Community Leadership Town Hall–Dallas TechFest Edition

Community Leadership Town Hall

Community Leadership Town Hall – Dallas TechFest 2011 
August 12th, 2011  7 PM – 10 PM – Improving Enterprises– Jay Smith

In many towns and cities across the country the town hall is the center of the community. The town hall is where the local governments keep offices, serves as the main base for the Mayor, and is where citizens of the community come to work with the official representatives to share issues, ideas, and solutions that can make their community better.

The Community Leadership Town Hall brings this concept to community leaders in your area. The evening will be filled with discussions about issues, ideas, and solutions regarding creating, maintaining, and growing user groups and technical communities. This will be a highly interactive night where everyone will have a chance to suggest a topic and voice their opinion.

We will be providing light hors d’oeuvres and talking community so bring your questions, ideas, issues, and willingness to share  and I’ll see you there.


I want to thank our sponsors for helping make this event possible:


Dallas Techfest Registration Open

DallasTechfestRegistration for the 2011 Dallas Techfest is now open!  Visit for a list of speakers and other information. 

The Dallas Techfest is once again brining some of the very best speakers on Java, .NET, Ruby and other technologies in the Dallas area over 2 days.  That’s right this year is a two day conference.  Lunch will be provided each day as part of the ticket.

Community Leadership Town Hall!  Friday night, Jay Smith will be facilitating a Community Leadership Town Hall.  This is an open space style discussion focused on the challenges of building communities in the technology arena.

In addition to two days of incredible sessions on the beautiful University of Texas at Dallas campus, we are also thrilled to be offering pre-conference sessions from our Platinum Sponsor, Improving Enterprises. These classes are taught by professional instructors in their state of the art facilities in Addison, TX. Each of these classes are discounted $200 for attendees of Dallas TechFest. Here are the details :

  • Agile Scrum Immersion (8/10 & 8/11)* - Organizations are increasingly moving from traditional waterfall methods of software development to agile methodologies. Scrum has emerged as one of the most commonly applied agile practices. Today's successful software projects implement at least some aspect of Scrum. This intensive two day instructor-led course guides participants through every characteristic of Scrum, including roles, planning, artifacts, and most importantly, the motivation behind implementing these elements. All this will be experienced through a balanced combination of lecture, candid discussion, hands-on exercise, and demonstration, as well as a few surprises.

  • Team Dynamics Workshop (8/11)* - Full details will be available shortly.

*Please note that the pre-conference seminars have minimum attendance requirements, and should these requirements not be met, your ticket will be refunded all but $100, the price of admission to Dallas TechFest itself.

There will be no refunds available after July 15th, 2011 at 12:01am. After that point all sales are final.

Don’t forget to use discount code TwoDays you will get $50 off the price of a ticket.

Turn Off Feed Read Preview to Show XML in Internet Explorer

Last night I was creating a sample application to demonstrate how to add OData to an ASP.NET MVC application.  Every time I went to the URL in Internet Explorer (IE9) it kept showing the xml with the RSS style sheet. 

Here is what you see:


This is not what I want to see.  I searched for a couple of hours on how to turn that off and nothing.  Finally, this morning I just started diving through the Internet Explorer settings and finally found it.

To force Internet Explorer to display the XML instead of the stylized view do the following:

  • Open Tools->Internet Options
  • Select the Content tab
  • Click the “Settings” button in the Feed and Web slices section
  • Uncheck Turn on feed reading view
  • Click “OK” to save the settings

Here is what you see know:


This makes it much easier to make sure I am getting what I expected in the xml return.  I don’t use any browser for reading my RSS feeds and have always found it annoying that it kept trying to show me the xml in a format I didn’t want to see.  Know I see the XML, gravy!

Software Craftsmanship North America


Just a quick not to let anyone, like myself, interested in Software Craftsmanship know about Software Craftsmanship North America conference on October 15-16, 2010 in Chicago, IL.  I wish I had noticed this about 2 weeks ago when we had to turn in training budget for the next year so I could go.

There are going to be some awesome speakers; Cory Haines, Dave Hoover, Micah Martin, Angelique Martin, Paul Pagel, Kevin Taylor and more.

If you are new to Software Craftsmanship listen to a great discussion about it on the Virtual Alt Net recording of the April, 6, 2010 with Uncle Bob.

Pavlov’s Monkeys: Understanding the Status Quo

It has always bothered me when I hear “Because that is the way we have always done it” as a reason for not trying something new.  Most of the time the person that says that has no understanding of why things are they way they are.  They also feel like something bad will happen if they do try something new.

Every time I am in this situation I tell the story of Pavlov’s Monkeys to demonstrate how this mindset can be established and hopefully open the minds of those in the room.

I am not sure of the origin of this story but wanted to share it in hopes that it might help you change this behavior where you work.


Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana
on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will
go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he
touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a
while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other
monkeys are sprayed with cold water.

Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other
monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace
it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the
stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him.
After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the
stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new
one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer
takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third
original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.

Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of
the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted
to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the
newest monkey. After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the
remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no
monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana.

Why not?

Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been done around
here. And that, my friends, is how company policy begins.


Note: The image is from a blog post by Kumar AbhishekBeing Monkey! A Sad Reality of Teams and Workspaces, which deals with the same subject.


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