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James Williams
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14,358 followers
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Went as Little Mac for Halloween. People were totally perplexed when I said I didn't have the time to get a pink running suit.

Sigh. Young millenials. (I'm an old millenial/young GenX so it's not ageist.)
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A sad close to my 4th BBQ.

I'm both happy and sad to not have known this was the last one before hand. Sad because I might have cut an hour or two from prepping my talk on Thursday to go to what would be the last pre-conference drinks at Bronco's.

But I'm a little bit glad I didn't know because my talk was more solid and I can't think of a better way to send off a conf you love than to have quality content. Not learning until the last minute also meant people were just in the moment and there wasn't a cloud over the whole weekend (literally and figuratively, yay, for a year without rain.)

Other conferences please take note. Do better at integrating content for all levels of people and I don't mean adding one or two beginners talks and calling it a day. Make the environment open and encouraging for the young programmers of the future.

Build a community.
Several people asked me to share the resignation speech I gave at the end of the #babbq16 so here it is.


7 years ago when I started the Big Android BBQ it was with a clear vision.  I believed there needed to be an easily accessible low barrier of entry tech event for everyone unable or unwilling to travel to San Francisco or New York and pay the high prices of the events at the time.  I saw a need for a new type of tech event for anyone and everyone.  Over 7 years we’ve seen this vision embraced by every major tech company out there.  Now they all have events around the country that are easier to attend and much more affordable.  At the end of the day my original mission has been accomplished and I believe it was the hard work of my all volunteer teams that influenced an entire industry in this way.  Now 7 years later our mission has evolved to focus more heavily on lowering the barrier of entry into software development and improve diversity in this industry.  We took on this mission 3 years ago and have several amazing and heartwarming success stories.  We once again lead the way for major companies with millions or billions in resources and massive teams of paid employees.  There are now hundreds of events around the country that follow the blueprint we laid out with the Big Android BBQ and our Code Kitchens.


This amazing organization of dedicated, humble people that have volunteered thousands of hours is at a crossroads.  With sponsorships now spread across so many events finding support has become increasingly difficult and time consuming.  With more events in more places, fewer people are traveling to attend events like the Big Android BBQ.  Fewer attendees and sponsors means we’ve had to increase prices.  This tiny nonprofit never stood a chance once there was competition for sponsors and attendees, especially when former sponsors are the ones producing these new events.  This organization saw problems and we set out to fix them. We successfully changed the way the tech industry handles events, we changed a few young people's lives for the better, and we spurred great conversations about diversity and opportunity in tech for everyone.  Endings are always a little sad but we should be proud of what we have accomplished and the impact we had.  Unfortunately we simply do not have the resources to continue. The 2016 Big Android BBQ will be the final event hosted by IDEAA.  I will resign following the Big Android BBQ but have recommended to the board of directors to find a new direction, likely as a community resource or a partner of other events that helps bring in a diverse crowd looking for opportunity.  This may be the end of the Big Android BBQ and possibly IDEAA but the impact we’ve had will last for a long, long, time.


Before we head out for our final celebration, I want to recognize all of you. Some of you have been here since the very beginning but even those attending for the first time, represent the very best in Tech and in my opinion humanity.  The passion, respect and camaraderie you show for each other is an example of what Tech can and should be.  Thank you for your support it’s been an amazing run but sometimes great things must come to an end.


I hope you’ve all had as amazing a time as I have on this journey and made some life long friends. We’re doing things a bit different for the party this year.  It’s on the top floor of the parking garage, so please be patient heading up there since we only have 1 elevator and I know I’m not walking up 7 flights of stairs.


Thank you again for attending, I’ll see you all upstairs.
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Create an Android app that runs on a +Udacity's Self-Driving Car

You may have heard that Udacity is building a self driving car. One thing that you may not know is that we are partnering with our community to create it through a set of challenges with awesome prizes. The current challenge is all about an inituitive and user-friendly dashboard for our Udacity self-driving car ... using Android. An Android tablet mounted in the car will run your Android app to control and monitor core functions.

Challenge Overview:

Our car runs an open source package called Autoware. We want to build an Android-powered dashboard that will connect to Autoware to power and visualize the car.
We don’t want just any dashboard. We want something that lives up to the expectation of stepping into a self-driving car.

Prizes:
First Place: One-time sum of $10,000
Second Place: Up to five Google Pixel phones (one per team member)
Third Place: A 60 minute 1:1 session with our Udacity Android team to talk apps

Essential Rules:
One team per participant, one submission per team, no maximum team size.
Teams must be formed by October 13th.
The designated lead must check in with our Udacity Slack lead @mac weekly to be eligible.


How do I get started?
Join the Slack team[1] and join the #challenge-four channel on Slack.
Submit your results to self-driving-car@udacity.com with code (preferably in a Git repo) and team information.

Check out the original Medium post here[2] with more detailed rules and specifications.

You need to form teams by October 13th, 2016, that's in TWO DAYS.

[1]: Slack team http://nd013.udacity.com/
[2]: https://medium.com/udacity/challenge-4-self-driving-car-android-dashboard-83a2a5c8b29e#.kidutbpb2



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Who's excited to hear +James Williams talk about #Kotlin  at the #BABBQ16  ?!?! We certainly are!

Get your tickets @ http://www.bigandroidbbq.com !

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Four Cool Things About Java

There are many more but these are my go-to things to mention to newcomers to tech.


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How I used +Apache Groovy to grade student Java code in a +Udacity course

TL;DR Metaprogramming rocks.

This is a followup to my post from a couple weeks back and goes a bit more into the technical details. Was a fun journey and got to understand ClassLoaders a bit more and use the awesome metaprogramming capabilities in Groovy.

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Hidden Figures

I haven't been this excited for a movie and a book in a long time. My Kindle pre-order copy is coming tomorrow. I'm trying to get my backlog of work done today so that I can dig in starting at 12:01A tonight.


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We like to think that algorithms are somehow more fair than humans because they remove humans from the flow.

While it's true that a properly trained algorithm can be more consistent than a human, it can less fair because algorithms don't have empathy and will execute on whatever training data flawlessly, even if the data itself is deeply flawed.


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When we were designing a new introductory Java course at +Udacity , we asked a big "what if" and created an environment where you don't need to know all the components of a Java class to start coding.

At one point or another, classes are unavoidable. But they don't have to be the FIRST thing you learn.

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Did a bit of filming at the Noogler statue, no big deal.
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8/23/16
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