Node PDX – Introducing Scott Hanselman, Tracy Abrahms, Matthew Lyons & J Chris Anderson

Welcome to iteration 3 of introductions.

Scott Hanselman is presenting…

Azure for the non-Microsoft Person – How and Why?

Scott Hanselman
Scott Hanselman

Scott is a web developer who has been blogging at for over a decade. He works on Azure and ASP.NET for Microsoft out of his home office in Portland. Scott has three podcasts, for tech talk, on developers’ lives and loves, and for pop culture and tech media. He’s written a number of books and spoken in person to almost a half million developers worldwide.

For a dose of Scott, check out how to scale to infinity by doing NOTHING!

Join Hanselman as he digs into the open source SDKs of Windows Azure. Let’s access Azure from the command line and deploy and redeploy with Git. We’ll fire up Linux VMs, setup Mongo and run node.js apps in the cloud. We’ll look at things like SendGrid and New Relic. The future of the cloud is open and it’s a hybrid. This very technical session will cover Windows and Mac, .NET as well as pinching pennies in the cloud.

Tracy Abrahms is presenting…

Punching Rocks: my intimate adventure with rock climbing and becoming a programmer

Tracy Abrahms
Tracy Abrahms

Tracy tells a story, “A funny thing happened at the rock gym… I kept running into programmers. Rock climbing is a constant challenge. Physical? Hardly. Tired muscles is a concern once you’re two pitches up and can’t figure out the next move. I’m afraid of heights! The psychological and mental tenacity required to complete a wall feels eerily similar to the daily challenges of the Programmer. You will commit yourself to situations that you pretty much HAVE to find a way out of. Sound familiar?

Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours–I’m not that far in. How are people learning to program nowadays? MOOCs, tutorials, workshops, communities(, books, standard CS degrees(what of non-tech degrees?), internships, apprenticeships, code schools. What am I doing? What have I done? How many callouses have I build in the process? Experiences shared from my own perspective and others I have met on my journey have shown me a number of great ways to help move forward those willing to take up the challenge.

Finally, what can I do, along with knowledgeable and helpful Node.js programmers, to build the knowledge base and accessibility into the community? How do I get programmers hooked? And how can I convince all of these brainiacs to get out and punch a few rocks?

Matthew Lyon is presenting…

Let’s Make Music

Matthew Lyon
Matthew Lyon

I got to work with Matthew @mattly for a short period while I was helping out at AppFog a while ago. I also have had the great fortune of catching Matthew talk about JavaScript magic and more!

Also a homebrewer, hacker, artist, photographer Mattew Lyon is coming to give us a lesson on making music. He describes his course as thus, “Music happens over time and so does asynchronous code. Therefore, let’s write music in Javascript! We’ll build a network sound sequence server that will talk to freely-available softsynths and possibly an HTML5 Audio API, covering how to model things such as drum patterns, melodies, oscillators and pattern banks.

J Chris Anderson presenting…

Hands On Realtime Text Analytics

J Chris Anderson
J Chris Anderson

J Chris just recently returned to Portland because of many different reasons after hacking in the San Francisco area. If you know what livable streets are (re: Bike Portland and if you intend to stay and live in Portland, you probably should get in on this, livable streets are too good to merely pass up), you’ll want to keep tabs on J Chris’ efforts ongoing, I definitely will be! J Chris also refers to himself as a hacker dad, couchbase cofounder & mobile architect.

With “Hands on Realtime Text Analytics” J Chris will present to us  as described:

A common problem in large scale computing, is coordinating workers when they can be scattered across compute nodes. For workloads like this, atomic operators like increment and decrement reduce contention between distributed processes.

In this talk I’ll show a full text analysis tool which ranks words in the Twitter firehose. By storing each token in a key based on its characteristics, we can provide word rankings both globally, as well as over time and space.

We’ll show the running application, and take a tour through the code, as well as discuss cluster sizing and how it is impacted by variations in the input data stream.

