Category Archives: Conferences and UG Meetings

KalamazooX 2018 Recap

Sigh…

KalamazooX is over. Most likely won’t be another one. Not sure what will be able to help me like it has now, but we’ll see.

It’s not just a conference, it’s all of the people that I get to see. Sure I see them individually or in sub-groups other times of the year, but seeing everyone together also makes this special. Seeing my IT family all together, once a year. I hope we find other opportunities to all get together.

Below is the link to the Storify of my live tweeting of KalamzooX 2018. It was remarkable in that at one point, my Twitter account got locked out and I had to prove I wasn’t a robot. I blame Leon Gersing and his insane quotability 😉

Here’s the link: https://storify.com/g33klady/kalamazoox-2018-recap

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Kalamazoo X – the last of its kind & an offer

The last Kalamazoo X conference in Kalamazoo is taking place on April 21st of this year. I’m sad to see it go, but excited to see what it evolves into.

I started attending Kalamazoo X in 2012, and I’ve attended every year since. It is a life-changing conference in so many ways!

I’ve written a blurb in the past (here: BestConferenceEver = KalamazooX) to get people to check it out. I live-tweet and then compile every one of them I’ve attended since 2015 (KalamazooX 2015 recapKalamazoo X 2016 Recap, and Kalamazoo X 2017 Recap) if you want to get a feel for what it’s like.

I decided that even though I feel like it’s a super cheap conference (only $75 at top price!), some people may still not be able to make it work. I’ve been there, when $75 meant way more than a day of sitting at a conference.

So I want to make an offer to the community – if you want to attend Kalamazoo X this year but can’t for financial reasons, I will buy you a ticket. I’m able to cover 2 people.

But I encourage anyone out there that has gained understanding of the world and themselves, like I have, from this conference, to do the same.

So, let me know if I can help you. Email me – g33klady at gmail dot com – and I’ll hook you up. I believe in this conference that much. And I want as many people to benefit from it as possible!

Codemash 2018 Recap

It’s taken far too long to put this together! Here are my Storify posts of my live-tweeting the sessions from Codemash January 9-12 2018!

Precompilers (Day 1 and 2):
https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2018-precompilers-day-1-2

  • Build a Natural Language Slack Bot for your Dev Team with Michael Perry
  • 3D Printing Lab
  • The Hidden Requirements: Exploring Emotions with Placebos with Damian Synadinos
  • 3D Modeling For Makers and Game Developers with Robert Palmer

Day 3:
https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2018-day-3

Day 4:
https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2018-day-4

  • I have people skills! The Importance of Emotional Intelligence and Your Career! with Michael Eaton
  • Sondheim, Seurat and Software: finding art in code with Jon Skeet
  • Advanced Patterns for Automated UI Testing with Seth Petry-Johnson
  • Leadership Lessons from World of Warcraft with Ish Amin

We left early as a stupid snow storm was coming in and we needed to get back home.
Another great CodeMash, lots of new stuff for me this year. Looking forward to next year!

Targeting Quality 2017 Recap

I was lucky enough to be accepted to speak at Targeting Quality in Kitchener, ON this year, and had a great time out there! This was my first time speaking outside the US, so it felt like a big accomplishment even though it’s just 3 hours from home.

I only attended 3 sessions, including the keynotes – I missed one to center myself for my talk, and then I missed a session during my talk 😀

I storified my tweets from sessions I attended here: https://storify.com/g33klady/targeting-quality-2017-recap

I attended:

 

Kalamazoo X 2017 Recap

Holy shit.

Another amazing Kalamazoo X. This year was even more special because I was honored to be asked to speak. To be honest, speaking at Kalamazoo X was on my bucket list, but I never thought it would happen. It’s like the pinnacle of my speaking career. Doing a technical talk is easy. Doing live demos is easy. Being this vulnerable and open with a room full of people, some of which you work with, or have known for years, but never opened up like this? It’s fucking hard.

I was a nervous wreck leading up to it – is this too much? Am I going to regret this? Are people going to look at me differently, or treat me differently?

It went really well, actually. As usual, all talks leading up to mine fit mine perfectly, and all after did the same. Somehow we always get a theme or three running through all of the talks unintentionally. Yes, it’s always by accident – Mike isn’t that good of a planner.

My live tweets are compiled here: https://storify.com/g33klady/kalamazoo-x-2017. I always get a lot of encouragement from people for live-tweeting – both those that aren’t able to make it, and from those that have hearing difficulties. It’s my way of note taking, so I’m glad that it helps others!

CodeMash 2017 Recaps

Another CodeMash here and gone. I got in around 450 tweets this year – seemed like I didn’t attend as many sessions.

Here are the recaps (via Storify) for the sessions I attended!

Precompilers (Tues and Wed)

Storify: https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2017-days-1-and-2-precompilers

Day 3 Sessions (Thursday)

Storify: https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2017-day-3

Day 4 Sessions (Friday)

  • Mashing Up QA and Security with Craig Stuntz
  • (I was going to attend Over-Achiever, Under-Believer: How to Match Your Confidence to Your Competence with Maureen Zappala but a few minutes in I realized it was a re-versioning of the first talk in my recap from last year: https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2016-day-4)
  • Getting Started in Functional Programming with F# with Reid Evans
  • Leading Hackers and Hacking Leaders with Jonathan Popham

Storify: https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2017-day-4

CAST 2016 Recaps

CAST 2016 was held in Vancouver, BC. This was my first time to Vancouver, but I love the Pacific Northwest, so I was pretty sure I was going to love it there. Spoiler alert: I loved it in Vancouver!

I’m so happy I got to attend CAST this year, after missing last year due to project work. Since I first attended in 2014, I knew that CAST was a can’t-miss conference for me for as long as it runs. Putting the “confer” back in “conference” is the style that really appeals to me – as an audience, we’re not just talked at; we engage in active discussion. Everyone is part of the conversation.

