Speaking and Training

Andrew Burke has over two decades of development and technology experience, but he also has a graduate degree in Literature and a life-long fascination with history. This gives him insights into the growing intersection of technology and culture. He has spoken at conferences and events for over a decade. Here are some of his current and recent talks.

Four Weird Things About Time


Have you ever wondered why OCTober has an eight in the name but it's the tenth month? Why some clocks from the late 19th century have two minute hands? And what's up with Easter anyhow?

This entertaining talk covers thousands of years of the history of calendars and clocks, exploring how emperors, kings, and whole nations wrestled with technical and cultural headaches that are surprisingly similar to what we deal with in the worlds of techology and software. It provides surprisingly pertinent take-aways for developers and technologists.

This talk makes a fun change of pace for a technical conference.

"Four Weird Things About Time" has been presented at self.conf in Detroit, ConFoo in Montreal, Maritime DevCon in Fredericton, and more.

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How I Finally Started Using the Magic of Ruby


One of the great things about Ruby and Rails is that they mostly stay out of the way so programmers can focus on solving business problems. I had always known that there was a lot more power in Ruby, especially with its powerful metaprogramming tools, but I've never had a project where lots of fancy tricks wouldn't just make things harder to understand. Recently I did get the chance to work on a large complex project where I could use some of the magic of Ruby to help make things much more manageable.

This presentation goes beyond the simple unrealistic examples one sees in textbooks and shows how how a Ruby's unique power and elegance turned a potential code nightmare into something approaching poetry.

This talk premiered at ConFoo Montreal in 2017, and will also be presented at Maritime DevCon in Fredericton in June 2017.

Adventures in Micro-Fame


There used to be a "fame contract": you would become famous and lose your privacy and attract weird attention, but to make up for it you would become rich and influential. In our modern world of social media this contract has been broken. You can become famous and attract all the good and bad attention that come with it without really making much money or getting any of the support that famous people used to get. A lot of our cultural attitudes haven't caught up with this reality yet.

This talk discusses the new world of fame and especially "Micro-Fame" - where almost anybody can become famous in their own niche, sometimes even by accident. It talks about the "spikiness" of online fame as well as how you can leverage your micro-fame into if maybe not fabulous wealth at least more attention and personal fulfillment.

This talk was part of a series of talks about social media given at PodCamp Halifax.