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Beth Tucker Long:
How to Submit a Talk to a Conference
January 03, 2014 @ 09:03:25

If you've ever thought about submitting a topic to speak at a technology conference, but never quite knew how to take those first steps, check out this advice from Beth Tucker Long. It's a list of steps and reminders to follow when thinking about your topics and submitting.

I've been on both sides of the proverbial conference table. I have been the one submitting proposals, hoping against hope that they will pick mine, and I have been on the selection committee, struggling to choose between hundreds of awesome proposals when you only have a few talk slots available. Through these varied experiences, I've learned a few things about what works and what doesn't when submitting a conference proposal.

Her list includes things like:

  • First and foremost, remember to hit spell-check
  • Have someone else read your submission
  • Identify a clear problem that the topic of your talk will help solve
  • Be honest about your topic
  • Share past feedback in the comments or notes section
  • Submit a lot of proposals
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Link: http://www.alittleofboth.com/2014/01/how-to-submit-a-talk-to-a-conference

Justin Carmony:
Why You Should Attend a Tech Conference
October 15, 2013 @ 10:43:53

Justin Carmony has a new post today with some reasons you should attend tech conferences including both the social and technical aspects.

Ever since 2006 I had always wanted to go to a technology conference. I'd see titles of talks for ZendCon and think "Wow, that would be cool to learn about!" In 2009, I finally went to the Utah Open Source Conference (now called OpenWest), and I was blown away with all the stuff to learn. Then, in 2011, I shelled out my own money and flew to Chicago for PHP Tek, and it cost me around $3,000 after conference ticket, flights, hotel, & other expenses while at Chicago. It was absolutely awesome, and I walked away extremely grateful that I went.

He gives four main reasons to attend:

  • Learning From the Talks
  • Discovery of New Technologies
  • Rubbing Shoulders with Giants
  • Making Connections with Others

He points out that, with so many more regional conferences popping up, attending these events is even more accessible.

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Link: http://www.justincarmony.com/blog/2013/10/15/why-you-should-attend-a-tech-conference/

Engine Yard:
Improving Your Local Tech Group
October 04, 2013 @ 11:28:47

On the Engine Yard blog today PJ Hagerty has a new post sharing some of his suggestions to help improve your local tech-related group and promote growth.

There are hundreds of User Groups across North America and around the world. These groups are primarily socially based or hacker groups who gather regularly to work on group or individual "toy" projects. Most groups will remain small and insular. It's easy to stick with what is familiar and keep recycling the same format every month. Unfortunately, this leads to stagnation and apathy by group members. People will eventually stop showing up and the group will either suffer along or just cease to exist.

He suggests things that are easier when there's more than one person involved in making it a success - things like "diversify responsibilities" and having a "coordinator for outside the group activities", but they're helpful tips. He also points out a few other things to remember - that communication with the group is key, "thinking globally" to get your group involved outside the local scope and getting sponsors involved.

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Link: https://blog.engineyard.com/2013/improving-your-local-tech-group

NetTuts.com:
10 Tips for Learning a New Technology
May 10, 2013 @ 10:54:10

On NetTuts.com today they've posted a list of tips they think will help you learn a new technology faster. They've broken it up into ten different steps, some which could be done at any time but some have a bit more of an order.

We live in a very exciting time. Never before has education been so cheaply available to the masses (if not free). The medium, itself, has made tectonic shifts from a classroom setting, to blogs, screencasts and complete university classes, as a set of videos and interactive forums. Given these resources, there's absolutely no excuse not to dive in and learn. However, with such a wealth of resources, filtering through the options can often become overwhelming. In this article, I will outline a simple process to kick-start your education.

Among the items in their list there's things like:

  • "Let the Information Flow Begin"
  • "Listen and Watch"
  • "Blogging"
  • "Feel the Pulse"
  • "Meetups and Conferences"

Each tip comes with a bit of description and some links to other resources and tools that can help you along your way.

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Link: http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/general/10-tips-for-learning-a-new-technology

Adam Culp:
How to grow a tech community
December 26, 2012 @ 12:36:01

Adam Culp has written up a great post with some good suggestions about how you can more effectively foster a better technology community in your area or company.

As most know, I am the organizer of the South Florida PHP Users Group and I am passionate about helping the PHP community grow in south Florida. Over my years as a developer I have noticed the decline of technology in this market, and specifically the PHP community. It was this that led me to organize a group dedicated to turning this trend around, and and grow the PHP community rather than continue to watch it decline.

