As sit on the train back home from New York City, I reflected on the stores, wisdom and practical knowledge that was shared during Codeland 2019.
These are the three nuggets of information that stuck out to me the most:
Codeland starts the day with Pedro Cruz sharing his experiences with tech, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane, is considered one of the worst natural disasters to hit that region. Pedro, explains that many Puerto Ricans, himself included, were not well prepared to be without power, food or water for the weeks that followed.
Aid came from a lot of places, non-profits, the government, etc. However, those much-needed supplies often got held up at the border due to transportation issues. Roads were uncleared or non-existent in some places, making navigation by vehicle difficult.
This barrier of transportation and help getting to the people who need it is where Pedro found his purpose. To check in on his grandmother after Hurricane Maria hit, Pedro had the idea to use a drone to see beyond where roads were blocked or it was unsafe.
This, coupled with drone shots showing pleas for help, aqua and comida written on rooftops, gave him an idea.
What if, a drone could read requests in real-time and plot those points for first responders? Using AI and drone technology, Pedro created, tested, refined and won with this concept during the Global Call for Code Hackathon in 2018.
On a personal note, blogging has brought up mixed emotions for me. Starting a blog has been a to-do item or New Year's Resolution more times than I can count, and rarely something I can stick to doing.
On one hand, I had the mindset that everything about tech had already been written, that I was not enough of an expert to add anything valuable to the mix.
I have since learned, that this is an incorrect way of thinking.
In her talk, Yes, You Should Write That Blog Post, Ali Spittel talks about her own blogging journey. From starting a blog and giving it up to inappropriate comments on Reddit. In the end, Ali describes blogging as "as selfish act" and how that is ok.
Instead, blogging should be for yourself.
It should be for past, present and future versions of yourself. What does 5 years ago you wish you had known about tech? Think of blogging as archiving what you have learned or where you have struggled as you grow, learn and adapt as a developer.
Blogging starts with one post.
That's it. One post.
Write about what you care about—what you are passionate about—and the second (third, fourth, hundredth...) posts will come easily.
The day ended with a keynote from Scott Hanselman. In his talk, he spoke about being a Type 1 Diabetic and how engineers like himself have used tech to make managing their sugar and glucose levels easier. Usually, it starts with tracking blood sugar levels in Excel.
It's a constant battle, he explains. Measuring glucose levels (which, are 10-15 minutes behind) and responding with the appropriate insulin levels (which go into effect 15 minutes into the future).
Can you imagine this, plus the data, literally data about your own body, living within proprietary systems that you do not easily have access to? As Scott puts it, being skilled at math can be beneficial in managing your diabetic health. But what does that mean for those who are not as tech or math savvy?
There had to be an easier way.
Open source projects like Nightscout's #WeAreNotWaiting allows real time access to a CGM data via personal website, smartwatch viewers, or apps and widgets available for smartphones.
Can you believe that in the 45 years since the first insulin pump was invented, there are now apps that allow remote, real-time glucose monitoring?
What I took from Codeland this year is that passion and action can be self-rewarding. A project that you care about, that you enjoy spending time on is one that you are more likely to stick with. And, while you are working on that passion project, you know, the one that will change the world, consider writing a blog post it.