Posts Tagged ‘Scrabble’

nerd nite 26: of words, dialogue, and accessibility

Happy New Year, nerdlings! We hope your 2015 is AMAZING.

We’re back for another year of Nerd Nite Wellington – our fifth, if you can believe such a thing.

And we’re kicking off the year with a great selection of speakers, so come join us at:

  • Hotel Bristol
  • 26th Jan 2015
  • 6:00pm (speakers starting at 6:30pm).
    • Sign up for our calendar to make sure you don’t miss it!

Remember, good tables can go fast, so don’t rock up at the last minute and expect a decent spot 🙂

And as always, NNW is free, with 2 for 1 specials on some mains, so bring your mates!


nerd nite wellington #26 poster

Poster! Click to enlarge and print out for your school/workplace/laboratory/lair.

Our lineup for NNW 26 (though not necessarily in this order) is…


Workplace dialogue: the science and skill of communication
John Rusk, @agilekiwi

Part science, part autobiography, and part hand-drawn stick figures, this talk is about how anyone can learn people skills… even the nerdiest of nerds (like me).  You can use these skills to communicate more successfully and persuasively.

The talk presents a simple but effective mental model of successful communication and introduces a few of the specific skills you can learn.  Hopefully, we’ll also bust a few myths along the way.

A classic “introvert” by inclination, John thought he was on safe ground when he started working in IT.  But he soon found otherwise. Even in technical fields, success typically hinges on people reaching wise agreements. So John set out to learn the mysteries of “people skills”.  Eventually, after much learning and several false starts, he was surprised to find himself enjoying and succeeding in the people side of work.

Today, he leads agile software developers at OSPRI, where he recently helped deliver the multi-award-wining “Insite” project.


An Accessible Web: Can’t you just see it?
Jason Kiss, @jkiss

The web was conceived and constructed to be accessible to all users, regardless of disability. What does that mean? How do people with disabilities use the web? How do you make a website accessible? Why does it matter, anyway?

Jason is from Canada, and he apologises. He has an active interest in web accessibility. He also works for the Department of Internal Affairs where he manages the New Zealand Government Web Standards, the bulk of which are about ensuring that government websites are accessible to all taxpayers.


Scrabble®: a return to the tile bag
Steven Brown, @hazhapard

Steven first spoke about general Scrabble®-related nerdery* at Wellington Nerd Nite 5 (back in April 2011) mostly covering anagrams, algorithms, intellectual property, and more anagrams.

This time, his talk will take a look at some nerdish aspects of tournament Scrabble® in particular, including who plays whom (the draw), the wordlist* and adjudication, the ratings system(s), and Scrabble® variants that may or may not get played in the evening between days of proper Scrabble® (and that may very well involve anagrams).

Steven has been involved in club Scrabble for 20-mumble years, and has been playing in tournaments for almost as long. He has represented New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Challenge five times, but has never managed to qualify to play at a World Champs.  He is the ratings officer for the New Zealand Association of Scrabble Players, and also administers a couple of mailing lists for New Zealand Scrabble® players.

He is still employed putting words together in support of a part of the democratic process, but is also trying to get his dev skills back up to speed.

* these asterisks will be explained in the talk.

nerdnite wellington 5: of hardware, spaceware, brainware and wordware

UPDATE: videos available here, prezis from the talks available here.

18th April at Bodega, Wellington!

More geekery will be delivered to your eagerly-awaiting grey (and white) matter on this most auspicious of Mondays.

nerdnite #5 will cover topics such as antennae, narratives, open hardware and scrabble!

In no particular order, then (since I’m still deciding), may we present the Order of Things to Come!


Antennas, Everywhere.
Jon Brewer

There are more antennas in New Zealand than there are sheep. Many, many more.

From millimeters long to kilometers across, these little guys touch every part of our lives: communications, electricity, entertainment, food safety, medicine, retail shopping, transportation, and more.

In this talk we’ll walk through the lot of them, with a dive in to how they work, where they’re hiding, and what we’d do without them.

Jon Brewer has spent the last seven years of his life obsessing about antennas.


Consciousness and Reality, Story, and Bad SF movies
Jonathan Todd

An exploration of the nature of consciousness and reality, explicated via the nature of the stories we tell ourselves, facilitated by the common nerd-language of bad science fiction movies. Also contains comic books and cosmic gibberish.

Jonathan (Billy) Todd is a writer, musician and filmmaker. No one knows if there is really a person beneath all the hair.


Beyond Arduino
David Zanetti

“Beyond Arduino” will be about going a layer lower and learning from the Arduino designs to implement custom embedded electronics, from the perspective of challenges and lessons attempting to a complete self-contained Stratum-1 NTP server board.

David Zanetti has been in and around IT for the past 16 years professionally, and a geek well before that. Most of the time it’s with Open Source systems, and currently as a contractor with a multinational running Open Source systems for a variety of large New Zealand customers.


On becoming a Scrabble® nerd
Steven Brown

What does it take to go from being a mere Scrabble player to meriting the designation Scrabble nerd? This talk will touch on a few of the possibilities, including anagrams, algorithms, intellectual property, and more anagrams.

Steven has been involved in club Scrabble for around 18 years, and has been playing in tournaments for almost as long. He has represented New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Challenge five times (so far), but hasn’t qualified for a World Champs (yet). His day job is not important, but note that his full name anagrams to BRAW GOVERNMENTESE. (It also anagrams to SNOWMEN ABET VERGER or BROWSER AVENGEMENT, but those are not nearly as relevant.)


Remember, new venue is Bodega. With oodles of room, so bring everyone you know! And yes, it’s still a free event. Because knowledge wants to be shared 🙂