Speaking at JSConf Australia
A month or so ago, I decided to take a look at something that always fascinated me when I was a teenager: how the fuck do regular computers run NES software? At the time, I wasn’t a programmer so I swept the issue under the proverbial rug and continued playing the games I used to love playing on the Real Thing™ (disclaimer: Nintendo don’t actually want you to do this).
With a hunger for knowledge and no fucking idea of where to start, I went to trusty Google and started trying to figure it all out. The short of it: I knew nothing how computers worked, so I had a long and interesting journey in front of me. After a lot of trial and error, I started to understand how things worked. I started with this Stack Overflow question first, and then read Charles Petzold’s Code, which is an amazing read. Really, it is.
At roughly the same time, JSConf Downunder was announced and so there was a call for speakers. I submitted a proposal with a what-the-hell attitude, and kept tinkering away. I didn’t expect to be selected, but I still wanted my hat in the ring. So, you can imagine my surprise when I received an email informing me that I would be giving my talk.
I spent 3 weeks solid writing my talk and slides, and demo’d to one of the organisers three times, as well as to friends over Skype. I also demo’d it to my partner, which proved to be quite useful, as she didn’t understand the subject matter, allowing her to pick up on other nuisances, such as my ability to say um and uh 300 times in 45 minutes (that might be an exaggeration).
When the big day came, I got up at 6am (why did I go to the pre-party?) and made my way to the venue. For some reason, I became extremely nervous on the day. I don’t know what to put this down to, but it may some form of social anxiety. Anyway, I decided to say fuck that and I marched up when it was my time to shine.
To make things more stressful, when I was setting up my slides, I noticed the projector was a mirrored version of my laptop, effectively cutting me off from all my notes I wrote in Keynote, as well as the current time and next slide information. To make it worse, my slides were also in the wrong resolution, so they were letterboxed. What’s the worse that could happen?
For anyone who knows me IRL, they know I have a quirky sense of humour, ranging from dark humour to poorly executed off-the-cuff dad jokes. To satisfy my enjoyment in putting smiles on people’s faces, I decided to incorporate these into my talk. I kicked off the talk, and once I was up there, all thoughts of nervousness disappeared.
Giving a talk was such an awesome experience and was one of the highlights of 2012 for me. I recommend it for everyone, seriously, get off your ass and give a talk. Don’t wait until you feel like you’re a subject matter expert; just sharing your experience is fun for you and your audience.
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