On Friday, July 19, Suncoast Developers Guild will host Demo Day for their 14th cohort!

Demo Day is the day when the student developers at Tampa Bay’s home-grown coding school (and more — see below), Suncoast Developers Guild, take their capstone projects — full applications that demonstrate what they learned during their intensive 13-week program, shown below…

Click the graphic to see it at full size.

…and demonstrate them to an audience of local tech companies, engineers, and supporters of the tech community. It’s open to the public, and it’s your chance to see first-hand what their graduating developers have learned and made, get to know them, and hopefully, hire them.

If you’d like to attend, it’s happening Friday, July 19, 2019 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Suncoast Developers Guild, located at 2220 Central Avenue in St. Pete. Admission is free, and there is 2-hour free parking in front of their campus.

Suncoast Developers Guild is more than just a coding school. It’s also:

  • A space that serves as a hub for developers and techies on the St. Pete side of Tampa Bay,
  • home for a number of local techie meetups and gatherings,
  • the organizer and sponsor of a lot of the Tampa Bay tech community’s activities and get-togethers,
  • the people behind the Suncoast Developers Guild Slack, the de facto Tampa Bay online grapevine,
  • and most importantly, the social heart and soul of the tech scene on the St. Pete side of the Bay.

Suncoast Developers Guild has given so much to the Tampa Bay tech scene, and as local techies, it’s only fair to give a little back. If you’ve got the time, please attend Demo Day on July 19th, support the latest cohort of students, and give SDG some love! I plan to attend, and I’ll see you there.


Quick notes on macOS “Catalina”

by Joey deVilla on June 25, 2019

A screenshot of the “Hello, World!” app in the book. Click to see at full size.

I’m racing to finish the first section of an upcoming book on programming for the next version of iOS, so I’m deep in beta-land with:

  • Developer beta 2 of macOS 10.15, a.k.a. “Catalina”
  • Developer beta 2 of iOS 13
  • Developer beta 2 of Xcode 11

…and while I’ve run into the occasional quirk or bug (and one crash), I’ve generally been able to go about my work. Aside from the software listed above, I haven’t been using much too many other apps on the machine running the Catalina beta — it’s mostly been:

  • Safari and Firefox for browsing
  • MacDown for writing the book in Markdown
  • git and gitHub Desktop for checking in revisions
  • Visual Studio Code for occasional text editing
  • Slack for keeping in touch with the rest of the team

All these applications seem to run fine under Catalina.

If you’re curious to find out more about the upcoming macOS Catalina, you should read Daniel Eran Dilger’s writeup in AppleInsider, where he provides an in-depth overview of the just-released public beta.

If you’re tempted to dive in and get the public beta for a machine that you rely on to get things done, he provides this warning. I’m quoting it here, because it can’t be said enough:

And now: a warning!

Note that most users should not download a Public Beta! This is especially the case for anyone who would have their life or work inconvenienced by having to track down complex problems, potentially including hardware that won’t boot or a full restore from a backup. That in itself can take hours to perform, particularly in our modern age where you likely have 100 GB or more of photos alone.

It’s not just that the Catalina Public Beta could have some wild bugs hiding in there as it develops—in our modern age of cloud-connected everything, even a minor bug could trigger a chain of events that might end up corrupting your Keychain passwords, duplicating contact records, borking your HomeKit configuration, or erasing pictures you expect to be synced to iCloud.

Let me emphasize this one more time: you don’t just need a solid backup before you install a Public Beta; you need the flexibility of hours of free time to sort out any problems that might result from using early beta software!

Tread cautiously, and don’t blame the beta for being beta—you’ve been warned!

Writing the programming book requires me to use these not-quite-ready-for-prime-time operating systems, and even then, I’m doing it on an older spare Mac, and not the only I rely on for my day-to-day stuff. If you really have to get your hands on an early version of Catalina, make sure you’ve backed up everything you’d miss if the OS suddenly made it disappear, and if possible, try it out on a backup machine.

If you’ve gotten this far and are still undeterred by the risks, you’ll want to check out this article on The Verge: How to download the iOS 13, iPadOS, macOS Catalina, and tvOS 13 public betas.



