If you’ve got something to say, then say it already…
Writing software over the years has meant that I’ve had to learn a number of languages. In college I had a class where we had to write a program in Pascal, C, Fortran, Lisp, Prolog, ADA and Smalltalk. Take a simple idea and implement it using each of the different languages to see what you need to know. I think I still have the books. Since then I’ve worked in other tools, including quite a bit of C++ which led me naturally to C#. But I’ve been finding that VB.Net isn’t bad either, and in fact has a very forgiving environment that is actually a bit easier to do demos in front of crowds.
I usually ask the audiences I talk to around the country what their language preferences are. Its interesting how strong the responses are sometimes. My focus is on .net and so there are really 2 languages we speak – vb and c# – for most of our demos. So I try to show both, not only because they’re very similar, but because in reality you find yourself in situations where you need to cross over occasionally and it’s good practice.
Yesterday though, I got myself into a situation where one of the audience members spoke a language I didn’t know much about, which is why it was good he brought his own interpreters (2 of them). I’d worked some with people who are deaf, my Grandmother’s sister was not only deaf but also blind so the only way we could talk with her was by writing in her hand. As I grew older I learned the sign language alphabet and still to this day I know how to spell with it. In high school it came in handy when I worked in a store and a deaf couple came in to buy some stuff. I was able to have a conversation with them and it made me feel pretty good about it.
Rapid City isn’t the first time I’ve worked with signing interpreters for my session. We talked before about what I was going to cover. The concepts we’re talking about are fairly new, and for some of the ideas no signs exist so she and her partner were trying to get a grip on them so when we were live that it would go better. Everything as usual, until I asked for questions. That was when the interpreter reversed direction and started interpreting questions to me from her client. I was really impressed that not only did he “get it” about workflow, but he asked really great questions that helped the entire audience understand better too.
I appreciate a good question. I really appreciate when I get to learn something too. This was a really cool experience to have the chance to be in that event and to meet with people you might not otherwise get to. I guess that’s just another reason I love this job…well that and the free popcorn.