image

We are having a blowout sale on TechBash tickets. Plus, the Kalahari has extended our room discount (while supplies last). You can now attend TechBash (tickets and hotel) for under $650! Here is the news you need…

TechBash is Sept 28-30 2016, Pocono Manor, PA

Here are 3 great reasons to register for TechBash 2016

1. The Content is really awesome!

The first and most important reason to attend a tech conference is learning. We’ve got you covered with some of the best and most knowledgeable speakers from across the country! At TechBash you will get the facts from experts. Learn about web, cloud, DevOps, design patterns, and tools. Want to learn about Microsoft tech like ASP.Net, Azure, C# or Visual Studio? At TechBash you will get expert knowledge and great perspective because we have speakers from inside and outside of Microsoft. Here are some names to get you interested:

From Microsoft: Amanda Lange, Chris Risner, Dave Voyles, David Giard, James Tramel, Jeffrey Fritz, Joel Cochran, Pete Brown, Stephen Bohlen

Microsoft MVPs: Chris Woodruff, Iris Classon, James Bender, Jesse Liberty, Jim Wooley, Joseph Guadagno, Ondrej Balas, Oren Novotny, Sam Basu, Steve Michelotti, Kevin Hazzard, and organizers Alvin Ashcraft, Andy Schwam, Brian Minisi, Devin Rader

But that’s not all: We’ve got other top speakers including Glenn Bock, Joe Kuemerle, Kendall Miller, Ashley Grant, Bradley Holt and more!

image

Click here to see our full schedule!

2. The Location is great (and close by to many of you)!

Our venue, the Kalahari Resort is really cool. It’s a new Resort, Conference Center, and 100,000 sq. ft. indoor waterpark! TechBash is located in the Pocono Mountains in PA. That means it’s not only a beautiful setting, but it’s also really close. If you are in the northeast US and tired of flying cross country for tech conferences, TechBash is for you. We are less than a 2-hour drive from New York City, Philadelphia, and northern NJ. And this location is still within reasonable driving distance of many other major cities in the northeast, including Boston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, DC!

clip_image004[4]clip_image006[4]clip_image008[4]clip_image010[4]clip_image012[4]

3. The Price is Right!

This Labor Day we’re celebrating everyone who puts in a hard day’s work by offering you the best TechBash deal yet.

Our best price ever: Buy your ticket between August 31st and September 7th using the promo code TBLABORDAY and we’ll knock $100 off the normal registration price and you get our discounted Kalahari hotel room rate of $159 per night. This offer is for a limited by room availability at the Kalahari so don’t wait.

Now is the time to register!

Talk to your company, and let them know great advantages of attending TechBash. Tell your boss that about the content and the savings. Talk to your family, and think about combining the conference with a long weekend of water park fun! If you want any other information, contact me or check out our website www.techbash.com.

TechBash 2016 is a non-profit, community run event.

techbash-2016The content for TechBash is really looking good. Ok, I am biased a bit because I am helping to run the event Smile.

But seriously, we’ve got great speakers coming in from around the country to share their knowledge with you. I’m excited about a lot of it but some areas really stand out. For us ASP.NET developers, so much is changing and there is a lot to learn. Now is the time to get up to speed. Here are a just a few of the talks that are sure to help:

Title: A Deep Dive on ASP.NET Core

Presenter: Jeffrey Fritz

Are you considering ASP.NET Core for your next project? In this session, join one of the Microsoft program managers responsible for this new development platform as we take an in-depth look at the new ASP.NET Core platform. We will cover how the new .NET command-line interface enables you to build applications inside and outside of Visual Studio. We’ll look at how to use ASP.NET Core with docker and how you can build re-usable components with NuGet integration. Attendees of this session will have a deeper understanding of the topics they need to deliver more effective and faster applications with ASP.NET Core.

If you don’t know Jeff, you should. For us Philly locals, Jeff is well known as he is one of us. He’s been speaking in our area for years (I’m pretty sure was at his first talk ever) and now he is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft! Not only that, he’s a great presenter and writer! Yes, this is a great opportunity to get the info from someone who really knows his stuff. We are really lucky to have Jeff with us at TechBash. You can see Jeff’s full bio and view all of the sessions (although the list is still growing) on the TechBash website.

Title: Getting started with Entity Framework Core

Presenter: Jim Wooley

With the cross-platform version of .Net, Microsoft has had to rewrite many of the core components that we have come to depend on. If you include data in your applications, chances are you have used Entity Framework in the past. In this session, you’ll learn how to get started using EF Core and how to handle the changes in this version.

Lucky for us, Jim Wooley is traveling to us from Atlanta. He’s the author of the popular “LINQ in Action” which is an awesome book. He’s also a great, popular presenter at conferences around the country. You can see Jim’s full bio and view all of the sessions (although the list is still growing) on the TechBash website.

