Where’s Mike, September edition

Summer’s over, I can go back to being a couch slug and no one will be the wiser because they’re all back indoors too. I love the great indoors, with all of those mental vistas to take in.


I wanna get back in touch with you. See you here?:

Further out, I’ll be at

Where are you headed this month?

Adventures in Data Modeling: Entity Framework, Model First

sun breaks through cloudsWorking up a data model for a new systems architecture – been spending the last few months working in MS Word, whiteboards and sticky notes.  Feel like we’ve hit diminishing returns by looking at this in the abstract, so I figured I’d hack up an instance in MS SQL to see how much of this thinking stands up to reality.

I tracked down a few online resources to get me back into SQL (it’s been nearly a decade since I dug in deep) – two of note were:

After a day or so messing around with this, my valued conspirator Dale Cox mentioned Entity Framework to me:

And thus was the Bright Light of Truth shone upon my works.  For a guy like me who’s working out the business needs, transforming into Stories, and usually has a lot more to say about UX than about MVVM constructs or SQL queries, this is the perfect level for me to dig into next.  Entity Framework, Model First, using Visual Studio 2013?  I still wouldn’t pay thousands of $$$ for this tool, but here’s one way that it stays relevant for me.

See me speak at PDMA on UX for Product Managers (May 15th)

By the way, this Thursday I’ll be joining a panel of UX geeks talking at the Product Managers Association of Portland on “User Experience – What’s the Big Deal?”  I’m going in as the resident hybrid – UX geek and Product Owner, giving me the superpower to empathize with both halves of my brain when I do a crappy job for each of them. 🙂

Here’s a twist: I finally found a use for those “view this email in a browser”, because for some reason the PDMA doesn’t have a URL-able web page describing the logistics for this event:


Hey, it’s a low-cost gathering of PO’s and PM’s getting together at the Lucky Lab for beer, food and some interesting conversation.  How bad could it be?



See me speak at Devsigner Con

My talk “Great Storytelling UX in Comics” has been accepted at the Devsigner conference here in Portland, last week of May.  I’m excited to see more wild-eyed designers discover the amazing variety of ways that comics show us how to engage the user and immerse them more fully in the reading experience.

Have you seen my talk?  If not, this is an affordable opportunity to come see me in my Superman Kilt finery.

Devsigner Con, Portland, May 23-25th.


Where’s Waldo, May edition

Upcoming speaking gig: I’ll be a co-panellist for the PDMA meetup “What’s the Big Deal About UX?”.  Talking to Product Managers and Product Owners about the challenges of integrating UX into our work – and I get to live the dream, because I wear both hats every day!

You’ll also find me at:

Where to find Mike, March-ish edition

Did you catch my CHIFOO talk last week? Packed house, enrapt audience, 100 full-colour, annotated comics pages to enlighten and entertain. I’m told I was on fire, and I’m thinking hard on whether and where to re deliver this gem (I’ve already accepted one invitation). Let me know if you’d be interested.

Great Storytelling UX in Modern Comics
Slightly altered photo  of me at the event

Th. March 13th: PDX Web & Design “Unconference” – I’m gonna see if they take the bait on my three-minute “tell me my tool chain sucks and how yours is better” interactive discussion. Best way to goad them into teaching me something. [Update: it worked like a charm. I learned a ton in five minutes and loved the generosity of the audience.]

Tu. March 25th: IxDA PDX “Interaction Design Conference Redux” – will I feel as awkward at this group as ever? Only time will tell.

Th. March 27th: PDMA “UX – What’s the Big Deal?” (Don’t ask me where to find this event – apparently I’ve fallen into a secret society, what with both their chapter page and the LinkedIn group locked behind members-only walls. I’ll gladly teach you the friggin handshake for a beer.)

Sa. Mar 29th: BarCamp Portland – maybe I’ll be there and maybe you will too, if they pull off the radically hacked plan and haven’t all committed suicide.

Batman says

Brain-wringing meetups and my upcoming CHIFOO talk on UX of Comics

I’m getting rather excited about my upcoming talk at CHIFOO on Great Storytelling UX in Modern Comic Books.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be finalizing the content and doing a few dry runs to smooth out the kinks and ensure I’m connecting with the audience at each page that I show during the presentation.  If you have the time and interest in seeing where this is headed, or helping out a guy make sure he’s making best use of the audience’s time, gimme a jangle.


I’ve been out to a few meetups already this year (JavaScript Admirers, CHIFOO, STC) and helped out my poor dog who had a severe glaucoma attack and had to have an eye removed.  She’s bounced back amazingly and doesn’t seem to know that she’s not supposed to be missing an eye, which is a helluva lesson in staying present and adapting to change in this world. (Who knew my dog was a Buddhist?)


Where will you find me in the next couple of weeks?

Further out I’m planning on BarCamp Portland 8 and ProductCamp Portland 2014.  Should be a brain-wringer.