In our first conversation, Charlene the editor she asked me something about iPhones and the conversation went
Me: I wouldn’t know; I use a Windows Phone
Charlene: Oh, I’m sorry
So many ways to go with that… but suffice to say that from my perspective it proves how much more convincing a distortion field can be than reality. I’m in no way impugning Charlene– she’s definitely sharp or I wouldn’t have started following her in the first place. But Apple and others have done a spectacular job at misinforming even the discerning public.
Microsoft is included in that others category.
Greetings all! It’s time to dive back into Windows Phone developer community land. In this post I’ll be sharing the good and not-so-good news for WP development in my region, which is physically centered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but also includes Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota. I’ll summarize the year and share some ongoing/upcoming stuff too.
I’m behind on publishing some content but an opportunity has come up that trumps just about everything else. Except beer and pizza. First the background.
Many of you know that for several years now I’ve been supporting creative communities, both on and offline. If I really want to date myself then this activity goes back further than I’ll usually admit, to a stint as a writing forum moderator in the heyday of America Online. Don’t judge: it meant free dial-up. ;)
As you can see on LinkedIn, my more recent history has gone from Maemo to MeeGo to Windows Phone plus local Makers. An interesting mix of communities that has helped me understand myriad arguments for and against various platforms and preferences, as well as learn to socialize with creative types from all walks of life. This understanding has pushed my thinking above and away from the sort of religious dogma that can cripple a project, and in turn helped me (I think) be a really good all-around community leader. And even as I’ve helped Nokia’s efforts to pull in Windows Phone developers, I’ve kept a watchful eye on Jolla and kept fairly current with Qt developments. I even assisted Tuukka Ahoniemi with Qt outreach in Dallas (although other activities got in the way, something I would fix if I got this role).
Which leads me back to the opportunity.
Against all odds, I will be interviewing with Digia soon for an Online Community Manager position. Exciting! I think I’m the ideal candidate, and so do a few others who have already spoken on my behalf. But landing this position will take some serious effort: they really want someone situated in Norway, Finland or Berlin. I have to prove that I can do even better than someone in close proximity.
Now, I’ve done the remote working thing both voluntarily for the aforementioned communities and professionally for Nokia. I know I can perform this role with the same success. Heck, I’ve always said I can work from Antarctica as long as I had Internet. I just need to convince Digia.
To that end, I’m looking to the communities I serve for advice. What should I emphasize? In what areas do I still require polish? Feel free to add comments here. Be critical if you feel led. Or contact me privately, too.
I had a similar opportunity with Scarlet Motors at one point, and touched on that in an article about keeping a childlike aspect in communities, but unfortunately they lacked the means at the time to make it a paid position. The Digia role will be full time, and involves work I love and have been preparing for. I relish the opportunity to take lessons learned from other communities and see where it will support Qt’s desire for broader adoption.
I really, really want this job. Your feedback will help, and perhaps so will lobbying Digia. Make sure to hit Qt Project and Qt by Digia on twitter, as well as their Facebook page. After all, a good online community manager should mobilize Internet citizens, right? ;)
In the last community update I included one upcoming hackathon and omitted some promotions. Time to rectify the latter and expand on the former!
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!
Finally, I missed that Microsoft Tech Affiliate had restarted the great APPortunity sweepstakes. Submit your apps for August ASAP.
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.
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):
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)
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):
Nokia DVLUP Day DFW
August? September? 2013
UNT Aged Well Hackathon
Mobile Monday DFW – Windows Phone App Showcase
October? November? 2013
UNT Energy Hackathon
Hope to see some of you at one or more of these events! Again, send me any I may have missed.
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):
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.
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…
…and here’s the design in progress on SolidWorks. Amazing that it runs on a Surface Pro!
I decided to print up two of the parts. Here Jan enjoys watching one get underway on an UP Plus.
Closer shot of the part in process.
Meanwhile, the Nokia booth got really busy after we put out word about DVLUP tee shirts…
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.
The two completed parts. Each took about 2 hours to print. I hand-colored the red apple.
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!
