Sunday, January 22, 2006

Dayton-Cincinnati Code Camp

I attended my first Code Camp today as both an attendee and a presenter. I'm sure others will agree, but this was one of the best events that I've been to in a while.

While I realize that the formats are different, this was actually better than the last few MSDN events that I've attended (probably due to speaker and topic diversity). Surprisingly, we did not see Bill Steele there, even though I think he only lives a half-hour away. Oh, well, maybe next time...

Jim Holmes and James Avery have already made mention of a possible repeat event in the fall, and you'll most likely see something similar in format from the Michigan and Toledo groups this spring. Disclaimer: Any and all talk is preliminary and unofficial, so stay tuned.

So, my presentation story:

Greg Huber and I presented on Media Center development (the last presentation of the long day), and we were hoping that showing off the Xbox 360 as an Extender would steal the show. The night prior, we had 2 Xboxes, 1 Media Center, and 2 laptops all successfully talking to each other in the hotel room. That process went relatively smoothly, so we didn't expect much less of setting up the actual presentation.

Well, of course, the demo Gods were angry at us. Maybe it's because I ate the ham sandwich for lunch, or something. First, the Xbox's infrared media remote seemed to lock up Greg's media center whenever I used it (the MCPC also had a IR receiver, so it was receiving all of the same keypresses that I was sending to the Xbox located on the side of the room). So, that made us reboot a couple of times.

And then, there came a point where we needed to use my laptop as a web server to load my solitaire demo, and of course, the MCPC couldn't see my laptop. In retrospect, it's probably because late last night, we also tried to use my laptop as a internet connection sharing device to bridge our ethernet network to the hotel's wireless internet (we were trying to connect the Xboxes to Xbox Live, if ya have to know, but we weren't successful). I didn't remember this until just now, but I bet that set up all kinds of firewall policies on the XP SP2 firewall, and port 80 is probably blocked at the moment.

I, of course, was not in the audience, so I can't judge how well we did trying to recover from the unexpected hardware issues. My only hope is that at least my message about using .NET Winforms controls inside of HTML was useful to the audience, because that is applicable to more than just MCE/Xbox.

If you caught our presentation, I'd love to hear your personal feedback in comments. We're giving an extended version of this presentation to GANG on 2/15, and besides the obvious equipment issues, would like to know what else needs work.