Flight attendants want air travel to suck again.

I saw this over the weekend, and nearly tossed my phone. I’ve just started to re-enjoy flying, despite TSA non sense. Southwest has done a great job of making me enjoy my time in the air.

Apparently the Flight attendants union wants to re-ban gate to gate use of electronics. They cite reasons such as “No one listens to the pre flight safety announcement” and “those things could become projectiles”

Let’s debunk.

“Paying attention” With the exception of the 1-2 people every fifth flight who’ve never flown before, no one is listening to the pre-flight safety announcement. Anyone who flies even sort of regularly, knows the exits are 2 in the front, 2 over-wing and maybe 2 in the back, and that sometimes the exit is behind you. We all know our seat floats, we all know to save ourselves before trying to save the old or super young. Some airlines realize how lame the announcement it and just made a video to make it easier to ignore. Also I can ignore you with a paperback book, or in my case until the ban was lifted a copy of sky mall.

“Flying projectiles” First of all, if something is happening that’s causing my kindle to fly about the cabin, that’s probably the last thing anyone is worried about. The impending crash is likely to be much higher on the list. Also paper and hardback books, hurt as well when hurtling through the air. So do water bottles, big goofy ass noise canceling headphones, and any number of other things that have no battery that were never and still aren’t banned.

Thankfully not all Flight Attendants want to ruin air travel, just those in the union… hmmm connection?

 

Happy National Comic Sans Day!

Normally I’d have swapped out my Style Sheet so the whole site was in Comic Sans. I’ve been busy and didn’t get around to it.

(UPDATE: I did swap out my style stheet!)

However this tweet urged me to at least blog about it.

 

I started doing this a while back, and the original reason stands. As a whole, those of us remotely technical on the internet take ourselves way too seriously. One year i swapped out all the CSS on my conference sites. Was pretty funny to watch people lose their shit. Of course several of the Takes themselves too seriously folks didn’t approve.

So yeah I’m celebrating it half assed this year, but set a reminder in your calendar, October 1, National Comic Sans day, because… why not?

Denver Startup Week 2014 Review (Part 2)

This year i had the pleasure to be in charge of our headline events for the week (basically the 6-9 slot each day), and it went pretty well. Last year three of us manned the top spot, and it was kinda chaotic, and stressful. In the end it all worked out, but was exhausting. This year i decided to be more relaxed. Matt and Kerianne were on the team and between us we divided the headline events and empowered each organizer to make their event rock, and scream when they needed us. It mostly worked.

So what fell under my ownership?

The opening night Party (Elyse and Maggie executed it). It was awesome. Nearly a thousand people in the Union Station main hall, DJs, interactive street arcade games on the ceiling (Courtesy of Oh Heck Yeah!) and lots of tasty drinks. The entire event was a blast, and everyone seemed to really have fun.

Insight Night (Executed by Terry, Rick and Jared) was one of my favorite events. For a few reasons really. Based on Ignite, run by members of the awesome Ignite Denver team (Ignite Denver 18 is coming up soon, get your ticket now!), and taking what’s great about Ignite, and what’s great about DSW and mashing them together. I’m excited to see Insight Night grow and become a major part of the week.

The Startup Crawl (Rocked, by Elyse) was finally awesome. Each year it’s tried to be this massive city wide showcase, and each year it becomes this massive city-wide boondoggle. Elyse decided to limit it to those companies actually in downtown, and offer up spots at Basecamp by Chase for others from farther outside downtown. It was awesome. I stopped a few places, and each had lots of folks enjoying the hospitality of some of our most awesome Denver Startups

Denver Founders Network (Chris and soon to be dad Josh) is easy to work with. It’s an awesome monthly meetup and they know their shit. They had a great panel lined up. It was fun to watch.

The only day time Headline event this year was the Startup Resource Fair. Which was like a Job fair (which was awesome, packed and amazingly attended) but for service providers. I think this year laid some great groundwork for that being a cool addition to DSW. Cari rocked it this year. For the Startup Job Fair, a packed room is a blessing and a curse, but for sure show’ed how hot the tech job market is in Denver. Derek and Josh killed it as usual. Who doesn’t like a job fair with a DJ!

