Travelling to the USA was as exhausting as ever.
I flew on the new A380 with Qantas. Nice plane. As per usual, there’s a mix of flight attendants – the openly hostile, the “can’t see you, didn’t see you”, and my favorite, the “never around”. We were down the back of the aircraft, which is fun if you like turbulence (I do), but not so fun for the elderly couple next to me. There was a party of teens in the middle section who had no in flight entertainment units. The units are ancient and have been recycled from other aircraft – and take about 10 minutes to reboot. They run Red Hat Linux from 2002 on some VIA Cyrus processor. So it was like a little party. I got like one hour of fitful sleep in the 16 hour flight.
LAX is better. They ripped out the old customs hall, and replaced it with something like an airport instead of a manifestation of hell on earth. The customs folks even smiled. I’m not sure what about, but it feels more human than previous times.
There was a stuff up with my hotel and teknology fangummy (they’ve heard about it but don’t think it’ll catch on), but luckily, Australian business hours had just begun and I was in about 28 hours after leaving my folks place.
My first tutorial was Sebastian Bergmann of PHP Unit fame.
This was an awesome tutorial, and I found out a lot about tools that I had only just started to scratch the surface with. I am definitely going to setup a continuous integration server for my projects whilst I’m in Portland.
Sebastian was a good speaker, but I would have liked more demos in the first half. The demo of Hudson was possibly more informative than the slides itself. Definitely recommend seeing more Sebastion Bergmann talks!
Productive Programmer – Neal Ford
I attended this session with high hopes as most Thought Works folks I’ve met have been very switched on. Neal seems very switched on, but … this talk started out very slow and covered blindly obvious things that I think we’re all familiar with (source code control, comfy chairs, etc). The tutorial was definitely looking like a hated “hand waving” tutorials.
I considered bailing but none of the other talks in this time slot really were yelling my name. I might have tried Chris Shiflett’s tute as he’s a friend, but I wouldn’t learn much there, so I stayed for the second half.
The second half was a Top 10 with a small Top 10 “Corporate Code Smells” inside. Luckily, the second half was a bit more edifying and informative, but more from a “food for thought” point of view rather than any special insights into enterprise architecture or techniques that I’ve never heard before. This could be due to the point where I am in my career, but I was hoping for more.
The main things I learnt were the hard lessons learnt from Neal’s career. I wish there was more war stories with solutions, and far more detail throughout. If I was Neal, I’d look hard at thinking about the OSCON audience. These guys are mostly devs looking to make the jump to architect. Refactor the talk to be about that jump, the patterns, the scalability of ideas, and so on. Then it would be a HUGE improvement over the comfy chair talk we got today.
The thing I really didn’t like was the slamming of WebSphere (“#1 Code Smell. There’s a reason that WSAD is not WHAPPY”). Slammed not once, but twice in the same list. I don’t like WSAD that much either (it’s an overpriced Eclipse + J2EE reference container + IBM’s own special plugins and “enterprise” / cluster juice), but it’s like saying “your tool sucks”. Yes, but it didn’t need to be said twice in the same list, and I think most folks in the room who actually use it are forced to use it, and are unlikely to be able to move away from it. If you need the things WSAD can do, there’s few alternatives today.
OWASP – Birds of a Feather
I’ve set up a OWASP Birds of a Feather session at 8 pm on Thursday night in D136. Hope to see you there!