CodeMash and KidzMash v2.0.1.5 — An Amazing Experience

Last week, I attended my fourth CodeMash conference but for the first time ever I attended as a speaker.  CodeMash is a great technical conference that takes place the first week of every year at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio.  It gathers together C#, .Net, Ruby, JavaScript, F#, Python, and hardware enthusiasts from all over with many speakers traveling internationally for the opportunity to share their expertise at this conference.  But the one thing that makes this conference so very special is the KidzMash conference which runs in parallel and is designed specifically for kids.CodeMash V2.0.1.5

This year, I presented two different KidzMash sessions.  The first one had a handful of kids sorting themselves using a variety of sorting algorithms in order to figure out which would be best for what scenario.  At the end of the session, quicksort won for a previously unsorted list while bubble sort came out looking pretty good for a pre-sorted list.

My second KidzMash session illustrated the fact that computers only think in ones and zeros and what that meant when dealing with simple tasks.  As a group, we learned about binary numbers as well as how to represent letters by assigning each letter a number.  Amongst other activities, we used a simple compression algorithm on a black and while image, sent the information to a “printer” (a child with a black marker), and instructed it to “print” out the original image, all without information loss.  We even discovered the concept of parity!  All this in a fun and highly interactive session.

The adult session I presented, From Zero to Full Deployment Automation in 60 Minutes, was a repeat of one I had done at ThatConference in August 2014.  It was well received and its success has me already considering preparing a sequel to propose for CodeMash 2016.  Immediately after my session, I met a couple of gentlemen who had attended ThatConference and had used my session content to implement continuous deployment at their company.  It was encouraging to see that my material had been instrumental in helping someone improve their development environment!

I attended many sessions, learned a lot, and left the conference inspired to get involved in or even kick off many more projects than I can reasonably tackle in a year.  I met some fabulous people, chatted with old friends, learned to play Settlers of Catan, and had an overall blast.

My gratitude goes to the CodeMash and KidzMash organizers, volunteers, and sponsors.  Thank you for inviting me to speak at your conference, thank you for promptly addressing any and all issues as a speaker, and thank you for believing in me.  You have made CodeMash awesome yet again.