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Microsoft Developers User Group Stevenson University

I attended the Maryland and Pennsylvania Microsoft Developers User Group on July 22, 2008. It was at Stevenson University (formerly Villa Julie). It’s a beautiful campus located in the woods off of I-695! It was my first time going to a user group like that. It was okay probably going to try the Harrisburg Developers User Group and see how that goes. I’m more interested in talking about software development and programming techniques.

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There was a speaker, Advanced IT student, who gave a rousing speak on Project Management Software. It was an okay intro to that Software, but seemed to miss a lot of what’s happening right now. He gave some examples, but none with software development. I think software development is a totally different ballpark then for example winery. I think Agile Development is really changing what software we use and how we use it. Mingle is probably the “best” for Agile Development. I’ve used Agile Track to have management on an Agile project.

There was a web seminar on some new features of Visual Studio 2008. I’m quite excited about some of the cool new features. The one feature I am most excited about is Javascript Debugging! Debugging Javascript is so annoying… to be able to step through Javascript will save so much time. The split screen mode in 2008 also looks very promising.

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I also won the main door prize! I got a wireless keyboard and some software (Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008). Visual Studio and SQL Server are both developers version while Windows Server is a year free trial. I’m going to try them out and see what they are all about.

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My Affinity for Programming

I started programming in what most programmers do.  BASIC, it is the beginning, the building blocks, the genesis, etc etc.  After learning about the wonderful nuances of BASIC I was quickly thrown into the hard cold world of Turbo Pascal.  I don’t remember much of Turbo Pascal, but I remember it was not kind.  After using many printfs and so forth I moved to C and C++.  C and C++ were not too bad.  Pointers were kind of interesting at an early age, but I could not see myself working with them forever.

So I went to college to pursue the wonderful career of System Administrator.  This was pre 9/11, end of web 1.0, and the landscape was kind of shakey.  The web always interested me and I wanted to do some projects in the web space.  I started with PHP 3/4 and made my own CMS.  It wasn’t anything fancy… basically it was a web interface to edit txt files, which was basically a pseudo database.  I found myself dedicating a lot of time to programming and really enjoyed it.

I got my degree in System Administration, but had a great desire to continue programming.  Thus I went to Penn State to continue my education and learn how to become a Software Developer.  I learned a lot at Penn State.  About hard work, listening, understanding concepts… I learned that being a Software Developer isn’t so much about coding, but understanding the needs of people.  Coding is very important, but that is the easy stuff, the fun stuff!  To interpret the wants and demands of people that really have no idea what a database is.  It is a challenge, but it is something Penn State has prepared me for.

It has been a long challenging road, but it has all been worth it in the end.  The ends do justify the means in this case I dare say.  This was a quick narrative of my rise to Software Developerdum.  To say I have an affinity for programming is an under statement.  It is apart of me.  It is at the core of what I do.  I don’t really have a job or career, because I enjoy every single second of it.  It is a challenge that I love.

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The New Guy

I’ve been quite awhile, but it is time to write again. I have a lot things I’ve been wanting to discuss and explore, but haven’t had the time. Hopefully things should start to calm down again; probably not.

I started a new job as a Software Development Engineer, which I’m quite excited about. I think it is a great start to my career. Though it is tough to be the new guy at a company. Having to prove yourself and your worth is always a challenge, but I think I have a great opportunity to succeed.

Cheers.

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The Sweet Sound of Change

Nothing endures but change.
-Heraclitus

I find myself in my final year of College, at last. This marks yet another year of changing faces, places, and alike. The common thread among all my education has been change. College is about adapting, learning, and changing.

I begun my college career in 2001. Yes I have been in school for going on 7 years now. I guess I am not a traditional student per say. I am thankful for my experience and I think I have an interesting perspective on college life. The landscape of colleges is totally different now as compared to 2001. I think this is true in about any area of life. Things change, times change, change occurs.

There has been such a bigger emphasis on “group work” in the past few years as opposed to earlier years in my college career. I think this is valuable experience for the work field. Working with people is vital in any area of the “real world”. The way we interact with people is crucial for success. I think I am an easy fellow to get along with and that goes a long way.

I hope this year, as opposed to years passed, I am going to integrate things from my classes into my blog postings. I think this will be interesting and fun to see what people think of the things I learn in school. This semester I have some fun classes like UI Design and Implementation, JAVA II, Network Security, and Astronomy. Hopefully this will keep me fairly excited about the subjects that I am learning.

I am ready for change, and we must remember that change is not bad. Change is the essence of life.

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The Platform is Independent

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There’s a shift occurring in the Computing Industry. A recent report out of mac.co.uk states that Apple is driving a “transformational” shift in PC sales. Somewhere up to 30% of people that are going to purchase a laptop in the next 90 days want to buy a MacBook. I think we shouldn’t get caught up in predictions, but it is an interesting statistic.

If I were going to buy a laptop in the next 90 days I would want to purchase a MacBook. I’m not looking to buy a laptop though, I’m sticking with my thinkpad that continues to chug along.

The reason I feel people are being drawn to Apple products is because the platform is independent. Just about everything I do now is via the Web.

  • Gmail
  • Google Docs
  • Google Reader
  • Myspace/Facebook/Twitter etc

I’m not stuck to Windows to do any of my daily tasks. Sure there are going to be products that I could not use on a Mac and vice versa there are products I could not use on Windows. I think this is where Apple is making up the most ground.

  • Parallels – Virtualization to run Windows or Linux
  • Boot Camp – Run Windows on a MAC, no virtualization
  • VMware/VirtualBox – These work on all platforms and do the virtualization thing

They are focused on their customers’ needs and wants. You are going to pay a hefty price, but you will be satisfied. Apple gets it, maybe just Steve Jobs.

The other part of Apple’s success lies in the fact that their products are hot right now. I’ll be honest, I think the MacBooks look really nice in white and black. They are simplistic and are easy on the eye. I think Dell is trying to come out with different colored laptops, which looks nice, but it might be a little late in the game.

The “operating system scene” has really turned into a three horse race: Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It is a race that doesn’t really matter, because we are finding out that locking into one OS is bad for business. I love Ubuntu and I’m apart of the doubling of the Linux desktop in the past year. It doesn’t matter, the platform is moot when everything is on the Web.

This is what is driving Web 2.0.