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Science and technology

Death by PowerPoint: These talks break the mould

Conferences might be superb experiences, with attention-grabbing folks, nice areas, and insightful talks. However, if you happen to attend sufficient conferences, or the mistaken conferences, you can succumb to one of many worst pandemics of our age. No, not “conflu”—dying by PowerPoint.

There are loads of articles and listicles that supply recommendations on bullet factors, textual content measurement, and so on. However, if you wish to convey technical data in a means that really engages and teaches your viewers, contemplate going exterior the field. An “out-of-the-box talk” might contain slides and a microphone, however you employ them to convey your content material in a means that is partaking and entertaining to the viewers.

Here are a few of my favourite talks that break the mould, with audio system giving insightful and informative displays which have real “re-watch” worth.

Popular tradition analogies

I significantly get pleasure from talks that share technical ideas utilizing analogies and themes from popular culture.

In my expertise, the preferred theme for these talks is Harry Potter (lore solely, with full credit score for the existence of the universe to J.Okay. Rowling).

Fellow author Lacey Williams Henschel has introduced two talks on this matter: At DjangoCon Europe 2016, with Hermoine Granger and the Wizard Information System, and at DjangoCon Europe 2018, with An Intro to Docker for Djangonauts. In her Docker speak, she wove a story that aligned the docker and docker-compose instructions with Harry Potter spells, a helpful mnemonic for anybody new to Docker.

Lacey additionally introduced from the Pride and Prejudice universe in her DjangoCon US 2015 speak, Jane Austen on PEP8.

Lacey is not the one speaker who has given magical talks. The closing keynote from DjangoCon AU 2018 was introduced by Lilly Ryan, who gave a chat entitled Django Against the Dark Arts, the place she in contrast her career as a safety penetration tester to that of an Auror, or darkish wizard catcher. She analyzed the safety precautions taken by Albus Dumbledore to guard the primary e book’s McGuffin, the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone, and picked aside the vulnerabilities that allowed the hoodwinking of the Goblet of Fire.

Philip James additionally used a youngsters’s e book in his DjangoCon US 2016 speak, Frog and Toad Learn about Django Security. Inviting the viewers to “story time,” Philip tells the story of Frog and Toad, however on this model, Frog needs to construct a website in Django, and Toad explains how Django will help that website be safe out of the field.

Alternative historical past

You need not use established lore to border a chat; you may at all times create your individual.

Gary Bernhardt took this method at PyCon 2014, with The Birth and Death of JavaScript, which supplied a 40-year historical past of JavaScript from 1995 by way of 2035.

Along this similar vein, Dr. Russell Keith-Magee introduced an apocryphal lecture, Emoji Archeology 101. A reimagining of the historical past of emoticons and emoji, the lecture presents a humorous however traditionally correct telling of how such histories might be interpreted.

Performance artwork

Don’t wish to embody slides? Many talks use another type of visible presentation.

For instance, Grace Nolan interlaced slides and dwell paintings creation throughout her PyCon AU 2018 speak Reflections on the Creative Process – Illustrated with Watercolour Painting, the place she spoke about watercolor portray whereas portray on stage.

Non-traditional slides

You might even ditch Keynote, PowerPoint, or LibreOffice altogether and use your projector to show different content material.

At Linux.conf.au 2011, Florian Haas introduced Roll Your Own Cloud: Enterprise Virtualization with KVM, DRBD, iSCSI and Pacemaker whereas Tim Serong drew the slides dwell in entrance of the viewers.

For a extra “pre-prepared” model, Christopher Pitt proved you may current a chat in Minecraft in his Dutch PHP Conference speak, Zombies and Binary. He makes use of a easy sport modification so as to add pictures to indicators within the sport, altering slides by transferring his avatar by way of the sport. This speak facilities on educating logic gates by displaying the crafting of Minecraft’s redstone circuits.

Entertain, encourage, and delight

I hope at the very least one in every of these talks has piqued your curiosity, and the subsequent time you see a name for papers you would possibly simply submit one thing with a little bit of aptitude. Conference organizers love out-of-the-box speak, so long as it is related to the fabric and the viewers. A gimmick for gimmick’s sake will not be acquired nicely, however when it provides further shine to already good content material, it is a delight to expertise.

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