Rachel Reese's blog

One Rachii's take on .NET, F#, Community, and some unrelated, potentially completely random things.
Learning F#

Just a quick note to say that I have been posting over at http://rachelree.se lately. :)

Don't miss my latest!
Solving the Project Euler problems with F#.

Laid Off Camp Phoenix

My mind has been buzzing for days with aftereffects of Laid Off Camp Phoenix. 

So, first: my history & background: I was laid off in December. I was actually laid off via voicemail while I was on vacation in another country. At the time, I was so burnt out that my only thoughts were, "zomg, sweet! I don't have to stop being in vacation mode!!" I danced around the house and took the dogs to the dog park. Just hung out and did whatever I felt like for a couple weeks. At that point, a contract had fallen into my lap, so I started working on that. Fast forward to February, and I heard about three different friends being laid off in one week. A couple of us chatted, and we decided to bring Laid Off Camp to Phoenix. 

It started slowly (very slowly). Ideas for sessions trickled in & ideas for speakers; we chose a date, lined up gangplank for the venue & set up Facebook, Eventbrite, Meetup and twitter accounts/pages.Then, just as things started to come together, everything needed to change. :) There was so much interest in helping, I started to get more speakers, more signups... I wanted more space, more rooms, more tracks. I spoke to several venues, started pricing things, wondered where on earth a sponsor would fall from the sky to pay for it all. And then, Derek Neighbors and Gangplank saved the day! & hooking me up with the Town of Gilbert, AZ. In a matter of hours, I had a new (fully sponsored) venue, a second food sponsor and a ton of help. I'm extremely grateful to them for *everything*.

I ended up with five rooms. A lunch/networking room; a large room for talks; a smaller room for talks; a room for panels; and one for impromptu sessions. I wanted to keep the unconference/-Camp idea alive, but I wasn't sure how a mostly non-techie crowd would take to it. So, for the most part, I scheduled the sessions, but left the one room open. I know a couple sessions popped up there, so I'm glad that was utilized. 

Overall, I think Laid Off Camp was a success. Enough so, that I was talked into doing another one that night, in 6 months-ish. So, c'mon speakers! Start ramping up your sessions!! Honestly, I'm still processing some of the feedback. I had one woman tell me that, for her, it was "life-changing." That will stick with me probably forever. Beyond that I think my favorite comment was @jillinski's tweet about "visions of reinvented me dancing in my head." That so exactly and perfectly summed up my intent. A lot of people seemed to come away honestly inspired; & for that, I thank the speakers & panelists. I'm just glad I could gather everyone there to make it happen. :)

Thanks again to: 

Followup networking: Susan Baier has created a list of everyone's twitter handle who was there. Check her blog post to connect! And I created a LinkedIn group for everyone.

Thanks again for an extremely successful Laid Off Camp Phoenix! And I hope to see you all next time!

LaidOffCamp Phoenix!

LaidOffCamp logo 

I first heard about LaidOffCamp, when it was being organized in San Francisco. I recall thinking, what a great idea! Someone should organize one in Phoenix. Well, I was laid off in December. I promptly found work again, but when a few friends were laid off all the same week in February, we decided that the time had come to host a LaidOffCamp Phoenix ourselves! So we are. :)


LaidOffCamps are ad-hoc gatherings of unemployed and nontraditionally employed people (including freelancers, entrepreneurs and startups) who want to share ideas and learn from each other. They feature an open, participatory discussion forum designed to educate, empower, and connect community members. The various presentations, workshops, and discussions focus on topics that may include: building your personal brand, transitioning to a new industry, legal & accounting demands of launching a new business, finding affordable health insurance, alternative working spaces, alternative income sources, and how to become a freelancer.


Date: Saturday, August 8th

Location: Gangplank
325 E. Elliott Rd
Chandler, AZ 85225

You must have a ticket!

The Rules of LaidOffCamp
  • 1st Rule: You do talk about LaidOffCamp.
  • 2nd Rule: You do blog about LaidOffCamp.
  • 3rd Rule: Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join.
  • 4th Rule: No pre-scheduled presentations and no tourists - everyone participates!
  • 5th Rule: If you want to present, you must write your topic and name in a presentation slot.
  • 6th Rule: As many presentations at a time as facilities allow for.
  • 7th Rule: All sponsors, no matter how large their contribution is, shall be treated equally and afforded the same "benefits"
  • 8th Rule: There will be no screening or vetting of presenters - anyone can speak!

 Adopted from Tantek Çelik's The Rules of BarCamp.


For even more details, check The Wiki.

Tech-Ed Followup

Just wanted to follow-up on my Tech-Ed on the cheap experience.

