8 Bits with April Speight!

8 Bits with April Speight!
This week we are joined by Microsoft Cloud Advocate, April Speight! Join us as we chat about the books she's written on Python, her hobbies with Barbies, her work with the Space Jam movie and more!

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8 Bits with April Speight! - 8 Bits
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Chloe Condon  2:03
Hey we're back. It's Wednesday. How are you doing Brandon? It's another fine Wednesday.

Brandon Minnick  2:11
It really is a beautiful day. I'm doing great. Although I had some bicycle injuries, I guess you can see it there on my hand and got it. bandages on my elbows from a spill I took over the holiday weekend, but I'm okay. nothing's broken. That does damage just bruises.

Chloe Condon  2:31
viewers at home. Brandon has some some band aids on his palms that looks ouchy

Brandon Minnick  2:38
Yeah, I miss it a lot of skin on this hand where I caught myself after flipping over the handlebars.

Chloe Condon  2:45
Wow. Well, that sounds like a very eventful Fourth of July long weekend. For those of us internationally. We had a nice long three day weekend here in the States. So I'm feeling refreshed. I'm feeling good. How is your week been? Brandon? Hmm, I've got a

Brandon Minnick  3:05
bunch of things in progress. So, shameless plug for Git trends, aka the app of the show. It's a open source app that you can find in the iOS and Android app stores. If you are also an open source developer, you have a bunch of repos on GitHub, and you can't keep track of all of them and need to know which ones are trending, getting lots of views and clones stars, you can check out Git trends, calm gi T, tr. E, NDS. It's a totally open source app. That is written in C sharp using Xamarin. And it will help you keep track of your GitHub repos, it will send you push notifications, if what is your repos blows up because maybe somebody tweets about it or puts it in a blog post. And the announcement is you can check out there's an open pull request on this repo where you, me and Luis the other maintainer have been hard at work, adding in a new feature where not only will you be able to see your repos, which you can today. So if you download the app from the App Store, you'll see all of your repos once you connect to GitHub, and all their stats, but we're going to add in the ability to see organizations you belong to as well. So it's adding a bunch of new stuff to the UI and the settings page to enable that. But you can follow our progress. Hopefully, we'll have that new release. It's probably still a couple months away. Yep. It's a free app. We just do the work on nights and weekends. We don't get paid to do any of this. So But yeah, I spent a lot of time last night working on that feeling really good about it. And I've also been teasing some speaking to Xamarin, the Xamarin community toolkit. Yeah, is also an open source repo that you can use for all your Xamarin apps. It's kind of that it's a toolkit. So it's basically all that code you probably copy paste from Xamarin, app, Xamarin app, all those common features You wish were just included in, say Xamarin forums? Well, we got them in the toolkit. So we've also been working hard on making the toolkit work with make sure it's compatible with dotnet, Maui, which is coming down the pike that'll be included in dotnet. Six in November. And we've got an announcement, I was just chatting with one of the maintainers. Today, that will probably announce next week about how we're going to expand our toolkit and maybe unify with another toolkit. I don't know. I just have to stay tuned for the announcement. Wow, that's

Chloe Condon  5:38
a that's a sluicey. That's exciting.

Brandon Minnick  5:41
Yeah. You're here to hear first.

Chloe Condon  5:45
Excited? Well, I can't wait to hear any like, I guess Can you share any exciting pieces or things? Like, I don't know, is it Are you still kind of in stealth mode with it?

Brandon Minnick  5:58
I mean, it's, I'd say it's pretty official internally. I mean, the biggest hurdle is not necessarily the technical stuff, but because Microsoft, such a big company. And there's so many stakeholders, especially in the dotnet ecosystem, Xamarin ecosystem, Valley ecosystem, getting everybody on board. So we have to align with the dotnet engineering teams and marketing teams, the docs team, so we could put all the docs up about this new repo we're working on but it's pretty much official. So we're going to be are literally going to be typing up these blog posts announcements today. Then we'll go through more approval processes, but we're getting really close and it feels it feels really real. Something we've wanted to do and we talk about for months. So hopefully we'll get those announcements out next week. So stay tuned, my dotnet friends, my Xamarin friends, check the dotnet blog in the Xamarin blog next week for some big fun new announcements.

Chloe Condon  6:54
Find yourself someone who talks as passionately as Brandon. I love I just love that you're like the Xamarin hype man and always have them ever since I've met you this is just this is your life. I love it. Um, let's see, oh, I have something fun to share. Um, I started my got bought series last week with the Microsoft reactor. And it was really fun. And I'm sharing my screen right now if you want to share it, Brandon and for folks listening to the podcast, I will describe what's on the screen. Last minute friend of the show, PJ joins us to talk about all of the awesome diva bots that we've created over the last year I guess it's been now and I just had to share this hilarious screenshot I'll zoom in even more of an actual tweet that PJ used to test his just bought paid Twitter bots that says I can't believe it's working and I just felt this was such a developer test tweet for testing the Twitter but we had a bunch of fun and you can check that out if you go to aka.ms slash got bots one I believe. Also make sure to share it on Twitter as well but you can check out that really fun video where PJ oh my gosh, we walk through our Britney Spears bought our Mariah Carey bought our ariana grande de bot. Oh my gosh, there's so many are in sync bought so many books. Should I ajwain How can I forget the original Shania Twain so check that out? I'm doing every Thursday at the reactor at 3pm do pm I should know this. I am doing a series on bots for beginners. So last week we talked all about ethical bot creation, which is really fun. I'm essentially talking about t shirt bots. Do you know what a T shirt bot is? Brandon?

