Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trenton Computer Festival (TCF) 2017

The 42nd annual Trenton Computer Festival (TCF) will be held on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, New Jersey.

The theme for this year's event is Autonomous Vehicles.

Ragunathan "Raj” Rajkumar, Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), will deliver the keynote address.  Professor Rajkumar directs a number of labs at CMU, including the the newly established University Transportation Center on Technologies for safe and efficient transportation.  He was co-director of the lab that created the Autonomous Cadillac, which completed 33 miles through high-traffic thoroughfares and two interstate highways.

As always, there will be a suite of talks throughout the day including tracks on autonomous vehicles and object-oriented programming.  Please check back here for an updated blog post as the speaker grid is confirmed.

Tickets are $12.00 in advance on-line and $15.00 at the door.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 22, 2016

April 26, 2016 ACGNJ Java Users Group Meeting

The topic for this month's meeting is "Technical Overview of Functional Programming" presented by Barry Burd.

This presentation is an overview of the concepts typically used in functional programming.  These concepts include pure functions, immutability, referential transparency, pattern matching, lambdas, currying, sections, map, filter, fold, list comprehension, lazy evaluation, higher-order functions, polymorphism, and monads.  Some of these concepts are the basis for features in Java 8, but many aren't.

Scotch Plains Rescue Squad
1916 Bartle Avenue
Scotch Plains, New Jersey 07076

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

As always, you can visit the Java Users Group web site for the latest information.

Please contact me if you have any questions and I hope to see y'all on April 26!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Summary - Day Two of Philly ETE 2016

Day Two of the 2016 Philly Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference kicked off with the keynote address by Raffi Krikorian entitled, "How Your Organization is Killing Your Software."

Raffi discussed certain aspects of software development such as speed of development and major rewrites of code by recalling his experiences while working at Twitter.

His five stages of code rewrites are:
  • Elation
  • Buckle Down
  • Oh SHIT!
  • Exhaustion
  • Relief
One of his main take-home messages was the importance of establishing your team.  He stated, "Setting up your team says more about your architecture than the architecture itself."

This was indeed a very engaging keynote address.

The sessions I attended are summarized as follows:

Session One:
"An Introduction to Web Components and Polymer"
Jeff Posnick

Jeff introduced Web Components and its four specifications:
  • Template
  • Shadow DOM
  • Custom Elements
  • HTML Import
He then introduced Google Polymer and stressed that it is not a framework.  Jeff demonstrated how to build a small custom tag and made improvements along the way.  He wrapped up with an introduction to all of the categories of Elements that comprise Google Polymer and how to get started with the Polymer Starter Kit.

Session Two:
"Rust in Production"
Steve Klabnik

Steve discussed four attributes (with source code examples) of Rust that were taken from its definition:
  • Systems
  • Safety
  • Speed
  • Concurrency
He then discussed case studies of four companies that have implemented Rust in their product(s):
  • MaidSafe
  • Dropbox
  • Skylight
  • Firefox
Lunch was sponsored by IntegriChain and featured chicken and steak along with salad!

Session Three:
"Adventures in Elm: Events, Reproducibility, and Kindness"
Jessica Kerr

Jessica demonstrated the Elm functional programming language by building a "Hello, World" web application and improving it along the way by discussing some of the various packages and Elm's Development Model

She provided a list of "dos" and "don'ts" for using the language along with a summary of how well (and not-so-well) Elm has implemented features such as the compiler, package manager, build tools and test tools.

Session Four:
"Taming the Wild, Wild West of Next-Gen Front-End Apps"
Ari Lerner

Just as with Jessica's presentation in the previous session, Ari started out by stating, "Let's build an app!"

Before getting into the heart of the presentation, front-end apps, it was necessary to quickly discuss the back-end and services and to get them started for building the app.  He chose Feathers as the back end and talked about microservices.

Ari focused on the following front-end development tools:
  • Angular 2
  • React
  • Redux
  • webpack
He provided plenty of code examples for each of these.

Ari finished with discussing deployment.  He used Docker as an example.

Well, that's a wrap-up of Day Two.  As always, it was a wonderful learning experience as this "old dog" got to learn a lot of new tricks!

I look forward to next year's conference.  Stay tuned for information when ETE 2017 will be scheduled!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Summary - Day One of Philly ETE 2016

Day One of the 2016 Philly Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference kicked off with the keynote address by David Ferrucci entitled, "AI: A Return to Meaning."

David's main message was related to meaning, that is, meaning in not explicit in language.  Making decisions based on statistical data versus deductive reasoning isn't easy.  David maintains, "We need machines to go beyond their words and their patterns.  We need them to understand."

This was indeed a very thought-provoking keynote address.

The sessions I attended are summarized as follows:

Session One:
"React.js Reconciliation"
Jim Sproch

Jim provided a very nice introduction to React Reconciliation and its underlying design of the virtual DOM.  He juxtaposed how an existing paradigm, such as rebuilding the DOM with every UI change, can be made more efficient.  For example, the traditional approach of synchronizing the UI with the DOM has a complexity of O(N3).  However, the React approach has a complexity of O(N).

Session Two:
"Stability without Stagnation: Lessons Learned from Shipping Ember"
Yehuda Katz

Yehuda provided an overview on the lessons learned from the previous releases of Ember.js.  They had some growing pains over the past couple of years.  He maintains, "Instability is a drag on innovation."  Yehuda demonstrated the Release Channel map that is used for a final new release of Ember.js.

His closing message was "You can build higher and faster on a stable foundation."

Lunch was sponsored by Hazelcast and featured what Philly is best known for, the cheesesteak!

