You can view or download the PowerPoint deck for this presentation at codefoster.com/deck/cww2017.
I delivered a session today at Code Writer’s Workshop in Seattle.
Code Writer’s is a meta-topic workshop. By that I mean that you don’t attend to learn how to create a web service or how to implement MQTT messaging. You go to learn about all the other topics that revolve around a career in software development.
My sesson was titled Developer Life Skills, and it was easily the softest topic I’ve delivered to date.
The goal was to look both at how a software engineer can apply his particular skills to the rest of life - eating, family, sleeping, productivity, etc. as well as to explore how these lateral life topics affect their day-to-day work.
I ventured out a bit and organized my content into 5 chapters - meaning, beauty, truth, community, and efficiency.
My first goal was to dash hopes and dreams by reminding the audience that technology is intrinsically meaningless. It’s true. We spend so much time on technology itself, when the really interesting things happen in the application of technology and especially in applications that enrich lives and enable people.
I showed a video that I love about Saqib - a software developer at Microsoft who’s blind and who created an application that allows him to have whatever he’s looking at explained to him. It’s a great example of technology that enriches life.
You might wonder how beauty applies to software development. I did too until I thought about it and did some research.
Among other points, I shared how my definition of beauty has less to do with attractiveness and more to do with severity. I shared one example from my life where I experienced the most raw, real beauty - on a big ocean sail trip down the west coast where I watched a sunrise all alone for more than 2 hours, feared for my life in large seas, and was inspected closely by a curious fin whale for a full 45 minutes.
Those of us involved in the creation of software have the relatively rare opportunity to explicitly work on something that’s both creative and very technical, and that’s a lot of fun.
Next up was truth.
I’ve long thought that most any venture and certainly a technical venture is made up of…
You might have all of the resources and tools you need for the job, but without the passion and vision and inspiration, you’ll have a tremendous headwind.
Another of my favorite life lessons in the truth category is that when you are trudging through new concepts and feel lost… keep trudging! You’re learning all the while even though you don’t understand yet, and in fact, you’re very likely expanding your mind not only to new information, but new concepts altogether. If you bail you’ll miss out and if you make a habit of bailing you’ll wind up narrow.
Next up, in the topic on community, I reminded folks that we build software together and we rely on each other.
I learned in scuba diving training a long time ago, that at some point you take what you’ve learned about keeping yourself alive, and you apply it to the divers around you. You show up at a dive site with all of your preparation done, safety checks made, and redundant gear ready, and then you look at the guy next to you and make sure he’s ready and able and safe.
I also asked what’s more important to a software language, platform, or framwork: great syntax and features or a strong developer community. The former is obviously important, but not so much, I would argue, as the latter.
Finally, I said that we need to be efficient and productive in the entire course.
I mentioned the importance of exercise, the importants of a refined and focused personal mission statement, and I shared how much I’ve benefit from eliminating decision fatigue by drinking Soylent for certain meals and buying 10 identical copies of some articles of clothing.
You can download the entire deck at codefoster.com/deck/cww2017.
Microsoft takes opportunity every year at //build - its annual conference for developers - to make as many shock and awe announcements as it can, and this year in 2016, there was plenty of shock and plenty of awe.
Maybe you’ve watched all the keynotes already. Maybe you’ve even watched all of the sessions already. We’re going to assume, however, that even if you have seen or otherwise caught wind of the announcements that you would like to get an answer to the question “What does that mean for me?”
In this post, I’m going to invite a number of colleagues - all Microsoft Technical Evangelists - to share in detail via blog posts and videos about their favorite announcements, and what they mean for you - the developer.
This is an active blog post that will be updated as new content lands, so check back often.
We’ll start with a Channel 9 introduction to a few of the team. In this video you’ll meet…
- Jeremy Foster (myself) @codefoster
- Jerry Nixon @jerrynixon
- Nick Landry @activenick
- Jennifer Marsman @jennifermarsman
- Sam Stokes @socalsam
- Brian Sherwin @bsherwin
Now, as promised, here’s the line-up of content from the evangelists you saw in the video and a few more. Topics will be filled in as we go and links will light up when they’re active.
