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Mark Your Calendars, and Buy Your Tickets! ThatConference is Coming

by Angela 19. May 2015 11:00

I’m excited. No, I’m absolutely PUMPED about ThatConference 2015! It’s now our 4th year. Some of us camp counselors are old salty dogs at this whole things by now, and we love every minute of it. Just ask.  Well, just don’t ask us on the last day, LOL.

We have an amazing family track, again.  We have more kid presenters than ever. SO AWESOME! We were overwhelmed and humbled by both the sheer amount and high quality of the submissions we got in response to our call for speakers.  I wish we had room for more sessions, and if you didn’t get picked keep in mind there are SO many more opportunities to share your experience and knowledge during networking events, happy hours, meal times, and of course during the Open Spaces.

Tickets go on sale TOMORROW May 20th at 8:10am CST, and we even have an early bird discount (save $100, whoa!) AND bulk discounts if your company is sending a small army. And for these prices, your company SHOULD send a small army. Use my referral link to register at the bottom of this post and you effectively buy me a beer at the first happy hour :)

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What better way to spend so little and get so much than sending an entire software team to an event where they can learn, collaborate, and have fun together! Speaking of fun, here are some of my favorite pics from last year including the badge decorating activities for the geeklets, a pic of my favorite and possibly youngest attendee, the PACKED game night, one of the family track sessions where kids learned about conductivity with play-doh, and of course the pig roast!

 

So be sure to hit up the registration site in the next few days, grab your ticket early, and start planning your sessions. We can’t wait to see you in August campers!

 

Don’t forget I run craft activities for the kids and board game night in addition to being on the conference committee and a camp counselor. Hit me up with questions, ideas, and anything else!

Tags:

ThatConference

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Free eBooks on Azure From Microsoft Virtual Academy

by Angela 18. May 2015 08:10

I was just lamenting that I needed to get caught up on Azure stuff, and then saw this amazing tweet from Scott Guthrie:

@scottgu: I just realized there are a bunch of *free* Azure eBooks now available to download through Amazon or online: http://t.co/g5ofSNUWJg

Whoa! It’s like they HEARD me. Creepers.  Anyway, there are a ton of free eBooks available, and some also have Kindle downloads too.  And not just Azure!  You’ll find books on System Center, Windows 10 Preview, Xamarin, SQL Server 2014, and lots more!

You can find the entire catalog of free books here, but below are the ones I am most excited about:

Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure: The “Microsoft Azure Essentials” series helps you advance your technical skills with Microsoft Azure. “Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure” introduces developers and IT professionals to the wide range of capabilities in Azure. The authors—both Microsoft MVPs in Azure—present conceptual and how-to content for seven key areas and describe management tools and business cases.

Rethinking Enterprise Storage: A Hybrid Cloud Model: Discover how a hybrid cloud model—combining cloud storage services with traditional on-premise storage—can solve multiple storage challenges cost-effectively, all under a single data management system. Focusing on the Microsoft hybrid cloud storage solution, this book offers concise insights on technical, strategic, and practical considerations—so you can begin evaluating potential benefits to your organization.

Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Online: With this ebook, the ALM Rangers share their best practices in managing solution requirements and shipping solutions in an agile environment, an environment where transparency, simplicity, and trust prevail. The ebook is for Agile development teams and their Scrum Masters who want to explore and learn from the authors’ “dogfooding” experiences and their continuous adaptation of software requirements management.

Get them while they are still free!

 

Tags:

Azure | Application Lifecycle Management | .NET | Cloud Computing | Mobile | Microsoft | SQL Server | System Center | Xamarin | SQL Server 2014

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IAMCP WIT Women in Tech Breakfast Briefing on June 11th in Downers Grove IL

by Angela 15. May 2015 14:19
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About the Event 

Most women in the technology field have developed their careers surrounded by male peers and leadership. The percentage of men in IT leadership roles continues to outnumber women, however, several female leaders have found their way through the IT leadership maze.

