JSConf US 2015 and Future Conferences

In a couple of weeks, I will be heading to JSConf US 2015. I was going to talk about this, I will still talk about this more, in my next podcast. Given the quickly dwindling time remaining before the conference comes up, I wanted to share a quick heads up. Any reader or listener who will also be there, please feel free to shoot me a quick note if you’d like to meet.

I have one other possible work related conference, AWS re:Invent, that I have tentatively agreed to attend later this year, in October. Again, if you are going to be there and want to hang out, let me know.

I am enjoying being at a gig that is well resourced. While I got to travel at times for my last job, it was feast or famine. Either I was traveling a lot, too much really, or not at all. Now I have some discretion. If you know of any conferences you think I might be interested in, let me know about those too. I can always ask and I think within reason can expect to go to some of the more interesting and relevant tech conferences for the foreseeable future.

So you know, and I’ll unpack these more in a future podcast and/or essay, the technologies I am currently using, learning or interested in include React/Reflux, Node, Scala, microservices, reactive/concurrent programming, Docker, continuous delivery, and automated testing. I can probably make a case for less tech specific but still work relevant conferences like ones that bear strongly on agile as I am currently a scrum master for my day job. Anything else, while it may be of interest to me, I’ll have to foot on my own dime.

Giving Balticon a Miss

I remember vividly when I got started in podcasting. I managed to finagle the admission cost and travel expenses out of my then employer to attend Apple’s big developer conference, WWDC, the very year they announced podcast support in iTunes. On the first day, I visited the local Apple store to pick up an audio interface for my laptop, hoping to record my very first audio at that conference. Sadly, thanks to the ignorance of an Apple “genius,” my first recording happened a week or so after I got back.

Live events have been a large part of my experience of podcasting. That has tapered off in recent years but early on I was invited to a lot of interesting conferences, conventions and events due to being a podcaster. One of the earliest was Balticon. I had befriended a few local area podcasters through a now long defunct meetup. One of them got me invited as a participant some eight or so years ago during that early, heady rush. Even as I started scaling back my speaking engagements a while back, I kept going to Balticon. It is local and so was easier on the pocketbook, not to mention including so many of my friends.

The problem is there was a valid reason I scaled back in general. Oddly, the events I got asked to were rarely tech focused. Like Balticon, many of them were science fiction conventions. I happen to like science fiction. I have fond memories of the earliest cons I attended back in college. When trying to find my voice, though, as someone talking about technology, public policy, and society, an SF/F convention is an odd place to find myself. That tension has only grown over the years.

Each of the last three or four years, around this time, I have debated with myself if it made sense to go back to Balticon. Up until this year, I ultimately decided I had the patience, energy and enthusiasm to make the best of it. This year, I don’t think I do any more. Professionally and personally, the past twelve months or so have been trying, to say the least. Many of the reasons I looked forward to Balticon on a personal level have evaporated, or even worse, become reasons not to go.

I honestly don’t know if I’ll go again in the future. It will depend on a lot of things, things I couldn’t even predict right now. If you are going and would like to get together, up to a point, I could probably manage that, since the convention is still local for me. Just message me privately.

Ohio Linux Fest 2014

I have only been to a couple of Linux fests and I have enjoyed every single one. Ohio Linux Fest was my first, three years ago. I was very privileged to meet a few long time listeners there, make some new friends, and meet some of the Hacker Public Radio crew for the first time. I am finally going back to Ohio Linux Fest in a couple of weeks and am very much looking forward to it, especially if it is at all like that first time.

The first day of my first OLF, I of course immediately scoped out the local beer scene. I staked out a stool at the bar of the brew pub across the street from the Columbus Convention Center. As I sipped on my first beer, waiting for my lunch order to arrive, I heard someone at the end of the bar recommending my podcast to someone else. I recognized the voice from audio comments I had received. More immodestly than I would have done if it was a complete stranger, I interrupted and introduced myself. It remains one of the more humbling and surreal moments made possible by my podcast.

I hung out with that listener a lot that weekend. We accumulated a couple of new friends, as well, who often joined us as I continued to explore the beer scene. Downtown Columbus is…well, bare may be a bit strong but right at the convention center, that brewpub is a bit of an oasis. I hope it is still there. Despite that scarcity of obvious points of interest, we found a handful of respectable beer spots.

