London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

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London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

Nicholas H.Tollervey
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Hi,

Last week the London Python Code Dojo cat-herders were discussing the
possibility of making the lightning talks a permanent feature with the
following considerations:

* Talks *strictly* limited to 5mins with an additional 2mins for
questions.
* No more than 3 lightning talks per dojo.
* At least one of the talks to be titled "Module of the Month" where
someone gives us the skinny on a core module or well known / useful
external module.
* Lightning talks to be recorded and posted on a ldbpydojo YouTube
channel and aggregated via http://pyvideo.org/.

We'd want to post the videos under a CC like license (c) whoever the
speaker is. Within only a few months we'd have quite a number of
short, useful videos on Python given by a diverse number of dojo members.

We'd like to know if this idea is a go-er..?

N.
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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

James Broadhead
On 19 March 2012 12:43, Nicholas H.Tollervey <[hidden email]> wrote:

> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> Hi,
>
> Last week the London Python Code Dojo cat-herders were discussing the
> possibility of making the lightning talks a permanent feature with the
> following considerations:
>
> * Talks *strictly* limited to 5mins with an additional 2mins for
> questions.
> * No more than 3 lightning talks per dojo.
> * At least one of the talks to be titled "Module of the Month" where
> someone gives us the skinny on a core module or well known / useful
> external module.
> * Lightning talks to be recorded and posted on a ldbpydojo YouTube
> channel and aggregated via http://pyvideo.org/.
>
> We'd want to post the videos under a CC like license (c) whoever the
> speaker is. Within only a few months we'd have quite a number of
> short, useful videos on Python given by a diverse number of dojo members.
>
> We'd like to know if this idea is a go-er..?
>
> N.

Definitely a good idea - provided that there's an obvious timer
available to the presenter.
Perhaps a "no interactive demos" rule would be good, as these always
take more time than you'd imagine.

For weeks with fewer than 3 talks, it might be nice to show videos
from other events in that time slot(or from other Dojos etc.).
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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

Tim Golden-4
On 19/03/2012 13:17, James Broadhead wrote:
> Definitely a good idea - provided that there's an obvious timer
> available to the presenter.

In the past, someone with a smartphone and a silly noise has
played this role. Presumably someone could do this. (My phone
won't unless I count to 300 slowly and then ring myself).

TJG
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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

Rami Chowdhury
In reply to this post by James Broadhead

On Mar 19, 2012, at 1:17 PM, James Broadhead wrote:

> On 19 March 2012 12:43, Nicholas H.Tollervey <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Last week the London Python Code Dojo cat-herders were discussing the
>> possibility of making the lightning talks a permanent feature with the
>> following considerations:
>>
>> * Talks *strictly* limited to 5mins with an additional 2mins for
>> questions.
>> * No more than 3 lightning talks per dojo.
>> * At least one of the talks to be titled "Module of the Month" where
>> someone gives us the skinny on a core module or well known / useful
>> external module.
>> * Lightning talks to be recorded and posted on a ldbpydojo YouTube
>> channel and aggregated via http://pyvideo.org/.
>>
>> We'd want to post the videos under a CC like license (c) whoever the
>> speaker is. Within only a few months we'd have quite a number of
>> short, useful videos on Python given by a diverse number of dojo members.
>>
>> We'd like to know if this idea is a go-er..?
>
> Definitely a good idea - provided that there's an obvious timer
> available to the presenter.

+1

> Perhaps a "no interactive demos" rule would be good, as these always
> take more time than you'd imagine.
>
> For weeks with fewer than 3 talks, it might be nice to show videos
> from other events in that time slot(or from other Dojos etc.).
> _______________________________________________
> python-uk mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-uk

----
Rami Chowdhury
"A mind all logic is like a knife all blade - it makes the hand bleed that uses it." -- Rabindranath Tagore
+44-7581-430-517

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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

Nicholas H.Tollervey
In reply to this post by James Broadhead
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On 19/03/12 13:17, James Broadhead wrote:

> Definitely a good idea - provided that there's an obvious timer
> available to the presenter.

Absolutely, with appropriate warning placards for the cat-herder to
wave at the appropriate moments in time. If people know they only have
5mins then they can rehearse.

> Perhaps a "no interactive demos" rule would be good, as these
> always take more time than you'd imagine.
>

Quite. Although the odd technical hitch could be edited out. I suppose
we could say you only have one life for a technical hitch otherwise we
insist you keep to the time.

> For weeks with fewer than 3 talks, it might be nice to show videos
> from other events in that time slot(or from other Dojos etc.).

Good idea... (see the other very interesting thread going on at the
moment).

