Book Review: The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities

Thursday, March 13, 2008 9:00 AM by Michael Paladino

The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities4 out of 5 stars

The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities does a good job of covering a variety of topics related to starting and maintaining technical user communities. The author's opinions come from years of working with user groups in various capacities, and all his opinions are backed up with stories from his own experiences. His ideas seem to be mostly common sense, but it is helpful to have all the information aggregated in one location.

The book is easy to read and is a good length. I found the discussion of recruiting volunteers to be very helpful. The one point on which I disagree with the author is his opinion that meetings should always have two topics. I certainly don't have the experience that the author has, but I have found that there is just not enough time to allow for disussion, handle group business and giveaways, and cover two topics in a reasonable amount of time.

Overall, I was very pleased with the book and will be passing it around to the rest of the leadership of our user group.

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PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 8:00 AM by Michael Paladino

If you're running Visual Studio 2008, I would highly recommend PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2008.

From their page on MSDN Code Gallery:

PowerCommands is a set of useful extensions for the Visual Studio 2008 adding additional functionality to various areas of the IDE.

Basically, it adds a number of menu items to the right-click menu in various areas of Visual Studio. My favorites are "Open Command Prompt", "Open Containing Folder", and the ability to modify recent files and properties. Head over to the MSDN Code Gallery page for full details.

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Fort Smith .NET User Group First Meeting

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 8:00 AM by Michael Paladino

Last night, the Fort Smith .NET User Group (FSDNUG) had its first meeting with Raymond Lewallen speaking on Behavior-Driven Design (BDD). We had 35 people show up from Data-Tronics, EagleOne, Golden Living, OK Industries, and Wingfoot. There were a couple of minor logistical issues with signing in, but overall everything went really well. David Mohundro has an excellent writeup of the content of the meeting on his blog along with links to numerous BDD resources.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the meeting happen. I'm looking forward to our next meeting March 31 when Chris Koenig will be talking about Silverlight.

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