Miguel A. Castro's Blog

# Monday, March 08, 2010

Well, Code Camp in NYC is over and I have to say it was really a lot of fun.  Kudos to Steve, Andrew, and the rest of the organization staff for a great job.  The only thing that really holds that code camp back is the fire code in the Microsoft building on 6th Avenue.  There always seems to be a waiting list because the attendance registration fills up real fast, but be that as it may it was still great.

I always submit one or two intro talks and behold, they still get chosen.  I did an intro talk on WCF and the room was so packed that they asked me if I’d repeat it in the afternoon (packed too).  It seems that WCF is still an intimidating technology so I’m always glad to clear it up for people and prove that at its basics, it really is easy to hit the ground running with it.

You can get the code and slides in the downloads section of this site.  I didn’t go through all the slides because after all it is Code Camp and not Slide Camp.  However, the steps I took to write all the code from scratch and the order in which I took them is thoroughly highlighted in the slide deck amongst the slides I did not go through.

All in all, I think everyone seemed to have enjoyed the presentation and I’m always glad to add to the numbers of people getting up to speed on this technology.

Monday, March 08, 2010 12:58:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] - - Follow me on Twitter
Speaking Events
# Saturday, March 06, 2010

Well, Tuesday I got back from Cairo Code Camp in, yeah you guessed it, Cairo.

No, I’m not talking about the umpteen cities in the US called Cairo; I mean the one in Egypt.  I think the only way I can describe the trip and the place is to use the word surreal.  I’m a long time history buff so by the mere concept of being there was unbelievable to me.  Add to that the couple of visits we made to those gargantuan structures in the desert and it was more than enough to keep me in awe for the entire time I was there.

The so-called code camp was not really a code camp, it was really more of a real conference.  It’s attendance and organization both had the feel of such.  This thanks to the folks at DashSoft and the incredible help they acquired for this event.  These folks are all part of .NETWork, a user group based in Egypt.  This conference was hands-down, one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.

My take on Cairo:

Being raised in the United States (though not born here), overseas trips tend to have their share of fascination with me but after going to several western European countries, I’ve grown quite accustomed to it.  There are several aspects of my visit to Cairo for which I could not have been prepared.


1. The first is the traffic.  I don’t know where to even begin here.  The only thing I can possibly say is that you should all go to YouTube and do a search on “Cairo Traffic”.  It will give you hours of pleasure.

 2. The second is of course the sheer awesomeness of the Great Pyramids at Giza.  I found out that Giza is actually a province of Greater Cairo and the Pyramids are in fact just outside the city in the area where the desert starts.  I got to see these twice, at night and in the day time.  At night, they weren’t lighted since it was 1:30 in the morning but it’s pretty incredible seeing the black triangles against the black of the sky as you’re on horseback headed toward a Bedouin camp.  Forget about the immense allergic attack (shown in the picture) I got because of the horse, it was totally worth it.  The following day we went to visit them at daylight and it was a completely separate and equally awesome experience.  As if the allergic attack the night before was not enough, this time I suffered a pretty severe cluster phobic attack while entering one of the pyramids.  I’m 6’4” and I had to duck into a passageway about 50-75 feet long, 25 degrees down, with dimensions of about three feet high and two and a half feet wide – not pleasant.

3. The third and most incredible thing about Egypt was the people.  The Egyptian people were the friendliest, warmest bunch I’ve ever met.  Their culture in intertwined with their religion in a way that I didn’t expect.  I guess I was expecting more of a Muslim state like Saudia Arabia, but that was not the case.  The Egyptian Muslims take their religion very seriously.  It becomes part of their guide through life and they respect and follow their customs; but at the same time they enjoy themselves and party no different than any of us, except of course without the drinking.  There is a 20% Christian population there and they get wasted with the best of us :).  I can’t say enough good things about all the people I met and spent time with.  The best thing about this trip is the number of new friends I met, and I hope to stay in touch with them for a long time. cairo_girlscairo_guys


My Sessions:

The folks that ran the conference gave me four sessions to do and the turn-out for all of them was insane:

  1. ASP.NET Under The Covers
  2. Extensibility: Software That Survives
  3. Fun With HTTP Handlers
  4. Dynamic State Storage: Custom ASP.NET Provider Features

The skill and understanding level was above average with this crowd and even the language gap turned out to be a non-issue.  The most challenging thing for me was making a conscious effort to lose my New Jersey accent and to speak slower, but it all turned out great.

