Trondheim Developer Conference 2018 – One day, three talks and many happy moments

I just got back from Trondheim, Norway where I once again spoke at the Trondheim Developer Conference. The last time I spoke there four years ago and I had a great time and I have to say nothing changed – it is still a conference well worth going to.

The amazing keynote stage

I was pretty impressed to see that the conference videos were available the day after the event, so I am happy to give you all the materials of my participation and some of the things that impressed me.

Setting up the AI talk

The keynote: Watch this space

In this keynote I am talking about protecting the open web as a publishing platform by improving the quality of our work. We’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge over the years, and yet it seems new developers always start from scratch. By making our best practices part of the start of your career and embedding them in tools, we can have a new generation of developers who can invent amazing things that don’t break.

Chris Heilmann – Watch this space! from TrondheimDC on Vimeo.

The slides of the keynote are available on notist

Seven things to make you a happier JavaScript developer

This talk wasn’t planned but as another speaker couldn’t make it, I filled in.

Chris Heilmann – Seven ways to be a happier JavaScript developer from TrondheimDC on Vimeo.

The slides and resources of this JS talk are on notist

Kode24 did a great write-up of this talk on their site called Stop using console.log.

AI for humans

Linda Liukas' machine learning robot

The last talk was about using AI to build more human interfaces.

Chris Heilmann – Artificial intelligence for humans… from TrondheimDC on Vimeo.

The slides of the AI talk are here

Happy Moments

Book stand at TDC with robot sex front and center

Great talks to watch

If you are looking for inspiration, there were a few talks that stood out for me:

Planning for next year

One great side note: the organisers asked me about more female Europe-based speakers to invite so I collected a few in a tweet.

This thread snowballed and is now a superb reference for presenting talent in Europe.

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Three Pre-TEDx questions


I am excited as a puppy with three tails about the opportunity to speak at TEDx Thessaloniki later this year. It is very different from talks at IT conferences and has been a dream of mine for a while. Today the organisers asked me to answer three questions to get some more insight into what I think (there be dragons, believe me). Here’s what I answered:

1. What is the biggest change you’ve experienced in your life, in personal level, until today?

I was very lucky to have had the courage to make a clean cut when I had the chance. Leaving my home town and the country I was born in for a job is something most people dream of and a lot of others are too scared to do. By un-rooting myself and going to work in a country where I don’t speak the language natively I got a jump-start for my career.

This clear cut also gave me the courage to approach my work differently. For example, I am 100% sure that my career is based on the fact that I gave out everything I do for free and for other people to build upon. People called me crazy and my parents to date still wonder how I make money without charging people for everything I do. I love it, because it means my work gets used which gives me more satisfaction than a one-off payment would do. It also means that my thoughts and ideas live on even when I move to other goals or get hit by a truck or eaten by a tiger. I freed my ideas and thoughts and this inspires other people.

Liberating yourself from traditions and pressures of your background gives you an amazing sense of freedom and liberty to become more than you are.

2. What’s the biggest goal you have set until today? Is it accomplished? Do you still fight for it or you quit it, and why?

I think I once saw an interview with Stephen King where the interviewer asked him how much money he has and he answered he has no idea. He just wants to carry as much around as he needs to buy some new clothes or a sandwich. Whilst I am not a big fan of his work, this excited me. My goal is to feel happy with what I do and to share that excitement. I am doing really well in that, but there are still so many rigid ideas to fight. I want people to do what they love to do and make a living with it. We don’t celebrate these enough. Instead our media portraits the richest people as the most successful, despite the fact that not many of them are happy being in the rat-race.
I started as a radio journalist and quit my job when I discovered the internet. I loved the idea of a free medium open to anyone to publish and be heard and I spent years and years to show people that it can be done. Nowadays I worry a lot about this dream. The internet is on the decline – people are OK with governments censoring it and are fine with being told what hardware to use and that some materials are not available to them because they are in the wrong country. This is not the medium of the future. I will not give in to marketing telling me that this is evolution – I think we’re going backwards.

3. From what we have experienced the recent years, as a global society, what event would you describe as the biggest end or beginning for humanity?