With the mission of providing valuable resources and support to its members, IAMCP WIT Chicago would like to offer you the opportunity to hear the female perspective of IT, women and leadership.
At the upcoming IAMCP WIT Women in Tech Breakfast Briefing we will feature an all-female panel and discuss a wide range of key issues and topics that affect female IT professionals within the technology sector.

 

Explore Frequently Asked Questions 

Do you need to act like a man to be a successful woman in tech?

What have you done to achieve work-life balance?

What can you do to support your colleagues who might feel marginalized?

How can we encourage women to stay in the IT field?

 
Event Details

Date: Thursday, June 11th 

Time: 8:30AM – 11:30AM

8:30AM-9:00AM – Breakfast and Networking

9:00AM-11:00AM – Panel Discussion

11:00AM-11:30AM – Questions and Closing Remarks

Location: Microsoft Offices in Downers Grove

3025 Highland Pkwy #300, Downers Grove, IL 60515

REGISTER TODAY – LIMITED SEATS AVAILABLE!  

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Tags:

WIT | Women in Technology | IAMCP

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How a Pinterest Hack for FireFox broke my TFS Web Tooling

by Angela 11. May 2015 11:43

Because I am sure you ALL use Pinterest right? Whatever, you do, you can admit it. Anyway, I ran across a weird case where a grease monkey script that I was using to hack Pinterest caused really odd behavior with my TFS web tools, and surely one or more of you will have this happen to you, or one of your fellow TFS users.

I logged into my TFS web portal today, and all of a sudden the TFS web tools were acting REALLY weird. The Code, Build, and Test tabs worked fine, but anything related to areas/iterations or work items was blank. A good portion of the admin screens were blank too.

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First I panicked a little because we had been having some serious issues on the data tier and had to reboot the server. I couldn’t imagine what would have caused this to happen. I was a TFS admin with god rights, and I could see code, builds, and test plans. Then I confirmed it was just me, and then I also confirmed it was only in FireFox. Whew!!

I cleared my cache, restarted the browser, and rebooted, still busted.I figured it HAD to be something I changed in my browser settings, or maybe an update I recently installed. I couldn’t remember what I had changed in FF lately, then it came to me, I had added a grease monkey script over the weekend to remove all of the “picked for you” items from my main Pinterest feed. Because Pinterest is important. And reasons, shush you. Anyway, I turned it off and everything went back to normal. Yippee!

Here was the blog post with the grease monkey script that I had installed: http://bethmcmillan.com/blog/?p=1254. I haven’t had time yet to figure out exactly which part of the script was killing my TFS app. All I care about for now is I can work again.

So if you have Pinterest users who are also using TFS, this may happen to you.  Hopefully if it does, you remember my lesson learned instead of panicking and going down a rathole of troubleshooting that will lead you nowhere.

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | Visual Studio 2013 | Visual Studio | VSOnline | VS 2013 | TFS 2013 | TFS Administration | Team Foundation Server

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Special Event this week in Chicago : IAMCP WIT Chicago Announces Partnership with the YWLCS of Chicago

by Angela 27. April 2015 10:52

I’ve recently joined the fantastic WIT (Women in Technology) team at IAMCP.  They are having a fundraiser and mixer this week in Chicago. We’d love to get more folks working with us to get more young women exposed to and interested in technology and STEM career paths.

Join IAMCP WIT Chicago on April 30th as we share our new tradition of elevating others with our philanthropic focus for 2015. We’re pleased to announce that we have chosen our philanthropic focus for 2015: The Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago

With the Chicago WIT’s focus on helping women succeed both personally and professionally, we feel a partnership with the YWLCS is a perfect way to extend our support of this mission by targeting young women looking to enter STEM fields. You can learn more about YWLCS at www.ywlcs.org.

We want YOU to be a part of our mission!

