I am Suz Hinton. Ask me anything.

Suz Hinton (aka noopkat) is a popular open source coder and speaker from Microsoft. She has been coding LIVE on Twitch for over 2 years now. She's a regular contributor to the open source Node.js electronics scene, and enjoys teaching others how to immerse themselves in the nerdiverse. Grab this opportunity to ask her anything programming.

Ask Suz Hinton about:

  • Open source hardware integration
  • Node.js electronics
  • JavaScript
  • TypeScript
  • Working at Microsoft
  • Getting started with programming
  • more…

Hello! 👋🏻

I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful and interesting questions. I hope I answered them well and look forward to continuing the discussions here on Hashnode.

I hope you have a wonderful week 💙

Comments (47)

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Jenn Wilde's photo

Have you had to deal with people being a butthole to you while you stream? If so, how have you handled it?

Suz Hinton's photo

Node hardware developer, web + cloud enthusiast, and accessibility advocate

Jenn I love this question so much, thanks for asking.

I have had some mild 'buttholes' for sure, but nothing too nasty so far which has been surprising. Most buttholes have one of three agendas on my stream:

  1. Expressing disdain that I'm writing JavaScript (lol)

  2. Expressing distain when I'm working on an older library that doesn't use ES2015+ syntax (even bigger lol)

  3. Taking a bit too much liberty in commenting on / complimenting my appearance

This normally occurs in the chat, so I can suspend or ban anyone who is being toxic or won't adhere to the rules (I have a code of conduct / chat rules folks need to agree to).

Sometimes people will make fake accounts with slurs in them and will follow my channel, which pops up a big banner on my stream. This is an advanced trolling technique and quite rare these days due to better moderation tools from Twitch. I've also made changes to my stream to ensure this isn't something they can exploit so easily.

Honestly the way I handle it is to have good people as moderators in my chat, to not hesitate in banning buttholes swiftly and without giving them attention, and to foster a loyal and compassionate community who will help govern good inclusivity and positivity. My community of viewers are wonderful and I am so thankful that they help me keep everything butthole free 99% of the time.

Linda Campbell's photo

Node.js + electronics — what's the status in 2018? Is it an interesting field to pursue?

Suz Hinton's photo

Node hardware developer, web + cloud enthusiast, and accessibility advocate

Hi Linda!

With WebUSB on the way, I think what we're going to see a lot more JavaScript and hardware in browsers rather than just within a NodeJS context which is really exciting.

NodeJS is still a highly relevant context for IoT in particular - there are a lot of IoT libraries for things like MQTT, streaming analysis etc. What I think we're going to see more of is Linux based devices on 'the edge' - that is, a slightly higher powered device acting as the gateway for on-site devices. This gateway can run NodeJS 'modules' to aggregate data, implement threshold gates, and perform general processing on data before the multi-device telemetry is sent to the cloud. This edge device can also handle challenges such as offline scenarios. The asynchronous nature of JavaScript and NodeJS can lend itself very well to these scenarios of telemetry events.

Jim Stewart's photo

Hey Suz 👋, Do you like pineapple on Pizza?

Suz Hinton's photo

Node hardware developer, web + cloud enthusiast, and accessibility advocate

I do! I'm vegetarian so I'm always looking for a variety of meat alternatives on my pizza. My favourite pizza growing up as a kid was the 'hawaiian' which in Australia has red sauce, cheese, ham and pineapple as toppings. I wasn't alone - the Hawaiian was the most popular pizza in Australia in 1999, accounting for 15% of pizza sales! Source: http://www.pmq.com/Winter-1999/PMQ-Goes-To-Australia/

Marko Mudrinić's photo

Hi Suz. Thank you so much for doing AMA. I've been watching your streams for some time and I got very interested into Nodebots, IoT and other JS stuff.

I have some general questions, as well as questions about getting started. This could be longer, but I hope you don't mind. :)

Before watching your stream I didn't know JS was that powerful. I was surprised that you can program boards, IoT and such things using JS.

So the first question - [1] how do you like JS for programming boards and IoT stuff, and is there some features you're missing in JS, that would make the development process easier?

[2] Have you ever considered (or tried) using TypeScript? Would it be possible to run project such as Avrgirl using TS?

I'm looking to start playing with boards, and so. [3] Do you have recommendations for resources to get started with JavaScript and boards..? I know some basic JS stuff but nothing when it comes down to boards and electronics. [4] Also, can you recommend any kit to get started?

Last, but not least.. :D You're streaming and recording videos for some time now. And you're very successful doing that! :) [5] Do you have any recommendations for newcomers, who want to start live coding and streaming/recording? Is there something that you would've loved to know before you started doing so?

Once again, thank you so much for everything!

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Marko Mudrinić's photo

Developer, Student. Go and Linux geek. Tech writer & tool maker.

Thank you so much for such awesome and detailed answer! I really appreciate your time and effort! I'm planning to get me some kits and learn how to work with boards and JS, so this is very helpful. If everything goes well and I get better Internet, I'll start recording/streaming too. :D

Jonathan Búcaro's photo

How have you overcome the difficulties of being a self taught programmer (job wise)?

Suz Hinton's photo

Node hardware developer, web + cloud enthusiast, and accessibility advocate

An important question - I'm humbled you ask.

This has been a challenge for me over the years. In fact, I talk about this a little bit on Hashnode over here: http://bit.ly/2FQcPGD

For me, it was a confidence issue for a while that held me back from reaching my potential in jobs. I felt as a self taught programmer that I wasn't as good as someone who got a CS degree before adding their experience in the field.

My self taught background heavily favoured the topics I was interested in, and rejected anything I didn't care about too much. This created huge gaps in even the knowledge of the programming languages I was using from day to day.

I also used to be what I'd describe as a 'survival coder' - that is, I'd learn just enough to fix a problem I was having and then would immediately move on and not retain what and why I was solving it in that way. I stopped asking 'why' for two reasons: 1. I was just trying to keep up enough to be a good employee 2. I didn't believe I was smart enough to dig into deeper, more technical topics

I felt I didn't have enough technical depth in how computers work, and the building blocks of how software is designed. This to a degree held me back from being able to participate in architectural discussions at work.

There's only one way to solve this, and it's to directly address the gaps and fill them in. I observed other developers around me, made a note of concepts they talked about with each other, and researched those that I didn't know about.

What helped me to advance in my job as a self taught programmer (which won't be possible for everyone due time and life circumstances) was:

  1. writing open source libraries and then experiencing communities using those libraries and benefiting from them

  2. filling in the gaps with resources such as MIT Open Courseware. I'd sit over my lunch break and watch a video while trying to implement the algorithm being covered in a JSBin project.

I realise these approaches won't work for everyone as they can require having spare time and the support of your workplace to learn on the job. They also address only the issues I was specifically having. But I hope this helps :)