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I think the vibe that radiates from #codemash is because it's more than a conference, it's a support group. "You're all in this together"— MelissaSue (@Walko_Missy) January 9, 2015
"You're all in this together."
I couldn't have said it better myself. There is a glow that surrounds CodeMash, and no, I don't mean the Polar Vortex. Everyone is so excited about what they've learned, or who they've met; it's a great way to kick off the year. With positive vibes and new ideas, I wouldn't dare miss it.
Having attended the "Precompiler" days, I could tell early in the week we were headed for the best version of CodeMash yet. Being a multi-year alumni, I was ecstatic that we were able to arrange for our whole team to attend this year (read about the sessions we were most looking forward to). I really enjoyed meeting up with them in the hallways after sessions and hearing about what they'd been inspired by. A few times we all sat in on the same session and seeing their eyes grow wide with excitement as the speakers drove home some great points made the entire trip worth it for me.
Firsts This Year
For the first time in four years I attended the Waterpark Party, along with the rest of our team. I had such a great time in the off hours bonding with everyone, having fun on the slides, and doing snow angels by the hot tub. I regretted not attending every year prior...until the exhaustion set in Friday afternoon. Thank you to OCLC and HMB for sponsoring the Waterpark Party!
I also spent time in the Open Spaces, a designated area where you can reserve a block of time to talk about any topic you'd like. This was far and away the highlight of the conference for me. With six like-minded people, we spent an hour discussing our current implementations of the agile methodologies, conducting a retrospective in a very open-ended and constructive way. It was great to hear what was working for others and get opinions from an outsider's perspective. Thanks to everyone who was in that session with me, as it had a great impact and I will be taking our conversation back to the office and to our team.
My goal this year was to get the full experience. I wanted to meet people I'd only idolized, I wanted to lead and not to follow. I did that. And this year was the best CodeMash yet.
To sum up my CodeMash v2.0.15 experience in one word: inspiration. Yes, I was inspired by the sessions (Cory House’s Clean Code talk was like an old fashioned revival), but it was more than that. I was inspired spending time with my team, being reminded what a great bunch of people I work with. I was inspired that maybe I could give a talk some time. I was inspired by Cori Drew to try to show my daughter what excites me, and spread that excitement, through Scratch. I was inspired to recommit myself to plans and approaches I’d had that may have slipped. I was inspired to know I could survive doing snow angels in my bathing suit. It set me up with the excitement and energy to attack 2015 with a commitment to making it an excellent year.
CodeMash was the first conference I have ever gone to, and it was simply amazing. Growing up, I remember feeling like such an outcast for my interests. And now being surrounded by thousands of like-minded people has shown me that I am in fact not alone, and far from it. It is empowering to know what my culture and generation is doing all over the country. In a practical sense, it was really rewarding hearing from experts and learning how to shape my practices for the better based on their experience. I was also lucky enough to talk with people and share my experiences as well. I am grateful to be a part of a team with such talented people, and I look forward to the conference next year.
CodeMash truly exceeded my expectations in just about every way possible. I left the event on Friday completely exhausted as I had just spent two full days cramming my brain full of information. Picking a talk for each time slot was a struggle, as there were just too many that I wanted to hear! I have to say that Cory House's talk on Web Components was certainly one of my favorites of the conference. New and exciting technologies such as custom elements, HTML templates, and the Shadow DOM are the exact types of things that I look forward to when attending events such as these. But I enjoyed much more from CodeMash than just the technical aspect. As others have touched on, Aztek was fortunate enough to have everyone from our development team attend the event. The highlight for me was having an opportunity to spend time with my team outside of work while we enjoyed the water park, played Settlers of Catan, and had a round of beers during the Attendee Party. CodeMash left me with a level of excitement that I find comparable to when I first started programming. I'm very happy to have been a part of this event and I look forward to next year!
CodeMash v184.108.40.206 was a great time despite Sandusky, OH doing it's best imitation of the ice planet Hoth. My favorite talk ended up being very far outside my normal interests. Jennifer Marsman demonstrated ELIZA which was one of the first artificial intelligence programs from the 1960's that appeared to pass the Turing test. It was very interesting to see how simple text pattern matching combined with random responses can begin to convince the user that a human may be on the other side. You can check out ELIZA in the Windows store.
Having less than a year of development experience makes attending an event like CodeMash quite an experience. Almost every talk topic is “new”, and taking in all of the information can be a bit of a whirlwind. As important as the knowledge I gained for things I have experience with is, I find that the introduction to new technologies I had not yet encountered is equally important. Between Mathias Brandewinder’s talk on F# from the eyes of a C# developer, Chad Carter’s Intro to 3D Game Development with Unity, an overview of Angular with James Bender, and sitting down with the entire Aztek development team and getting a look at MongoDB’s advantages and disadvantages thanks to Kevin Grossnicklaus, there are many things I am eager to explore. Now that the dust has settled, there is nothing I am looking forward to more than cracking open the laptop and getting to some code!