Register today so you can learn how to get involved. We will be raffling off a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Package (tablet and accessories) and selling tickets for $10 each or 3 for $20. All proceeds will go to the YWLCS.

Event Details:
What: IAMCP WIT Happy Hour and YWLCS Partnership Launch
When: Thursday, April 30th from 4:30pm-6:30pm 
Where: Tradition Gastro and Pub
            160 N. Franklin St.
             Chicago, IL 60606

Click Here to Register for this event!

Tags:

IAMCP | WIT | Women in Technology | STEM

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A Little Story about How PowerBI Got into My TFS

by Angela 9. April 2015 14:29

So a few months ago I ran into an old friend from my Software Architects days who now runs the BI practice at another local consulting firm here in Chicago. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd when it comes to data and analytics, and as he started to describe this cool new thing called PowerBI to me, I got this idea.  What if we found a way to use PowerBI to slice, dice, and analyze TFS data, specifically VSO?! We needed to figure it out, then share it with the world, because how cool would that be?!

 

Sadly, we quickly discovered that there was no VSO connector available yet for PowerBI, but that didn’t stop us. We figured out that we could use the Office 365 Power BI tools against an on-premise TFS database and do some pretty neat analytics.  To make sure it was something that anyone following along at home could recreate, we even used the data from the publicly available Brian Keller ALM demo image. We started by pulling in work item data, and created a few dashboards, the first being a basic work item overview dashboard:

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Once we created a few charts, the fun began. We could select work item types, teams/areas, and watch the data change. For instance, by simply clicking on a team (Devices), all of the charts on the page would refresh with the portion of them relevant to the selected team visible.Cool right? As someone who often managed a product portfolio in TFS, the ability to see the big picture and drill in with a matter of a click or two is really valuable!

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Now imagine the ability to show scatter graphs to highlight patterns in your data, geo spatial coordinate data to map out where certain events are happening, the possibilities are endless. Obviously there is a lot more to share about the capabilities of PowerBI and TFS. So fast forward to today. Tom and I just wrapped up our TFS + PowerBI webinar, and recorded it.  So if you missed it, watch the full video here to find out more about PowerBI and how it can be used to drill into TFS data. You can also get a copy of our slide deck here.

And stay tuned over the next few weeks for exciting announcements on how PowerBI will be capable of connecting to VSO!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Microsoft Office | MSDN | o365 | Office 365 | PowerBI | SDLC | SQL Server | TFS | TFS 2013 | TFS Service | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2013 | VS 2013 | VSOnline

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ChicagosNext Hackathon is May 2nd and 3rd –Get Ready to Rock

by Angela 2. April 2015 10:20

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Have you been seeing the buzz about Chicagos Next Hackathon?  It’s a fantastic way to rub elbows with some amazing local community leaders, to collaborate with some of the most talented folks in Redmond, and to team up with other passionate techies from the area to do something good. No, something great! 

You see, ChicagoNext is a Not For Profit. And they are looking for you, whether your passion is U/X, development, QA, DevOps, your help is needed! So join the fun, roll up your sleeves, and build something awesome in just a single weekend with a fantastic group of technologists. This is also the weekend before the Microsoft Ignite conference (May 2nd/3rd), so you may already be in town if you’re not a local!

 

More details from the site:

Get your skills, apps and ideas in front of serial entrepreneurs with ChicagosNext while helping our community.

ChicagosNext is a Non Profit technology hackathon event that brings together a diverse group of local, regional, national and international (yes, international) tech talent with an entrepreneurial spirit. The goal is to build the next app that creatively solves issues within our local neighborhood using Azure and supporting Microsoft Technologies. Local Chicago Community Leaders (several other NFP, education and community organizations) will be sharing their issues and struggles that you can solve with technology.

At the end of it all, one team will be chosen to have their idea presented at the Finalist Pitch.

Interested in learning more? Check out our podcasts! Check out our Schedule! 

You can also follow @ChiNextHack on Twitter for more news!

