DevDay 2015, Inspiration, and a quick look back…

So far this year, which is obviously nowhere near finished yet, I have had some amazing experiences. From .NET Fringe, Polyglot 2015, Progressive .NET Tutorials 2015, to Dev Day 2015 and more. I decided to add a little bit more of a personal note in this blog entry because of inspiration I just got from Michał Śliwoń (@mihcall) on his Dev Day 2015 Aftermath write up.

Just as Michał writes,

“Inspiration is like a spark. It can be one brilliant presentation at the conference, one sentence at some session, one hallway conversation with another attendee and I’m excited, coming back with a head full of new ideas. Every conference has this little spark”

and I completely agree. At .NET Fringe I got back into a few things on the .NET CLR stack, namely F# and a little toying around with Akka .NET and micro-services using those technologies. I also had a hand in organizing and the origins of the conference, which I wrote about. At Polyglot 2015 my desire increased to become more familiar with and comfortable with functional programming languages. At the Progressive .NET Tutorials I was again inspired to dive deeper into functional languages and take a look more closely at everything from Weave and other container and virtualization based systems.

Thrashing Code News

One things that this led me to, is to start putting together a list of people who are interested in these types of conferences. I’m talking about the really down to earth, nitty gritty, get into the weeds of the technology, and meet the people building and using that technology everyday conferences. This list, you can sign up for here and do read the article just below the sign up page, as this is NOT some spam list. I’ll be putting in real effort and time to put together good content when the list officially kicks off! I will blog about, and of course get that first email out about Thrashing Code News in the coming months.

Again at Dev Day I was also inspired by many people and got to meet many people. Which leads me to the number one thing that makes these conferences absolutely great. It’s all about the people who attend.

The People

I got to meet Rob Conery (@robconery / http://rob.conery.io/). We hung out, had beers, talked shop, talked surfing, talked tech and training screencast, discussed future bad ass conferences (again, sign up to my list and I’ll keep you abreast of any mischievious conference Rob & I dive into) and tons more. It was seriously kick ass to meet Rob, especially after not getting a chance to at what must have been a gazillion conferences he and I have both been at before!

I finally met Christian Heilmann (@codepo8) who I also think we must have both been at a gazillion of the same conferences and somehow managed to not meet each other. Good conversation, talk of Seattle, other devlish code happy things – and hopefully a beer or two to be had with good Christian in the near future in Seattle or Portland (or thereabouts).

I had the fortune of running into Alena Dzenisenka (@lenadroid) again doing what she does, which is tell, teach, and show people a whole of awesome F# handiwork. For instance at Dev Day she was throwing down some machine learning math and helping to get people started. She’s also got some talks lined up near the Cascadian (that’s Seattle and Portland, but also San Francisco and Dallas!!) lands if you haven’t noticed, so come get inspired to sling some functional code!

On day one the keynote by Chad Fowler (@chadfowler) was excellent. I’d not realized he was a fellow who escaped the south like I had all while playing a bunch of music! I was able to catch Chad and chat a bit on day two of the conference. His presentation was great, and he’s motivated me to give his book Passionate Programmer a read.

Another individual who I’d been aiming to meet, Mathias Brandewinder (@brandewinder), was also at the conference. I even attended some of his workshop and learned a number of things about F# and machine learning. I’m definitely inspired to dig deeper into many of the machine learning realm and start figuring out more of the truly amazing things we can do with computers and machine learning algorithms – I honestly feel like we’ve only skimmed the surface for much of this technology. Mathias also has a book, that is truly worth buying titled “Machine Learning Projects for .NET Developers“. If you’re curious, yes, I have the book and am working through it steadily!  🙂

Gary Short (@garyshort) provided an amazing talk on digging into crop yields via the European Space Agency Data Science Project. I also enjoyed the multiple conversations that I was able to have with Gary from the talk of “really really really awesomely excited Americans” vs. “excited Americans” all the way to the talks on the matter of data science and crop yields themselves. Gary’s talk is linked below, so get a dose of the crop yields yourself, and any complaints be sure to send to his @robashton twitter account!  (But seriously, you should follow Rob Ashton too as he’s got a lot of good twitter nuggets).

Another person I was super stoked to run into again is Tomas Petricek (who I hear might be in the Cascadian lands of the Seattle area in a month or so). I met Tomas at Progressive .NET Tutorials in London and enjoyed a number of good conversations, and his general awesome personality and hilarious demeanor! Not sure I mentioned, but he’s got some wicked F# chops too. He spoke about Understanding the World with Type Providers, which is something that you should watch as it’s an interesting way to wrap one’s mind around a lot of ideas.