Title: A Lap around ASP.NET Core 1.0!

Presenter: Sam Basu

Man, naming products is hard! But change is in the air for ASP.NET developers, as vNext ushers in a new era. Let’s talk – .NET Core | ASP.NET Core 1.0 | Open Source | .NET Frameworks Changes| ASP.NET Runtimes | WebForms | MVC 6 | Cross-Platform Tooling | Omnisharp.NET | Homebrew | Yeoman | CLI with VS Code or Sublime Text | Docker. Join me as we explore all that’s new & shiny. This is one of the best times to be an ASP.NET developer – let me show you why!

 

Did you read the summary above? Can you see how much there is for us to learn to be ready for ASP.NET Core? Sam Basu is coming in to help us out. Sam Basu is a Developer Advocate at Telerik (now Progress). He’s also a popular speaker and you are sure to learn a lot. You can see Sam’s full bio and view all of the sessions (although the list is still growing) on the TechBash website.

So, is that all?

NOPE! There will be lots of other great sessions at TechBash 2016. Please check out the current list on our website. I’ll try to highlight more soon.

TechBash: Sept. 28-30, 2016

Kalahari Resort, Mt Pocono, PA

Purchase your tickets and book your room now! We have a limited number of tickets and hotel rooms.

I look forward to seeing you there!

techbash

TechBash 2016 is a brand new developer conference taking place on September 28-30, 2016. I’m one of the organizers along with a small group of friends from the developer community. TechBash will feature great presentations for you by a variety of awesome speakers from around the country. Our venue, the Kalahari Resort is really cool. It is a brand new Resort, Conference Center, and 100,000 sq. ft. indoor water park! TechBash is located in the Pocono Mountains in PA. That means it’s not only a beautiful setting but it’s close to many people living in the northeastern US. It’s less than a 2 hour drive from New York City, Philadelphia, and northern NJ. And this location is still within reasonable driving distance of many other cities in the northeast!

Our goal is to inspire our attendees to build great things. At TechBash, we are building an environment that is designed for attendees to get the most out of the event. In the many sessions at TechBash you will learn all sorts of new things. But we know that a lot of great things happen outside of the talks as well. That is why we will have a great attendee lounge that will have plenty of space for you to hang out and talk with old friends and new. It will provide a great place for speakers and attendees to have follow up talks after sessions. There will be snacks and coffee. And it will also include our Hack Lab and our vendors as well. The Hack Lab is a space for our attendees, speakers and sponsors to collaborate, brain storm, hack and even demo the results!

TechBash is a community driven, non profit event (although not a charity) organized by the TechBash Foundation.

If you are already hooked, just register (registration info is below)! And please read on if you need a bit more convincing…

Content is Key!

Our goal is to be technology/platform agnostic. We know that nowadays, developers are interested in all kinds of stuff and there is a lot to learn for us all. Having said that, the agenda is weighted towards Microsoft Technology.So while we have content on ASP.Net (including Core), Azure, Xamarin, Visual Studio, C# and more, we also have talks about JavaScript, Docker, Go, Design Patterns, Web Security, OSS, Agile, and more. For all of the latest details, check out the session list. Keep in mind, as with any event, the schedule is subject to change.

Location, Location, Location

imageAs I said above, TechBash is pretty close for many people in the northeastern US. Sure, those of you from NYC to Philly are all set with a simple 2 hour drive. But if you are from DC to Boston to Pittsburg and beyond, this location is a reasonable drive for a 3 day event! Here are some drive times (according to Google Maps – your times may vary Smile). No air travel required!

City Drive Time City Drive Time City Drive Time
NYC 1:48 Philadelphia 1:53 Harrisburg, PA 1:59
Toms River, NJ 2:19 Syracuse, NY 2:28 Albany, NY 2:58
New Haven, Ct 2:49 Baltimore, MD 3:14 Wash. DC 4:01
Providence, RI 4:24 Buffalo, NY 4:43 Boston, MA 4:48
Pittsburgh, PA 4:51

 

Destination: Fun

Ok, so you are headed out for a 3 day tech conference. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun too! We’ll fry your brain all day long with tons of great content that you can take back to the office and put to good use. But in the evenings, why not enjoy the 100,000 square foot indoor water park? TechBash is hosted at the brand new Kalahari Resort and Convention Center. Yeah, it’s a state of the art conference center and great hotel. But they have restaurants, a Spa, an arcade, indoor mini-golf, hiking and more. Oh, did I mention the 100,000 square foot indoor water park?

waterparkwaterpark2waterpark3

 

Is this a family event?

Yes and no. We know that other similar conferences have kids’ tracks and family content. Plus, there is the water park. While the venue is certainly family friendly, TechBash won’t have any family content in year one but it is part of our long term plan. Let’s get through one year with content for the “big kids” only. But if you want to bring your family, please do so! We are sure they will have fun!

