Aug 042013

In the last community update I included one upcoming hackathon and omitted some promotions.  Time to rectify the latter and expand on the former!

General Promotions

Unity has a new contest going for Windows platforms.  Big prizes involved!  From their website:

Unity and Microsoft are inviting Unity developers to enter a new contest by submitting beautifully crafted, high-quality new or existing games or content for the upcoming Windows Store Apps and Windows Phone 8 platforms. Over $100,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to a number of talented and lucky winners.

Deadline is September 30, 2013.  Get your game on now!

In arandallarnoldddition, Microsoft has created a program slightly similar in goals to Nokia’s DVLUP, called App Builder Rewards.  Might as well double-dip!

Finally, I missed that Microsoft Tech Affiliate had restarted the great APPortunity sweepstakes.  Submit your apps for August ASAP.

Remote/Virtual Hackathons/Events

Nothing to report yet– let me know if you discover any!  In addition to online events, those in any region I cover will be promoted here.

DFW Hackathons/Events

Here’s more info on what’s coming (I will not attend all events and/or all times; more on that as details firm up):

August 2013 NDDNUG Meeting
August 8 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM 2013
5543 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX (MedAssets bldg)

August 2013 FWDNUG Meeting
August 20 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM 2013
100 Pier 1 Pl, Fort Worth, TX (Pier 1 Home Office)

UTD-Microsoft Windows 8 app dev workshop
August 20 9 AM to August 23 5 PM 2013
800 West Campbell Road, Richardson, Texas (University of Texas at Dallas, ECSS 2.412)

UNT Startup Primer
September 6 6:00 PM to September 8 6:00 PM, 2013
Sycamore Hall 119, University of North Texas
307 Ave. B, Denton, TX 76201

UNT Music Hackathon
September 13 6:30 PM to September 15 8:30 PM 2013
1155 Union Circle #305189 Denton, TX (Innovation Greenhouse)

20 over 20 Hackathon
September 19 12:00 PM to September 22 4:00 PM 2013 (team announcement September 18)
315 S. Cesar Chavez Blvd, 2nd Floor, Dallas, TX 75201 (Dialexa)

AIGA DFW Hackathon with Open Dallas
September 21 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM 2013
2919 Commerce St, Dallas , TX,

HackerNest DFW September Tech Social
September 30 8:00 PM 2013
(No location yet)

LeadingAge Hackfest
October 25 7 PM (optional meetup) to October 27 5 PM 2013
650 Griffin Street, Dallas, TX (Convention Center)

HackerNest DFW November Tech Social
November 25 8:00 PM 2013
(No location yet)

Others with no firm dates (more details to follow):

August?  September?  2013

UNT Aged Well Hackathon
September 2013

Mobile Monday DFW – Windows Phone App Showcase
October? 2013

Nokiathon DFW
October?  November? 2013

UNT Energy Hackathon
November 2013

Hope to see some of you at one or more of these events!  Again, send me any I may have missed.

Jul 292013


Greetings all,

I’ve decided it makes much more sense to do all updates on this blog and email the link rather than send it all via email.  That way the content gets greater exposure and you have shorter emails.  ;)

Now onto business… topics are:

  • Nokia Promotions
  • Lumia 800s
  • General
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
    • Meetups
    • Hackathons

Nokia Promotions

I was about to launch a Windows Phone promotion tied to my local Civic hacking activities, but another need has come up and I’ll focus on that first.

The Nokia Developer Ambassadors are working hard to make sure we’re serving you in the best way possible.  That means having the most recent contact and program data for you.  I’ve already spoken with some of you individually, and others have responded to Rich Dunbar’s appeals, but consider this a broadcast to my community:

I’m doing a simple drawing and giving away some cool Nokia prizes for those meeting the criteria below.  You can win JBL Power Up Speakers, Wireless Charging Plate, or Nokia Purity Headset with Monster technology.