He shares suggestions on a few different topics, spurred by a conversation at a recent meeting he attended:

  • Having a litte-to-no distraction workplace
  • Being open to telecommute/remote workers
  • Avoiding the "sweat shop" mentality
  • Advocating bringing in a fresh perspective (hiring an entry-level dev)
  • Supporting company-provided training opportunities
  • Respect them as professionals
  • Not worrying as much about salary and more about the quality of the developerA
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Neal Anders:
Insight into getting conference proposals accepted..
November 16, 2012 @ 10:15:29

If you've considered submitting to a technology conference as a speaker but didn't really know where to start, you might check out this advice from Neal Anders based on his experiences in the PHP community.

Recently in a conversation on Twitter the topic of what a successful conference proposal - one that gets accepted - looks like, came up. I thought I would expand upon the conversation and the "3 key takeaways" advice I gave, by providing the raw submissions I entered, in this case, to PHP Tek 12, as well as some lessons learned and additional commentary.

He shares his thoughts on what kinds of things it takes to get accepted (note: one is "luck"), what some of his example proposals look like, how to deal with some of the pre-conference jitters and a few final tips on getting that "accepted" email.

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PHP Women:
A letter to all members of the PHP community (The Ada Initiative)
October 29, 2012 @ 09:51:07

As Lineke Kerckhoffs-Willems has posted to the PHP Women site today, the Ada Initiative, an organization that supports women in technology, is looking for donations to help improve the work they can do for women all around the world.

Over a year ago I first heard about the Ada Initiative, an organisation to support women in open technology and culture. This is exactly why PHPWomen was founded, only we narrow it down to women within the PHP community, because that is our level of expertise. However, we are an organisation based on volunteers and therefore, we often struggle with finding the time to do more. Luckily, The Ada Initiative isn't based on volunteers, but on people working full time to reach their goal, our goal. We share their vision: "a world in which women are equal and welcome participants in open source software, open data, and open culture" and therefore we support the organisation.

As they are a non-profit, they can use all of the financial support they get to help further their cause. There's one catch to donating - the campaign ends tomorrow, October 31st. If you want to contribute to the cause (they've already collected over $73,000) you can do it here.

We know you care about women in the PHP community, and technology as a whole, as much as we do. Donating to the Ada Initiative is an easy way to help and our community is based around helping others. Will you donate too?
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Web & PHP Magazine:
Issue #6 Published - "Breaking New Ground"
September 03, 2012 @ 11:58:06

The latest issue of Web & PHP Magazine has been published - Issue 6, "Breaking New Ground". In this latest edition, articles include:

  • "Social Authentication with Zend Framework 2" by Nicholas Calugar
  • "A modern approach to object creation in JavaScript" by Marco Emrich
  • Sebastian Bergmann discussing reliability in software engineering
  • Scriptable sockets with ZeroMQ by Louren Naude

You can download this latest issue for free from the Web & PHP site and pick up the other previous issues while you're there!

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Phil Sturgeon:
Understanding Circumstance
August 22, 2012 @ 10:15:08

Phil Sturgeon has a new post to his site today comparing a few different types of developers and discussing language/tool zealots among them (and a plea for tolerance and understanding).

What is it you do as a developer? As I see it in web dev there are a few different types: Hobbiest, Client Web Dev, Distributed Application Devs, Web App Developer (SaaS) and Corporate Dev. What do they all have in common? They're all using some sort of language to make some sort of system for somebody somewhere. That is about the last connecting factor that most of us developers actually share. [...] The crazy thing here is that most developers who are in a situation where they can use whatever system they like, often end up picking a specific tool and using it to death. This is ridiculous, as every developer should use the best tool for the job.

He talks a bit about each of the different categories of developers and where he sees their place in the world of development. He points out some of the restrictions of each type of position (required technologies, dependencies, etc) and comes to his point about their choices:

The point I am trying to make in all of this, is that while you might have really strong opinions about what language, framework, version of the framework or version of the language you use, EVERYONE has a totally different situation to you.
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Lorna Mitchell:
Skills Allied to PHP
August 17, 2012 @ 08:35:59

In this new post to her site, Lorna Mitchell shares some other skills/technologies that are "allied to PHP" and can make you a more effective (and better) developer for knowing them.

In web development, our biggest challenges are not writing code, we can do that. But getting the code safely from one place to another, with many people's work preserved, having our platform(s) correctly configured and understanding how to use them, making use of the tools in the ecosystem which will help us improve the quality of our code; these are the big challenges we face, and that's why I proposed this workshop and why I think all these topics are important.

Among the things she'll be talking about are useful things to know like effective use of version control, using a static analysis tool to evaluate your code and performance profiling. If you'd like to attend the talk and hear it all first-hand, you can find out more about PHPNW 2012 from their site.

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