The Raspberry Pi 4 has been announced, and on paper, it’s impressive — especially when you that the starting price has stayed the same at $35. While specs won’t tell you the whole story, the Raspberry Pi 4’s numbers seem to put it on par with a laptop or smartphone that you (or your parents) may still have and may even still be using.

Here are the Raspberry Pi 4’s specs, side-by-side with those of the HP Envy 13 laptop (from 2009) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone (from 2013/2014). The Pi’s numbers are either at least as good as, if not better than those of the laptop and smartphone:

2009-era Laptop
(HP Envy 13)
2014-era Smartphone
(Samsung Galaxy S4)
2019 Raspberry Pi
Processors 1.6 GHz dual-core CPU
(Intel Core 2 Duo SU9600)
and DirectX 10-capable 16-core GPU
(ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330)
1.6 GHz quad-core CPU
(ARM Cortex-A15)
and DirectX 9_3-capable 3-core GPU
(PowerVR SGX544)
1.5GHz quad-core CPU (ARM Cortex-A72)
Active Memory 2GB DDR2 RAM 2GB LPDDR3 RAM 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
Storage 250GB 4500 RPM hard drive 16, 32 or 64GB solid state storage MicroSD cards, which start at 16GB and go as high as 512GB
Display 1600 * 900 1080 * 1920 4K (3840 * 2160)
  • Bluetooth
  • Ethernet
  • Wifi
  • Bluetooth
  • Cellular
  • Wifi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • 5GHz wifi
Powerful enough to run a proper and complete port of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City? Yes Yes
This is just me speculating, but: Probably.

It may be an “Internet of Things” device in form and price, but in terms of what it can do, it’s a desktop computer.

The 1GB model sells for $35, the 2GB for $45, and the 4GB for $55, and for a little more money, you can get it in kit packages that include a case, keyboard, mouse, and more.

More reading

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

This weekly list is posted as a voluntary service to the Tampa tech community. With the notable exception of Tampa iOS Meetup, which I run, most of this information comes from Meetup.com, EventBrite, and other local event announcement sites. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the dates and times listed here; if you want to be absolutely sure that the event you’re interested in is actually taking place, please contact the organizers!

Monday, June 24

Tuesday, June 25

Tampa’s Women Who Code chapter is holding a two-part event this week featuring Tampa Bay tech evangelist Russ Fustino. Part one covers Xamarin Forms, a cross-platform UI toolkit that’s also one of the simplest ways to create native applications for Android, iOS, and the Universal Windows Platform. He’ll demonstrate building an app and deploying it to Android, iOS, and Windows devices. Part two covers the blockchain system made by Algorand, which boasts throughput on par with large financial networks and immediate transaction finality. He’ll explain Algorand’s protocol, demonstrate node management with command-line tools, and show how to build layer 2 applications using Algorand’s SDK.

Wednesday, June 26

“Secrets of the Undercroft” may sound like the title for a Harry Potter novel, but it’s an open house for a new player in the Tampa Bay tech scene. The Undercroft is a guild whose goal is to grow the area’s individual, organizational, and economic security by advancing innovation, creativity, and security knowledge. Their space, located in one of Ybor City’s charming old buildings, will features training rooms, a media studio, conference rooms, shared workspaces, rack space, and even an ISOC (information security operations center). They’re opening soon, and this is your chance to get an early look at their space and find out more about them.

Thursday, June 27

Tech’s hottest topic meets tech’s hottest platform on Thursday at the Tampa Bay AWS User Group meetup! Tristan Li, Solutions Architect at Amazon, will talk about AWS’ latest artificial intelligence and machine learning features. As an added incentive, they’ll raffle off a $250 credit for AWS.

Friday, June 28

If you can’t make it to Tuesday’s “Secrets of the Undercroft” event (see above) but want to find more about Tampa Bay’s new security, innovation, and creativity guild, come attend this meet-and-greet with The Undercroft’s founders, members, and partners over light snacks and drinks.

Saturday, June 29

Sunday, June 30


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

This weekly list is posted as a voluntary service to the Tampa tech community. With the notable exception of Tampa iOS Meetup, which I run, most of this information comes from Meetup.com, EventBrite, and other local event announcement sites. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the dates and times listed here; if you want to be absolutely sure that the event you’re interested in is actually taking place, please contact the organizers!

