2014 – My Year In Review

Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/lorilalonde/archive/2014/12/31/2014ndashmy-year-in-review.aspx

Looking back on 2014, I realize so much has changed in such a short time, and appreciate all of the good things that have come my way. Here are my favourite moments of 2014.

clip_image002Awarded Microsoft MVP

I was beyond excited when I was awarded my very first (and hopefully not the last!) Microsoft MVP in April 2014!

I have always admired and respected other Microsoft MVPs whose paths had crossed mine over the years, and to be considered part of that group is a huge honour.

Given Opportunities to Speak

Prairie Dev Con was the first conference that accepted my session submissions, and so I was off to Winnipeg in early April to talk to people about Windows Phone development. What a thrill it was to be part of a roster of all-star speakers! I felt lucky to not only have been selected to be a part of the conference, but to meet those people that I have learned from as well. It was special to be at a conference with people who were there to learn and to have fun. Kudos to D’Arcy Lussier for organizing this fantastic conference each year.


I’m excited to announce that I’ve have been selected to return to Prairie Dev Con Winnipeg 2015!

clip_image006My conference submission to That Conference 2014 was also accepted. The thrill and excitement to be a part of yet another conference is something I can’t describe.

The best part of it being that it’s held at a family friendly venue – the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Although my children are both grown and had no interest in attending this with me, I still found it to be a wonderful experience to see others there with their families, and to see children participating in the conference as well!

The opening keynote by Elizabeth Naramore was inspiring and worth watching.

Big props to Greg Levenhagen and his crew for putting on a great event year in and year out!


I was also invited to participate in ObjectSharp’s At the Movies event which was held at a movie theatre in downtown Toronto in May.

It was an honour to be able to represent ObjectSharp and speak at this event, in front of an audience of over 300 people. The event was also recorded by Microsoft and is now currently up on the Channel 9 site, which makes it my second video appearance on Channel 9!

Last but not least, I had the opportunity to present at both CTTDNUG’s Cloud Camp in early 2014, and at the London .NET Developers Group Cloud Camp in late 2014!


Attended MVP Open Day and MVP Summit!

Microsoft Canada hosted an Open Day in May 2014 for current Canadian MVPs. This was my first opportunity to attend an event where I would meet my MVP Lead, Simran Chaudhry, along with Joel Langford and the rest of the Microsoft team that focuses on the developer community. It was also a wonderful feeling to meet other MVPs from across the country.


In November 2014, I was on a plane heading to Seattle to attend the MVP Global Summit where I met other MVPs from around the world. It was an experience like no other! Aside from attending the various sessions, the networking opportunities were priceless and the social events were fun. I met so many amazing people, including my MVP Summit roommate Sara Silva, as well as the father of MVVM Light, Laurent Bugnion.



Continued writing Posts for the Canadian Developer Connection blog

In 2013, I had the opportunity to write multiple posts for Microsoft’s Canadian Developer Connection blog, and the momentum kept going in 2014:

1) Save Time, Money, and Your Sanity: Coded UI Testing for the Windows Phone – Part 1

2) Save Time, Money, and Your Sanity: Coded UI Testing for the Windows Phone – Part 2

3) Save Time, Money, and Your Sanity: Coded UI Testing for the Windows Phone–Adding Assertions

4) Save Time, Money, and Your Sanity: Coded UI Testing for the Windows Phone–Test Methods

5) Windows First: A New Strategy for Mobile Development and Beyond

6) Using Portable Class Libraries

7) The Power of Speech in Your Windows Phone 8.1 Apps

8) The Power of Speech in Your Windows Phone 8.1 Apps – Text-to-Speech

9) The Power of Speech in Your Windows Phone 8.1 Apps–Speech Recognition

Transitioned the User Group to Meetup.com

With the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation in place as of July 2014, I decided this was a perfect time to transition the Canadian Technology Triangle .NET User Group to Meetup.com, and ask members to join our Meetup group in order to deactivate the old web site. This was a risky move, considering we had a solid member base in place. I was worried about losing members, but it was a risk worth taking. As part of the legislation compliance, we were required to ask people to “opt-in” to email newsletters even though they were already in our database. The old site was built on an old version of Dot Net Nuke, and we had over 1000 registered emails in the CTTDNUG database which would have required manual vetting to determine which emails were still linked to valid members.


Moving to Meetup made it easier for our members to manage their own email notifications, made it easier for them to join or leave our group without requiring any manual action on our end, and introduced our group to a wider audience. In less than 6 months, CTTDNUG has 196 members!


Achievement Unlocked: Xamarin Mobile Developer Certification

Early in the year, I subscribed to Xamarin University to learn firsthand from those that know about cross-platform development with Xamarin. I absolutely loved that the online classes were run by live instructors. Being able to interact with the instructors and other students only enhanced the learning experience. Along with that, Xamarin University provides the recordings of each class so that you can view them at your own convenience. I found this to be great to revisit topics where I needed a refresher as I was preparing for the certification exam.

Looking ahead…

I’m not sure what 2015 has in store for me, but I know I don’t plan to sit idle. I plan to continue to learn, grow, and share my knowledge with others.

Happy New Year!

Source: GeekswithBlogs – Lori Lalonde