Learn You Some Smarts for Great Good!

Like to code? Like to learn? Live in Portland? Well then you ought to join me in my great journey to the dark west hills of the lands of Hillsboro and Intel! I’ll be taking the following grand journey from Portland out to Intel to give a presentation on Pluralsight and teaching, learning, and getting smarts for great good! If you’d like to join me RSVP on the meetup invite here and let me know, I’m happy to transit out to the location with you.

Afterwards, as is standard operating procedure, we’ll have dinner, drinks, and food across the street at . Sure to have good conversation and laughs, as I always endeavor to do.

Ride Out With Me…

If you’re interested in riding out with me, join me at the Old Town China Town MAX Stop at 5:00pm. We’ll depart on the MAX Blue Line out to Hawthorn Farms Intel Campus. Afterwards, if interested I’ll be riding back too after the meet and post-meet meet at Morgy’s Pub & Grill (across the street).

What I’ll be Talking About

Pluralsight is one of the leading online educators of online, video-based, technical content in the world. In my presentation I’ll dive into how Pluralsight maintains integrity of its courses, insures learning, encourages quality, and helps keep the whole system moving forward in a seamless way. This presentation will be a small diversion from the technical components we often discuss as developers and instead a dive into the actual systems of learning, training, and production that are often on the edges of what we see as developers – but benefit greatly from when we want to learn something new! The core three things I’ll be covering include:

  • How video & doing helps us learn quickly.
  • How video is produced and the tools of this trade.
  • How to produce effective technical content to teach.
  • How to effectively use technical content to learn.

Once I finish the talk I’ll provide a wrap up here on the blog. My intention is to do more than merely post the slides, I’ll work to put something together that’s actually useful.

Speaking of Pluralsight

I’m also working on a new course right now! Ok, at this very moment I’m sipping a Black Forest Mocha at Coffee People while typing this blog entry while waiting for arrivals at the airport, but you know what I mean. I’ll have a basic outline and material for that course posted soon. For more on this pending course and other code event happenings, subscribe to the blog (scroll up and click the settings hexagon above) and or follow me on twitter @adron.

Pluralsight Authors Summit – Meeting & Learning Really Talented People!

Finally, I’ve been able to wrap up my first blog entry on the Pluralsight Authors Summit 2014 (AS14)…


It all started with this. I’d received a mission.

NOTE: Click on any image to see the full gallery of images I took at the conference. My apologies for the dirty iPhone 5 camera lens.

I’ve been creating Pluralsight courses for a while now, with two to my name; Riak Fundamentals and Docker Fundamentals. I’ve got others in the works, and a lot of great suggestions that I’ll be blogging about in the very near future. However this weekend I headed to Salt Lake City for the Pluralsight Authors Summit.

I arrived at the airport, a 3 minute walk out and onto the light rail to downtown. I ranted via Twitter on my layover at the mess that SEATAC (Seattle & Tacoma’s Airport) is. Salt Lake City makes SEATAC look like an engineering catastrophe. So it was really nice to land in SLC and be able to walk right onto the train into town.

…that led into my admitted love for Seattle, I can’t harsh too bad on the emerald beauty…

Immediately upon leaving the airport it did seem a bit like I’d entered Mordor. Looking into the far distance the sky almost burned a brownish red and seemed to have endless darkness as far as I could see. With a twisting cloud or fog structure pushing down upon the southern view from the airport.

Ok, ok. It actually looked like this. But really, check that out, it’s kind of wild looking!

Along the way it cleared up and there were some amazing views to see of the mountains in the distance. It doesn’t really matter which way you look, you’ll see amazing vistas all around.

I rolled on into town and got to see a bit of downtown as the light rail rolled through town. It seems that Salt Lake City has a lot of bike lanes and related things, albeit I didn’t see any bicyclists anywhere. Overall what I could accrue was the city was extremely clean, well kept and the people – which I got to experience the rush hour while coming into town – were calm and chill as I often expect west coast cities to be.

I then got off at Little America Hotel where the conference was taking place. I couldn’t have asked for an easier ride, with the front door of the hotel being barely across the street from the light rail stop. I figured out my room, headed to check in and got some cool swag, then off to drop all my pack off at the room.

Once I rolled back into the main summit conference center I introduced myself to several people and got my photo taken. Somewhere, at some point, you’ll be exposed to my crazy mug somewhere again. I’ve warned you.

I talked camera and video gear with Phil Hunter. Phil has just started working at Pluralsight and is getting some great work put together for them.

After a bit of talking and introductions to new people, we all rounded up and sat down for dinner that evening. It wasn’t just dinner though, there was gambling setup with prizes and more. That unto itself was pretty cool, but being the non-gambling person that I am, I went straight to the food. Which I gotta say was really good! I even got to experience two glassholes (Jim Wilson @hedgehogjim | Jim’s Author Page and Llewellyn Falco @LlewellynFalco | Llewellyn’s Author Page who are excellent crew) try to setup some magic pixie dust unicorn trick with their Google Glasses.

Jon, Shannon, Julie and all of us we sat helplessly while they configured the glasses to do… well I don’t think we ever figured it out really. But a great table to sit at. We had a good dinner. I wrapped up and others went to gamble while I went to get some recovery sleep.


Saturday kicked off a set of talks:

  • Key Note: Aaron Skonnard @skonnard CEO of Pluralsight – great to get the big picture and see where the company is headed.
  • Curriculum Overview & Future Direction – Fritz Onion @fritzonion & team dove into specifics of how we’ll grow offerings to bring more courses and material to subscribers in the coming year, making it easier to find, search for and use.
  • Continuous Improvement & Creating Compelling Technical Content with Geoffrey Grosenbach @topfunky.

