Weeknotes #1: An open love letter to DinosaurJS and Stoner Metal

I love dinosaurs. I love JavaScript. I love stoner metal. I hope you do, too. But if not, that's ok.

This was originally published on .

This past week, I made my (now annual?) pilgrimage to Denver, CO, for DinosaurJS, and it did not disappoint.

The depth of the speaker lineup is real, but I did have some favorites:

  • Mademoiselle of Ceremonies Jasmine Greenaway's Q&A sessions with each speaker were stellar, but if I'm being honest, her dinosaur facts in between sessions and during Technical Difficulties™ were my favorites.
  • Hayley Denbraver's "A Postmortem on the Ingen Incident" was a great primer on systems resilience and chaos engineering, but also featured a refreshing twist: using Jurassic Park as a frame for talking about system failures while in character. The speech nerd in me was alive and well.
  • Lori Culberson's "The Art of Teaching" provided some gut-punches about communicating and teaching. I felt attacked in the best way possible when she brought up checking in with your audience after 3-5 minutes of talking. In the past, I've encouraged holding questions to the end, because I've always struggled to keep the training session on task when accepting questions throughout the training, but that is definitely where I'm leaving that practice: in the past.
  • Tejas Kumar's "A Tale of Two Architectures" was one of the best PWA talks I've seen. The talk focused more on the why of PWAs, rather than the what or the how, but he also shared that why between both users and developers, and how PWAs are better for both groups.

A few overall reasons why I love DinosaurJS so much:

  • I'm not part of the Denver community in any way, but both this year and last year, I felt at home at the conference, like I belonged there.
  • This cannot be said loudly enough: I love sitting through a day of talks and never once hearing a sales pitch. Both years I've attended this conference, every talk spoke to something interesting the presenter was working on, or discussed the ethics or philosophy of what we build, or just how to be a better overall developer and human.
  • The organizers do an amazing job to make sure things run on time, and that there is open communcation between them and attendees before and during the event.
  • Really, the organizers do an amazing job, period.

I missed the workshops this year, because I wanted to be home for my dad's birthday. I know I missed out, but seeing my dad that day was more than worth it.

Later on, I caught this week's show at CS's, which just so happened to feature my friends in Royal Thunder, along with their tourmates, Dead Now. I love both bands so much, and it was great to catch up a little with the RT crew.

While there, a friend told me about another band that I have barely been able to stop listening to: Forming the Void.

Meanwhile, I've been reading a few things, too, that I think are share-worthy:

  • Finally got around to starting Iron Circus' FTL, Y'all! and it is just plain good fun.
  • Casey Newton's Bodies in Seats on The Verge is a difficult read (content warning for descriptions of graphic violence, harassment, and abuse). It is difficult and uncomfortable, but its a reality I think we need to confront, not just because Facebook is a problem for all of us, but because it's the reality of how the things we build affect people in ways we don't anticipate. We don't anticipate, but we should. We need to.