A Year? Really?

So I came to the blog to update my upcoming events (at least something stays up to date) only to find it's been nearly a year since I last blogged! This is terrible!

It's not that I haven't written anything in a year, it's that a lot of my writing energy goes into stuff for the actual day job. Which is good, because that's pretty much what I wanted from the day job, but the blog makes it look like I don't write any more.

So I'm going to cheat. Here's the stuff I've written in the last 12 months.

I've also done a bunch of screencasts & webinars for IntelliJ IDEA, Upsource and Team City.

Oh yeah, and I had a baby. I'm contemplating blogging about being a working parent, but I'm a bit concerned that Of Course a woman is going to blog about Being A Mother, when previously I just blogged about... well, come to think about it I blogged about all sorts of things, including haircuts and hangovers, so I guess I could probably get away with it.

…but most of all, it's fun

I loved this analogy: Cycling is awfully similar to being a woman. It nicely describes how it feels to be marginalised and not quite “normal”. But there are some things that I’d like to add:

  • Being a cyclist is an enormous advantage, especially in gridlocked cities like London and New York, because your maneuverability makes up for your lack of speed, and means you can skip queues and get to the front, if you are assertive enough.
  • If the bike lanes are badly designed, I share the main roads with other users. I’m a road user, I play by the rules, and in most cities I’m travelling only marginally slower than the cars. Just because the road wasn’t built for you doesn’t mean you don’t have every right to use it. And just because they made a crappy effort to include you doesn’t mean you have to go their route if it’s going to slow you down.


  • There’s a thrill from being a bit outside of Their rules and not conforming to Their expectations
  • Yes it’s fraught with danger, but it’s a game. And it’s fun!

I was fascinated to read there have been [zero fatalities in New York’s Citi Bike scheme](http://www.slate .com/blogs/future_tense/2014/05/30/nyc_citi_bike_zero_fatalities_in_new_york_city_bike_share_program_s_first.html). Contrary to expectations, opening up the city to masses of (often novice) cyclists has made road users more aware of them, and forced the city to create infrastructure for them. Can we port this back across our analogy to being a woman? What if we opened up the advantages of being a woman to people who aren’t hardcore pioneers going it alone? How would we do that?

Java 8 – Introduction to Lambdas Article

This month’s Java Magazine features an article by me, Ben Evans and Martijn Verburg about the new lambdas coming in Java 8.

The aim of the article is to give an overview to normal, human Java developers, who don’t need to know the theory behind what they are or how they work under the covers, but want to know how to use them when they get the shiny new version of Java next year (or even get ahead of the curve and try them now).

"www.oracle.com/javamagazine" Look inside >
Exploring Lambda Expressions for the Java Language and the JVM

Update on events

Just a quick note to say I was interviewed for another podcast, again to talk about all-female events.  It’s only a short one and there’s probably not much in there that I haven’t said before, either on here or in person.

From the 21st May, I’m at GOTO, both Copenhagen and Amsterdam.  I’ll be talking about code & the Disruptor, thank goodness, and will be trying not to rant about the subject of women in technology.  If you see me there, come and say hello!

On Friday 25th May, after all the GOTO craziness, I’m going to repeat the Disruptor presentation in Rotterdam at 010DEV, an event rather fantastically called “The Disruptor and the Perfect Programmer”, which someone on Twitter correct noted sounds like a fairy tale.

After all that, I’m hopefully going to take June off to play Diablo 3 and Prototype 2, and read the next Game of Thrones book.  All these joys I have been denying myself to make sure I get everything sorted in time for next week.

Mike and I debut our new Disruptor presentation

Last Tuesday Mike and I unveiled our brand shiny new presentation: Understanding the Disruptor, a Beginner’s Guide to Hardcore Concurrency.  This was a preview of the talk we’ll be doing at JAX London on the 2nd November.

A video of the session is available, as are the slides.  I promise not to say “so” anywhere near as many times when I repeat my performance at JAX (is there anything more painful than watching yourself on video?).

I thought the session went really really well.  We got some great questions at the end, we had an audience that was engaged, and I was dead pleased we didn’t lose anyone with the assembly language.  We had some very valuable feedback afterwards too.

As well as our presentation, there were three great lightning talks:

    Somay Nakhal on Java Thread States - Somay gave a nice overview of thread lifecycles with code and some great diagrams.  I liked how he made this more applicable to the real world than the sort of book examples you get.

    Ged Byrne on the shiny new LJC Book Club - Ged reminded us how great it is to read an actual, paper book.  How committing to reading page by page forces you to learn in a different way to jumping around internet references that might not give you the context you need.  I thought this was a great presentation with humour, and I liked the way he challenged us to “expand our minds”.  Although the actual book he was reviewing was Oracle Coherence 3.5, I’ve decided I need to read Beautiful Software, which Ged quoted at the end of the talk.

    Peter Lawrey on Common Java Misconceptions - A session which plays well with what we’re trying to preach when we talk about Tackling Folklore.  He covered a few topics that are assumed to be “truth”.  For example, dealing with garbage collection is not a mandatory part of writing Java - you could write GC-friendly code for a start.  Also it’s naive to assume the JDK is written in an efficient way, anyone who’s actually dug around it for a while will realise that newer, more efficient methods of programming have not been applied to all areas of the (massive) existing code base.  I think it’s great to have people out there talking about this stuff, it’s too easy to make assumptions and take things for granted.  The most important thing he said: “If you’re told something, don’t just believe it - test it yourself first”.

All of us (me, Mike and the lightning talk presenters) got such a great response it has encouraged us at the LJC to try and push for more real developers presenting their experiences.  We have a lot of great presentations from vendors, but what’s more applicable to Java guys and girls across the board is other developers sharing the problems they’re trying to solve and how they go about that process.

I’m very much looking forward to presenting this again at JAX.

Comments on representations of our industry

I have not (yet) seen the presentation this post is referring to.  But I think many of the comments Ted makes are very valid, and our industry as a whole should occasionally stop and think.  I’ve seen Ted speak at QCon, and I’ve had a lot of time for his comments ever since.

I’m aware that this blog is rapidly filling with comments about gender and perceptions and people-y stuff, when I originally wanted it to be a purely technical blog.  But I guess this other stuff interests me more.  And there are less people talking about it than there are talking about pure technical solutions to problems.