4th Annual Most Valuable Member Event

By James at July 14, 2011 11:24
Filed Under: community, Inland Empire .NET UG, Non-Technical, user groups


Oh, how I love the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group. So much so that 4 years ago, I started the Most Valuable Member competition which allows the members of the group to compete against each other by gaining points for contributing back to the group and to the development community. For example, write a review for a book you won at a raffle and get 500 points. Give a presentation at a Code Camp and get 1000 points. Help to setup or tear down after a meeting for 200 points. Get a Microsoft Certification and receive 500 points. The list itself is quite large and these are just a few examples.

So, you may be wondering, “why would a person want to compete, what’s in it for them?” How about a backpack stuffed with over $25,000 in software licenses, books, and other swag for the winner, and similarly stuffed backpacks for the 1st and 2nd Runners Up. Add on top of that, a special catered event to commend you, and being publicly recognized as an outstanding member of the .NET Development Community.

Tuesday, July 12th 2011 was the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group 4th Annual Most Valuable Member Event. It was held at the San Bernardino Hilton, and was just a ton of fun. It took a lot of planning, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the fantastic help of several sponsors – Red Gate, Telerik, Microsoft, Infragistics, DevExpress, EmailVerify, Pluralsight, O’Reilly, Apress, Pearson Publishing and Wrox.

60 people attended and were treated to live music by my kids, William and Amy, a sit down dinner of Chicken Marsala with cheesecake for dessert, tons of raffle prizes – everyone left with something – and three great presentations from Craig Shoemaker, Seth Juarez, Steve Paplanus and Dustin Hothard.

While people were coming in and signing up, they were treated to music from William and Amy, who had been practicing for several weeks prior. At 6:30 the festivities began with me talking about the group over the past year where I mentioned some highlights over the past year. They were:

  • Watching the interactions and eavesdropping on the conversations that took place during the Tuesday night meetings
  • Seeing how the members have developed new skills
  • Getting to meet new people and watch them develop into active user group members
  • Enjoying seeing how member’s careers have changed and grown


Then I presented some interesting bits of data from the past year:

  • 11 Speakers
  • 18 Sponsors with over $86,000 in books and software licenses raffled off
  • 70 books reviewed
  • 800 slices of pizza and 600 cans of soda and water consumed


The presentations started off with Craig Shoemaker speaking on HTML 5 Offline Data Storage. Craig is such a great speaker and his presentation really shined.

Seth Juarez was next and spoke on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Language. Seth is a dynamic and funny speaker and his talk was dead on.

Next up was a video presentation from Lynn Langit giving an update on the SmartCare project in Zambia and our sister user group over there, ZamDevs.net.

To round out the presentations was Dustin Hothard and Steve Paplanus talking on “Teaching Kids Programming”. They took a team approach when speaking on the great work that www.teachingkidsprogramming.com is doing for getting kids involved in development at an early age.

After a short break and more music, it was time to announce the MVM awards.

The first award for 2nd Runner Up went to Ayyappan Nagender.

The first MVM Award goes to a user group member, who quietly has become one of the cornerstones of the user group. He attends every meeting, except when he is visiting family in India, eagerly offers to teach classes, gives outstanding presentations and has a unique sense of humor. On many occasions he has donated his raffle prize to someone in the group who doesn't have the software, and is a dedicated user of the Book Review program often taking a book as a prize instead of a piece of software. With 5700 points the Most Valuable Member 2nd Runner Up is Ayyappan Nagender.”

Then the award for 1st Runner Up went to Oscar Azmitia.

“The next MVM award goes to one of the smartest people I know. He is quietly unassuming about his knowledge, while loving to share his ideas and techniques. He has participated in the user group by presenting on Windows Phone technologies, and teaching in the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed events the user group has put on. As a young man, this person has a ton of potential with many great rewards ahead of him; it will be a great thing to see what he will accomplish. With 6680 points the Most Valuable Member 1st Runner up is Oscar Azmitia.”

Then the moment we had all been waiting for, MVM for 2010-2011, Dustin Davis

"There are many words to describe the Most Valuable Member of 2010-2011, but the main one which comes to mind when thinking about him is "doer". I honestly don't know where he gets the time to do all the things he does, from working as a production developer, writing blog posts, frequently tweeting and giving countless presentations. He has presented to the user group several times, taking it upon himself to teach the .NET beginner's section of the user group meetings, participating in the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed events, attending and presenting at Code Camps, and becoming the latest volunteer for the International .NET Association as Communications Director. One thing he "did", and I will always remember this, is out of his own pocket, he had IEDOTNET shirts made, so other members of the group could participate in the Most Valuable Member process by wearing a piece of User Group clothing. I am honored to count him amongst my close friends and with 17690 points, the Most Valuable Member of 2010-2011 is Dustin Davis."

And since I don’t like to ever leave anyone out, the following people were mentioned and received a special bag of prizes for participating in the MVM competition over the past year, Jim LaVine, Brent Harris, Henry VanderLeest, Matt Penner and Jimmy Aldape.

