Jessica Engström



Coding after work 2014

2015-01-04 23:53:00 +0000

I got asked to send some pictures from our hackathons this year so I thought why not make a blog post about it.

We run a user group called Coding after work, where members can come and work on their own projects and get help if they need any.
Even thought both of us (Jimmy and I) is heavily focused on Windows Platform Development (the area we both are MVP’s in) any type of projects are welcome.
We even have a few linux and mac users and members are working with PHP, unity and of course C# (ASP.NET and Windows phone/Windows).
Many of out attendees are students but our age span is 17 to 68, and we have even had a couple of 7-12 year olds making apps at our hackathons.


Code evenings

Number of unique attendees: 136

Total number of attendees attending: 383 it is an increase from last year with 52% =D

But we also did some hackathons Ler

Easter (28h)


Location: Know IT
Date: 2014-04-26 – 2014-04-27
Attendees: 55
Men/women: 66% / 34%

With some help from Microsoft DPE Danwei Tran Luciani we  (Jimmy, Tomas, Pontus and I) had one-on-one sessions with the attendees where they could talk about app ideas, code reviews and design.


//Publish/ (25h)


Location: Microsoft Sweden
2014-05-16 - 2014-05-17
Attendees: 59 + 10
Men/women: 70% / 30%
38 apps where submitted

There were two types of events, one that Microsoft DPE (50-70 attendees) should arrange and satellite events for user groups 15-20 attendees.
We got asked if we wanted to plan the DPE event which we of course did =)
The second day we had “bring your children” where we showed them how to use App Studio, there were 7 children from the age of 6 to 13 and they made 12 apps.


Unity Training day (15h)


Location: Microsoft Sweden
Date: 2014-10-04 – 2014-10-05
Attendees: 72
Men/women: 80% / 20%

In 2013 Jimmy and I got the opportunity to attend Train the trainer - Unity in Helsinki, where we met Andy Touch.
Andy came to Sweden and we thought this was an awesome opportunity to do a mini hackathon.
We did a code along where Andy showed how to make a game from start to finish.
The feedback we got was really good and we will probably make some similar events in 2015.


Halloween Hackathon (28h)


Location: Sågen, Haninge
2014-10-26 - 2014-10-27
Attendees: 41
Men/women: 65% / 35%

Lots of attendees came in costume, our focus at this hackathon was to help attendees work on their apps so that they could submit is on our X-mas hack.


X-mas hack (27h)


Location: Sågen, Haninge
2014-12-13 – 2014-12-14
Attendees: 26
Men/women: 61% / 39%

December 13 is Saint Lucia's Day in Sweden, many people had other plans already and some even had tests in school.
The number of attendees dropped for this hackathon.

Jimmy and I presented our talk from TechDays (developer.UX=true; ) it was really appreciated.

We also had choir singing in true Lucia spirit, followed by one of them (9 year old boy) publishing an app (Me helping him in the pics above)


So basically 2014 was loads of fun and we are already planning 2015 =)


Visual Studio Customer Feedback

2014-10-02 23:00:00 +0000

Help the Visual Studio team to become better.
In Visual Studio 2013 the default setting is to not be part of the Customer Experience Improvement Program.
To help the Visual Studio team understand how you use Visual Studio and help them make a better product you need to opt-in to participate.

Go to the help menu and select "Customer Feedback Options"


Then select "Yes, I am willing to participate (recommended)"
You are now contributing to improving Visual Studio and helping the team making an even more awesome product.


Microsoft MVP award

2014-01-02 10:44:00 +0000

2013 was a great year for me.

In January I got invited to join MEET Sweden (Microsoft Extended Expert Team) A complete honor.

I got the opportunity attend the “Train the Trainer Windows Phone 8” education in Utrecht.

Me and my husband went full on with our code heavy user group Coding After Work.

Coding After Work started to branch out to other cities, starting with Norrkoping.

We got to organize Easter-, Halloween- (as a part of Windows Phone week) and Xmas hackathons, a hackathon in Malmo and a hackathon with Atley Hunter and Michael Crump at Øredev.

Coding After Work also got to be exhibitors at Øredev and DevSum.

Microsoft organize “summer camp” here in Sweden, where they offer free half day seminars to everyone. I got to talk there about Windows 8 UX.
That felt a bit crazy (good crazy) as I started in this community at summer camp myself a few years back. Circle is closed and all that :)

I committed to change my diet and workout schedule, lost 13kg (28 lbs) and I have more to lose so I was on the “get up and code” podcast. You can see more of this soon.

Conferences I attended was TechX sweden, //Build, Øredev, DevSum

I went to “Train the Trainer- Unity” in Helsinki (loads of fun!)

The amazing people I got to meet during the year is fantastic. I treasure them all, mentors, beginners, young, old, all of them.

This is just a bit of the stuff I got to do. I thought that it would be hard to top 2013….


mvpThen came 2014 and bam! I got awarded Microsoft MVP (Client Dev) for my job in the community!

What a start of the year! People I look up to in the community are congratulating me, that is a surreal feeling.

I’m humbled to get nominated and awarded, and be in such an amazing category with so many great minds!
I will do my best to live up to he title.