I also, after many random conversations about a whole host of conversation in Functional Programming Slack (follow the link to sign up) chats, got to meet Krzysztof Cieślak (@k_cieslak). Krzysztof (and if you can’t pronounce his name just keep trying, you’ll get it right sometime around 2023) was great to meet and catch up with in person. Also great to hear tidbits about what he’s working on since he’s driving some really cool projects, including working on projects like Ionide Project for the Atom Editor.

There are so many people I enjoyed chatting with and getting to meet, which I really wish I had more time to hang out and chat or hack with everybody more. I met so many other individuals, that I already feel like a prick for not being able to write something about every single awesome person I’ve had a chance to speak with at Dev Day and the subsequent days after the conference. To those I didn’t, sorry about that, drinks and dinner are on me when you’re in Portland!

…on that note, get subscribed to Thrashing Code News so I can update you when the rumblings and dates of the next kick ass conferences, hackathons, hacking festivals, or other great materials, learnings, or such come up. In addition, get inspired to speak, or get involved in some way and help make the next conference you attend as kick ass as you’d want it to be! It’s easy, just fill out your name and email here.

…and to Michał and Rafał I’ll be following up with you guys on some of my next confrence efforts coming up in the Cascadian Pacific Northwest (i.e. Seattle/Portland area)! Cheers!

Help Out Getting a List and Finding The Most Bad Ass Conferences of 2014!!

A Smiling Crowd!

A Smiling Crowd!

Last year I kicked off something that turned into one of the most comprehensive lists of conferences out there. I’d love to get the communities’ help again! Are you going to any conferences? Looking for conferences to attend? Looking to submit talks, hear someone speak or figuring out what conferences are in places you want to visit?

Node PDX

Node PDX

Dive into the list in this public Google Doc and help update it with 2014 conferences. New year, time for a new list! In case the link doesn’t copy and paste the link below into your browser, it’ll get you navigated straight into the spreadsheet.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjzoXvTKg56mdDdBLXhfbHFwNE1hSlNKZzBCR2hBNUE

So far I’ve kicked off the list with Node PDX, missing a few details since it’s unannounced so far, but I know they’ll be announced soon enough. Cheers!

  • Node PDX 2014 (still shows old site, but get info on it by checking out the site!)

So, what’s next on the list?

OS Bridge Day 1… Coffee, Missing Angular JS, Distributed Systems, Lego, Hardware, Terraformer…

OS Bridge Day 1 kicked off. I had more than a few goals to achieve for the day.

  1. Give my presentation “Data and Applications Across the Void :: Distributing Systems“, the first with this layout, of key topics and concepts around distributed systems.
  2. Meet Jason Denizac @_jden for coffee at Public Domain and catch up.
  3. Attend Beer Um’ Tuesday Too (i.e. B.U.T.T.) the almost unknown yet known beer meetup from the mind of genius Jerry Sievert @jerrysievert and march over with a contingent from OS Bridge.
  4. Attend the following: Kicking Impostor Syndrome in the Head, Test Driven Development with Angular JS and Terraformer.
  5. Plot next steps involving Bosh, Cloud Foundry, Riak and OpenShift.

Upon arriving I checked in and got the super sweet water bottle that the OS Bridge team got for speaker gifts. Gotta say good job, something a bit different, something that’s quality and something worth keeping! I dig it. I immediately washed it out and carried it around for thirst quenching the rest of the day.

Kicking Impostor Syndrome in the Head

This talk tackled the ideas of how to be more inclusive, allow people to actually gain buy in and confidence in the work they’re doing. This is a hugely important set of ideas that most of the large corporate world has no clue about. Thus the dramatically lower productivity, individual leadership, pride and happiness that people have working in large corporate enterprises & especially Government. This is a space that should be an extremely high priority for those businesses to study.

Mistakes...

Mistakes…

Denise Paolucci did a great job engaging the crowd and relaying the ideas of how to improve work environments to really bring out the best in people. Simply, it occurred to me this could be summarized as, “Don’t be a dick, how to kick ass, and build the whole team to do just that!

The talk included ideas such as making it safe to fail, don’t scapegoat someone around an idea that doesn’t work, but try a new path and move toward succeeding. Don’t setup people to fail, because that drags everybody down. Document things even when everybody supposedly knows those things. The list goes on, but that’s a good base for the ideas.

Check out Dreamwith Studios for more of Denise’s work.

