Android Talk at the Poughkeepsie ACM

I didn’t get home last night until 10:30, and sleep didn’t find me until after 1am. All of this was because of a talk I gave at the Poughkeepsie ACM on my experience with Android Development with the Where is Io application.

Why the ACM, and not the LUG? That question got asked at dinner, as the ACM regulars are well aware that I run MHVLUG. There were a few reasons. The first of which is that we did an Android talk in May, and while my talk was substantially different, the concept would feel stale to me. We’ve got a 2 year no repeat policy on topics, which I think works out quite well. But I had this quite good talk that I really did want to do locally and not just for the folks in Harrisburg.

But something else happened over the course of the fall, which got me more excited about this talk. It occurred to me that mixing things up a little is always a good thing. MHVLUG is my familiar turf, and at this point I know the audience really well, so it’s less of a lecture and more of a hangout with friends for me. I am definitely in my comfort zone there. ACM is new faces, new audience. I had spoken there previously, and while I knew a couple folks that come to LUG meetings are ACM regulars, it promised to be a mostly fresh crowd. Growth for me, and a chance to generate a bit of crossover between the groups. I advertised the talk to the LUG on the off chance that we’d get a few folks to come out.

The ACM does dinner first, meeting second (reverse of MHVLUG). I happened to show up at the Palace just as Ben and Tim (2 of the other MHVLUG officers) did. As we walked in we found the ACM table which was 7 folks, with an open spot for me.  At +3 we kind of broke that assumption so wedged another table over.  It turned out that wasn’t the last table addition we’d need. By the time food was being ordered there were about 16 people at dinner. Bob Cotton, ACM president, turned to me at one point saying this was the most people they’d had in a while.

Gulp. At that point I realized an expectation was set, if no where else than in my head. This was going to be more of a draw than the ACM meetings typically got, which meant I felt an extra burden to not be wasting anyone’s time. I knew the talk didn’t suck, I’d given it before, and I’d refined it again, but live performance is what it is, and until you get swinging you never know.

Dinner ran late, which means we got to Marist late, and while I was expecting a few other faces than at dinner, people who said they’d be there, I wasn’t entirely expecting 20 more faces. Neither were they. There was a chair scramble while I set up.

The talk went very well, one of my better performances. It clocked in at about 50 minutes, which seems to be my new norm, open questions for 30 minutes following, with stragglers there for another 40 to ask more questions. It had been one of the biggest draws in a while, and when people want to keep discussing the topic for a full hour after you ceded the floor, you know you stuck the landing. I still get quite an adrenaline rush after a solid presentation like that, which led to the whole issue in falling asleep.

Bill Collier told me at the end of the evening I’d be welcomed back to speak any time, and I’ll definitely take him up on that.

3 thoughts on “Android Talk at the Poughkeepsie ACM”

  1. Congrats on the talk. The only thing better than an ending like that is seeing dread in the faces of speakers that have to follow you. 🙂 Had that experience in college in an advanced class. First presenter set a pretty low bar which made everyone happy but after I gave my presentation, there was a lot of dread in the audiance. After class the prof said “They’re going to kill you for resetting the bar so high.”

    Think it’ll drum up more participation on the project or were they mostly Android geeks and not astronomy geeks?


  2. It’s hard to say if it will specifically get more people involved in the project, though I did hear from a few folks that they were interested in checking out the code. Only time will tell. I need to get a little time to get the German translation out there on the market soon.


  3. I’ve been a regular at ACM Poughkeepsie for well over a decade, long before Bob Cotton joined. I don’t recall ever seeing nearly so many at dinner. (That’s probably why our meal was delayed.) Our meeting size was also the largest I can remember. I enjoyed the talk a lot. Particularly effective, in my view, was that you kept the formal talk relatively short. One tends to learn more efficiently from the Q & A.


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