10:15 - 11:30 Techmasters Demo Meeting

Think Toastmasters for Geeks. Would you like to be showing your tech skills as a presenter instead of just being in the crowd? Has your career reached a plateau? Do you have technical knowledge but get frustrated communicating it to your co-workers? Would you like to break free of your cubicle and actually influence the direction of your projects and organizations? Or maybe you'd just like get through your next status meeting without stressing out about talking in front of a group. If any of these sound like you, Techmasters can help. We're not just about public speaking -- although many of our members speak at tech conferences in the area and across the country. We're a group of tech types that have realized that the combination of technical, communication and leadership skills are key essentials that will unlock the rest of our careers. In this session we'll run through a short version of one of our meetings. We'll follow the "mini" meeting by fielding questions from the crowd.

11:30 - 12:30 Making the Leap to Freelance Programming

Have you ever felt like your day job just might not be for you? In this session, Avonelle Lovhaug will cover all the basics that you need to know to start your own freelance programming business. You'll learn how to find your perfect client, some non-sleazy marketing techniques, and how to get paid what you're really worth. We'll also cover setting rules and boundaries for your business, and some ideas for regular income that can help you to avoid the feast or famine cycle that plagues most freelancers.

Avonelle Lovhaug Avonelle Lovhaug Avonelle Lovhaug escaped the corporate grind in 2003. Since then she's been running Code Poetry, her freelance programming venture serving tech savvy small businesses in the Twin Cities. Avonelle lives just outside St. Paul with her husband, and after raising two geek sons with careers in tech-related fields, she's done her part for future generations. She'd tell you how long she's been working with computers, but her age is classified. Avonelle writes about going freelance at
2:00 - 3:15 Turning Passion Into Words - Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Aspiring Authors

For many of us, writing code isn't just what we do for money; it's something we love to do and share with others. One of the best ways to share that passion is through writing. In this talk, we'll explore the world of writing and publishing content for programmers. We'll explore the writing and editorial processes, including how to really connect with your audience, and we'll go over some tools and techniques you can use to organize your writing and produce something real, useful, and unique. Finally, we'll talk about what it takes to make a great book proposal and what it takes to get the word out about your writing. Visit and add specific questions / topics you'd like to see.

Brian Hogan Brian Hogan Brian Hogan is an author, editor, trainer, speaker, musician, and web developer who loves to tinker with HTML5, CSS3, Ruby, and JavaScript. He coordinates the project which pairs people who want to learn about Ruby on Rails with experienced mentors. He's the author of "HTML5 and CSS3" and "Web Design For Developers" and consults. When not hacking on code or writing, he can be found improving his guitar chops or spending time with his daughters.
3:30 - 4:45 Covert Agile: How to Employ Agile Practices in the Enterprise While Avoiding Detection

You understand the benefits of Agile Software Development, but your Pointy-Haired Manager insists that you need to follow Standard Procedures. Join this discussion about the challenges of Enterprise Development and learn how you can creatively circumvent the Process Police to get things done.

Justin Peck Justin Peck Justin Peck is the Co-Founder and CEO of QONQR: The Geosocial Game of World Domination! But before leaving to hone his Nanoweapons Expertise full-time, Justin completed several tours of duty as a Developer, Development Manager, and Agile Evangelist at several large, humorless, bureaucratic corporations. The experience has scarred him for life. When he's not working on his startup, Justin can often be found at the movies, probably watching something with subtitles and subtext. Follow him on Twitter: @justinpeck.
10:15 - 11:30 Introduction to Google App Engine

Perhaps lesser-known than other cloud hosting platforms, Google App Engine nevertheless provides a powerful Platform as a Service which lets your applications leverage the power of Google's infrastructure and APIs. The promise is attractive: play by App Engine's rules, and your app will scale effortlessly without your intervention. In this talk, we'll take a look at how to build web apps with Google App Engine, what its sweet spot is, its limitations and weaknesses, and compare and contrast it with other cloud hosting platforms.

Luke Francl Luke Francl Luke Francl is a long-time web application developer, using everything from Perl to Tcl (yes, really!). Lately, he's focused on Ruby on Rails and Google App Engine. A Y Combinator alumni, he is also co-founder of Minne?, which organizes MinneBar, one of the largest BarCamps in the world. He is the co-author of the PeepCode ebook "Receiving Email with Ruby" and has spoken at conferences around the world. Luke blogs at and can be found on Twitter @lof.
11:30 - 12:30 Windows Azure Product Roadmap

The Windows Azure Platform is quickly evolving and expanding. New features are being added and its nearly a full time job just keeping up to date on all the latest. In this session we’ll cover what platform is today as well as what is yet to come. Whether you’re new to the platform, or looking to catch up on the latest announcements from the 2011 Windows Build conference, this session is for you.

Brent Stineman Brent Stineman Brent's nearly 20 year career has spanned platforms from the mainframe to mobile devices and industries from manufacturing to entertainment software. He started working with the Windows Azure Platform during its CTP phase and is now focused on helping fellow IT professionals explore the promise of cloud computing. Brent is also one of the inaugural Microsoft MVP's for the Windows Azure Platform.
2:00 - 3:15 Rock Paper Azure!

Did you play Rock, Paper, Scissors as a kid? Does it still determine who makes the afternoon coffee run? Then you already know how to play the game. Now's your chance to code your own player "bot" and test your skills by taking the game to a whole new level in the Cloud. In this session we explore how the competition works and what you need to know to come out on top. We’ll show you how to get in the game, write a couple bots and upload them to compete in the tournament.

Mike Benkovich Mike Benkovich Mike Benkovich is a former Microsoft evangelist who has spent his career helping developers explore and apply new technologies to solving information challenges. His website provides developers with resources to get started and work with technologies including cloud, data and devices. Follow him on twitter @mbenko.
3:30 - 4:45 git push heroku. Deploying Ruby Apps to the Cloud.

Ruby on Rails has become a framework of choice for many web application developers. The elegance of the Ruby language along with the ease of the Rails framework have made it simple and fun to build applications. Deployment and scalability, on the other hand, has been disproportionately difficult – until now. Heroku is a Ruby hosting platform that uses the Amazon Cloud and is owned by Salesforce. Heroku makes deployment and scalability ridiculously easy and possibly even a little fun. In this talk you'll get to experience the power of Rails and the simplicity of Heroku as we build an application, deploy it to the Cloud, and scale it up to handle millions of users. Presented by Jeff Lin and Paul Cantrell.

Jeff Lin Jeff Lin Jeff Lin is the Founder of Bust Out Solutions, Inc. [] and an adjunct faculty member at Hennepin Technical College where he teaches Web Design and Production. He started Bust Out Solutions in 2004 while house sitting in Hawaii. Yeah, tough work. In addition to a decade and a half in the software/web/mobile industry, Jeff also enjoys competitive soccer, paddles a hot orange kayak around the lakes, drinks good beer with lots of friends (or lots of beer with good friends), and hangs out with his wife and dog in Uptown, Minneapolis. Follow him @jefflin.