Brandon Minnick  8:51
Okay, take

Chloe Condon  8:52
a guess. Sure. Sure. I'm gonna

Brandon Minnick  8:58
isn't a bot that will make a T shirt about what you're maybe tweeting about.

Chloe Condon  9:03
Okay, yes, but um, we had on the show because I hate t shirt bots. And the reason is, I come from a family of artists. I know how important it is for artists to get paid for their work. And something really weird happened one time when I posted a photo of me wearing this shirt and for folks at home. This is a shirt it's a purple shirt that says Girls Just Want to Have fundamental human rights. And a bunch of people started commenting I need this shirt. I want this on a shirt. And there are bots that will find those keywords. And they will make the shirt like they'll just take the text from the shirt and create the shirt and put it out there. So I learned this and I did my own test where image and if for those listening on the podcast, it's the meme of SpongeBob that's very popular that says I tweeted about this design and all I got with this was this unlicensed shirt from a Twitter bot. And I've tried this multiple times, Brandon, I've done this. Also with an Arrested Development image, if I can find it, here we go. And it works. Every time I tweet an image or something with text, and I say, I'm testing something comment on this, I want this on a shirt or something of that nature. And the shirt bots will instantly you know, just kind of use they're just scraping the internet looking for these keywords. So we did a really interesting lesson on like, you know, when you're thinking about building bots, it's important to think about like, Does this hurt or abuse anyone? Does this harass anyone? And I thought this was such a great example, right? Like, how many times of course, this is a silly example here. But how many times does this happen to artists when like, you know, their image, or, or text or something that they've created, gets resold on a third party site? Like, what is this T chip or something? So we talked a lot about good bots and bad bots, which are, you

Brandon Minnick  10:58
know, just thinking about that, as you're describing, it's like, somebody probably owns the rights to these images or to text and the bot just makes it like, Oh, no, something doesn't sound quite legal there. But

Chloe Condon  11:13
it's something interesting that I learned, because someone that I follow on Instagram, who's an artist, um, sells enamel pins, and I learned through this account, they did like an Instagram story that shared if you don't have and I noticed this now when I turn around any enamel pin, and I, I encourage all of you to check out your own enamel pins. If it doesn't, on the back have an engraving that has like a registered trademark or any or copyright. It's basically free reign for anyone to copy, which is why we see you know, even places like Urban Outfitters or wish especially or some of these resale markets, reselling people's art without paying for it, essentially. So this is my PSA, that if you're building software in general, and especially if you're building bots Don't do this. This this is not good. But you can learn all about that on the stream. We talk all about ethical bots, diva bots, all the bots really

Brandon Minnick  12:05
aka.ms slash got bots, what the newer one,

Chloe Condon  12:09
and soon when you go to aka.ms slash got bots, it'll take you to a lovely dev to post with all of the summaries of episodes. That's my afternoon today. Um, yeah, so check that out. And then also, I got to host the static web apps calm. Last week. That was super fun. I learned all about Azure static web apps. There are a bunch of announcements. JOHN Papa keynoted it and kept we even had some I thought of you, Brandon, because we thought we not only talked about Disney, a little bit on it. Because john Papa worked at Disney and before and one of the first websites I ever went to was the 101 domination live action movies static web page. But yeah, we also talked about geo cities, my space, all of the fun stuff that we talked about on this show. So you can check that out@aka.ms slash swa calm? Um, yeah, that was my way. It was very busy. Yeah, big announcement day. Oh, yes. But I think we need to bring in our guest, because we have a lot to talk about, um, should I just say, I'm going to enter this person, because I'm going to, we're going to get all into their origin story today. But let me let me tell you about the origin story of our guest and my life. So once upon a time, back in the days where we could meet in person for conferences, I was at Twilio, Joe's signal conference in San Francisco. And I was on Twitter tweeting about Tony Hawk, because Tony Hawk was giving a talk, I did not mean to make that rhyme. And I immediately found this individual on the interwebs. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, this person's going to be my friend. We hung out for the whole day. They showed me all of the cool design stuff they were doing. And they said, What What's your job? What do you do? And I said, Oh, you know, I'm a, I'm a developer evangelist or developer advocate. And she said, Oh, I want to do that. And now everyone, she works on the same team as me. Where's it Microsoft here with us? Welcome to the show. Cloud aggregate. Cloud advocate, April. Hi. How are you? Welcome to the show. I can't believe this is your first time on the show. I feel like we've talked about you a lot on the show.

Brandon Minnick  14:29
Oh, good. Thanks.

Chloe Condon  14:33
Um, tell tell. Tell them about yourself.

