14 May 2014 Maria Tzeka

Node.js is going to take over the world (and other lessons learned at EmpireJS 2014)

I’m a big fan of New York City and a big fan of developer conferences, so when I bumped into EmpireJS 2014, I thought, why not? EmpireJS 2012 looked great, and when I asked around I heard nothing but great things.

Jenn Schiffer started things off proper at 9am Monday morning on the topic of Sorting Algorithms, right after we finished enjoying the wonderful breakfast which included bacon hand-cooked by developers*. Not only did I learn there is a pocket of YouTube dedicated to the visualization of sort algorithms, but it was a pleasant reminder of the basic must-know Computer Science principles that can be applied behind any programming language.

I write node code daily here at MarkITx for our back-end, but who would of thought you could use it to run a robot? Or to generate animations in Photoshop? It was a blast witnessing Rick Waldon's robots working out and flexing their muscles, and watch Vince Allen’s creative process with Pixel Art and Javascript. It was also inspiring to listen through jQuery’s creator John Resig’s process of building and all the other mini projects that came out of it. Not to mention Ben Newman's talk on the future of ECMAScript was super insightful.

All 24 talks were equally fantastic and was very sad when Tuesday hit 6pm and they were all over. The EmpireJS team has also been kind enough to make all talks available online for everyone to view at their leisure (you must watch all of them).

If there are any conclusions I’ve reached they are: 1) Node.js is going to take over the world, 2) write code outside of work everyday, 3) attend EmpireJS 2015.

*true statement

05 May 2014 Sarah Argue

Cinco de Banana: Let the Competition Begin

Between the Blackhawks playoffs, Derby weekend and our current Fantasy Sales contest, the spirit of competition is at an all-time high in the office right now.

Trash is being talked. Trifecas are being won. And the Trade Desk has enlisted the entire company’s help to reach IT pros from Chicago’s top companies.

If you are a Chicago company with used IT gear to buy or sell, we’re looking to help you squeeze as much value from your data center gear as possible. Tour the Exchange to learn more how the process works or hit us up at

Thus far, results of all contests have been impressive. Chicago is 2-0 in its playoff series against the Minnesota Wild (after putting the hurt on the St. Louis Blues - sorry Julius). Team Kurt scored the Top Banana award for the most sales activity last week (accompanied by Rich’s impressive trash-talking skill on the message boards). As we kick off this Day of the Battle of Puebla and the week to follow, we expect things will only get spicier. Please pass the habanero salsa!

30 April 2014 Maria Tzeka

Summer of JavaScript with Girl Develop It and Me

Ever wanted to learn to code, but just haven’t found the right class? Have you been thinking about expanding your programming skill set, but have been nervous to try? I can help!

Beginning June 9th, I’ll be teaching a Summer of JavaScript: JS101, Intro to JavaScript. This is four-week series from Girl Develop IT that will take place on Mondays June 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 6-8:30pm.

Girl Develop It is an international non-profit that exists to provide affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction.

This workshop is targeted at beginners to programming. JavaScript is the programming language that makes web pages interactive, and is now used these days to make servers, robots, and pretty much all the apps you’ve grown to love. That makes it one of the most useful first languages to learn if you’re just getting started and particularly if you have an interest in web development (just like me!)

The cost of the course is $100* and classes will be held over at Dev Bootcamp, 351 W Hubbard, 7th floor. I hope you’ll consider signing up.

Space is filling up fast so head over to our Meetup page and RSVP for this 4-week course today!

*A limited number of scholarships are available for those with a financial hardship. Please contact me to learn more.