Of course, there was a lot more going on, but these photos essentially cover where I was. ;) Hope to make it next year!
For those who have been active in the Dallas-Fort Worth Windows Phone developer scene for some time, the headline here may seem odd. After all, the Meetup.com group has been gathering on occasion since this time last year.
But what’s been missing, according to the most common feedback I receive, are semi-social gatherings with a focus on Getting Stuff Done. Attendees have had enough consumption; they’re ready to create.
With that in mind, I have spent the past few months scouring DFW for good venues for this activity. I put together the following criteria for sites:
- Should be free (or at least low-cost)
- Should have easy facility access (preferrably no security hurdles)
- Must have decent, dependable WiFi
- Must have easy access to power
- Must have comfortable seating for at least 15 attendees for 3+ hours
- Should have easy access to food and drink (including catering)
- Must be available weekends and/or evenings
This is not an easy bill to fill. I encountered many potential venues that had one or more of the must-have items but lacking something critical (usually weekend/eveing access). To increase our prospects, I asked community members to aid in the search. Pointing out a possible location wasn’t enough– I needed these foot soldiers to compare sites against the requirement list, talk to managers, and even take pictures.
It may come as a surprise to readers that grocery stores turned out to be generally good locations. Specifically, the Tom Thumb flagship stores, which meet every Must and Should. The only drawbacks I’ve run into were man-made… such as the strange reluctance of one store manager (who was worried about us displacing customers, when I saw only 3 people occupying a 35-seat area) and human mistakes. Mostly mine.
I had scheduled a meetup for May 25 at a Tom Thumb store in Arlington after one member, Dallas .NET’s Omar Villarreal, got clearance from the manager. Unfortunately I misread Omar’s instructions and secured the wrong store. When the group arrived, we discovered that there was no WiFi or Starbucks.
We waited for stragglers to show before moving to another Tom Thumb a few miles north. This cost us an hour and a half of valuable time. Lesson learned: read the fine print.
The second store turned out to be acceptable. WiFi was mostly reliable (I had a couple of brief drops) and the deli sandwiches were excellent (I recommend the pulled pork). The 5 other attendees seemed fairly pleased. However, the late start combined with another error on my part got in the way of getting any work done.
I had set aside the beginning of the meetup for introductions and announcements, which would be okay for social meetups but took way too much productive time from this one. Socializing is certainly useful, but we’ll hold separate events for that.
I would like to think that the attendees at least benefitted one way or another, but I welcome constructive criticism to help shape future get-togethers. I definitely need to arrive early to get things set up.
The good news is that this somewhat-rough experience was useful in certain contexts, especially since we had new members attend, and allowed me to get a good idea of what works and doesn’t work. Going forward, I will put together a handout for updates and trim the initial verbal presentation down to about 5 to 10 minutes. Less time of me chatting, more time Getting Stuff Done.
Ideally, we will see a good mix of skill levels and experience at these sessions. I really want to pair mentors and experienced app publishers with beginners, for one. Same with bringing in more data modelers and UI designers. To motivate members in that regard, I am offering a recruting incentive: bring in any new member with any useful skills for app creation, and get a $10 gift card. Bring in any new member with at least one published app, and that amount goes up to $20. Stipulation: new members must agree to sign up at DVLUP and also provide me full contact information before I award the gift cards. This promotion runs until I am broke or we have too many members. ;)
Speaking of DVLUP, I’m also considering holding specific “DVLUP Days” events with the goal of just tackling DVLUP challenges at the event. XP building opportunities, if you will. I’m also working on partnering with various companies and instructors for educational meetups– stay tuned!
My intent is to “bounce around” the metroplex and hold these sessions in various parts of the area, with a preference for central locations. If you know of any, let me know! By all means, ask the managers about the items on my list, and pictures of the venue are very helpful. And ask your employers about hosting!
We’ll probably hold another such event in North Dallas next, at an office near highway 35E and Beltline Road. Registration will be at the Meetup.com website, and I will announce in the usual social channels.
Ultimately, we’ll get into a rhythm that will benefit everyone involved. I can’t wait to see the results!