April Speight  14:36
Yeah, I will preface this by saying that I hear we're doing a lot of exclusive today and announcements. So I have an exclusive for you all later. But in any case, and you're literally the first like large audience to know cuz he'll probably tell my boyfriend. So in any case, I'm April Speight. And I work with in spatial computing at Microsoft, and I do think within the area of mixed reality, augmented reality, virtual reality, and basically I don't live in reality I live in what's the fake world, most of the time. I prefer it that way. But in any case, I've been working in this area for officially one year and a half unofficially, two years. But my programming background is in Python. But my actual career background where I spent the most amount of my time has been in project management, and program management. Before that, I worked in the luxury fashion industry, I was a menswear stylist as well as a visual merchandiser. And basically, I got to create art, which was fun. So if you're unfamiliar with what visual merchandising is, it includes working on store windows, so if you ever walked past, I feel like there's not too many places that make the mess fancy nowadays, but if you ever go to New York during the holidays, and if you walk past Bergdorf Goodman, their elaborate sort of windows, that's what I did. And then not for Bergdorf, but, but for other companies. And then also that has to do with moving things around in the store, whether it be the way that clothes are laid out, yada yada the whole point was to make you all want to buy it and believe it or not. There's been times where we've had like a pile of clothes, just or like maybe it was a say it was like a sweatshirt. It's been folded up. It's been about a month, no one's touching it. And then Believe it or not, you can move it to the right restyle it. And all of a sudden, it flies off the shelf. And it's just like,

Chloe Condon  16:34
like you out for clothes.

April Speight  16:37
Yes, pretty much. That's pretty much what it is. And a lot of it comes down to psychology somehow. But that's what I did. And then styling. menswear was my preferred I did somewhere it's a much as some women's wear too. But working with men and dressing them, in my opinion was more fun. And after a while, I realized that it didn't pay much to do either votes unless you worked in corporate and you were the one that was telling people what to do. So I figured, okay, I need something else that's going to be sustainable long term. And I had this background in project management. So then I said, Alright, I'm gonna go be a project manager didn't know at the time that most of the jobs and project management were in it. And I had no it background on paper. But I knew computers. And so when I interviewed for an internship, that was literally IT project management intern, like what are the odds side it's like exact title. My senior director at the time when he did his interview with me, he literally walked in with a my resume and he said, Do you like computers? And I say, Yeah, he was like, that's all I need to know. And I like that dinner. Yes, absolutely. And, you know, to be fair, for folks at home, I did have a more formal interview prior to that with the person who became my manager where we actually talk through my history, but for the person who was higher than her. That's literally what he came in and said, he was a very, very great, great leader for our entire IT department. But I did that. The first time I did anything remotely close to programming was running SQL reports. I have 30 minutes to learn. We had an individual who was retiring early, and someone were divided. Yeah, so tell you why 30 minutes. So one of our guys on our team, he was retiring. And we divided up all of his workload, and all that was left with running SQL reports. And so at that point, I volunteered because I said, Oh, I'm interested in that. And he only had 30 minutes before he had to go. So that's why I only have 30 minutes to learn. And so he gave me like, quickest Crash Course possible. And fortunately for me, I had a background in, in logic, so as it relates to like philosophy, because I did some philosophy and undergrad and a lot of that has to do with not logic, almost, I'm sorry, go syntax. I had six majors in college. But anyways, I had a background with syntax because I was studying linguistics, um, at one point was my major and so that helped a lot. For me, I was able to understand patterns of putting together

what I needed for SQL reports. So that's how once he left I just kept at it um, I feel like this was before googling programming concepts was really like a thing because it wasn't like that much online. And so there weren't all these like fabulous online courses or YouTube videos that you can go try out. So it was a lot of kind of self learning. I did that and I was still doing pm work some time went by different companies still doing pm work. And then I decided Alright, I think I want to do some programming. I thought I wanted to do data, data science. And so that's how I started with Python. And then I realized I hated data science. And then I said, Okay, I need to use this programming skill that I now have learned. And so I discovered chatbots through Twilio, actually, and I feel like that only really came to be because I went to a Tullio t event. And I felt so behind going through all of the activities that day. And the thing about me is, if I feel like I don't get something, and everyone else does, I'm gonna work my butt off to figure it out. And that's really what happened, I spent the next like, three months or so really strengthening my Python background. Because my job I didn't go to school for programming. And I had to do it on my own in my free time. And so I started doing that got really into working with chatbots and AI assistants. And then I also started doing YouTube videos, because I, for me, personally, the best way for me to learn is to teach. And then I also figured that I couldn't be the only person that had issues with learning with some of the different online free courses that are out here on the internet, as well as some of the different YouTube videos. And so I started relating programming concepts to the thing I knew best, which was fashion, as well as like pop culture movies, like Mean Girls, for example. So I was doing that. And then that's when I got quote, unquote, discovered by my acquisitions editor at Wiley, my publisher, and he had reached out and acts that I think about writing a book, I thought I was being catfished. And I went. Turns out he was very much real. And so

Chloe Condon  21:43
pause here and say, all of this stuff that April's talking about happened in the last four. Want to say, right, yeah, like, happening in a very short amount of time. And yeah, being April's friend makes me both proud and exhaustive. You never know, for people at home who are listening to April's story about being working in you said fashion, merchandising, what you cannot see. And what I recommend taking a look at on our YouTube is just how beautiful April's background is. And I want to buy everything and it shows in your work.

