Alex Speaking User Group - Community Event

During a Community Engagement in Oradea

Given my less-frequent posts this year, you probably realized by now that it has been quite a busy ride for me and the team. We’re just about to launch two new products (stay tuned!), signed a few sweet deals and kept the great flow going – I’ll keep you updated as I can disclose more stuff; right now, everything is very hush-hush. And yet, I’ve quite the busiest agenda for the upcoming months, community-wise, ever!

Here are some of the public conferences, meetings and user groups which I will attend as a speaker. If you happen to attend any of these, make sure you drop by and say ‘Hi!’. I’d love to chat with you over anything related to Azure, Microsoft, Xamarin, SQL or whatever your favorite topic might be.

Community Engamgement Cvasi-calendar

  • March 25th, DevExperience Iasi – I’ll talk about ‘High Scalability and Security for Web, Mobile and API Apps‘ running in Azure and was also invited to be part of a discussion panel about Microservices – guess which Fabric I’ll get to talk about (hint: it start with Service…)
  • April 16th, Global Azure Bootcamp Oradea – yet again, Oradea is part of this fabulous global community event and this time it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before. I’m hosting the event in a new location with fellow MVPs who’ll attend as speakers and given this year’s topic, it will be a blast! Stay tuned, if you happen to be in Oradea on April 16th! (link coming up…)
  • April 23rd, CodeCamp Iasi – the gang in Iasi is doing it again: 1200+ developers will most likely show up to one of the largest community-driven events for software developers in Romania. My session at CodeCamp Iasi will be about Cloud Patterns and Best-Practices. And if you think I could talk the entire day about this, think again: I could keep on going for months, honestly. Instead, I only have 50 minutes available to cover the best of cloud architecture and thus this session promises to be a lot of fun!
  • April 26th-29th, WinDays – hosted by Microsoft Croatia in the beautiful country of… you guessed it: Croatia! I will deliver not one but two sessions at WinDays this year, both related to cloud topics: ‘SQL Database from a Developer’s Perspective‘ and my favourite ‘Know Your Customers, Know Yours Apps!
  • May 7th, CodeCamp Cluj-Napoca – basically more or less CodeCamp Iasi, but on the other side of the country, for an entirely different group of talented software developers
  • May 16th-18th, Microsoft NT Konferenca, in the wonderful country of Slovenia. Again, this is a conference I’m very excited about, especially since my last trip to Slovenia which left me utterly surprised – Slovenia is a great country and exceeded my expectations in absolutely every aspect you could imagine. Here are some (huge) numbers about Microsoft NT Konferenca: 3 days long, 1700+ participants, 10+ one day, trainings, 150+ speaker and a tradition of 21 (yes, 21!) years. You could almost think of this as a mini-Build, European-style. Consider that the event is hosted at the sea-side in a luxurious hotel which also offers a with pool warmed salty water – did you start to search for a plane ticket already? At Microsoft NT Konferenca, I’ll talk about ‘Using Azure for Dev-Test Environments’ and about ‘Knowing Your Customers, Knowing Your Apps’
  • I’ve saved the best for last: May 26th-27th, ITCamp Cluj-Napoca. This is the kind of conference which doesn’t need an introduction any more. This year however, given the list of speakers and their background, you’ll get the chance to learn a lot (and I mean A LOT) about security. The agenda is still being put together, so I don’t want to spoil any surprises the organizers are preparing…

So, there’s a lot of community-stuff going on across Europe. And as I happen to be part of some of these events, either as an organizers or as a speaker, it’s my pleasure to declare the conferencing-season OPEN!

See you there 😉

Hi guys,

It has been a while since my last post and that’s because I had quite a busy summer; more specifically, besides my day-to-day job, a few trips and conference preparations for the 2015/2016 season, I also got the chance to work with O’Reilly on one of their video trainings. So in other words, I hereby kindly announce my first project as a trainer for O’Reilly Media.

oreilly logo

From their website:

O’Reilly Media started out as a technical writing and consulting company named O’Reilly & Associates. In 1984, we started retaining rights to manuals we created for Unix vendors. Our books were grounded in our hands-on experience with the technology, and we wrote them in a straightforward, conversational voice. We weren’t afraid to say in print that a vendor’s technology didn’t work as advertised. While our publishing program has expanded to include everything from digital photography to desktop applications to software engineering, those early principles still guide our editorial approach.

Read More →

The ITCamp 2015 video recordings have recently been made publicly available on Vimeo and I’ve taken the liberty of embedding my session’s ‘Application Insights for Any App: Must-Have Tool For Understanding Your Customers‘ recording here. Since all the time slots were an hour long, I suggest you get some coffee, sandwiches, sit down and relax :-).

