Category Archives: Conference Notes

CodeMash 2010 – Lean Software Development

Presented by Mary Poppendieck

I realized that I am at the point where I don’t think I will ever be in an environment again with an organization where you need to worry about projects, development teams, etc; at least where I need to worry about the management, efficiency and effectiveness of those teams. For me about 5 years ago was about the right time for this talk, I could have used it to make myself an efficient coder and effective team lead/manager.

I spent the rest of the keynote planning my conference. So far I am going to just to to sessions where I can learn new things. Since I plan on using Ruby more this year a few language sessions will top my list, the first one, What Makes Ruby Different.

CodeMash 2010 – Arrival and Introduction

I arrived last night around 8pm. The drive was much much better than last year. The usually gang was out and I did not get to bed until late, and of course I was up early for the keynote.

CodeMash is a unique event that will educate developers on current practices, methodologies, and technology trends in a variety of platforms and development languages such as Java, .Net, Ruby, Python and PHP.

More to come…

WordPress and CodeMash 2010

I’m actually happy converting back to WordPress, the number of plugins have saved me boat-loads of time. I’ve got an issue with the way it stores data, but I need to let that go so I can focus on adding content to my site.

I’m also heading to CodeMash 2010 in a few days. I admit I’m looking forward to this conference much more than years past because speaking was a chore, not so much the speaking, but getting the robot to do everything I wanted it to do was… difficult. Not sure what I will be doing at the conference, but I will be posting about it.

As to the Dell E6400, I actually had my NVIDIA card flake out on me, despite a new motherboard. But the same software works fine on my older Dell D820. Fortunately I won’t be needing a laptop anytime soon, but my next one might just be a Lenovo or other brand (as long as as I can get a matte screen).

Dell Update E6400 (1/11/2010): NVIDIA crashes consistently on certain apps (ManicTime). I either think the driver is bad or they did nothing to my computer.

CodeMash 2008 – In Review

The conference was awesome! I met some more cool people and got a chance to catch-up a little with some friends I met from last year. I did not get to attend as many sessions as I had hoped because I was debugging the robot (Feynman-JR) before my presentation, but did get a chance to attend SilverLight, JRuby, Scala, and Groovy sessions.

It seems to me that the big thing was other languages built on top of either the .Net CLR or the Java VM. Iron Python, Iron Ruby, Jython, JRuby, and Scala. These dynamic languages taking hold in the footprint/platform of .Net or Java is seeming to be the place where technology will be moving in the next few years. The term for this is Polyglot. Neal Ford (blog) gave a nice talk on this in his Keynote, we'll see what happens for next year.

Moving forward for 2008 I will continue working with Ruby/JRuby and I will update this blog with snips and tips.

CodeMash 2008 – Introduction

Last night I arrived around 6:30, just in time to get the robot to the room and checked in before the panel discussion. It was my first panel dicussion and was a little nervous but otherwise just rambled as usual so it was not too bad.

I had a few drinks and met some new people bought a few people a beer and just chatted about stuff, though I was very, very tired and was not on top-form.

Speaking at CodeMash 2008

I will be speaking about Robotics at the upcoming CodeMash, held January 9-11 at the Kalahari Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio.

This years talk will be about robotics software and will originate from the Java source code in my book to using .Net, PHP, Ajax, and even some Ruby.

I think the most important thing is that you can do some really cool stuff with software, if you are willing to use the best of everything out there.

Kudos Microsoft

Well the trip to Redmond was not a total loss, the MSDN subscription has come in quite handy. The first thing I started working with was Visual Studio 2005 because I had some problems with Suns Implementation of The Communications API for Windows, and the Java Media Framework. It seems that Sun as abandon those APIs and I needed something for my robots moving forward. I was able to do in about 4 hours what I could not do in a few years. You can checkout my stories on ScottsBots.Com, my robotics web site.

