Technology Solutions for Everyday Folks

It's Presentation Season!

As I mentioned a month ago, I've taken the opportunity to commit to more speaking/presentation engagements than ever before, in an attempt to better inspire folks and do more technical evangelism. It just happens to be that I have three things lined up in as many months!

The First Run

The "Ask Me Anything" session I facilitated in January was filled with great questions, responses, and insights. It's always inspiring to be able to share with folks on a local level, providing an outlet for the questions which might not normally crop up in everyday life or situations. As it lacked formality by being an open-ended conversation, it was most important to be on one's toes to steer or answer questions appropriately.

Time For Seconds!

The first real formal presentation, and arguably the biggest one on the schedule, happened last Thursday at the LibTech conference.

It was a blast!

Three of us spent an hour and a half, sometimes deep in the bowels of a technology, with over 40 well-engaged attendees. I am most appreciative for our audience's attention, because a 90-minute session at the tail-end of a two-day conference is not always an easy ask for folks. It's a long time to stay engaged on an empty battery.

Our time was spent talking about six different topic areas, four of which had various live demos:

  • Inspiration to grow, try new things, and expand horizons (all);
  • Doing cool things with Google Scripts and leveraging APIs to process data (with demo, presented by Jackson);
  • Automating a paper workflow with a "document merge" script developed by a non-technical user: Google Forms → Custom document and emailed PDF (with demo, presented by myself);
  • Using data validation and conditional formatting rules to streamline and improve workflow processes (with demo, presented by Angie);
  • Sharing an automation journey, or how building little bits over time accommodates larger automation projects by reusing common bits (with several demos, presented by myself); and
  • How working together, across units and different expertise/skillsets, makes everyone's life a little better (all).

We had a great conversation with awesome and thought-invoking questions nicely spread throughout the time. I was particularly impressed with the engagement of folks when I demoed the code and process that Beth had developed to eliminate an unnecessary paper process. The idea blew folks' minds, was a little bit of wizardry, and it made me feel like quite the rockstar to be able to proudly share her work with folks who will absolutely do great things with it. It was unfortunate that I hadn't had enough time to port it over to Github before the conference.

The follow-up chats and feedback we've received has been overwhelmingly positive; I am super happy to be a part of something inspiring for others!

Three Times Is Crazy?

In a loose attempt to riff a subtitle off of the Commodores, the third scheduled event I have for this spring is coming up on April 1, exactly one week after this post is published.

The theme is Preserving your digital legacy: Tips to craft an 'estate plan' for your digital life. The primary focus is digital asset preservation and survivor access to accounts, media, and so forth. Much emphasis will be placed on the use of password managers (which can be safely used for much more than just passwords), maintaining accurate and current documentation regarding key accounts, and how to provide survivor access if/when necessary without providing access before it becomes necessary.

The real driving factor behind pulling this together was a series of individual follow-up conversations I had with several colleagues after I'd shared my story in a different setting. Folks are curious about the topic, so it seems natural to help others prepare for the inevitable.

I'll be sharing my own preparation process and considerations, providing resources for folks' consideration, discussing various pros and cons to using different resources, when certain resources may be more practical than others, and so forth. Folks on our campus who participate in the wellness program can also earn credit toward their goal by attending.

With that said, it's time to get started stubbing out the slide deck!