Monday, June 17

Monday’s interesting event comes from OK! TRANSMIT, the meetup where art-inclined technologists and technologically-inclined artists meet up to talk about and workshop their projects. It happens at 6:00 p.m. in St. Pete’s Duncan McLellan Gallery. Find out more here.

Tuesday, June 18

It used to be the Agile QA Meetup, but they’ve expanded beyond quality assurance to cover all sorts of agile topics.  They’re now Empower Agile Teams, and they’re meeting on Tuesday to talk about growing and sustaining agile transformations. They’re meeting on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at Kforce. Find out more here.

Wednesday, June 19

One of the best-attended meetups in the Tampa Bay area is the Tampa Bay User Experience Meetup, and it’s happening this Wednesday at Kforce. This meetup is about data science and how it and UX can work together to better accomplish business objectives. Find out more here.

Thursday, June 20

Lean Beer is like Lean Coffee, but with BEER! Join Tampa Bay’s agile community as we discuss issues over ales, lagers, stouts, and more. It happens on Thursday at The Pub in the International Plaza. Find out more here.

Friday, June 21

Here’s a group new to this list — Threat Angler, whose goal is to advance the cybersecurity industry by grooming new talent and optimizing security operations. This meetup is the first gathering of the Snow SecOps LinkedIN group, and it happens online on Friday. Find out more here.

Saturday, June 22

Dungeons and Dragons and other role-playing games aren’t just a geek pastime — they’re an important part of the culture. I’m not exaggerating when I say this; Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chair of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock Partners says that his success comes from his RPG experiences. If you’re new to RPGs and want to get into them, Game Club Tampa Meetup has the event you need this Saturday! Find out more here.

Sunday, June 23

Sunday’s interest event is Book vs Movie Club, a book club where they attempt to answer the question “Was the book better than the movie?”. The book/movie in question this time is The Girl on the Train, and they’ll do in at one of my favorite British-themed pubs, Yeoman’s Cask and Lion. Find out more here.


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

This weekly list is posted as a voluntary service to the Tampa tech community. With the notable exception of Tampa iOS Meetup, which I run, most of this information comes from Meetup.com, EventBrite, and other local event announcement sites. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the dates and times listed here; if you want to be absolutely sure that the event you’re interested in is actually taking place, please contact the organizers!

Monday, June 10

Tuesday, June 11

Wednesday, June 12

Thursday, June 13

Friday, June 14

Saturday, June 15

Sunday, June 16


How to “work the room” at Ignite Tampa Bay

by Joey deVilla on June 6, 2019

If you don’t know what Ignite Tampa Bay is, read this article first.

While you’re at Ignite Tampa Bay to hear people’s ideas — and see if they get them across in five minutes, with only 20 slides, and each slide auto-advancing every 15 seconds — 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 Ignite Tampa Bay, 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 at any conversational circle I’m in! I always keep an eye on the periphery for people who want to join in, and I’ll invite them.

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 stuff down. Carrying your bag or other stuff 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 stuff and start saying your goodbyes.
  5. Show and tell. Nothing attracts our eyes like shiny, whether it’s an interesting pieces of tech, a new book, a new t-shirt you’re fond of, or even some local knowledge, such a new restaurant, cafe, or bar that just opened. It’s why I carry my accordion around; I think of it as a device that converts curiosity into opportunity (and music as well). Got an interesting thing or idea? 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 Ignite Tampa Bay to get exposed to new ideas, and as I said earlier, learning goes beyond the talks. 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 or people you’d like to have a conversation with, 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.

The “How to work a room” poster

If you want to learn how to work the room and prefer absorbing your information from graphics, you may find this poster helpful:

Click the poster to see it at full size.

And finally…

Ignite Tampa Bay 2019 takes place tonight — Thursday, June 6th, 2019 — at the Palladium Theater in St. Pete (253 5th Avenue North). Doors open at 6:00 p.m., seating starts at 6:30, and the talks start at 7:00.

Tickets are $25 ($15 for students), and can be purchased either online or at the door.

There will be food trucks in the Palladium parking lot starting at around 5:00 p.m.. The Palladium has a snack bar that serves alchohol and non-alcohol drinks and snacks — be advised that the snack bar is cash-only (there’s an ATM in the lobby). The Palladium has a small parking lot beside it, and there are more lots nearby.

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