Another great lunch was served, conversations were had and I got to introduce myself to even more great authors. After lunch I met Koffi Sessi @aksessi in person finally and we discussed courses, ways to improve and put together even better content and a host of other topics. We wrapped up with a promise he’d send me some of the music he listens to. Being we both of some really esoteric genres I’m looking forward to what he sends me.

After that I got to check out Video Workflow with Shawn Wildermuth @ShawnWildermuth and Authoring and Time Management with the Dane Down Under Lars Klint @larsklint. After dinner the evening wrapped up with X Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Your Blog by Chris Reynolds @jazzs3quence and Tips on Using Windows Azure to Host VMs for Recording Pluralsight Demos by Orin Thomas @orinthomas | Orin’s Author Page.

I’ve Got a JavaScript & Node.js Webinar, Webstorm Tutorial Videos, Work & Flow With JavaScript Development and More…

Webinar: Node.js Development Workflow in WebStorm

This coming week I’m doing an intro to work and flow with Node.js JavaScript Programming that I’m working with JetBrains on. In the webinar I’ll be covering the following key topics in the webinar:

  • Open an existing project & getting WebStorm configured for running, testing and related working tasks.
  • A quick tour of other IDE features that help with daily work. Some in pretty huge ways.
  • Running WebStorm & debugging Node.js JavaScript applications.
  • Checking out Mocha, how it works and what it gives WebStorm the power to do. Then we’ll write a few tests & implement that code too.

All this will include Q & A throughout and at the end of the webinar. Be sure to register soon!

WebStorm Tutorials: Learning Shortcuts, Customizing Layout and Others

These WebStorm Tutorials have been put together by John Lindquist @johnlindquist for JetBrains. There solid, quick snippets of useful WebStorm usage. Two that I’ve found really useful I’ve included here:

John also has a lot of other great totally kick ass material out there. So check out his blog @ http://johnlindquist.com/ and follow his youtube channel too.

Coming Up in the Near Future, The Work & Flow of JavaScript Development

I have a new course I’m working on right now for Pluralsight, that will take these basic precepts and dive even deeper into the daily workflow of the JavaScript Developer. Whether it’s client side hacking or server side coding, I’ll be diving into a whole lot of JavaScript goodness. If you’d like me to ping you when the course is done, hit me up on Twitter @adron and just let me know. In the meantime get a Pluralsight subscription (free to sign up and at least give it a try) and check out these courses by myself and others.

Becoming a Better Programmer… Step One, Build a Course

Often a programmer sits back and reflects on, “how can I get better at my job?” A number of months ago I found myself sitting with that same reflection. One of the many ideas that popped into my head was to put together focused material around a topic. Training material, a blog series or something else. I wasn’t sure just yet what it would be, but I knew that was one of the many things I wanted to do. Fast forward a few months.

Fellow Tier 3 coder Richard Seroter, who I’d known for some time via his blog “Richard Seroter’s Architecture Musings” and I had a conversation about what we do, respectively, to keep our skills honed in tech. He brought up he’d be putting together material for Pluralsight for a while now and enjoyed that. It struck me as something I’d like to do too, considering my past reflection, so he made an intro. The rest is history!

Pluralsight Author, Achievement Reached

I’m now a Pluralsight Author (my author’s page) with my first course on Riak Fundamentals. I’m now working on a second course, on Docker Fundamentals. I’ve got a lot more in the queue after that too, so I hope to keep producing a lot of material on everything from the big languages these days like Javascript, Java, Ruby and C# to lesser knowns like Erlang, Go and maybe some others to boot.

For now, check out my Riak Fundamentals Course and some of the other great material that Pluralsight has available. They’ve just acquired TekPub, Peepcode and a number of other companies too, so when you subscribe you don’t just get all the Pluralsight material but also access to all the material at these excellent course creating companies! In the coming days and weeks I’ll have some reviews of other courses I enjoyed. As always, enjoy, subscribe to my blog, subscribe to Pluralsight and cheers!


Getting Distributed – BOOM! The Top 3 Course Selections

A few months ago I posted a poll to ask what courses I should put together next. I just wrapped up and am putting the final edits and finishing touches on a Pluralsight Course on distributed databases, focusing on Riak. On the poll the top three courses, by a decent percentage of votes included the following:

  1. Node.js Distributed Systems – Bringing the Node.js Nodes together for Distributed Noes of Availability and Compute @ 12.14% of the vote.
    1. A Quick Intro to Node.js
    2. Introduction to Relevant Distributed Patterns
    3. How Does Node.js Fit Into the Distribution
    4. Working With Distributed Systems (AKA Avoiding a Big Ball of Mud)
    5. Build a Demo
  2. Distributed Systems Programming with Javascript @ 10.4% of the vote.
    1. Patterns for Distributed Programming
    2. …and I’m figuring the other sections out still for this one…  got ideas? It needs to encompass the client side as well as the non-client code side of things. So it’s sort of like the above course, but I’m focusing more on the periphery of what one deals with when dealing with developing on and around distributed systems as well as distributed systems themselves.
  3. Vagrant OS-X, Windows and Linux – how to build, manage and ship machines to use for development and recreation of production environments.
    1. Vagrant, What is it?
    2. OS-X, Linux and Windows
    3. Using Vagrant Machines
    4. Building Vagrant Dev Machines
    5. Vagrant the Universe!

Now I might flip this list, but either way they’re all going to be super cool. So stay tuned and I’ll be working up these into courses. So far here’s the sub-bullets above are the basics of the curriculum I intend to put forward. Am I missing anything? Would you like to see anything specifically? Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to get everything as packed in there as possible!!