Wikileaks. Hands down. It was a wonderful information bomb that exploded and unearthed not only lots of information that needed to be heard but also a wake up call for people. Are whistleblowers heroes when the information they leak is important to us? What if the same people leaked information about our security to outside enemies? Who are the enemies? Do they really exists or are we being told what to fear so we don’t ask too many questions?

Much good can come out of this, many important discussions to be had. Events like this can bring out the best in humanity which means to me the beginning of something great. It also shows me how many people are not even interested in questioning their governments as long as there is a new TV show to follow, which is a sign of the end of humanity. It polarises and that means we can now pick a camp. If anything, there is movement and a mass can only be a force when it is moved.

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Three geeks and a microphone – recording screencasts with Telenor in Oslo, Norway

Beginning of last week I spent three days in Oslo, Norway, with Jan Jongboom (@janjongboom) and Sergi Mansilla (@sergimansilla) of Telenor Digital recording screencasts for an upcoming series on Firefox OS aimed at developers in Asia. These will be dubbed and localised, which is not only super exciting, but also very powerful.

sergi and chris

Here’s a quick recap how we managed to create ten different screencasts and six intro/outro videos in two and a half days. It was taxing, it was tiring, but it was also amazing. Many factors played a role, but probably the most important one was a Scandinavian “hands-off” attitude by the video production crew and PR and trusting in the abilities of people involved.


Before meeting to record, we shared a Google Doc and created an outline of all the different things we want to cover in the screencast series with scripts for each section. These didn’t have to be detailed scripts as we all knew what we are doing. Just “show app xyz in the emulator, connect phone, push to it” – this sort of thing.

things go here, only things, not stuff

Heads up: I’ve recorded other screencasts that had very defined scripts like “go to the input box, enter ‘fiddlesticks’ and press the button labeled ‘submit’, explain the viewer that this sends the form to the server”. These can work and are important if the person recording is not familiar with the matter or the script needs review by 8 managers and 5 random people from the legal department. We were lucky to have a much more freedom as these screencasts were meant by developers for developers.

We agreed what to show and wrote the code, sharing it on GitHub.

This is immensely important: the code needs to work and be done. You can of course fake to write it live in the screencast using the AppleScript by William Bamberg and me or Stuart Langridge’s Sublime Text plugin. You will not have any time to re-code much (I did clean a few things up) and you will lose time with technical issues as it is (we lost an hour to an appcache problem and another with some problems with the Marketplace submission process). This is not the time to be a coder ninja – this is the time to be an educator, so make sure your stuff works, is documented and understandable before hitting the record button.

Technical set-up

All in all our setup was simple:

  1. A dedicated room that is sound-proof-ish with a large table. Adding a thick black tablecloth to it prevented both unintended “knock” sounds on the recording and made for a good background for recording the mobile device
  2. A good USB microphone that can be easily handed over from presenter to presenter (we used a Yeti).
  3. Three computers, one being the dedicated recording machine, the others for writing and editing. The main machine was a Retina MBP, as you can never have too high a resolution of your original material (downsampling is easy, blowing up video makes it blurry). It is also important to have one machine to record on as this means all the editor settings and the look of the Desktop is the same in all videos. It also means that only one of us had to clean up their machine and start a whole new, clean profile without embarassing autocompletes and history entries (we chose Sergi’s – he is by far the most grown-up and organised amongst us).
  4. An external HD (500GB, USB3) to store all the videos and transfer large files from one computer to another
  5. Screenflow to record and edit the screencasts
  6. A small HD video camera with a Gorilla Tripod to record on-device actions that needs to show hands

Recording and editing

Once all was set up, we divvied up the different screencasts amongst us and got started recording them. We spent the first two days only recording screencasts and left the “talking heads” video shoots for the last day. That way we could work without having to have the film crew around which is a good thing as they tend to be paid by the hour.

jan recording video

People have different ways of working and it is important to allow them to apply their strengths if you want to create a lot in a short amount of time. Us three, for example, learned that I am most comfortable when I speak and show what happens in the screencast at the same time (a running commentary of my own actions). I am not happy reading from a script, as I did that as a job for far too long before escaping to the web (I worked as a radio newscaster).

