like it’s perfect for the top tier of an application, where things change the most and need to be the most flexible, but the lower you go a nice strongly typed library with strict encapsulation is probably preferable.
I was able to see Anders Hejlsberg (C#), Jim Hugunin (Iron Ruby and the DLR), Erik Meijer and many others speak. The videos should be on Channel 9 any day now. Here is a channel9 interview that took place with some of the speakers called Erik Meijer, Gilad Bracha, Mads Torgersen: Perspectives on Programming Language Design and Evolution but this was not one of the actual presentations. I also recognized John Lam (Iron Ruby) and Miguel De Icaza (Mono) in the audience but I missed their talks because I was sick.
One other interesting thing was getting to talk to a guy from Intentional Software. Now this is real brain bending stuff and if you haven’t heard of intentional programming before I suggest you go look it up because it’s a fascinating idea… probably best left for another post.


Rockband and Homebrew Aftermath

So it turned out that my homebrew was undrinkable. It seems it had sat too long and suffered from a mild infection so I had to dump it out. Fortunately we had Surly Bender to the rescue! After thinking about it a little bit I headed out to Midwest Supplies and picked up some equipment to upgrade my keggerator to be compatible with both American Standard and Kornelius kegs. This is a pretty nice upgrade!


Actually there was on piece that didn’t quite work right so I have a little bit more work to go. The piece was a splitter that turned out to be a one-way splitter. It turns out that you can’t combine the flow with this splitter, you can only split it. So I had to do a temporary splice directly from the tap to the keg, but I will probably go back and get something like this 3/8” Stainless Steel Barbed “T” instead and save my self $30 in the process.
The beer was delicious and the food was good and we had some good friends come over and had some fun. There were a few people who I was hoping would show up but couldn’t for various reasons (you know who you are) so that was a little unfortunate. Otherwise we ended up playing Rockband until 3am (much to the dismay of my upstairs neighbors I’m sure) and then I had to kick people out so I could crash.
One last thing, I couldn’t resist going out and buying Scene It since I knew so many people were coming over. We played it in impromptu teams and it turns out that it is hard as hell. Don’t plan on buying this game for your kids because I’d be shocked if they knew half of the answers, it is really intended for the truly discriminating movie buff.  That aside it was pretty fun, we were a little perplexed by the big button controllers since the ‘X’ on them didn’t light up when you pressed it like regular xbox 360 controllers but it turns out that they are not truly blue tooth enabled controllers, they communicate via IR with a reciever that goes ontop of your TV. I don’t know why they went that rout… probably just being cheap. However I am looking forward to the next version of XNA which I heard will have drivers to allow you to use these controllers for your games.

Rockband and Homebrew

I just recieved my Rock Band gift from Magenic for being apart of the Magenic Technology Council, today. I think it’s time to keg my beer and have a Rock Band and Homebrew party finally!

If you’ve got nothing better to do and you live in the twin cities area send me an email and I’ll let you know how to get to my place!

By the way the beer is a ESB, so if you are of the American macro brew persuasian you might want to bring your own. I will probably try to pick up a case of something lighter but you never know.

RE Your Brains

Last week I had the immense pleasure to see Jonathan Coulton perform live at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, MN. Paul and Storm were the “Opening Band” and if you ever get a chance to see these guys together live I would highly reccomend it. The show was both musically excellent and absolutely hysterical. Yes the songs are funny but it was the between the music banter that was really great.

Here is a clip from a song called RE: Your Brains that I recorded that night

Twin Cities XNA User Group December 2007

This month at the Twin Cities XNA User Group meeting is a “Member Project” event, where members will show and talk about their various XNA projects instead of having a guest speaker. It should be pretty intesting.

I’m planning on showing a demo of a game I created called DropIn. I have an post about the game with source code on an old abandoned blog somwhere but I will probably repost everything to this blog sometime in the near future (once I get it working again that is).

So if you’re interested in XNA, pizza or swag then you should definitely come on down and check it out. At the very least you should get a good laugh watching me trying to show off my game!

Come on down to Magenic, on December 20th, 2007 at 6:00PM.

Twin Cities Code Camp Wrapup

So not long ago I presented at the Fall 2007 Twin Cities Code Camp about NBusiness. It was a great experience and really forced me to crystalize a lot of the thoughts I had been coming up with while working on NBusiness. I tried to put in a half and half dose of theory and code. In the end I had more questions than I could really answer in the hour and a half time span we had available. Which is good! I also had a few really interesting questions that really got me thinking about some necessary capabilities for the next version, namely Entity Models and data hiding.

I’ve uploaded the slide deck from the presentation for anyone who’s interested in seeing it. I realize it’s hard to fully grasp of the meaning of a slide without the corresponding talk but, who knows, maybe you’ll find it interesting anyway. I just got my evaluations and I’ll post the results here.

Quality Ideas and information Presenter Abilities Relevant Average Comments
3 3 4 3 3.333333  
4 4 5 3 4.333333 very impressed. this guy is great.
4 4 4 3 4  
4 5 5 4 4.666667  
5 5 5 5 5 Nice job Justin…
5 5 5 5 5 Justin did really well for his first presentation…and he really knows his topic because he was ready with answers to nearly every question that came up.
4.166667 4.333333 4.666667 3.833333 4.25  

So I’ll take this as pretty positive results. If anyone has a need for a presenter on NBusiness you know how to call! I wonder if I should do another presentation at the next code camp? Depends on how much I get done on the next version I suppose. I’m guessing I’ll be right in the middle of some big changes at that time so maybe I’ll defer to the next code camp.

Speaking of which, there is a conference in Redmond at the end of January I am thinking about attending. The conference is called the 2008 Lang.NET Symposium and is all about the creation of .NET languages, compilers and development tools. I really can’t imagine a more perfect conference for me to attend! I’m still trying to figure out the cost of this but if it’s at all feasible then I will definitely go. I would love to learn some things and get a chance to talk to some other people who are interested in the same things.

Twin Cities Code Camp 2007

On October 27th, 2007 the 3rd anual Twin Cities Code Camp will be taking place. I would definitely recommend attending this event for anyone located in the twin cities area! I’ve been to the last two code camps and thought it was a fun way to meet new people and learn about new things. They also have a pretty good list of give aways and it’s free! Hard to beat that.
Well this year I’ll not only be attending but I’ll be giving a presentation about NBusiness, so if anyone is interested in learning more or talking to me in person this is a perfect opportunity. I haven’t worked out my slides or my demo yet but I’m thinking I might use this very blog as an example of how to use NBusiness in the real world.
If anyone has something specific they like to hear more about let me know and I’ll try to focus on it. There should be some time for questions in general as well. I’d love to see this attract a little more attention and get a few more people interested in trying it out.
So if you’re not sure what you’re doing on Oct. 27th, navigate to the TWCC website and register now!