Later in the weekend, I was wandering the small but excellent exhibit area. One table was run by a musician who had CDs out as well as some headphones to sample his wares. I was immediately struck by the sound and the story I heard when I put the headphones one. I started chatting with the artist, int 0x80 as it happens, part of the amazing rap duo, Dual Core. The song was “Painting Pictures” which tells the tale of a fan of the pair who was deaf from birth. As the song progresses, int 0x80’s rap tells the story of, as he puts it, “an amazing little girl” who through the internet makes connections she never would have otherwise and ultimately ends up researching cochlear implants. With the support of her family, the first song she finally hears is one of Dual Core’s. The track still moves me.

I interviewed int 0x80 shortly after meeting him. When I was at DEFCON this year, I happened to run into him. I was surprised because I didn’t think to look for him. I wasn’t really surprised as so much of his early work with c64 is about playing hacker conferences, just like DEFCON. He remembered me and catching up with him was one of my favorite parts of my first, and so far only, DEFCON.

I am sure these experiences set unrealistic expectations. The quality of the programming means it doesn’t matter. I will have a good time attending the talks. Even though my podcast has been a bit quiet lately, I trust I will still bump into people I recognize. Better yet, I hope to meet some new people, make some new friends. If going to Linux fests has taught me anything, it is to be entirely open to that.

Balticon 47 Schedule – Update (again)

Update: When I first posted this, the LLF live show was listed as ten PM on Saturday. It is in fact two hours later, at midnight Saturday.

Update 2: Listening to the new media track coordinator, it sounds like I have been added to the audio tips and tricks panel on Saturday night.

After an initial delay, I finally received my invite as a participant at Balticon 47, coming up in a week. (Mad thanks to Patrick Scaffido for getting this sorted so quickly despite a late start and short notice.) I know the podcast has been a bit sparse of late (and likely to remain so this coming week) but this will be a good chance to stock pile some panel recordings for sharing over the coming weeks.

This will be my seventh Balticon as a participant. I first attended 41 which I believe was the second year the convention included a new media track with podcasters, webcomic artists, and other peer media producers and creators. Despite the usual chaos that goes with a volunteer run convention of this size, it is a highlight of the year for me and the only science fiction convention I still regularly attend after all these years (not in small part because it is near by and hence much more affordable.)

I am very much looking forward to the convention, not in the least because I decided to take this coming week off from work to relax and prepare. Even though not all the friends I had hoped to see will be able to make it, many people I only see at gatherings like these will be there. I am very excited to spend a long weekend hanging out with some of the smartest and most interesting people I know, many of whom I will be fortunate enough to get to do some of that on mic. I will be sharing those recordings with all of you and with the listeners of my other podcast, the Libation Liberation Front, that I do with my good friend John Taylor Williams.

Anyway, here is my schedule for Balticon 47 (to the best of my knowledge, ping me once I get there for updates):

Saturday, May 25
09:00 Producing Your Podcast
18:00 Peer Media, Copyright and You
23:00 Audio Production Tips and Tricks
00:00 Libation Liberation Front live show!

Sunday, May 26th
12:00 Disasterpiece Theatre
13:00 Talk to Me: How To Conduct Podcast Interviews

There is a reprise of my usual discussion of copyright, a first for me in the form of one of my podcasts recorded live (John and I are conspiring on ideas for making that teh awesome), and a guest appearance on a live recording of a ridculously fun and funny show, Alex White’s and Stephen Granade’s Disasterpiece Theatre.

Lots to look forward to–hope to see you there!

TCLP 2013-04-01 My NELF 2013 Talk

This is a feature cast, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

There is no hacker word of the week this week.

Listener feedback came from Paul who pointed out that something similar to camouflaged links is already possible and asked again if the legitimate uses outweigh or at least change the feasibility of warning users when scripting alters link behaviors on web pages.

The feature this week is an event recording of the talk I have a couple weekends back at NELF 2013. I mentioned Aaron Swartz talk from Freedom to Connect last year and Darcy Burner’s from the same event this year.


View the detailed show notes online. You can grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

Hacker Public Radio New Year’s Eve Party

One final reminder that starting at midnight UTC tonight and running until midnight UTC tomorrow, the fine folks at Hacker Public Radio will be hosting an online, audio party. You’ll need a mumble client to participate, there are further links on the party page on how to get one set up.