With that I wish you all a great 2014, may it be your best year ever!


Hackathon season

2013-11-11 11:43:00 +0000

This autumn/winter is certainly the season of hackathons, at least for me.

To kick it of we started with a Halloween hack. It was super fun to organize and attend.

We crammed in 70 people in Skype's office where we usually are 50.

A lot of participants came in impressive Halloween costumes, and we were part of the Windows Phone Week.

29h of pure fun.


Next we went to Malmo and had a mini hackathon with FooCafé and met new and old dev friends.


On the first evening of the Øredev conference me, Jimmy, Atley Hunter and Michael Crump helped out at the Windows 8/Windows Phone hackathon.

Today attended a raspberry pi mini hack. Yes I do go to hackathons I don't organize ;)

In between these we are still doing the mini hacks with our user group Coding After Work

And now we are (hopefully) planning an advent/Christmas hack for December :)

//Build – day 3

2013-06-30 18:20:00 +0000

Even though the shuttles started to go much later than the other days people were clearly tired (read hung over) the attendance of the first two session was sparse to say the least Smile with tongue out
People started to drop in by lunch.


I did the other way around and only caught the 2 first sessions.

One of them being Pete Brown’s “The Wow Factor - Making your Windows Store Apps promotable
If there is only one “design” talk you are going to see, make it this one.
He goes through what not to do, exactly what to think about when it comes to design, description of your app, splash screens, why and what to think about when you reflow your content to different sized screens.
He even shows example apps.
”Be best at something”  with your app he said, I liked that. If you are not best at something what’s the point Smile
IMG_0126 (640x480)
The pace of attendees, speakers and exhibitors where clearly slower today.
And all the exhibitors completely threw stuff at you, the other days you had to do something in return to get swag, but not today Smile with tongue out

It’s going to be empty not going to the conference today, but for us who feels that way, or for those not fortunate to be there live all sessions can be seen here;

//Build – day 2

2013-06-28 18:20:00 +0000

Seriously tired today. Yesterday I was invited to the Build VIP party and after that we went to the hackathon to finish up our app. Unfortunately I only have my hybrid with me (without VS or Blend) so we were working on Jimmy’s computer. But it’s about to collapse or something,  couldn’t start Expression Blend, and Visual Studio couldn’t deploy to the phone no matter how many time we repaired and reinstalled :/

The keynote contained a lot of good stuff like cool new functions in Visual Studio and Azure, they even made a 20 MB SQL server free for mobile services! IMG_3880 (640x427)
Push notifications is just a click away now.
And of course it’s always fun to see Scott Hanselman on stage.

Azure Autoscale sure was awesome too, no more manual configuring! Speaking of saving money, Azure no longer charge you for every hour but per minute used Smile


An awesome session about design was Beautiful Apps at Any Size in Any Screen with Sarah McDevittwith.

This was an awesome session about scaling your design for windows 8.1. She talked about what controller to use when and where, and how to make your design work over all different device sizes and orientation.


In the evening there was an attendee party at pier 48 with loads of food trucks inviting you to try everything from bacon burgers and Thai to Indian food and cupcakes.
There was a lot of games like pool, air hockey and arcade games to be played and they had an entertainer on stage too.
The view at  the pier was fantastic at night, and kept getting better the darker it got

Now it’s time to regroup and get ready for the last day of the conference.

//Build – day 1

2013-06-27 07:24:03 +0000

Wow, just wow!

Sooo many sessions and so little time. It is super difficult to choose what session to attend. And you also want to look at the awesome devices and partners that are here.


The keynote was great of course, if not for the Surface pro and acer tablet Winking smile

Next I went to Windows Phone Design for developers. It was a great session, Corrina is a good presenter and she went through all the design principles thoroughly.

Windows Store Overview for Windows 8.1: new design, new promotion and monetization opportunities was the next one I went to, if you are curious to how the windows store for windows 8.1 looks you should watch this, he went through everything.


I actually ended up skipping the next session and went and looked at all the cool 3D printers and exhibiters. Like last year there was also an area where you could get design help from the UK team (I think)
I went there and got to talk to one of the girls, and it was awesome, they are very competent and have a LOT of ideas.

I love that they are giving people this opportunity.

The last session I went to was Windows Phone: building great UI in XAML

It was a great “follow up” for Corrina’s session, he showed an app that was, let’s say not so great and told us some tips and tricks for making it better looking Smile

Now it’s time to go stand in the huge line for picking up our Surface pros and Acer Iconias. People were skipping the last session so I’m guessing it will be a while Smile with tongue out

Update: The pick up went super smooth, it was SO well planned out, we had hundreds of people in front of us in line but it took like 20-30 minutes until we the got the stuff in our hands Smile

//Build - registration and Xamarin Party

2013-06-26 07:37:07 +0000


Tomorrow build starts and today you could register for it Smile
We arrived a little over an hour after they opened the doors and there were no lines to speak of.
You could even self register with a barcode Smile

We got the badge, a T-shirt and the program and we were on our way.

