November 2017

Tampa Bay Tech Events — Week of Monday Nov. 27 through Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017 — Photo of Amelie Arena with lightning in the sky

Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, nerds, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

Do you have an tech or entrepreneurial event in or around the Tampa Bay area that you’d like to see listed here? Drop me a line about it at joey@globalnerdy.com!

Monday, November 27

Tuesday, November 28

Wednesday, November 29

Thursday, November 30

Friday, December 1

Saturday, December 2

Sunday, December 3

 

{ 0 comments }

Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, nerds, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

Do you have an tech or entrepreneurial event in or around the Tampa Bay area that you’d like to see listed here? Drop me a line about it at joey@globalnerdy.com!

Monday

 

 

Tuesday

 

 

Wednesday

 

Thursday

Thursday is Thanksgiving, so take these listings, which appear on Meetup.com with a grain of salt. I recommend that you check with either the meetup organizer or the venue to see if they’re actually taking place that day.

Friday

As far as I can tell, there aren’t any public tech, nerd, or entrepreneurial gatherings on Black Friday that i’m aware of. Have a great day off, and if you’re hitting the stores, stay safe!

Saturday

Sunday

{ 0 comments }

If you’re interested in iOS development and are looking for a conference to attend next year, I highly recommend RWDevCon, the all-tutorial, mostly-iOS conference run by the fine people at the tutorial site RayWenderlich.com!

It takes place during April 5 through 7, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia, and will feature…

…four in-depth workshops…

  1. Swift algorithms: build your own collection type, and while doing so, dive into the semantics, performance, and expectations of each Swift collection protocol. Then you’ll explore ways to write your code that takes advantage of this new knowledge.
  2. Machine learning: A hands-on workshop where you’ll harness CoreML and Vision framework and find out what machine learning is, train a model, and then integrate it into an app.
  3. Practical instruments: Finally learn how to use Xcode’s instruments to see how you apps works, find out where the bottlenecks are, and boost your app’s performance.
  4. And finally, the workshop I’m giving: ARKit — where you’ll learn about the features of Apple’s ARKit augmented reality framework, harness data from the camera and your users’ motions, present information and draw images over real-world scenes, and make the world your View Controller!

…and all these presentations…

  • Living Style Guides
  • Swift 4 Serialization
  • Architecting Modules
  • Cloning Netflix: Surely it Can’t be That Hard
  • Auto Layout Best Practices
  • Clean Architecture on iOS
  • The Game of Life
  • Android for iOS Developers
  • The Art of the Chart
  • Spring Cleaning Your App
  • Improving App Quality with Test Driven Development
  • Advanced WKWebView
  • Clean Architecture on Android
  • Getting Started with ARKit (that’s the one I’m giving!)
  • Custom Views
  • App Development Workflow
  • Integrating Metal Shaders with SceneKit
  • Xcode Tips & Tricks
  • Advanced Unidirectional Architecture
  • Embracing the Different
  • Lessons from the App Store

…and a party every night…

…all in a great venue:

Want to find out more? Visit RWDevCon.com!

{ 0 comments }

Just after giving my presentation at DevFest Florida 2017, I sat down with the Brian Hinton and Fred Weiss from the Gulf Coast-based tech podcast Thunder Nerds to talk about my presentation, making the transition to showing up at an office after eight years of remote work from the home office, how I got into tech, and of course, how I work the accordion into my job.

It’s a fun 26-minute conversation with two great hosts:

My thanks to Brian and Fred for a great time, and to DevFest Florida for inviting them!

And remember, if you’re looking for new listening material, go check out Thunder Nerds! Here’s a sampling of their podcasts that I’ve enjoyed:

{ 0 comments }

Why “?:” is called Kotlin’s “Elvis operator”

by Joey deVilla on November 13, 2017

At Victoria Gonda’s presentation on Kotlin at DevFest Florida 2017, she talked about many of Kotlin’s language features. (Be sure to check out the slides from her presentation, Kotlin Uncovered!)

