It has been a long couple of days for me, finally on the train back to Swindon from London, and boy am I tired! But it was so worth it. Where have I been? You may be thinking and if you aren’t and the title still hasn’t explained, I will.
I posted a while back about the Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) Meet Up, where a few MSPs and I organised the #UKMSPMeetUp event – with just a little (a lot) of help from the awesome Ben Nunney, Phil Cross & other guys at Microsoft who really made the event happen so lets start with a huge thank you to the guys at Microsoft for all their support, time and dedication.
So this great event, what actually happened?
The event itself proved to be a great opportunity to network with other Student Partners and it was a great experience putting a real life face to Twitter handles and get to have a chat and experience some awesome tech.
We got to have a look at all the cool stuff in the “Microsoft Home” which is Microsoft’s view on what our living rooms may look like in the near future / now if you’re loaded, such as Surface & Kinect and of course have a good play as you can see from the rather unflattering pics of Blake Pender and I playing Kinect. As well as being sneakily recorded playing Kinect!
For reference, I am the large grey blob on the right, the guy on the left, looking a damn sight better while playing Kinect than I is Andrew Langhorn.
It was great to get some sessions from guys at Microsoft and really helped to give an overview of some of the many areas I’d like to get stuck into.
Welcome to the Future
Ben Nunney kicked off proceedings with a great talk on tech (and Nunney) past, present & future with a look at how technology has evolved and the many incarnations of Windows from the from the good (XP), the bad (Vista) and the downright awesome (Windows 7). Always fascinating to see how Windows and technology in general has progressed, and as always exciting to see where it might be going tomorrow…
Session 1: Developing for Windows Phone 7
A particularly great session with some interesting code examples from Kris Athi (@Lookitskris) for the Windows Phone 7 and explained some of the real-world development methodologies such as MVVM (Model View ViewModel), which has definitely given me another kick to get stuck into C# & Windows Phone 7 development – Can’t wait to get my hands on his code and have a play!
Session 2: Developing for the Web
Following this we had Martin Beeby (@TheBeebs) with some interesting web development and some great demos on HTML5 such as Pirates Love Daises and some simple ways HTML5 can be used, it was also interesting (as an avid Chrome user) to see how IE9 is really stepping up the plate on HTML5 and seems to be outstripping Google Chrome by miles on performance and W3C validity with HTML5… Most impressive.
It was also very interesting to see web development from a Microsoft standpoint being as my view is pretty much purely a Dreamweaver Code view on a LAMP (Linux, Apache MySQL & PHP) standing. I am definitely going to download the development tools such as WebMatrix and other and see if I can have a play with that way of developing for the web, maybe if I am lucky I can find a way to test out the Azure cloud too. I may even get really really daring and see about learning some ASP.net. But I won’t be rushing into that one when I have C# and a never ending list of things to learn & play with.
Session 3: Game Development for XBOX, Phone and PC
Next up on the list of sessions was XNA Game development with Paul Foster (@PaulFo) now I have never really had any interest in games development, but the session defiantly made me at least think its something I’d quite like to have a play with (yet another thing!).
With a simple yet fun game created in a short space of time showing off what can easily be done with the development tools, and again I’d very much like to grab the code and see if I can figure it all out and get my head round some basic XNA development. If I am lucky I might be able to hack together something cool and release it onto the Windows Market. Which would just be plain cool, so watch this space and hopefully I can create something awesome.
Session 4: How to get jobs, get skills and make lots of money.
We ended the sessions with Phil Cross standing in to give us an insight into how potential employers will likely select candidates with some fun and interesting examples and group activities helping to provide a real insight into what may be in-store for when I begin applying for my summer internships & other jobs!
Eating, Drinking, Geeking.
The natural end to a great day was a fantastic evening meal and drinks and another great opportunity to relax and chat with like minded folks and hopefully made some good friends which I can’t wait to meet up with again.
We of course did end up meeting up most of the guys numerous times, with breakfast at McDonalds mainly to abuse their WiFi and of course with horrible situations with travel we all bumped into each other and ended up spending an hour or so chilling in Starbucks in Victoria station enjoying the coffee and of course… WiFi. Because geeks can’t live without internet connectivity. True story. Last time I didn’t have it, I got “the shakes” and everything. Scary.
The past couple of days, while painful on my pocket due to our cheap bus not showing, causing a mad dash for a (stupidly expensive) train ticket, and then on the journey back cancellations and yet more delays thanks to the snow but it was definitely worth it. It was fantastic to meet some fellow MSPs and I have been inspired to “Be what’s next”. I am hoping to get a lot of blogging done and posts written over the Christmas period as well as working on my various projects and websites before I got back to the thrill of college coursework.
Bring on #UKMSPMeetUp2011 !!!