April Speight  22:22
Thank you. Yeah. Once I got quote, unquote, discovered, for technical writing, I wrote my first book, which is bite sized Python introduction to Python programming. And then after that, I wrote a second book Visual Studio code for Python programmers, which if this was a chance for behat graphics, I would say exclusive exclusive, because the book is available as of today, to purchase and have it mailed to you. So if you happen to either go to we're sharing a link as well, but also on my website, Bowden code. com that's vo G and D, CO, D, or you can go to APR space comm it'll redirect there, there is a section on my site that points you to links for the book for the newest book. I'm not that everyone loves Amazon. But if you go in there, you'll see that it is available for order now we were doing pre orders for a couple of months. But literally today is the day where it's like official, like officially out. And so if you get today, which is the seventh it'll arrive Friday, which is two days from now. My math is right. So So yeah, I wrote that. I discovered mixed reality. Thanks to Twitter, I saw a demo that was happening at one of our Microsoft conferences. And it wasn't that it was they were using a HoloLens it was more so that they were doing real time speech translation with the HoloLens during like a conference kind of call. And so the whole speech part is what got me because as I mentioned, I briefly was a linguistics major. So foreign languages is like my thing. And I asked for help to get started. I got some folks at Microsoft to help out some folks from Magic Leap to help out and then I was learning, learning learning. Six months later, I joined my team here at Microsoft, and that's where I've been since still learning as new things are coming out and I feel like with that particular tech area, you never know what's going to happen next and we refer to it as emerging tech. So it's emerging and again just never know what's new. So that's me in a nutshell.

Chloe Condon  24:42
I know nothing jail just like we're in a new language.

Brandon Minnick  24:51
I love that you went from hating Python, to literally writing two books. What are the odds right The most quintessential example of a love hate relationship.

April Speight  25:04
Yeah. And it took some work to because I feel that the for our job and death row, we write different type of content, tutorials and what have you. And when it comes to technical writing, especially when you're doing like a programming like for programming like introduction, you really like have to humble yourself or more so it humbles you because you start to realize what you actually don't know. And fortunately, the tech, my technical editor, I got to choose who it was. And he had written books on Python for like, probably as long as I've been alive. So I was very fortunate to have him he's definitely he was patient with everything. But when it comes to book writing, yeah, you might feel like you're an expert heading into it. And then when you start trying to explain the why behind certain things, it's like, Oh, you know what, I don't know why. And so it's a humbling. It is definitely a humbling process. And if you don't do well, receiving feedback, likely This is going to be challenging for you. Because as many folks I spoken with who have written books. The one common thing is as getting edits back from the editor, and like things are all commentary or comments, they are comments. They're delete this, delete that and it's just like, I spent two weeks writing this great. Yeah, yeah. But you know, for any of you who do pursue book writing, especially in the technical area, I think my manager said it best is just that your editors really want you to succeed, they want the book to succeed as well. So all the feedback that you get, yeah, might sometimes be like a hit to your ego. But the whole purpose is to make sure that the book is successful. So if you keep that in the back of your head, you know, throw yourself a little pity party for like 10 minutes, and then just get back to writing. So that's one thing I can definitely recommend if you decide to write technical books,

Brandon Minnick  27:02
even in the comments, like john was saying, it's that it's the old Dunning Kruger effect, where he said he thought he knew so much more about Python before going further in depth with it. And yeah, it's so true. I feel like yeah, as, as programmers, we, we, there's high highs and low lows. So yeah, this amazing Hi, where maybe you just published your app or your website, or whatever it might be, and like, I'm the best developer in the world. And then you try to like fix a bug. I have no idea what I'm doing. Exactly. I don't know anything.

Chloe Condon  27:39
Computers are usually like metal or plastic. And I'm shocked that they don't just come like in a foam like a Nerf gun like foam. Because my want and desire to throw my computer, especially when I first started programming and just like could not figure out certain bugs even today, really, I feel like we need to make these things less damaged. Because it's true. Like one day, I remember vividly, April, and I've worked on a project together where she stayed up all night. Like she truly means that she was like, I will work on this

April Speight  28:11
until I figure it out. And mind you it was a language that I don't do anything with it was JavaScript, and I do nothing with JavaScript. So yeah, that's how I felt.

But we made it.

Chloe Condon  28:26
April, you have a million bajillion hobbies, and we will not be able to cover them on the show. Among them, y'all. One time, April was like I want to learn how to remix Africa by Toto, and then she signed up for a DJ class the next day. But you also have a shared passion of Barbies. Tell us about your Barbie hobby. So I have my friends with me. I brought them all today. So

April Speight  28:59
I'm gonna, I'm gonna first intro my background with Barbies. I grew up as a Barbie collector. And I was that kid whose parents bought two of the same Barbies one to play with one to collect. And I had a really good collection one of my neighbors she had like an entire bedroom dedicated to Barbie. So like I grew up in a townhouse and like under those housing, like one of those developments for like all the houses with the same. And so my bedroom and that woman's house was a Barbie room, and she had the whole room filled with Barbies. And I was like, Oh my goodness, I want to be you when I grow up. So that's how I got into Barbie. And then I eventually ended up selling my collection. Kind of like for me once if anyone knows, like how the Beanie Baby market was and still is, that's pretty much how the Barbie market is. But in case I didn't do much with Barbies for your couple years after that, and then one day I just decided to look up Barbie on social media, as most people do, and I noticed that there's an entire world where people pretty much create little mini sets and put the Barbies in different like positions and stuff, and they photograph them and it becomes like a whole thing. And there's a whole world of people who do this, there's YouTube videos dedicated to how you can go about. Usually, I usually share, like how you can rethread their hair, how you can style their hair, how you can make Barbie clothes, how you can make all other different like accessories and stuff in the house. And so, or the room that you're working with. So if you're curious as to like what that even looks like, I'm going to share my screen so you all can see this hobby that I've gotten into, let me get this set up for you all. So this is what I'm referring to. People actually spend hours working on things like this. What's great, and you might be wondering, for those who of you who are familiar with Barbies, that Barbies historically didn't have a lot of joints. So their arms were like the way you put them. Now they make Barbies with I forget how many joints are part of the Barbie, but they have all these joints that you can move and pose them in different ways. And so when you see Barbies, like the one that I have on the left with the blonde hair and the sunglasses, her hand is sitting on her cheek, which you traditionally you couldn't do that with a regular Barbie doll. But nowadays you can. And so you can pose them all sorts of ways. And people do this as a hobby, and I fell in love with it. And even like on the table. No, keep in mind these things are Barbie size. I think it's like a 112 scale. So as you're putting items out on the table, there's like a nail file. There's like an eyelash curler. But it's not human size. like someone's making these teeny tiny objects.

