I’m thrilled to announce that I have been selected to be the Nokia Developer Ambassador for the Southeast region. This includes Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Alabama. If you are a Windows Phone developer in my region or if you are not currently a Windows Phone developer but have an interest in getting started, I want to get to know you and discuss how I can help you write more and higher quality Windows Phone apps and help you promote them. Please connect with me. Especially if you’re a user group leader in my region I want to know how I can help. The best ways right now to keep up to date with me are through this blog or through Twitter where my handle is @billreiss. I’m also billreiss on LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype, and App.net. Keep an eye on my posts because I’m going to announce a promotion soon where you can get some really nice swag (probably including a Lumia 920 that I’ll be donating myself to make things more interesting).
Well what is a Nokia Developer Ambassador? I think Rich Dunbar, my friend and Lead Ambassador, describes it best in a recent interview on DVLUP.com here: http://blog.dvlup.com/2013/04/10/meet-nokia-ambassador-rich-dunbar-an-advocate-for-windows-phone-developers/
Rich was the first Ambassador and he was so effective in this role that Nokia decided to expand the program and give Rich some much needed help. I join a very talented and small group of Ambassadors and I’m honored to join the team. My interactions so far with them have been impressive and overwhelmingly positive. Basically if you’re familiar with the Microsoft Developer Evangelist program, we’re like the Nokia version of that. One major difference is that most or all of us also have a full time job and our employers allow us to spend our off hours working on this. Our mission statement is to do whatever it takes in our regions to facilitate the creation of more and higher quality apps for Windows Phone.
I’m sure many people in my region already know who I am but if you don’t, I’ve been writing software for over 30 years, beginning in seventh grade with some simple games for the family’s TI-99/4a computer with a tape drive, Extended Basic, and 32k of RAM. I continued writing games into the first couple of years of college, and actually sold some of them. I went into Electrical Engineering because my college at the time didn’t offer Computer Engineering, but I lost interest and had too much fun in the Sig Ep fraternity house and had to relocate to Florida where my parents lived and bring my grades up. I then attended University of South Florida for Computer Science. At USF I got into MUDs, or Multiple User Dungeons (or Domains depending on who you talk to), a text based ancestor of MMOs. I wanted to learn C better, and I always learn best by writing something, so I took an existing MUD client that I liked, called TINTIN, and extended it significantly to create TINTIN++. This became one of the most popular MUD clients ever and was detailed in a couple of books about MUDs at the time. There’s even a Wikipedia page.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve been a Microsoft MVP for the last 6 years, first in XNA, then Client Application Development, then I was named the first Silverlight MVP, which I still am today. I speak often about game development in .NET, XAML based app development, and other related topics. I’d like to thank Joe Healy, Microsoft Developer Evangelist for his support and encouragement over these years.
I got involved with Windows Phone before the first release as the lead developer on iHeartRadio for Windows Phone Version 1, and I have published Reading Lens, Wipeout, and Popper 2 among other successful apps and games as an independent developer. I work in Tampa as a Senior Developer for AgileThought, the best company I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They have been very supportive in my goals and have agreed to let me take on this exciting role in addition to my AgileThought work.
If you’re interested in Windows Phone development, there are some things you can do right now to get going. First, sign up for DVLUP.com. DVLUP is a free program where you can gain prestige and earn rewards for developing Windows Phone apps. In many cases the rewards can be more lucrative that your normal income for Windows Phone apps. Next, connect with your local Nokia Developer Ambassador and Nokia Developer Champions. We’re here to help you, that’s our only purpose. Finally, start writing some apps, or if you already have some write some more or improve the ones already out there. I’m excited to help you create the next great app for Windows Phone!