I will be joining the OggCast marathon, tomorrow, around 6PM UTC (1PM EST) since I have plans this evening that preclude me joining at the start. I hope to hear some of you then and there. Regardless of whether you can join the fun or not, have a happy new year!

TCLP 2012-06-04 Balticon 46: Social Media’s Effect on Politics

This is a feature cast, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

There will be no podcasts after this one for two weeks as I will be abroad. If you miss me terribly, please do check out the current and upcoming interview series on the Living Proof brewcast. We managed to sit down with frequent guest here, Randy Chertkow, and catch up in much the way he and I have at Dragon*Cons past

Due to the length of the feature, there is no new hacker word of the week this week.

The feature this week is the only audio I recorded at Balticon 46 that I plan on sharing, for reasons I discuss briefly in the episode’s intro. The recording is the panel I was on about social media’s impact on politics. I want to thank Patrick Scaffido who I think did a yeoman’s job of moderating what turned out to be a fantastic conversation.


View the detailed show notes online.. You can grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Between Cons

Just a quick note as I take a breath between a conference and a convention.

Freedom to Connect was wonderful. I saw many of the speakers I admire, renewed acquaintances with a good number of my colleagues in the non-profit space and met many more I had not yet the opportunity to do so. The event was an interesting intersection for me of my new career and my years of volunteering. I did not attend or present but worked on the team of volunteers running A/V. It was a fun learning experience since I haven’t done as much video work with a good group of folks with a similar approach to volunteering to the one I adopt. I hope to have the chantce to be at this event, next year, in the same capacity, with the same crew.

This is a full week as I catch up with work that has racked up due to two days out of the office, on my feet. I am trying to keep up at least a minimum amount of blogging since I will undoubtedly be offline for much of the upcoming long weekend.

The convention I am anticipating is Balticon, about which I have already shared my schedule. Anxious as I am given my crazy schedule recently, I am trying to keep in mind a bit of advice that came from my Tai Chi teacher. He was speaking about the discipline and sacrifice that study demands but took a moment to urge us to recall what it is that brought us to the art in the first place. I think that is sage counsel for many other contexts, including both work and work-related events and, in this instance, my involvement in the podcasting annex of the science fiction convention circuit.

I am so very much looking forward to seeing so many of my friends, as much as I also enjoy the whirlwind that is volunteering and speaking at Balticon. If you are a reader or listener and are going to be there, come, find me and say hi.

Schedule for Balticon 46

It approached faster than I realized but it is now less than a week to the official start of programming for Balticon 46. I look forward to returning as a program recipient on the new media track. As far as I can tell, I am scheduled for five panels this year.

  • The Impact of Social Media on Politics
    Saturday, 9:00AM in D (I am assuming that is Salon D)
  • Copyright Update
    Saturday, noon in Chesapeake (the first time my copyright panel has been in the big room)
  • Art of Celebrity Interview for Podcasting
    Sunday, 9:00AM in Chesapeake
  • Home Brewing
    Sunday, 7:00PM in Chesapeake (also first time for this reprise panel in the big room)
  • Open Source Podcasting: From A to Z
    Sunday, 10:00PM in Derby

I still have not received any official confirmation of my schedule from the organizers. I will do my best to prepare, regardless.

We usually like to hold our room party, BYOBS (Bring Your Own Beer and Story) on Sunday night. This will be the third year we’ll be holding this gathering of home brewers and beer lovers at the convention. My dear friend and collaborator on the Living Proof Brew Cast, John Taylor Williams, and I have held this unofficial event as an extension of our participation on behalf of that podcast. Come and find either John or I for details of where and when we’ll hold BYOBS.

I will not be convening the FLOSS birds of a feather Friday night this year. I am simply too exhausted. But any of my listeners or fellows techs should stay tuned to my social media accounts for updates on where I can be found between panels and other events.

Freedom to Connect on Monday and Tuesday

Just a reminder that I am volunteering, to help out with the audio/visual support, for Freedom to Connect this Monday and Tuesday at the AFI in Silver Spring, MD. I am not speaking but the roster of those that are is incredible. If all goes to plan, there should be live video stream of the panels; check the site for full details.

There will be no new podcast this Monday night because of this event and Balticon coming up right after.