When she got to the “Elvis operator”?: — there were murmurs in the crowd, and I could hear people whispering “why’s it called that?”. Hopefully, the photo above answers the question: it looks like an emoticon for Elvis.

The more formal name for the Elvis operator is the null coalescing operator, and it’s a binary operator that does the following:

  • It returns the first operand if it’s non-null,
  • otherwise, it returns the second operand.

It’s far more elegant to write

than

And in case you iOS developers were wondering, Swift has a null coalescing operator: it’s ??.

{ 1 comment }

Every week, I compile a list of events for developers, technologists, nerds, and tech entrepreneurs in and around the Tampa Bay area. We’ve got a lot of events going on this week, and here they are!

Do you have an tech or entrepreneurial event in or around the Tampa Bay area that you’d like to see listed here? Drop me a line about it at joey@globalnerdy.com!

Monday

 

 

Tuesday

 

 

Wednesday

 

Thursday

 

 

Friday

 

 

Saturday

Sunday

{ 0 comments }

How to “work the room” at DevFest Florida

by Joey deVilla on November 9, 2017

If you managed to get a ticket to DevFest Florida, congratulations! It’s the Sunshine State’s biggest tech conference covering Googly matters, and it offers more bang for the buck than a lot of conferences that charge ten times as much. I’m looking forward to attending (and speaking at!) this event.

I’m sure that you’ve perused the schedules and picked out the ones that you’d like to attend (and hey, if you’re into Android development, I have some recommendations). But have you planned out how you’re going to work the room?

At DevFest — and hey, any conference you attend — you should keep in mind that while we spend a lot of energy on the presentations and sessions, the opportunity to meet and talk to the other people there is just as important. I’ve observed that some of the most important things I’ve learned at conferences didn’t happen at the presentation, but in the hallways, lounges, lunches, and social gathering, conversing with the other attendees. This observation is so common that it’s given rise to “unconferences” like BarCamp, whose purpose is to invert the order of things so that the conference is more “hallway” than “lecture theatre”.

It’s especially important to talk to people you don’t know or who are outside your usual circle. Books like The Tipping Point classify acquaintances with such people as “weak ties”, but don’t let the word “weak” make you think they’re unimportant. As people outside your usual circle, they have access to a lot of information that you don’t. That’s why most people get jobs through someone they know, and of those cases, most of the references came from a weak tie. The sorts of opportunities that come about because of this sort of relationship led sociologist Mark Granovetter to coin the phrase “the strength of weak ties”.

The best way to make weak ties at a conference is to work the room. If the phrase sounds like sleazy marketing-speak and fills your head with images of popped collars and wearing too much body spray, relax. Working the room means being an active participant in a social event and contributing to it so that it’s better for both you and everyone else. Think of it as good social citizenship.

If you’re unsure of how to work the room, I’ve got some tips that you might find handy…

Have a one-line self-introduction

A one-line self-introduction is simply a single-sentence way of introducing yourself to people you meet at a conference. It’s more than likely that you won’t know more than a handful of attendees and introducing yourself over and over again, during the conference, as well as its post-session party events. It’s a trick that Susan RoAne, room-working expert and author of How to Work a Room: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections In-Person and Online teaches, and it works. It’s pretty simple:

  • Keep it short — no longer than 10 seconds, and shorter if possible. It’s not your life story, but a pleasantry that also gives people just a little bit about who you are.
  • Make it fit. It should give people a hint of the cool stuff that you do (or, if you’re slogging it out in the hopes of doing cool stuff someday, the cool stuff that you intend to do.)
  • Show your benefits. Rather than simply give them your job title, tell them about a benefit that your work provides in a way that invites people to find out more. Susan RoAne likes to tell a story about someone she met whose one-liner was “I help rich people sleep at night”. That’s more interesting than “I’m a financial analyst”.

My intro will be something along the lines of “I’m a rock and roll accordion player, but in my side gig, I’m a mobile/AR app developer who helps design apps for Tampa’s coolest software company.”

