I tried live coding in the middle of the night and people liked it (whoa!)

Live coding has been on my mind for a few weeks now. Initially I went to lab on one of those "...damn it, I really, REALLY want to figure out that code!" type of nights and coaxed my good cognitive neuroscience friends Dan Lurie and Chris Madan into a Google Hangout while I shared my coding screen and had another webcam for my face and talking through my code.

Over the course of a little over an hour, I worked through my code, had a lot of laughs, very quickly (and briefly) learned some cool data visualization tools, and finished a figure for a manuscript I've been procrastinating on. Not too bad for work production as well as a surprisingly fun time.

So I tried coding live again. This time, more public than an invite-only Google Hangout. I broadcasted on my newly created Twitch channel, with Chris Madan heckling and helping me while I coded a preprocessing script for some pilot data I've collected. To my surprise, from 3am to 5am, we had 60 views to our page, with 4 folks watching and commenting on the Twitch chat and/or Twitter. One particular chatter, Matt Craddock, was really helpful in directing some of my more EEG-related preprocessing questions, making me more comfortable with the idea that people who would be watching are (obviously) cognitive neuroscience folks since both me and Chris share those types of followers in common. Some of the tweets I saw throughout the night seemed pretty supportive:

And although Matt sarcastically said


He mentioned later on that this was not just entertaining but also that he'd watch again.

Which of course made me come to the conclusion that there is perhaps an audience that would really be entertained and (maybe?) find live coding (and maybe mine and a cohost's commentary) informative.

So I'm going to try to put together a once-a-week stream in the coming weeks, for four weeks, to test the waters more officially with a set schedule. Excited to see what I can get going -- this will totally help me learn more nuances of code and hopefully I can exchange said learning for entertaining commentary to my prospective viewers. Hope you'll join me in the coming weeks!

Leave a Reply