Archive for December 2010
Little git extras.
Functional testing framework for jquery (so it seems).
Don't break that back button!
Simple pubsub mechanism for jquery
An hour ago I finished my final talk at the Rich Web Experience which signals my final talk of the year. When the year started I had not done any public speaking outside of giving talks, tutorials and presentations at work so I made a New Years resolution to dive into giving talks at user groups and tech conferences. Overall, I did 8 usergroup presentations and 7 presentations spread between 3 tech conferences. Not bad for a first year and I thought it would be a good time to retrospect.
My speaking skills have improved tremendously, but there still seems to be good days and bad days. For example, I gave a websocket talk yesterday that I thought went really great while today I gave the same talk and in my opinion it kind of tanked. I think it goes a long way to make sure you are well rested before a talk. This morning I was just physically and mentally exhausted and that really sapped my energy.
A few lessons learned going forward into 2011:
- Always include demos that will work offline. Wireless usually tanks at conferences
- Prepare a virtual box image for workshops
- Live coding can be good, but not everyone is a fan. If you do it, make sure you have it well rehearsed
- Record screencasts as an alternative to live coding. It keeps the pace going. I noticed my speaking skills drop tremendously while I’m coding.
- Include screenshots of sites you want to mention in your slides, with a big visible link overlaying it for people to go to. This helps prevent switching back and forth between slides and a browser.
- Up front tell people a brief outline of your talk. That way they won’t have any let downs if the session isn’t what they expected
- Don’t use OpenOffice for your slide deck. I used it and honestly, it TOTALLY BLOWS.
- Provide bonus content in case you finish early. If you wind up zooming to the end of your presentation and have 30 minutes left over, it’s killer trying to fill it. Having prepared bonus material helps avoid this.
- Be prepared for challenging questions.
- Bring an extra power cord.
One final lesson I learned was to be EXTREMELY careful when using a live site out on the web for demos. I showed the multi-user sketchpad app as a demonstration during my websocket talk. It helped prep the talk and get people excited before moving on to my presentation. When I exited my presentation and navigated back to the browser to go to my live coding demo there were some pretty offensive images drawn on it. Yikes!
Going forward I’m going to continue refining my speaking skills and presenting on whatever topics that I can but I don’t think the next year will see me dramatically increase the volume of presentations I’m going to give. With my daughter’s arrival this year I really want to focus more on spending time with my family and keeping the amount of time I spend away from them at a minimum. Family first.
it has been a great year and it is completely awesome to not just meet the goal by completely shoot past it. If you’re a developer I definitely recommend aiming to give public presentations on the topics that interest you. Not only does help build your speaking and social skills but presenting makes you learn way more about a topic than you normally do. In that end I think it goes a long way at improving your development skills.