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i just got back from hanging out with some guys from technologies, a local consulting firm specializing in ruby on rails development.

what?! a softie hanging out with rails people?  well for those that know me, even though i bleed blue (seriously i do, i had my molecular dna changed to ensure it...we almost named our son Zune, but we settled on Zane instead), i'm a technologist at heart.  you see, my problem is that i love technology (i'm imagining kip dynamite singing his song right about now) and i love to learn new things...staying all agile about technology and stuff...

anywhoo, jade, chris, matt, matt, josh, derek, erica and the rest of the gang at integrum opened their offices to an "open house" tonight and invited the tech community.  so off i went.  first, these are some super cool guys (and gal)...very intelligent, not zealot in their views (okay, at least not to me in my face :-)), and like to have fun.  there was no presentation other than jade offering a thanks to those who came and to their stakeholders and family who have helped them grow their business.

i thought the idea of tech firms/isvs/partners opening their doors to host some of the community for a night of networking.  i remember the early days of azipa when it was supposed to be like that...but turned into a recruiting fest, then evolved to some type of tech council that i personally feel is out of touch with the tech community.  but i digress...anyhow, it was a great idea and i'd love to see more of this type of stuff.  we're all in these communities together.  sure at times we compete (and sometimes aggressively), but it's this type of networking that helps build a stronger overall community.

so i would suggest you consider this in your communities...i know there are a few that also "do lunch" once a week or so at the same place just to chat about business, tech, normal life stuff...another great idea.  so, who's next in my neck of the woods...ahem...axosoft.

thanks integrum for hosting...and best wishes on continued success...i can't wait until a few weeks when i can sit down with you guys and chat about some stuff we are working on :-)

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i just posted the missing app.config file for the final mobility touchdown lab "putting it all together" over at the mobility touchdown team blog.  go get it :-)

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well, i've been procrastinating like others in moving my codegallery samples away from gotdotnet...i had it on my to-do list for today.  when i logged in i noticed this update:

CodeGallery phase-out date has been changed.  It will be phased out by the end of June 2007.  As a part of the phase-out of the GotDotNet site, CodeGallery will no longer be available after June, 2007.

whew, gives me more time.  there really isn't a good place to dump this type of stuff anymore.  sure there is codeplex, but that is more around the project-based experience in my opinion.  codegallery was a place for snippets/samples/proof of concepts.  i guess i'll stick with my box.net account unless someone has other suggestions of where to put things like this...

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i was messing around and following some rather deep links on some blogs i was reading and came across john hicks' site where he has been creating new skins for some web applications.  how you say?  well, unknown to me (i use IE mostly) there is a really cool firefox add-on called stylish, that enables you to create/manage custom stylesheets for specific urls.  so basically when you visit a url, you can say 'whenever i visit this url, use this stylesheet instead' and it renders how you want.

you may wonder why you would want to do that, and in most instances you may not.  well, john came up with a really good use for it for me.  i use google reader to read my feeds online.  i like the interface and thought it would be hard to improve on.  as well, i do like some of the mac interfaces when i do certain things at home on my mac.  john blended the two...here's my new reader view:


so using a custom stylesheet and stylish, he's able to create a pretty cool interface for reader...man this is the type of stuff i wish the IE add-on ecosystem had -- i tried to search to see if this could be done in IE, but couldn't quickly find anything.  thanks john!

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this post is more for the locals to my home (phoenix, arizona metro area) as i wanted to call attention to some of the great work being done by our community contributors.  in the recent months, we've had two individuals get published in techno geek mags, Code Magazine and ASP.NET Pro.

Spike Xavier is one of the coolest guys i've met.  he's not only a super passionate geek (and trust me when i say passionate), but he's really a nice guy (not that other geeks aren't, but let's face it...we can be a little "sheltered" sometimes) and is passionate about a few other things in his life as well, like music.  spike is in a band and knows a ton of people 'in the biz' -- he is also one of the brainchilds behind the billboard top hit 'no more dll hell' along with dan wahlin.  i think they are still waiting for royalty checks.  i heard that there was interest in working with michelle leroux-bustamante on a follow-up entitled "Managed Girl" (to the tune of Material Girl)...maybe her people can talk to their people...or maybe a twist on her smelly cat rendition?  seriously though, if you get a chance to meet spike, do it.  anyhow, i digress.  spike was recently published in ASP.NET Pro magazine and got the cover story featuring becoming a "master of your domain" with regard to using master pages and good css practices.  way to go spike!  i'm not sure if there are any magazines in circulation as i heard his family bought them all ;-)

and then just recently another one of our community luminaries was published.   has been working in the biz for about 7 years now doing a ton of really solid enterprise application development, helping his employers and customers build enterprise-class systems that scale.  part of these implementations involve leveraging biztalk server.  rick is one of our local community authorities on aspects of biztalk.  his recent thoughts are set in history now in in an article entitled "Enterprise Application Integration with Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006-Part 1" (i assume 'part 1' implies a 'part 2' will come as well).  with a title like that i'm curious if rick consulted with the microsoft product naming department ;-).  rick is a superstar and has really been stepping up this past year to help with the community, user groups and code camps.

congratulations to both of these fine gentlemen for being published.  i often get asked "how do i become an MVP" (that's a post i've drafted a few times)...an MVP is in-part a peer-nominated award, and demonstrating your technical prowess through blogs and articles and working with product teams to write these articles is an excellent way to serve the broader community and demonstrate MVP qualities.