Highlights of the evening

  • Getting to hear Amy and William sing
  • The food
  • Watching the camaraderie of the members
  • Seeing that several attendees brought their significant others to the event – a very nice touch

Videos of Amy and William

Baby I Love Your Way

Hotel California

Hey Soul Sister

Why Won’t You Answer Me?

Time for a nap, then on to planning next year’s event.


Inland Empire .NET User’s Group–June 14, 2011–Mike Vincent

By James at June 15, 2011 12:30
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG

On Tuesday June 14, 2011, my good friend and fellow MVP, Mike Vincent presented on “The Role of the Software Architect: Technology, Process and People” to the IEDOTNETUG.

What does the role of the Software Architect really imply? Why do organizations need architects? That’s what this session is all about.  It’s a lot more than UML diagrams. Architecture is technology, it’s user experience, it’s communication, it’s bridging between a business vision and implementation of a system. Architecture is about making new and existing systems work well together, to be extensible, to be maintainable. Architecture is process, it’s agile, it’s negotiation and bargaining, it’s about bringing people together and facilitating the implementation of systems that work well, it’s about delivering business value.

Attendance: 25

Raffle Prizes: 32


Installing Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1… no love from LightSwitch

By James at June 01, 2011 22:46
Filed Under: Beta Software, Technology in General

I love installing beta bits. Usually I will spin up a new VM and install the stuff there, but apparently I didn’t do this with Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch Beta Edition. While LightSwitch is a cool idea, it’s not for me and I’m sure I uninstalled it right away. A month or so go by and the Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 Beta bits are out, so I go to install them on my development machine, only to be greeted by this error dialog.

Incompatible products Setup has detected that following incompatible version of products or components are installed on your machine… "*Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch Beta Edition – ENU”

lightswitch error

I checked Add/Remove programs and LightSwitch was not in the list. Hmm, I think, perhaps there are some leftover files. So I opened up Search Everything (one of my favorite tools) and did a search for “Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch Beta Edition”. I found tons of file folders all over the place, and deleted them all.

Running the install again, I got the same error, so this time decided to check the registry with RegEdit. Searching for the same string, I found almost 30 registry entries that had not been cleaned up by the uninstall process. I backed up my registry, then went and deleted all of those keys.

Starting the install again, gave me lots of love and I now have the Mango Dev Tools installed on my machine.

Hope this helps you out if you run into the same problem.


Inland Empire .NET User’s Group–May 10, 2011–Oscar Azmitia

By James at May 11, 2011 12:27
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG

In this session we will focus on topics that are specific to this platform and learn the foundational concepts behind Windows Phone 7 so you can start all your apps using the same base code. We will build on top of the knowledge you already possess to address concepts and tips to make your development faster.  We will go through the steps of making an application touching on phone specific concepts such as maintaining your data alive, managed navigation, tomb stoning your application and isolated storage. After this session, you will feel comfortable to create your own ideas into applications and publish them into the marketplace; you will realize how fast and simple you can make an app that can be useful to others and maybe earn some extra money.

Oscar is a really good presenter and the session was well received.

Attendance: 30

Raffle Prizes: 30


“Contains” with LINQ to Entities

By James at April 22, 2011 21:40
Filed Under: Entity Framework

This post is mostly so I don’t forget, but if it helps you, then that’s groovy too.

In SQL you can use the IN clause to find a bunch of files where say the Id number is IN(1,2,3,4,5,6). However there isn’t that capability using LINQ to Entities.

I need this functionality for a project I’m working on and ran across some Bing results which gave me some ideas. Here’s how I did it.


var ressFileList = _db.RessFiles.AsEnumerable().Where(db => _ressFileIds.Contains(db.Id)).ToList<RessFile>();


Where _ressFileIds is a list I’ve generated elsewhere. The key is to use AsEnumerable() when calling the table you want to find the Id values in. Works like a champ.


Watch out! Visual Studio SP1 Pack for VS and VWD with WPI

By James at April 14, 2011 20:18
Filed Under: ASP.NET, Beta Software, Entity Framework, Miscellaneous, Technology in General

I like to have all my tools updated and current and wanted to install the RTM version of IIS 7.5 Express, SQL Server Compact 4.0 with the tools, and Web Deploy 2.0. I found a link to install these, along with Visual Studio 2010 SP1 via the Web Platform Installer. http://www.microsoft.com/web/gallery/install.aspx?appid=VWDorVS2010SP1Pack

Ok, methinks, I already installed VS 2010 SP1, so this should be smart enough to see this and not muck things up. Boy was I mistaken. After 90 minutes of installing, I figured something was wrong and cancelled the installation. Man, was that ever a bonehead move! My entire development environment got hosed; currently working solutions wouldn’t open, MVC 2/3 templates were gone, lots of frustration. Running SP1 again, I was given the opportunity to repair the installation, and that failed…twice.

