• EncodeTalent

Interview with Scott Cabot - Featured presenter at Front End ADL, 15 October 2020

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

By Simon Cook

Scott and I last spoke "on the record" back in November 2019 when he was preparing to present at the rebooted DDD Adelaide. (You can read that interview HERE)

Nearly 12 months on and it's fair to say a bit has changed for us all.

Since then Scott has been promoted, has gotten ridiculously healthy (I'm not jealous, really....), has nailed ALL of his side projects and is as passionate as ever about the Adelaide tech scene.

On Thursday 15 October 2020 he will be presenting at the FrontendADL October (Virtual) Lightning Talks - proudly hosted by the team at FrontendADL Dan Harris, Shane Smith and Mat Pigram.

In this interview, Scott introduces his talk, tells us why tech in Adelaide is as strong as ever - and even answers his own question....

Can you tell the FrontendADL community a bit about yourself?

My name is Scott and I am a Full Stack developer working in South Australia. I currently work for a boutique IT company augmenting teams with my skills, mostly as a developer.

I love highly interactive and engaging products like games, and this was where I started my career. I even still make them in my spare time. If you haven’t played the micro walking simulator I released earlier this year, called Hope, I’d love to hear your feedback. It only takes 5 minutes to play and was a very personal journey for me to create. https://iamscottcab.itch.io/hope-the-game

However, I have found as I have expanded my horizons and tried languages and eco systems (some I was extremely critical of in the past) that I’m enjoying myself and finding new and inspiring ways to be creative despite working on games disparately.

What is the title of your talk?

Loading Objects in three.js: It’s threasier than you think.

What is it about?

Three.js is a fantastic library for rendering 3D content on the web. However, it can be a little daunting jumping from the quick start example code to something that will both be scalable for you longer term and get you doing the fun (hint: creative) stuff sooner.

While we are seeing other abstractions over this framework simplify this process, such as with React Three Fiber, a basic understanding of the fundamentals makes it easier to understand those abstractions as well.

In this demo I show some (slightly tweaked) example code, propose a simple pipeline for getting your 3D models in the browser and finalise with what can be achieved using models available online. Some of them free in the case of this talk.

Who do you recommend logs onto this talk?

Anyone curious about rendering 3D in the web. Given this is a lightning style talk it will be fairly high level. My target audiences are:

·      Artists who might be keen to jump in and try some coding.

·      Beginner to intermediate JavaScript developers who feel comfortable in code but might not know where to start with 3D.

How would your family describe what you do for work?

It depends on the family member, I guess! My wife gets regaled with the joy or frustration or wrestling with a particular coding problem or paradigm, so I think she appreciates what goes into being a developer.

The rest of my family don’t really know what to tell others I normally just get introduced as the person that “writes computer code”.

To my peers and younger relatives, I often explain the process like designing, and subsequently building, a complicated piece of IKEA furniture. Except that the furniture is invisible and will need to take on more roles than what the user originally bought it for. It seems like a straight forward process. If you know how to design something, and equally can put something together then whether that item is visible or not shouldn’t make much difference. There is something about the intangible nature of code however that makes these things much harder (and more expensive) in practice than people take for granted.

What impact has COVID19 had on your working life?

In a somewhat selfish way, it’s had a positive impact on my work life. Of course, there is still unease about what the future holds for all of us personally and professionally but in Adelaide we have been fortunate to be in a relatively low impact pocket of the world.

As with many companies we moved to a work from home arrangement. The arrangement has meant the team spends more time and effort in comradery and closeness than in a time where it was easier for us all to take each other for granted. Team meetings often end in colleagues sharing small wins, personal or professional, and it feels much more like family than ever.

As we slowly transition into the office for work that cannot be conducted elsewhere, I’ve found that having time at home makes it easier for me to initiate quiet hours. I can turn off Slack, my email, my virtual meetings and engage in deep focus, which for a developer can sometimes be rare in the office.

What changes that have come from COVID do you intend on 'holiding onto' after we return to normal?

A renewed focus on mental and physical health. I’d never intentionally neglected it but getting caught up in an industry I loved led me to focus time and energy on things other than myself. That change to looking after myself has led to more successful out of work ventures, like these talks, my website, my contribution to open source or being involved in meet ups. I do it now because I want to and because, quite frankly, I have both the time and energy.

But more than that a focus on the personal has deepened my connection with family which is something I suspect I will look back on in the future as a decision well made.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing to improve the life of software developers, what would it be?

To be able to solve any problem domain with the programming language with which they are the most proficient.

Can you describe the Adelaide tech scene in 5 words or less?

A burgeoning cottage industry.

I mean this in a good way and mostly directed at the meet up scene here. Everything still feels home-grown in a good way but something that is highly professional and growing into something more than just the efforts and passions of a small percentage of the community here in Adelaide.

What is one question I should have asked to make this an even more interesting interview?

Would you rather be the funniest person in the room or the most intelligent?

And how would you answer that question?

I think I would rather be the funniest person in the room. I don't have to use my super power if I don't want to but it always gives me the chance to learn something new.

I find the best way I connect with someone new at a Meetup is to learn something from them so I'd hate to lose that opportunity.

Thanks Scott, good to speak with you again.

Sign up for this free event - hosted virtually on Thursday 15 October 2020 - now at bit.ly/frontendADL

This event is proudly sponsored by the team at Encode Talent

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