Last year at triconf I ended up getting nominated to give two talks. One was to be on using vim as an ide, and the other was to be on the idea that catlady is a gender neutral term. These were both obviously slightly tongue in cheek, so I dediced to combine them. What follows is the transcript. The arrows indicated which keys to hit, and when, to move to the next slide (and when to go blank by hitting (b)). You can view the slide deck here. What follows is the talk, as originally found in the .rtf file I used for my notes. I haven't prettied it up any, but that's life I guess.

The talk

Hello everyone, welcome to my talk, it's titled :wq or vim as an ide and cat lady is gender neutral and other cat stuff→

First off let me introduce myself → I'm Gar → (view picture)→Hi→During the day I write software for andyet. But that's not all there is to me→

I also make cat videos on the internet. They are not funny or interesting but people watch them anyways.→No really, let's watch one of my more popular ones.→

I also like to sing, especially in the car. I am not that good but I make people listen to my anyways. Like right now→Just kidding.→I was nominated for a talk→For some talks→

One was about using vim as an ide. vim, in case you don't know, is a text editor. It's used for editing text files. A lot of people, me included, use vim for editing software.↓

But not as an ide (integrated development environment). ide's are terrible. Don't use an ide use an editor. Just spend enough time in a good editor and you'll be good at using it, that's all there is too it. Your editor is only as good as you are, and an IDE really is a crutch that will eventually hinder you from getting any better.→

Anyways. The other talk I was nominated for was 'cat lady is gender neutral and other cat stuff'. Other than the fact that I have said "Cat lady is a gender neutral term" (and I stand by that point), I have no idea what that talk is. Especially since I feel that comment is self-explanatory. Maybe the organizers of this conference decided that since neither subject got enough votes to warrant a talk, they'd combine them. I guess combined they got the requisite votes. I cannot refute their logic.

Therefore → These two topics are actually totally related.↓So, first things first. Some of you may be here to learn something about vim. I don't want to disappoint you totally so here is a protip straight from me↓

Use % to move the cursor to a matching block.↓Basically this↓Some of you may have actually come to hear about cat things. Here is a cat fact.↓Some cats like ice cream.↓See?→

Ok back to my talk, which was:→:wq or vim as an IDE→and→Cat lady is gender neutral and other cat stuff→

So now I'm thinking what the heck? And of course since that phrase is on a t-shirt I see half a dozen times every week at work it makes me think.→What the heck, why not? I can do this talk.

Thinking about this over the last few days I think I figured out why these got nominated.→I use vim to edit everything.→I am very vocal about it→I also really like cats→And I'm very vocal about that→

Obviously this talk is just about me and what I like→So naturally now I'm thinking. What the heck does this say about me?→I have no idea.→Ok I actually do have an idea.→It means I really know who I am. Like there isn't really any gray area here. I don't kind of use vim or kind of like cats. And what's more→

Other people know who I am. Not in like a fame or notoriety sense, but in a real sense. They know things about me that define me. In fact if you were nominated for a talk the same goes for you. (elaborate? lifting?) So how many people who didn't know me before feel like they at least know something about me to the point where we could talk about it? That's important. It's important for people to know who they are and have a little bit of confidence about that. Confidence is good, right? It's also important for people to know each other too. The more I know about you the closer I am to you. And being close to other people is REALLY good, right?→

Right.→So. This talk is not going to be about vim or cats.→Sorry. Actually…→I'm not sorry. In fact, my wife says that if she were asked to pick one word to describe me it would be 'unapologetic'. With that in mind here's my first real piece of advice tonight→

Never apologize for who you are. Now, real quick, there's an important distinction here. Who you are is not the same thing as what you do, because→

You should TOTALLY apologize for what you do. I actually do think that other people can only know you by your actions, and what do do defines you. But it's not who you are right? That was a digression, back to my point→

Never apologize for who you are.

The first step to never apologizing for who you are is→to know who you are. That's the easy one I hope. Most people have a general idea of what they like right?→

The next step is owning who you are. This is called confidence. That's important.→

So I now present to you Gar's handy guide to self confidence.→about things you know and like→so you can talk to other people about them→in the interest of world peace→

Now normally when you think of self confidence it's all about being positive. What they usually don't tell you is WHY to be positive. So what this really should be called is→

Gar's handy guide to knowing when you're right about something→and knowing when you're not→and when it doesn't matter.

Step 1→Know enough to be confident about it. I've used ViM long enough and learned how to use it to the point where I am rather confident when I say it is the best editor out there and everyone should be using it. I've owned cats enough to know that they are the superior pet out of all domesticated animals and everyone should have one or two dozen. I also think for example that regular expressions (for those of you who know what those are) are a last resort and typically indicate a failure somewhere in your code design. I think everyone in this room should be weight lifting, like actual barbells and dumbbells and moving heavy things. I don't like onions. You may not know that about me.→

Next, know enough to recognize if it even matters.→

Most things don't. What works for you may not work for others. This is actually really really important. It's important for you not only know for yourself, but to be able to communicate this to others. So many things in life boil down to "This is really interesting and important to me but I can totally see how you don't even care" That's great. Remember, this is about being yourself not somebody else.→

Next, know enough to be undecided about it. It goes to reason that if it's something that you care about and someone else doesn't. It's possible it just doesn't matter. It's also possible it totally matters and you should absolutely spend the energy to convince them of your point of view but, let's be honest, that's probably rarely the case. This brings me to my next point→

Know when you're wrong. Now, I am going to go ahead and just get this out there right now→

I'm TERRIBLE at this. That doesn't mean it's not important and it's something I struggle with, because it's important. If you'll follow the path here we can easily go from something we are confident about to something we don't care about to being flat out wrong about something. Did we lose the plot? NO! If you are wrong about something that simply means you NOW know what's right. So you can happily go straight back to being confident about it. Because you're right!→

So, a quick recap. If it's important you can be wrong about it, but then you get to be right again. If it's not important you can't ever really be wrong about it but nobody really cares. Now you're confident enough to know who you are, what you like, and never apologize. Hey we're really getting somewhere eh? There's just one problem.→

Other people exist. Don't get me wrong, it's great that now you are confident enough in yourself that you are able to express it and everyone knows lots about you and they can totally engage you on many topics you care about. But it's entirely possible THEY also have things they care about and that define them deeply as a person. I know, crazy right? As important as it is to know who you are and never apologize. It's even MORE important to know who other people are and never ask them to apologize. Remember how good you feel when, say, you are at work and telling all your coworkers about your cat and it's great cause you really love your cat and love to talk about her and share videos and pictures and, well, it just makes you happy to be expressing such a big part of yourself? Me too. Imagine how great others feel when you let them do the same.→

Yeah basically just listen to them→Maybe listen to them like you'd wish they listened to you? Wow that sounds corny. BUT IT'S TOTALLY TRUE RIGHT?


Think about it for a moment. You're doing all the work for them and you are both better for it. You're making it easy for them to know about you, and you are also making it easy for them to be themselves. Trust me it doesn't matter how inane the thing is, if you remember something about someone it's going to bring you closer to them. So, do the work for both of you, it's worth it.

So now look where we are. Humanity is closer to each other, people are free to express who they are and what they think with confidence,(b) all because of→

:wq or vim as an ide and cat lady is gender neutral and other cat stuff. Thank you→

Here is my info if you wanna email me and tell me your favorite text editor or breed of cat. Also if you want to check out videos of my cat go to It's a great site and if you don't believe me→Here's a quote