Month: January 2018 (page 1 of 7)

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So pink it should have @randomknits’s name on it. 😂 Batch Chapeau (raspberry sour) – very nice!

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Finished my #lca2018 miniconf organiser gift! #straighttothepoolroom ❤️

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How am I supposed to get any work done with this furball purring like a chainsaw behind me? 😻

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Weekly Meetup Wrap – January 28, 2018

It was LCA week! Last year I attended my first LinuxConfAU in Hobart, but this year it happened to be in Sydney about 5 minutes from my house. In addition to catching as many sessions as I could and trying to get a normal amount of work done, I also had the honour of being a miniconf organiser. I also went to two different meetups! It made for a hectic week.

Monday morning began with the Open Hardware Miniconf. Last year I learned to solder, so this year I had another go with the LoliBot! It took me a few goes to get back into it, but luckily I had a great teacher in Leon Wright:

I didn’t quite get to finish my robot because I had to run off for the Art + Tech exhibition that I’d organised! Eight of the speakers got together over lunch to show off some of the projects they’d be talking about the next day. It was a small logistical challenge, but thankfully the Snook was a massive help. We didn’t quite get the huge crowds I’d hoped for, but that was mostly because the conference was spread out over multiple buildings. Everyone still seemed to enjoy themselves!

One of my favourite thing to do at conferences is find folks wearing YOW! t-shirts. 🙂

I caught a few sessions at the end of the Games and FOSS miniconf. One of my favourites was by Jon Manning, a game developer and frequent YOW! speaker from Hobart. Jon spoke about the game Night in the Woods and how the team open-sourced parts of the game during development.

The miniconf ended with lightning talks, so on a whim I put up my hand to talk about the Scratch game I made for the Harvard CS50 course. It went well! It’s the first 5 minutes of this video…

Tuesday was the big day – the Art + Tech miniconf! There were so many amazing tweets during the day; you should just check out the hashtag yourself. Every single speaker went above and beyond what I had even hoped for. I’d like to thank all of them, as well as the organisers who helped make it happen. You can watch almost all of the videos on YouTube here:

Wednesday was the start of the conference proper. The morning’s keynote was by Karen Sandler from Outreachy, who talked about the pacemaker and defibrillator she has inside her heart. When Karen discovered that she didn’t have access to the code that was literally inside her body, it was the inspiration for a lot of her work with Open Source. I was particularly struck by the bit where she talked about having to get a replacement and discovering to her horror that every model available had wireless connectivity. She had to explain to her doctor that, as a woman on the Internet with opinions, having her heart device connected to the Internet meant she would probably have to change her career. Luckily after much effort they were able to source a single model with the capability of turning this feature off. 😵

I also saw a very cool talk by Paul Schulz on a project he helped with in Adelaide to build an array of “cosmic ray” (muon) detectors for an art festival. He had one with him, and every time a muon struck it – inside the building! – it would flash and chime. I even got some video.

My friend Katie Bell also gave a fantastic talk about a fun data project she worked on…

The video is here, but spoiler: Yes. Yes, it is. 😂

Wednesday night I headed to Siteminder‘s office for the Sydney Technology Leaders meetup on “building your brand as a thought leader… or not!” The first speaker was Dave Bolton, head of engineering at WooliesX. Dave spoke about his history in technology, and some of the specific activities he recommends to build your profile within the community. The one about reviewing a professional book on Goodreads surprised me – I’ll have to try that out!

Next up was my friend and former Canva colleague Rose Powell. Rose gave us some great, practical advice on dealing with the media and how to craft an attention-grabbing conference talk or article title.

The third speaker was meant to be a public speaking coach, but unfortunately both of the ones we lined up got sick! So I had to step in, and I already told you about that

We finished the night with a panel, which was great as always. Special shout out to my friend Mick Pollard who basically functioned as a fifth panelist, giving some great advice from his experience running the Devops Sydney meetup group.

Thursday I made it back to LCA for a few more sessions, including one by the other Devops Sydney organiser, Lindsay Holmwood. Lindsay spoke about Conway’s Law about how it can be applied to open source communities. My favourite observation:

I also saw a really cool talk by Andy Botting and Glenn Guy on the work they’ve done to reverse engineer different Australian catch-up TV services to work on the open source Kodi media player. As someone who used to work on one of those services, this was fascinating to me! (The guys actually saw my tweets and came up to me the next day to ask me about it.)

Thursday night I skipped the Penguin Dinner at LCA and headed over to Google for the GDG Sydney meetup. It was a small but lively group, and the theme of the night was Open Source and Google. We heard a lot about the Summer of Code program as well as the Google Code-In, and many of the attendees were folks who had participated in the programs in one way or another. There were lots of lightning talks about the work they’d done, and it was really inspirational to see!

Friday was the last day of LCA, and frankly I was pretty much conferenced out. After a very entertaining and super informative keynote about containers from Jessie Frazelle, I headed over to see my friend Hannah Thompson talk about her project to recreate the Clueless app. You know, the one that Cher uses to pick out her clothes for the day! I loved every single aspect of this talk. Hannah did a fantastic job. So much Jane Austen, and computers, and clothes, and code, and fun. ❤️

I also really enjoyed Sam Thorogood‘s talk about the “death” of the Web, and how progressive web apps can be used to provide app-like functionality within your website. He even did a fun demo turning OFF wifi and showing how your site can still work off-line.

The last session of the day consisted of fourteen different lightning talks, and they were all pretty excellent. My favourites were from my friend Stephen Dalton of the Gold Coast TechSpace, Benno Rice and his Aristocrat-inspired take on Bitcoin, and Fraser Tweedale teaching me about Hackyll and giving me Haskell flashbacks.

Overall my second LCA was a great experience. The Snook came along with me to most sessions, and it was the first time we’d ever been to a tech conference together. Being able to duck home for lunch and to sleep in my own bed each night was amazing, and I’m definitely going to miss that the next time I travel to one! I also enjoyed hanging out with so many cool technical women, and the impromptu knitting circles that kept happening during tech talks. 🙂

Other Stuff

Wearing my new shorts to the cinema! Pattern: Prefontaine Shorts by @thatmoxiegirl Fabric: Liberty cotton from @wearethefabricstore Trim: old pink t-shirt

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Linguine all’amalfitana from @buonricordosydney cookbook! Pasta, prawns, zucchini, mint, garlic, cheese, YUM. ☺️

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