In the bustling world of software engineering where lines of code and intricate algorithms often take center stage, there’s a day that stands out as a vibrant oasis of knowledge, passion, and boundless curiosity. Welcome to Chariot Day, a tradition at Chariot Solutions where our talented employees have the opportunity to shine a spotlight on their chosen subjects, whether they relate to the world of coding or venture far beyond its boundaries. It’s a day when the reins of innovation are handed over to our team members, and the result is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Our day began with a breakfast spread along with our yearly Chariot Day t-shirt (a personal favorite of mine).
This year’s shirt was a riff on Liquid Death water, but some ‘vintage’ shirts were available to grab as well.
The first presentation of the day was on using Nix as a development environment and package manager. I was amazed about how powerful that can be, especially when coming from an unmaintained environment — the comparison between Nix and Homebrew was very informative. Next was a presentation on the power of iterative design and development through the context of (and I’m being absolutely honest here) a mechanical head from a CPR dummy. The demonstration showed how iterative design encouraged learning and experimentation, and also ended up as a fun Halloween decoration!
The morning session concluded with a review of retrieval augmented generation against our repository of engagement summaries. This type of process uses vector databases and LLMs against another datasource to look up data, which could be something very useful in the near future. The presentation highlighted that an implementation today has room for improvement (where setup is not as straightforward as you would be led to believe), but it’s one to keep an eye on.
Following lunch from Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and a signature Chariot cocktail made with habanero simple syrup (extra spicy!), the next presentation was a review of a current JVM bug that has been an issue since JDK 9 and maybe even earlier. It was fascinating to see just how impactful this bug was across many different use-cases and the breadth of knowledge on the team when reviewing potential solutions.
After that presentation, it was time to learn about how rebasing in Git doesn’t have to be a terrifying thing. I personally found this talk to be incredibly informative as I’ve struggled with rebasing on multiple occasions, and the strategies shown will most definitely help me in the future.
The last presentation on the day was actually more of a discussion between an engineer, Amazon Alexa, and ChatGPT about an internal project. I certainly learned from that conversation that Alexa and ChatGPT could talk for days about anything! Our day concluded with a new segment for this year: Hot Take Town (a.k.a. Lightning Talks). In this segment, anyone was able to come up and bring up any topic they wanted to discuss. We went from a review of Amazon Textract and CodeGuru to a conversation about whether Java should create a “lean” JDK that drops the legacy components (e.g. java.util.Calendar).
Shout out to the Chariot Day organizers (Gina Rappaport, Will Vuong, and Dan Boykis), and all our consultants who spoke and attended.
After another successful Chariot Day, I’m once again in awe of the wide array of skills and experience demonstrated by our team. I always come away impressed and with some new ideas and topics to research. Chariot Day 2023 was certainly no exception. I can’t wait to see what 2024 brings to the table!