Will "the Mighty" Strohl

2009 Orlando Code Camp Recap

I attended the Orlando Code Camp for the 4th time this past weekend, and it was the 2nd time that I attended as a speaker.  The past 3 years have given us nothing to expect but an outstanding event.  This was the first year that Shawn Weisfeld wasn’t the primary person running the event, but Jessica Sterner and Fabio Honigmann did an exceptional job of following up the great head start that Shawn had given us the past 3 years.  They had nearly 600 people register to attend, and over 400 people showed up.  That is outstanding!  We can most certainly expect a larger event next year.  I would expect that Orlando might be able to compete with South Florida for the largest code camp next year.

The Venue

The event was once again held at the Sanford campus of the Seminole Community College.  It really is a great venue, but the rooms are spread apart.  Many folks had a hard time finding the rooms that they were looking for.  This was not completely the fault of the organizers or the venue itself, as the rooms were moved at the last minute.  That being said, they did a pretty good job of putting signs out, and also having volunteers show attendees around.  Noticing this, I also did my part and stood in the hall in the building where the DotNetNuke track was being held, and attempted to help some people find their rooms between sessions.  Luckily, the code camp was able to make use of the cafeteria room, giving the attendees and sponsors a great big air-conditioned space to mingle in.

The DotNetNuke Track

We had a very well-plugged track on DotNetNuke once again at the Orlando Code Camp.  I was very happy to see that we all or nearly all of the seats filled throughout the day in each session.  We were very lucky to be promoting a recent book, Professional DotNetNuke 5, which gave us a road map to build our track on.  It also allowed those that attended the first session a reason to stick around in the room for the entire day.  I would estimate that about 30-40% of those that were in the first session were in each subsequent session.  And we also had a couple people that flew in just for the DNN track.  One came in from Maryland, and the other from Boston.  I only know of one such person at the South Florida Code Camp, who flew in from Pheonix.

I will not bore you with the details of the DotNetNuke sessions, as I have already done so more than once on my blog in recent months.  I will say though that we had a very streamlined day.  Overall, every session went as planned, we had no technical difficulties, and we found the A/C thermostat first thing in the morning.  Many other rooms were not as fortunate in the air-conditioning situation.  And in truth, Tracy had a problem with the venue’s DNS routing, so he had to work around it, but that was the only technical glitch.

Every DNN speaker gave away at least 2 DNN books, and we also were given prize coupons to give to the session attendees.  I only wish we would have had speaker evaluation forms.  I also didn’t have my camera settings just right, so there was a little pixelation in my pictures.  I have a previous blog entry about the pictures.

I cannot thank the other DNN speakers enough for their contributions, and the sacrifices that were made in order to attend and participate in the code camp.  Brian Scarbeau, Darrell Hardy, Stan Schultes, Ryan Morgan, and Tracy Wittenkeller did an outstanding job with their sessions.

The After Party

Every code camp has an after party of some kind, and this code camp called it Pub Club.  We went to the same place as the speaker/volunteer party the night before, Jax 5th Avenue Deli & Ale House.  Their outside dining area is perfect for our kind of gathering.  It was my first time actually attending the after party, and I had my beautiful lady meet me there.  We had a wonderful time mingling and chit-chatting with the various people that showed up.  I especially had a great time speaking to Shawn Weisfeld again.  He even had the server switch my beer for an empty glass when I went to the parking lot to meet my girlfriend. 

If you haven’t attended a code camp after party, you really need to go at least once.  You’ll be surprised at how much fun you’ll have.

Constructive Criticisms

The first criticism is that I didn’t win the scooter giveaway.  >:(  Hehehe…  Actually, I follow the winner of the scooter on twitter, Benjamin Geiger.  Yes, I am jealous and bitter.  (Although it was good to see that Ryan Morgan did not win the XBox again. He has for the past two code camps.)  Actually, it was very cool that they were able to give away a scooter.

I was very disappointed to see that the majority of the speakers were all huddled together during lunch in the speaker room.  Events like this are sometimes the only time that the average developer has access to people such as the valuable and knowledgeable bunch of speakers that were there.  That is the only downfall of having a speaker room.  :(

It would have been nice to have more signage to route attendees easier and quicker to their rooms.

Some of the rooms had air flow and air conditioning problems.  It would have been nice to have a rover go to each room between sessions to make sure that there weren’t any technical or air conditioning problems.

Summary

Overall, this event was incredible!  Everyone that I spoke to had nothing but great things to say about the event.  Well, if you omit the A/C issues, and room confusion.  For a free event, and for everyone that organized it to have done it for free, you could not ask for anything more.  I am in awe and have great respect for everyone that worked so very hard to make this event happen.  All I had to do was round up and organize 5 speakers.  They had to oversee 11 tracks, 66 sessions, 400-600 attendees, about 60 speakers, several volunteers, sponsors, money, venue organization, social event organization, shirts, swag, door prizes, and much more.  It takes countless hours to make this happen, and my hat is off to all of you!

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