adventures in making stuff with Daniel Higginbotham

Clojure Conj 2014 - Thank Yous, Noir Recommendations, Personal Highlights

23 November 2014

This year's Clojure Conj was a complete blast! I got to meet and reconnect with great, friendly, brilliant people, and had enormous fun the whole time. And by the way - if you were hoping to get a sticker, please email me at and let me know how I can get one to you!

The main thing I want to say is THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who went out of their way to share their appreciation for Clojure for the Brave and True; I know how easy it is to feel nervous about approaching a stranger! The book is a labor of love, an attempt at both expressing myself creatively and bringing joy to others through entertainment and education, and it is immensely gratifying to hear that my efforts are paying off. Putting myself out there over and over with each chapter and revision is nervewracking as hell, but y'all really make me feel like it's worth it. I have to admit, though, that I'm finding it hard to adjust back to normal life. Why aren't the other people waiting in this airport with me coming up and thanking me? Don't they know who I am!?!? Seriously, though - thanks everybody, and I hope you're enjoying your Clojure journey :)

Second, I'm grateful to Alex Miller (@puredanger), Cognitect, and all of the excellent speakers for creating such a great experience for everyone. Send them your thanks, and go watch the talks at the ClojureTV YouTube channel.

Did anyone else freaking love the crime museum? What an awesome choice for a party venue! If you're into noir/hardboiled entertainment, here are some recommendations:

  • True Detective - I am completely nuts over the first season. The acting is superb, and the storytelling is some of the best you'll see in any TV show or movie. It actually ruined all TV for me - it was out around the same time as The Walking Dead, and it made The Walking Dead feel clunky and boring. This is the gold standard for noir entertainment.
  • Sleeper, a gritty graphic novel by Ed Brubaker. Also check out his "Fatale" and "Criminal" series. His works are suspenseful and heartbreaking, with great art and great storytelling.
  • Hard Magic / The Grimnoir Chronicles Frankly, I expected this book to be complete trash, but man did it grab me! I came away incredibly impressed at the author's ability to craft an action-packed novel that actually had depth with prose that exceeds most literary works.

Now, normally I try to write stuff that's useful for readers, but the rest of this post is essentially fanboi raving because OMG I got to meet Bozhidar Batsov! Bozhidar is the Emacs Knight we need, and holy crap I got a private CIDER lesson from him. Expect an article on all the cool CIDER features you're not using in the near future.

Other fanboi highlights:

  • Getting to real-life meet Mike Marsh, one of the most prolific posters on Grateful Place and a thoughtful, smart, and genuine good guy.
  • Meeting Brian Jennings, the man responsible for Emacs 24.4's lose-focus hooks. He gets about a million geek points for persuading the Emacs team, including and especially RMS, that the feature was a good idea. How cool is that?
  • Totally bombing one of my programming jokes with a Clojure Olympian. That gets me geek points, right? Right? Eh? Eh?
  • Hearing about a cool swarm intelligence project from a college hacker, Anthony, who also happens to be an awesome dude
  • Spending time with Isaac Praveen and the rest of the Sparx team. Thanks for the drink, and thanks for the company! These guys are doing cool stuff and they are hiring Clojure devs.
  • Meeting Angela Harms and Jason Felice, my new Buddha buddies. I'm hoping to see a lot of cool stuff at Maitria :D
  • Talking to Johann Bestowrous (@opinionsonline) - do yourself a big favor and follow him on twitter, he is a funny dude
  • Getting a sneak peek at the next version of Hostel Rocket. These guys are also hiring Clojure Devs, and they have a really cool product.

It was great hanging out with folks, and I hope everybody had a safe trip home!