litany against fear

coding with spice ¤ by nick quaranto

BarCamp Boston 4 Roundup

published 26 Apr 2009

BarCamp Boston 4 has been a lot of fun. This post is just a roundup of the talks I went to on Sunday. I gave a talk about getting started with git, which seems to have went well.

I’ve never been to MIT before, and I need to come back and explore the campus more. It was held in the MIT Strata center, which is absolutely ridiculous. The architecture is really just unreal. Also, I can’t believe how much pizza a few hundred nerds can down in a manner of minutes.

One of the neatest things was that a project was being run in the hallway with a Wiffiti stream of the tweets, pictures, and more that was going on:

Here’s the talks I went to and what I got out of them. You can see the full schedule here.

how to be a freelancer

The person giving this talk wanted to hit like 8 points, but I think he only got to 3. What ensued was plenty of discussion on how to deal with clients, how to ditch them, and problems that come up with freelancing in general. The general gist I got from it: I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that.

Code secrets

This was a great idea: people in the audience write down horrible, deep, dark secrets about code they’ve written, and then they’re read off. Hilarity ensued.

Starting a Boston startup space

Sadly I didn’t pay too much attention to this one, but my basic gist was that it’s a community service, and it’s tough to decide a business model that works for the people you’re serving. I’ll definitely be utilizing the local coworking if I end up on the lam as a freelancer or mobile worker after school is over.

Fun with QR Codes

QR codes are really neat, and can do some ridiculous stuff. They’re really awesome for embedding URLs into the real life, like putting a QR code near a bus stop that can open a schedule for you. I just wish my phone didn’t suck so I could actually read them. I do wonder how this concept would catch on with the general public. What is really funny is to watch people try to read the QR code on their phones from the screen.

JavaScript Testing Discussion

Lots of gripes about the current state of testing JS in the browser. There’s plenty of ways to DO testing in the browser, but there doesn’t seem to be a be-all, end-all solution. Listing out various testing frameworks, but there doesn’t seem to be many familiar with most of them. Complaints, bitching and moaning about how difficult this situation is. It all boils down to not being able to remove the human element from testing it correctly.

Ruby Testing Panel

Seems to be a general discussion of what’s going on in the Ruby testing world and reactions that people have. Starting off with a rant or reasons why to Test First. Diving into some differences between RSpec and Shoulda and their syntax differences. Some talk about mocking and stubbing and the different libraries. This discussion went for an hour but I skipped out early to make the next talk.

Introduction to the Arduino

Should be easy to translate software development experience into the microcontroller world. Throwing some around the room so we can get a look at what they are. Huge advantage: the bootloader. All you need is a USB cable and you can load code on it. There’s ways to get around it or write your own too. Ridiculously neat demo: the arduino spins a platter with a thin slot that has LEDs beneath it. There’s a lens at the top of the platter that the arduino can hook into, and control the speed of how fast the platter will go. Lots of C code and magic registers that you need data sheets for. I wonder if the Ruby library abstracts any of this away. Data sheets just seem scary, but useful.


This isn’t 100% serious, but for some reason somebody made a programming language around this meme. I would post some code but pygments doesn’t support the language. Best part of the language: DIAF is exiting with a status code.

email twitter github