June 9, 2000

On The Road: Java One, Day Three
   by ZenShadow

It's a downright ugly day in SF, with threatening gray clowds overhead and a light mist falling. The city almost seems subdued compared to how it usually appears; even the incoming traffic wasn't bad.

The day starts with me rushing into a session on multithreading, which turns out to be surprisingly good. It covers the basic threading issues and some of the more advanced ones, giving me plenty of ammunition to pass on to my coworkers (the ones who think that multithreading is a Bad Thing[tm]).

Before I know it the session is over and it's time for lunch already; I decide to brave the Hall A cafe. The line is hideous, but I'll give the caterers credit for keeping it moving at an amazing pace.

As I make my way through the line, I hear my name -- one of my coworkers is in the line in front of me. Of course I jump into line with her, cutting an extra five minutes off my wait.

Lunch is a decent pasta dish; impressive for mass-produced food. The seating leaves something to be desired, but I can hardly blame them given the number of people present at the conference.

After lunch we make our way outside so I can smoke; on the way, we run into yet another coworker. A discussion ensues, and we exchange notes (via infrared carrier wave, of course!).

That done, it's on to the session on the Java servlet API. It starts really slow. It continues really slow. He spends a considerable amount of time talking about HTML crap - wasn't this supposed to be about servlets?

After he gets unstuck from the HTML tirade, things get somewhat better, though still too basic for my tastes. Most of this stuff should be well-known to anyone who's ever written a web app in any language. Heck, some of this is basic programming sense!!

Finally I give up and move on. An hour break and a few cigarettes later, I'm ready to brave the crowds once again. I grit my teeth and wade back in, grabbing a convenient source of caffeine along the way.

The next session is on code refactoring -- one of my favorite subjects. I manage to swipe a seat, and am given the unique opportunity to be jealous of the two keyboard-wielding gentlemen next to me (one with a coveted Palm portable keyboard) while I graffiti away.

The speaker for this session, one Martin Fowler, deserves special note. He's the first speaker I've heard here that has both an excellent (and funny!) stage presence and a genuine Real Programmer attitude. He even gets extra points for mentioning Slashdot, thereby proving that he has a general interest in current affairs.

His session is incredible. He goes into detail on how to write truly good code, using techniques that I've instinctually followed for years now but have never quite been able to explain. His jokes are actually funny, which is amazing.

Before I know it, I'm disappointed that the session is already over - but at least he's written a book, so I'll have some more reading material to play with.

That done, I head out; it was the last session of the day. This day has gone by quicker than the last two, which I find somewhat unfortunate as it's the day I've most enjoyed.

Before leaving for the day, I head down to one of the more remote collections of machines to check my email -- only to find that the SunRays have reappeared at this remote location, and they're now working properly! Finally, I get to try this smart-card thingie...

...and it's really nifty. Except that they have the helper apps for Netscape set up wrong, so I end up spending a few minutes tweaking it into running telnet properly for me.

Now if they only supported the Visor properly, life would be perfect.

This was a vast improvement over the previous two days. May tomorrow be as bright.


Author's note: For those wondering, the g's replaced by q's problem is due to graffiti issues coupled with my utter laziness. YOU try graffiti'ing a large document some time.

Editor's addendum to author's note: I tried to edit out all the q's that should be g's, but I might have missed some. If so, refer to author's note above.

Published: June 9, 2000
Editor: robin

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