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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Osterhout Free Library, Wilkes-Barre, PA – January 2017

Published: June 16, 2017

Attending the Wilkes-Barre Programming meetup

Osterhout Free Public Library

On Saturday I braved the frigid temperatures and attended a Wilkes-Barre Programming meetup at the Osterhout Free Library in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

I arrived a few minutes late – it was Saturday so of course I had to make myself some breakfast, enjoy my coffee, watch a little YouTube prior to getting out in the elements – and then I couldn’t find the room the meetup was in at the library. Once I found the group there was already 6 attendees and they were over an hour into their programming.

One of the attendees proposed a problem to be solved; convert a number into a Roman numeral using Python. I have little-to-no Python experience, and unfortunately not much was discussed at this meetup regarding the language (since it wasn’t for beginners) but I decided to try my hand at solving this problem in JavaScript. Here is my attempt (though incomplete). It can do the thousands and hundreds. I’d need a little more time to do the tens and singles but I ran out of time at the group.

I was happy to see this small group meeting in Wilkes-Barre. Some of the attendees mentioned they’d be visiting the #nepaJS meetup happening on Tuesday, which would be great. We need a lot more of these smaller groups and we need them all to be connected to the larger NEPA Tech group. In larger metropolitan areas these smaller groups would be hundreds strong and so consolidation wouldn’t be needed. We don’t have that here. So we need as much effort to be consolidated as possible. These small groups are where skills are honed, where partnerships and companies can be formed, where careers are forged. If you are someone that works in technology please consider joining one of these smaller groups. Even if you aren’t into programming. As they grow I’m sure they will end up fragmenting into more specific groups for the areas you’re interested in. The more support the better.

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Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA – November 2016

Published: November 22, 2016

Attending Cropped! a rebranding competition

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Last night I attended an event created by AAF NEPA to help a non-profit organization rebrand. The idea was simple; create a few teams of branding professionals from local agencies and have them compete to create the best ideas and solutions to rebranding a local non-profit company.

I’ll leave the details of the competition to the event page itself. But I thought I’d take a second to discuss how rebrands are about problem solving and how this event demonstrated that perfectly.

Branding is an exercise in getting a company’s culture, message, and purpose demonstrated and communicated through every single thing the company does. I know it has been said a million times but it worth reiterating that branding is not a logo. Branding permeates a company’s activities from the way they answer the phone to how easy it is to unsubscribe to their monthly email newsletters. I was happy to see that everyone at Cropped! knew exactly what branding was.

Rebranding, on the other hand, is about solving problems. When a company decides it needs to rebrand itself there are generally reasons for doing so. Perhaps the overall aesthetic of the company feels dated or, as was the case with the EOTC (the non-profit that was part of this competition), the company’s purpose was being mis-communicated through it’s brand messaging.

This is when the company’s honesty about itself really needs to shine. What do people really think we are? How do they feel when they interact with our products or services or employees? Why do they think that? Why do they feel that? And so on.

I thought it was excellent that the competition began immediately by acknowledging the weaknesses of the EOTC’s current brand and laid them all out in front of the contestants so that they could begin to break them down and work through them one-by-one. That’s when the solutions to these issues became clearer and clearer. Certain colors were off-limits, specific branding icons weren’t to be used. This helps the teams to avoid the same traps that the previous EOTC brand team (if there was one) fell into.

Overall it was a cool event in a cool space and well worth getting out in the cold windy evening for. The THINK Center, where the event was held, was a great space in downtown Wilkes-Barre. If you have a chance to attend an event here it is worth checking it out for the gear alone.

SAGE Awards winners

NEPA Scene:

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of the 2016 SAGE Awards, the Scranton Awards for Growth and Excellence that honor outstanding local businesses for their talent, creativity, and innovation. The winner of each award category was publicly announced at the Chamber Gala on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at The Theater at North in Scranton.

I was able to attend the SAGE Awards this year. The Theater at North is a great space. They did an amazing job refurbishing it. Everyone seemed to have a great time and those striving to help make the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area better in their own way were deservedly acknowledged.

Oh, to the lady behind the bar with the handsome pour, I thank you.

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InterMetro offices, Wilkes-Barre, PA – October 2016

Published: November 8, 2016

Franklin’s in downtown Wilkes-Barre

 

Yesterday we had a client meeting in Wilkes-Barre and so we decided to grab lunch downtown just before it. Our intent was to visit Maer’s BBQ but, to our surprise, it was and has been closed for a while.

However, we found Franklin’s. Nice atmosphere, good food, and decent beer selection on draught. So if you’re downtown stop in and try to support them.

Inexplicably Franklin’s doesn’t have a web site (if you own Franklins and you are reading this, email me) so I’ll leave their address right here:

53 Public Square
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Side note: Looks like April on Yelp didn’t like it.