Abstractions II

09:00am | 10/08/2019 update
Daniel Tompkins

code design

Initial Panic

The schedule tool on abstractions.io wasn't bad, but I found it a little hard to use. The biggest issue was the map, which did not contain a legend

I used this schedule picker (quickly thrown together by Think Co.) and made this improved map 👇. This was also thrown together, but felt a little easier to read.

Map of the Pittsburgh Convention center with a legend for finding Abstractions conference rooms

Map of the Pittsburgh Convention center with a legend for finding Abstractions conference rooms

For what it's worth, a little confusion on the layout of the rooms was NBD considering the small crew at Code & Supply that was responsible for managing this incredible conference! I really enjoyed Abstractions II!

Settling In...

The C&S people got a lot of flak for the NFC (near-field communication) wristbands, but they were hardly an inconvenience. The conference center is so beautiful, and was such fun to explore. I also snuck into the Arcade for a couple minutes and played some pinball and Centipede. Somehow the high score on there was like 400k!

The original

Flyer for the 1980 arcade game, Centipede

Having never played some of these OG arcades, I was really amazed at the brightness and sharpness of the pixels on those old CRT monitors. Update. I finally made it on the scoreboard, but was still miles behind "DBH". Holy shit. How do people get that good at videogames??

Picture of the

Not nearly as high as "DBH", but not bad for a couple hours practice...

They had Galaga, Ms.Pac-Man, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, half a dozen pinball machines, and a really dramatic media art installation with a projector and a kinect (almost missed it!). There was also a "silly hat" making conference (that's always open), and another room next-door that was exclusively for playing board games.

Besides Games... LOOT!

I went to a lot of incredible talks, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next conference. There was tons of conference loot. If you like stickers, pins, koozies, and other freebies you walked out a king. It wasn't a massive conference, but there was still a ton to do and see.

Abstractions conference loot galore! Stickers, pins, and more!

Abstractions conference loot galore! Stickers, pins, and more! Follow on Twitter for more.

Closing Thoughts... Abstractions III??

Hopefully the money and hype that this year's conference generated can help go towards even bigger-name guests at Abstractions III! That's not to say that this year's guests weren't phenomenal. The day-two keynote by Simone Giertz about her journey from amateur maker to YouTube-star was inspiring and practical.

Additionally, two of my co-workers, Remy Porter and Jordan Parsons, gave some wonderful talks. Remy showed off his improv and synth-building skills, and Jordan talked about his career in media art, digital fabrication, and design. The C&S crew did a great job of mixing local flavor with some big names in software and digital design.

If you'd like to see more of the talks, checkout Code & Supply's recordings of the talks on their YouTube channel. Sorry it took me a month and a half to do a more in-depth recap of the conference; I hope to see you there next time.