CodeMash 2012 report

I’m nearly home – on a bus back from Heathrow airport to Reading – returning from CodeMash 2012. This was my first US conference, and I had a wonderful time. It was pretty densely packed in terms of presenting / recording for me:

  • I presented two back-to-back sessions jointly with Bill Wagner, on async. These went down really well (particularly Bill’s genius idea of using the Doctor Who quote about time being a "big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff") and were great fun to give. Bill’s a class act, and I think we got the balance between use and underpinnings about right.
  • I recorded a podcast with Scott Hanselman (we were going to record two, but the first one ended up being longer than expected)
  • I presented a talk on "C#’s Greatest Mistakes" which ended up being somewhere between a discussion on language design, and a demonstration of surprising "features" of C#. It overran by 15 minutes without me coming close to running out of things to say, but hopefully it was useful. It was a somewhat rambly session, but at least I warned folks of that up-front. It would be nice to be able to present the same sort of material in a really "tight" way, but I’m just not sure how to.
  • I gave a 20×20 "Pecha Kucha" talk called "Coding in the style of Glee" as the silliest topic I could come up with on short notice. This was absolutely terrifying and extremely silly. I only came third in the contest (and the winner, Leon, was simply phenomenal) but I was happy that I’d only embarrassed myself about as much as I’d expected to. The YouTube video of this is already up, and I’ll write a blog post with the slide titles and what I was trying to say in them :)

Unfortunately due to last minute async prep and desperately trying to cobble together slides for the Glee talk, I didn’t have time to actually attend as many talks as I’d have liked. Even though I was present for the whole of the Scala Koans session in the PreCompilr on Wednesday, I found myself next to Bruce Eckel, and ended up chatting with him for most of the time. It would have been a bit of a waste not to, really. (And at least some of that talking was Scala-related…) I also watched the whole of the SignalR presentation by Brady Gaster – where I was apparently the only person in the room with an aversion to "dynamic" in C# 4. That made me the butt of a few jokes, but not too many for comfort.

In terms of C#-related talks, I went to the first half of Dustin Campbell’s Roslyn session, but was somewhat distracted by putting together Glee slides and had to leave half way through to hand them in. My final session of the conference was Bill Wagner’s "Stunt coding in C# – I dare you to try this at home" which was excellent, and a very fitting end to the conference for me.

Highlights of the conference for me:

  • Messing with Bill Wagner’s code at the end of not just our joint async talk but also his Stunt Coding talk. I’ve never before asked a presented whether they mind me just stealing the keyboard, but I was confident that Bill (and the attendees) would get a kick out of it – and the code was nicer afterwards :)
  • Meeting so many people… some that I’ve met before (I hadn’t seen Ted Neward since I gate-crashed a party at his house after the MVP 2005 Summit), some I’d met virtually but not physically before (like Bill) and there loads of other folks I’d never known at all before – including Cori Drew. Cori simply seemed to pop up everywhere - I swear she had about 20 clones at CodeMash. (She also recorded the video of the Glee talk, and it’s her laughter you can hear – thanks very much, Cori!) Everyone at the conference was incredibly friendly, and I was really touched by how many people said on the last day that they’d appreciated me making the long trip.
  • Confounding Dustin Campbell and Kevin Pilch-Bisson with my evil generic overloading puzzle. Just to be clear, these are two seriously smart guys and this was a friendly over-lunch challenge. It’s always a privilege to meet more of the team responsible for C# and Visual Studio.
  • The number of families who came – this is something I’ve never seen at other conferences, and it really made a difference in terms of the atmosphere of the non-dev bits. It was fabulous to see the kids in the water park, for example. Even out of just attendees, there was a greater proportion of women at CodeMash than at other conferences I’ve been to – obviously still vastly outnumbered by the men, but it was nice to see some improvement on that front.

This will probably be my only international conference for 2012, so it’s a good job that it was so wonderfully organized. I really hope I have the chance to attend next year too. Many thanks to everyone who helped make it such a special conference.

6 thoughts on “CodeMash 2012 report”

  1. I hope you knew it was all in jest. I tend to develop running gags during these sessions and when one hand goes up… Hope no harm was done, it was an honor to have you in the room sir.

  2. Thanks for making the trip over the pond for CodeMash – it was lots of fun to see you coding with Bill. I hope you can make it out next year and bring your family.

    (It’s a shame your comments didn’t work in Chrome – Microsoft really should fix that – i guess it’s a ploy to get me to occasionally open IE)

  3. @zenwalker: the async talks were recorded (no timescale as to when they’ll be available) and I’ll probably write up some thoughts about the language design one as a separate blog post at some point.

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