ArcReady, CodeToLive, and Sidewalks 2.0

Attended the Microsoft ArcReady event yesterday. Got a chance to see Brian H. Prince and Josh Holmes again. I always look forward to try to absorb what I can from these two, very very bright guys.

Josh made a point to show me his new 2007 Road King, hinting that it was somehow relevant to his job. It seems that Josh is doing what looks like is going to be an awesome show, called CodeToLive. He is taking the bike across America with Steve Loethen and interviewing developers. Based on the trailer (which he showed during the presentation) and the first episode, it looks like this is going to be a blast to follow. CodeToLive is definitely a mantra I live by, developing isn’t what I do, it is who I am. I’m hoping to see many more episodes from those two.

Due to an administrative error (specifically an admin confusing Kansas City and Cleveland), there was a surprisingly small turnout. That did not prevent a few spirited exchanges though, it was interesting to hear how some could not fathom how Twitter and Twittervision applied to the concept of Platforms being better products then Applications. One of the real benefits of these events is getting a chance to interact with fellow professionals in different areas with different background. Getting those unique perspectives and having a chance to articulate your own positions really helps put things into focus. So regardless of the turn out it was a worth while and lively crowd in my opinion.

Josh’s presentation was enjoyable as always, interspersed with personal stories and anecdotes that help illustrate situations we may find in our day to day jobs. The first story he relayed was his treacherous experiencing trusting a single data provider, namely NavTeq. The second related to utilizing your users to drive design. His alum Franciscan University of Stubenville, had installed some new sidewalks and were dismayed to see none of the students using them. They had elected, rather, to cut through the grass along a shorter and more direct route. When the university expanded and added new buildings, the initially did not put any sidewalks in. Instead the planted grass. They then waited until the students had worn trails in the grass along their preferred routes and paved those. It’s really quite a good story about the importance of user-centric and user-driven design.

Brian talked next and demonstrated how some of the concepts are used at QuickSolutions. You’d think it’d be incredibly boring, but Brian’s skill as a presenter is such that you really don’t notice. He demoed a bit with the BizTalk Labs site, specifically the Connectivity Service and went over some of the procedures QS uses. A joy to listen to as always.

Josh also gave us a brief overview of Tafiti (which I had seen before, but it’s always good when the MS guys start doing new demos ;) ). And things wrapped up then with the usual giveaways. A few books, a copy of Expression and Office 2007. Though my chances were good I walked away empty handed, yet not empty headed :) I am definitely looking forward to the next ArcReady!

Don’t forget to checkout CodeToLive, and a reminder that CodeMash registration will be opening soon!