CodeStock 2010


Another CodeStock has gone and passed and what an event it was! They finally moved from The Pellissippi State Community College out in the boonies of Knoxville, TN to The University of Tennessee Conference Center in downtown Knoxville. Even better the “official” hotel of the event was the Hilton right across the street. Major props to the event organizers for setting this up so well.


I had a nice 7 hour drive from Bowling Green, Ohio to Knoxville and by nice I mean a pain in the butt. I ran into major traffic slowdowns several times and hit two torrential downpours that had the entire highway driving 20-25mph through the mountains.

Luckily I managed to make it safely and got checked into the hotel. The hotel was very nice! Much better than the Laquinta I’ve stayed in the past 2 years! I ended up meeting up with a large group and we went over to the Downtown Grill and Brewery for some good eats and drinks and then back to the hotel to hang and enjoy a few cigars.


Awake at the crack of 7:30am I was showered and across the street to the UT Conference Center.

I started out my day in Jeff Barnes ( @jeff_barnes) session “Building Reliable and Scalable Systems with NServiceBus”. This was a great intro to service buses and similar technology for scaling systems. I learned a lot from Jeff’s presentation and could see a few potential uses for this system at my own company if we were to re-engineer some of the core systems.

Sessions 2 was Robert Cain’s ( @arcanecode) “The Decoder Ring for Data Warehousing / Business Intelligence with SQL Server”. Thank you so much Robert! You were amazing! I’ve been trying to get my head around the basics of data warehouses for some time now and for some reason I just couldn’t “get it” until you explained it. I have a few book suggestions from him as well so I need to pick those up to get moving forward on this for my company as well.

Next I hit the early lunch session and wandered over to the open spaces.

Sidenote, I love the way they did lunches at CodeStock. Instead of the usual set lunchtime that everyone eats at they just had lunch available for two sessions so that you could grab food between sessions and eat in a session. I liked that much better as it lets early or late eaters choose when they want to eat and it doesn’t waste precious learning time. I call it genius!

So at open spaces I ended up getting into a very long discussion about changes in society and the devaluation of information, free market, piracy, etc. Holy cow was that a great conversation. This is one of the reasons I love events like this. So many smart people in one little area to share and disseminate knowledge, ideas and thoughts. After that discussion I spend a good majority of the time speaking with a few people about my beliefs that our industry needs to be professionalized like engineers, doctors and lawyers. This is a highly volatile area of thought so I won’t go into the discussion now but it was fun to share my thoughts with other people.

The last session of the day I caught was Layla Driscoll ( @LaylaDriscoll), .Net CLR Program Manager at Microsoft, on “.Net from within: CLR 4.0 and beyond”. It ended up being a very good presentation on some of the new 4.0 features and even a chance to ask questions about how Microsoft adds features. Very informative and cool to get some inside scoop on how MS works.

The day finally ended and we all hiked over to the Bijou Theater for the keynote. I wasn’t so sure I liked the idea of the keynote being 3 blocks away but it worked out so no complaints.

Rachel Appel ( @RachelAppel), Developer Evangelist for Microsoft, gave the keynote on the topic of community. She brought up many people to talk about their experiences in the technology community. It was a fun keynote and best of all they did the prize giveaway there. Again, great idea staff! It’s nice not to have to wait after the event is over for an hour of prize giveaways since many people want to get on the road home.

Again, I headed back to the hotel for a few drinks at the bar and cigars. I was feeling very happy by the end of the night!


Once again I was awake and at the event ready to go.

Session 1 was by Michael Eaton ( @mjeaton) on “Going Independent 101: Lessons learned from a decade of independence”. This was a top notch session and it was very nice of Michael to share so many good tips and suggestions for how to move into the path of consultant.

I had planned to see Jennifer Marsman’s ( @jennifermarsman) presentation on Win7 multitouch next but I ended up in Open spaces again chatting with people on many different topics.

Lunch time I sat in on Michael Kimsal’s ( @mgkimsal) session “Getting start with Twilio”. This was probably the most useful session I sat in on. I do a lot of telephony work at my job and Twilio could end up being the perfect fit replacement for managing our own phone systems. I’m very happy that Michael did this presentation so I could be exposed to this technology.

After that session I sat around OpenSpaces for a while talking about jQuery, Sharepoint, sharing work horror stories and finally bailing out early to watch the USA soccer game.

The only thing left to do was attend the world renowned Alan Steven‘s ( @alanstevens) Post-Stock party at his place. It’s so nice of Alan and his wife to open up their house to dozens of nerds to enjoy a fun night. There were drinks flowing aplenty and plenty of folks smoking pipes and cigars outside. We even had a bonfire to sit around while several people took turns playing guitars and singing songs.

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Getting up was a killer after staying up so late at Alan’s place but I managed to get checked out by 10:00am and on the road home to Ohio. Traffic flowed better but I still managed to get caught in two separate torrential downpours again that slowed traffic to a crawl. Man what is it about the mountains and rain?

I finally pulled into my home around 6pm and was glad to be back with my family and my own bed.

Now all I can think about is my next big adventure… DevLink!

Alan P. Barber
Software Developer, Computer Scientist, Scrum Master, & Crohn’s Disease Fighter

I specialize in Software Development with a focus on Architecture and Design.

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