Just got done attending the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest in Las Vegas. It was two days of hanging out with 15,000 people who were all there because they love a game enough to throw down on tickets, airfare, hotel, and all the other costs to be there, to celebrate with other fans, to learn new things, and to see the announcement for the new expansion, live:Continue reading “FFFF 2023”
The 2019 XOXO Festival was last week, and I’ve been chewing on it since then. I wouldn’t say I’m done thinking about it, but it’s time to start putting some thoughts into words.Continue reading “XOXO 2019”
Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good TED Talk, but this guy really nails the tropes that go into so many of them.
So, you just attended an event that was revelatory and cathartic and emotional, and now you’re a jumbled up pile of feelings and thoughts and have no idea where to even begin. You had these amazing experiences and conversations and you’re feeling excited and drained all at the same time. What do you do? Here’s some gentle suggestions:
- Give yourself time. (But not too much time.) There’s a lot your subconscious is still figuring out, and it’s okay to give yourself the time, space, and permission to let things process. That said, if you take too much time, the mental thread gets lost, and the energy wanes. Give yourself a week to regain your bearings.
- Actively process. Meditate, journal, discuss with a trusted friend. Think about what about the experience felt revelatory and energizing, and what you can do to extend and act on that feeling. Give your subconscious a leg up by being active about how you process it all.
- Keep in touch. You met amazing people and had amazing conversations. Keep those conversations going. Reach out. It takes effort to keep communication going (especially when shifting mediums like from in person at an event to online), but this is how you form community, and how you’ll keep that energy for your New Idea™.
- Write down your ideas. Your mind is running a mile a minute right now, and there’s all the people to talk to and all the things to do, and so many new ideas and new projects. That’s great! Write it all down while it’s fresh. A lot of the bigger ideas are going to take more time and energy than this hyperactive sugar-rush of feelings will sustain, so write it down. Process your feelings, then come back to the idea when you’re able to sit down and think about how to actually get from Point A to Point B.
- Cherish the moment. Even if you go to the same event again, you won’t necessarily have that same energizing experience, and even if you do, these sorts of events tend to be only once or twice a year. So savor it while you’re in it, and try to remember that feeling six months down the line, when you’re feeling stymied or blocked. (Keeping in touch with others helps remember this feeling, too!)
- Forgive yourself. At the end of the day, when the event is all over, it’s easy to feel like you could be doing more or should have done more, or have your impostor syndrome come back and double down. (And, worse, when the event rolls around again next year, you can find yourself discounting the work you’ve done, and thinking about all the things you wanted to do after the last time.) It’s okay. You had the experience you had, and it’s going to be a different experience than anyone else had. Some people maybe even had a similar experience, but come off more eloquently when they talk about it, and you feel like you should have had something more. But they’re not you, and while it can be useful to think about things you’d like to do differently, don’t dwell on it.
These are things I’ve found useful to remind myself when in these sorts of experiences. I hope it helps.
It’s been about a week since I got back from SOAK, which is Oregon’s regional Burning Man. For those not aware: as Burning Man grew and became more popular, many folks decided to branch off and do smaller related events that also follow the 10 Principles. They’re not officially part of the Burning Man organization, but do operate with their blessing. This makes for a great opportunity for folks to still participate and connect with that community, even if they can’t make it to the main Burning Man event. Chances are good that there’s a regional near you, wherever you are (especially in the US and Canada, but elsewhere too).
This was my fourth SOAK, but my first in several years (basically since I moved to the Bay Area at the end of 2013). It felt good to reconnect with this community — I saw a lot of old faces, and met new folks too. In general, I like Burners — especially the old schoolers. These are the sorts of folks who might crack jokes about you falling down, but they’ll do it with a smile and while helping you up and dusting you off. There’s lots of snark and puns and trolling, but not with ill intent (which feels refreshing given the current state of the world). It leaves you (well, me at least) feel more at ease with being yourself, and creates space for deeper, more interesting conversations than the usual small talk.
