3 Countries, 3 Conferences, 38 Days

Starting mid-April, I went on a whirlwind of three conferences, two of which were international, in just over a month. They were all incredible experiences, culminating in JS Conf, where I helped lead a NodeBoats workshop! More on that later.

JS Conf Brazil

First stop was JS Conf Brazil in beautiful Fortaleza. Despite being in Brazil, the conference was in English, with the exception of one talk in Portuguese. For all the talks they had simultaneous translations, which was pretty cool! I listened to the translated Portuguese talk, and the translator was doing a great job. There was something about the cadence of the translation that did make it a little harder to follow, but it was so wonderful to be able to have everyone at the conference, Portuguese and English speakers alike, have all the talks accessible to them.

The attendees at this conference seemed to see themselves as primarily front-end developers, but the talks went beyond the front-end into Node JS and compilers. Talks included the importance of offline-first development with Hoodie by Gregor Martynus, emulating Chuck Close’s artwork by Dave Furfero, aka Furf, how to implement ES6 on the front end by John Paul, how to get started with JavaScript robotics by Francis Gulotta, and compilers by Ju Gonçalves.

jQuery Conf UK

Next up was jQuery Conf UK in Oxford. This was a one-day conference focusing on jQuery and the front-end. I had never been to the UK before, and really enjoyed my time in Oxford. The day kicked off with a talk on the state of jQuery by the ever-hilarious Adam Sontag, and a talk on the history of HTML by Jen Simmons. After that, the conference split into two speaking tracks and a workshop track. All the talks were really wonderful. Lea Verougave a great technical talk on the use of color in the browser, and Yehuda Katz gave a talk on Ember.js. After the talks was a social hour, complete with retro video games.

JS Conf

Last but not least, I was on to JS Conf in Amelia Island, Florida. Like the other conferences, the talks were wonderful. They’re slowly being released here. I recommend watching Jenn Schiffer’s amazing and important talk on sorting.

At JS Conf, however, the focus for me wasn’t on the talks, it was on the hardware workshop day. JS Conf is a three-day conference, with the middle day having a bunch of planned activities instead of talks. These include NodeBots, NodeCopters, NodeRockets, and NodeBoats. This year, I was part of a team of four running the NodeBoats workshop. Check out some of the finished products!

Helping programmers with little to no hardware experience build and control robotic boats was an amazing experience! We got 9 boats floating in the water. People tested their boats in a kiddie pool that we had brought inside, and at the end of the day we brought all the boats down to the hotel’s main pool and kicked out the swimmers to have a race! It was rewarding to see so many successes by the end of the day.

One of my favorite boats from the day was designed to look like a pirate ship! Other highlights included a boat controlled by a Pebble watch, and a boat that could be steered by rotating a Sphero.

We also had people from OpenROV an open-source submersible, come with some of their ROVs, and some participants built code to improve their underwater exploration efforts!

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