Sponsorship Opportunities Available

We’d love to work with your company as a partner to help make TechBash 2016 even better. Check out our website and our prospectus for more info and then contact me to get things started.

Want to help out while you are at TechBash?

Yeah, we’ll need some help running this event. If you want to help out, sign up, there is a simple form on the bottom of the website.

The most important part: Registration

Registration is easy, there are two simple steps:

  1. Click here to purchase a conference ticket on EventBrite.
  2. Book a room at the Kalahari. Just call 1-855-356-9208 and mention TechBash to get the best rate.

Thanks for reading. I’ll post more information about TechBash soon.

I’ve been waiting for this phone for a long time. My previous phone was a Lumia 920 and I got it when that phone was pretty new. That phone is a bit dated now but still works well. I’ve always liked that 920 and the Windows 8.1 Phone OS. In this review, I won’t focus on the official specs of the Lumia 950. There are plenty of places you can look them up and other reviews that focus on the specifications. This review will be based mostly on my thoughts and impressions. My device is an unlocked Lumia 950 in black. I purchased it directly from Microsoft at the Store. I’m at AT&T customer but since I am off contract, I wanted to keep it that way. I’ll also include my thoughts on Windows 10 Mobile since that is installed on the 950.

Windows 10 Mobile

Coming from Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 10 Mobile is a big change but still familiar enough to make for a smooth transition. The new OS is far more polished and the UI is refreshed a lot in great ways. Since I did not participate in the Insider program, this is really my first look at the OS. I’m sure I will have more thoughts later. Here are some of my first thoughts.

I have always like the actions available to me by swiping down from the top if start. But that menu is much improved now with an expandable/collapsible set of features available. Settings is much improved. Searching settings is a great feature and makes it very easy to use.

wp_ss_20151126_0007wp_ss_20151126_0008

I’ve always been a fan of Cortana and she is working great on Windows 10. So far there are no new surprises with Cortana but I look forward to seeing how it integrates with Windows 10 Mobile. I did have some trouble setting up Quiet Hours. From the phone you can easily turn Quiet Hours on or off but no way to schedule them. But of course, I forgot that Cortana handles that for me!

Another nice feature of the OS is the ease of which you can set where files get stored. Configuring the use of a SD card is easier than ever. I guess I should get around to actually popping in an SD card.

wp_ss_20151126_0012

My only real issue with Windows 10 Mobile is that I don’t think it is done. I have a feeling they rushed this out the door. Is that a big problem? Not really. But often (in my first day) various settings screens would open and then close immediately. So it is a nuisance. But my assumption is that these items will be patched quickly. I don’t mind the minor inconvenience since, as stated, I have been waiting forever for this phone.

Continuum

wp_ss_20151126_0010One of Windows 10 Mobile’s most exciting feature is Continuum. It sounded really cool to me but I admit I was skeptical for two reasons. First, I was unsure how good the experience would be. And second, I’m not sure how useful it would be to me. Well of course I tried it out right away! I already have a ScreenBeam Mini 2. It was super easy to get my phone connected to that via the Continuum app. I also have a little Bluetooth keyboard that goes with my Dell Venue 8. For the mouse, I chose to use the phone as a touchpad. I figured this would give me an idea of usage while “traveling light”. I could always upgrade to a Microsoft Display Dock and better mouse and keyboard. My first thoughts on Continuum – it works really well! There was a slight lag when typing but that was expected with my setup. Basically, it really felt as if I was using a “regular” computer. I played with email and Word and a few other things. The experience was really good. Now, for the big question… will I ever use it again? So far the only answer I have is maybe. I certainly wouldn’t shy away from it. But since I have a lightweight Surface Pro 3, it is not often that I am without a great device to use. And why would I travel with a separate keyboard in my bag vs. my Surface?

Hello

Windows Hello is Microsoft’s new login mechanism. Since childhood I’ve dreamed up using a Retina Scan to log in to a bank vault or some secret location. Windows Hello seemed as close as I would get for a while. Unfortunately, this was a bit of a let down to me. It seems to work but it is just too awkward and slow. I have heard this works much better on other devices. Hello does recognize me but not all of the time. But mostly, it just seems strange holding the phone up to my face and waiting. If it could recognize me really fast at arms-length it would be awesome but that does not work. I’ll be fair and play with it more but I have a feeling this will be turned off on my phone soon.

