[I just sent this email out to all user group attendees]
Because the year is winding up, I wanted to send you an email to thank you for being part of our great .NET user group community in Wellington this year.
The highlight this year has been the branching out of the .NET User Group: Sky Sigal has started the Silverlight user group and Mark Carroll the VSTS user group.
Another great thing we've done this year is increase the number of meetings. It has been 7 years since the first meeting in Nov 2002. In 2003 we met every two months, in 2004 we switched to monthly and this year we've switched to fortnightly (weekly, if you attend Silverlight meetings as well!)
Across the three user groups we had 31 meetings, which is pretty amazing for a 52 week year.
Looking at the stats for the Wellington .NET User Group on it's own: we had 21 meetings with 650 attendees. I went through the list and there were over 250 different people!
It has been so great to welcome new faces to our community, and to see familiar faces offer to present some of their ideas and wisdom for the benefit of others.
We ran a Code Camp again this year at Whitireia in Porirua, which went really well. I was also involved in our biggest Code Camp yet which was in Auckland before TechEd and had over 300 people attend.
I'd like to give an extra big "THANKS" to the speakers who worked so hard to put together sessions this year:
Alex Dean, Amir Shevat, Andrew Tokeley, Andy Prow, Bevan Arps, Bohdan Szymanik, Chakkaradeep Chandran, Chris Klug, Daniel McGaughran, Ivan Towlson, James Hippolite, Kevin Daly, Mike Zeff, Owen Evans, Richard Dingwall, Scott McKenzie, Sky Sigal and Tim Heuer.
Their willingness to share their experiences, put together talks and field the difficult questions really helped us all in our quest for knowledge. Also, thanks to them, I only needed to inflict myself on you as a speaker four times this year :)
I'd like to thank my employer Xero for hosting so many meetings, as well as Intergen and Provoke for hosting us in our times of need. I'd also like to thank Vicky for organising our drinks --- we appreciate it!
I bet you weren't expecting prizes. Aren't you glad you read this far down the email?
The inaugral winner of the "Geek of the year" goes to Bevan Arps. He was the person who attended the most user group meetings, and he presented the most sessions too. Bevan wins a Microsoft LifeCam VX-5000 valued at $100.
Please remember Bevan: when your computer is watching you, the whole world can see what you're wearing :)
To draw the winner of the "Lucky Geek" prize, I gave one entry for each meeting you attended, and used Simon Green's famous RandomDraw program to pick a winner.
The winner of the "Lucky Geek" award is Ram Petikam. Ram wins a copy of Rise of Nations / Rise of Legends, which I'm sure his teenage son will enjoy.
A lot of geeky stuff is going on in the Microsoft world. Spend a few hours this holiday season trying out something new (maybe even win an MSDN subscription http://bit.ly/6LK8vN ). Tell us what you did in our first meeting of the year, and you may win a prize!
And the final, biggest THANKS to Microsoft! We appreciated every slice of the almost 400 pizzas we ate this year!
Have a great holiday season, a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. I look forward to seeing you at meetings in the new year.
For your edification, here are the 31 meetings we had this year. How many did you come along to?
VSTS - 2 meetings:
02/99/2009 Introduction to Visual Studio Team System 2010
18/11/2009 Team System, two years down the track
Silverlight - 8 meetings:
01/07/2009 Building Accessible Silverlight Applications
29/07/2009 The Gestalt Project
09/09/2009 All about using Unity CAL, and Prism in Silverlight
30/09/2009 Creating stuff in WPF and Silverlight 3
28/10/2009 RIA Services
11/11/2009 Silverlight Animation
09/12/2009 Styling a WPF/Silverlight application
DNUG - 21 meetings:
21/01/2009 C# 4 and .NET Framework 4.0
04/02/2009 Windows Azure
18/02/2009 LINQ Refresher, Anti-XSS and SDE Libraries
04/03/2009 Recipes for Scalability
18/03/2009 Silverlight 2
15/04/2009 SQL Data Services
22/04/2009 Silverlight 3 and .NET RIA Services
29/04/2009 Teaching the good-guys bad-tricks
06/05/2009 Best practice - Caching
20/05/2009 Best practice - Towards Maintainability
27/05/2009 Using the AJAX Controls Toolbox in SharePoint
03/06/2009 Dependency injection using Ninject
17/06/2009 ASP.NET MVC - a deeper dive
15/07/2009 How To: Design and Develop an Application to Ensure Its Quality
05/08/2009 Towards Supportability
19/08/2009 Windows Mobile 6.5 Widgets
23/09/2009 Domain Driven Design 101
07/10/2009 .NET on the iPhone using MonoTouch
21/10/2009 Behaviour Driven Development
04/11/2009 Unit Testing 101
04/12/2009 PDC Announcements, Azure, Silverlight 4, Sharepoint 2010