Salmagundi for January 10, 2012

salmagundi nuts and bolts

(“Salmagundi” is just another way of saying “hodgepodge”, and it’s our title for articles made up of collections of interesting links.)

CUSEC 2012

cusec turing completeCUSEC is short for the Canadian University Software Engineering Conference, an annual gathering of undergrad and post-grad students where they get to learn about, discuss and share their passion for software. CUSEC is famous for “punching above their weight class” when it comes to gathering speakers; among the noteworthy ones are Kent Beck, Joel Spolsky, David Parnas, Greg Wilson, Chad Fowler, Kathy Sierra, Dave Thomas, Jeff Atwood, Tim Bray, Dan Ingalls, Richard Stallman, Reg Braithwaite, Doug Crockford and Mike Shaver.

CUSEC’s keynote speakers for 2012 are an impressive bunch:

  • Alexis Ohanian: co-founder of Reddit, founder of Breadpig, Y Combinator ambassador, launcher of Hipmunk and many, many more things.
  • Jeremy Ashkenas: creator of CoffeeScript, lead dev of DocumentCloud and contributor to Backbone.js, Underscore.js and many other open source projects.
  • Gayle McDowell: Founder and CEO of
  • Greg Kroah-Hartman: Linux kernel developer.
  • Bret Victor: UI and visualization guy who’s done work for Apple, Al Gore (his interactive data graphics) and Alesis.
  • Alex Himel: Engineering manager at Facebook.

Shopify will be at CUSEC! Not only are we a sponsor; we’re also helping run the DemoCamp taking place on Thursday night. I’ll be hosting, my coworker and teammate Edward Ocampo-Gooding with be one of the judges, and it should be an all-round good, geeky time.

Whether you’re a student or working in the “real world”, CUSEC is a conference worth attending. Check out their site at for details.

The Invention of Waterloo

waterloo map

Waterloo, Ontario is a town about an hour and a half drive southwest of Toronto. While you may not have ever heard of the town, you’ve definitely felt its effects, especially if you work in tech or studied computer science. It’s the home of the University of Waterloo, a science and technology-focused school that was the first university in North America to create a faculty of mathematics and has the largest co-op education program in North America. You’ll find Waterloo students doing well in programming and engineering competitions and its alumni doing well in tech companies large and small across the globe or even starting their own (there’ve been nearly 500, the most famous of which is RIM).

The Invention of Waterloo is an article in the Canadian arts-and-letters magazine The Walrus that explores how the Waterloo area evolved into what’s now known as “Canada’s Technology Triangle” and the critical role that the University of Waterloo played in that evolution.

Git: The Simple Guide

git - the simple guide

Guides to Git don’t get any simpler than this presentation (which lives in GitHub, of course).

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.