Chloe Condon  31:53
Image and there's there's kind of a What do they call that like a poster board behind the bulletin board and I'm like our little tiny Barbie sized push pins in there.

April Speight  32:04
They might there might be so like I have a couple of examples like the next one she has on a tweed jacket. And she's at her computer she has like a cell phone next to her like in the background. She has a rack of like clothes because I'm assuming she's a fashion designer. And then like on this next one how meta is that? My gosh, Barbie dolls with a Barbie house?

Chloe Condon  32:29
blowing my mind. I'm zooming in are there little Barbies in there?

April Speight  32:35
No, no, but that would have been great. That would have actually been really great. So like yes, it's like in for some of the images depending on who makes them. So like back on the first one where her arm has been facing on her cheek. You don't see the joint there because people will take these photos that they shoot and put them in Photoshop, and they'll like edit the photos out to make it look more realistic, which is so cool. So back to my own story. And when to start trying that out. I bought a couple different Barbies in hopes of being diverse with all my girls. This one is bald, and this represents when I actually cut all my hair off during quarantine because who doesn't do that during a quarantine.

Chloe Condon  33:13
Orange, the neon orange thing but I feel like

April Speight  33:15
it's a thing. And then I bought this one FAO Schwarz which is like if you're into toys, that's like the pinnacle of toy shops. And so this one is kind of hard to see with my ring light but it's a robotics engineer doll. And so I got her for that reason. And plus she has a laptop. So that's like one less thing that I need to get.

Chloe Condon  33:33
I have that one on my desk in the Microsoft Office. It's been there alone for a year so it's probably come to light.

April Speight  33:42
Yes, then I just got this one recently. She's a looks one. I love that Mattel came out with this collection because they have different body types. The hair is great, they look they're more fashion forward and the way they do certain details. Also, they retail for like stupid, crazy expensive prices once they're sold out. So that's I'm not going to end up opening her unfortunately. But if any of you happen to collect them, hold on to it. I love this one as well. Um, I think she's short too. Yeah. Which is great because she's, you know, not like Barbie hi and she's a bit she has a bit more more the body shape that like I wish I had but she also has some really nice braids. And this one I liked her Afro and she has blue lipstick. Like how amazing is that? And the last one was gently Chloe, you got me this one and I also had one as well which is perfect because now I have two of them. But this is one of the first ones like styles they came out with where they had all the different poses you can do. So I'm going to get into that at some point soon hopefully and again, start just making all these different Barbie sets. So I'm like really looking forward to that and like before we hop off the Barbie information. I do want to share one other hobby I picked up lately, which is like not hobby, but a hobby. So as I was turning 31, I realized that I wasn't sure how much I wanted to be on social media, as much as I actually really love Instagram, if anything, because I love all the photos. But then I also realized that I wasn't photographing as much when I went out. And I feel that a lot of photos that were on social media were being more perfected. And I don't know if anyone follows this around Macau influencers in the wild isn't Alyssa hilarious account. But like things like that, I don't mind for other people to do it. But I felt like I didn't have the time to do that. And I really love capturing moments as they are rather than what they could be. And so naturally, I went to Etsy and bought an actual vintage Polaroid camera. And it actually works. This one is from the 80s. So it's like,


Brandon Minnick  36:07
so 20 years,

April Speight  36:09
right? So what I've been doing, whenever I go out nowadays, I try to capture at least one photo while I'm out sometimes have to take two because I'm not always sure how the lighting is going to work out. But I'm on there. If I have like a decent picture to share with you all, I have just one that turned out actually really well. So this car, um, it was like a picture of one. I took a picture of a car that's over on roadeo near where I live. And this one actually came out really well. And I've taken some of people and when people hear you taking a picture of them, they're just like, Oh, wait, wait a second, I want to you know, get myself together. And I'm like, Alright, I'm like, Alright, now this is how we're taking a picture and there's no do over so. And I've just been collecting Polaroid pictures and keeping them in my drawer because I want those memories. I want to look back and you never remember exactly how that moment was and how it was captured. And I love that you can't edit it. I love that you don't know what it looks like until the film like develops, if you will. And so you have those photos, I just don't share them with anybody that just from my own little eyes. And so those are my current