I finally uninstalled VS 2010 SP1, uninstalled VS 2010, then reinstalled both. However, now this time, the Entity Framework templates were missing, and opening an EDMX file just showed the XML. Yikes.

I did another round of uninstall/reinstall, only to find out that both versions of MVC 2 and 3 didn’t have the tooling and my current MVC2 project doesn’t recognize any MVC related code.

I keep my VS 2010 .iso files on my server and use a virtual CD drive to run them. Doing a repair this way, caused a ton of problems too, as the VS 2010 installer wants to install .NET 4.0, which wants to reboot the system. Naturally when the system reboots, the installer wants to find the setup files, but since it takes time to find all the drives after a reboot, the install keeps failing.

What a waste of a day and a half.

Lessons learned

1. Don’t use the VS SP1 Pack for VS and VWD from the Web Platform Installer. Get the individual downloads for the apps you want to install (IIS 7.5, SSCE and Web Deploy 2.0) and run them by themselves.

2. Copy the files from the VS 2010 .iso to a local folder and run the setup from there. This way after a reboot, the installation will know where to look to continue on.

3. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


Inland Empire .NET User’s Group–April 12, 2011–Brent Harris

By James at April 13, 2011 12:21
Filed Under:

Has someone ever handed you a database and asked you to find a problem and fix it?  Have you ever needed to step back into a database that you had not seen in years and try to fix a problem?  Where do you start looking when the territory is unfamiliar?  User Group member, Brent Harris gave a pleasing talk on “Data Mining in Unfamiliar Territory”, which including him actually mining for gems with a prop mine. Lots of fun.

Brent is a full time IT Customer Service Rep and Developer for Enerpath, a company that provides energy savings opportunities for homes and businesses across the nation.  In his spare time, Brent enjoys .NET programming, Runescape, and adventures with his family.

Attendance: 28

Raffle Prizes: 30


INETA gets a new Board Member

By James at April 11, 2011 19:03
Filed Under: Life in General, community, evangelism, user groups, Technology in General

I’ve got news!


I’m honored and humbled to have been elected to the Board of Directors for the International .NET Association (INETA), where I will be in charge of handling the Marketing and Sponsorships for the group. We had our first semi-annual Board Meeting this past weekend (April 8th through 10th), with six new members, and there was a ton of passion and excitement for bringing INETA up to speed on visibility, supporting our user groups, bringing new user groups into the family, and keeping INETA viable and relevant. Plus I got to meet a bunch of really groovy people; the rest of the Directors and Officers:


Joe Guadagno, Dane Morgridge, Woody Woodruff, Robin Edwards, Chris Coneybeer, Mark Rowe, Lori McKinney, Steve Bohlen, Nancy Mesquita and Stacey McKown.


It will be lots of work, but I am thrilled to be given a chance to be part of this. Stay tuned for updates and more information. And, don’t forget to checkout the INETA site at www.ineta.org!



Inland Empire .NET User’s Group-March 8, 2011-Dustin Davis

By James at March 09, 2011 11:17
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG

My good friend, and IEDOTNETUG Member Dustin Davis, came to present to the group with a talk titled, “Aspect Oriented Programming”. AOP allows you to write code that handle cross-cutting concerns, and while at the beginning, it seemed more “black boxish” than it should, by the end of the presentation, everyone in the audience was getting the hang of it.

Dustin is a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and has been developing on the Microsoft stack exclusively since 2005. Dustin spends his days as a lead developer, his nights as a consultant and independent contractor.

Attendance: 27

Raffle Prizes: 30


Inland Empire .NET User’s Group Meeting–February 8, 2011–Craig Shoemaker

By James at February 09, 2011 11:09
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG

Craig Shoemaker from Infragistics came to present “ HTML5 for Today and Tomorrow to the IEDOTNETUG on Tuesday February 8, 2011. Craig is a really great speaker and showed the group all the different, and new, tags available to developers when building HTML5 apps.

Craig Shoemaker is a software developer, podcaster, blogger and New-Media Evangelist for Infragistics.

Attendance: 20

Raffle Prizes: 30


About the author

James James is a five time and current Microsoft MVP in Client App Development, a Telerik Insider, a past Director on the INETA North America Board, a husband and dad, and has been developing software since the early days of Laser Discs and HyperCard stacks. As the Founder and President of the Inland Empire .NET User's Group, he has fondly watched it grow from a twice-a-month, early Saturday morning group of five in 2003, to a robust and rambunctious gathering of all types and sizes of .NET developers.

James loves to dig deep into the latest cutting edge technologies - sometimes with spectacular disasters - and spread the word about the latest and greatest bits, getting people excited about developing web sites and applications on the .NET platform, and using the best tools for the job. He tries to blog as often as he can, but usually gets distracted by EF, LINQ, MVC, ASP, SQL, XML, and most other types of acronyms. To keep calm James plays a mean Djembe and tries to practice his violin. You can follow him on twitter at @latringo.

And as usual, the comments, suggestions, writings and rants are my own, and really shouldn't reflect the opinions of my employer. That is, unless it really does.

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