I purchased an Expo floor only pass ($100), which did not offer meals. So, I purchased a late breakfast/lunch/brunch every day at e.g. Denny's ($15/day * 5 days = $75), which was large enough to hold me over till 3pm (which = free snack time on the expo floor). Grab a couple free snacks, and I'm good. Enough hanging out on the expo floor, and you hear where all the good parties are (free food, free drinks & best networking opportunities). I drove and, since I drive a Prius, it was only 2 tanks of gas, roundtrip. $40. But, then I had to pay for parking $150. (Boo on big city parking!) And I was able to snag a couch to crash on from a friend in town. (free!)

Just wanted to reiterate: For $400 total (cheapest vacation ever!), I hit up one of the most important Microsoft conferences of the year, and networked the heck out of it. Seriously: that's accessible for everyone (employed or not) right?

Why weren't you there?

Tech-Ed, budgeting and being laid off.

I was laid off in December; then took up a 3 month gig with a friend for which I only ended up being paid 25%; and am about to complete a roughly six week gig on Friday. Needless to say, I've been quite low on money for quite some time.

Having my contract end this week is actually somewhat convenient. TechEd is in LA next week. Since it's just a hop, skip and a jump from my place, I'm going. Obviously, I can't afford the $2300 registration fee, but I can afford the $100 ticket just to get on the Expo floor. I can couch surf. I can bring food & pilfer granola bars. There will likely be cheap eats somewhere near the conference center. If not, I do have a car. I can drive to a Mickey D's. I will still have access to some of the world's most knowledgeable people. Most of the sessions are online anyway.

As someone who's (thinking about, and slowly acting upon) organizing LaidOffCamp Phoenix, I want to make the point that there's nothing at all about my current situation that is preventing me from going. Major conferences are important networking events. You SHOULD be going to these things if you have the time, because they DO NOT HAVE TO BE budget-stretchers.

There are ways, people. Learn them. Live them.

Upcoming Phoenix Events!

There's a bunch of FREE stuff going on this week, folks, so get out and GO! 

Ignite Phoenix, Part II:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008.

Ignite Phoenix is an information exchange aimed at fostering and inspiring Phoenix’s creative community. Presenters get 5 minutes and 20 slides to talk about anything they are passionate about. Send in your presentation or just show up and have a fun time. (stolen shamelessly from the About page) 

Now, check their list of topics.  Want to know how to survive the next zombie uprising (and really, what kind of person doesn't have time for that? Do you want to die?)  What about how to get started with urban livestock? Make a movie for under $5k? iPhone development?  Ignite Phoenix has it all.  


November 1-2, 2008.

What is a PodCamp?

PodCamp is a FREE BarCamp-style community UnConference for podcasters and listeners, bloggers and readers, and anyone interested in New Media. It was held for the first time from September 8-10 in Boston, Massachusetts and is now spreading across the world.

These 7 rules define what events can be called a PodCamp:

  • All attendees must be treated equally. Everyone is a rockstar.
  • All attendees must be allowed to participate. (subject to limitations of physical space, of course)
  • All sessions and events must be free of charge to attend.
  • All sessions must obey the Law of 2 Feet - if you’re not getting what you want out of the session, you can and should walk out and do something else. It’s not like you have to get your money’s worth!
  • The event must be new-media focused - blogging, podcasting, video on the net.
  • The financials of a PodCamp must be fully disclosed in an open ledger, except for any donor/sponsor who wishes to remain anonymous.

(stolen shamelessly from the Learn page)


Hope to see you there! 

I was interviewed! AKA: Learn more about me.

Just wanted to thank Chris Williams for interviewing me as part of his very cool Nine Questions series! 

Yes, it was quite awhile ago. One of my more recent goals is *slightly* more frequent blogging. 

So, check me out: Nine Questions with Rachel Reese



Posted: Oct 24 2008, 04:22 PM by rachelreese | with no comments
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Fixing WCF/WPF VS 2005 Extensions installation after installing VS 2008 or .NET 3.0 SP1

Just wanted to point folks to a fix I just found helpful:

Thanks to http://blog.tfanshteyn.com/2008/01/fixing-wcfwpf-vs-2005-extensions.html

Basically, once you've installed VS2008 or .NET 3.0 SP1, the registry key saying that .NET 3.0 has been installed is removed.  If you want to, say, install Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 (WCF & WPF), November 2006 CTP, you'd recevie errors to the effect that .NET 3.0 wasn't installed, and was a prerequisite. 




Be Careful

I know this is something many of you have had to deal with for a long time... but for future reference, be careful what you type while at work:


“The poll said 25 percent of companies fired a worker for violating e-mail policies, up from 2 percent last year....

“About 0.5 percent of companies said instant messages have been subpoenaed.”



Apparently the 1TB offer for mail that some folks reported was only a glitch.  :-(

Full article: http://news.com.com/2100-1024_3-5215599.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=news

Posted: May 19 2004, 11:13 AM by rachelreese | with no comments
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