Chloe Condon  37:23
hobbies to middle school. Maybe I'm aging myself here we had these things called Insta pics. They were like, Oh, yeah, many in my locker. April, I love that you're taking up this Barbie hobby. I'm going to share my screen here. I'm starting to see this trend. So when we were younger April and are about the same age, there was not a lot of girls, computer science toys or content out there. And I love this new trend of girly, girly or feminine leaning toys that are encouraging young girls to get pewter science. The newest American Girl course is from that ninis and she's a game designer. It's really oh it's kind of Stranger Things aesthetic. She's got a cassette player, she's playing Pac Man. And I have my original American Girl Macintosh. So like this is something that I've kept from age Gosh, like six or something. And it works it has like the original Macintosh software on it. You could press the keyboard it does little like spreadsheets and constellation shirts. And I think it's so important that the people making this content understand the industry are making sure to include like a diverse perspective and I'm so excited I you have to share the handle when you

April Speight  38:45
Oh, that was the other thing like I forgot the biggest detail because you when you mentioned tech and more feminine leaning. So for all the dolls and what I'm doing they're actually all going to be tech themed. So it's just like a purely Barbie tech settings, if you will different photos and I'm meant to text you back Chloe, I'll do that after we get done. I need help with a handle and I needed to be something because Chloe's good at naming things. I fall short of that. So what I was looking for when I was looking to the left, I have I should have grabbed it. I don't think it's out here. Maybe it's in my background. Yeah, I'm gonna grab it really quick for everyone at home. So because I know that Chloe loves this topic. So because I used to work in fashion I can also sew as well and I've been doing that since like Middle School. I bought a sewing clothes for Barbie book. Like what are the odds right? And it has like, patterns in here for different things that you can make for like Barbie size and so on. I'm like gonna be fully committed to this particular craft. And because I have a Cricut machine, you know, you can cut out wood and everything with it. And so that's how I'll be making more like her furniture and

Barbie, I pretty much Yes.

Brandon Minnick  40:20
It's amazing. Yeah, cuz actually, Rob, in the comments was asking when you were going through the photos of the different Barbie scenes and he's asking if that laptop was like a 3d printed paint kind of thing It sounds like might be do, you can use a milling machine.

April Speight  40:38
Yeah, and people get really creative with like how they make stuff, which is what I really appreciate. And like, for me personally, I have spent a couple hours on Pinterest creating a Pinterest board of like real life, places that I love and trying to find things that I can replicate. But it's a sorry, that was my front door. But um, it's just a really cool thing. Because you can really stretch your your thinking of your creativity of how you can make stuff without like defaulting going to Etsy and just buying something because there's a whole market of people who also make all the little light furniture to and accessories, which I won't get into right now. But it's the whole thing,

Chloe Condon  41:18
right? Like to scale and like, yeah, I can only imagine, you know, the image that you showed earlier of two Barbies at a desk with a bunch of papers. Even just getting the font size, correct. Yeah, there's so many different,

April Speight  41:33
like, it's just Yes, it's and it's it's, it's a lot of it's one of those hobbies that you don't spend like 10 minutes holding, you're done. Like you can spend hours like someone did like a time lapse on YouTube a purchase, creating like a room. And I think was it three or five hours that she took just doing that one room. So I love that I love that it takes time. I love that I have a lot of time dedicated towards it, because I'm not writing books right now. And I'm not taking on anything extracurricular. So outside of like my work life, I just have a lot of free time now. And I what I think I love most about it too is that I'm doing it for fun. I don't want any like financial gain from it. Because I feel like once you add that to the mix, that's when it starts to become less fun. So I'm just doing it just to like, have it now, where will this live in my home? I don't know. You're out. I have a blank wall in front of me. And I saw someone's Instagram account recently that does these, but not Barbie, but she just makes like little like mini homes and stuff. And she has like an entire row on a wall of like little mini houses where she just goes and change them out every so often. So I might do something like that. We'll see. But I can't wait because it'll be tech theme. And it's like how many like, I know there's like, as far as I know, there's like a tech Barbie Instagram account, but like to be able to see this collective group of Barbies working together in tech. And like for me, getting black parties was super important because like growing up those were the only ones Well, not the only ones cuz I had some that were like multicultural from different parts of the world. But most of my collection were black Barbie dolls. And so I'm always feel it's important to get you know, more more minorities in tech, but now to have like this Barbie account, if you will, that depicts that in that form. And they all look different. So I'm going to start with that. And then I'll slowly start incorporating some of the other. I don't wanna say Mattel calls and racist but for lack of better terms, more racism to it as well. But I mean, right now I have six Barbie dolls. So I'm gonna play with those first. And then I'll start adding ones to the mix. So

Chloe Condon  43:44
the attention to detail on this account, like we're going to look over a Barbie shoulder and they're going to be logged into teams and have like a mini document.

Brandon Minnick  43:55
website on Azure. Yeah, and I

April Speight  44:00
want to like document it also more than just like the Barbie style account that I showed they just only show like the finished product. I think I want to do more by like actually doing like short Instagram reels, for example of like how to make certain pieces. And then of course show the final product. But I think it's one of those things where you don't need a you don't need a perfect photo to show process. You know, I mean, the only perfect photo you need is the end result. And so I like that I love that for me.

