As the incoming president of the Nashville .NET User Group I’d like to say thanks and to outline what we (the outgoing and the incoming leadership) have been planning for the group for 2011.
We will continue to have two meetings a month (2nd and 3rd Thursdays) at the same time and place (thank you TEKsystems!). In the past, both the .NET and Web meetings have followed the universal geek talk format: a speaker projects slides & code then takes a few questions and it’s over. These talks can be very good, but the lecture/seminar format nearly guarantees a passive audience and a unapproachable speaker. Remember science class? What was that most awesomely fun alternative to lectures? The lab!
So for 2011 we’re going to experiment. The 2nd Thursday meeting will be “The Lecture” and the 3rd Thursday meeting will become “The Lab” where members will form teams and pick fun and/or useful projects to swarm around. Some examples: learn Orchard CMS; use test driven development to build a small app; research and compare the top five IoC frameworks; learn the guts of expression trees; master branching and merging with Git; learn F#.
I can imagine teams forming, growing and shrinking within a single meeting and others spanning multiples meeting or the whole year. Cool thing–if you and your team gets stuck on something you’ve got an entire room of brainpower to ask (e.g. “Hey, who here’s an NHibernate expert?”)
I hope to see a feedback loop in which “Lab” projects become future “Lecture” meeting topics. I’m also hopeful the labs will give some of the old .NET experts who have dropped-out a good reason to come back to the group. At any rate, it will be cool to have a more social, open way for new faces and beginners to enter the group. I’m really excited about this. I can’t wait!
After many comments we are going to redo the group’s website. The current plan is to use Orchard (an open source ASP.NET MVC CMS system). This should create lots of meaty lab projects.
Within the month we will work out a solution to web access at the meetings. This will not only increase the number of “#nashdotnet FTW!” tweets, but will let members access the group’s shiny new hosted source version control server which supports Subversion, Mercurial and Git repositories.
We are considering having the group become a real grown-up 501c nonprofit. This will reduce some administrative headaches and will no doubt create others.
The group will organize at least two all day Saturday code camps in 2011. If you have ideas for a camp idea pitch them (“F# Code Camp” is already taken). Volunteering to help organize a camp is redeemable for a nomination to be group president in 2012!
The group has had a hand in the plans for Nashville’s 1st GiveCamp since last summer. If you don’t know about it yet please visit http://nashvillegivecamp.org. It’s coming up soon (Friday, January 14 through Sunday, January 16). We’re in need of more volunteers (developers, web designers, content writers and project managers). Please sign up soon (now) and you can load up on karma points for the whole year.
Here are the confirmed non-profits:
- Agape Animal Rescue - http://www.agaperescue.org
- Community Resource Center - http://www.crcnashville.org
- Comprehensive Care Center - http://www.compclinic.org
- Grandma’s Camp - http://www.grandmascampusa.com
- The Center for Family Development - http://www.
- The Nashville Bridge - http://www.thenashvillebridge.
Special note for devs with Site Mason experience: Two of the nonprofits need some Site Mason help. That means you’re really needed (like “rare blood type” needed). Sign up and Chris McPherson will take you out for tacos.
I enjoy being a geek and I’ll do my best to make this year a fun, geeky one in which we all learn a lot.
Please send your concerns, feedback and ideas my way.
President, Nashville .NET User Group