I’m pleased to announce that a new series of short videos, called “How Do I?” created by your local Microsoft Technical Evangelists has been posted to Channel 9. Contributors include Jeff Barnes, Jeremy Foster, David Isbitski, and of course yours truly. Running between 8 and 15 minutes, these videos are intended to give you solid technical information on a specific topic in Windows 8 development, with no fluff, plenty of code examples, and kept short enough that you can easily fit them into your busy schedule.
Last year, it was my privilege to be a part of the team that brought a new conference to the Mid-Atlantic, the Mid-Atlantic Developer Expo (or MADExpo for short). The conference was born of many conversations and discussions in the community from folks wanting to do something a little bigger and bolder than some of the usual events we were used to. So I, Steve Bodnar, Steve Presley, Kevin Griffin, Sara Faatz. Kevin Hazzard, Pete Brown, Rich Dudley, and a team of volunteers planned and executed the first event last summer.
Why We Did It
Our goal was to create a fun and informative conference with some unique aspects. We included a full-day kids conference called MadKidz, run by Kevin Hazzard (with help from his family), which was a big hit. We included a dedicated room for hardware and NUI demonstrations, featuring a local FIRST robotics team, Chiptunes demo, Kinect and Surface demonstrations, the founder of Secret Labs, maker of Netduino, and all the geeky toys Pete Brown could pack into one table.
We had a keynote by Jeff Prosise, a Wintellect co-founder, on his passion for radio controlled flying, including a 1/6th-scale F-16 onstage. We brought folks to one of the finest facilities on the east coast, the Hampton Roads Convention Center, in the heart of Virginia’s Tidewater, a short drive from the beach, theme parks, and all the history you could want for a summer vacation. And with the assistance of great sponsors, we kept it affordable enough that just about anyone could come.
Over the last few months, I’ve spent a good bit of my free time (and some of my not-so-free time) learning about hardware and microcontrollers. One product of this will be a series of blog posts I’m working on detailing one of the projects I’ve built using Kinect, .NET Gadgeteer, and a few other odds and ends. I also just started working on my first from-scratch robot with my kids yesterday. So I figured there might be a need for a specific landing point on my site for my hardware-related adventures, and I’ve decided to call it Devhammer’s Garage.
In the garage, you’ll find information about my current hardware projects, including photos, links to other interesting sites, and more. If you’re a geek who’s into making stuff, I hope that you’ll find Devhammer’s Garage a useful addition, and I welcome comments, questions, and suggestions. And to whet your appetite, here’s a picture of my next build-in-progress, which I call the Hydrabot (so named for the fact that it’s powered by GHI‘s FEZ Hydra .NET Gadgeteer mainboard):
I’m early in the build process, and I’m kind of designing this first robot as I go along, so I’m still deciding on what kind of sensors to use to help it navigate, etc. The Tamiya parts are very easy to work with. Assembling the gearbox took about 40 minutes or so, in part because I was showing my kids what I was doing as I was doing it, and in part because I took my time to ensure that both sides were geared identically. One advantage of using a gearbox like this is that you can get pretty good torque from even the small DC motors that come with the gearbox, which should help power over any obstacles in the way.
I’ll post more pics and videos as the project progresses, and will have more detailed build information over at the Garage.
I realized this evening that in my MADExpowrap-up post, I left out some pretty critical players. For those of you who aren’t aware, the team I work on at Microsoft is unusual, in that I and my fellow Developer Evangelists do not work in Redmond, nor do we all work in an office together. We live and work in the local communities that we cover, so we don’t get to see one another in person all that often. Continue reading MADExpo Additional Thanks
In case you missed the big announcement yesterday, the wait is over and those of you itching to try your hand at some NUI goodness on Windows with an official SDK can go grab the bits for the Kinect SDK for Windows beta.
June is a big month for user group anniversaries, apparently. A couple of local groups are celebrating anniversaries this month, the first being the Rockville .NET User Group, which is kicking off its 5th year. As has become the tradition (I’ve only missed one year), I’m speaking for the 5.0 release, and I’ll be talking about Microsoft WebMatrix and the Razor view engine, and why they’re relevant to you, even if you’re a professional developer.