MTS07 – Day 3

Expectations Here's what we are going to talk about today:

  • The Local Software Economy – I am hoping we talk about the ISV and what Microsoft is doing to facilitate this crowd. 
  • Windows Power Shell – I have looked at this a bit but don't know that much about it. I just hope I get to see examples and cool stuff akin, not strategic marketing, yada, yada…
  • IE and browser direction – I am on the fence here. Do I care? Or do I just want to know that they are working with Mozilla to implement the same behavior for specific DOCTYPEs. 
  • Mobile Devices – I am not sure on this one, maybe if they show some of what's going on, not re-hashing what I already do with my Motorola Q. 

Talk #1 – The Local Software Economy

I am not sure what to say… I am a member of Tech Columbus, which is a business incubator and I heard the same ramblings. (Innovation, Incubation, StartUp Help, Venture Capital, Etc…)This all really sounds great but I think there is a certain degree of dis-ingenuousness to all this talk…

The reality, at least in Columbus, Ohio, is they are not interested in helping 1-2 person companies because there's no money in them. It's a good-old-boys network that helps people with money get more money. If you are a bootstrapper trying to make it you can only rely on yourself and your own efforts.

So anyway, this sort of self-reliance forces me into something I can control that does not cost a lot of money, Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. I don't have time nor do I want to talk to someone in India on tech support for hours.

On the other end, I don't rely on totally free software like GMail because there I can't get tech support if I want it and can't fix it on my own. So again, this breeds what? More self-reliance. From the robotics perspective it might be interesting to see how Microsoft could help, however, I have yet to talk to anyone from Microsoft on robotics, and the lone email I sent to the presenter from Microsoft Research has yet to reply… So I have my doubts…

Talks on The Power Shell, IE and Mobile Devices

The power shell is pretty cool, though I learned most of this while installing on my machine a month or so back. The IE talk was more of a complaint session. The Mobile Devices or Windows Mobile Edition 6.0 was a nice preview, I noticed some nice advances things I need to be aware of when shopping for my next phone.

The Wrap Up

There's not much going on for the round table section of the conference. I think everyone is tired and seems to be checking their email or blogging… I guess I am glad I had the opportunity to come to this event, I have always wanted to see the campus here in Redmond, but the topics seemed less interesting than CodeMash2007. T

he perks were nice, the trip out, dinner & parties, the MSDN subscription, trip to the company store, and at the end of the day I will experiment with PowerShell, Vista, and IIS 7.0. I really wish I could have talked to some of the robotics people or about PHP under Windows but the people seem to have left that were going to talk about this.

Advice For Next Year

I am not sure. I guess it would be to review the entirety of my experience here at MTS07 and then decide whether or not it met your goal or not. If there were goals that did not get communicated, then look at what I said or send me an email. For those looking into MTS08 advice or information, send me a note as well I will tell you what I thought and what to expect.

MTS07 – Day 2

Today was a drop off from yesterday. I am not quite sure. I think maybe I am waiting for IIS 7.0 and XBOX. The discussions of "How we suck" have continued… I see they (Microsoft) are struggling with how to communicate with this crowd. They seem to understand the Enterprise crowd, and the crowd that seems to be struggling with Vista and it's installation and how they plan to migrate applications to this new OS.

The fact is Microsoft is now a victim of it's own success and now has to support all of the past as well as the future, which does not make everyone happy. I think this is more a function of a over-extended product line, trying to be everything to everyone, while at the same time telling everyone it's all just one product. Windows…

I must admit I did not pay much attention to the last 2 speakers because I found a new algorithm on machine vision a little more interesting. While the concept of region segmentation is not new, it's new to me and I have been working on a few different ways to get this to my liking…


I liked these sessions much more, even though I was still working a bit on my machine vision stuff… I got to see some code, and IIS 7.0. IIS 7.0 seems to be much more friendly for those that like Apache, they will have config files, yes all the power of httpd.conf and .htaccess, so I will need to give this a look for the server. There was also some talk about XBOX 360, which reminded me that Microsoft does things besides Vista & Office.

Finally, we are going to end the day with a trip to the company store and a trip to the Rock Bottom Brewery.