Size and Weight

I really like the size of this device. I’m coming from a Lumia 920 and I expected the 950 to feel a lot bigger. But it doesn’t. It is bigger but it doesn’t really feel bigger so that is great. Part of that may be due to the weight – this phone is much lighter than my 920. Part of its lightweight nature is due to the material used for the back of the phone. I’ve read many reviews that claimed that the plastic back made the phone feel cheap. I couldn’t care less about that. I really think this is a non-issue. To me, the phone is lightweight – that is a big plus. Also, the back is removable and replaceable so I assume you can get a more expensive back for it if you are so inclined. I’m happy as is. Also, I find it funny that many reviewers suggest that the back material feels cheap and users won’t like it. But many users will get a case for their phone anyway. So why would they care? While the size of this device may not feel much bigger, I have a ton more screen real-estate. I can fit so many icons on the start screen. I am really loving that. For me, the size is great. I feel like the size combined with the resolution makes for a great user experience and fits a lot of information on screen.

Setup

wp_ss_20151126_0009Setup was basically pretty easy. I logged in with my Microsoft Account and I was given the option to copy my old phone’s apps and settings or start from scratch. I chose to copy. So it took a while to install all of my apps but that is to be expected. My start screen looked really funny at first because my Lumia 920 didn’t support as many tiles as the 950 does. I can fit a ton of tiles and it doesn’t look crowded. It looks really cool, I think. Organized and slick. After the initial setup process I spent some time arranging the start screen, configuring email and calendar accounts, and more. Really a very simple process. The only problem worth noting, in case it helps someone else prepare, was the need for a Nano SIM card. My old phone’s SIM card was not compatible with this device. So while at the mall I went to the AT&T store. As much as I dislike that store, it was pretty quick and easy. The staff quickly got me set up with a new SIM Card at no cost.

 

 

 

Screen

As stated earlier, I won’t get into actual specs. I’ll just tell you that this screen is beautiful. As important as the insides of the device are, the screen is what you see, what you use. Touch feels great. Details look sharp and the colors are crisp. The screen is bright. Of course, I haven’t had a chance to try out the 950 in a variety of locations, like the beach for example, but my first impressions are that the screen is beautiful.

Camera

The camera is probably the feature that I was most excited to try. I’ve been trying to read up on the features and capabilities as much as possible and I need to continue doing so. I really want to get the most out of this camera. I had heard good things about the camera’s ability to take low light shots. I took a few pictures inside with no flash and dim lighting. I really was shocked at how good the resulting images were. This is really impressive. I’m very impressed with Rich Camera. With this feature, the camera actually takes multiple pictures and allows the user to to adjust the images later. Wow… again I am really impressed. I definitely need to play around with the camera. I’m also excited about the Living Image feature that takes a bit of video before a picture. Sounds like you can use that to make really nice montages and slide shows.

Apps

Yeah, Windows 10 Mobile is short on apps. We know that already. However, the new mail, calendar and other default apps are really nice and much improved.

Other

Capture

This phone comes ready for 2 SIM Cards. I only have 1. I find it a bit annoying that the phone and text tiles each have a little “1” on them to indicate which SIM card they are for. But I keep seeing the “1” thinking I have 1 text message waiting for me. I’ll probably get used to that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of 2s, the phone came with 2 USB-C cables. One that is USB-C to full size USB. Another that is USB-C with a power plug on the end. That was a small but added bonus. I love the idea of a removable battery. And of course, allowing for SD card expansion is a great thing.
selection of cases and back. My 920 had hardware buttons for “back”, “Home” and “Search”. The new phone does not. The 950 has software buttons for these actions. That is taking me a bit of time to get used to but I have a feeling that this is a better set up.

Summary

Well, this should be no surprise to anyone who knows me. I love this phone. Some may say that there are better phones out there. Certainly there is an issue with available apps for Windows 10 Mobile. But I’ve been “All In” with Microsoft stuff for a while now. I am holding out hope that the platform gets more popular and the apps come. The truth is, I’m not desperate for any apps (right now). Having a Windows based phone is great for me because it works and syncs well with my home pc, my Surface Pro 3, my usage of One Drive, OneNote, and now my new Band 2. If you have a Windows Phone already, I wouldn’t hesitate from getting this device.

I had a great time on Friday 3/20 presenting “End To End Development with Schwammy’s Favorite Patterns and Practices”. Thanks to everyone who came out and sat in a packed room for a full day. And even though we had a pretty large spring snow storm, I’m pretty sure everyone stuck around for the whole day. I hope you all made it home safely.

In this talk I covered a lot of content. If you need to follow up with me on any of these topics, feel free to contact me directly or comment on this post.

Thanks for the great feedback you all provided. The response was very positive. There were a few good suggestions and I’ll definitely be taking them into account when we plan a repeat of this presentation.

Here are the files I promised. I hope the solutions all work out for everyone. Please let me know if there are any problems.

By the way… one last tip… I used one of the VS Extensions that I talked about, VSCommands, to create the zip files for download. VS Commands has a feature allowing you to right click in Solution Explorer and Zip up the solution. It will automatically remove source code bindings, ignore bin directories, and more. Very cool.

Note that the sql scripts for the ELMAH database are in the solution in the App_Readme folder.