JavaZone kickstarted my Magic Fall

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at JavaZone in Oslo, Norway. It was my first conference this Fall. And I know.. Officially Fall start next Monday but for me, last week Fall is kicked-off for me. This Fall I do a lot of conferences as a speaker and at least one conference as an attendee.

So let’s talk Java?

Most of you know that I am a Microsoft MVP and developing on the Microsoft stack (in .NET and Azure). Right! I am still the same Dennie, the same Microsoft MVP and developer on the Microsoft stack. But I really want a big reach on accessibility and quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities and / or autism.  At JavaZone I presented a session about autism and communication.

And what for session? My first co-talk with my lovely mom, Ivette Marchand. We have found ways for communicating about work, limits and borders. This starts from my autism and is helpful for a lot of people.

Although even as a .NET developer I visited some talks that are really helpful. Here below I do a little series “What does a .Net developer at a Java conference?” As you will see I learned lot!

What does a .Net developer at a Java Conference:

I went to the psychologist!

Visit to the psychologist with Rosanne Joosten..

What’s better to start the conference with a visit to the psychologist? Rosanne Joosten is a psychologist that transformed into a programmer. Rosanne talked about the link between how developers write code and their personality. Some parts were really confronting…

I learned about Web Assembly

Web assembly is a project started form the browser companies. Web assembly is a way for native code in the browser. Blazor, Microsoft’s implementation of Web Assembly was also covered, of course this was between the other Web Assembly solutions.

Accessibility!

Accessibility hero's Tom, Lotte and Tor-Martin

And yes, there were sessions about accessibility! And this makes me happy! I saw 2 refreshing talks. I like accessibility talks with people with disabilities involved as a presenter. Tom is a person who’s blind. He was surrounded with 2 other speakers (Lotte and Tor-Martin). If I see how a blind person is learning other people how to make the web accessible then I shiver from respect! I saw interesting Aria ideas and other refreshing ideas for navigation.

Another session about accessibility was on the 2nd day from Kamilla. Kamilla did a lighting talk about accessibility. I loved that she was including a variety of disabilities and not just the most spoken ones!

I learned to hack a cat

Hacking a cat with Nail Merrigan

Nial Merrigan is also a Microsoft MVP, he’s a specialist into security. He presented a cross code  /cross platform introduction into security. Where do you need to be aware off? He gave us insights beyond traditional attack vendors. Sometimes the talk was scary, sometimes it was laughing out loud! I like this kind of talks!

I went on a survival

Patricia Aas presented “Survival Tips For Women in Tech”. This talk was my opportunity to go to a talk together with my mom. A no – code talk about woman! As an inclusive developer I like to go to a lot of talks about diversity and inclusion in the broad scene. This talk showed me how difficult it can be for women in tech as a minority. The talk opened my eyes but I saw also equal situations as for me as a person with autism in tech. The way Patricia introduced this talk, and why she needs this introduction is very equal to my intros. I love the openness how she talked about a lot of topics in being different to “white man between 30 – 50 in Tech”!

And then.. Finally.. Our talk!

I presented “How do I help my son?” the inaugural of my mom! Our first co- talk! We had a blast and ended with a standing ovation! I loved it!

In this talk I was very open about my past, why I am a volunteer in tech? We also talked a lot about the fact that I was bullied a lot in the past. How bullying, educational choices and a hard period in a factory lead to a volunteering job in tech?

People love this openness and it feels more comfortable to talk about bullying, maybe just a bit more comfortable because my mom is on my side. Or not? In the past talks I presented a few talks about autism, every time I was also about at lot of things. But being bullied is not always a topic in my talk. With my mom on my side it’s more easy!

So folks, my magic fall is started, up to the next one!

Overview expo
Advertisements

Xamarin Expert Day Munich

The Venue, Microsoft Munich offices
The Venue, Microsoft Munich Offices

Munich, Germany! Beside of USA, visiting Germany was for me a dream destination! Why? I like the German language and the ‘meat culture’. In June I had the opportunity to talk at Xamarin Expert Day in Munich, and.. I had a blast!

I start with the culture. Germany has as I said a ‘meat culture’ and a ‘beer culture’. For me, as a Belgian, maybe I say stupid things if I say: “I like the German beer culture.” Big glasses, beer gardens, and why don’t you combine your IL beers with some meat?

