NERDSummit Announces Sessions!

[Once again full disclosure the folks at NERD give me some money in exchange for marketing stuff, but fuller disclosure it’s not like this isn’t basically what I’d write for free regardless so they’re kind of paying me just to remind me to do that thing I meant to do anyway PLEASE no one tell them that.-Ed.]

NERDSummit is coming up March 18th – 19th at the UMass Integrated Sciences Building! It’s going to be no cost, a heck of a time, and it’s going to have food for attendees but some people say even more importantly than the food they are also going to have some really excellent speakers! We’ve chosen to highlight a few of the ones for each day that caught our eye.

Saturday, March 18th

First off is the one we’re most excited about, Richard Stallman & Micky Metts! They’re going to be giving a talk called The JavaScript Trap about how horrible JavaScript can be and we are interested in hearing knowledgeable people explain that to us. We already kind of hate JavaScript because people toss it about like it’s necessary for every danged button but we also know there are some more technical reasons that ubiquitous JavaScript isn’t a great idea from a useability or security perspective. Richard Stallman is one of the founders of the Free Software movement and the GNU project, so you 100% used something he helped create when you were in college and first found out that Photoshop costs $800. Micky Metts is a free software activist who has done a lot of great work cooperatively developing using free software for you, personally! Very kind of her.

Mike Miles will be giving a talk called Inclusive Design: Thinking Beyond Accessibility. What’s interesting about this talk is the fact that it goes further than just how to make your work functionally accessible to people who aren’t exactly like you. Thinking about how to include other folks to the extent that they actively find your work easy to use and joyful is important and it’s easy to let it slide because you don’t necessarily think about how other people are going to interact with your creations every time you make something.

Finally The Modern Woman in Tech with Christina Gleason seems like a good chance to look beyond specific technologies and to think about the culture surrounding a lot of the work that folks at NERDSummit will be discussing. What barriers exist for women, and what unique challenges do they face? How can we handle the current environment while working to break down walls? All important questions that deserve a lot of attention!

Sunday, March 19th

Thomas Dodson will discuss DIY Digital Signage, something that we’ve noticed more often recently. Lots of organizations buy expensive signs that are kind of both ugly and not all that flexible. Thomas has some solutions that are cheap and flexible, and shares some lessons that the folks at the Harvard Library learned implementing a DIY signage system.

Anne Merritt will be talking about Visual Programming with Scratch, a great way to introduce coding concepts to folks without requiring a lot of syntactical expertise early. Scratch uses literal building blocks of code to create basically anything you can think of, making it a lot easier for people new to programming concepts to start and finish useful projects quickly.

Finally Jeremy Kauffman will be giving a presentation called Content Freedom: An Introduction to LBRY which is appropriately enough about LBRY, an open-source protocol that’s supposed to make it easy to find, distribute, and purchase content. As we’re always really happy that we have a ton of comic photos we don’t need to attribute because we took them, the idea of finding a nice way to actually find content from other people sounds delightful!

So that’s a rundown of a few really neat sounding sessions out of a whole bunch! There are a total of 42 sessions on the site so if the above don’t catch your interest something probably will!

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