Enjoy the video and reach out to me on Twitter, Facebook, via the contact form or comment section below if you have any questions on Application Insights, Azure or anything alike.

Alex

P.S.: you can skip directly to 01:00

Every now and then I get people ask me why I choose to attend all these conferences as a speaker, thus choose to travel so much. Before I go into too much history lessons, please know that there was a time when I chose to attend conferences as an attendee like most of you; but times have changed :-).

One of the super dynamics things behind events which hold abbreviations such as Conf, Con, Camp, Sum, Summit, Meetup in their name is in regard to all the preparation organizers go through when it comes to putting together a great event. More specifically, they have to make sure they always call be best possible speakers, select the best talks, don’t get sessions overlap in terms of presentation material, don’t get sessions overlap in terms of majority attendance. Besides, there’s the logistical part they have to take care of: where do you eat, what do you eat, where do you go refresh, how much coffee do they have to brew, what allergy-friendly food should they prepare, how do they ‘scale’ a kitchen so that the food you’ll be served will be both warm enough and will arrive on time… I tell you, as an event organizer, this logistical work behind a 500+ conference is ginormous.

And yet, some conferences really stand out. One of the conferences which really stands out is ITCamp. Last week took part the fifth edition of ITCamp and in my opinion as a two-time attendee and a two-time speaker, time was one of the best ITCamps ever. And it’s not only the content quality which stood out, but also the amount of great speakers you had the chance to meet at ITCamp. And yes, whenever someone asks me (and I do get this question a lot) what the main reason for attending X-Conf, Y-Camp, Z-Summit is, I keep on replying the same thing: it’s the speakers (oh yeah, people like me – haha). More specifically, their technical expertise on a particular subject, their in-depth knowledge and their feet-on-the-ground-like attitude. The reason for why having great speakers is so important is simple: you get to speak to them outside the session room.

So if you’re already a security specialist (are you, really?!), a big-data expert or whatever have you, or if you’re just a rookie in any of these or any other subjects, having a starting point for a conversation with any of the wonder-speakers is key for networking. Most conferences have their fair share of networking during or after the events, but in terms of networking ITCamp is special in many ways: that is, because as an attendee you get to see more than a glimpse of their speakers – you get to eat with them in the same huge restaurant, you get to attend the same party like they do or, if they should, you get to swim with them in the hotel’s swimming pool.

So again, you might already know everything about C# 6 – that’s more than cool. But if you do, you get to use Raffaele‘s presentation as a staring point for an hour-long-like conversation with him. You might not be responsible of your company’s IT infrastructure security, so it might not be that interesting, responsibility-wise, to attend Paula Januszkiewicz‘s session: but then again, what would you like to talk to her about: what the weather is like in Poland?!

Fortunately, enough, ITCamp is by far one of the greatest conferences in Romania and that is, because they know how to treat both their speakers (seriously, have you seen the hotel they’re checked-in?) and their attendees right. As a speaker, I love that they always offer their speakers a one-day-off-site trip to one of the many sightseeing places in Romania: this is one of the best times you get, as a speaker, to really enjoy a day off – you know, traveling around the globe can sometimes (please take this as always instead) overwhelming and tiring, so there’s nothing better than a hot shower and a day off to relax.

As a former attendee and team leader of current ITCamp attendees, I sure I’m not only speaking for myself here: ITCamp is/was and hopefully will be GREAT. Yes, it might not be the largest conference in Romania, but it for sure is one of the greatest; and the fact that it is put together by community leaders rather than privately-owned companies (…usually only interested into having personnel recruited or selling their so-and-so quality products – buuuh) certainly pays off in terms of speaker/attendee engagement, content quality (btw, did you know that they filter the sessions beforehand? Therefore, if attend ITCamp, please be aware that it’s super important for them that you offer them realistic feedback; therefore, just let them know how cool my session was :-)).

Friday ended the fifth edition of ITCamp: here’s to another five editions. What my wish is for the next five ITCamp editions? Simple: to get to meet you in person, whether you’re from the US, the UK, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Romania or any other cool place in the world.

Alex

While the ITCamp 2015 orga team is still ‘cooking’ all the video recordings of these great sessions, I’ve decided to make my slides from my today’s session, entitled ‘Application Insights for Any App: Must-Have Tool for Understanding Your Customers’, available to you using OneDrive.