For instance a tweet in English from San Francisco might say “Go Giants” so counters for 2012:go and usa-sf:2012-07:giants (among a few dozen others) are incremented. Even using memory like this, the counts from a full corpus of English text would only take a few gigabytes to hold, making this architecture more efficient than a traditional index-and-rollup approach.


Want to learn more?

Want to know the dates?

Want to know who else is speaking? Stay tuned here or go check out!

Have a last minute request, idea, comment or a speaking proposal?

Node PDX – Introducing Jason Denizac, Thorsten Lorenz and Peter Braden

Here’s the second of a series of introductions for the upcoming Node PDX Conference while I train ride up to Seattle today.

Jason Denizac presenting…

Programming With a Purpose

Jason Denizac
Jason Denizac

I met Jason over a year ago while he was in Portland at a coding conference. Since then we’ve kept in touch, and everytime I’ve enjoyed seeing him speak. This guy is from a place far over the hills and valleys somewhere in that central part of the United States, but I’m stoked he’s out here on the west coast now bringing more brainpower to the region.

Jason described his talk, “As programmers we are wizards. Our job is to manufacture super powers. Like with the Manhattan Project, wielding such great technological power entails moral implications which we ignore at our peril. But we can recognize this power, embrace it, and use it for great good. Node gives us a tool kit to confront great problems and share in solving them. Specifically: radical decomposition, horizontal reuse, and positive community norms around testing and documentation.

Audience participation requested: be prepared to share your expertise in a real world problem space like education, civics, social equity, environmental conservation, healthcare, or your own favorite “intractable” problem. If time and scheduling permits, I’d love to have a series of lightning talks in which people could introduce other developers to the problem domain.

This should be a good one.

Thorsten Lorenz presenting…

Module Driven Programming

Thorsten Lorenz
Thorsten Lorenz

Thorsten Lorenz has been creating nodejs projects for over two years mostly in his spare time. The main reason why he can’t (and won’t) stop is, that ideas can be transformed into something that works in a very short amount of time when implemented in JavaScript. Aside from these projects, he also contributes to projects important for the community, one of the recent additions is source map support to browserify. These source maps even allow debugging transpiled languages (i.e. CoffeeScript) right in the browser.

Thorsten threw a bullet point list of the key points for his presentation, which follows:

  • what constitutes a module
  • why it is desirable to build smaller modules
  • challenges and patterns for separating the application into independent modules
  • process of pulling out a module from an application
  • replpad case study
  • how to become module driven phase1 and phase2
  • browserify and how it enables to even manage your client side modules with npm
  • quick primer on tools like npm init, pkginit, travisify and npm link that help with module driven development

Peter Braden presenting…

Teaching Robots to See With Javascript

Peter Braden
Peter Braden

Peter Braden is the author of the node-opencv bindings that allow node scripts to interface with this powerful computer vision library. Peter related to us that he’s both excited and terrified for a future of seeing drones and robots. Currently he works as a web consultant-of-all-trades at

In his talk he’ll be diving into, “As we start to use javascript to control quadrocopters and robots, it becomes important that they can see with images from cameras onboard. In this talk we’ll take a step back and look at the field of computer vision; look at some of the exciting practical problems that can be solved with CV techniques, and look at how we can do this with javascript. Whether it’s detecting and recognising faces, building a picture of surroundings from a video stream, or tracking shapes, we’ll look at how we can make our javascript programs see. And all going well, we’ll have a live demonstration of a drone navigating based on onboard camera data.”

…ready to get your tickets?


Want to learn more?

Want to know the dates?

Want to know who else is speaking? Stay tuned here or go check out!

Have a last minute request, idea, comment or a speaking proposal?

Node PDX – Introducing Ward Cunningham, Nexxy, Jerry Seivert and Hannah Fousanon!

Here’s the first of a series of introductions for the upcoming Node PDX Conference here in bright and sunny Portland, Oregon!

