Sunday, July 30, 2017

This was my first time going to PyOhio, and it was a blast. There will be some videos being posted soon, so I will opt to link to those as they come in, but first, here are some of the highlights:

  • Ed Finkler of OSMI gave a great talk on mental illness in tech, resources that are available, what OSMI does, etc. This topic needs to be discussed more (and I will have a very personal post about it myself coming soon). If you have the means, please consider donating to them.
  • I learned about how to use a Raspberry Pi, Redis, and some engineering Rube Goldberg goodness to measure how much coffee is left in the pot from James Alexander.
  • There were some amazing lightning talks on Saturday evening, made even more amazing by the fact that the projector didn't work for half of them and they went on anyway (more on this later).
  • Stephanie Slattery gave an incredible talk on accessibility and really inspired me to ensure that everything I do is as accessible as it can be. It's good for both ethical and financial reasons -- how often is it that incentives align that well? Let's seize the opportunity and make the world better by making our tech improve the lives for all our users, instead of excluding a fifth of them.
  • Andrew Wolfe gave a great and humorous talk where he detailed how he built out the software for BrokerSavant, the challenges faced in scaling a machine learning pipeline (and some solutions!), and ironically technical difficulties started on a slide about unexpected technical difficulties.
  • Our general counsel at DACA Time attended a few talks and got visibly animated and excited about coding, which just, in so many ways, fills me with joy. Law and code aren't that different and are probably equally opaque to most people. Why not use one to solve the other?
  • Katie Cunningham discussed the ways in which technical interviews are often done very poorly and some of the ways you can fix it (often by just not doing things; for example, just don't whiteboard, it doesn't actually give you the info you think it gives you).
  • Thanks to my medication, for the first time in my life, I was able to go up to two different speakers and initiate conversations with them. I was also able to initiate conversations with multiple audience members when I identified shared connections between us. This seems like a normal thing to be able to do, but for most of my life, I thought it was normal to just have crippling fear of talking to people, so I never initiated conversations with anyone else. (Again, consider donating to OSMI.)
  • I had to miss a really good talk on mentoring because I had not eaten all day and did not want to pass out during my lightning talk later. The good news is that it was recorded, so I will still get to see it later!
  • Lightning talks happened! As mentioned earlier, there were technical difficulties before but they were resolved. So I figured that I would be golden for my own, right? I was wrong. My laptop (running Ubuntu, so, you know) did not play nice with the projector, even with an audience member's adapter. What did I do? The only natural thing: describe and act out the GIFs I wanted to use. It was okay!

I had a great time overall, and I can't wait to post links to some of the videos of these great talks. (And hopefully there will be an embarrassing video in which I act out some cute GIFs.)

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