Submitting Talks, New and Old…

Earlier this week, I was talking with my a few speaker friends on submitting talks for conferences – as I’m specifically looking at submitting talks for:

Strategies in Submitting Talks

It’s interesting to hear some of their strategies. Some of my friends will submit all of their talks that they can do, in hopes of at least one getting picked. Some only submit talks that they’re interested in doing. Some submit talks that they’ve given over and over for the past few years. Some submit talks that they haven’t given yet but would like to give. There’re all sorts of strategies throughout my friends’ speaking submissions.

Preparing to Submit Talks for Multiple Conferences

This morning, I spent time updating my presentation topics and abstracts page. I’ve retired yet another talk, as the technologies have changed and my interests have changed. I’ve also created a new talk, inspired by my recent experiences and research.

I’ve submitted 3 of my talks to CodeMash this morning. One of my talks is brand new, but I think it would fit well with CodeMash and the topics that have appeared in the past and that are still trending. The other 2 talks I’ve given in various forms – separately and mashed together – at user groups and other events. I’ve had fellow community members ask me if I would be giving {insert a topic or presentation here} at {insert a conference here}, and every time I hear people asking for a presentation, I make note of it and try to include it in my submissions. Since CodeMash’s sessions are 60 minutes, I submitted these talks in their whole forms rather than the mashed together version.

By the end of today, I will have my submissions in for Ann Arbor Day of .NET, which happens at the end of October. I’ve got one submission in so far due to requests from the community to submit a talk, but I hope to get at least one more in, possibly my new talk if they’re interested. We’ll see how that goes.

Central Ohio Day of .NET’s call for speakers isn’t open yet. However, they’ve announced their date, which makes it easy for me to check my availability and possibly submit talks. Since I’m already in that groove for submitting talks, it makes it a little easier in determining what I want to submit to Central Ohio Day of .NET.

My Personal Strategies

For me, I’m glad to see all of these Calls for Speakers at once, because then I can get what I want to talk about figured out and submitted all around the same time. These are some of the things I think about when I submit talks to conferences:

  • Is the topic something I’m passionate about? If it isn’t something I’m passionate about, then I’m not delivering the talk. For me as an attendee, I hate going to presentations that are given by a passionless speaker. If they don’t have that positive energy and aren’t excited about the technology, I’m not easily sold on why I should be interested in their topics or ideas. As a speaker, I find that it’s a lot easier to prepare and give a talk on something I’m passionate about. As a speaker, I also tend to notice the attendees engaging more and asking more questions when I show that I’m interested in the topic.
  • Is the topic relevant to the conference? If it isn’t relevant to the conference, I’m not submitting it.
  • Are the technologies/strategies in this presentation still relevant? If the technologies or strategies in a talk are outdated, I look to see (1) if they have been updated, (2) if I am still passionate about the updates, and (3) if they’re worth continuing to present on.
  • Is there public interest in this topic? If there isn’t interest in a topic, then there aren’t people to listen to it or to converse with about it, which means there is no point in delivering this presentation.

I don’t think twice about submitting new talks – every talk I’ve given was a new talk at one point in time. Most of the time, I try to debut talks at a smaller event – be it in an office environment for a lunch’n’learn, at a local user group, or at a developer community event.

Conclusion

There are different strategies out there for submitting talks to conferences. My advice is find what works for you and stick with it. Do you have any strategies or advice on submitting talks that you’d like to share? Leave a comment here!

Lessons from the boat

Last week, I started working on my part-time contract with LeanDog. In the 3 days there, I’ve been privileged to work with a great team (Mike Lutton, Tim Conner, Bill Holmes, Huey Petersen, and Doc Norton). These are just some of the things I’ve observed so far.