The slide deck and code for all my sessions can be found on this blog’s download page.

The rest of my pictures from the trip can be found on my Picasa album.

Thank you to the folks at DashSoft, .NETWork, and most of all to the attendees of Cairo Code Camp for making my first visit to Egypt so memorable !

A very special thanks to the Zakari family for the unbelievable spread they put out on Monday.  Thank you for your incredible hospitality !

Saturday, March 06, 2010 12:36:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3] - - Follow me on Twitter
International | Speaking Events
# Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Like if you care, but here’s my bio posting.  My resume can be found here.

Business headshot1

I got started in the computer industry just after high school.  During that part of my life, I spent a lot of time at the local Radio Shack learning Basic on the old TRS-80s.  I learned programming by reading code in David H. Ahl’s Basic Computer Games and More Basic Computer Games while programming Apple IIs and Ataris.  I put myself through college by working as a programmer at a Miami-based software company.  My area of expertise at that time was something called the PICK operating system.

Advance to 1989 (September 11 actually).  I moved to New Jersey and got started working in Microsoft technologies with the release of Visual Basic 1.0 (actually, I did some QuickBasic and Turbo Pascal back in Miami).

I moved into the consulting arena in 1994 when I started to work for what used to be Coopers & Lybrand Consulting, one of the then-big 6 firms (now it’s joined with Price Waterhouse into what’s known as Price Waterhouse Coopers).  A year later, I got the opportunity to contract for a startup and branched out on my own.  I’ve been independent ever since and am incorporated as SteelBlue Solutions (just happens to be my favorite web color).

In 2004 I got started doing a lot of community involved work including speaking at user groups and writing for CoDe Magazine and was awarded Microsoft MVP in 2005.  Several months later, I was picked up by INETA as one of their speakers.  In 2006 I got my conference break with VSLive and have since spoken at all the major conferences around the states including DevConnections and Tech-Ed.  I’ve also spoken at several overseas conferences.

In 2007 I started doing training with Dunn Training & Consulting, a company owned by my good friend, Mark Dunn.  Later that year, myself, Mark, and Rocky Lhotka put together a class on Rocky’s famous CSLA business framework and later that year we held a pilot class with 30 students.  I’ve taught that class over 30 times since then and it still runs once in a while.  In early 2009, I joined the ranks of the IDesign Architects under the recommendation and support from a good friend of mine, Brian Noyes.  The consulting and training with IDesign is what keeps me busy today and is both challenging and enjoyable work.

Something else that took place along this time was the release of my product, CodeBreezeCodeBreeze is a code-generator that was born out of a personal need at many of my consulting assignments and grew into a commercial product.  CodeBreeze is currently at its 2.0 release and I’m working on releasing 3.0 sometime in the middle of this year.


I was born in Havana, Cuba and came to the United States in 1972.  Our departure from our country came after a two-year tour in a cuban field-labor concentration camp that my father served in to gain an exit visa (now you may understand why I’m so anti-commie and so politically conservative when it comes to certain security issues).  We left the country in 1969 and went to Madrid, Spain and after three years there, moved to New York City.  One year later we did what every other good Cuban does, moved to Miami, FL.

elenaI’m the oldest of four, the others being two brothers and one sister.  Between them I have 3 nephews and 2 nieces.  All of them as well as my parents still live in Miami (shit, all in the same town actually).

I married a wonderful woman from Belarus in 2003 after dating her for about three years and in December of that year we had my daughter, Victoria.  Victoria is  currently 6 years old (well, 6 and a quarter if you ask her) and is more computer literate than I was when I was 12 (and most people that are 30).

Other things I enjoy is riding my Harley or riding around in my convertible with daughter.  I enjoy cigars and scotch and am always in the middle of a book.  I love military tech novels from Coonts or Clancy but am also an immense fan of Clive Cussler.





The Future

So what’s in store for me in the future.  I guess the easy answer is tech and family.  Don’t get on my ass for not having a life; I have a great life.  I have the good fortune that my hobby and my profession are one in the same.  I spend an incredible amount of time reading and keeping up to speed in new technologies, a task that does not get any easier.  I’m either working on CodeBreeze on a regular basis, or some other pet project (typically more than one at the same time).  I believe that as a consultant, it would be a disservice to my clients, both present and future, to do otherwise.


Passion for technology
is my strategy for success

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 12:40:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] - - Follow me on Twitter

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