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Takeaways from UberConf 2014

As usual, the NFJS guys put on a very informative event. I figured¬†I would write down my thought on the week before they get stale. This is my fifth event to attend but only my first UberConf. The added workshops was definitely the hook that got me to pester my boss to pay for this. It has to be a tough task to come up with a simple yet helpful/doable set a exercises, especially if the workshop is only half a day. Most of the workshops could have been twice as long; By the time the presenting part of the session was done there was little time to do actual work. (System setup was usually not handled in the best way.) In one class that I attended, the “workshop” title was just an excuse to talk longer. Fortunately, the long discussion was not bothersome. The following is a list in no order, just a data dump.

  • Neo4J - Six months ago I finished a small one-off project¬†that would have benefited if I had used¬†Neo4J. I wish that I had thought to use a graph database. Here in the next week I will rewrite that program. (Future post to follow on this.)
  • Apache Camel - This pops up just about everywhere. A month ago I consulted on how to setup an Apache ServiceMix project and several of the presenters were using Camel as part of their examples. I need to come up with a project, so I can get more hands on.
  • Continuous Delivery vs Continuous Deployment - This reminded me of the Shippable vs Saleable argument (or minimum viable product). My company’s product (at least the one I work on) is such a behemoth legacy app that even the discussion of Continuous Deployment is far down the road.
  • NGINX¬†- came up in discussion several times. I don’t remember it being so popular before.
  • Clojure - I’ve¬†deciding on which new language to delve into and plan on spending a good amount of time learning. For a while it was a toss up between Clojure and Scala. Clojure has officially won¬†for me. The thought is that with Java 8 and it’s added functional features that I would go full on and learn Lisp as opposed to some middle ground. I’m using the following resources (along with the obvious Clojure references and cheat sheet maintained on clojure.org): Koans, exercism.io, and¬†Seven Languages in Seven Weeks.
  • OSGi - For several months now I’ve been dealing with a rewrite of our OSGi implementation, which was fragile to begin with and is out-of-date (It’s stuck on Java 6 and buckminster). Talking with one of the presenters I found out that I’d missed¬†OSGi DevCon¬†by only a couple of weeks. This¬†would have been a tremendous resource at figuring out the last few missing pieces. It also appears that the DevCon people didn’t put up any videos, which would have been helpful. Guess I find out what the slides give me.
  • Pomodoro Technique - On Wednesday the conference went late-up until 10. I decided that I would take a session¬†that was less technical since I had been stuffing my brain all day. A¬†friend of mine had encouraged me to try out the Pomodoro Technique. It seemed like a good idea but I didn’t read his blog post about it and eventually forgot. After debugging my way through this session, I decided I would give it a try. In fact, my first two pomodoros were done the next night after the conference and hit the mark for time. An abnormality that I chalk up to beginners luck, as my next 5 were staggeringly¬†underestimated.
  • Docker - Another thing that the aforementioned friend put me onto. I’d mostly let it go without further research because I’m currently stuck on Windows at work. The session was enlightening and the flexibility of Docker was reiterated in a preceding workshop where environment setup could have been drastically reduced with the help of Docker.
  • Bintray - I was reminded about my stale account. Hopefully I’ll be using jcenter as soon as I get the Neo4J project going.

Books

  • Scalability¬†Rules
  • The Design of Everyday Things¬†- I’m halfway through this book. It’s my airplane book, and seeing as I don’t go on a lot of trips, it is taking a while for me to get through it.
  • Presentation Matters¬†- This is co-authored by a couple of regular NFJS presenters. This is a soft skills topic that techy people seem to try and avoid, especially me. The last presentation I gave in front of my organization was about Java 8’s added annotations to type and repetitive annotations. Afterwards my boss commended me on my¬†¬†presentation but suggested that I tell people who I am before jumping in.
  • How To Win Friends And Influence People¬†- You hear about a certain book and after you hear about it a number of times, it just automatically gets put on your reading list.
  • Understanding Cryptography

Two soft skill books and two technical books added to my reading list. Plus two pages of bullet point task of personal work that I need to get done.