Team Collaboration

As I mentioned above, I’m working with an awesome team. We have different backgrounds and can feed off of each other’s past experiences and strengths. It was great to feel a good chemistry with the team early on. But we’re not the only team on the boat. They have other teams for other projects, and it’s great to see those teams working together and bouncing off ideas as well. Yes, even though there are language differences (Python vs. Ruby vs. .NET vs. Java vs. others), we can still learn quite a bit from each other. Working on a boat surrounded by such diverse talent and collaborating with the groups – it’s been a great experience so far!

Pair {Anything}

This past week, I’ve been exposed to all sorts of experiences that weren’t afforded to me in other jobs. Since I’m still learning the ropes of the project and still the new kid, I’ve been able to pair with one of the guys in trying to work with some stuff. We’ve had pair testing, pair troubleshooting, and have decided that you can probably pair on any task.

But wait… our team knows no limits. While pairing works, sometimes, you need to solve a problem or learn a technology as a team effort. This is when Tim Conner’s “quinting” comes into play – 5 of us, 1 codebase, all figuring out the joys of Gherkin and SpecFlow.

New agile technique: quinting. Great Gherkin/Specflow session yesterday with @hueypetersen, @mlutton, @sadukie and @wch42 @leandog.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

And now a pic of quinting (thanks to Mike Lutton!)…

Understanding TDD

In my past job, they talked of TDD as a goal, but never something that was really well-explained. Thankfully, most of my friends have been exposed to TDD, and I’ve actually listened to them, even at times when I would ask “Why should I write more code?”. If I’m asking “why”, I’m either not convinced of something or really am curious to know why to use something and will “why” my way to an explanation that makes sense. All of the things they’ve told me really made sense this week when I saw unit tests. Everything just clicked and made sense. There were even times when I looked at a test and realized “That shouldn’t be behaving like that.” Having been nervous about TDD and then just dropping into that environment – I’m very happy in this setting.

Feeling at Home

It’s nice to go into a place and feel at home, even as a contractor. In many places, I’ve seen contractors treated as outsiders, locked with more restrictions than the average employee. I’ve seen companies treat contractors as second-class citizens at times. And those are the companies I remember… so that I never contract with them. While working on board, I don’t feel like an outsider… I truly feel like a LeanDogger, and that helps me take pride in working for them even more.

Going Forward

I’ve known many of the guys at LeanDog for awhile, as they are well-known in Cleveland’s tech community. LeanDog hosts many user groups and is involved in a variety of the tech events here – including Ignite Cleveland and Cleveland GiveCamp. I’m looking forward to helping these guys and their clients out where I can. It’s good to finally be working alongside these guys!

SUX Adventures with the Dell Latitude E6520

While in the middle of surfing a web page in 1 tab in Google Chrome, with nothing else in the background, my favorite blue screen came back. It’s frustrating that this blue screen doesn’t stay up long enough to get details and also doesn’t log to the Event Log. But the KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE errors continue, even with the new hard drive.

So what else could it be? My frustration was getting me to the point of wanting to go Office Space on the laptop… all I wanted was a reliable laptop that worked and this thing has proven unreliable so far.

Rather than calling ProSupport again, I talked with my IT guy, my awesome husband. We talked through this headache and ended up finding out that Dell issued another BIOS update just recently. Hmm… let’s see what they fixed…

1. Addressed CD boot issues.
2. Addressed Hard Drives hang issue in AHCI mode.
3. Addressed Hard Drives encryption issue in ATA mode.4. Fixed issue where the MAC address would be incorrect after disabling the Integrated NIC in Setup.
5. Added support for Signed Firmware Update Transition BIOS.
6. Updated to the MOB_P_11 version of the Intel microcode patch.
7. Updated to the 1.2.0 version of Intel System Agent reference code.
8. Updated to the 1.2 version of Intel PCH Reference Code.
9. Updated to the 1.2.1.1 version of Intel PPM Reference Code.

Hard drive hang issue… hmm…

We’ve applied BIOS A06 and are now hoping it stays stable again.

I would love to write a positive SUX story about this laptop, without focusing on ProSupport’s awesomeness. But this is more and more a struggle.