Welcoming ideas for my @GeekyByNature talk

Later this month I’m presenting at Geeky By Nature. Just to give you an idea of the contextual brain power, the schedule includes Brendan Hall, Joshua Davis, Andre Michelle, Sir Keith Peters, Grant Skinner, Jared Tarbell, Lisa Larson-Kelley, Joe Ebert, Hillman Curtis, Gmunk, Robert Hodgin, Paula Scher, Alan Klement, Jer Throp, Rich Shupe, Joel Gethin Lews and Joshua Hirsch. Ever heard of Perlin Noise? The inventor of that, Ken Perlin, is also presenting.

Inspired by the collection of speakers and name of the conference, I’ve been piecing together a brand new presentation called “APIs For Life, Music And Wiffleball“. The gist of my talk is to get you thinking about APIs we use everyday OUTSIDE of computers, coding and software. If you just said “huh?”, then great! I’ve worked on 3 major coding platforms over the past 7 years — not to mention working with staple languages and technologies. I believe that a great API, the pure unlocking of functionality in a device, application or service, comes from understanding how we need to work with it.

So in this exploration, I’ve examined many things and recognized more natural and organic APIs in music, within ourselves, and in our interaction with each other. Things like:

How does your brain know you’ve had enough to eat? Your stomach has an API, and your brain polls it frequently to see if it’s full. However, there are performance factors like the speed at which you eat, the appealing flavor of the food, and the time you have to complete your meal that affect this ‘polling’. And even when your stomach is actually full, your brain may resist reporting that information to you. Stomach.addEventListener(“FOOD_EATEN”, checkIfFull);

How about looking at yourself as a husband or wife, and considering the ‘commands’ you use between you and your spouse/partner? If I were to generate documentation on myself as an object to my wife, it might look like: Chuck.helpWithDishes(); Chuck.putKidsToBed(); Chuck.haveASafeFlight()… you get the idea.

There are also APIs when looking at things like art and music. Like coding, we don’t simply follow instructions. Instead, by learning how instruments work, we creatively command the instrument to do things in our own way. So when I play the piano, I am saying: Piano.playChord(“C”, “E”, “G”); Piano.addEventListener(“SUSTAIN_PEDDLE_HELD”, holdNotes);

So now that you hopefully understand the method(s) to my approach here, I’d like to welcome your ideas! In the comments below, tell me what APIs you recognize in every day things that you interact with outside of code, computers and software. If I include your suggestion, I’ll be sure to give you credit. I look forward to sharing my presentation after I give it. Certainly, if you can make it to NYC later this month (March 31 – April 1), amazingly tickets to this event are still available: http://www.geekybynature.com/tickets/