Will "the Mighty" Strohl

ODUG Moves Downtown and Has an Outstanding Meeting!

This past Tuesday was a number of things… The Marine Corps birthday, the release of Modern Warfare 2, and it was of course the day of our November meeting for the Orlando DotNetNuke® Users Group (ODUG).  There were many challenges coming into this meeting, which each could possibly ruin the entire meeting.  However, all of those challenges were successfully met and overcome.

So… What Challenges?

This meeting had a lot going against it.  Here is a run down of the challenges that we faced:

  • We had a new venue.  For anyone that has run any kind of meeting that hosts volunteer attendees, you immediately know that this is a problem.  Your attendance usually drops dramatically for at least 1-2 meetings. 
  • With the new venue being in Downtown Orlando, parking is a problem.  There is nearly nowhere that you can park without paying a (premium) fee. 
  • Our venue has a security lock on the front door and in the elevator.  I didn’t know this until I got there.
  • Our speaker flew in from out of town, and I was making sure he was taken care of.
  • We were going to do a live video with Joe Brinkman from OpenForce in Las Vegas.  This required us to use a phone to speak with Joe, and for us to show a stream on our projector.
  • The projector didn’t work when we first arrived.

If you’ve gotten this far, you probably are already thinking what I was… Any ONE of those bullet points is a huge challenge for a user group meeting, yet we faced all of these challenges in a single night!

CoLab Orlando The new venue was at a company called CoLab.  This place was really cool.  It has all of the room we need right now, and it has all of the bandwidth we need too.  So, in the future we will have plenty of room for our stream and to allow our members to use the internet connection.  The venue came with free parking, even if it was a 5-minute walk from the building.  I am happy about that for myself, since I don’t walk enough.

Luckily for me, our user group is full of intelligent and helpful people.  Sam McCloud fixed the projector in short order, and we posted a “door man” in the form of another user group leader, Jim Begley, of the Tampa DNN User Group.

Our speaker was Antonio Chagoury from InspectorIT, who is also a Microsoft MVP, and a DNN Core Team Member.  Taking care of him was easy.  I picked him up from the airport, got him checked into his hotel, got him fed, and then took him to the meeting and back.  More on him later…

Interview with the DotNetNuke Corporation

DotNetNuke Our meeting usually begins with a little bit of an introduction of myself, the other board members, and things going on in the user group.  However, right when we were about to start, Joe Brinkman shot me a message saying that he was ready for the streamed interview.  So we stopped everything and we began with the stream.

Joe BrinkmanThe stream couldn’t have went more smoothly!  Joe used UStream to broadcast to us, and I asked him questions over the phone.  Live streams generally have a 3-5 second delay, so I immediately had to begin adjusting my conversation style to account for this. 

Joe first began by giving us a little intro to OpenForce, and then showed us all of the DNN vendors on the exhibition floor.  He walked to each booth, introducing us to the people that were there.  Following this, I began interviewing Joe by asking questions about OpenForce.  Nearly all of the details are already available online, so I won’t go into the specifics.  Following my questions, I opened the questions to our user group members.  We had some great questions.

I received nothing but great feedback on the interview from our user group members.  I was incredibly pleased!

Antonio Chagoury

Antonio Chagoury We couldn’t have asked for a better speaker and presentation.  Antonio presented a session covering implementing RESTful services into DotNetNuke®.  He had demos for Twitter, various URL shortening services, and Bing maps!  There were hiccups in the demos, but we always expect that from any technical presentation.  Even the most rehearsed demos have problems.  Other than that, Antonio had a complete mash-up of the previously mentioned services.  They worked great!  His demonstration module could easily be adapted to be a first generation mash-up module for DNN.

Antonio had a ton of questions, and even more information available to us.  Of all of the speakers, he is the first one to have a full circle of people around him asking him questions after his presentation.

The best thing I loved about his demo is that it could easily have been done on a custom ASP.Net site, instead of DNN.  You didn’t have to be a DNN developer to understand his code demos.

If you can get Antonio to speak at your user group, book him!  He is a great presenter.

After Party

Finnhenry's Downtown Orlando Usually, we meet about 2 miles away from our meeting a a TGI Fridays.  However, this time we have a great social location on the ground floor of the very building we were meeting in.  We met at Finnhenry’s.  This place is run by a nice lady named Caitlin, and she gave us a discount and great service! 

The music was a bit too loud to converse, but we dealt with it.  Their prices are great, and their staff is very helpful and friendly.  You can catch them on their Facebook page too.

We had a ton of fun at Finnhenry’s.  We wrapped it all up at 11pm.

Our next meeting is going to be a DotNetNuke Speaker Idol meeting.  See our website for more details.

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