May’s Refresh: Local Journalism’s Fight With the Internet

Refresh three months in a row, shocking! This month, Jesse Bushkar of Bright Here will be presenting (hooray for first-time Refresh presenters!). Here’s his description:

This will be a (hopefully offensive) overview of the current relationship between local news and the Internet / social media. As a web developer AND an alum of two local photojournalist jobs (with several years writing for the Savannah Morning News), my experience is squarely at the intersection of local journalism and the web. I’ve spent the last 6 years trying to reconcile the two industries (the web and local news), and I think I’ve finally come up with some answers.

Sounds interesting, right? Well, you should come! Here are the details:

  • When: Tuesday, 5/21 @ 6PM
  • Where: ThincSavannah, 35 Barnard St, 3rd Floor

I hope to see you there!

April’s Refresh: The Age of Social Machines

We’ve got something a little different this month! Mark Stahl, local developer and all-around genius, is going to talk about something not many people tackle – creating a new programming language! I know! Here’s Mark’s description:

The world of programming languages has not changed much in the last thirty years. The ideas that we hold dear today, in many cases, were held just as dear by our industry forefathers. This poses a problem to our world of technology. As our ideas and desires get bigger and bolder, the languages used to express those ideas remains stagnant. We need new languages, with new abstractions, that take advantage of the wonderfully technological world we currently live in and that our children will create.

Discourse is an exercise in creating a language to express these bold, new ideas. Discourse is inspired by the syntax of Smalltalk and Ruby, with the semantics of Carl Hewitt’s Actor Model. At its core, Discourse is an ideology with three tenets: the Earth we live on is the perfect role-model for any system we desire to create, therefore Discourse shall be concurrency all the way down, our world is a place of social connections, therefore the semantics of Discourse shall depend on the Internet as opposed to punishing it to libraries, and the privacy of all Actors within a system is paramount, therefore all communications in Discourse shall be encrypted.

I hope to see all of you there and full of crazy questions for Mark! If you’d like to be adventurous and provide food and/or beverages for this month’s meeting, please let me know!

And the details:

  • When: Tuesday 4/16 @ 6PM
  • Where: ThincSavannah – 35 Barnard St, 3rd Floor
  • What & Who: The Age of Social Machines by Mark Stahl

I’m really looking forward to this one, so I hope you can all come out! Also, we don’t have a speaker for June yet. If you’ve got something you’re passionate about and can’t wait to tell everyone, please let me know!

Update: Thanks to TalentSoup for providing beverages for this month’s meeting!

Mobile Refresh: Building native Android & iOS mobile apps using Javascript – an Introduction to Titanium Mobile SDK

We’re back! This month, Will Dent, co-founder of Dently will walk us through the Appcelerator’s Titanium Mobile SDK complete with a short demonstration on how to build an Android and iOS application using Javascript.

Here’s his description:

Building Native Mobile apps isn’t only for those that know Objective-C and Java. Learn how you can create a native mobile application using Javascript via Appcelerator’s open sourced Titanium Mobile SDK. Titanium provides direct access to native Android and iOS controls and device functionality well beyond any other solutions on the market. The benefit to developers is the ability to create native applications with less code for multiple devices and still maintain an experience users expect from native mobile applications. If you understand Javascript then you should come out and see how this can help you venture into mobile application development.

Refreshments and giveaways provided by Appcelerator (but Will assures me this isn’t a sales pitch, we’re really going to learn something!)


  • When: 3/19/2013 @ 6PM
  • Where: ThincSavannah, 35 Barnard St, 3rd floor

I hope to see you there! Also, if you’d like to speak at Refresh, please email Refresh only works if we have speakers!!

Refresh October: Where Your Food Comes From and Why A Software Guy Wants to Change It

This month, Matt Liotta, the founder and CEO of PodPonics will come tell us where our food comes up from and about the solution he’s come up with. It should be an interesting presentation for anyone curious about technology solutions to locally sourcing food.

Here’s his description:

In this talk, I will provide insight into how the modern agriculture system works and why it needs a revolution. From there, I will share how I have turned my vision for fixing it into realty.

So, come ready to talk about food! Mmmm, food!

Where: ThincSavannah – 35 Barnard St, 3rd Floor
When: 10/16 @ 6PM

I hope to see you there!

Refresh September: A Day in the Life of a Developer

There’s a lot of talk these days about learning to code and becoming a developer. As an ancient developer, I both love this and think it’s kind of funny. The way people talk about developers, we’re a cross between bridge trolls and Jedi, and the hyperbole around the glamorous “executive hoodies” lives we lead.

So, for those of you who are thinking of pursuing development as your career path (or second or third career path), come talk to a bunch of developers about what they do, how they do it and what keeps them going. Bring your questions about what it’s like to be a developer (rock star or otherwise) and get them answered by people who actually know what they’re talking about.

This one’s going to be a little different – and I don’t want it to be me talking the whole time. I’d love to get some developers to volunteer (either in the comments or email me – to share their “day in the life” stories about what kind of work they do, how they work, the tools you use, etc. Nothing formal and you wouldn’t have to talk more than five minutes (really).

And if there’s time, I’d also like to chat about the Developer Boot Camp that I posted about earlier, talk about what we’re planning to do and see if anyone’s interested in either attending or helping out.

What: Refresh Savannah: A Day in the Life of a Developer
When: 9/18 @ 6PM (I originally said the 17th, but that’s Monday and Refresh is always on Tuesdays)
Where: ThincSavannah – 35 Barnard St, 3rd Floor

I hope to see you there!

Growing Our Own Developers

We’ve (Jake, Charisse and I) been talking about running a Developer Boot Camp this fall here in Savannah to try to “grow” some more local development talent. The more I walk around the idea, the more work is involved in actually coming up with the curriculum, getting instructors/mentors lined up, etc. I’m happy to do the work, but I think it’s probably a good idea to gauge the interest of the community before we actually go through all this effort.

The idea is to do this a little backwards from a typical classroom experience. There would be homework every week consisting of screencasts, blog posts and other resources. You’d be expected to go through the homework during the week, and then the weekend classroom time would be spent answering questions, troubleshooting, mentoring and working on actually building stuff. We’re planning on running two tracks – frontend and backend (the backend track most likely being Rails) – and running it in September and maybe doing something crazy awesome for graduation.

So, if you would be so kind as to participate in my highly scientific poll and send it around to folks in the area you think might be interested (students, designers, career switchers, etc), I’d appreciate it. Please post comments with questions or suggestions and let’s see if we can pull this off!

(if you’re reading this in the email, you’ll probably need to come to the site to participate in the poll)

Refresh in July: The Downtown Tech Crawl!

We’re doing something a little different in July – and here it is! Yep, we’re doing the Downtown Tech Crawl instead! We’re going to go on a trolley tour and visit a bunch of cool tech companies around downtown, hearing a little bit about what they do, and touring their spaces. After we’re done, we’ll head back to ThincSavannah for beer and chit chat (and to meet any companies who want to play along but don’t have office space downtown).

I know, it sounds like fun, right? The deadline to register your company for the fun is the 18th, so get going!

No Refresh in May: Go to TEDx Creative Coast Instead!

There’s too much going on the third week in May this year to be able to handle Refresh too, so we’re taking a month off. What should you do with your extra time? You should go to TEDx Creative Coast! Get your tickets quick, they’re almost gone!

We’ll be back in June with another take on agile development by special request, and then we’ve got something special brewing for July that should be both different and a ton of fun. I’ll fill in the details as we get the details ironed out!