All you need to do is the following:

  1. Live in North Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska or South Dakota (see NOTE below if you live in USA or Canada but not in my region)
  2. Have a published Windows Phone app
  3. Send me the following (via email or blog comments) by midnight July 31, CST:
    • Full Name
    • Email address
    • Microsoft Dev Center name (not GUID)
    • DVLUP name (register ASAP if you’re not!)
    • City/State
    • Twitter name if you have one (not required)

If you’re out of my area, see

Note that I’ll launch the Civic Hacking promotion soon after this and will post a special announcement for it.

As for others that had been running, I’m sorry to say that the Microsoft Windows Phone Keep the Cash and APPortunity promotions have ended.  At this time I have no idea if anything else is coming from Microsoft (or other sponsors), but I will let you know once I do.

Lumia 800s

I’m happy to announce I’m almost out of Lumia 800s for app incentives.  Why happy?  This means you’ve all been busy!

But if you have not yet released a Windows Phone 7 or 8 app, make sure you get published ASAP to qualify for one of the remaining phones!  People tell me they make excellent reserve and test devices.


Many of you have already registered for the Mailchimp email list, and I appreciate it.  But I’m wondering now if it’s even necessary.  Since I’ll be using this blog more, maybe it makes sense to fully use its subscription and group communications abilities.  What do you think?  Let me know in comments.

Oh, and to get a view into what we Ambassadors do at big events, check out my recent write-up on //build/ 2013.

Finally, please share this article and related info about Nokia’s outreach to anyone you feel may be interested.  I am especially looking to connect with more schools in the DFW area.

Dallas – Fort Worth


I’m still planning to put together DVLUP-specific meetups for the DFW area, called DVLUP Days.  The idea will be to get developers through a DVLUP challenge and an app ready for publishing in one day (if possible).  Should be fun!  Make sure you’re registered– if not, you’re missing out on benefits!

I’m also working on a Mobile Monday WP App Showcase for DFW, with some local powerhouse development firms.  I’m looking for developers to submit one of their apps for consideration.  If you’re selected, you’ll be presenting your app at an upcoming event.  The goal will be to get you more downloads, reviews and notice.  I will also do a special twitter push for the apps selected.  So start submitting!  Use email or this comments section.

Finally, we need to hold more general meetups as well.  I haven’t seen any scheduled recently by corporate or community leaders so I’ll be filling the gap as I can.


This fall is going to be busy in DFW!  The University of North Texas is planning three hackathons (September, October and November).  No details yet, but I’ll post when I have them!

There’s also the 20Over20 hackathon coming in a couple of months, running from September 19 through September 22.  It looks very interesting so far; check it out.

As for the planned Nokiathon, that’s still under discussion.  I’m excited at the possibility and hope to be able to schedule mine before too long.

That’s it!

Thanks everyone, and as always: call, tweet or email me at any time with any question, concern or proposal.  I will do my best to address your needs promptly!


Randall (Randy) Arnold
Nokia Developer Ambassador

Twitter: @NokiaDevNorthTX

Jul 272013

In 2012 I “attended” Microsoft’s //build/ developer-focused event virtually, envious of friends with the good fortune to attend.  Thanks to my Nokia Developer Ambassador gig, this summer I got to enjoy the excitement first hand.  Instead of a lot of text, though, I’ll share some highlights with the focus on photos (all taken with a Nokia Lumia 920):

sim key

Here’s a little gift I had made up for fellow Ambassadors: a 3D printed, DVLUP-branded SIM key for unibody Nokia Lumia phones.  It replaces the stock key that can stab delicate areas.  Thanks to Shapeways for printing them up, and Rich Dunbar for approving the expense!


SoCal Ambassador George Salcedo waits for the rest of the gang on Day 1.


Nokia Developer Champion lead Antoine Naaman shoots the cool Wall of Windows Phones.


The Nokia “Jambassadors” team discussing their //build/ hackathon project.  From left to right: Paras Wadehra, Jan Hanneman, Lance McCarthy.

lance and jan

Boston area Ambassador Lance shares his thoughts with team member Jan (northwest region).


I helped a little by designing a custom part for the project…

pad design

…and here’s the design in progress on SolidWorks.  Amazing that it runs on a Surface Pro!