A German beer garden
A German beer garden

Back on topic, Xamarin Expert Day! Start with the keynote! Jim Bennett not a complete unknown Xamarin guy – was really rocking the stage! ‘Xamarin, past, present and future’ was his talk. It was a nice overview of the past, and the present. But the future was more teasing. Of course there are rules about “Microsoft’s’ internal kitchen” and MVP Summits. But for an autistic person, I was thinking the complete day about the future.. But I loved the talk and the energy!

Jim Bennett is rocking the stage!

Luce Carter gave a talk about Xamarin Shell, I really loved this concept and her explanation. I believe Xamarin Visual (a part of Shell) will help me for accessible apps!

Come Out Your Shell with Luce Carter

Ulrike and Sia made another Accessibility Talk, I liked their concepts. It’s nice that the field ‘accessibility’ is so big! In their talk ‘Beyond Accessibility’ I heard a lot of renewing concepts, really helpful concepts and this concepts fit all together with mine concepts. Nice that you can apply different ‘views’, ‘angles’ of accessibility to make the most accessible solution ever!

Beyond Accessibility Wtih Ulrike and Sia

Of course I had my talk, I presented for the first time “Improve People with disabilities’ lives with Xamarin.Essentials”. A talk how you can engage accessibility with API’s from Xamarin Essentials. I covered, Text To Speech, Settings, Device Info, App Info, Connectivity and a few more. Yes, all this API’s improve accessibility!

And my talk, spoke for the first time in a T-Shirt, a Xammagon T-Shirt 🙂

So I liked Munich and I loved the German culture, Xamarin Expert Day Munich as a great conference and  I really had a blast and learned new concepts!

#DreamingIsBelieving #7ThYearMagic

#7ThYearMagic

By the end of 2018, I realized that 2019 will be the year of #7ThYearMagic, I invented this hashtag because I believed my life-dream was going to be reality.

Why was 2019 the era of #7ThYearMagic, there’ s no ‘7’ in 19? Well, well, in 2012, 7 years ago, I made the decision to give my programming talent as volunteer. If you are like me, quite spiritual, 7 is a magic number. It’s going to happen in 2019!

My life-dream was going to USA as speaker and visit the Microsoft Headquarters! But was this my only big dream? What if the dream is over? Last month ‘my dream’ finally happened! I visited Microsoft HQ in Redmond and spoke at my first US conference #ndcminnesota.

THE MICROSOFT REDMOND HEADQUARTERS

While I was living the dream, I noticed: “this is not the end, maybe just the beginning”. Do I have other dreams? Is it over? NO! I’d love to share my knowledge as public speaker. Traveling to tell the world to be inclusive for people with disabilities doesn’t end if I visited US Once!

The Missipi River St Paul

So proud to share next URI, my speaker site! It covers all my past and next talks. In this fall I have already 3 nice conferences! But my #7ThYearMagic dream doesn’t stop here!

http://www.ddsoft.be/speaker

Microsoft Ignite, The Tour London

Microsoft Ignite, The Tour London

On January 25th I travelled for the 2nd time this year to London. I really love London and the variety of conferences this metropole hosts.

This time it was time for a brand new conference: Microsoft, The Ignite Tour. Microsoft Ignite is a big conference in the US. But since fall 2018 many of the Microsoft experts are touring the world.  The concept of the conferences is: no keynotes, but a lot of break-outs straight from the experts.

The conference bought also a nice networking experience. You could network at the Microsoft booth with the experts from The States. I call it Microsofties as you know from other blogposts. There was also a drinks reception, specific booths par division. I liked especially the Diversity in Tech booth. More about Diversity and Inclusion are also covered in my session report.

This conference covered a lot of Diversity & Tech talks and panels. I really liked it. I visited more D&I than tech talks, at a tech conference! Love it!

The technical talks:

I liked the talk Discovering Microsoft Azure form Jim Bennett. I use Azure quite a  long time but Azure expands so fast. When I started by example, containers didn’t exist. In this talks Jim gave a good explanation of containers in Azure. There are also a lot of new compute options. Jim covered them all. But the biggest take-away from this talk is about the Azure Resource Manager. I used it wrong, honestly. With the new knowledge I can configure it the right way right now!

