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Blogs about cascadiafest

How I Got Involved With CascadiaFest.

9.12.2016

I feel very lucky to have been invited to organize CascadiaFest for the past two years - first as Browser (JavaScript) Day Curator, and this year as CSS Day Curator. Sometimes people have asked me how I got involved with CascadiaFest in the first place, so I thought I'd tell that story.

Way back in 2013, I decided that it would be good for my professional development to attend some conferences. I had just started a new job, with some savings left over from unemployment time, and so I had some budget to attend conferences on my own dime. I had met Carter Rabasa (founder and long-time organizer of CascadiaJS) by attending the SeattleJS meetup in the previous year. So I arranged a trip to Vancouver, BC for CascadiaJS in November. On the Hacker Train up from Seattle to Vancouver, I met Tracy Hinds, who had organized the Hacker Train all the way up from Portland.

CascadiaJS 2013 was an absolute blast. The talks were interesting and educational, and I met a bunch of new (and now long-time) conf-friends and even got mistaken for a speaker! I followed new friends on Twitter, and CascadiaJS on Github. Not too long after coming home, I wrote up and posted some of my notes and published them on this blog. I knew I would be ready to do it again in 2014.

And I did. CascadiaJS 2014 was in Portland, and I bought a ticket and lodging nice and early. Beyond being excited about attending, I had even begun to think I might be able to speak. I had even submitted a talk. It was pretty awful, but that's the first step. 2014 was just as wonderful as the last year - I made sure to thank Tracy and Carter (head organizers for that year) personally, since I knew it was a ton of work to organize something so big and so lovely. (Organizing a conference is kinda like organizing a wedding, once a year.) Since I followed the CascadiaJS repo, I was able to observe many parts of the organization process, and contributed some (hopefully!) helpful thoughts for the next year.

By early 2015, I'd had some success with my talk proposals, and had managed to speak at 2 other conferences. Thus I felt qualified to help other people with their talk proposals and I volunteered to do so; and also to help with CFP out-reach - something I feel passionate about. But Tracy responded asking would I be interested in becoming a core organizer and curating JavaScript Day? After only a little thought, I responded "absolutely yes"!

So, there you go. I got involved by attending first, providing useful feedback to the organizers, and participating in the community.

What I'm Looking For in a Talk Proposal.

5.22.2016

I'm curating CSS Day at CascadiaFest this year, and earlier this month we finished our speaker selection process. Since I've evaluated hundreds and hundreds of proposals for CascadiaFest, I thought I'd share what I'm looking for when I evaluate a talk proposal. At CascadiaFest, our selection process is masked; we do most of the evaluation before revealing the identity of the person who wrote the proposal. (Though it's sometimes possible to guess who has submitted the talk.) Naturally these thoughts are only about my process, and do not represent any other curators or selection committee members.

Setting Up User Styles in Firefox

4.24.2016

While reviewing talks for CascadiaFest, I wanted to find a way to hide comments from other reviewers until after I'd formed my opinion of the talk. I figured this would be pretty easy to do with user styles - the browser's base set of CSS rules that are followed for every site. In Firefox, these styles are stored in userContent.css in your profile folder.

Doing so proved a little more complicated than I anticipated, because Google's search results seem to interpret "userContent.css" as "userChrome.css". As you can imagine, this made it a little difficult to find information on userContent.css. Here are the two references that I did manage to find:

Here is what went into my user styles:

@-moz-document domain(speak.cascadiafest.org) {
  ul.comment-list { opacity: 0 !important; }
  ul.comment-list:hover { opacity: 1 !important; }
}

The @-moz-document domain "selector" allows me to limit these styles to pages delivered from a certain subdomain. I then hid the elements using opacity, and showed them when they were hovered over. Opacity isn't always the best way to hide things with CSS; but in this case I did want the elements to take up space on the page, and for their children to also be invisible. And a user stylesheet is a fine place for !important; I always want that style to apply, even if a higher specificity selector would override it.

After editing userContent.css, you have to restart Firefox for the changes to take effect.

Who to Send to Conferences.

3.22.2016

If you're trying to hire software developers (and who isn't?), then local developer conferences (and even meetups) can be really great recruiting opportunities for you. Mozilla, npm and IBM have done pretty well for themselves at CascadiaFest and JSConf in the last year.

To a degree, this depends on who you send to the event. At a developer conference, attendees probably aren't particularly keen on talking to another recruiter; but many would be open to hearing front line stories about your deployment process or upcoming projects. Send members of your technical teams to developer conferences.

Don't send jerks or dudebros. A few months ago, I was at a SeattleJS meetup and happened to be sitting near two fellows from a large and well-respected company. One of them (who really had enough salt in his hair that he ought to have known better) was fooling around with his skateboard in the office meeting space. He insisted that his colleague "video my kick flips"; and inevitably smacked other peoples' chairs when he lost control of his skateboard. Don't send that person. Send your outgoing and thoughtful developers, who can talk in detail about your organization's work without insulting other technology choices.

Do remember to compensate your people with time off if these events fall outside normal working hours. Your developers shouldn't have to do free recruiting work in their off-hours.