N.
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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

Floris Bruynooghe-3
In reply to this post by Tim Golden-4
On 19 March 2012 13:20, Tim Golden <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 19/03/2012 13:17, James Broadhead wrote:
>>
>> Definitely a good idea - provided that there's an obvious timer
>> available to the presenter.
>
> In the past, someone with a smartphone and a silly noise has
> played this role. Presumably someone could do this. (My phone
> won't unless I count to 300 slowly and then ring myself).

Simple 3-2-1 minute signs held up by someone on the first row seems to
work fine usually.  It's lovely low-tech and proven to work at
Europython and Pycon UK.

Regards,
Floris

--
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www.debian.org | www.gnu.org | www.kernel.org
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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

David-841
+1 on the idea in general

Another colour for the timer bikeshed:
http://osjam.appspot.com/timer?

--
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David Miller
http://www.deadpansincerity.com
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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

Jonathan Hartley
In reply to this post by James Broadhead
On 19/03/2012 13:17, James Broadhead wrote:

> On 19 March 2012 12:43, Nicholas H.Tollervey<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
>> Hash: SHA1
>>
>> Hi,
>>
>> Last week the London Python Code Dojo cat-herders were discussing the
>> possibility of making the lightning talks a permanent feature with the
>> following considerations:
>>
>> * Talks *strictly* limited to 5mins with an additional 2mins for
>> questions.
>> * No more than 3 lightning talks per dojo.
>> * At least one of the talks to be titled "Module of the Month" where
>> someone gives us the skinny on a core module or well known / useful
>> external module.
>> * Lightning talks to be recorded and posted on a ldbpydojo YouTube
>> channel and aggregated via http://pyvideo.org/.
>>
>> We'd want to post the videos under a CC like license (c) whoever the
>> speaker is. Within only a few months we'd have quite a number of
>> short, useful videos on Python given by a diverse number of dojo members.
>>
>> We'd like to know if this idea is a go-er..?
>>
>> N.
> Definitely a good idea - provided that there's an obvious timer
> available to the presenter.
> Perhaps a "no interactive demos" rule would be good, as these always
> take more time than you'd imagine.
But I *like* interactive / live-coding demos! I'd rather make sure the
speakers know they **will** be cut-off in mid-stride if they overrun
than attempting to govern duration by the fairly indirect proxy of talk
format.
> For weeks with fewer than 3 talks, it might be nice to show videos
> from other events in that time slot(or from other Dojos etc.).
> _______________________________________________
> python-uk mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-uk
>


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Made of meat.       +44 7737 062 225       twitter/skype: tartley


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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

James Broadhead
On 19 March 2012 14:08, Jonathan Hartley <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 19/03/2012 13:17, James Broadhead wrote:
>>
>> Perhaps a "no interactive demos" rule would be good, as these always
>> take more time than you'd imagine.
>
> But I *like* interactive / live-coding demos! I'd rather make sure the
> speakers know they **will** be cut-off in mid-stride if they overrun than
> attempting to govern duration by the fairly indirect proxy of talk format.

So do I, but in my experience they're the easiest way for the
presenter to completely lose track of time. If we were talking about
two 7.5 minute talks, yes. For a 5-minute talk though ...

I quite liked the semi-interactive (pseudo-interactive?) presentation
shell from last time's default argument talk, in that it managed to
replace slides with alternating printed code examples and running code
(without the presenter touching the keyboard). {Was a link to that
shared around?}
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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

David Neil
On 20/03/12 03:16, James Broadhead wrote:

> On 19 March 2012 14:08, Jonathan Hartley<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>> On 19/03/2012 13:17, James Broadhead wrote:
>>>
>>> Perhaps a "no interactive demos" rule would be good, as these always
>>> take more time than you'd imagine.
>>
>> But I *like* interactive / live-coding demos! I'd rather make sure the
>> speakers know they **will** be cut-off in mid-stride if they overrun than
>> attempting to govern duration by the fairly indirect proxy of talk format.
>
> So do I, but in my experience they're the easiest way for the
> presenter to completely lose track of time. If we were talking about
> two 7.5 minute talks, yes. For a 5-minute talk though ...
>
> I quite liked the semi-interactive (pseudo-interactive?) presentation
> shell from last time's default argument talk, in that it managed to
> replace slides with alternating printed code examples and running code
> (without the presenter touching the keyboard). {Was a link to that
> shared around?}

Why place limits?
Is there such a glut of speakers that some can be turned-away?
(ok, there are some people who become over-enthusiastic about their
'latest' or with an inflated idea of their own import - or that of their
arcane subject, but what has been our experience of such within the group?)

