CodeStock 2011-Always in Motion is the Future

Sam the Giant and I (Mieren) attended CodeStock 2011 on Jun 3rd and 4th, and Relative Prime joined us on Saturday. We had a great time pow-wow'ing with fellow geeks and sharing technical knowledge.

One of the key sponsors was RecruitWise, who's been sponsoring CodeStock since its inception several years ago. I was very impressed, not only with the great layout at the University of Tennessee Conference Center and the very nice spread of delicious food (complete with individual-sized key lime pies), but also with the outgoing friendliness of the RecruitWise team. The morning of the first day, one of the senior recruiters, Gary Gomes, struck up a conversation with me about what I did and asked for my card. We talked several times throughout the conference and he always remembered my name and was very friendly and helpful. The president of RecruitWise, Glenn Zahn, gave a wonderful presentation on resumes and interviewing, which was jam-packed with great info. He was completely willing to answer all questions asked by the attendees and afterwards pulled me aside to give me specific helpful advice on marketing myself to clients as an independent contractor (obviously a resume isn't the best tool for that). My hat's off to them for being such gracious sponsors!

DevExpress expressed its sponsorship with the best swag, little guns that shot off spinning LED saucers, superior top-poppers, and even (gasp) geek shirts for girls. Cadre5, not wanting to be outdone, was the only sponsor to provide chocolate in the form of red and white m&m's. There was even a ping pong table to grant attendees a bit of exercise after all the sitting, although I'm not sure if it was specifically sponsor-provided or an already present institution at the UT Conference Center.

The highlight of the conference for the Knoxville Makers Guild was our auspicious Vice President's (Sam the Giant) beautiful presentation. Here's his blurb for the presentation he gave at the conference:

A Knoxville Hackerspace - What do you want to build today?

"Hackerspaces are community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects" and there is currently an effort to start one here in Knoxville. Ever wish you had an extra set of hands during a build or needed another set of eyes to look over a problematic piece of recreational code? So have I. Turns out so have most of the techies out there, and these needs have driven the explosive growth of user groups, clubs and more recently Hackerspaces all over the world. Come join a panel discussion reaching out to the community to find out what you need from a Knoxville based Hackerspace.

Sam the Giant speaks at Codestock 2011

Sam covered all kinds of things, from what a hackerspace is, to the community-oriented purpose of them, to what kinds of projects the Knoxville Makers Guild has done to date, and inviting the audience to give suggestions and input. Some of the attendees approached Sam after the fact, interested in coming to our next open hack (Jun 7th at the UT Radio Club). I look forward to seeing them at our meetings!

Speakers for the various sessions aren't monetarily remunerated, but you'd never have guessed because of the professional job each did in delivering their presentations. I saw so many fabulous presentations I'm hard-pressed to write about them all. However, I'd say I get the best practical info to help me in my every day web design/developing actions from these presentations:

The Geek's Guide to SEO by Jay Harris

Design resources for Developers (making yourself a deseloper or devigner) by Steve Bodnar

Winning Resumes and Interviews for IT Pros by Glenn Zahn

Eulering up your coding skills by Matthew Groves (Okay, maybe this last one wasn't so practical, but it was pretty cool. If you like to code, you should check out

My thanks to Sam for scoring me a ticket to CodeStock 2011 and to all the great sponsors and people who invested their time and effort to make it fun and worthwhile.