Unhandled Exceptions

30 Jun

DevsForWendy

Who is Wendy Friedlander?

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This is a post that’s a bit off-topic but I hope that you will find value in it all the same.  Let me take a moment to introduce you to Wendy Friedlander.

Wendy Friedlander is a software developer, loving mom and wife who turned into a cancer-survivor-in-training on 8/14/2009.

It was the weekend of her daughter’s first birthday, when she found out she has a rare pediatric cancer called aveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. She had to immediately wean her daughter, Kaylee, and start a new life of being separated from Kaylee and her husband, Matt.

This has taken an emotional and financial toll on her family. She has had to stop working and Matt has had to switch to part-time work to care for Wendy and Kaylee. As you can imagine, the costs of childcare, mortgage, and medical expenses add up quickly.

This cancer has changed Wendy’s world. Rhabdo is a very aggressive form of cancer. The treatment consists of high dose chemotherapy and radiation. Receiving her treatment at Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center separates her from her family most of the time.

Before becoming a cancer patient (and soon to be cancer survivor!), Wendy was a software developer consultant for her company, Agile Solutions LLC. She specialized in agile software development with a focus on pair programming and test driven development. Most of her expertise is in the rich client community, mostly WPF over the last few years.

After taking some time to recover from treatment and reconnect with her family, Wendy hopes to return to her coding ways.

And we hope to welcome her back!

What Can *YOU* Do To Make a Difference?

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To help them financially and to show support for them emotionally, the NYC-area software development community is organizing a benefit dinner to help raise money for Wendy and her family.  This brilliant idea was started by Sara Chipps and I have been contributing what effort I can to assist in helping out where needed.

This dinner will be held At 7pm on this coming Wednesday evening July 7th in New York City – the exact location is still awaiting confirmation (and may need to vary based on the number of RSVPs we receive).

The cost of this dinner is $75 per person and 100% of all proceeds go direct to Wendy and her family.  Its likely that the dinner will consist merely of the oh-so-common user-group fare of Pizza and Soda so you can rest assured that probably $65 or more of every $75 collected will go to benefit Wendy.

You can RSVP for the dinner here – and the sooner the better so that we can begin to select a location capable of accommodating the right number of attendees.  Payment is accepted via most major credit cards, PayPal, and even electronic check if that suits you.

Times are Hard, I can’t Quite Swing the $75

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If you don’t think you can handle the $75 per person cost of attending the dinner, cannot adjust your schedule in time to attend, or are simply too remote to attend the event, please consider strongly making a donation directly to Wendy and her family.

Donations are accepted here and may be made in ANY amount you feel comfortable contributing.  1$, 5$, $10, $50 or more – the wonderful thing about SCALE is that even the smallest of contributions when added together can often produce GIANT results.  If even 100 people each gave $10, that would be $1000 for Wendy and her family.

Think about it.  Really.  Please.

A Very Special Guest Speaker :

Charles Petzold

image We are very pleased to be able to announce that Charles Petzold has graciously agreed to be our featured speaker at the event!  Author of about a gazillion books on Programming, Computers, .NET, and more, if you have never had the pleasure of watching him deliver a talk, you are in for a real treat!

Clever, entertaining, enthusiastic, and informative, Charles never fails to deliver a talk worth seeing on just about any topic.  For this event, Charles has promised to deliver a very special talk on a unique topic available only to paid attendees at this benefit dinner:

The evening will include a unique presentation by Charles Petzold on an obscure (but interesting) chapter in the history of computing with appearances (in chronological order) by Cicero, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Fourier, Charles Darwin, Lord Kelvin, Madame Curie, and Albert Einstein.

The intent of this talk is actually to take a look at some of the history of computing in a different and historical light so as to appeal not only to the technology crowd but also to be broad enough to be of interest to spouses, life-partners, and significant-others that might also be interested in attending the event.

Seriously – think about buying an extra ticket and bringing your spouse or significant other to this event – despite the presence of pizza and soda, this evening will prove to be so much more than your typical geek-fest – we promise

Also Starring Miguel Castro

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Venerable NYC-area (yes, and NJ-area too <g>) “.NET Dude” Miguel Castro has also volunteered to speak at this benefit event!

Boisterous, annoying, flippant, and frequently insulting, if anyone has seen a Miguel Castro presentation before you can rest assured he has promised to deliver something very un-Miguel for this event so you needn’t worry too much!

I am of course kidding :)  Miguel actually has promised to deliver a talk just for this event that’s a little different from his usual fare, but I’m sure we can count on his usual personality still being front-and-center for us all to “enjoy” !

(Seriously – Miguel is actually a great speaker who never fails to deliver an excellent and thought-provoking talk on some of the more complex technologies in the MS universe so this is a great chance to see him in perfect form!)

Free 30-day TEKPUB Subscriptions for EVERY Attendee!

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To sweeten the pot for attendees even more, the great people behind the screencasting / developer education site TekPub have graciously committed to provide a free 30-day unlimited access subscription to all of their content for every attendee who purchases a ticket to the event.

With screencasts on topics ranging from NHibernate to Ruby on Rails to ASP.NET MVC to Entity Framework 4 and more, this 30-day TekPub subscription will permit you to ‘drink from their firehose of content’ as much as you can for 30 days!

To accommodate those that cannot attend, anyone making a donation of $75 or more will also qualify for this guaranteed subscription offer.

Further demonstrating their commitment to the developer community, TekPub has also contributed a single 1-year subscription to their site which  is to be raffled off at the event to one lucky attendee!

More Cowbell, More SWAG!

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We also have commitments from several other vendors (including JetBrains, Developer Express, and more!) to donate additional software licenses to raffle off to attendees!  All of this points to a whole host of reasons why you should make it a point to try to attend this event next Wednesday evening!

And if by chance you cannot attend due to schedule, finances, geography, or other constraints, please, please, please consider making even the smallest of monetary donations.  The economics of scale can easily turn the tiniest of efforts into a very effective campaign!

Help Get the Word Out to all the Corners of the Internet!

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Please do what you can to share info about Wendy, this event, and the donation link with your friends, acquaintances, connections, followers – heck, even share this with your ENEMIES!

Help get the word out so that we can all collectively do everything in our considerable power to help Wendy and her family through this difficult time.

If the word ‘community’ is to mean anything, then its in support of something like this that it can really show its ability to make a difference in a meaningful way.

Your contribution of money, time, effort, or just spreading the word is much appreciated by everyone!

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