James Sturtevant @aspenwilder
APRIL 11: My reaction to the news that Bash is on windows, the .NET Foundation gaining new members and what Service Fabric going GA means to developers.
Adam Tuliper @adamtuliper
APRIL 13: Excited to get started developing for the HoloLens – even if you don’t own one yet? Join Adam for a tour of what the HoloLens can do, how to get started with the Unity bits for the HoloLens, and explore some of the powerful APIs to work with the HoloLens!
Shahed Chowdhuri @shahedc
APRIL 15: Do you dream about publishing your own games on a major game console? Get caught up with the latest Xbox news from Build 2016 and hear about the different ways you can publish your very own game on Windows 10 and Xbox One. Use your own Xbox One console for development or apply for a dev kit via ID@Xbox. Harness the power of DirectX 12 and use a variety of tools to build your own games!
Tim Reilly @timmyreilly
APRIL 18: Interested in what a Partner Evangelist pays attention to during build? Sertac Ozercan works with partners to bring their apps to Windows and shares his notes about changes to the store, chase-able tiles, and more.
Sam Stokes @socalsam
APRIL 20: //Build brought new, awesome, stuff for Power BI. Power BI is powerful as is, so just what are the designers changing? In this video I will cover the super cool things that have changed in Power BI to make it an even more powerful tool then it already is. Is BI really open source? How about a no-code app for Apple devices or Android? What if you need everyone who is using your Power BI dashboards? Embedded Power BI, isn’t what you think it is. Watch this video and catch the excitement of Power BI!
Jennifer Marsman @jennifermarsman
APRIL 22: Jennifer Marsman fills you in on the machine learning announcements from Build 2016. We announced the Microsoft Bot Framework and showcased the Microsoft Cognitive Services (formerly Project Oxford) for adding intelligence to your applications. We’ll discuss the fun Project Murphy bot and the inspiring Seeing AI story.
Brian Sherwin @bsherwin
APRIL 25: Coverage of IoT and Office 365 announcements and resources to follow up on.
Nick Landry @activenick
APRIL 26: We are moving from a world of data and apps, to a new exciting world of conversations with personal digital assistants and bots using speech and natural language. Nick Landry provides an introduction to the latest advances in Cortana integration on Windows 10, as well as the brand new Bot Framework, opening up a new realm of possibilities in human-computer interactions.
Jerry Nixon @jerrynixon
APRIL 27: Build 2016 was like Christmas for UWP developers creating Windows apps. As existing features were enriched, several new innovations were unveiled to make developers more productive and apps more valuable with signature Windows experiences and capabilities. In this article, we’ll walk through the Windows announcements – every single one of them – from mapping to proximity, XAML enhancements, the Action center, and implications for cross-platform development.
Sam Stokes @socalsam
APRIL 29: Skype will blow your mind if you just think Skype is only for instant messaging or voice mail. Medical telepresence may save the Affordable Care Act by making medicine more efficient. You as a developer can actually save lives by getting access to HIPAA compliance directly! What about Project Management. If you are developing Project Management tools, this is for you! In this video we will take a look at the excitement of Skype, Skype Bots and how you can generate wealth for you and society. Of everything at //Build 2016, Skype may be the quiet way to success for you!
Here it comes again. Seattle Code Camp happens every year and it’s one of those events where you don’t even think about whether or not to attend - you just attend. This year it’s September 12, 2015 at Seattle University in the Capitol Hill area.
As always, it’s free. As always, there’s food. And as always, it’s a big collection of coders of every skill level presenting on subjects that inspire them and hopefully inspire you too.
Several tracks give you a wide choice of information to glean, and a couple of gatherings of the entire crowd give you a chance to rub shoulders with your peers.
If my sessions are accepted, I’ll be presenting on some IoT topics. That’s what really drives my boat these days. As of this writing, the speaker registration is still open. You don’t have to be a wizard to present. Beginners are just as welcome as experts. So work up some courage, dust off your public speaking book from college, and sign up.
I’m looking forward to it. See you there.
The topic of our conversation was encouragement to go beyond our inevitable role as digital consumers and aspiring to be digital producers first and foremost.
That means, we don’t just entertain ourselves with what others have created, but we get behind the paint brush, the hand saw, or the mouse and we create it ourselves. We use it to inspire others, to lead others, and ultimately to love others. That’s a charter.