Tags:

ASP.NET | Azure | Cloud Computing | DevOps | Microsoft

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It’s THAT Time Again! ThatConference Call for Speakers is Open for Just 2 Weeks

by Angela 31. March 2015 08:30

I can’t believe it is going to be our 4th year. Seriously. Craziness.

I still remember that fateful day almost 6 years ago. I was driving out to Detroit for a conference and I get a call from my buddy Clark. He’s telling me about this crazy idea to create a conference for everyone. It would have family stuff, include all kinds of technology, and it would be in a freaking water park in Wisconsin! What was not to love? And most importantly, did I want to help?? I had over a year at that point before the the kickoff of the inaugural ThatConference. It seemed like a lifetime away, and yet here we are. Every year I flop down on my bed after the last session and think GOD THAT WAS A LOT OF WORK, and then volunteer for next year because I can’t imagine NOT being involved in something this great. On to my point before I start getting all misty eyed. WHAT?

Call for speakers has just opened for ThatConference 2015. We’re going to be bigger, awesomer, geekier, and yes awesomer is a word because I said so! Smile We need great speakers. We need you. We need your KIDS to submit. I know, who knew? Last year we had an astounding number of geeklets presenting, leading open spaces, and coming up with some amazing ideas for this coming year. I am personally so stoked to see what the kids have ins store for US this year. No technology is off the table. No talk related to anything that anyone in the tech community would be interested in is off the table. Personally I plan to submit talks around not just TFS, and agile, but around fear and how many of us battle imposter syndrome. So be creative.

Next, please, check out our conference site, check out speakers and sessions from previous years, and then submit something that moves you. Here is a preview of our speaker submission “rules of the road”:

 

Tips for making your abstract epic:

  • Counselors have roughly 60 minutes to teach their fellow campers.
  • Descriptive and edgy titles are best. Bonus points for Summer Camp Geek references.
  • Make sure your abstract description contains enough detail so we know what you're going to talk about. Don’t worry if you make any mistakes we will have the opportunity to fix it later.
  • Try not to pull any switch-a-roos last minute and talk about something completely unrelated. Campers don't like that. If something changes, please work with That Conference.
  • We can't make too many promises but if there are issues with the final speaker schedule we will do our very best to accommodate you.

Do:

  • Be passionate about your chosen topic.
  • Feel free to submit more than one abstract. We have to maintain a balance across all of the tracks and their topics. It will just help us and potentially you.
  • Consider how your presentation is relevant to all technologists, but don’t feel constrained to avoiding a talk on one specific programming language, platform or technology.
  • Consider what discussions could be sparked by your presentation. That Conference is all about meeting people and discussing ideas; consider what people will talk about after your presentation.
  • Explain what benefit your presentation will bring to the audience.
  • Tell a story.
  • Show real world examples, especially your own experiences, to support your ideas. Show code samples or demonstrate product capabilities only where appropriate.
  • Make sure you can keep the documented session time limit.
  • Stay near the stage or podium after your presentation, encourage the audience to come up and discuss the presentation with you.
  • Please invite the audience to discuss your talk with you face to face rather than just at the end. Better yet, continue the conversation in our Open Spaces.
  • Respect our anti-harassment policy.

Don’t:

  • Use your presentation to specifically promote the superiority of one platform, language or technology over all others. Instead talk about pros and cons of the demonstrated subject, and invite the audience to share their own experiences related to your discussion.
  • See your presentation as a platform to market your company or product.
  • Include unnecessary animation or sound effects in your presentation that will distract from your content.

