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Open Source Bridge Day 1 – My thoughts

This is my first time to attend Open Source Bridge conference in Portland, Oregon. So far, it has been interesting, fun, and welcoming.

Today’s keynote by Nicole Sanchez (VP of Social Impact at GitHub) was riveting! Her message of reforming the tech industry was direct and strong (via Karvel Digital):

  1. Tweet a systemic problem that needs minds & hands to work on it
  2. Use
  3. Follow for updates.

Nicole gave several examples of problems :

  • Compensation structures and equity
  • Governance
  • Pay parity across demographics
  • Net neutrality
  • Expanded “diversity reports” and other expectations of public accountability
  • Uses of data
  • Choices of source material

I am going to vote for “uses of data” later today…

Next, I went to the “How to Prototype and Test” workshop lead by Morgan Miller. She gave an excellent overview of usability, paper prototyping and user testing. The workshop attendees were divided into teams, given the task of developing an idea for an app or website, create paper prototypes and then conduct a user test. To me, the most important advice on paper prototyping was things can be messy, and it’s ok! It was a lot of fun, and I have a better idea of how to develop concepts and test them.

After lunch, I attended “Learn To Type at 250 WPM Using Open Source Tools” by Josh Lifton. His story of development of the open source steno software application Plover ( was a great story, as well as his side project of developing an open source stenograph machine ( He did say that people are using this software to do writing of novels and other works, not just traditional stenography.

Next, Kronda Adair led a session titled “Quick and Dirty WordPress Sites that Don’t Suck“. She described a number of tools that can help in developing capable WordPress sites and help business owners in marketing and promotion. I am looking forward to checking out some of those tools!

My last session was “Decoding The History of Codes” by Niharika Kohli. Her talk covered a quick history of the use of ciphers and codes (dating back to Julius Caesar!), and included a fun quiz at the end of the talk. After a bit of time, the audience was able to work out the ciphers (not me, though!).

Come back tomorrow for Day 2!


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