“I have a hammer, a hammer in the morning, a hammer in the evening…” is the song Jim Bennett pushed into my brain in his demo of Microsoft Cognitive Services in the talk Using Artificial Intelligence to augment data. This was a good talk with a very good understanding to get started.

What’s the difference between a picture (file) in Azure Blobs and Azure Files? A big difference! Azure Files are for data storage. The data can be a picture by example, but also a lot more. The files can be used via an external disk. If you are putting a picture in Azure Blobs it’ meant to be shared as JSON. This was one of the lessons Amy Boyd learned me at the session Storing Data in Azure!.

D&I

How were the Paralympics in London accessible to all? What were the first opinions? What happened to the UK people after the Paralympics? The London Paralympics has definitely changed a lot in the mind of people about life with physical disabilities. A view under the hood of the London Paralympics was covered by Dan Brooke, Hector Minto and Kerry Hollis

The Autism Hiring Program is my favorite one in US. Pity it’s not in Belgium. As people know I am autistic and working for Microsoft is one of my dreams. I learned more about the program in the talk It’s Ok to be not ok. Ayeshna Hirani, Marleen Reininger and Rob Ede covered also what Microsoft is doing to support mental health.

The rest of the conference was filled with topics as the LGBT+ Community. D&I islands in corporates and of course a lot of sessions about Microsoft Teams.

After this conference  I needed to make an action plan to get started when I am home. In fact everyone should do this? Which people will you contact first? Which technology to test first. One of my actions of my action plan was definitely subscribing to the Diversity and Tech community online. I am happy with this step.

So this was my report of Microsoft Ignite The Tour London. I loved it! More legs of the  tour here:

NDC London 2019

Last week it was a real blast, call it a rollercoaster but a special rollercoaster. A rollercoaster with different speeds and power but only going up higher. Only hills, no deeps.

It was the NDC London week. NDC London is my first conference I spoke 2 times in a row. My flight to London was at Tuesday. Everything wend well and I love flying. When I arrived I’ve got my first peek: I’ve got an invitation for a conference to do a keynote talk. (I cannot say which conference at this time of writing). Being invited for a keynote was one of my big dreams.

When I’m arrived at the speakers hotel I was welcomed by other speakers and I had a real big family feeling. Nice hotel, the blast was started.

Wednesday at NDC was a lovely day, I reunited with Mads Torgersen, saw a nice talk of Troy Hunt and his 9 year old son and saw inspiring sessions from Tim G Thomas (on Icons on the web) and from Tannaz N Roshandel and Line Moseng about diversity in tech.

Of course a NDC Wednesday ends with a lovely boat cruise! I like it!

David Neal and a slide of Not all heroes ware capes

On Thursday was the day for my talks! I also took the time to learn about ASP.NET Core and I was inspired by David Neal and Jim Bennett (a hero BTW) (both hero’s don’t speak about ASP.NET but are really great)

My talks went well. It was a good audience and I loved the given questions. I really love to introduce autism and accessibility into the world of programmers! Will keep going on with this!

The NDC Party was magical. I got so much energy from Dylan Beattie about developing the Rockstar Language! It was so inspiring that developers besides their day jobs have the courage to develop more in their spare time. For myself (as person with autism) I have the feeling that developing what’s needed for my work at DDSoft takes effort. But Dylan (and also Clifford Agius on the Friday) inspired me so much to try to develop more hours and also make time again for side projects. This goes the same for blogging / professional social media… Let’s say: Dennie you do a lot, but you can do more!

Scott Hanselman and me

Friday had big hills and huge climbs in this positive rollercoaster: The keynote from Scott Hanselman was magical. And the session (again from Scott) about Solving Diabetes with an artificial pancreas where really inspiring. To put the magic to the limit: just before lunch time I received a magical mail from NDC Minnesota that I was accepted for NDC Minnesota and then I knew “my life dream: visiting the states” will happen this year in May, for all this I made the hashtag #7ThYearMagic by the end of last year. I knew It must happen in 2019

Friday evening was PubConf and I partied a lot. For me it was the PubConf celebrating your life dream editions. Infuses by fantasizing about how to travel from Minnesota to Seattle and put the magic to the limit.

