Tag Archives: talks

Of VGA Adapters and Sods Law

So, my shiny new MacBook Pro has an advantage over my old one insofar as it’s got an HDMI input. This means when I’m using it connected to modern and civilised projectors I can just use an HDMI cable and be done with it. Still, it’s not guaranteed that people have projectors with HDMI inputs so I normally pack my Mini Display Port to VGA Adapter just to be on the safe side. I also normally head to talks direct from the office so I keep it in a drawer there to be packed when I head out.

Tomorrow I’m doing a talk at Cromer Academy. Since it’s free of direct government control I’m going to give it a 50/50 chance of a brand new, state of the art projector with every port known to man, and an old projector that accepts VGA as an advanced input. These odds will, of course, be affected by certain factors; like me forgetting my VGA adaptor. I remembered at 9:50 this morning on a day where my wife is at work, I don’t have access to the car, and I have my daughter to look after. We were heading to the Zoo for the morning.

What resulted was categorically not me cutting short zoo time and making a Herculean dash for the office on rural public transport on a Sunday. No, that would result in tantrums. Instead we went on a fairyland adventure with trains, river walks and a castle (hurrah for Norwich’s historic architecture) resplendent with a hastily bought picnic on the train. Spin at its absolute finest.

I am now armed with my VGA connector, the child has fallen asleep from all the excitement and I’m in desperate need of a shower having charged round Norwich with a pushchair in a heat wave. I expect fate will repay me with some fancy 8K 3D projector that wirelessly displays images without the need for any adapters.

PDD, The Other SDLC

As I’ve said before, I’m no stranger to public speaking. That said, NorDevCon was my first conference and, by all accounts, I did OK.

My talk, “PDD1, The Other SDLC2” focused on how external stimuli, such as live production errors and impending deadlines, can cause development practices to break down. Ultimately this breakdown boils down to communication, or lack thereof. This talk was spawned from my talk on “Agile In The Real World” last year, and both of these talks focus on the personal experiences I have had when real life gets in the way of theory.

Personally I like this type of talk as it’s something that tends to resonate with the audience. With Impostor Syndrome and fears about “Am I doing it right?” being quite common among developers it can be quite useful to stand up and highlight where it commonly goes wrong so people know they are not alone.

Of course the irony is my own Impostor Syndrome and fears about “Am I doing it right?” have me worry the audience will respond with “No, we don’t relate to that, it’s just you doing it wrong“. Having the original author of some of the work I was building on attending the talk also added to the pressure a tad.

Having proved to myself that not only can I do it, but that I thoroughly enjoy it, I’ll be looking to see if I can do talks at other conferences3. I’m also hoping to line up so local talks too during the year (including my PDD talk if you missed it at NorDevCon). I suspect this year is going to see a lot of me using Keynote 🙂


1 PDD: Panic Driven Development

2 SDLC: Software [or Systems] Development Lifecycle

3 Ones where I don’t personally know the organiser, and run the group backing the conference 🙂

Norfolk Developers (NorDev)

I’ve got to admit, when Paul Grenyer from Naked Element approached me a couple of weeks ago about setting up a new group specifically for developers I was a bit sceptical. Leaving aside my concerns about being available on a regular basis to run the group – which was easily solved by sharing that with Paul and Ben Taylor from Validus – there was also the question of how many people would be interested.

I was wrong to be concerned; there are loads of you out there. At barely a week old we currently boast 64 members (which as a geek makes me smile), and 23 of those have said they’re coming to our first event. An event we haven’t even named or confirmed any speakers for!

What I do know is that it’s on the 26th of June, will be held at the Virgin Wines offices since they’ve kindly sponsored the group, and there will almost certainly be cake and some wine to try. No doubt there will be some great speakers, and some interesting conversations sparked from it. Hopefully I’ll see you there.