I camped with a small camp towards the outskirts, comprised of a few folks I knew and more folks that I didn’t — but it didn’t take long before we were all sharing food and stories and wandering around the event together. There were some great art pieces — a few highlights for me was the “digital stained glass” dodecahedron, “Stoicheia”; the monster heads; and the temple. There’s also a drone flyby you can check out:
Already looking forward to next year.
The 2016 XOXO Festival just wrapped, and I’m still processing it all. This post may be a bit long, fair warning. Continue reading “XOXO, XOXO”
First, if you’ve not watched the WWDC Keynote yet, you can watch it here: WWDC 2016 Keynote (You can also see a write-up over at Wired and a Liveblog of the event at Engadget.) There are a few things that came up that I think are pretty notable.
First, Continuity continues to be a big push: Apple wants as seamless an ecosystem as possible across all devices and platforms in their stable of products. We started seeing some elements of this in Yosemite and El Capitan, and it looks like they’re doubling down on it in Sierra. I have some reservations about this — mainly, lock-in and whether or not it will play well with third parties. The concept itself, though, makes a ton of sense. I’m curious to see what sort of response we’ll see from Microsoft and Google in this space (MS is starting to point this direction with their push towards a single core across platforms, but at the same time we’re seeing a de-emphasis of Windows Phone, so curious how this will play out).
Second, Machine Learning. All the big players are getting into it (Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant), and Apple has clearly invested heavily in this area, with tight integration of Siri into iOS and macOS. One thing I think is notable about Apple’s choices with this, though, is keeping the AI on-device, rather than web-driven. I’m very curious to see how this evolves in future releases.
Third, Security, Privacy, and Encryption. Several times in the keynote, they made a point of calling out that they’re NOT building profiles of user, and are keeping PII on your device, not on their servers. This emphasis on privacy (and security) pervades a number of the choices they’re making, which I applaud them for committing to. While I disagree with some of their product decisions (single-port computers, charging ports on the bottom of the new magic mouse, etc), I genuinely appreciate that they’re sticking to their guns in the face of pressure from the government.
Fourth, Opening up new APIs. A big concern I’ve had in recent releases from Apple is continued lockdown of services, where it felt like if you weren’t Apple, you couldn’t play on the playground. This release sees several integrated services get opened up to third parties (Messages, Maps, Siri being the big three to me), which gives me some hope that Apple isn’t entirely forgetting what made OS X so great.
Fifth, Swift Playground. It’s worth noting that this closed out the keynote, and for good reason. Apple is committing to bringing programming into education in a big way, by making what appears to be a robust learning app that targets youth where they are (mobile devices like iPads), teaching them a language they can directly use for real, complex applications. This is a big win for both Apple and STEM: For Apple, it gets a new generation of developers started using their tools, environment, and language, which you can bet will make an impact on what they choose to use in the future. For STEM, they’re providing free tools, free resources (entire books, including guides on how to teach it and incorporate into your curriculum), already targeted to youth. That’s awesome. You can read more about the whole initiative at their Everyone Can Code page.
It wasn’t covered in the keynote, but has been brought up elsewhere: they’re also releasing a new Apple File System, replacing the old and creaky HFS+. This is significant: Apple’s been using HFS (and then an expanded HFS+) for basically the entire time Mac OS has existed. From reports, it sounds like a robust, next-generation file system that brings some brilliant and essential features. While we likely won’t see the OS truly make the most of these new features until the version after Sierra, this is still quite interesting, and I’m excited to see what gets done with it.
Overall, it felt like a productive developer-centric keynote. It leaves me feeling cautiously hopeful about the future of the ecosystem, and that they’re placing their bets in the right places.
While I’m not making it to the talks, I’m still super excited to be attending XOXO this year. (And yes, this means I’ll be in Portland this weekend if you want to come say hi!)
[Note: Giant conference notes info-dump behind the link. These are raw notes, I’ve not really cleaned them up at all, but wanted to share in case others find it useful.]
Continue reading “Write the Docs 2014 (Day 2)”