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We survived ÜberConf!

June 17, 2010 Comments off

This NFJS conference was intense with a lot of good speakers. Sean, Brian and I started ÜberConf 2010 in Denver with a relaxing Monday evening of dinner with a KeyNote on Challanges and Directions in Java Virtual Machines by Dr. Cliff Click. Following the keynote was a meet and greet party with delicious Hors d’oeuvre and free beer. It all sounds great and easy? That’s just the beginning.

The real hard work started on Tuesday. The sessions went from 8am – 10pm. Yup, 6 great 1.5 hour sessions in a day. Our brains were overloaded with information and code snippets. Dr Cliff Click finished both of his sessions (The Art of Benchmarking and Fast ByteCodes for Funny Languages) earlier. He offered bonus talks on The Pauseless GC algorithm and Towards a Scalable Non-Blocking Coding Style. Rather than 6 sessions, I had the great opportunity of attending 8 sessions in a day instead.

With so much going on, we could have easily turned into zombies before the evening sessions. However, the two evening sessions (Mike Richard’s session on the Art of Messaging and Venkat Subramaniam’s session on How to Approach Refactoring) that I had attended were gold. The speakers kept the adrenaline going with lots of great jokes (e.g. “Commenting out code during refactoring is like leaving a dead rat on the table”) and interesting titbits.

In a nutshell, funny speakers, great material, delicious food and beautiful weather (29 degree celsius), we can’t complain. Now it’s time to go home, go through the notes to recap what we have learned and use it well.

Prairie Dev Con 2010!

June 6, 2010 Comments off

Chris Presenting at PRDC10

Chris from P2 Presenting at PRDC10

This last week I had the great opportunity to attend Prairie Dev Con 2010 in Regina. This is the first time a good sized software conference has been organized here in the prairies. I travelled to Regina with some co-workers and really enjoyed the experience. I was extremely impressed at how well organized the conference was, as well as the number of talks lined up (50 talks over 2 days).

Since this was the first time a big software conference had been hosted in Saskatchewan, the organizer, who works primarily with Microsoft technologies, used many of his contacts from within that community to put together a good list of speakers. Now that the conference has been run once and had a good attendance, the hope is for next years conference that we can attract speakers on a more wide range of technologies such as as Python, Django, Scala, and document style databases such as MongoDB.

Since Point2 has been doing a lot of interesting work with new technologies, I hope for next year we will be able to put on a number of talks to offer a more well rounded list of topics for next year.

Overall, I was really impressed with PRDC10 and I am looking forward to seeing it happen again next year!

by Brian Richardson

Prairie Dev Con 2010

June 2, 2010 1 comment

Today was the first official day of the Prairie Dev Con 2010 conference, starting out with an opening welcome message with a nice breakfast spread.  David, Nyik San, Brian,  and myself arrived the day before at around 6pm so we’d be in time for the social mixer put on by the Regina developer community before hand.  It was reasonably well attended and I met quite a few people and made some great contacts.  It actually has turned out to be pretty nice being at a smaller conference because it’s making it very easy to build relationships with the other people attending.

This morning I started out by attending an Intro to Agile session which was fairly good.  I was interested to see what somebody else’s take on agile was going to be.  It was an overview of processes and how to do scrum etc so it didn’t overlap too much with my presentation which I was happy to see.

Next up was my presentation “Intro to Agile Development Practices”.  It was quite well attended and went very well.  The audience was very engaged and asked a fairly good number of questions.  Apparently I like to talk more when I have an audience than I do to the white board.  My presentation only took 45 minutes when I was practicing it but at the conference I went almost the full 75 minutes!

photo

The notes for my session can be found here.

After being in sessions until 5:30 this afternoon I attended a supper put on for all the presenters of the conference at “The Diplomat” steak house and got to know a few more of the other presenters a little better.  There’s a very good amount of diversity between the speakers, some coming from Guelph, Virginia, and Utah. 

So far the conference has been great and I really hope it gets put on again next year.  The one thing the conference is really lacking is some non-microsoft content.  There are a lot of attendees who would love to sit in on some Python or Ruby sessions, and everybody who i’ve mentioned Scala too immediately says how much they wish there was a session on it.  Hopefully next year we’ll be able to get some more P2ers presenting at the conference and help round out the technology diversity in the sessions.

Tomorrow I kick off my morning first thing by presenting my session on Iterative Development which i’m really looking forward to because there are no other presentations covering that content.  Many agile presentations touch on the concept, but none talk about it in any detail.