Tag Archives: acm

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.

Drupal Talk Roundup

A couple weeks ago I gave the first MHVLUG talk of the year on the work I’ve done with Drupal for the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association, and MHVLUG. I think it went well, but it’s sometimes hard to tell, especially because I’ve been trying out some new approaches on talks, so feedback comes in different ways.

When I was building the Android presentation for CPOSC, I realized I was building a generic Android tutorial, and I stopped myself. Why would anyone want to hear me give that presentation? You can get that all over the internets, on the youtubes and vimeos of the world. So, I thought long and hard about what I could uniquely bring to the table. The answer was pretty simple, talk about the things that I racked my brain on, in the context that I ran into them when building my application.

This drupal talk was much the same. Two days before the talk, while doing a dry run at home, I realized that I had a tutorial that was better covered by the internets. So, I started over, and edited heavily, and managed to produce a personal narrative of working with the PFP that showed the nuts and bolts of Drupal along the way. It was a much better presentation. It also made it easier to put a call for action in the presentation, for people to get involved with local non profits.

Because this was a narrative, and not a tutorial, the audience interaction is very different. People stop and ask clarification during a tutorial, but questions during a story are often considered rude. This led to a very distinct boundary between talk, running just about an hour, and questions, which carried for 30 minutes after that. Without questions during the talk, it’s a little harder to tell if people are engaged. I do have a vivid image in my head of looking out out on the audience and even the laptop folks were all eyes up and watching, so I think I succeeded there. The 30 minutes of questions, coming from at least 8 different people, helped reinforce that.

I also made a few mechanical changes to the presentation in Open Office, which others might find interesting. I’ve moved to using Fade Smoothly (Fast) for slide transitions, and Fade In (Fast) for element animation. Getting rid of the hard appear makes the whole thing feel more fluid, and as long as it’s fast, it doesn’t get in the way.

I also realized that when you put up a slide you feel like it should get your time, but sometimes there is nothing really to add. I had a brief walk through of drupal installation. During dry run I realized I spent way too much time talking about slides with relatively little talk worthly content. To keep myself honest during the talk I made those slides automatically advance after 5 or 10 seconds (depending on complexity). That meant I got all of that on screen, but capped it to 40 seconds, and didn’t find myself saying something like “what more can I say about this slide”.

Overall I think things went quite well, and am now looking forward to the ACM talk tomorrow night.

Android Development Talk at Poughkeepsie ACM

As confirmed yesterday I’m going to be presenting my Android development talk from CPOSC (with a few tweaks for the local audience) at the Poughkeepsie Chapter of the ACM this month.

Mon, Jan 17 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm (Ulrich Room, Dyson Hall, Marist College ): Poughkeepsie ACM Talk: Solar System in your Pocket – Developing Android Applications

It started with a simple discussion after a local astronomy meeting trying to figure out which moons of Saturn we were looking at. This seemed like the perfect first Android application, building an astronomy simulator that would let me answer that question wherever I was. Little did I know that trying to do this would take me on a Journey through most of the major subsystems and interfaces in the Android SDK.This talk will take you along on that journey of writing your first Android application.

It will touch most of the major concepts involved in mobile development for Android, and many of the interfaces you’ll need to write you first application. Most importantly it will give you a list of things *not* to do when developing for the mobile space.

Sean Dague has been an open source software engineer in the IBM Linux Technology Center for the last 10 years. His spare time is split between the outdoors, amateur astronomy, and random bits of open source hacking. Dinner before the event at the Palace Diner at 6pm.

The talk will cover some of the basics of android development, focusing specifically on how it’s a different programming model from what you might be used to.  I use my Where is Io application, and what I learned along the way, as a roadmap for the talk.

ACM talk tonight on Open Source development

I’ll be giving the Poughkeepsie chapter ACM meeting tonight on Open Source development.  Some recent experiences with github have got me thinking on some of the new patterns emerging out of Open Source development.  The talk tonight is a first attempt at trying to show the emergence of these patterns.  While I’m not sure I’ve got all the right art or slides for that, I’ve got some really good notes, so I expect this will be a very fun and lively session.

If you are in the Poughkeepsie area tonight (Monday April 20th), you should stop by.