…and no, that isn’t sarcasm, it’s the summer time now so we’re allowed to have sun and warm weather! With that, the speakers for Node PDX!

Ward Cunningham presenting…

My Sensors Love Node.js

Ward Cunningham
Ward Cunningham

Who’s Ward? In his own findings, “The Oregonian describes me as the Old Growth of the Silicon Forest. I appreciate the thought but move way too fast to be compared to trees. Think of me as your intellectual immune system separating good technology infections from bad. Ditch that fever. Go with node.

As Ward describes this presentation, “I’ve tested a half-dozen home sensor integration technologies over as many years and learned something important about architecture with each generation. I’ve replaced Arduino hardware with Teensy which offers much better USB support. I’ve replace C++ with Perl then with Ruby/Sinatra and now Node/Wiki each time feeling the fresh air of a more friendly and dynamic environment. I’ve plotted results with ascii-art, java-2d, flot and now d3.js which can be a career in itself. I’ll share the good parts of each of these and suggest how you will know when it is time for you to move on.

Nexxy presenting…

Realtime Hardware with Node.js


Key facts about Nexxy:

  • Nexxy has been hacking on things in one way or another SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.
  • Nexxy is also known for her occasional use of hyperbole as a literary device.
  • Nexxy first began hacking arduinos with node while she was working with a vegan strip club named Casa Diablo.
  • Nexxy is now enjoying her work with Ninja Blocks as they take over the world with the internet of things!
  • Nexxy inexplicably decided at the last second to write this section of the proposal in 3rd person, bullet form.

…and I have recreated this proposal section here for your information!

Join Nexxy & all for another installment of “Realtime Hardware with Node.js” as we take a look at just how exactly one should go about making a fool of themselves on stage with a bunch of electronics. We will cover the basics of getting started with hardware, demonstrate some cool tech, and conclude with a super rad (slightly hazy) and interactive dance party of epic (modest) proportions — if everyone cooperates. Questions are welcome throughout the presentation and audience members are encouraged* to participate.

* bribed with stickers

Jerry Seivert presenting…

Know Your Environment

Jerry Sievert
Jerry Sievert

Jerry is a conousier of fine beer, drinks and other assorted things. The relevant list of coarse includes Lego, trains and JavaScript. His own words of these things, being a drink or beautifully coded up application, “I love to build things!” summarizes up Jerry’s love of building perfectly!

Jerry will pose the question, “What if your software knew about its environment and could react?” With very basic electronics skills, and the ability to read a datasheet, you can be well on your way to a smarter and more responsive application. We will discuss some common hardware protocols and how to interface your code with them to build something all “teh aWeSOME“!

Hannah Fousanon presenting…

Optimizing Single-Page Javascript Websites for SEO


Hannah Fouasnon is a cofounder and lead engineer at DJZ based in San Francisco. While a full time hacker, she’s currently focusing on creating DJZ’s next single-page javascript website optimized around playing media and games. Former projects include Luckysort, a big-data, text-analytics company based in Portland, OR, where she implemented a large portion of the node.js architecture.

Hannah will cover how to create single-page javascript websites and enable developers to more easily support advanced web client features. For example, the persistent playing experience on soundcloud is supported by a single-page backbone.js architecture. One of the downsides when deciding on this architecture is that web crawlers have trouble indexing content, which can hurt seo and facebook sharing.

This presentation covers how we solve this problem at DJZ. The example will be a simplified angular.js application optimized for seo using primarily phantom.js. Viewers can follow along with code on github (link to come).


Want to learn more?

Want to know the dates?

Want to know who else is speaking? Stay tuned here or go check out!

Have a last minute request, idea, comment or a speaking proposal?

I Messed Up, Cascadia.js Kicked Ass, Defrag Conversations Continued Without Me!