Test Driven Development with Angular JS

This session was presented by Joe Eames @josepheames. I really wanted to go check this out, as I’ve been keen on AngularJS the last couple months but have not been able to work with it as much as I’d like to. So any exposure is good exposure in my book. This is when the bad news kicked in, I had to run off and take care of some minor priorities. Errands, ugh.

For those like me, that either weren’t at OS Bridge or missed this session, this one will be put up live at some point so keep an eye out for the videos being posted. For an immediate fix, Joe has a podcast at JavaScript Jabber. He’s also got a site related to doing TDD & JavaScript at Test Driven JS.

The standard mode of arrival at OS Bridge.

The standard mode of arrival at OS Bridge.

DIY Electric Vehicles

My friend, beverage connoisseur and JavaScripting genius Jerry Sievert @jerrysievert strolled by and mentioned DIY Electric Vehicles, DIY Electric Cars, DIY Electric Bikes and DIY DIY DIY DIY Stuffs. So I packed and headed to this workshop without any original plan to attend anything at this time.

This was a solid session with an introduction to electric vehicles, what they look like, how they work, what types of batteries are good for this use and coverage of Benjamin Kero’s @bkero DIY Electric Bike. Really cool stuff, and something that I really want to expand on and connect even more tech, similar to this plus something like Helios Bars.

Next up…

Terraformer

Terraformer is a project kicked off by Jerry Sievert @jerrysievert that provides some pretty solid mapping toolkit. For more information on this project, check out these links:

Jerry showing off other cool Terraformer features.

Jerry showing off other cool Terraformer features.

Hacker Lounge

During and after all the sessions OS Bridge is fairly well known for its awesome Hacker Lounge. Before many arrived, early in the morning just before the first keynote I snapped a wide angle of the Hacker Lounge…

Hacker Lounge, unoccupied.

Hacker Lounge, unoccupied.

…and here’s a few shots of the Hacker Lounge in full effect.

A wide angle of activity ala the Hacker Lounge. Click for full size image.

A wide angle of activity ala the Hacker Lounge. Click for full size image.

…the Lego table for solutions…

Lego table!

Lego table!

…and hardware hacking.

Hardware hacking, a little soldering brings together different worlds.

Hardware hacking, a little soldering brings together different worlds.

That’s it for day one. Happy hacking.

I Messed Up, Cascadia.js Kicked Ass, Defrag Conversations Continued Without Me!

I wasn’t able to get to Cascadia.js. Sometimes during the course of working smart and hard one misses the smart part and scheduling falls apart. Well, I messed up. I messed up and my scheduling got completed dorked for the last two weeks. What did that result in? I missed Cascadia.js, a codeathon in Spokane that I was putting together and to top it off I was missing Defrag in Denver – which really put me out because I was out of pocket personally for Defrag. Altogether it was a financial, logistical and scheduling nightmare for me.

To all, I apologize for my lapse in scheduling prowess!

Amid all of this mess, I’ve got some great new things coming up in the coming week for the OSS Projects I’m working on, the north west, a little emerald for Seattle, some earthy stuff for Portland and all around interesting tidbits here and there.

Before I go rambling on about those things, I wanted to leave this pre-weekend before Thanksgiving with some shout outs to the Cascadia.js Team & Presenters. Carter, Troy, Luc, Jerry, Laurie, Bobby & the whole lot of the team that put that together – you guys seriously ROCK!

The conference had a number of speakers, who totally rocked it, and here’s a few of my first views. I wasn’t there, as I said, so I was seriously stoked that the team put the videos online.

Angelina Fabbro @AngelinaMagnum presents

Matt Padwysocki @mattpodwysocki presents

Jason Denizac @leJden presents

Rick Waldron @rwaldron presents

Emily Rose @nexxylove presents

…and there ARE MORE PRESENTATIONS at Cascadia.js on youtube. Check them out, each is a blast!

Pull Request for People by Chris Williams

@voodootikigod <- but don’t look for him on Twitter… watch the ending keynote of his. It’s really good and we all need to think about what he is saying, seriously think about what he’s saying.

As for some of his questions he asks, I’ll have some answers to that – which I could indeed rattle off quickly, in response. I do say though, I don’t provide these answers to counter what he is saying. I do so only to state and reaffirm what he talked about. I am absolutely, 100% in agreement with what he is saying about the current state of the startup & tech sector.

With that, I’m going to spend some time with friends. Maybe even make some new ones. Cheers! 🙂

…as for Defrag, I’ll have more about that in the coming days too.