After that we went to a Swede meet up, we are over 100 Swedes at build which is a lot for such a small country.
We had a nice couple of hours at the Press Club and later headed over to the hackathon briefing.
Me and Jimmy signed up as a team to make a windows phone app.
After that we went to the Xamarin welcome party, if you have followed #bldwin at twitter you know that basically everyone is going Smile with tongue out
We got a cute monkey and and a T-shirt

Now it’s time for some planning, need to decide what sessions to attend!

//Build – recap and expectations

2013-06-25 17:05:34 +0000

Last year me and my husband had the chance to go to the Build conference.
When we realized that it was going to be held in Redmond we both said that we should go, when we found out it was on Microsoft campus it was no longer a choice, we HAD to go Smile


This year we decided to go as well, since we both are geeks/nerds (pick one, or both perhaps) we don’t go to Thailand or grand canaria etc, THIS is our kind of vacation, THIS is what we save our vacation money towards.

So what was so great about last years conference?

well, almost everything from sessions to interviews and meeting fellow geeks.
Some of the highlights for me was to see Scott Hanselman live. He is a great presenter. And of course to see Steve Ballmer on stage too.

The sessions I remember most is Tips on self-evaluating the UX f your app, Bleeding edge ASP.NET: See what is next for MVC, Web API, SignalR and more and perhaps Windows Phone 8: Using the speech API speech is cool (and so are bow ties) and under appreciated if you ask me Smile

We still don’t know what the sessions will hold for this year, but I have high hopes.
I especially want to know about Windows 8.1, Windows phone, UX and the Xbox One.


Mango release celebration sale

2011-09-30 19:29:00 +0000

To celebrate the release of Windows Phone Mango I’m having a sale.

All pouches is 50% off and free shipping, that’s how much I like Mango!


You can read more about the bags here



Phones not included Smile with tongue out


The bag fits most WP7 but not the largest ones like the HTC HD7, it will however fit a Samsung Omnia 7 just fine, which measures 4.82 x 2.53 x 0.43 (122.4 x 64.2 x 11 mm). So Samsung Focus shouldn’t be a problem (differs 1mm or so)


I have tried it myself with Samsung Omnia 7, LG Optimus 7 (LG E900) and HTC Mozart (and an ipod Smile with tongue out)



You can contact me on twitter @grytlappen or email for any questions or orders
The pouches can also be bought through the Swedish shop Elapid (only in Swedish)


2011-04-03 20:59:00 +0000


TechDays 2011 i Örebro

Due to my husband winning the Geek Awards this year we got to go to Örebro and Techdays.
This was my (our) first Techdays and this is a little about my experience.

The alarm went off at 03:30, insanely early, but so worth it.
We arrived in time for the keynote. Magnus Lindkvist was brilliant amongst others.
Unfortunately when we arrived at the "HTML5 for web developers" (with one of my favorite speakers Danwei Tran Luciani) it was already full.

On Facebook We have a Swedish fan-group for Windows Phone 7 and I had suggested a lunch with everyone who was at Techdays from that group. 7 of us found each other (some got lost) and we had a really nice lunch with likeminded wp7 enthusiasts.
The food was great, not over pretentious, just regular food. Especially for me who is allergic to meat, veg food usually sucks at events.

We saw to it that we were first in line for "Orchard and Azure - CMS in the cloud" with Mikael Söderström and Dag König and I'll have to say that they both where at their best.

Then something strange happened. I was talked into going to Gil Cleeren's session "What you, as an ASP.NET developer should know about jQuery". I've seen Gil once before and he is a really good speaker. But I had NO idea he was so good that I got interestedin JQuery! Who knew?

Later that evening It was time for some awards and entertainment. My husband was crowned the geek of the year (Yay!) Petter and September came to play for us and afterwards we mingled through the night.

The next morning I went to the best session (for me) on Techdays: "Windows Phone 7 in Blend och code" with Andreas Hammar and Håkan Reis. Their dynamic was perfect, no awkward pauses if one "interrupted" the other and they had so much good stuff to show us. I will download their presentation and make my husband see it with me (he was being interviewed at the time). Let me put it like this....I almost NEVER see anything twice, that goes for movies, TV, presentations etc. THAT's how good they were.

Klas Hallberg talked about getting things done in the keynote. He was brilliant and so funny. Also he has the best dialect ever :P

We tried to get in a wp7-group lunch the second day too, we were 6 people this time, including the head of wp7 for Scandinavia (?) Peter Wissinger. After the lunch Peter told us that he had some women's fit t-shirts and stuff that we could get. I got a couple of t-shirts and a vest with the "I love wp7" logo on it. So freaking cool :)

Later that day we saw Johan Lindfors talk about "wp7 - the good, the bad, the ugly" also Danwei Tran Luciani and Pontus Wittenmark spoke about "HTML5 vs. Silverlight" both sessions were very good :)

So in short: We had the best time, surrounded by geeks. No explaining that wp7 is NOT the same as win mobile, I only got the standard question "YOU going to sessions/play games/like tech stuff/etc., but you are a girl!" once during Techdays and it was from a friend's husband so he is forgiven. I had a great time!

Totally worth the blisters, small knee injury and lack of sleep :P