I wasn’t able to get to Cascadia.js. Sometimes during the course of working smart and hard one misses the smart part and scheduling falls apart. Well, I messed up. I messed up and my scheduling got completed dorked for the last two weeks. What did that result in? I missed Cascadia.js, a codeathon in Spokane that I was putting together and to top it off I was missing Defrag in Denver – which really put me out because I was out of pocket personally for Defrag. Altogether it was a financial, logistical and scheduling nightmare for me.

To all, I apologize for my lapse in scheduling prowess!

Amid all of this mess, I’ve got some great new things coming up in the coming week for the OSS Projects I’m working on, the north west, a little emerald for Seattle, some earthy stuff for Portland and all around interesting tidbits here and there.

Before I go rambling on about those things, I wanted to leave this pre-weekend before Thanksgiving with some shout outs to the Cascadia.js Team & Presenters. Carter, Troy, Luc, Jerry, Laurie, Bobby & the whole lot of the team that put that together – you guys seriously ROCK!

The conference had a number of speakers, who totally rocked it, and here’s a few of my first views. I wasn’t there, as I said, so I was seriously stoked that the team put the videos online.

Angelina Fabbro @AngelinaMagnum presents

Matt Padwysocki @mattpodwysocki presents

Jason Denizac @leJden presents

Rick Waldron @rwaldron presents

Emily Rose @nexxylove presents

…and there ARE MORE PRESENTATIONS at Cascadia.js on youtube. Check them out, each is a blast!

Pull Request for People by Chris Williams

@voodootikigod <- but don’t look for him on Twitter… watch the ending keynote of his. It’s really good and we all need to think about what he is saying, seriously think about what he’s saying.

As for some of his questions he asks, I’ll have some answers to that – which I could indeed rattle off quickly, in response. I do say though, I don’t provide these answers to counter what he is saying. I do so only to state and reaffirm what he talked about. I am absolutely, 100% in agreement with what he is saying about the current state of the startup & tech sector.

With that, I’m going to spend some time with friends. Maybe even make some new ones. Cheers! 🙂

…as for Defrag, I’ll have more about that in the coming days too.

Changes & Awesome People

Warning, if you’re looking for tech, this isn’t the article. I’m writing this up in relation to the people in the industry.

Geoloqi goes ESRI!

Geoloqi and ESRI are the same force now, if anyone was watching Geoloqi they already know this. But I just wanted to follow up since I know personally – as good friends – the team over there and a new member of their team.

Amber Case

Amber Case, CEO and brain stormer, thinker and all around great person has lead the Geoloqi crew on a great path to acquisition. She kept the VC vultures at bay, helped to maintain the integrity of building a real platform versus a quick buck “dine and dash” type of company. I commend her on a job well done! I can’t wait until I get to chat with her again about all the great things they’ve been working on and what’s in store for the team now! Follow Amber on twitter, Cyborg Anthropology and her site.

Aaron Parecki & Kyle Drake

These guys are great. The coders, hackers, architects and implementers of Geoloqi from the beginning. I wrote about Kyle before when we had a chance to have him speak at Node PDX (a few words here and here) earlier this year. Kyle & Aaron have worked diligently on building out the real time nature of the high I/O systems of Geoloqi. Follow Aaron on twitter, blog and code and flickr. Follow Kyle on twitter, and code.

Jerry Sievert

My friend and also a Node PDX Speaker, has joined to lead the development efforts of Geoloqi in the new ESRI Structure. I’m super excited for Jerry and what this will bring for hacking endeavors next time we get to hang out. He also blogstweets and of course codes nonstop – see Github.

Warner Media Group (WMG) gets Brian McClain

I’m jealous, another person I’d love to work with. With this change I might get to do just that in some ways. Brian has been an active contributor and instigator in the Cloud Foundry Community and is now kicking off what I can only imagine as some awesome projects at WMG! I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear about what they’re working on. Congratulations to Brian, Dave McCrory (who has a twitter & blog too) and the whole team over there. WMG just got a great new team member! Follow Brian on twitter or via his code on Github.

…and that’s it for today. I’ll have more news on some key people at key companies in the very near future. Keep on guessing, cheers!