For several years now, various CCRi employees have attended Charlottesville’s pop-up tech conference becamp, and this year we took the additional step of becoming a sponsor. The conference is free for all to attend and provides T-shirts, pizza, beer and other drinks so that people from large and small Charlottesville companies can get together and talk about technology and working at modern technology companies.
Each year, in the becamp Friday evening session, anyone who wants can line up and pitch a talk to the assembled attendees that he or she would like to give the next day. Large index cards for each pitch then go up on the big window at host venue Open Source Connections, and when the pitches are done everyone votes with a checkmark on the cards for the talks they’d like to see. The organizers then assign the pitches with the most votes to slots on Saturday’s schedule. You’ll see topics marked as P for “Presentation” and others marked as S for “Share,” in which case the person making the pitch wants to lead a round table discussion instead of talking through slides.
This year, four of the CCRi employees who attended pitched ideas that ended up on the schedule:
- Data Scientist Tim Emerick, pictured above, spoke on “Grand Theft Auto for Machine Learning,” which you can read about in our blog entry Training a video annotation system with Grand Theft Auto.
- Ellis Johns MD, who is also a part-time CCRi senior software engineer, spoke about “Open source home automation.” This sounded interesting enough to his co-workers that we’ve convinced him to give the same presentation at CCRi.
- I spoke and led a discussion on “Writing effective tech blog entries at work”—how to find effective ideas and manage the time necessary to follow through on them.
- Software Engineer Mary Beebe led a discussion on “Work/Life Balance with Kids and Avoiding Burnout.” She was at becamp to represent Charlottesville Women in Tech as well as CCRi, which is of the CWIT sponsors. Friday evening Mary and her fellow members were easy to find by their matching purple shirts, as shown in this tweet from CWIT’s Kim Wilkens:
This was becamp’s eleventh year, and it’s fun to browse through the topics in the schedules of past years. Most relate to working in a tech company, but some topics such as 2014’s “Breakdance in 45 minutes” and “Pizza dough making” add variety that makes the event even more fun. (Someone’s always got some strange new robot or drone there, as well, which helps.) We at CCRi are looking forward to future Charlottesville becamps.
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