Both Jan and Sergi struggled with showing and explaining at the same time and thus got much more effective when recording the screencast without audio, then writing a script and re-recording a video of the screencast and narrating the script over it.

The great thing about Jan and Sergi’s MO is that it allows for asynchronous creation of content: when recording and doing the live coding any distraction in the room is tricky to work with and you need to use the one machine to record. When de-coupling the recording of the audio, the editing of the screencasts and the writing of the scripts you can silently sit in the room and edit or write while the others are recording. The thick table-cloth and the quality of the microphone made sure you couldn’t hear any typing in the background. Swearing, yes, but that could and was cut.

The way we recorded worked the following way:

  1. We recorded the screencast according to the script, one person recording and another making sure there are no issues with the recording (for example “learn Indian” as a To-Do List item in an app could be offensive, as there is no “one” Indian language). Make sure to leave some breaks in the screencast to allow for more detailed narration.
  2. The person who recorded then can go and look at the screencast on another computer and write the script of it.
  3. Meanwhile the other two can record the next section
  4. Each script then got another peer review to edit for flow (active vs. passive language, adding the “what is in it for me” messaging, shortening of sentences and many other tricks – if you are interested I can do an own post about that)
  5. Once the script is done, the presenter goes back to the main computer and records a screencast speaking over the old recording, taking breaks to cough and assemble thoughts as needed without endangering the quality of the recording – all you need to do is to stop the video part of it. You even don’t need to worry about the size of the video and you can resize Screenflow and have a text editor with your script side-by-side.

It is important to keep the recording going. Stopping every time you mess up and starting from scratch only increases the frustration. The same rules apply that apply on stage: you can mess up – just admit it, take a very short break and move on. You can always edit, and it is easier to cut out a single “shit!” than to have to make a very annoyed sounding start of a screencast palpable for viewers.


The final production of the videos will be done by the professional editing team, but, as they are paid by the hour and because of the way we already used Screenflow to record and separated audio and video we could do a lot of the editing ourselves, cutting the “uhms” and “errs” and heavy breathing and adding still images over longer parts of narration. Screenflow makes this super easy by hitting “t” at the place you want to split the audio or video streams and moving the chunks around.

Next steps

Currently the videos are in production and will be dubbed and we’re putting together the landing page on the Wiki where they will reside. We also clean up our outline and script to be the descriptions of the videos. Thus, nothing was wasted.

Before you go on a righteous rant about professional screencasting…

We are very much aware that professional screencasting and recording looks different and by no means we want to say that it should always be that easy. Professional learning materials need much more planning and more meticulous execution and you should pay people who do that well what they deserve – a lot.
However, for three geeks and a microphone, we’ve done quite well and this might inspire others to do the same.

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Web Marketing Association Honors Bridgeline Digital With Three IAC Awards

WOBURN, Mass. — Bridgeline Digital, Inc. , developer of the award-winning iAPPS web experience management product suite and interactive technology solutions, announced today that websites it developed for Songbird Hearing, Janney Montgomery Scott, and PODS were recently honored by the Web Marketing Association as IAC Award-winners .

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Three Java CONSULTANTs- Needed For Finance Web Portal Project

SilverSearch, Inc. New York, NY
Job description: …term project assignment that could last approximately 2 years in length. Senior Java CONSULTANT- Needed For Finance Web Portal Project. Our client, a leading financial firm, is seeking a Java developer to work on global client… View full post on – web

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American Soda Sign with Fluid Creativity for a Further Three Years

American sweets, food and drinks retailer American Soda have signed three year search engine optimisation and 14 month web development contracts with digital agency Fluid Creativity. (PRWeb January 12, 2011) Read the full story at

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The Backlinks Company is Offering Three Major Holiday Deals (December through January 2011) that Will Put Your Online …

The Backlinks Company, a well established SEO and Web Development company specializing in providing TOP rankings for its clients, is practically giving away services for your online business or website during the Holiday Season. For discounted prices, you can give your colleagues, friends, or family the gift of success with a brand new website and SEO, hosting and email. Other giveaways include …

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