Day 12: Carousels and (Alt)Conferences

I’m sitting near the Leroy King Carousel in San Francisco, typing this blog post in the sun while drinking coconut water.

It beats working under fluorescent lights in my cube.

I spent the past three days going back and forth between the Children’s Creativity Theater and Jillian’s restaurant, which are hosting AltConf near Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. WWDC has grown so popular that Apple moved to a lottery system this year, so many shut-out developers have chosen to spend the week meeting new friends and learning new things at AltConf instead, which is free.

I love the conference. I’m not such a party person, so I’m more comfortable meeting people during the day, one on one over tea, coffee or sunshine, rather than drinking and forgetting names over the roar of a band.

The great thing is that AltConf and WWDC provide both types of venues for meeting people and having fun.

The coolest part of AltConf for me, besides meeting new friends, has been the AltLabs at Jillian’s. So far at the AltLabs, I’ve:

  • Gotten advice on a problem with how UICollectionView scrolls horizontally in my flashcard app (solved Monday night by working with my awesome Thinkful mentor, hurrah!).
  • Added accessibility features to my flashcard app. This took about 15 minutes, compared with the hours it would have taken me to investigate these features on my own.
  • Downloaded the Philips Hue SDK (software development kit) and understood how it works in 40 minutes, compared with the days or never it would have taken me to explore this on my own. Began customizing a basic app and learned where to find help in the guidelines for developers.

I’m also enjoying San Francisco itself, a city I love visiting. I’m staying in a quiet neighborhood away from the conference, which is less convenient but also a lot cheaper. It’s been relatively easy to get downtown in the morning, even with the MUNI workers’ pseudo-strike-sickout Monday and Tuesday. Less easy to get back home, but I expect the situation will improve with more buses on the road now.

It’s still cold here when the wind blows, consistent with my experience of San Francisco in summer. At least the haze has cleared and the temperature is higher now. A few dozen miles away, in Cupertino, it’s 83 today. Here? 64.

Jacket. Sweater. T-shirt.

Coconut water. Sunshine.

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