How to join a conversation

At DevFest, you’ll probably see a group of people already engaged in a conversation. If this is your nightmare…

Click the photo to read the Onion article.

…here’s how you handle it:

  1. Pick a lively group of people you’d like to join in conversation. As people who are already in a conversation, they’ve already done some of the work for you. They’re lively, which makes it more likely that they’re open to people joining in. They’ve also picked a topic, which saves you the effort of having to come up with one. It also lets you decide whether or not it interests you. If they’re lively and their topic of conversation interests you, proceed to step 2. If not, go find another group!
  2. Stand on the periphery and look interested. Just do it. This is a conference, and one of the attendees’ goals is to meet people. Smile. Pipe in if you have something to contribute; people here are pretty cool about that.
  3. When acknowledged, step into the group. You’re in like Flynn! Step in confidently and introduce yourself. If you’ve got that one-line summary of who you are that I talked about earlier, now’s the time to use it.
  4. Don’t force a change of subject. You’ve just joined the convo, and you’re not campaigning. Contribute, and let the subject changes come naturally.

Feel free to join me in my conversational circles! I always keep an eye on the periphery for people who want to join in, and I’ll invite you.

More tips

Here’s more advice on how to work the room:

  1. Be more of a host and less of a guest. No, you don’t have to worry about scheduling or if the coffee urns are full. By “being a host”, I mean doing some of things that hosts do, such as introducing people, saying “hello” to wallflowers and generally making people feel more comfortable. Being graceful to everyone is not only good karma, but it’s a good way to promote yourself. It worked out really well for me; for example, I came to the first DemoCamp (a regular Toronto tech event back in the 2000s) as a guest, but by the third one, I was one of the people officially hosting the event.
  2. Beware of “rock piles”. Rock piles are groups of people huddled together in a closed formation. It sends the signal “go away”. If you find yourself in one, try to position yourself to open up the formation.
  3. Beware of “hotboxing”. I’ve heard this term used in counter-culture settings, but in this case “hotboxing” means to square your shoulders front-and-center to the person you’re talking to. It’s a one-on-one version of the rock pile, and it excludes others from joining in. Once again, the cure for hotboxing is to change where you’re standing to allow more people to join in.
  4. Put your coat and bag down. Carrying them is a non-verbal cue that you’re about to leave. If you’re going to stay and chat, put them down. When you’re about to leave, take your coat and bag and start saying your goodbyes.
  5. Show and tell. We’re geeks, and nothing attracts our eyes like shiny, interesting pieces of tech and machinery. It’s why I carry my accordion around; I think of it as a device that converts curiosity into opportunity (and music as well). I’ll be doing the same with my Windows Phone 7 device as well! Got a particularly funky laptop, netbook, smartphone or new device you just got from ThinkGeek? Got a neat project that you’ve been working on? Whatever it is, park yourself someplace comfortable in the hallway, show it off and start a conversation!
  6. Save the email, tweets and texts for later, unless they’re important.They’ll draw your attention away from the room and also send the message “go away”.
  7. Mentor. If you’ve got skills in a specific area, share your knowledge. Larry Chiang from GigaOm says that “It transitions nicely from the what-do-you-do-for-work question. It also adds some substance to party conversations and clearly brands you as a person.”
  8. Be mentored. You came to DevFest to learn, and as I said earlier, learning goes beyond the sessions. One bit of advice is to try and learn three new things at every event.
  9. Play “conversation bingo”. If there are certain topics that you’d like to learn about at DevFest, say Angular, Android, mixed reality, and so on, put them in a list (mental, electronic or paper) of “bingo” words. As you converse at the conference, cross off any of those topics that you cover off the list. This trick forces you to become a more active listener and will help you towards your learning goals. Yelling “BINGO!” when you’ve crossed the last item on the list can be done at your discretion.

See you at DevFest Florida!

{ 0 comments }