Announcing: ALT.NET Online Open Meeting

For a few months now, Zachariah Young, various other folks, and I have been meeting online via Skype+SharedView or LiveMeeting (depending on the size of the crowd) every Wednesday night to discuss various .NET and general technology-related issues. We met at the Agile Austin Open Spaces 2008 conference where I made the foolish statement, out loud, “If anyone wants to remote pair and learn some of this stuff, I’ll pair with you, just name the time and IP address” (or something like that).  Zach took me up on that offer and the rest was history.

Anyhow, it turned into a weekly thing with various other folks joining in or not and so we decided that we should open it up a little more and make it a bigger deal.

Last Week’s Meeting

Last Wednesday (12-NOV-2008), I posted on Twitter to see if anyone was interested and we had 15 or 16 people show up (I think at it’s height it was bigger, but I can’t remember the exact number).  The topics included:

  • Basic Subversion usage (how to arrange repositories, when to branch, how to branch, etc)
  • NHibernate usage (Unit of Work pattern, IRepository vs. IRepository.FindAll(), etc)
  • Managing NHibernate ISession and Unit of Work instances through StructureMap (or any IoC)
  • Oslo, M, DSLs, object models, etc
  • Several others which I can’t remember right now

Encouraged by this success, we decided to open it up again, but publicize it more to see if that would be a good thing.

This Week’s Meeting

I’m not sure if having a lot more people is a good thing or not, but I figured we won’t know until we try it and conclude whether it was a success or failure.


The best part: There are no set topics!  As you’ll see below, this meeting will follow an “open” format (in the spirit of Open Spaces – though not necessarily in form since it’s 100% online).  The idea is that YOU (all of us) organize it according to what interests YOU.  We may not get to cover everything everybody wants, but there will likely be another one of these next week or next month.

In order to see the meeting in case no one has anything to talk about, I’m prepared to discuss the following things:

  • StructureMap and IoC in general
  • NHibernate, Fluent NHibernate, and ORM in general
  • Internal DSLs and language-oriented programming with C#

Hopefully others will attend that can speak on subjects that other attendees are interested in. If you have a subject you’re particularly jazzed about right now and can update the rest of us on it, please come with some talking points just in case! That’d be awesome!


The plan is connect via LiveMeeting (Mac users see note below) at around 9:00PM CST (2100 UTC –0600) for about 2-3 hours on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008.

LiveMeeting URL:

NOTE: Please hit this URL and make sure you have the LiveMeeting client installed BEFORE the meeting starts. This will help prevent you from missing the first 5-10 minutes.

NOTE: Yes, we will try to record it, but sometimes it doesn’t work that great, so not guarantees.

NOTE: Mac Users: LiveMeeting doesn’t support Audio on the Mac (for some reason) and I’m told that the audio support in VMWare Fusion doesn’t work right through it either. I’m told that booting into Parallels works, however. That’s all I know about that, if you need help, please post in the comments and hopefully another Mac user can help (or, you can buy a PC that supports audio without hassle ;))


How to Sign Up

Don’t!  Just show up. If things get out of hand, we’ll figure something else out.  NOTE: No refreshments or meals will be provided, so you’re on your own! 😉

Multiple LiveMeetings?

I have no idea whether 5 people will show up or 100.  If you access to a LiveMeeting account and can spare the time, it’d be great maybe to have multiple meetings going so that the “Law of Two Feet” can apply properly (see below).  Please let me know if you’re interested in doing this and we can coordinate.  Or, just set one up and announce it during the main meeting. REMEMBER: This is self-organizing, so YOU folks figure it out! I’ll help coordinate or arrange where necessary, but ultimately YOU get it going.

Kinda like Open Spaces, but not exactly

We’ll try to stay true to the Open Space Technology tenants. OST requires a facilitator and (usually) multiple rooms to break out the sessions, so we won’t have that and therefore we won’t be technically OST, but we can still try to abide by it’s higher points, namely:

  1. Whoever comes is the right people: this alerts the participants that attendees of a session class as “right” simply because they care to attend
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have: this tells the attendees to pay attention to events of the moment, instead of worrying about what could possibly happen
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time: clarifies the lack of any given schedule or structure and emphasizes creativity and innovation
  4. When it’s over, it’s over: encourages the participants not to waste time, but to move on to something else when the fruitful discussion ends

Also, with OST there is a concept of “The Law of Two Feet Clicks”: If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet clicks. Go to some other place where you may learn and contribute.

Normally, the Law of Two Feet Clicks works better when you have another room/session to go to. Since we only have ONE LiveMeeting room, I’m not quite sure how that’ll work.  As I mentioned above, if you have access to a Live Meeting hosting account, maybe we can get multiple rooms running.

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