Whether you were among the 150+ attendees today or not, among all the other important things I have mentioned, I cannot reiterate enough: knowing both your users and application behavior whilst its in the wild is crucial if you want to be the developer of a successful app and not any other production app. Therefore, DO monitor your users, BUT don’t do it like the NSA does. Instead, let your users know that you know what frustrates them the most, let your users know you are aware of how the application performs and most importantly, ACT on all the telemetry data you are gathering.

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itcamp-logo-white[1]For the past 5 years, two great IT community volunteers, namely Tudor Damian and Mihai Tataran, along with a team of engaged volunteers, have put together what is in my opinion the greatest community driven IT conference in Romania, namely ITCamp.

Last year’s edition gathered over 500 attendees, mostly mid- and high-level software developers, all keen to learn from and network with an impressive panel of speakers coming from all over the world, each of them an expert in the IT industry.

Given the public agenda available on http://itcamp.ro, this year’s edition will easily surpasses both content quality and quantity; let me explain:

  • on one hand, this year’s ITCamp will also host a *NEW* track of business-oriented sessions where you could get a lot of insights on how to manage IT risk, what the cloud business models are given the industry cloud-emerging market worldwide, how to become a productive product owner and, one of my very favorites, how to manage intellectual property upon application launch
  • on the other hand, ITCamp 2015 has an impressive list of speakers, such as Paula Januszkiewicz – Enterprise Security MVP, Andy Malone – Enterprise Security MVP, Daniel Petri – Directory Services MVP, Andy Cross – Azure MVP and Microsoft RD, Raffaele Rialdi – Developer Security MVP, Tobiasz Koprowski – SQL Server MVP, David Giard – Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Adam Granicz – F# MVP, to name a few (of course, myself included 🙂 )

To quickly conclude, if you haven’t yet, now is your chance to register for ITCamp 2015 at http://itcamp.ro. The ticket costs around EUR130.00, a bargain considering that this is a once-in-a-year opportunity to get really valuable networking, along with great sessions and wonderful food from the caterer – Grand Hotel Italia.

For the past month I had the opportunity to talk about Azure Search via the Azure DevCamp roadshow put together by the ITCamp community, with the sponsorship of Microsoft. Not only did they put together a great event series, but I also had the chance to meet wonderful people interested in cloud computing across the entire country: Bucharest on February 13th, Oradea on February 20th, Timisoara on the 21st and Cluj-Napoca on the 28th.

Below are my slides (in English) and further down this post is the video recording of my presentation in Cluj-Napoca. For whatever strange reason related to my Surface’s OS going to sleep just before my presentation and not being able to find a particular .dll file part of Newtonsoft’s JSON.NET, one of my demos didn’t run as expected in Cluj-Napoca – even though everything went smooth during the other three events. I’ve also posted a few photos from some of these events in a photo gallery at the end of this post.

If you’re interested in Azure Search, feel free to download the slides and (if you’re OK with Romanian) watch my presentation’s recording.

VIDEO: Add Professional Search Features To Your Apps, Azure DevCamp 2015, Cluj-Napoca

itcamp-logo-white[1]I suppose you’ve already heard of ITCamp, the Premium conference focusing on Microsoft technologies, not hosted by Microsoft (should you have not, check out http://itcamp.ro/past.cshtml). Based on my personal experience, ITCamp is probably the best IT conference in .Ro. Did you know that the guys behind ITCamp are already putting together the details for ITCamp 2014?

I totally recommand registering for IT Camp. And hey, if you keep checking out their website (http://itcamp.ro), you might even get just in time for an early bird discount!

You should also keep checking out the #ITCamp14 hashtag.

A

After attending last year’s ITCamp oganized in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, I was definite that I would attend this year again, even though I will have to leave for Cluj-Napoca on my b-day party (which I absolutely hate, because in the last 6 years, faith made it like that the my b-day would always find in a foreign city or country).

Anyway, back to ITCamp 2013. ITCamp is a developer and sysadmin conference where Microsoft technologies (and related to Microsoft technologies – such as Linux :) ) are presented by industry experts (technology gurus, MVPs, Microsoft Evangelists, ex-Microsoft employees, technology enthusiasts etc.). On their agenda you will find things like ‘Building Elastic, Autoscalable Solutions with Windows Azure‘, ‘Developing for Windows 8 with F# and WebSharper‘, ‘MVC – Common pitfalls and how to resolve them‘, ‘Transact-SQL from 0 to SQL Server 2012‘, ‘Kinect for Windows – Designing Software for Gesture & Voice Controlled User Interfaces‘ and so many other cool things you might actually be interested in!

Last but definitely not least, Richard Campbell and Tim Huckaby are also among the speakers!

Do google ITCamp or go straight to http://itcamp.ro, check the agenda out and register asap: seats are already filling up :)

Alex