Chloe Condon  44:29
I love this comment in the chat, which I'm sure you can relate to April which is from Rob that says I played board games in VR. And I love how you can pick up virtual objects and just see all the cool intricacies. I catch the same vibe on those RV direct Yes, I think you probably kind of do that a lot in your own mixture. Yeah,

April Speight  44:48
for work. Yeah. When you're working with you all comes down to 3d modeling, which is in no way my forte I've tried it I gave up but there are Folks who you know, who do make 3d models of stuff, and you can make things very, very detailed. And so like for me coming up, what I'll be making want to try two different ways, I'm going to deal with VR, as well as an AR version with the HoloLens. And then the VR for Oculus quest up a bowling alley, and the ability to like, pick up a bowling ball, roll it and hit pins and keep score and everything. So there's not too much detail with a bowling ball, you know, or the pins, but, um, being able to create games like that, which is like typical work that I do, which is why I love what I do. But I've also done like a mixed reality, new Sam, the Smithsonian, for those of you who aren't familiar, the Smithsonian, many, many years ago, a family who donated museums, at least in the DC area, as far as I know, that said, but they're all free for the general public to go to a tip. Because if it's the Smithsonian Museum, that all these museums, but just to Sony in one's any case, they came out with a 3d collection of 3d models that are royalty free. And you can, you can use them in any projects. And so I ended up using a pair of boots from The Wiz of like, The Wiz is boots. And you can have to pick it up, there's just so much detail. And on the bottom, you can see that it's written that says The Wiz on it. And so I just love how detailed you can get when you're making 3d models. And, you know, I've also just done some VR things that just feel real, which is a like another thing like I played, if anyone out there, they're playing Ritchie's plank, it is two different versions of it, there is like, a little I mean, regardless, it's all kind of scary, depending on if you're afraid of heights. But there's a scary mode, where you end up in like this dark room. And there's like this Resident Evil Stiles zombie sort of thing, like walking towards you, and then it runs towards you. And so like, That felt real because you're in the dark, and you kind of forget that you're like you're in VR, but I went on a tangent there. But it's also while working in an area where I work because you can really escape from what's happening around you. And this year, I'll be doing more with VR. So if anyone's working in that area, firstly, if you're a beginner, and you want to learn more of how to develop for VR, I will be your go to as we're heading into this new year at work. So yeah, we got that going on soon.

Chloe Condon  47:36
I just love the idea of making an indoor bowling alley in your home more accessible because growing up in 90s television, very like I'm thinking like, first kid, blank check. Catch dry, but even though that was like not their house, yeah, I feel like now we can. It's almost like open sourcing bowling alleys for homes. I love that. Yeah, free a free bowling alley in every home.

April Speight  48:03
Which by the way, whenever I do create projects for work, I always posted in a repo on GitHub, because I there's nothing I can do with it beyond make it but I always post these things. So for people who are watching content that I do, because I always did my YouTube videos like actual like super thorough walkthrough. You know, once it's posted, go take it, go do whatever with the code that you want, if you decide to turn it into like an award winning game app, and by all means, like, go do that. I do it to help folks who, you know, who need that start somewhere. And that's why I really love about the work that I do. Because for me, I do a lot more with beginners. And so I like being able to provide that foundation for them to get started with whatever area of xR that they're working in. And I'm happy when I know people are actually watching the content or reading the content and actually using it that makes me most happy. And if I can do that, and you're satisfied with it, great if you get the beat, honestly just going through it even if you don't like it. So you have to know that you've gone through a tutorial and you ran into a problem, or at least lets me know that you actually went through the tutorial and people are actually, you know, looking at the stuff that I put out into the world, but hopefully you don't run into issues. So yeah, that's my philosophy on the work that I do.

Brandon Minnick  49:23
Now, there is a new movie coming out that you've had some partnership with. Yes. Can we talk about that? Yeah. Because Are we allowed to talk about the movies. But the work I did is out? Yes. Tell us about that. But yeah,

April Speight  49:46
Space Jam to you like to see. And Microsoft did a collaboration with Warner Brothers for the movie. There were learned modules that were created and one of the modules that I contributed to wasn't mixed reality app of a player roster for the tune squat characters. And so essentially, if you have one I did mine for HoloLens you have on the HoloLens. When you start the app, you can see all the players in like squares. And then if you were to select like Elmer Fudd, for example, it would show his stats. And the one stat that we use in the example is the player efficiency rating, which pretty much depicts how good the player is. And so you can tap it, see it, you can close it. And the whole purpose was to explore different features of that mixed reality toolkit, which is a toolkit that I primarily use in my work, it helps us celebrate your mixed reality development. And just a lot of features include it where if you're familiar with Unity, the engine, UK, it's kind of almost like, not drag and drop this, that pipe necessarily drag and drop, but you can just add the components from the mixed reality toolkit saves a lot of time that start from scratch. So like from my project, we use a lot of buttons. And so you know, it's one thing to create a button from scratch, which you can totally do, or you can use like pre made buttons, I demonstrated both actually in the Learn module. So that way, you can learn how to do from scratch and also how to use the ones that prefabs that are included. And so that's the collaboration that we did. And that project Oh, my goodness. So what I created learning lesson is to make sure that you can actually thoroughly create what you say you want to do before committing to it. Because the idea came from an existing app. And I quickly realized that it didn't do 100% what I wanted to do, and I had to create a much more simpler version, or I guess, more approachable version of creating from scratch. And I did some pair programming with one of the developers over the mixed reality team to solve some issues. It's I think we took like, two or three days just to pair program, we didn't quite find a resolution. And then one day I sat there, I went through every line of code in the scripts that I had available from the original project. And lo Behold, I figured it out. And so you know, like when you figure out an issue, when you're programming, you feel like the smartest person in the world at that point. And that's how I felt. And of course, like no, no one was around to know, because that's how it always is. But that was a nice lesson learned. So yeah, I finished it though. It's on Microsoft learn. If you happen to be on learning or browsing through the catalog, if you type in Space Jam on that's going to docs on microsoft.com slash learn if you search for Space Jam, there's a learning path available on there. And two other folks, Sarah couples, Dr. duffles, she led everything so she also created learn modules as well for for the collaboration. And then Cassie, I don't want to mess up her last name. Is it break you review? Yes. She also contributed she did a a Babylon JS version of what I created. So if working with web is more your thing, you can check out her version of the Learn module. It's within that learning path. And yeah, that's that's what I've worked on recently. And I love it.

