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Nebraska Code 2015

A year ago I started this blog after Nebraska Code Camp with a review of the sessions I attended. I want to just highlight the sessions I went to this year that I thought were good. This year I felt like I gained the most out of the sessions that were not targeted toward a specific language or tool, but rather the ones that would help me be a better person and become a better developer in general.

I have been listening to the .NET Rocks podcast for a few years now, so I was really excited to get to see Carl and Richard record an episode live. It was a lot of fun as well as educational to watch them work and see how they put together a show. The guys were smart and funny, they clearly have great chemistry and can seamlessly flow in any direction the conversation takes them.

I attended a session titled, "How to Learn: Grok it Faster". I really enjoyed this session. The speaker was Thuy Copeland, she did a really good job with her entire presentation. She recommended the book: 5 elements of effective thinking, by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird. The main pieces of information that I took away from this speech were:

  • Focus on Fundaments when practicing, if you want to learn how to type, practice typing with fingers on the home row rather than hunting and pecking.
  • The sweet spot for learning is when you are frustrated, you know what you want to do but are failing about 50% of the time. If you aren’t failing then you aren’t learning and if you are doing nothing but failing then you are accomplishing anything
  • When reading a technical manual, just read what you need to know right now. Look through the index for terms you need to know. Skim the first sentence of chapters and then paragraphs. If you end up reading an entire paragraph then you have found what you were looking for.
  • After you have learned something, try to recall it someplace that it would be out of context, like waiting in line at a grocery store. By remembering something in a different context you strengthen your memory and you will more easily be able to recall it in the future.
I also really enjoyed the session from Jen Homann about the science behind why we procrastinate and what you can do about it. This speech had a ton of great quotes, as well as a bunch of useful knowledge behind those quotes. Some of my favorites were:
  • "What you want for future you is not what future you will want". So if you need something done, do it now or it may never get done.
  • "Future you cannot be trusted"
As with everything I learn, breaking things into smaller pieces will help you accomplish your goals. If you have something too large to think you can accomplish you will put it off until you really can't accomplish it, sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you don't know how to start something, start with finding a small piece that you can complete.

Always keep the big picture in mind. Whatever you want to accomplish does not have to be perfect for it to still be a success. Even a failure can be more progress than not starting at all.

Forgiveness is not for someone else, it is for you to get well and move on. If you fail at something, you need to be able to forgive yourself and forgive anyone else or anything that lead to that failure. Then you can grow and move on the next adventure. Practice self forgiveness, acknowledging what went wrong and accept responsibility for it. Be honest enough with yourself to change your behavior.

I feel like I will take a lot away from this conference and use the knowledge that I gained to make myself better. Nebraska Code Camp is a great place to meet new people and new ideas. Can't wait for next year.


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