Adam & Krishan Got Me Motivated Today… to toss the trash conversations

I was speaking with Krishan Subramanian (@krishnan) and Adam Seligman (@adamse) today. I love talking to these guys. They’re both smart, intelligent and upbeat guys. They see the positive things we’re all working toward and accomplishing in the technology space, specifically around PaaS, Cloud Computing and around the cultural implications of stronger technology communities, involvement of individuals. We all can see the positives, of how the industry is moving forward so that corporations aren’t the only enablers that are juxtaposed against developers or consumers but instead act to serve consumers based on the progress that individuals make themselves. There’s so much to do and so much progress to be made, the venders can simply follow the community and step up to provide points of leadership.

Absolutely great talking with these guys…

On that topic, what is it that we discussed that has me so motivated? Well there’s a few things that I’m done with and I’m going to make every effort to just throw away the trash. Here’s a few of these things that we discussed and I challenge everybody out there, drop the trash talk and let’s move forward because there is a LOT of awesome things to accomplish. Here’s the two things I’m just dropping…  cold. No reason to discuss them anymore.

  • Toss the language and framework religious wars. It is far simpler than it is sometimes perceived. We have a polyglot industry now where we can easily use the right tool for the job, the right framework, or the language that handles our particular domain the best. There is literally no reason to argue about this anymore. Of course we can talk semantics, debate best use cases, and of course we’ll talk accomplishments and what various things do well. That’s exactly what the focus should be on, not the harping on my X is better than your Y nonsense.
  • The culture war is basically over. Sure there are the hold outs that haven’t gotten a clue yet. But it’s an open source world at this point. Even the dreaded and horrible Oracle has generally conceded this and is frantically waving its marketing arms around trying to get attention. But at the core, mysql, java and the other things that they’ve purchased they’re keeping alive. They’re active participants in the community now, albeit in a somewhat strange way. Considering that even Oracle, Microsoft, Apple and so many others contribute back to the open source community in massive ways, that war can be considered won. Victory, the community and every individual in that community!
  • Lockin is basically dead. The technological reasons to lock in are gone, seriously. There’s some issues around data gravity that are to be overcome, but that’s where a solid architecture (see below) comes in. Anything you need can be contributed to and derived from the development community. Get involved and figure out how technology can be a major piece of your business in a positive way. If you design something poorly, lock in becomes a huge issue. Use the rights tools, don’t get into binding contracts, because in the polyglot world we’re in now there’s no reason to be permanently locked in to anything. Be flexible, be where you need to be, and make those decisions based on the community, your support systems, and your business partners. Don’t tie yourself to vendors unless there is mutual reasons to do exactly that. Lock in is a dead conversation, just don’t, time to move on.

So what are the key conversations today?

  • Ecosystem Architecture – If you’re deploying to AWS, Heroku, Tier 3, AppFog or Windows Azure it all boils down to something very specific that will make or break you. Your architecture. This is where the real value add in the cloud & respective systems are, but there are many discussions and many elements of the technology to understand. This is a fundamentally key conversation topic in the industry today. Pick this one up and drop the other trash.
  • Movement & Data Gravity – How do you access your data, how do you store it, where and how do you derive insight from that data? This is one of the topics that came up in our discusssion and it is huge. The entire computer industry basically exists for the reason of insight. What should we eat today, how do I shift my investments, how is my development team doing, what’s the status of my house being built, where is my family today and can I contact them! All of these things are insights we derive from computer systems. These are the fundamental core reason that computers exist. As an industry we’re finally getting to a point were we can get some pretty solid insightful, intelligent and useful information from our systems. The conversation however continues, there is so much more we can still achieve. So again, drop the wasteful convo and jump on board the conversations about data, information and insights!
  • Community Involvement – I’ve left the key topic for last. This is huge, companies have to be involved today. Companies aren’t dictating progress but instead the community is leading as it should. The community is providing a path for companies to follow or lead, but the community, the individuals are the ones that are seen and known to be innovating. This is so simple it’s wild that it is only now becoming a known reality – companies don’t innovate, people do. Companies don’t involve, people do. Individuals are the drivers of companies, the drivers of Governments, they’re the ones driving innovation and progress. The focus should now and should have always been on the individuals and what they’re working toward to accomplish. So get involved, get the companies involved as a whole and keep the semantic ideal of individuals and the progress they can make core to the way you think of communities. The idea of the “company” innovating is silly, let’s talk and build community with the people that are working around and innovating with these technologies.

Of course there are more, I’d love to hear your take on what the conversations of today should be about. What do we need to resolve? How do we improve our lives, our work and the efforts we’re working toward on a day to day basis?