Chloe Condon  53:21
I have an exclusive announcement starting in August, myself and ornella will be walking through a caceis module reactor. So I'm going to learn all about basketball y'all. Pe player er, er. Yeah. Well, did you ever think in million years April that first of all, you'd be working in tech. And second of all, that you'd be like moving around a Lola bunny with your hands and your code? Like was that ever anything in your line of sight when choosing your college major your career?

April Speight  53:59
Not in the least bit and like I went to college? Well, I'm with college for a lot of things. But the major that I ended up with at the end of the day was global business and public policy, which is a fancy title for international business. And then, for grad school, I got my master's in luxury and fashion management. So neither tech related. And I feel Honestly, I actually use both degrees in my job now. And so even though I do a lot of creating tutorial content and apps, at the end of the day, because like we have like jobs where there is like an actual outcome and goals that we need to meet. I'm very business oriented. And so understanding how to strategize around the work that I do and then helping out our team and the work that we do. That's for that business background comes comes into play. And then when you're doing business, there's also the marketing side of stuff as well. So amplify whatever it is that you create in our case, and then for the fashion back record and fashion Management background, we had an entire course that we like dedicated to Adobe Creative Suite. And so knowing how to use those different products and tools is really helpful understanding the design process too, because for the area where I work, and like really all the areas that we work in tech, where there's a visual component to it, you really have to understand the designing principles around it. And so understanding color and things of that nature. It's very important in my role, so even though my even though my degree isn't necessarily computer science, I still use both for my degrees in my job, and it's a matter of finding transferable skills and applying them to the job that I have.

Chloe Condon  55:41
I just can't get over. One at the beginning of this episode, you mentioned that you could move a shirt a couple inches to the right and no off the shelf. I can't get over how translatable that is to building Yeah, like yeah, truly, it's a matter of like changing a button color moving it or making it more accessible or within your, your frame of view. I can only imagine how many times this has just popped up throughout your tech where like, Oh, that's nifty.

April Speight  56:10
Yeah, pretty much. So yeah, I know, for those of you who are either starting out, or you're considering transitioning, just really think about the skills you do have. And honestly, sometimes you might not have the skills that you need heading to the next, your next step. And like for me, I'm heading into mixed reality. I didn't do anything mixed reality. I mean, I had to learn a whole new programming language, I had to learn C sharp, so you might not have everything, but it's really great to, you know, to use what you do have and then recognize where what might be your weaknesses and do all that you can to strengthen them. Also, I love to have let people know this. The I know that the case for every job that you might walk into or go into. But you don't have to know everything. You don't have to be an expert in a certain area. Like literally in two weeks, I'm spending most of my time only doing VR content, like learning VR stuff. And that's it. So there's opportunities to learn on the job and don't feel like you can't apply until you're like expert level in the area there there will be times to still learn new things.

Brandon Minnick  57:19
Such a good message. And and also Yeah, just like you said earlier, your, your degree doesn't define you or your lack of degree doesn't define you just because you graduated with a four year degree or two year degree or didn't even do it doesn't mean you can't get into new things and learn new things. And I'd say if anything April taught us today is just we can learn anything we put our mind to. We're always learning we're always evolving. It's just been such an amazing, amazing conversation. April I'm so inspired. For we only have a couple minutes left. Unfortunately, this has been an amazing conversation. But for the people at home where where can they find you? Where can they follow more of April's wisdom?

April Speight  58:04
Yes, you can follow me on twitter at vogon code. We do have it here in this conversation but for those of you who are listening vlg Ue a and d c od e that's also my Instagram account and that's likely where I'll let folks know when this Barbie Instagram account exists. And so you could check me out cater Yes, and yeah my website building code comm that's where I have my contact information if you have any questions and it's info at Bowden code comm so that's where you can find me. And if you happen to be in LA you can likely find me outside somewhere probably over a roadeo since I live very close, so

Chloe Condon  58:52
I really cannot wait to visit you go to Cheesecake Factory. It's been way too long since I've given bread. Yeah. Brandon close out the show because there's a helicopter outside my window. And there's like cops outside mine. So

Brandon Minnick  59:09
hopefully everybody stay safe. But thank you everyone for Joanie, get a joining us again this week. I'm your host Brandon Minnick with Chloe content and April Speight. Please visit us next week. We'll be here at the same time. Make sure to go to a pitstop TV to subscribe to the podcast. Give us a rating five stars, leave a great review help other people find it and we will see you next week. Bye

Transcribed by https://otter.ai