 

So seriously, don’t wait! Submit your talk, or talks, TODAY and don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of something truly awesome: https://www.thatconference.com/

Tags:

Agile | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | personal growth | technology | development | Windows Phone | Visual Studio | ThatConference | Team Foundation Server | Scrum | SQL Server | Mobile development | Cloud Computing

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ALM User Groups Welcome Gary Pedretti Back as a Presenter Next Month

by Angela 26. March 2015 13:23

On April 8th, we’ll be welcoming Gary Pedretti back to the ALM user group! Trust me on this, Gary’s presentations are NEVER to be missed. I hope you can make this one. RSVP Now to Attend

 

Session details:

King Tut Architecture: Pyramids, Patterns, and Tests

Mike Cohn introduced the Testing Pyramid in his 2009 book, Succeeding with Agile, as a model for thinking about tests and test automation - focus, ROI, TCO, etc. - when developing a software product.  It’s been a powerful visual for guiding teams to craft test suites that are sustainable and effective, regardless of whether they automate or not.

But what if we thought about it as application design or architectural guidance? Building a product that is well covered by tests, in the ratios described in the Testing Pyramid, requires specific designs and architecture.

In this talk we'll cover modern techniques and patterns that allow for architecture and development to be guided by the Testing Pyramid. We’ll also address the “Am I only doing this for testability, not for value delivered?” question.  The audience will leave with new ways to think about the Testing Pyramid, new patterns for developing a well-tested application, and new ways for architects, testers, and coders to work in a cross-functional manner.

Speaker Bio

With over sixteen years of experience, Gary works closely with companies nationwide to help them achieve their goals in delivering business value through software. He is an agile software development trainer, coach, and practitioner, as well as a curriculum developer, application architect, and software craftsman.

Gary is a strong believer in the “see one, do one, teach one” road to craft and mastery, which led him to become a Professional Scrum Trainer for Scrum.org. Over the past five years he has trained thousands of students on Scrum - coders, testers, UX specialists, BAs, DBAs, PMs, managers, and C-suite executives - using experiential, immersive courses.

Gary's technical skills and experience include enterprise and application architecture, ALM, build and deployment automation, web development, database modeling and development, and test automation.

You can find Gary at www.GaryPedretti.com and on Twitter @GaryPedretti

 

Location:Microsoft-Chicago 200 E Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

Agenda:6:30pm Dinner, 7:00pm Presentation

You are not currently registered to attend. RSVP Now to Attend

Tags:

ALM | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | Automated Testing | Scrum | Architecture

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FREE webinar on April 9th - Lifecycle Analytics with TFS 2013 and Office 365

by Angela 16. March 2015 13:34

More and more businesses that I work with rely on software for their growth and success, today more than ever before. But businesses often feel a lack of control and visibility around their software processes, and fail to achieve the agility and efficiencies needed to succeed.

Microsoft has revolutionized software Application Lifecycle Management with a robust and highly collaborative toolset focused on transparency, quality, and efficiency. Visual Studio ALM provides a powerful collaboration and automation platform in Team Foundation Server (TFS), while offering a wide variety of interfaces to TFS including Visual Studio, Microsoft Test Manager, cross-platform development tooling such as Eclipse, and Office.

Microsoft Power BI is a complete self-service business intelligence solution that can be used to visualize the patterns and trends in your TFS data.

Please join us for this free online webinar to learn how to harness the powerful integration and reporting capabilities available in this suite of Microsoft tools to not only manage your software ALM, but to improve it!

Key Experiences:

· Overview  of Visual Studio ALM

· Overview of Power BI

· Capturing the right data in TFS

· Applying analytics and business intelligence to inspect and improve your processes

When:   Thursday, April 9th from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Register Now

Presenters:

clip_image002Angela Dugan is the Microsoft ALM Practice Manager for Polaris Solutions.  She has been working in the software industry for 16 years, is a certified scrum master, and a Microsoft ALM MVP.

clip_image004Tom Jaskula is the Data Analytics Practice Manager for Peters & Associates and is the president of the Chicago BI PASS chapter.   He has been architecting and implementing solutions using Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Business Intelligence products for 16 years.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | VS 2013 | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2013 | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2013 | SQL Server | SQL Server 2012 | Business Intelligence | Office 365 | o365 | PowerBI

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