Lastly was the closing party, at Galvanize. Brady did her usual awesome job bringing food, drink and the Denver Startup Community together. There had to be over a thousand people inside and out of Galvanize, and it was amazing. Bumping into people who had a great week, were pumped about the community, and excited about next year. I even ran into an old co-worker from CA, who moved to CO after I did, and now works for a company downtown.

 

Anyhow, kinda long, but wow, Denver Startup Week 2014, was all kinds of awesome and amazing and I’m proud of the work the team did this year. See you in 2015!

I’m Helping Organize RWDevCon!

So for a while now I’ve toyed with the idea of doing some event consulting. I’m good at what I do (at least I like to think so) and so I’ve thought it’d be fun to do it for others.

I’m officially working with Ray Wenderlich on RWDevCon (get your tickets now!), set for early 2015. I’m really excited.

Ray is an awesome guy (and his wife Vickie rocks!) and they’re huge parts of the iOS community. When he approached me with the idea of doing a small event centered around his website and it’s amazing authors, i jumped at the chance. It fits with what i love doing, events that are focused on community, not just doing an event to do an event.

Part of my 2015 plan is to get more involved, and helping organize other stuff is part of it, attending other stuff is the other. No I won’t be attending events that compete with me and trying to poach speakers, that’s shady. There’s lots of awesome events out there and I haven’t experienced them.

The first part of my plan is RWDevCon. I’m excited to see this kinda once in a lifetime (or year) gathering of the folks that contribute to making raywenderlich.com such an awesome asset to the iOS developer community.

Go grab your ticket now, see you in DC!

Denver Startup Week 2014 review (Part 1)

What a ride.

Timing wise, this year was great, 360|iDev was behind me, [360|iDev min] (still time to buy your ticket!) was in front, and DSW fell in the middle. I was able to enjoy the week a lot more than i did last year.

I spent most of the week at the “Basecamp by Chase” (I think we have to call it that, LOL) and it was great; good internet, meals, and plenty of coffee (and beer in the afternoons). It was a great central place for me to work from for both 360|Conferences stuff as well as my DSW duties.

Basecamp was always a hub of activity, not only was there a lot of awesome programming taking place, but people were having meetings, folks were bumping into each other, etc. There was so much energy at Basecamp by Chase it was hard to not get excited each morning when I walked in. The politicians all stopped by for a visit, which is always kinda cool.

Oh yeah, I got to meet and shake hands with the Governor. Funny story…

I was overseeing the Startup Resource Fair, our only non 6-9 event, and I had just walked 8ish blocks at my typical fast pace from Wynkoop Brewing back to Basecamp by Chase. I knew the Governor was there, or had been. When i arrived Tami Door was outside and I joked about being inconvenienced by our elected officials dropping in willy-nilly. We chatted then she blurts out “Let me introduce you”

Oh crap! I had just power walked 8 blocks, os quickly wiped sweat and dried palms. Hick was making his way clear of the crowd and Tami jumps up and does the intro. We say hi, shake hands, Tami tells him my role in the week. We make a little small talk about the week and Basecamp by Chase. Then when you’d expect us to part, we don’t so now I’m standing there looking at Hick, and trying to decide what say next. I stammer a little more about the Week and such, babble about it being an honor to meet, and back away. All this happens while shutters are clicking all around me. That was fun..

So yeah, Denver Startup Week was awesome. I enjoyed being a part of it. I think Next year will be even more epic.

 

My Thoughts so far with Kindle Unlimited

tl; dr; I like it.

If you’re not familiar Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited a month or less ago (Less for sure since my 30 day trial hasn’t ended yet). The premise is, for $9.99 a month you get unlimited access to something like 500k eBooks.

That number is a little misleading, yes there’s 500k books to be read, but other than a few token high profile titles/series (Hunger Games), it’s largely smaller indie writers work. That’s not a terrible thing, but an observation, and warning, if you’re looking for the big publishers stuff, it’s not here (yet?).

If you like to read, and don’t necessarily care if the writer is famous, etc. You’re in the right place.

I’ve read several books so far (trying to make the most of my free month to see if it’s worth it), and have enjoyed them all.

