SE Podcast #19 - John Sheehan

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Everyone's back in their home towns this week (Sorry for the audio quality last week. It was Joel's fault [actually, it was TechCrunch's fault]). And joining Jeff & Joel this week is John Sheehan, Developer Evangelist for Twilio.

  • Jeff and Joel are bored of board meetings. How do you make them productive or even useful? Brad Feld says you should give out a document beforehand. Joel does this, and nobody reads it, but they at least pretend they did. Maybe Joel should plant money under the attendees' chairs?
  • Joel launched Trello at TechCrunch Disrupt last week, and they did not have adequate monitors onstage! It was representative of the general A/V "screw-uppedness" of the whole conference. Cool story, bro.
  • Let's talk about John Sheehan! He's a developer evangelist at Twilio and doesn't have enough Stack Overflow reputation. He travels around trying to make developers be more awesome.
  • The future of phones is in things like BBM, iMessage, etc - alternatives to SMS. Voice is a whole 'nother medium, for when emoticons just aren't cutting it anymore. Text is useful for transmitting pieces of information, but for more nuanced conversations voice or video is necessary. How fortunate for this conversation that we have someone from Twilio on the line!
  • New in the SE Universe: Linguistics! Joel's dad thinks it's full of amateurs. We also have a site on Christanity now. It is less technical than Judaism... which isn't good. Our engine works better on more technical applications. Jeff: "I'm not 100% sure Christianity is working." It's still early, and it is getting more fact-based as it gets older, though.
  • Bitcoin is low on activity until it gets a new question. It's not what we call a healthy or growing site, but maybe that's okay for a site like Bitcoin. There is no defined formula, and it is still being figured out.
  • Now private beta participants will be able to invite others to the site while it's still private. This devalues committing to a proposal slightly, but the private betas sometimes need a little help.
  • John was at the BUILD conference in Anaheim last week. It was like Disney World, but with middle-aged dudes with questionable hygiene! Windows 8 had a developer preview, but it's probably a year away from launch. John got to play with one of their tablets and says they've taken touch and made it completely un-intuitive. The longer he used it, the less he liked it. John is giving it away to the developer of the coolest Twilio app that uses some of the new WinRT or Metro stuff announced.
  • Scrolling is a thing that many people have many feelings about. We got onto the subject through talking about Windows 8 merging its mobile and desktop systems, and how Apple is doing the same thing with iOS and OS X.
  • John asks: Does anyone have any faith in a PC manufacturer making a tablet you would actually want to buy? Joel says no. Alex says no. Everyone keeps doing things like putting stickers about the component brands on a sports car.
  • Totally hot right now: Trello t-shirts.
  • DevDays failed because we did not promise a thousand dollar piece of hardware to every attendee, like developers at BUILD got.
  • Jeff has not been to Burning Man. He likes the idea, but does not like the idea of being in the desert for so long. Joel did that in the army (cross that off your Podcast Bingo cards!), and it isn't pretty.
  • The Stack Exchange API 2.0 is baking! Take a look at the spec, and provide some feedback if you like. It'll be released by the end of the year. Stats on the API will maybe be released in a blog post or something. Jeff uses the API as much as anyone that doesn't work here, rather than using things a special, sneaky way. (You can read about past mistakes with the API on Kevin Montrose's blog. Jeff, Joel, and John share their opinions on APIs and company/developer relations in general.
  • New changes to the site are in the works. For example, no more duplicate title, and no more "Here code. You fix." questions will be allowed.
  • If you're a programmer, and you want a better job, check out all the great new profile features at Stack Overflow Careers 2.0.

Join us next week at the normal time when our guest will be John Siracusa from Ars Technica (or as Joel likes to refer to him: "he wrote that really amazing review of Lion").

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