Obvious comments:
- every speaker is a volunteer (treat with respect)
- few are skilled at public speaking (help along and offer forgiveness)
- most shrink from the idea of standing in-front (encourage not discourage)


I too enjoy (and probably learn more from) a well-delivered presentation
(eg font size is legible), especially live-demos. However I suggest that
just the length of the necessary set-up and break-down times preclude
most them from the realm of a 'lightning talk'. Thus it seems reasonable
to ask the victim, um, volunteer how long (s)he reasonably needs (and
then add for a number of factors - not least the idea that unless
practised, most have no idea of 'how long'! Then add for our old friend
Murphy and other contingency time!) Accordingly I wouldn't (normally)
consider a "demo" as a "lightning talk" - although I do consider demos
"valuable contributions".

- what is the purpose of a "Lightning Talk"?
- is it easier to find ppl who will talk for five minutes or those who
can manage 45?
- are Lightning talks a valid component of the Dojo format?
(listening = theory cf Dojo = practice? - perhaps!)

As an organiser of meetings I see Lightning Talks as a way of
encouraging someone mindful of the above three "Obvious Comments" -
(s)he only has to cover a few points, and quickly. There is no long
lead-up, no need to be previously internationally-acclaimed, and no
expectation of skilfully-inserted humorous quips or other 'polish'.

However this also means that some can be truly dreadful. OTOH as someone
who has been trained to 'speak' I have attended talks where I have been
cringing (both for myself and for the speaker) and yet some in the
audience have become fired-up by the topic and the event has taken on a
life of its own. Each to his own!

As a speaker, it is a way of showing what I've been doing/learning or
something that I have produced recently. As such that makes me a
'student' or a 'producer'. Neither of these terms is a synonym for
'dynamic speaker' (necessarily). Accordingly, I may not be equipped with
super whiz-bang presentation tools, and may be relying upon a few
scribbled notes and my portable (or indeed, a white-board marker).
However I have something to say that may interest my peers - and all for
the better if it helps me find someone else who is willing to tinker
with my project or to improve my understanding (even a neophyte asking
me to explain how I did 'it' is likely to improve my understanding too).

The fact remains: some topics (and some people) are BORING and keeping
to time/project plans is not something for which techs are famous (add
obligatory Douglas Adams quote about deadlines). On the other hand, some
presentations generate a huge interest/number of questions from the
audience. The task of deciding whether the 'time limit' should be
applied falls to the meeting chair-person. This is where the skill (and
luck?) should lie - not with the speakers! There are some
topics/speakers which are best shut-down early. Some seem to be
well-received but only by a narrow sub-section of those present - and
thus can be stopped 'for time' but with the promise that they will
resume in the pub afterwards... Conversely to stop something that has
'burst into flame', purely on the basis of a fairly arbitrary
round-number time-limit, would be a clear negative (IMHO).

If people leave the meeting talking about 'that great talk' then the
meeting is a ***success*** (as long as those who came to the meeting
expecting the advertised content are also leaving satisfied)! Oh yes,
chairing a meeting is a juggling act too!

Guideline or law?
Zero tolerance or sensible management?
Encourage contribution or become moribund?

--
Regards,
=dn
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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

Peter Inglesby
In reply to this post by James Broadhead

I quite liked the semi-interactive (pseudo-interactive?) presentation
shell from last time's default argument talk, in that it managed to
replace slides with alternating printed code examples and running code
(without the presenter touching the keyboard). {Was a link to that
shared around?}


I've just put this on github: https://github.com/inglesp/prescons -- hopefully somebody will find this useful!  Let me know if you have any suggestions or find any bugs.

(Also, I've not forgotten that I said I'd write up my lightening talk -- it's still on my TODO list.)

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Re: London Dojo Idea: Module of the Month / Lightning Talks

Jonathan Hartley
In reply to this post by David Neil
On 19/03/2012 22:15, David Neil wrote:

> On 20/03/12 03:16, James Broadhead wrote:
>> On 19 March 2012 14:08, Jonathan Hartley<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>>> On 19/03/2012 13:17, James Broadhead wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Perhaps a "no interactive demos" rule would be good, as these always
>>>> take more time than you'd imagine.
>>>
>>> But I *like* interactive / live-coding demos! I'd rather make sure the
>>> speakers know they **will** be cut-off in mid-stride if they overrun
>>> than
>>> attempting to govern duration by the fairly indirect proxy of talk
>>> format.
>>
>> So do I, but in my experience they're the easiest way for the
>> presenter to completely lose track of time. If we were talking about
>> two 7.5 minute talks, yes. For a 5-minute talk though ...
>>
>> I quite liked the semi-interactive (pseudo-interactive?) presentation
>> shell from last time's default argument talk, in that it managed to
>> replace slides with alternating printed code examples and running code
>> (without the presenter touching the keyboard). {Was a link to that
>> shared around?}
>
> Why place limits?

The primary purpose of the meeting is not the lightning talks, although
they are a welcome bonus - but they eat into time for the remainder of
the dojo.

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