Jan and 3D printer

I decided to print up two of the parts.  Here Jan enjoys watching one get underway on an UP Plus.

3D printer

Closer shot of the part in process.

Nokia booth

Meanwhile, the Nokia booth got really busy after we put out word about DVLUP tee shirts…

finished green pad

The 3D Systems team kindly printed up another part for us with one of their Cube devices.  It was extremely helpful to have this resource at the event!  There were 3D printers everywhere, cranking away on all sorts of things.

2 pads

The two completed parts.  Each took about 2 hours to print.  I hand-colored the red apple.

app at work

The end result.  Lance had the novel idea to combine a Netduino with a pressure transducer and replicate the “test your strength” carnival games on a smaller scale.  The parts I created were pads.  Unfortunately, the pad wore down the pressure transducer, putting the entry at risk, but Radio Shack saved the day with conductor repair compound.


Look who tops the iSmack leader board!


Peers voted iSmack the best app of the hackathon!  Here the Jambassadors are interviewed on stage by Microsoft’s Clint Rutkas for Channel 9.

Of course, there was a lot more going on, but these photos essentially cover where I was.  ;)  Hope to make it next year!

Aug 272012


Devaamo Summit 2012 attendees (courtesy Jenifer Hanen)
Grinning geek at lower left along with friends. Image source: MsJen’s Flickr

Well, after some amount of begging, finagling, stock-selling and unusually good luck I managed to make it to Devaamo Summit 2012 in beautiful Tampere, Finland. And after some amount of procrastinating and blathering about other subjects, I’m finally managing to share the experience with you.

The Trip Out

Of course not all luck was good. A delay in getting the funds from the stock sale led to less-than-ideal air travel tickets. Which in turn led to being stranded on the DFW airport tarmac for an hour as a hail storm pelted the plane. Which finally resulted in an overall delay of three hours since my connecting flight out of Atlanta ran into equally aggravating weather. Then in Amsterdam my gift to good friend Timo (timoph/timorph) Härkönen of a bottle of Texas hot sauce was confiscated because their security didn’t trust ours. Finally, when I landed at Helsinki Vantaa airport, I realized my new travel guitar had not yet made the trip.


Ultimately it wasn’t all bad, though, as Timo (along with his gracious better half Niina and our mutual friend Carsten Munk) was kind enough to make a two hour trip by car to pick me up at Helsinki Vantaa airport. That was cool. It certainly beat a solo train or bus ride, and if I remember correctly I paid something like 8 euros less for refueling their car than I would have for a train ride. That’s, like, a whole beer.

Timo had taken time off of work, and Niina went off to visit friends and family, so we did the bachelor thing for a few days. Minus strippers and alcohol-induced stunts that is. In all seriousness, Timo is not only a great friend but a truly wonderful host. He made sure I got where I needed to go at all times. And his cool cat Rog kept me good company at night.


The first day we enjoyed a lazy breakfast during a beautiful morning. Then Timo and I trekked the short distance to New Factory to help set things up and then enjoy a Mer Project “birds of a feather (BoF)” talk conducted by Carsten (stskeeps) along with David (lbt) Greaves. It was a great way to begin as this sort of highly-interactive session loosens participants up and gives them an idea of event nature. A relative to Maemo, the Mer open source mobile device core project is a favorite of mine so it was good to see that it still plugs along (and as we later discovered, will be at the heart of Jolla‘s efforts).


The next day was the event proper, and I got roped into session moderator duties by the hard-to-resist Carol (cybette) Chen for the first half. I was a bit nervous at first because I had never done that before and was concerned about what I would say. Those who know I rarely shut up are surely surprised to read that, but it’s true: if I’m not prepared I tend to stutter or blank. Fortunately I made it through without catastrophe.

At lunch time several of us went out to enjoy some delicious Italian fare at the Bella Roma restaurant in the complex. I have to say that the food and service here have been excellent all three times I have been. I really recommend the monster calzones.

