If you're not familiar with CodeMash, its home page describes it as a unique two (or optionally three) day event:
"... that will educate developers on current practices, methodologies and technology trends in variety of platforms and development languages such as Java, .NET, Ruby and PHP. Held [in] January, at the lush Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, attendees will be able to attend a world-class technical conference amid Ohio's largest indoor waterpark.There were also sessions on career development, TDD/BDD, Agile/Lean/Kanban methodologies, dynamic languages like F# and Scheme, development for mobile platforms like iPhone and Android, and too many more for me to list here. See the session list for more, and for detailed writeups and presenter bios.
This year, there were three keynote addresses and loads of software-development-related sponsors, the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, Compuware, RedGate, and ComponentOne gave talks, demonstrations, held raffles and gave away lots of swag.
But some of the most valuable experiences come from talking with other developers in the hallways, between sessions, at open space meetings organized by participants based on their interests, in the Coding Dojo room, and at the cocktail party.
I mentioned that CodeMash is two or optionally three days. They call the optional third day events, held the day before the official conference opens, the PreCompiler. The PreCompiler Sessions are 4 hour, hands-on, interactive labs. That's not to say that if you only attend the main conference you won't have a chance to sit down at a machine and try somethings out, but interactive sessions at the main conference are shorter (only about an hour) and tended to be less in-depth.
I attended 2 PreCompiler sessions, "The Ruby Koans, Learning Ruby One Test at a Time with Joe O'Brien and Jim Weirich" and "Practical T/BDD - Half Day Hands-on Lab with Phil Japikse"
I'll tell about these in subsequent blog posts.