Will "the Mighty" Strohl

March 2009 ODUG Meeting Recap (INETA Sponsored)

INETA Sponsored Event The Orlando DotNetNuke Users Group (ODUG) was very fortunate this month to have an INETA sponsored meeting.  It was INETA who paid the bill to fly and accommodate Chris Hammond.  If you don't already know, Chris Hammond is a pretty well known name in the DotNetNuke community.  Among his notable qualifications are:

As you can see from the preceding list, it was definitely an honor to have him speak to the ODUG.  He just might be a little qualified to talk about about DotNetNuke.  {GRINS}

Before The Meeting

The setup began around 5:30 PM like it normally does.  Chris showed up at the same time that the rest of us did.  Our UG Secretary, Bob Santuci, and Rick Tull all helped to set up the room.  Thank you, guys!  This included putting out the free materials (magazines, handouts, etc.), ODUG banners, ODUG street signs, getting the projector set up, video cameras prepared, and the web cams at ready.  Getting help to set the room up is difficult to do, so I really appreciate both of them helping.

We always stream our meetings, and I think that we had the winning combination last night.  We had 2 web cams set up.  Once was pointed directly at the projector screen, and the other was panned out, showing the screen and Chris.  There were a couple of short outages due to the streaming provider briefly dropping the stream, but it was otherwise the best streaming we have done to date.  We had both streams showing on our ODUG Live page, along with the core Chat Module.  Unfortunately, the concurrent user count peaked at only 7 viewers.

Cafe Tu Tu Tango and VACO came through with some incredible food again.  We even had 10% discount coupons to five to our attending members.  Troy and Ana do a fantastic job at providing the ODUG with quality food.  I cannot thank them enough.  If you are in the Orlando area, and need a good meal, Cafe Tu Tu Tango has some outstanding food. And if you're hiring, or looking for some work, please consider VACO.  They do a lot for the local DNN community.

We began to see attendees show up around 6:45 PM.  I immediately saw that we were going to have a lot of new faces.  As it turns out, we did indeed have plenty of new people show up that never before attended an ODUG meeting.  I was very impressed.  Out of the record 33 pre-registered attendees, we had 26 in attendance.  Both figures are new records for the ODUG.  It really was a great turnout. 

As usual, I did an introduction presentation, where I give updates on the ODUG and DNN news. We went through that quickly, so we could get to the real reason we were all there...

The Presentation

Chris Hammond began his presentation titled, "Scenario Based Usage of the New Features in DotNetNuke 5."  He went over some common scenarios where we might need to take advantage of some of these new features. 

Chris Hammond speaking to the ODUG about DNN 5.00.01 bugs

Chris first went into a demonstration of having a page on a website that only hosts will be able to edit, but will be shown on all of the portals in the DNN instance.  We were able to also see a couple bugs demonstrated that he found that very morning.  This demonstration went pretty far into explaining the DNN security model.  I think more than was planned, but it was necessary.

Chris Hammond speaking to the ODUG

Next, he demonstrated how we can take advantage of putting Admin modules on pages, and giving security roles permission to manage things like newsletters, and users.

Chris went on to do a couple more demonstrations, and then the meeting was left to questions, and answers.  Everyone appeared to be very inquisitive about DNN performance, and optimal performance settings.  As it turns out, many people in the room feel that their DNN sites were slow, and most of them are running version 4.09.00+.  This is very telling.

Chris Hammond speaking to the ODUG

The Prizes

Once the user group members finished up with their questions, I had Chris pull raffle tickets for a long list of prizes.  We had t-shirts, books, a copy of Expression Studio 2, a telerik control suite, an Infragistics control suite, and quite a few DotNetNuke vendor giveaways.  Fortunately, just hours before the meeting, Active Modules became a sponsor of the ODUG.  They gave us a copy of ActiveSocial to give away.  We also were very luck to have a copy of Professional DotNetNuke 5, and Professional DotNetNuke Module Programming to give away.  I received copies from Wrox, and also from Darrell Hardy to give away.  So I am not sure who to give credit to this time.  Most of everyone that attended received a prize.  That is, those who remembered to look at their raffle ticket numbers.  ;)

After the Meeting

I have spoken to Andy Warren a few times about in-person social networking, and how we can better facilitate this at the user group meetings.  Something I noticed that has begun to do well is not what you might think.  I didn't force anyone to talk to anyone.  Instead, I set the example by speaking to everyone that I can.  This leadership by example appears to set the tone for people to not be afraid to do a little in-person social networking.  I am extremely pleased to see this take place in our user group.

The first thing we do when the meeting is over, is that we scramble to get the room cleaned up, so we can all meet at the after meeting social.  Luckily, we never have any trouble having volunteers to help clean up.  Most ODUG'rs as asking to help. Last night, I must thank John Spurlin, and several other people who pitched in and put something away for us.  You are all appreciated.

After Party (Social)

Once all was cleaned up, we headed to our after meeting party location, TGI Fridays.  We had quite a crowd show up this time, we took up a whole corner of the bar area.  It was a fun time.  We spoke about a ton of things, not only DNN.  And we must've really given Chris a hard time, because we had apparently pushed him to drink liquor.  He had a tumbler of Jack 'N' Coke.  And everyone else had their drinks of choice.  Mine, being Newcastle.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they served it there.  It is not easy to find around here.

I of course tweeted a few times, sending out pictures of us.  But they didn't really turn out too well.  The lighting was too low.

After a while, people began to trail off to head home.  And when it was finally the moment where we all began to leave, we were surprised to find that a couple of the people in our group had split the tab, and paid for us all!  That's incredibly kind of you guys.  Thanks to Dan Slage, Steven Pickett for picking up the tab, and to Paul Scarlett who picked up the tip.  Paul is from Canada, and runs Tressleworks.  He just happened to be in the Tampa area, so he drove over to join us at the meeting.

When Chris and a few others of us that were left got outside, it appeared that the conversations were far from over.  We stood around outside with Kurt Amstutz, Dan Slage, Brad Bamford, Chris Hammond, and I, talking about various things.  Soon, the group was widdled down to Chris, Brad, and I, and we spoke about the childish nerdy things...  Baseball cards, Garbage Pail Kids, G.I Joes, He-Man, and more... Hahaha!

TRIVIA QUESTION:  Do you know the two names that He-Man's "tiger" had?

We ended the night, watching some guy get harassed after getting pulled over by the cops, and then made our way to our cars, as a security guard was slowly making his way over to where we were.


Overall, it was a great night.  We really did have a blast.  We learned a lot from Chris Hammond (@christoc), and he was very fun to hang out with.  Everyone appeared to have a great time networking with one another, and Chris definitely appeared to have the rock star status that night.  Everyone just hovered around him after the meeting.

Thanks and Praise

Thank you so much to INETA for sponsoring the event speaker, and to VACO and Cafe Tu Tu Tango for sponsoring the food.  Drinks at the meeting were provided by StrohlSiteDesign.com.  The ODUG website and location banners are sponsored by DNNSpired.  Our venue continues to be sponsored by ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Inc.

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