First presentation at the Virtual JUG!

Yesterday I had the privilege of presenting the very first session for vJUG, a new virtual Java User Group that allows us to span geographies when sharing talks and stories. I’m really interested in the vJUG idea, especially now I’m not in London - if we can find good ways to share knowledge without having to travel, that will help us reach people who don’t normally go to conferences or don’t have a local user group to go to. Not to mention cutting travel costs and saving the environment.

See the event, and the record of the IRC chat, here:

The slides are also online, but obviously they’re part of the video as well:

Webinar: Processing High Volume Data Feeds with MongoDB

Hot on the heels of my very first MongoDB webinar, I was… encouraged… to do another.  Here at 10gen we’ve been running a series of webinars around using MongoDB in the financial services domain.  Yesterday was the last in the series, and was presented in association with C24 - John Davies, their CTO, did most of the talking, and demonstrated their product for automatically turning financial messages from one format into another.

(Slides and webinar available here - and you’re not going deaf, the sound doesn’t start until about 3:44 into the video)

It was a fun webinar to do, actually - I didn’t know anything about C24’s iO tool, so I learnt quite a lot as I watched John navigate the demo.  My background in trying to debug raw FIX messages probably skewed my questions, I was definitely more interested in how to use it as a developer and what it could give me if I were doing production support.  It’s a dead interesting tool - I know for a fact that many organisations, banks in particular, spend a lot of time translating stuff from one format to another, before making some decision on on what to do with the contents.  This tool does all the heavy lifting so you can get on with the interesting stuff, the stuff your business actually needs you to do.

In addition, as someone with more of an FS background than a NoSQL background, I was very interested to hear how lots of the financial institutions are using MongoDB already - the combination of not having an enforced schema but supporting structured data, supported by fast execution, makes it a good fit for a lot of the problems they’re trying to solve.  Yes, it’s my job to say nice things about MongoDB, but when businesses are already using it because it makes their lives easier and meets their needs, it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling that the product must be doing something right.

I enjoyed giving this webinar, I think if I do any more I will suggest pairing on it (we all know two heads are better than one, right?) - it gives you some of the feedback and energy that’s hard to get in a darkened room talking to a microphone.

My First Official MongoDB Appearance

Yesterday I had the nerve-wracking dubious alarming great pleasure of presenting my first official MongoDB-shaped talk.  This was in the form of a webinar, which is an interesting and different format.

I naïvely assumed it would be like a presentation but without the visible hand-waving, but it isn’t really.  For a start, you can’t easily poll the audience to find out what their level of experience is, and taking questions is quite tricky, even with the technology to support it.  Also, because you’re not standing in front of people, I think the “rules” around making sure your slides don’t distract from you are a little different - it strikes me that webinars are more like a set of slides with a narrator and a fixed time, than a presenter with a set of slides to emphasise points.  This puts the medium in an awkward position between an infodeck and a talk (yes, I am reading Presentation Patterns at the moment, and it’s making me very conscious of all my slides and presentations).  So my slides are more info-heavy than my usual style.

I actually learnt a lot while I was putting together this webinar, so whether you’re completely new to NoSQL/MongoDB, or just starting to use it from a language running on the JVM, it’s worth checking out.

(Or see the webinar and slides together)

As always, feedback very much appreciated - I think there’s great material in here, but I already have some ideas for improvement.