One of the things we've talked about on the podcast is that we have a newsletter for codepunk. We haven't actually sent out an email blast yet for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is because we've been trying to figure out how to make the newsletter unique rather than have it just be a recap of what is posted on the web site--nobody wants that. Making something unique and engaging can be tricky. You need to be passionate about the subject matter, but also knowledgeable. You really need to give people a reason to sign up and hang on.
Introducing Bots and Beer: A newsletter containing stories, news, and code about chatbots, conversational AI, and natural language processing. Beer too, you ask? Bill and I are both craft beer fans. One of the things that I've noticed in some indie magazines (such as Lagom) is how closely the modern technology industry is aligned with craft movements such as a local coffee roasters, craft beer and wine, and organic food. If I had to hypothesize why, I would say that it has less to do with something hipster (except maybe all the beard love) and more to do with the craft of creating. Code is very much like poetry, and a programmer is more than an engineer of functions, but is also a philosophical crafter of fine quality (or at least should try to be). I think that mindset very much aligns the seasoned programmer with local, craft movements.
Bots, meanwhile, are something I'm becoming more and more passionate about. I jumped at the opportunity to work with Microsoft's Bot Framework, and I've even been giving presentations on it. In fact, I've been slowly working through recording some video tutorials as well. The Bot Framework is a fun piece of technology to work with, and the natural language processing used in creating conversational user experiences is improving dramatically. I wanted to find a way to not only follow that journey, but share it with others, and have fun doing it. From that idea, Bots and Beer was born.