This year, I feel like I learned things about myself as a person and as a professional, as well as some solid takeaways to implement at work. Some of the best takeaways came from side conversations, which is true to the spirit of CAST!


On the first day of CAST, I attended two tutorials:

Here’s the link to the Storify for day 1: https://storify.com/g33klady/cast-2016


On the second day of CAST, I attended the following sessions:

  • Opening Keynote: Automation, Software Design, and the Human Factor with Nicholas Carr
  • Babble & Dabble: Creating Bonds Across Disciplines with Katrina Clokie and Carol Brands
  • Afternoon Keynote: Test Management Revisited with Anne-Marie Charrett
  • Cooperating to Exercise Judgment and Skill: Requirements with Julie Lebo
  • How King Uses AI in Testing with Alexander Andelkovic

Here’s the link to the Storify for day 2: https://storify.com/g33klady/cast-2016-day-2


On the third and last day of CAST, I attended the following sessions:

  • Opening Keynote: Neuro-Diversity & Software Development with Sallyann Freudenberg
  • Alpha Testing as a Catalyst For Organizational Change with Steven Woody
  • How Do I Reach The Congregation When I’m Preaching To The Choir with Erik Davis and Rob Bowyer
  • It’s Certainly Uncertain – Fostering Healthy Uncertainty on Software Projects with Fiona Charles

Here’s the link to the Storify of day 3: https://storify.com/g33klady/cast-2016-day-3


Of course I did some sightseeing in Vancouver! Here’s a collection of some of those posts:

https://storify.com/g33klady/aside-from-cast-in-vancouver-bc

Kalamazoo X 2016 Recap

Basically, Kalamazoo X 2016 was fucking intense. I’m still processing, I may have more to write later, but I had to at least Storify and get out some thoughts before the initial bits went away: https://storify.com/g33klady/kalamazoo-x-2016-tweet-recap

I’m proud to help make sure KalX happens, and I hope to help make it happen every year. I need this conference – it speaks to me differently each year, it gives me what I need to hear and feel. I think I heard someone say it’s like the Room of Requirement of conferences.

One note – I feel like we need to rebrand it. It’s not “soft skills” as people know it. I don’t know what to call it, though.

I witnessed some people on their phones playing games, and initially I was like “ugh, wtf”. But after talking with one of those people, I realized – this shit is too intense. They’re trying to detach! I now have some empathy for those folks, but I feel like if they come in thinking “I’m going to learn to be better in meetings!” and we throw KalX at them, we might make some people lose their shit…

 

 

BestConferenceEver = KalamazooX

KalamazooX is the “non-technical conference for technical people”. It really is the best conference I’ve ever attended, and I go every year since the first one I went to – no exceptions. The best part about this conference, is that it’s SO FREAKIN’ CHEAP for the value! At $75 for standard registration, $35 for students, even with travel and hotel, you’ll end up paying way less than any other conference’s cheapest tickets.

This is my “official” blurb about KalamazooX – how I feel about this amazing conference, from last year:

I’ve only attended 5 or 6 different conferences in my career, but the feeling and motivation I get after KalamazooX is incomparable. The single track, back-to-back talks are intense and life-changing. I’ve meditated and made gratitude lists, been inspired to speak at conferences, laughed, thought deeply about my life, cried – all during KalamazooX. The X conference is definitely one I will never miss – it’s always first on my calendar with time blocked off to go. I can learn the latest technologies and best practices at any other tech conference or online. What makes KalamazooX different is the work we’re putting into ourselves – it doesn’t only change our professional lives but our personal lives as well, all in one amazing conference. I always leave the X conference a different person than who I was when I walked in.

This year, 2016 KalamazooX will be held at the Fetzer Center on the WMU Campus in Kalamazoo, MI, on Saturday, April 30. There’s an amazing list of speakers, like every year – Christina Aldan, Kate Catlin, Ed Finkler, Leon Gersing, Jay Harris, Cory House, Lauren Scott, and Alan Stevens.

Do yourself a favor, and sign up for KalamazooX! It will absolutely change your life!

CodeMash 2016

CodeMash 2016 was awesome, as per usual. This year, I think we had a much larger turnout of testers than before. We even had some testing related open spaces!

I wasn’t able to go to all of the sessions I wanted to, but I live-tweeted the ones I did attend! I ended CodeMash with about 400 tweets, according to the rough count I got from Twitter (top is day 1 of CodeMash, before I started tweeting, bottom is after my final CodeMash tweet on Friday):

collage_20160110014717456

codeMash2016-somanytweets.PNG

The big screens in the main hall where my face was far too often (tweet)

Here’s the Storify of the Precompilers I attended, which were

https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2016-precompilers

On Thursday, I attended the following sessions (which are in the Storify link below them):

  • Is your API leaking? Breaking APIs to increase security with Joe Kuemerle

  • A whole team approach to testing with Jon Kruger
  • Accessibility of the modern web with Brian Greene
  • Growing a Testing Whole Quality Team The Hard Way with Jim Holmes
  • Open Space – tester lean coffee
  • How do we solve for XX? with Kate Catlin

  • Jam Session!

https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2016-day-3

On Friday, I attended the following sessions (which are in the Storify link below them):

  • Oppose Your Impostor! How to Be Freed From Feeling Like a Fraud with Marueen Zappala
  • How to Stop Hating your Test Suite with Justin Searls
  • Automation in Testing, Go Beyond Test Automation with Richard Bradshaw
  • My God, it’s Full of Tests with Kyle Lewis
  • Open Space – testing discussions
  • Secrets of Success in the Style of Glee with Jennifer Marsman

https://storify.com/g33klady/codemash-2016-day-4