Thursday, November 15, 2007

ApacheCon Day 1

It looked like today was going to be another snorefest, but...

After a very satisfying breakfast (they know how to eat down here, that's for sure), it's off to Matt Raible's now-classic Comparing Java Web Frameworks talk. Aside from knowing his shit, the guy gives good presentation. He understands that powerpoints aren't about cramming half your doctoral thesis on 75 slides. While I've met lots of smart people here and learned a great deal, I wish more of them would try to see their presentations from someone else's point of view.

It was then off to the Georgia Aquarium, which bills itself as The Largest And Most Awesomest Such Place On Earth. Well, it is pretty cool. Beautiful tropical fish, whale sharks, electric eels, and sea otters. The smaller Asian variety of the latter was the best part; they were playfighting, dragging each other into the water and smacking one another upside the head. It wasn't aggressive to my untrained eye, but it was sure as hell cute.

(Do I feel bad about skipping a morning session? No. I've been stuck in the hotel the entire week with nary a peep of the outside world.)

Tasty vegetable soup for lunch. Bjorn had a rather worse time, but he can tell that story.

Lots of talk about community and how to strengthen it in the afternoon. Henri's talk on how to join OS projects was nicely bookended by Ted Leung's talk on open source antipatterns. Theme: how ASF does stuff (the open source community process) is more important that what it produces. Getting people to work together in a respectful and productive environment is a skill that's universally applicable.

We're all done after tomorrow.

1 comment:

Bill said...

"While I've met lots of smart people here and learned a great deal, I wish more of them would try to see their presentations from someone else's point of view."

Yep! I think the same could be said about most documentation. It seems like people get so engrossed in explaining how their mind understands a topic, that they forget to provide the substantiation that got them to their mental state in the first place.

Documentation / presentations without well-constructed examples are ultimately not much more useful than writing a bulleted list of what you believe. It feels satisfying to write it, but doesn't feel as good to anyone else as it does to you.

Taking the time to evenhandedly assess one's documentation / presentation from another's POV is mentally difficult, but it's a habit the best writers would never neglect.