(A picture that I took on 6/3/2011 waiting for the keynote by Charles Petzold to begin at the Bijou Theater in Knoxville TN)
Day One (Thursday Night)
I headed out on Thursday morning with my friend Daniel Heisler for CodeStock. We were driving from Birmingham Alabama so it was going to take us about 4.5 hours to get in. After stopping a few times we finally arrived at the Knoxville Hilton. After checking into our rooms we met Rafe Kemmis and Spede Bryan in the lobby and headed over to Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria in the Knoxville Old City. It didn’t take long for Wallace B. McClure to show up and we talked Mono for a while. Shortly after that the DevExpress crew dropped in (Seth Juarez and Bryan Wood) and we continued the conversation. We finally made it to a table and I ordered an awesome grilled chicken sandwich. While there I saw a lot of familiar faces including Alan Stevens and Michael Neel. After chatting and meeting/making some new friends we headed back to the hotel to get some rest from the day.
Day Two (Friday)
I got up Friday morning and headed downstairs to grab some coffee with Daniel Heisler and ran into Justin Etheredge. It was great chatting with him for a while! We then quickly headed over to the conference center to get registered. I was expecting a long registration process but it took a matter of seconds. Anyways after getting registered I started walking around and ran into Jeremy Likness. Since we are both big Silverlight guys we chatted for a while and decided to continue the conversation at lunch. Dan Moyer a guy who reads my blog came up and introduced himself to me. It was great getting some feedback on what kind of content the community is looking for. I decided that my first session was going to be HTML5 vs. Silverlight by Matt Casto ( @mattcasto ). This turned out to be a very interesting session and the final answer was… it depends. If you didn’t get a chance to check it out then you can see it again at devLINK. My next session was Kinect Hacks 101 by James Ashley ( @jamesashley ). James showed us the awesome open-source project for Kinect development called Open-Kinect. The session made me want to run out and buy a Kinect just to play with this cool stuff. After the session I hung around and introduced myself to James Ashley and we have both been blogging on SL/WP7 for a while. My third session for the day was actually lunch and I met up with Jeremy Likness and we talked about SL5 Sterling and other tech things. After lunch was over I attended his SL5 LOB application talk as I’m a big fan of Jeremy’s work and it was a great session. He created a nice sample browser of SL5 demos and made it public on his website and I would recommend you check them out. The last session that I attended was an “Intro to Ruby on Rails” by Rod Paddock ( @rodpaddock ). I wanted to mix things up and get a fresh perspective on another language and definitely did so with Rod’s session. I decided that I’d build my first Rails application after watching his presentation. It also was great that he gave everyone in the room a free subscription to Code Magazine. Since that was the last session of the day I headed to my hotel room for about an hour. At 4:45PM I headed over to the Bijou Theater for a keynote by Charles Petzold. While standing in line for food I actually got to meet Charles Petzold and talk about some of his books in line. That was a great moment at CodeStock for me as I’ve read his books over the years and his “Applications = Code + Markup” was one of the books that got me into XAML. After the keynote was over Michael Neel gave away a lot of great prizes to the audience. Since I had a session the next morning we decided to grab something to eat beside the theatre and head back. I stayed up and practiced my 8:30AM session at least 3 times before heading to bed.
Day Three (Saturday)
I got up very early on Saturday morning and headed over to the convention center to make sure everything was setup and ready for my session. I noticed that my session was in the auditorium and was expecting a full house. A few people started coming in around 8AM and I tried to introduce myself to most of them. So 8:30AM arrived and I started right on time as I had a lot to cover in 70 minutes. I believe the session went very well I tried to keep the audience involved in the conversation and adjusted the amount of time that I spent on a tool to what the audience already knew about it. I had some great feedback on twitter from Geoff Hudik and Constantine Gulgas and a few emails in the inbox in the morning. The questions that the audience asked were great questions and some made me really think. After my session was over I decided to attend “Intro to Test Driven Development by James Bender ( @jamesbender ). It was another great session as he kept the audience involved. I had to leave the session a tad early to get check out of the hotel and I was starving as I hadn’t eaten breakfast or had my coffee due to my morning session and my OCD to have everything just right before my session started. During lunch I was able to eat with James Ashley ( @jamesashley ) and we continued talking about the Kinect and other interesting projects we were all working on. The next session that I decided to attend was an “Open Spaces” which was named “How to Suck Less”. I found the open spaces session excellent as our group was very large and most everyone was contributing to the conversation. After the session was over I was interviewed by Bryan Wood on some of the cool Silverlight/WP7 projects that I had been working on. I then headed to what would be my last session of the day Field Survival Guide for the Budding Entrepreneur by Michael Brown ( @browniepoints ). Michael had a great session with a lot of audience participation. We then decided to call it a day and head back to Birmingham AL.
Overall the conference rocked and I wanted to say a big thank you to Michael Neel and his wife and everyone else involved in organizing this event. It is an absolute steal for $60 and I would recommend it to everyone.
I wanted to give a big thanks to my employer Point Clear Solutions for allowing me to attend Cod