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Interview with SilverlightShow Eco Contest Community Vote Winner

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Svetla Stoycheva
Svetla Stoycheva
Joined Sep 25, 2009
Articles:   25
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0 comments   /   posted on Mar 11, 2010
Tags:   silverlightshow , eco-contest , mix10 , cigdem-patlak
Categories:   Interviews

Next in our series of interviews with SilverlightShow Eco Contest winners is the Community Vote winner Cigdem Patlak. We talk about her expectations for MIX, sessions she would be most willing to attend, people she would like to meet there, and of course - how it feels to be a community winner in such a competitive and challenging contest!

Meet Cigdem Patlak!

Q. Cigdem - please introduce yourself for those members of SilverlightShow community who haven't had the chance to meet you.

A. I am originally from Istanbul, Turkey. I studied Computer Science and Engineering at Yildiz Technical University. In 2000, I started to work for Fortis Bank as a Software Engineer. While working full-time, I also completed my MSc. in Computer Engineering at Bogazici University in 2003. In fact, I have a background in Java technologies and I was mainly working on web and database applications with Java, Oracle and .NET until 2007 at Fortis Bank.

I have been living in Southern California (SoCal) for over 2 years now working as an independent consultant. Although I started off with contract Java projects and web design/development assignments, I have shifted towards the Microsoft development platform and focus on Silverlight and ASP.NET MVC. I must admit, I am surrounded mostly with people, who work with Microsoft technologies in SoCal. I guess, change was inevitable.

I am an enthusiastic volunteer for Microsoft DigiGirlz to empower young girls and women through technology. I blog about my tech experiments at http://www.crocusgirl.com. You can also find me on Twitter as crocusgirl.

Q. How did you get the idea about the green application you submitted in our contest? What kind of information sources did you use, did anyone help you with the idea or the implementation?

A. I checked out international websites, which promoted eco-friendly messages and motivated visitors for individual activities, when I discovered that 2010 was the International Year of BioDiversity (IYBD). I decided that an Eco contest entry would be an excellent chance to spread the word about the importance of 2010 in terms of protecting our planet and its diverse eco-system. The IYBD Logo Review Board gave me the permission to use their logo upon my request. As for the design, I created most of my images through Photoshop brushes and tried to use well-matching typefaces based on the page’s look and feel. During the implementation, I had a chance to use the WriteableBitmap for a special image effect plus make use of the Silverlight Bing Maps control.

Q. You got the Community Vote award in quite a tense voting competition. Did you expect this voting result, and why?

A. Actually I am quite surprised with the result. I initially started off with a much more interactive application, but changed it in the last minute to make it more informative with less interaction. I thought the applications with more user interactivity options would get higher votes, such as the Carbon Counter. As I submitted my application almost on the deadline date, I did not expect to get many votes due to the few days left for voting.

Q. What do you think about the Eco contest in general? Was it a good idea, or the Eco topic is perhaps not that close to the heart of the average developer?

A. The Eco contest required us to focus on a significant real-world topic, which involves us all. Some entries may right hit the target, some may have less impact. But, it made us all contestants think about the concept as well as how to reflect a problem realistically in our design and implementation. We had to consider which kind of animation/interaction to use while still delivering a serious message about one’s individual responsibility to save the Earth. I got questions about the extinction rate of species, the environmental statistics and if they were really that dramatically high. If the contest sparked more interest in being aware of our environment, the Eco contest was definitely a very cool idea.

Q. There's less than a week left until MIX in Vegas. How do you feel about this event - is this the first time you attend MIX? What are your professional expectations towards the event?

A. I have been to MIX09 last year; it was a fascinating experience. It was 3-days of fun information-overload. After MIX09, I was more assured that I had a chance to dive into design-centric tasks as a developer with Silverlight technologies. So I decided to focus for some time on my design related aspirations and attended independent design classes at California State University. So I could say; MIX09 had an impact on my professional life.

As for MIX10, I hope to get an idea on what the transformation from Silverlight developer to Windows Mobile developer will be like. I am sure that the design/UX sessions will be an incredible source of inspiration too.

Q. Do you already have a list of sessions you would like to attend? Any specific topics you are impatient to hear about?

A. I have made a list of the Silverlight, MVVM, ASP.NET MVC2 and UX sessions I would like to attend. I am especially curious about the Silverlight Development sessions for Windows Phone 7. Some design sessions focus on best design practices for real business scenarios, which I will try to attend to get more insight as a developer. I also wish to catch the session about search within audio/video content.

Q. Many IT professionals come to MIX to mainly network with other people in their field, and benefit from the connections created later on in their professional future. Do you usually mix with people at such events, and who would you like to connect with?

A. Last year at MIX09, I had a chance to meet many great Silverlight developers thanks to Dave Campbell (Wynapse/SilverlightCream). I tried to capture that happy moment here: http://bit.ly/9y5BlB.

This year, I have started to work on an open source Silverlight project called Silverlight User Group Website Starter Kit. It will be very interesting to meet my fellow developers in person at MIX10. There will also be many developers from Europe; interesting joint-project ideas could come up. Plus, based on the announcements that will be made, there will definitely be non-stop geeky brainstorming! This year, I also hope to meet some of the SilverlightShow team.

Q. SilverlightShow will be announcing more contests (with more event pass awards) very soon. We are also currently running a draw for a free pass to Vancouver Silverlight Tour event. What is the next professional event you would be really enthusiastic to attend?

A. This could actually turn out as a very long list! “An Event Apart” events are extremely tempting for web designers/developers. SXSW Interactive seems to be an event of creativity-boost due to its mixed audience of developers/designers/bloggers/digital artists etc. Web 2.0 EXPO and Web 2.0 Summit offer numerous sessions to get ready for the future Web. But there are also great events in Europe, such as the “Future of Web Design” conference in London and the “Next Web” conference in Amsterdam.

Thanks, Cigdem, for this interview. We'd be happy to talk to you again after the event, and have you share your impressions from MIX and Las Vegas! Wish you success in your professional development and in the next SilverlightShow contests you might join!

Cigdem: Congrats to all the winners!

I would like to thank you, the SilverlightShow team, for this opportunity; I am extremely happy to be going to MIX10. You guys rock!



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