Good day at Build

This was a good day. I’m at the //BUILD conference in San Francisco. Handful of really good things happened today.

One, I got to catch most of the keynote today and there were some really good surprises even for me in there.

  • Windows/Windows Phone is free for devices with screen smaller than 9”. I’m loving this. It greatly enhances our reach and all of the sudden it doesn’t matter that we’re buying Nokia to other device makers because they are getting the same price we’re giving Nokia…
  • Great new enhancements to Windows Phone. I’m not blown away by Cortana but it’s interesting. I’m LOVING the new notification center and all the little fit and finish with WP 8.1 and with IE11 on WP.
  • Great story around the “universal runtime” stuff unifying all the platforms development story. I think this is awesome and makes live much better for anyone trying to develop on any of our platforms.
  • Awesome store enhancements such as the being able to buy on WP and it just works on Windows as well and the like…
  • and a couple more things that are escaping me now. What was your favorite?

Two, I now have a CEO who stood on stage and fielded architecture questions about how to build a cloud solution. YES!!! This was awesome.

Three, I got to meet a ton of great folks and catch up with even more. Too many to name because I know I’d forget some. Leave a comment if we connected. :)

Four, I got to speak this year. This is actually the first tier one MS event I’ve ever spoken at. It went really well. I’ll link the video when it gets posted to Channel9.

I got to help launch the beta of http://status.modern.ie. This is a great site that will keep you up to date on Internet Explorer’s roadmap of features.

Perception verses Reality

One of my first mentors, Denny Williford, told me a story. Over the years, I’ve retold this story dozens of times and I’m sure that some of the details have changed over time but here’s my current version. :)

The management for an expensive high rise apartment complex had an issue. Their tenants who lived in the upper and most expensive floors were complaining that the elevator was “just too slow”.

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File –> New –> Presentation: A Review

File->New->Presentation Book Cover Check the end of this post for a discount on Simon Guest’s book File->New->Presentation.

I recently gave a talk on presenting at CodemashCodemash. I blogged about that talk at “Lessons from a Grizzled SpeakerLessons from a Grizzled Speaker”. In asking for tips from from my friends, I found out that one of the best presenters that I’ve had the pleasure to watch multiple times, Simon Guest (the only man ever allowed to sign into the Microsoft network as guest), had written a book on presenting called File –> New –> Presentation.

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Speaking Tips from a Grizzled Speaker

At Codemash this year I gave a talk full of tips for speakers. At first, I was going to write a talk myself full of my own tips and tricks but then I realized that while that was a good idea, I’m not nearly as good as my whole network of amazing and brilliant speakers so I asked them for their best speaker tips. The result was a fantastic talk on speaking with some outstanding glimpses into the minds of some of the best speakers that I know. Continue reading

Collecting Speaker Tips…

What’s your best speaker tip?

I’m doing a talk on speaker best practices and would love to hear from other speakers as to what their favorite tip is for others. I know I’ve got a few outspoken friends who might have a few thoughts to share.

  • What’s the most important thing about writing an abstract?
  • How do you find inspiration when writing?
  • What’s your writing process?
  • How do you prep?
  • What’s your “pre-game” routine before a talk?
  • What’s your secret to delivering a fantastic talk?
  • What kind of follow up do you recommend?
  • What am I missing?

Josh Holmes with audience in the background

And yes, I’ll consider the comments creative commons and share and share alike with attribution. :)

Fun with Regex

Yup, said fun with regex. My standard line is the old favorite “I have a problem that I solved with regex and now I have two problems”…

But Josh Bush tweeted about a regular expression game that Erling Ellingsen built.

There’s 15 levels that exercise different expressions in regex.

  1. Plain strings
  2. Anchors -
  3. Ranges
  4. Backrefs
  5. Abba
  6. A man, a plan
  7. Prime
  8. Four
  9. Order
  10. Triples
  11. Glob
  12. Balance
  13. Powers
  14. Long Count
  15. Long Count v2

I love these types of challenges specifically because gives a fun way  to learn new things and experiment without fear. I started playing it yesterday and it’s a fantastic time suck for a geek like me. Without looking up the regex cheatsheet, I got to about 1500 but then I had to dive deeper into backreferences and grouping than I had before. I wish JavaScript supported nested references but oh well.

I’m currently at 3293 but I’m positive I can break 3500 at some point in the near future as I don’t really feel like I’ve cracked Glob, Prime, or Triples.

Go play the Regular Expression game and make sure that you comment with your scores! :)