Learn Something at Fanzoo HQ – August 2012

Learn Something at Fanzoo HQ - August 2012Learn Something at Fanzoo HQ was awesome in July. Various topics were explored including Backbone.js, Web API, SignalR, MonoTouch, Windows Phone, and JavaScript. If you haven’t heard of Learn Something yet, developers from many different backgrounds get together, eat, talk, share, and learn. There is no set technology or presentation. We learn individually and together. We share exciting things that we’ve learned and often have group discussions.

Learn Something continues this week on Wednesday, August 22nd from 6-9 at Fanzoo HQ. Fanzoo HQ is located at: 117 North 1st St. Suite 80 Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Food will be provided at 6pm. You can park behind the building and it is free. Our door is in the back and we have our own entrance. If you go into the main building you are in the wrong place.

Let us know you are coming by tweeting it to @FanzooTech.

What will you learn this month?

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Learn Someting at Fanzoo HQ – 4th Wednesday of Every Month

Last month we started an event called Learn Something at Fanzoo HQ. We had a great time and are going to do this every month. We will meet the 4th Wednesday of every month from 6-9 at Fanzoo HQ. Fanzoo HQ is located in the Phoneix West building at: 117 North 1st St. Suite 80 Ann Arbor, MI 48104

You can park behind the building and it is free. Our door is in the back and we have our own entrance. If you go into the main building you are in the wrong place.

Feel free to just show up, or if you want to let us know you are coming, tweet me @Fanzoo.

See you there!

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Learn Something at Fanzoo HQ

At Fanzoo we love to learn. Even better, we love to learn with others. We want to do what we love so we are going to start up a monthly code learning/pairing session at Fanzoo HQ. This will run the 4th Wednesday of every month starting this month on June 27th from 6-9. This is a very open format. Come work on anything you like. Ruby, .NET, Javascript, ObjC, anything. If there are others interested in learning the same thing, learn together. Pizza will be provided.

Fanzoo HQ is located in the Phoenix West building at: 117 North 1st St. Suite 80 Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Parking is free. You can park behind the building and our door is in the back. If you enter the main building you are in the wrong place.

I hope to see everyone there!

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The Next Step

It’s hard to imagine, but it’s been over six years since I started Fanzoo Technology. I had some ideas that were just a little bit different than every place I had worked and I wanted a chance to try them out. I wanted to work more closely with my customers so I could truly understand the problems that needed to be solved, I wanted to have a better work/life balance, I wanted to work when I was productive, and I wanted to have fun. It was a big step to start Fanzoo and I am fortunate enough to have a wife and family who were ok with me taking such a big risk.

It seems that our customers liked my approach because it wasn’t long before I couldn’t handle the work on my own. The next big step came when I hired our first employee and my eventual partner.  This changed things. Now I wasn’t just responsible for myself and my family, but for others too.

As we added employees not only could we accomplish more, but because we had more skills in our realm of expertise, we could now take on different types of projects. We have continued to grow every year and now have five employees.

When I first started Fanzoo I set out to hire only extremely talented developers that could work completely independent from their home office. This has worked well and everyone has been extremely productive. What I have found, however, is that it does not scale. It is next to impossible to mentor people remotely. Email, Skype, chat rooms, and IM all help when working together remotely, but the barrier is just enough to prevent full collaboration.

I’m excited to announce the next big step for us. Fanzoo Technology will be opening our first office in May of 2012. Those that know me can imagine that my ideas for office space are just a little bit different than most software consulting companies. This process started with a search for the perfect office location. We found it in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We have secured space in the Phoenix West building just a few blocks away from Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor. I could not be happier with the location, and the space. We don’t need cubes where we are headed and needed to find a space that worked. Our space has tall ceilings, is wide open, and has lots of light. I’ll share more of my ideas once we are done, but consider these the “before” pictures.

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U.S. Border Check

As many of you know I spend some of my time traveling around to user groups and conferences to present on software and technology. Most of my presentations for the past year have been covering Windows Phone 7.

I became interested in WP7 when it launched while at Mix and have been working with it ever since. I have started several projects but never finished. It’s easy to start, it’s hard to finish.

I decided it was time to finish something and Microsoft gave me the perfect excuse – 30 to Launch. I signed up for the contenst at the begining of the month and I’m happy to report that I am now testing the app.

The application concept is simple. Give WP7 users access to the published wait time data for border crossings across the U.S.A.  Windows Phone is the perfect platform to create an easy to use application that gets information to the user fast.

Check out the application website here: http://www.usbordercheck.com/

I will be submitting to the marketplace soon!

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Welcome!

Hello people of the intrawebs. This is Fanzoo Technology. We started something new last month and this blog is part of it. We are knowledge workers. That is, the service we provide to our clients is about sharing and putting the knowledge that we have into practice. We do this by advising our clients on technology decisions and also by building software solutions that help solve their problems.

We have to know a thing or two about technology and software. The tricky part is that what we need to know is always changing. Learning is critical to the success of our business. Based on that understanding, we are now making research and learning time a key part of every employee’s week. We started this last month and I am already impressed with the results.

Each month we have a sharing session where each person takes twenty minutes or so to share what they’ve learned. Last month we learned about the following topics:

  • Setting up a private NuGet repository for internal packages.
  • Parallel programming with the Task Parallel Library.
  • Software project management systems that implement a Kanban board.
  • Setting up and skinning a WordPress blog.

The last topic has resulted in this blog. The idea here is that Fanzoo has a place to share what we are learning. Hopefully others will find this information useful. Even better, we hope that some will have great comments to contribute so we can learn from each other.

Thanks for reading and check back soon.

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