Weekly Roundup April 7th 2014

My daily train journey in and out of work gives me time to listen to podcasts, read articles and tweets. I’ve decided to start sharing each week things which caught my eye. I admit it’s partly for my benefit to record them so I can come back to them in the future. Hopefully you’ll find them of some benefit too.

What Have I Been Listening to?

Cognicast

I listened to Cognicast episode 53 which was talking to Bridget Hillyer about ClojureBridge. ClojureBridge aims to improve diversity in the Clojure community by offering beginner friendly Clojure workshops for women. Currently the workshops are in America but there are plans to have ones outside of America soon. I’ve signed up to keep in the loop. They’re building up curriculum and tutorials on Github so there are lots of ways to help and get involved.

Hanselminutes

I’m a Blind Software Technician Ask Me Anything: In this episode Scott spoke with Katherine Moss about what it was like to be a blind software technician. This podcast will really make you realise the importance of thinking about accessibility when designing your site and product. I’ve been involved in projects in the past where part of the testing was around how online resources like forms behaved with screen readers but it takes something like this to really hit home how important this kind of testing is.

Model View Culture: A New Media Platform Covering Technology, Culture and Diversity: Scott spoke with Amelia Greenhall and Shanley Kane about their company Model View Culture. I thought this episode really captured why organisations like WWC are needed. I’m now following Model View Culture on twitter and reading their online content as they’ve lots of interesting articles up.

What Have I Been Watching

Java 8

I finally watched the recorded version of Functional Programming with Java 8 with Venkat Subramaniam. I planned to watch this live but as usual life got in the way. Really enjoyed this as it clearly demonstrated how you could use functional programming to write code that was readable and easy to maintain. Nothing makes it clearer than a direct comparison between the old and new syntax available to get a job done. I’ve just got Venkat’s book Functional Programming in Java which so far is a great read. I plan to do an internal talk on Java 8 in May so I’ll stick the slides and some notes up when I get that done.

What Have I Been Reading?

Popforms

I’ve been reading lots of articles on the Popforms blog. Full of great career advice. Really enjoying their ‘Leader of the Week’ articles. Great source of ideas for how to improve and writers/books worth reading.

What Have I Been Doing?

WWC Belfast

I attended the official launch event of the Belfast branch of Women Who Code.

Emma Mulqueeny spoke about Rewired State. Great points about the importance of getting girls into tech early before secondary school where they can be under a lot of pressure to conform and the need to be clever in how you get more women at events. Overplaying the need to get more women at an event can actually have the negative impact of singling women out and making them feel more like outsiders, putting them off attending.

The guys from Brewbot, a robot to brew beer, talked about how they went about turning their idea into a product and getting backing. You couldn’t help but be inspiring by these guys. Their story and attitude are brilliant. If you get a chance to hear them speak take it.

Finally Stephen Howell, Academic Engagement Manager and technology evangelist working for Microsoft Ireland, showed us Windows 8 app development using Project Siena. It was amazing what was achievable with this tool using little or no programming skills.

The event was also a good excuse to meet and have a chat with women working in other IT firms in Belfast and eat pizza.