SecondConf 2012 Notes

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For those who might not be familiar, SecondConf is a Chicago-based weekend conference that describes itself as:

An annual gathering of technologists passionate about creating great things.

Well-crafted products, delightful experiences, enduring companies, research, journalism, education. Great things take many forms. We explore them all.

While certainly not Apple exclusive, I think it’s a mistake to omit that the majority of the attendees have an Apple development background. SecondConf itself has inspirations from previous local Apple-oriented conferences: C4 and, previous to that, MacHack. I myself was a sporadic attendee of both C4 and MacHack and this was my second SecondConf of the three they’ve had.

While “going indie” could accurately describe the overall feeling of previous years, this year’s SecondConf felt more centered around creativity. Additionally, many sessions broke from the traditional programming and business topics to cover hardware development and electronic music.

A full session list can be found on the SecondConf website and, while I enjoyed a lot of the talks, I must limit my coverage to a few favorites.


Erin Kennedy (@RobotGrrl)

I’m not much of a hardware guy, but Erin Kennedy’s talk was really fun and inspirational. Erin is probably the most humble person I’ve met, and the stuff she is doing with her RoboBirds is really impressive. I hear she’s working on construction kits and may even have a Kickstarter project soon. Follow her on Twitter or sign up for her mailing list to learn more.

Blitz Talks

A blitz or lightning talk format is 5 minutes, 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide, with software that automates the presentation.

Creating Custom Bounce Animations with Math!

Soroush Khanlou (@khanlou)

Securing Your Customers’ Privacy

Aijaz Ansari (@\_aijaz\_)

I can honestly say from my own experiences that doing blitz talks are almost harder than full 45 minute sessions. The above two sessions by Soroush and Aijaz were really well done. In fact, they hit a great sweet spot by taking their limited time to explain a problem, outline the current solution, and then provide alternative solutions with real code that people can use today.


I didn’t take too many pictures, but these fine people have shared a few.


Like previous years, many of the sessions (minus the Panel and Dr. Wave’s talk) were recorded and should be available online in the near future.