Folks have been talking about a Vermont Code Camp for two years now. “Yeah, yeah. Sounds great. Never happen,” I thought. Well today it happened in a very big way, and the amazing thing is that it wasn’t Julie Lerman who was single-handedly responsible for its success. An Irishman with great pecs named Rob Hale organized our first Vermont Code Camp and in the process established himself as Vermont’s newest Geek Idol. Everything went perfectly at today’s Vermont Code Camp 1, from Rob’s opening welcome gathering at 8:50 AM, to the raffle drawings before the final 5:00 session, to the moment the day’s presenters formed a happy circle in the lobby before heading to the Windjammer for quality time with Chris Bowen, our super New England Microsoft Evangelist who was good enough to drive all the way to Burlington from Bean Town to show his support.
There were 85 attendees at the first Vermont Code Camp. Pretty incredible for a state with a total population of 600,000. There were 6 session segments, 3 sessions per segment for a total of 18 presentations. Here is the day’s presentation schedule. (PDF)
If you look at the schedule you’ll see my name was listed for a 12:30 presentation titled “Building Online Communities with .NET Open Source.” Code Camps are such a tremendous opportunity for .NET developers to improve their presentation skills. I don’t claim to be a great presenter, not by a long shot, but thanks to Code Camps I know I am improving with each presentation.
Friday was my session preparation day. I can’t remember the last time I used PowerPoint for a presentation and today was no exception. Instead I created a single web page with JQuery accordion pop-outs from Jan Jarfalk. It worked really well. Here’s the presentation page. Most links will get you through as advertised, but some were to secure destinations I used specifically for the presentation and will probably greet you with a login form.
I spent my first Vermont Code Camp mostly hanging with friends and helping out where I could (though Rob needed very little assistance.) I got to meet several Tweeters I follow for the first time, including @JohnCVermont and @BradleyHolt. Mostly I conversed with people I don’t get to see nearly enough, guys like Zoron the Terrible, Erik the Poet, Running Man Carl, Stringbean Cooley, COM+ Kathleen and the Bloodster. The only session I attended was the last session of the day from 5:00 to 6:15 titled “Leveraging Blend in the XAML Application Development Process” from John Bowen. Great presentation from a guy who is probably one of the best Expression developers in the business, who drove to Burlington from Massachusetts to share his expertise at Vermont Code Camp.
Let’s see. What else can I say about our fabulous Vermont Code Camp 1. Well, there was this foul-mouthed chick from New York City who added more color to the festivities than most of us probably anticipated. We all liked her immediately. I got to meet a developer who lived in a picturesque little village outside of Stowe, Vermont who claimed his town was a shithole. There’s no pleasing some people. There was also a hard-knitting gal at the event whose binary mode of clarity while knitting would impress even Yoda. Oh, and @rburdick was a no-show.
And then there was the quote of the day from Rob Hale. It was prompted by an Onion magazine reference on something we should refrain from in observance of 9/11, to which our Saint Hale replied, “Some of us are not that patriotic.” You had to be there.