[Video 260] Garrett Smith: Why The Cool Kids Don’t Use Erlang

Erlang is not a new programming language; it’s scalable, highly concurrent,  reliable, and executes quickly. Given all of these factors, everyone should be using it, right?  So why aren’t they?  In this talk, Garrett Smith asks why more new applications aren’t being written in Erlang, and explores the issues that Erlang faces when trying to break into the larger world of software development.

[Video 259] Rushaine McBean: All about that ES6

Everyone in the JavaScript world is talking about ES6, the next version of JavaScript (or “ECMAScript,” if you want to be official) that will include a large number of new features. What features are most interesting and compelling? And how can we use them? In this talk, Rushaine McBean provides us with an overview of what we can expect in ES6, and how our programming will change and improve as a result. If you’re looking for a quick, high-level overview of what is changing, and how JavaScript programs will soon be more powerful, with features that have been missing in the language since day 1.

[Video 258] Alex Crichton: The Rust Programming Language

Rust is a programming language from Mozilla Labs  that has been getting a growing degree of attention. As Rust developer Alex Crichton describes in this talk, Rust aims to provide a systems language, similar to C or C++ in the degree of control that it gives programmers — while providing the reliability and safety of high-level languages such as Python, Ruby, and JavaScript.   How does it aim to do this, and why are so many programmers interested in Rust? This talk describes the design goals of Rust, and the ways in which it tries to bridge the gap between control and safety, two goals that other languages would have us believe are mutually exclusive.

[Video 257] Alex Gaynor: Fast Python, Slow Python

People often complain that dynamic languages such as Python execute slowly. Of course, Python (and similar languages) are generally unable to reach the execution speeds that we see and know in other languages. Why is this?  What makes Python slow, and what can make it fast — or at least, faster? In this talk, Alex Gaynor provides descriptions and comparisons of Python code with other languages, and talks about strategies that we can and should consider in order to speed up our Python programs.

[Video 256] Harry H. Porter III: ASCII and Unicode

If English is your native language, then ASCII makes perfect sense. Everything you would ever want to write fits within those 127 characters, and then some. But the moment other languages come onto the scene, you need more characters than ASCII alone can provide. Unicode is standard that tries to provide a unique number, or “code point,” for every character, in every language ever created.  How does Unicode work? What are the different encodings, and what are the trade-offs that they offer? In this talk, Harry H. Porter III introduces the ideas behind ASCII and Unicode, and how they work.

[Video 255] Stephanie Hippo: Building Up Women in Computer Science

The computer industry is dominated by men. The question of how we can encourage more women to become software developers has been asked for many years — and in many cases, the blame has been placed at the feet of university CS programs, which don’t attract as many women as men.  In this talk, Stephanie Hippo describes work done at Case Western Reserve University, aimed at building up the community of female CS students. Her story is instructive for anyone

[Video 254] Raymond Hettinger: Keynote — What makes Python awesome?

Python is popular, and is rapidly growing in popularity — not what you might expect from a 25-year-old language.  What is it that makes Python so special? Why are so many people, in so many places adopting Python? In this  talk, Raymond Hettinger describes the features of the Python language, ecosystem, and community that combine to make it such a compelling choice for universities, companies, and individuals.

[Video 253] Ashley Gavin: Why does CS education suck so much, and what if it didn’t?

There are plenty of people in the computer industry who didn’t major in computer science. But a very large number of them did, and thus CS education — at the high-school and university levels — has an important role to play in the computer industry. As things currently stand, those classes (and thus careers) don’t appeal to nearly as many people as they could. In particular, women and minorities are severely underrepresented. In this talk, Ashley Gavin describes the problem, and then the ways in which she has taught CS classes with a project-based curriculum, with a greater degree of success than traditional curricula.

[Video 252] Paul Ramsey: PostGIS Feature Frenzy

PostgreSQL is a highly extensible database; it allows you to create new types, as well as functions to work with those types. PostGIS is an add-on for PostgreSQL that turns it into a spatial database — one that can keep track of where things are located, and perform queries based on locations. In this talk, Paul Ramsey describes the main features of PostGIS, and when (and how) you would want to take advantage of them.