Tulsa TechFest 2008 Recap

Monday, October 13, 2008 10:09 PM by Michael Paladino

Tulsa TechFest 2008 Last Thursday and Friday, I was lucky enough to get to attend Tulsa TechFestDavid Walker and the other volunteers did a great job and put on a great event.  The quality and quantity of both the keynote speakers and the session speakers were outstanding.  Here were some of the highlights for me:

  • Loose Coupling by Caleb Jenkins: I've read about these concepts such as Dependency Injection (DI) before, but Caleb brings an energy to his talks that made this well worth the time.  Hopefully, I can start to put some of this into practice.
  • Continuous Integration by Rob Reynolds: Rob started with just a Visual Studio project and walked through installing and configuring a build server with CruiseControl.NET.  There's a lot of XML configuration and the setup looked to be a bit tedious, but it looked great once it was all setup and running correctly.  Again, this is something I hope to experiment with in the next few weeks.
  • Becoming a .NET Jedi with ReSharper by Ben Scheirman: Ben did a great job of showing what's possible with ReSharper.  I came out of the talk fired up about getting more proficient with it, but it appears that a lot of the functionality that he showed has not been implemented in the VB version.  I'll have to spend more time with this to try and see what all is available.
  • Building a Blog with ASP.NET MVC by Ben Scheirman: Ben did another good presentation on creating a blog using the new ASP.NET MVC framework.  I actually tried to follow along with this one on my laptop but had difficulties with some of the C# to VB translations and didn't have some of the third party components installed.  I still got a lot out of it and want to dig into this as well.  Ben also briefly mentioned jQuery towards the end of his talk so I went ahead and downloaded it and started experimenting.  Wow!  Really looking forward to getting more into this as well.
  • Toshiba A305 LaptopPrizes: Again, wow!  David Walker managed to get a ton of prizes from books to software to a couple of laptops and a 50" TV.  The really cool part about it is I actually won one of the 2 laptops!  It's a Toshiba Satellite A305 with pretty good specs: 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of ram, 320GB hard drive, built-in webcam and lots of goodies.  It's much more powerful than my existing Dell that I've been using for developing, so I am planning on using it as my development laptop.  It's a little glossy and smudges easily, but I'm getting used to it.  And, hey, you can't beat the price!  I carpooled to Tulsa with fellow Fort Smith .NET User Group member Michael Johnson who also walked away with Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite with MSDN Premium subscription worth over $10,000.  So I'd say it was worth the trip for us.

I was also privileged to get to speak this year.  I've spoken to our local user group before, but this was my first time to speak at a large event like this.  I spoke about SubSonic again and only had about 8 people attend.  But participation was good and hopefully the attendees got enough of a feel for it to be able to make a decision as far as whether or not to investigate it any more.

I'll definitely do my best to make Tulsa TechFest a yearly event.  With such high-quality events such as this, Dallas TechFest, and DevLink, I really don't see the ROI being worth it on the larger and more expensive conferences such as TechEd or PDC.

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