Session Three:
"Building Microservices with gRPC and Kubernetes"
Kelsey Hightower

Kelsey gave a wonderful and easy-to-understand overview of Protocol Buffers, gRPC, and Kubernetes.  He also demonstrated how to use all three with lots of code!

This was indeed an excellent talk.  Kelsey kept me engaged throughout the entire talk! 

Session Four:
"Securing Software by Construction"
Jean Yang

Jean started her presentation by comparing computer security in academia versus industry.  In general:
  • Academia uses encrypted database, undo mechanisms, etc.
  • Industry uses firewalls.
She discussed the use of policies and that protecting sensitive data is hard.  Current legislation is outdated and, therefore, needs to be updated to reflect today's security concerns.

In closing, Jean encouraged academia and industry to work together to build more secure applications.

Session Five:
"Ionic 2: Your First @App"
Mike Hartington

Mike started his presentation in what is new in technologies used by Ionic, such as Angular 2 and JavaScript 6.  He also spent some time on the differences between Angular 1 and Angular 2.

He then discussed Ionic 2 and demonstrated how the ETE scheduling app was built.

Happy Hour:
Day One ended with a Happy Hour in the Hamilton Room.  Deep-Dish Pizza and cheese/crackers were served and there was a nice selection of beer and wine.

Ken Rimple, Director of Education Services for Chariot Solutions, held a TechCast session.  One of his guests was Martin Snyder, CTO of Wingspan Technology and a fellow member of the ETE Steering Committee.

Well, that's a wrap-up of Day One.  I look forward to Day Two!

Let's Get Philly ETE Rockin'!

I arrived a short while ago at the Society Hill Sheraton in Philadelphia for this year's Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise (ETE) Conference.

I've been fortunate to have once-again served on the Steering Committee for this year's event as one of the handful of industry folks who are not an employee of Chariot Solutions.  It's an absolute blast working with everyone!  Chariot Solutions is the most gracious host!

There are keynotes both today and tomorrow...

This morning's keynote will be delivered by David Ferrucci and is entitled, "AI: A Return to Meaning."

For detailed information on all the talks at this year's conference, please visit

That's all for now...stay tuned for highlights of Day One!

Monday, April 06, 2015

2015 Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise

The 2015 Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise (ETE) Conference will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 7-8, 2015 at the Society Hill Sheraton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I have been participated in this conference since 2008 as a speaker and steering committee member.

The conference is run by Chariot Solutions based in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.  I've known some of the employees since 2006 and it's been an absolute pleasure working with them.  They treat me like a member of the Chariot family and it is certainly much appreciated!

I wish I could say that there is still time to register for this event, but it has been sold out since mid-February, so you will have to wait until next year.  In the meantime, you can peruse the ETE web site for the keynotes and sessions that will be available this year.

I'll be tweeting these next few days and blogging about my experience.  Please look for my tweets with the #phillyete hashtag at @mpredli.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Experience at the 2013 Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference

The 2013 Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise (ETE) Conference was held on April 2-3, 2013 at the Sheraton Society Hill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This is year #6 in which I've participated in this conference in some capacity.  Not only have I attended ETE all these years, I was a speaker from 2008 through 2010 and I was on this year's ETE Steering Committee having participated on the Frameworks and Languages tracks.  I was also the guy tossing T-shirts to all the attendees and speakers as they checked-in on Tuesday, April 2.

Even though I'm not an employee of Chariot Solutions, the folks there have made me feel as if I'm part of their family.  It's been an absolute pleasure working with them all these years and I look forward to many more years to come!

My main focus for this year's ETE was Meteor and JavaScript.  I was indeed very happy that Avital Oliver, a core developer at Meteor, agreed to speak at ETE and host a meetup.  This is because I have been working with Meteor for the past few months and presented my own Getting Started with Meteor talk at Trenton Computer Festival (TCF) IT Professional Conference on March 15.

Here is the list of talks/keynotes I attended:

Tuesday, April 2:

Wednesday, April 3
I enjoyed all the talks I attended.

The folks at Chariot Solutions are such wonderful hosts as they provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with social events at some of the local drinking establishments!

I would like to once-again thank my friends at Chariot Solutions for their hospitality and for having me as a member of their team!
I look forward to ETE 2014!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Trenton Computer Festival 2013

The 38th Annual Trenton Computer Festival (TCF) will be held one month from today, i.e., Saturday, March 16, 2013 from 9:00am - 5:00pm. The venue will be at The College of New Jersey.

This will be year #2 in which TCF has gone from a Saturday/Sunday event to only one weekend day, Saturday.  This was due to ever-increasing costs relative to the income realized from running such a show.  As you may know, computer shows have seen a decline in attendance over the past 20-or-so years.

However, what makes this show different from others is the suite of talks that are available for a modest $10.00 price-of-admission.  I always say there's something for everyone at TCF as the talks aren't just for tech-savvy or IT professionals.  This year, there are tracks on Microsoft, Robotics, Apple, Games, among others.  I will be conducting a series of talks in my own track, Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) University.  Look for a separate blog post for details!

The keynote speaker at TCF this year is Frank O'Brien, the Solar System's Ambassador for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  His keynote is entitled, Roving Robots on Mars: The Journey of Curiosity.

This will be year #8 for the TCF IT Professional Conference that is held on the Friday before normal TCF activities.  I have spoken at this conference for the first seven years and hope that my Getting Started with Meteor talk will be selected for 2013.  Stay tuned...

I hope you will consider attending or even volunteering at TCF 2013.