First, we talked about making websites. You each got free Azure Passes, and I hope you’ll redeem them for some cloud time. We made a website in just a few seconds in class, and you can do the same thing from home.
To redeem your pass, go to microsoftazurepass.com and enter the code. Ignore the number on the left. The code starts with ‘M’.
Next, we looked at Touch Develop by visiting touchdevelop.com. You can go there any time from pretty much any device and make something awesome. When you’re done, publish it and then send me a tweet at @codefoster, so I can help you tell the world about what you made!
We couldn’t help ourselves and started talking about the exciting and coming Microsoft HoloLens project and the world of 3D. I showed you Autodesk Fusion 360, which is my 3D modeling software of choice. If I had a HoloLens to design with, I would, but Fusion 360 is awesome too :) Since you’re students, you can download and use Fusion 360 without charge.
Thank you again for your motivation. That’s inspiring to me. Be sure to keep in touch and tell me about the cool things you make.
At OSCON this year, Olivier Bloch and I declare Portland to be the open source capital of the world, and while our declaration might not be official, it certainly makes sense.
The breadth of innovation represented in the exhibit hall is both impressive and inspiring.
In this special edition of CodeChat, I have a good chat with Olivier Bloch from Microsoft Open Technologies about the variety of ways that Microsoft collaborates with open source software and some exciting topics in the area of IoT. Enjoy.
Join us for this FREE, hands-on event and learn how to build a Windows 8.1 and/or Windows Phone game in record time. We’ll cover everything you need to create, upload and publish an amazing game. Expert developers will outline different game frameworks and give you the tools you need to start building. They’ll also explain how to add graphics, levels, and sound to base games, while sharing other cool ways to make the game your own. In one jam-packed day of learning and coding, turn your idea into reality – by dinner time! How awesome is that? Students, first-time developers, or seasoned pros - everyone is welcome! Register today for Game On: aka.ms/gameonwest.
Next week, I’m going to be joining a few folks from my team and a bunch of folks from Seattle for MoDev’s next conference right here in our sunny city.
MoDev is the conference to attend if you’re involved in development, design, or event marketing for the mobile tablet market, and really who isn’t these days? Even the auto body shop down the street needs a mobile app. Everybody needs a mobile app.
The conference is going to be graced by experts from the likes of Amazon, Samsung, Zillow, Rovio, and many more.
You can go here to register for the conference if you haven’t already.
If you’re interested in learning more about this topic or any other the other talks at MoDevTablet, register now and I’ll see you there!
If you’re a student at UW, then I’ve got a cool opportunity to throw your way.
Come to the Microsoft Appathon @ UW, learning to build apps, eat free food, win cool prizes, and get $100 per app on top of it all!
We’ll be giving away a Surface and some Xbox hardware, and who know… we may even have a good time too.
Instead of just a single event, we’re also going to hold two mini-events to give you an opportunity to get your system set up and ready for developing Windows 8 apps. Below are the event dates and registration links. I’ll see you there!
Mini-event - Tuesday, May 7: http://aka.ms/uwmini1
Mini-event - Friday, May 10: http://aka.ms/uwmini2
Main event - Saturday, May 11: http://aka.ms/uwappathon
You can get a lot more information about this content and register to attend by going to http://aka.ms/Win8Dev-JS.
In less than two months, a number of charities will gather in the Commons on the Microsoft campus with a lot of project requirements to share. Those projects will be matched up with developers from the area that are willing to give a weekend to help out a good cause. Many hours will be spent furiously designing and coding away, and at the end of the weekend the fruits will be shared.
I haven’t been to a Give Camp before, but I’ve heard that it’s pretty remarkable what can get accomplished in a weekend and how helpful it is to the charities. Many of these groups are on very tight budgets and don’t normally have IT help or don’t have nearly enough.
If you’re going to be around the weekend of October 19-21, I encourage you to go to http://seattlegivecamp.org and sign up as a volunteer designer or developer. Even if you don’t have technical skills, you can volunteer to cover other needs. You can put your skills to a really good use and probably end up having a good time to boot.
I hope I’ll see you there.