Tips, Tricks, SerialPorts and Cupcakes at VTdotNET last night

Last night was one of the smallest meetings that we have had for VTdotNET in a long time – could it have been the 90 degree temps? The fact that schools out around the area and folks are on vacation? Well, they missed out because we had a blast.

Carl Lorentson from Renaissance Info Systems, shared a bunch of .NET Tips & Tricks. One of them solves a problem that I have had for a long time using WIndows Forms which is a very specific scenario (his matches mine) when the designer won’t open up. I have to write another blog post about that, stay tuned! He also showed some great ways he has used reflection to solve problems and gotten over the fear of extending controls. A very cool custom control he showed was a combobox that knows how to display data that is no longer part of the drop down list. In other words, if Vermont ceded from the U.S., you would still be able to see "VT" in an address display, even though Vermont was no longer in the drop down list as a selectable option.

After Carl, we got super geeky as Nick Fessel, from Cooper Controls, showed us not only how the System.IO.SerialPort class works, not only how to program an app that talks to a controller, but how to program a controller! In 20+ years of programming, I have never seen anything like this before We even got the old red & Green lights and numeric displays on teh controller. We talked a bit about Robotics Studio (something else I need to blog about because a few recent events has this high in my mind). What was funny was that Nick told us that he had actually programmed the lighting in the room where we were having our meeting. The old "clap on clap off" joke was repeated throughout the rest of the meeting.

During the day, since I have been in a bit of a funk and am having a hard time focusing on my work, I baked cupcakes. But those are a dangerous thing to have laying around the house. Therefore, I brought half of them to the meeting and everyone got a cupcake. There were some new folks at the meeting, and I assured them that this does not happen at every meeting!

So it was really fun to have a small VERY geeky meeting and also to see VTdotNET members be willing to share what they are doing at work or some of the challenges they have overcome. I really hope we can have more meetings like this in the future (including cupcakes, of course!)

Thanks again to Champlain College’s Department of Software Engineering for covering our room fees for the summer, to Infragistics for a NETAdvantage raffle, to JetBrains for a ReSharper Raffle and to APress for a bunch of books we raffled off as well.

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