On Monday, Stephen Chin from Oracle visited me at the 10gen offices as part of his NightHacking tour. In the video we talk about my sessions at JavaOne and the Agile presentation I'm giving at Devoxx, and I do some very basic hacking using the MongoDB Java driver, attempting to showcase gradle at the same time. It was a fun experience, even if it's scary being live-streamed and recorded!
So, I've finished my first full week in the new job and I've learnt lots of new stuff. Which is great, because that's usually why you change jobs.
Seemed like a quiet conference this year. Not really sure why, maybe it was the layout of the massive (and extremely dark) main room; maybe it was the awkward L-shape of the communal space; or maybe this year people were more interested in listening to the (really very good) sessions rather than participating or meeting other people. Whatever the reason, it felt quiet and almost low-key.
Performance seemed pretty high on the agenda, as you'd expect from a London conference, with a number of things on offer:
The time has come, and I'm moving on from LMAX. I've had an incredible (nearly) four years working for one of the most radical finance firms in the world, during which time I feel I've learnt more than the rest of my work experience put together, and had the pleasure to work with some of the smartest and most interesting people I've ever met.
I've produced a very cut down version of the presentation I've been giving at a lot of conferences, giving a high level overview to the Disruptor. This serves as a quick intro to the concepts behind it.
Taylor Street Cafe
I'm going to be controversial. I think this was my favourite conference of this year. I know that's not trendy, and that Oracle-bashing is still a popular pastime. And I know I've also made a big deal about how much fun it is to meet people who program in different languages. But there is something very special about being surrounded by thousands of people from all around the world who use the same technology as you, some facing the same problems, some solving very different issues.
Yesterday dawned, with a sense of foreboding (actually it dawned with me coughing my lungs out, but we've heard enough about the sub-optimal state of my respiratory system this week). On this day, I was giving the talk I was dreading when I got asked to do it. It's the talk I actually put more work into than any of the other sessions I was presenting at this JavaOne. It was the Women In IT talk.
- Do not drink too much coffee beforehand.
- Do not replace coffee with Diet Coke, it is not better...
- Do not drink too much coffee and drink diet coke and forget to eat.
- Check skirt length before prancing around on stage.
- Check desktop background for public-display-appropriateness.
- Close down applications that have popup notifications. Do you really want hundreds of people seeing that tweet...?
- Plug in your laptop power. Re-typing your password every time the screen powers down is boring.
- Remember your Mac-to-VGA dongle thingie. Bring one even if you don't use a Mac - there might be a cute/friendly/senior/cool speaker who needs one, and you can help them.
- Bring your slides/laptop. Not that important, especially if you've put it on dropbox.
Well this is exciting! JavaOne 2011 is the first conference I spoke at, so this the first time I've covered the same conference two years running. I think.
It's very nice to be back at JavaOne. Last year it was my first opportunity to meet so many people - the guys at Oracle who work really hard to make sure Java has its own identity; the JUG Leaders and Duchess folk; the JCP EC committee members; and loads of people who live and work in the area who I wouldn't normally get a chance to speak to in person.
This year I'm here with several other London Java Community people, and it's great to be a member of the Alumni, to have the privilege of showing other guys around and introducing people to each other. It's nice to run into people I met here for the first time last year, some of whom I've had a chance to see at other events this year.
Today, Sunday, is an interesting day. The focus is on community, so I get to hear what other JUGs are doing, some of their pain points, and learn some of the things they're doing that maybe we should think about.
The day started well, with Jim and Richard de-mystifying the business and technology terminology we're bound to come across at this conference. 8:15am is a really harsh time to have to do your first presentation, but it had a good turnout and was a great way to kick off the conference.
I followed this with a talk about why you would open source your secrets, a short presentation detailing the benefits to your business of opening up parts of your codebase. It went better than expected, given my voice has all but disappeared due to a stupid cold and plane travel and jet lag (and noisy bars). I had contingency plans on how to present via typing or drawing on my iPad, but in the end I managed even despite the microphone not being turned on. Doh.
There were a series of presentations on how to make your JUG successful and how to run Adopt a JSR/OpenJDK programmes in your user group, before Ben and I had to dash off to the public EC meeting. This was not as well-attended as last year, but it meant that I had a chance to talk to all the EC members, and to drink more free champagne than one really ought to in the afternoon.
Next on the packed schedule was a trip to yet another location (seriously, that's 4 different locations just on Sunday) for the keynotes. Note: next time I say "it's not far, let's walk" in San Francisco, hit me with sticks. That's the second time in as many days I've been hit with a vertical distance that was further than the horizontal. At least this time I wasn't wheeling my luggage up the hill like I was on Friday.
The keynotes were definitely better than last year. I really enjoyed how the technical keynote put the shiny new stuff into an everyday context - seeing JavaFX running on all the platforms, including embedded, and seeing lambdas used in anger, was really engaging. In my mind, it's much more likely to get "real" developers using these things. I particularly enjoyed the interplay between Mark Reinhold and Brian Goetz, it's great to see people like that so passionate about what they're doing, it really humanizes them and their projects.
The last trip of the day was back down the hill to one of the many parties scheduled this week. Of course, it's not in every party that you get given an award, so this was particularly sweet - the London Java Community has been honoured with a Duke's Choice Award. This is the first year a community has won a "Dukey", and it's amazing to be part of a group of people who are actively contributing to the language I work with daily, and to be recognised for this. So yes, I was on stage getting an award again. It's addictive.
So, a really great kick off to this year's JavaOne, and I'm back at the apartment well before my coach (well, Uber) turns into a pumpkin and resting my voice in time for my Disruptor presentation tomorrow.