This year is very intensive with regard to IT conferences. I’ve already attended three of them and at least two more are scheduled. Last event I’ve had a pleasure to participate in was GeeCON 2012 in Poznań. Below some of my personal impressions after this event.
Number of my earlier GeeCONs
This year was my first presence at GeeCON. I am attending conferences regularly for a few years but surprisingly I’ve never been to GeeCON before. This year conference was held in large cinema complex with comfortable armchairs and large rooms, so there was plenty of seats at most of the talks (maybe only few of them attracted so many programmers that someone had to sit on the floor). And if we are talking about the venue, climate was very Devoxx-like what I consider as a big plus.
Number of changing rooms
Zero is also a number of changing rooms. Unfortunately there was no place to drop your jacket (unless you had some friends from GeeCON crew) so I consider this as a small drawback. I know, I know, there is no changing room in a cinema but hey… we’re agile and some temporary solution could have been arranged 🙂
Only one key-note as good as GeeCON talk by Kevlin Henney during other conferences in this year**
I didn’t expect that at all. Closing key-notes are rarely really good. People are tired after those sleepless nights during conference, speakers are tired too, we all feel dull and often you can feel it during last talks. But sometimes it’s otherwise. And that was the case at GeeCON. Not that I wasn’t tired but Cool Code by Kevlin Henney was really great. This year only Jurgen Appelo key-note during 33rdDegree was as good as Cool Code. Even talk by Uncle Bob wasn’t as good as Kevlin’s one so if you miss it, regret it and then regret it again and then… wait until GeeCON organizers publish videos 🙂
During this talk we were shown a code snippets that are cool in a various ways. We saw an error which lead to rocket explosion, a bash script that does sorting using sleep command and even a chess game with simple AI with only a few hundred lines of code. Really amazing and refreshing closing key-note!
Number of books I bought during conference
For every book publisher IT conference is a good place to sell its titles, for us additional 20-30% discount is also a good thing to have so I see growing numbers of stands with books during such events. GeeCON was no different and had Helion (IT books publisher from Poland) present with some discounts and interesting titles. But during this conference we had something less usual. A self-publishing author, Tomek Kaczanowski, who was also a speaker at GeeCON was selling his book Practical Unit Testing with TestNG and Mockito (http://practicalunittesting.com/) And because this book is getting some good reviews, is about good and efficient testing in Java and finally author is my fellow Pole, I didn’t hesitate to buy it. If you’re really into testing in Java, you should consider doing the same 🙂
Three opening key-notes
First day of conference started with three key-notes by Bruce Eckel, Ivar Jacobson and Gavin King. Bruce Eckel’s talk was quite good, Ivar’s was decent and didn’t catch my attention and last ony by Gavin about Ceylon was very controversial and extremely biased. Speaker criticized almost every popular language and praised his own, Ceylon. Talk was hard to forget but, mainly due to very biased approach, I didn’t like it.
Four pubs in Bar-Hopping contest
Allegro, one of the sponsors, organized an entertaining contest. During evening/night after first conference day every attendee could get a free beer in one of four pubs in Poznań’s Old Market Square. With every beer we received a stamp on a coupon. Those who collected all four stamps could win a prize if they wake up very, very early in the next morning and show near Allegro stand in conference hall. Unfortunately I chatted too long in one of the pubs and when we reached last one, there was no one giving stamps 😉 But the whole idea of contest was great and fun was great as well, during that evening I had an opportunity to talk with old friends, meet many new interesting people and even chat with some homeless guy who (if we would give him 5 Polish Zlotys) promised that he could make Polish national team to finish Euro 2012 as a runners-up 🙂
Number of f*cks and other curses during Ceylon key-note
I like passionate people, most of GeeCON attendees are passionate in what we do but passion is one thing and cursing to a few hundred of people is another one. One or two f*ck are ok, but not ten or even more. And unfortunately during third key-note Gavin King crossed the line. Maybe Ceylon is good, but presenting this language this way will not lure new programmers into yet-another JVM language. Below some interesting tweets summarizing people’s feelings during Gavin’s talk 🙂
- After listening to Gavin King about #Ceylon I maybe understand why authors of #Kotlin refused to work with him. #geecon – link
- #ceylon Gavin King is having a bad day. Angry and cursing way too much. Come on, relax! #geecon – link
- Listening to gavin king at #geecon … dude you should at least pretend you are modest :p hard to listen to you without getting biased – link
- #geecon Enjoying the #ceylon talk with Gavin King and his nice and gentle way of expressing his opinions :–) – link
SoftwareMill crew at GeeCON
In SML we try to attend conferences as often as possible but this time we’ve beaten the record. Last year there were seven of us at Devoxx in Belgium but this time we’ve managed to appear in the team of eleven people! And as we work remotely, such event was another good occasion to meet and integrate with people I do coding every day.
Approximate length of ID lanyard in centimetres
ID lanyards are something we receive at almost every conference. It’s completely fine as organizers need to identify people who are paid attendees and prevent some non-paying visitors during the event. IDs are also very helpful when we are having a conversation with some strangers because sometimes it turns out that we know each other from Twitter, blogs, etc. But in my opinion lanyards from GeeCON were too long and when you tried to see your interlocutor’s name you basically had to stare at his … let’s say place below his belly button 🙂
To sum up, GeeCON was a very good conference but people I met there were even better and more interesting. And I think that’s the case for most events, not the agenda, venue nor speakers, but talks with interesting and passionate people are things making such events great place to be.