!!Con 2016 notes: Day 1

Notes from a conference about the joy, excitement, and surprise of programming

!!Con is a conference held every spring in New York City. It’s filled with all kinds of hilarious lightning talks that celebrate the joy, excitement, and surprise of programming – you might’ve heard of it from the talk “I made a cell phone! (DON’T TELL THE FCC KTHX!)” given at last year’s conference.

I attended with some of the teaching staff from the Advanced Programming course at school. Even though our class is about systems programming, we still learned a ton and we’ll definitely be back next year!

Five students with red shirts standing near water

We have matching pancake stack shirts (for when you need to explain in a pinch how the call stack works).

Contents

Catt Small: The Creative Programmer (Keynote Speaker)

Code culture and her path into programming

Kiran Bhattaram: The tales of the cursed operating systems textbook!

Mark Allen: values of β may give rise to dom!

One of the strangest error messages in an operating system

Lydia Gu: Ping! Are you there?

The ping tool: “Whenever I’m feeling lonely and wondering if I have a connection…to the Internet”

Katie Bechtold: Code in Spaaaaaace!!!

What it’s like to program for spacecraft

Allison Parrish: Lossy text compression, for some reason?!

Poetry and programming

Brendan Curran-Johnson: A Shot in the Dark!

Reverse engineering a camera

Sher Minn Chong: Plants are Recursive!!: Using L-Systems to Generate Realistic Weeds

Diana Liao: Mixing Paint! With Computers!

Andreas Fuchs: I’m not a number, I’m a free file descriptor!!1 (Our protagonist promptly disappears down a wormhole)

Kamal Marhubi: Storing your data in kernel space: an excellent bad idea!

A man holding a clear plastic pipe onstage

Unix pipes, explained with an actual plastic pipe!

Samy Al Bahra: Debugging debuggers!!!

Laura Lindzey: Convolution and the Fourier Transform: Math! (in pictures!!)

Jennifer Fernick: All Together Now! Programming the Quantum Computer

Mark Phillips: Upstream/Downstream: Discovering and Displaying Watershed Topology!

Mark Dominus: My favorite NP-complete problem!

Thanks for reading! If you’re enjoying my writing, I’d love to send you infrequent notifications for new posts via my newsletter. You’ll receive the full text of each post, plus occasional bonus content.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@kevinchen) or subscribe via RSS.