What I like best:

  • Unlike the Lending Library, you’re not limited to 1 book a month. You can load your Kindle up with several books, from Kindle Unlimited. This is great for stocking up before a trip when network connectivity may not be an option. It’s also nice to not have to remember to come back for a book when you can borrow next. Just add as you come across them.
  • It’s a great way to discover new writers
  • Normally I’m not a renter (don’t like streaming music services, prefer to own TV and movies that I enjoy, DRM free and on my own hard drives) but for books, so far the idea of just borrowing, reading and returning isn’t that bad. When I find something i love, I’ll likely still buy it, but so far knowing the book would go back hasn’t been a big deal. Granted so far I’ve read good books, that i probably wouldn’t have bought, so…

My big issues/questions about Kindle Unlimited are:

  • Other than getting more money from me, why isn’t this part of Amazon Prime? Video streaming is lumped into Prime, why not Kindle Unlimited? To be clear I know it’s likely a legal thing, contracts, rights, etc. but still, I’d like it to be part of my already $100 spend. Heck I’d be happy if it was part of Prime and you had to choose, video or books. I know that sounds like “Gimme more shit for no more cost”, but I’d even be happy it prime was another $10 more. Really it’s just the notion of a separate service, that feels like it shouldn’t be separate.
  • What happens to the Kindle Lending library? This is mostly just a curiosity, but it covers a different selection of books, so I’m curious if they’ll merge or will i still be able to get some bigger name books that way?
  • For now reading more ‘unknown’ writers is totally cool, but at some point I’ll likely want to read something published by the big five, etc. I hope that’s something that works itself out sooner or later. Hopefully sooner, but not holding my breath.

I don’t know the economics, but hope that amazon is treating those who participate in Kindle Unlimited well. I had read somewhere (I hope it was true) that in the Kindle Lending Library model, writers got more when a book was loaned, than they did when it was sold. I find that sad, but hope it’s also true here, in so far as i want to reward those writers I’m reading.

Learning Experiences

As much as I think I’ve learned over the years, there’s always an opportunity for the world  to show me how far I have to go. That happened the other day.

One thing I’ve learned, don’t hit “Publish” angry. The addendum to that is DO hit “edit” when not angry. I wrote a page for 360|iDev on our feelings on Conference Diversity. At the time I wrote it, was angry about things I saw other events doing. I made that page about that, which was wrong. Then two years later, it was still about those things, which now made no sense and had no context.

My Conference Diversity Page did the exact opposite, which makes me sick to my stomach. The worst part about words on the internet is the person behind them is stripped away, and the words have to stand on their own, and often mine are their own worst enemy.

360|iDev strives every year to be as open and welcoming as possible. To encourage a diverse attendance and speaker line up. Last year I invited Brianna Wu (@spacekatgal) to be the keynote speaker because I respected her and her company (an all female game dev shop) and thought she’d be a welcome voice at the conference. She crushed it by the way.

This year I’m hoping to have not just a Women In Tech Breakfast (we’ve hosted one at every event we do for the last two or so years), but a Women In Tech Lounge. It’s a work in progress based on this. I hope it works out, I think it’d be a valuable addition to 360|iDev.

This year’s 360|iDev attendance is about 7% women. That makes me sad. I want to do better. That’s up from 4% two years ago which is a plus for sure! But a long way still to go.

Since 2012 I’ve spent my money, my time, and the resources of my company to further the cause of Women In Tech. It means a lot to me, I’m married to a Woman In Tech, I have many friends with daughters that I want to not be afraid of becoming a programmer or engineer.

We’ve supported “The Click” hosting a breakfast for female attendees to talk about issues surrounding WIT. Last year we hosted a panel discussion with members of NCWIT. We donated money and conference passes to App Camp 4 Girls, and I personally spent a good part of a week this year wearing an orange vest for AltConf to be a visible presence of our inclusion policies and a clearly visible first line of defense when our policies were being violated. I’d do it all again.

Those things mean a lot to me, and have made me (I think) a better person. Hearing from people I deeply respect about what it’s like being a woman in technology makes it clear there’s so much more to do.