Side Projects, Community Involvement, Etc.

There was some interesting discussion amongst LosTechies members recently, and one of the things that came out of it was a comment about LT members keeping the community informed on what they are doing in terms of side projects, community efforts, etc. Since I haven’t blogged about my side projects on LT recently (I’ve been blogging about them on their own sites), I thought I would take a moment and talk about what I’m currently involved in. … i guess this is kind of a “state of the derick” or “what i’ve been up too, recently” post. 🙂


Albacore: Dolphin-Safe Rake Tasks For .NET Systems


Purpose: make it stupidly easy to build .NET systems with Ruby and Rake, including good build-time configuration management practices, and some deployment capabilities.

My primary side project right now is a suite a rake tasks to help build .NET systems. I’ve blogged about this on LT before, but it’s been a few months. Most of the blogging I do about this is over at the website. There’s a small, passionate community of contributors that have really helped to make this project great. If you’re looking for an alternative to XML in your build processes, you should at least look at Albacore. You can find more information at the main site, and you can find some of my original posts here, via my Albacore tag. You can also see a lot of great community effort around the ‘net by googling ‘albacore rake’ or ‘albacore build’ or some other variation of albacore, ruby, rake, etc. This project has been presented at a few user groups in the US and in Europe, has users all around the world – from down here in Texas, all the way over to China, and seems to be growing in popularity every day.


Waco Tech Lunch


Purpose: a gathering of techies in the Waco, TX area for lunch and general talk / fun

I started the Waco Tech Lunch in January of this year as a way for me to get to know more of the technology enthusiasts and professionals here in Waco and the surrounding area. Since I work from home now, I don’t get to have a lot of face to face time with other techies. the WTL gives me that opportunity, provides a great way to meet new people, and generally gives me a higher level of happiness in living in Waco. The knowledge that yes, there are other techies in the Waco area is rather comforting, seeing that I spent my first 8 years of living in Waco, working in other towns (Dallas and Temple).


Central Texas .NET User Group (CTXDNUG)


Purpose: provide a place for .NET devs in the Waco, Temple, and surrounding areas to learn about new and upcoming technologies, techniques and practices in the .NET development space.

I met Dale Glaser through the Waco Tech Lunch a month or so ago, and he started talking about putting together the CTXDNUG. I was extremely happy to see him so passionate about this, as it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never had the time get moving on. Dale has done a tremendous job of getting this up and running very quickly, and the first meeting was last Thursday with Matt Hinze talking about IoC. There’s a great list of speakers already lined up for this user group, and I hope to see it continue to grow and prosper. While I don’t claim to be a leader in the CTXDNUG – all of that credit goes to Dale – I do feel like I am a part of the group and want to encourage other developers in the Waco / Temple area to attend!


Speaking / Presenting

My speaking and presenting has taken a serious nose dive since my 2nd baby was born back in October. However, I’m not completely gone.

#LSSC10: I’m currently scheduled to speak at the upcoming Lean Software Systems Consortium conference in Atlanta. I have a short blog post about my presentation and am currently working on rewriting the material (the slides and the code). I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a paper done for the conference papers by the deadline… we’ll see.

CTXDNUG: I’m planning on doing a presentation at CTXDNUG, but don’t know the month or topic, yet. I’m still trying to work out the schedule between my family and the already amazing line of speakers that Dale has lined up.

Other: I’m thinking about getting back into scheduling some talks for ADNUG and other Austin events (not yet sure if I can do this year’s Austin Code Camp). These are just ideas at the moment, and subject to other scheduling needs with my family. Plus, the ADNUG team has already lined up some great speakers so I wouldn’t be doing a presentation for a while, anyways.

What topics would you like to see me talk about at any of these user groups or events?


Professional Writing

I’m no stranger to professional writing. I had several articles published on now defunct websites back in the dotCom era, but I haven’t done much since then… until recently.

I’ve had one article published in Code Magazine: my SOLID principles presentation materials, turned into a half narrative / half principles discussion. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on this and am happy to have taken the time to do it.  I’ve also got another article in the works for Code Magazine on using ruby, rake and my Albacore project. I don’t yet have confirmation of which issue it will be in, though. Just gotta wait and see.

I’m hoping to continue the professional writing efforts for various print and online publications, and am considering a few topics for books to write. I understand the effort involved in writing a book, though, so I’m not yet committing to this endeavor. What subjects would you like to see me write about more – either on this blog, in magazine articles, or as books?


Keeping Up With What’s Going On

Well, that list of things I’m involved in a little more than I thought it was when I started this post. 🙂 If you’d like to keep up with what I’m doing on a closer-to-realtime basis, be sure to subscribe to the LosTechies RSS or my personal RSS (fed from my LosTechies blog posts), and follow me on Twitter.

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