I had my own session to conduct after lunch. Intro to 3D Parametric Design had been rejected at first but they managed to find room for me at the last minute. Which meant that I had neglected to put anything together until just before I flew out. That turned out to be an issue; as one reviewer noted, I didn’t cover enough material. We had 30 minutes and I actually wrapped up in 20, unwittingly skipping a few parts of the demo I had planned. I had hoped the audience would ask more questions then the one from the illustrious Henri (bergie) Bergius; what I should have done when none were forthcoming was go back to the demo and play around some more. Ah well… point learned the hard way.

I don’t really need to go into more detail about the event itself, because the reviewer who (rightfully) panned my talk does a really good job of sharing what he experienced.  So does Timur Kristóf.


After the event wrapped up the traditional party commenced. There was plenty of beer and a local comedian regaled us with some pretty decent jokes. He started in English for the sake of the multinational audience but had to beg off into Finnish after a just a few jokes. Judging from the native response, he did fairly well. Meanwhile I had some great conversations with Lucian (ltomuta) Tomuta, Timur (venemo), Jenifer (msjen) Hanen, Thomas (tbr23) Rucker and others.  See some pictures here.

Henri spent the bulk of the evening trying to get me drunk it seemed. He came close but did not quite succeed. Better luck next time, Bergie!  I just hope your motives are pure.  ;)

Once the party wound down and we had to leave the facility, a good number of us headed off to a park along the river where we battled advancing inebriation and tough Finnish mosquitoes. By this time my travel guitar had completed its traveling and we were reunited. I had brought it solely for songwriting purposes since I’m actually a crappy player, but as it turned out some guy named Sakari (shyoty) Hyöty was highly skilled and entertained a few of us with his playing. I was impressed that he was able to pick up some of my original songs so quickly. He seemed like someone I would love to work with.

Timo and I both tired before most of the crowd so we headed back to his apartment to watch Iron Sky. It was a bit campier than I had thought it would be, but overall I’m impressed with what the low budget production team managed to accomplish with this partially-crowdsourced effort.


I had nothing personally scheduled for Sunday so Timo and I took it easy again in the morning. That afternoon we headed back to New Factory for post-event cleanup and a delicious Thank You dinner at Plevna Bewery and Restaurant. Afterward Matti (smoinen) Saastamoinen was kind enough to take me by Timo’s to collect my things and then drop Carol, Timur and I off at the train station. The latter two saw me off as I headed to Helsinki, where I planned to catch a few hours’ nap at Jens (jnwi) Wiik’s apartment before catching a plan out of HEL at the ungodly hour of 6:30 AM. But Jens and I were too wired so we chatted about music, games and Maemo memories before I walked the several blocks to the bus station.

I was sad at the shortness of my stay and how swiftly departure time came, but so glad for the opportunity. Thanks so much to Carol Chen for tirelessly soliciting travel funds for me (I promise I’ll start paying people back soon!) and of course to Timo and Jens for their hospitality. My appreciation also to Timur, Henri, Attila, Jenifer, Thomas, Carsten, David, Lucian, Jukka and other friends for making me feel so welcome! I want to bring you all over here! During cooler weather of course.

There and Back Again

Once back at home and settled into my usual groove, I immediately began missing the Devaamo experience. Here in Texas I’ve attended numerous events of a related nature, but none with quite the same spirit. So I’ve been on a mission the past few years to share that spirit everywhere I go in the hope that it will catch fire here. Texas has lost quite a bit of industry to outsourcing and employees to hotbeds of innovation like Silicon valley; we need to get creative if we are to recapture any of that and take advantage of exploding opportunities like 3D printing.

One of those efforts involving transplanting New Factory itself. To that end, I’ve proposed a local “pre start-up” hackerspace (i.e., collaboration center) as part of a Fort Worth improvement project called Plan 2023. So far it’s been very well-received. But I’m not stopping there: this venue may not turn into anything so if we can’t make this happen via Plan 2023, I’m open to any other means of accomplishing this goal for the Fort Worth area. And I’m looking for help! We held a recent meetup to brainstorm possibilities and that was a good start– let’s keep the momentum going!

There’s no reason the “Devaamo experience” should be limited to Tampere. But I’m looking forward to returning next year!

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