Georgia Reh

I'm a mathematician. I build robots and climb rocks.

Post Open Source Bridge

July 02, 2015


Open Source Bridge was last week and it was wonderful. I enjoyed most of the talks I went to and got to hang out with cool people, some of whom I met last year at Open Source Bridge. It feels like everyone I know in Portland showed up to hang out, be nerdy, and solder.

A few important things I learned this year at Open Source Bridge:
- Nerds like sparkly ponies
- IPython Notebook wants to be your friend and make things easier, except version control.
- I do in fact have an upper limit on how much caffeine I can ingest. It’s lower than expected.
- Conferences are exhausting and with all the excitement, I ran myself ragged, but OSB has a quiet room! It’s dark, hard to find, has couches, and no one in there wants to talk to you. It’s perfect. Loved it.
- All the talks are good and you’re going to miss some of them, come to terms with that. They are scheduled at the same time and when they’re not, you’re exhausted from all the good talks you just watched back to back, and your brain needs a break.

Good news! They’ll all be online eventually!

Highlights reel:

Put Up or Shut Up
Kronda Adair
This feels too obvious to say, but Kronda’s keynote was one of my favorite keynotes of all time. There is a tendency for keynotes to be a charismatic person telling us something obvious, but Kronda’s keynote was an important message given by someone well-informed and thoughtful.

Trustworthy Software in the Real World
Jamey Sharp
Are you excited to make better tests? No of course you’re not, you didn’t see this talk and that question sounds stupid, but I’m excited now.

Male/Female/Othered
Finn Ellis, Jonathan Harker
As a cis person I haven’t thought about or even noticed that Google+, Facebook, OkCupid, or other sites care about my gender, so I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how they get it right, how they get it wrong, how they’ve evolved and ended up asking myself “No seriously, why isn’t OkCupid better at this?”

Through the Warp Zone
Emily St., Shawna Scott
I’m not a Mario enthusiast so I got a little lost during this talk at times, but what I did understand is the designers of this game took some amazing shortcuts to store it in a smaller space, and if you change a few bits, you can create “playable” new levels that have a fascinating mish-mash of elements from other levels. Despite knowing little about the platform and the technology, I came out of this talking thinking “fuck yeah, nerds! hack the world”

Open Source Tools for Scientific Research
Amy Boyle
As I have said before: you need to see my smart friend talk about science, it will make you better at science. A lot of scientists are not programmers and it is problem when we can’t reproduce results because version control wasn’t part of their workflow. Amy has spent a great deal of time developing tools for scientists and got to see some of the worst legacy code.

A Huge Green Fierce Snake Bars the Way!
Katie Silverio
Multiple people told me about games they were going to make after seeing this session, so part of me thinks I should wait til I finish my current projects, but that’s unlikely to happen.

HTTP Can Do That?!
Sumana Harihareswara
I don’t know what to say about this, HTTP is a nonsensical mystery to me, but apparently it surprises people who use it regularly as well. Also I have a soft spot for talks of the “look at the weird way this breaks” variety.

Bridging the Digital Divide with SMS Bots
Briar Rose Schreiber
IRC bots and Twitter bots are fun but SMS bots make for a much more accessible interface allowing a wider audience to use your service. This talk walked through how to set up an SMS bot and demonstrated practical and amusing examples.