In the course of my work and my online reading and research, I often come across videos of talks that I want to watch. I rarely take the time to watch those videos, mostly because of the time commitment; I usually only have a few minutes to spare.

Lately, I’ve done something to change that. I’m taking a little bit of time out of my Friday schedule each week to watch a talk that looks interesting. I also try and focus on the talk. Rather than checking my email or chatting while the talk is playing, I take notes, sometimes including screenshots of important slides.

Over the course of the past month, I’ve had some success with this strategy, and I was able to watch three talks. Here are links to my notes:

  • Using Datomic With Riak - I picked this talk because we’ve used a bit of Riak at work and a buddy of mine keeps raving about Datomic. This talk is actually a great overview of the philosophy and design behind Datomic.
  • Raft - the Understandable Distributed Protocol - CoreOS’s etcd has been getting some mention lately, and Raft is the consensus algorithm used to keep all of its data consistent. At the end of watching this talk, I found another one (by one of the Raft authors), and it balanced the practicality of the first with some more of the theory.
  • React - Rethinking Best Practices - The functional programming paradigm is gathering steam, and Facebook’s React JavaScript library is a fascinating take on building modern web UIs in a functional manner.

I really enjoyed the process of taking notes in this way, and I hope to continue this as the year progresses.

Oh, and if you know of a good talk, please let me know on twitter.