Now I am back in business, very thankful for last week and more inspired than ever! #DreamingIsBelieving! Let’s put my effort to the next limit.

Thanks for everyone making last week magical!

Head blog NDC London

Future Decoded London 2018

As my main business is software for people with disabilities I was very happy that Accessibility was put high in the agenda of Microsoft Future Decoded in London. I travelled for the third time in a row to Future Decoded, and I really had blast!

For me Future Decoded was separated in 2 parts, as any good conference should. The first part are the sessions and technical learning. The 2nd part is the networking and getting in contact with the ‘big people’ at Microsoft and other companies. I call them ‘Big People’.

When I say: “two parts that any good conference has to have “ I mean the following: As some of you may know me I am diagnosed with autism. In the past, the technical sessions were the only part where I got something from. Getting in touch with the others was difficult for me. Since I am also speaker at conferences myself I learned to network!

First I cover the sessions.

Keynotes Day 1:

The morning keynote started with a history of Microsoft and also a history for Future Decoded. I am really happy with my attendance at 3 of 5 FD’s! Then it was time for the focus of this year Future Decoded! AI, AI, AI! I really do love AI for Good, and the investments in AI for Accessibility!

In the afternoon keynote I really loved Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE. I really love talks about people with our without disabilities that makes their dreams come thru! This was my most loved keynote of day 1. Congratulations Dr Maggie! Keep doing what you do and love most!

Keynotes Day 2

Satya Nadella and Jenny-Lay-Flurrie, a real dream team! Satya was talking about Tech intensity and inclusion. Of course he also covered a lot of the Microsoft stack. But this 2 are the most important to remind if you ask me! Jenny ‘s talk was an overload of accessibility and a view into the Microsoft’s Autism Hiring Program, for me a childhood dream. But #DreamingIsBelieving! Metthew Syed talked about Growth Mindest!

Teams!

I went to a session about Microsoft Teams from Keith Hudgell, I really like what Microsoft is doing with Teams! I try to visit often a session about Microsoft Teams – yes I do a lot of conferences! – In the future I plan to give also talks about Teams. It was a good talk! Has the content that it has to have!

DevOps, DevOps, DevOps!

Rick Hepworth rocking the stage

Rik Hepworth, for me a well-known speaker and one of my favorites presented a session about Azure DevOps! To the point, with the latest news about the name shift and so on! Rik, I love it! I also really do love Rik’s famous quotes! In each talk he put his own and right quotes!

Future Technology Trends Explained

Michael Wignall rocked the stage about new hot topics. Really relevant and to the point. Always a clear explanation about the newest topics.

Accessibility

Here I write what I learned in the breakouts and theatre sessions about accessibility. First a big shout out to Hector Minto! I knew Hector via Twitter, I really love his effort on accessibility he shares in his talks! I learned a lot about accessibility baking into Windows and Office 365.

I develop new apps for people with disabilities but Hector showed me what Microsoft already has baked-in in their own products. Even things I really didn’t know! Now it’s time to start to use this features.

Duo session with Hector Minto

At conferences I take a lot of pictures. Also a lot of pictures from slides. Hector hammered on the fact to take pictures with Office Lens! It’s really accessible! Honestly I knew this feature but never use it! Since the first talk of Hector (he did 3 talks! In 2 talks he was co-speaker. One talk he did on his own) I started to use this feature!

A word about dyslexia.

In many talks about accessibility there was a link to dyslexia. As I focus on mostly people with intellectual disabilities I really have to expand to people with dyslexia. For me an business eye-opener.

Part 2: Networking!

I had awesome talks with other speakers like Rik Hepworth, Stephen Haunts and Shadid Iqbaal and with organizers like Dave Evans. I did take the time to discuss the hottest topics! I liked it.

Jenny Lay-Flurrie and me

And I am really happy that I got the opportunity to meet Jenny Lay-Flurrie in person A real life-dream! Thanks a lot Jenny to put your time to discover my ideas! And after Tweeting for a year (I guess) I had the time to discuss accessibility with Hector Minto! Thanks for you time and the given opportunities.

So Future Decoded 2018 really had a blast! Thanks to all!