Tuesday, May 17, 2011

GOing to Software Craftsmanship McHenry County

I was a little overwhelmed with how slowly I'm absorbing information, especially while dealing with household issues (like gas fumes from garage and flooding in basement) on top of trying to do something worthwhile (ANYthing) at work. It's just the way life comes at you sometimes.

My escape for the night was running out to a meeting of Software Craftsmenship McHenry County (SCMC). This was my second meeting ever.  I mis-timed the trip and ended up a few minutes behind the start of Steven Degutis' slide show. Pizza and pop were in good supply though, so I settled in and enjoyed a presentation on the language Go.

Go is a strange little language, but a lot of fun. We had a quick presentation, thankfully mostly consisting of code examples, and then were given time to dive in.  Even though I'd been kind of blue and a little angry all day, I was soon laughing and having a great time while we tried to find ways to clutter a perfectly simple little problem's solution with threads and channels and anonymous functions. It was almost a reverse kata, where the goal was to be as overly sophisticated and absurd as possible.

In the course of making and fixing mistakes, we learned a little, shared a little, and bonded over the absurd joy of it.  I left in a much better mood than I came, and in that joyful mood I'm writing this blog entry.

I'm reminded again that when I stagnate, it's because I allow myself to feel the enormity of the world of things I don't know and to feel alone in the face of it.  I find again that the answer is to join into a little community; pairing or comparing, learning or teaching, playing or working. Sometimes there is a lot of release in having a silly little problem and some crazy peers to share it with.

If you are in the far NW burbs and like to program or like to learn about programming, give SCMC a chance. It's a group of people of varying ages and experiences where you can feel unashamed and enjoy programming education as a harmless pastime. Heck, you might even learn something useful.