Early in the year of 2009, the Orlando DotNetNuke® Users Group was very fortunate to host the well-known DotNetNuke® SEO Expert, Tom Kraak. He spoke to use about how we could make our DNN sites more SEO-friendly. Among many other things, Tom is also a DNN user group leader, in charge of the Connecticut DotNetNuke® User Group. It’s only fair that if he could fly down to us, that I could make a trip up there to visit them. That’s just what I did on November 17, 2009. (A couple of months ago.)
The flight up there was fantastic. I simply love flying on Southwest. They are by far my favorite airline. On our descent, I began to immediately take notice of the differences between Connecticut and Florida. When you are flying over Florida, it seems that everyone has a pool. I literally only noticed 5 pools in backyards of the CT homes, and only 1 of them was an in-ground model. The houses were obviously much larger, and the sports complexes and fields were much better taken care of then here. That being said, Connecticut is beautiful.
Being the true host, Tom made sure to take time aside to show me around while I was there. This is something I really appreciated a lot. I was going to do it anyway because I love to take pictures, but I wouldn’t have had nearly as good of a time doing it, and wouldn’t have found the places he showed me. First, we walked around downtown Branford, where he lives. Their downtown area is one to envy. It is one of those quaint areas where farmers markets and small festivals happen all of the time.
It was about lunch time, so Tom took us to a great little place that I never would have found, called Four Seasons Market. From the outside, it looks like an indoor produce store, but inside, it was not only full of food, but organic and fair trade products, and a full buffet that was nearly 100% vegetarian. There was plenty of seating, and in the summer, that’s extended to a beautiful courtyard behind the building. It was outstanding! I highly recommend it.
Next, we went to a variety of areas where there were simply great views that you couldn’t help but snap pictures of. Here are a few shots:
I thought this was going to be the end of the adventure. Tom had other ideas though. He took me to nearby New Haven, home of Yale University. I didn’t put two and two together when planning my trip to CT. I didn’t realize that we’d be that close to the University. If you haven’t stopped by Yale, you should. The campus architecture is simply amazing!
Tom gave me a tour of Connecticut that most people would have paid good money for. I will forever be in debt to him for such an experience. But, now it was time to move on… I have a cousin who lives in Connecticut, so I went to have dinner with her before the meeting began. Then, returned to Wallingford for the DNNCT meeting.
I was in for a surprise when I began setting up though. Just before the meeting kicked off, in walked Microsoft MVP and DNN Core Team Member, Steve Fabian. I didn’t expect any Core Team Members to attend my session! :) I want to thank him for coming, even though we didn’t really get a chance to talk much.
I presented a session on integrating jQuery into DotNetNuke® development. Basically, it was a short intro to jQuery, and then I showed several different ways that jQuery could be integrated into ones module or skin. Finally, I wrapped up by giving a list of tips and tricks for everyone to take home with them.
Out of all of the times that I have presented this session, I really feel that this was the first time that it went 100% smooth for me. We had a great, attentive audience, and everyone seemed to genuinely be interested in jQuery. In fact, I even had some of the best question I have ever had. By a stroke of luck, I had just listened to the first jQuery podcast earlier in the week that featured John Resig (the jQuery founder), which answered most of their questions for me.
The presentation files should already be on my website on the Sessions page. If not, I will have them up shortly. If you ever have a chance to speak at or attend the DNNCT, by all means, don’t pass it up. They have a great group. There are some very bright people, and Tom goes a great job of leading the user group. It’s a must attend user group, for sure.
Thank you so much for having me at the DNNCT, and thank you Tom for everything