I got a nice upgrade for office and a copy of Vista Ultimate from the company store. Nice discount! The beer was really nice over at Rock Bottom, I will have to visit this again on my next visit…

As to MTS07, I wish they had more code examples and more of what they "were going to do" and not what's already there. This might be because we are under a non-NDA rules… I might rather sign a NDA just so I could see what was going on. I think one of the things that bothers me is not knowing the road map. When you have to make decisions about things 6-9 months away and you don't have the details of a new release, I personally would rather opt for the known quantity and the thing I can change if I need to… Hence open source….

MTS07 – Day 1

Speaker #1 – Bill Hilf, General Manager Platform Strategy

The main topic here was that Microsoft is in the business of selling software, open source is a means to an end.

Speaker #2 – Kevin Schofield, General Manager Microsoft Research The most memorable topic here was a vision recognition program, that failed as soon as he changed the background. I thought this was funny because I had the exact same problem a few weeks ago which I solved by using a background subtraction and light normalization algorithm.

Speaker #3 – Mark Baciak, Architect

The topic here is very close to Josh's discussion at the Central Ohio .Net User group talk last month. WS* and talks to the enterprise.

Additional Notes:
It seems like the tried to speak to the 3 main demographics here at the conference. The first one, community leaders, the second, academia, the third, the enterprise customer.

Of the first demographic, the community, which I think I see myself as most closely aligned, I still see my main question being, what do you do for the small group with great ideas and no money… Of course Microsoft is in the business of making money so this is not their target market (students & hobbist) people that could use Microsoft products and services if they could afford them, but because they can't they go to the free alternative…

Of the second demographic academia I can not really relate, however as a robot guy I research I am doing the same stuff but again because of the dollar cost and similar community demographic I will again, choose to use the free stuff…

Of the final demographic, the enterprise, they are talking about SOA. I think the missing piece is data ownership… Who owns what data, and how can you let different people access the same data? So this is just as much a political discussion as it is a software discussion.

Speakers #4 & #5 – Dynamic Languages and the CLR, Jim Hugunin, Architect and John Lam, Program Manager

The GIST here was that using dynamic languages are a means to an end, though there was some cool talk about Iron Python and the Ruby CLR, it's really about how can they sell more copies of Windows Server. And although they (Microsoft) makes money on Visual Studio, that's not really the point, it's to sell more copies of Windows Server that applications built with Visual Studio will run on….

There was a little talk on IDEs and PHP, which I found ironic because it was those two things that made me use PHP and Eclipse vs. .NET and Visual Studio. I think for the group this is a rather agnostic perspective than anything else because PHP does fine on it's own, and there are IDEs, though limited at the moment that seem to work for most people…. In going back to my main point earlier it illustrates why I won't switch to pay for something that I already get for free… They might be better trying to get new adopters to these languages, than those who already have to do without and are doing fine.

At the end of the talk I downloaded EasyEclipse for LAMP, it has Perl, Ruby, and Python included with it's distro because I want to play with Ruby and Python this quarter…

Speaker #7 – Kim Cameron, Architect
This talk was on CardSpace, a better version of Passport. I am not to into this talk though I think that at some point in the future it will become quite important. I think what's the most important is just to understand what the rules are and what you are getting yourself into. I wonder if it would just as cool to have your bank or CC company give you a false identity, then if it was stolen all that was stolen was something not real.

Speakers #8 & #9 – Don Box, Chris Anderson, Architects

The main topic here was: "How do we suck?"

The only topic that really made me pay attention was the conversation of the last 15 minutes when there was some contention in the room about Microsoft's drive to KILL GOOGLE. Later at dinner I found this more relevant in that it's really that Microsoft is looking to expand their business model from just software to more of a media and data business which is the real focus of Google. I found this acknowledgment curious, the acknowledgment that in the future Operating Systems and Office products will be commoditized and not really matter. It will be the applications running on top of OS whatever and the data and utilization of this data, eyeballs to sites and media, where you can get advertising revenue…

Dinner was nice. We had nice food and nice wine at "08/Seafood & Twisted Cork". I recommend this place to anyone traveling to Seattle, but I can't really speak of how much it cost because Microsoft paid for the event.