BarCamp Chicago Day 1
Yesterday(Sat) I woke up at 4A and drove to the airport to get my flight via Nashville to Chicago. Luckily the security checkpoints weren’t that bad and I was able to camp out a spot in line B[Southwest cattle call fun]. On the second flight, the pilot informed us that it was raining in Chicago. I wanted cooler not cold. It turned out to be brisk but not cold so I decided to keep on the shorts I was wearing. Worried about being the first arrival, I try to waste a little time before going to the venue. My plan worked out a little too well because I inadvertently got on the correct L-train line in the wrong direction. Thirteen stops later, I realized my mistake. I finally arrive at the general whereabouts at about 12:45 - 1P. Mind you, my flight landed at 9:40A! I thought the address was 1455 N Milwaukee. I walk up and down the street four or five times and see nothing. I see a sign for a public library and go in. I try to use the restroom, they have to buzz me in. WTF! This is a public library in a posh pseudo-SoHo area of Chicago. I try furiously to access their wifi network, the icon is spinning and spinning. I finally connect and realize the address is 1464, 3 blocks south of the library.
I arrive and am greeted by the organizer, Jason Rexilius, who points me toward all the pizza, chips, and snacks, all types of liquor, a cooler of Mountain Dew, a cooler of Red Bull, and a kiddie pool with 3 kegs, various bottled beers, and Gatorades. He may have mentioned something about the meeting space. About mid-day, he gave the keynote/welcome session noting that BarCamp Chicago is bigger than BarCamp New York[in terms of web traffic]. Throughout the day, there were some really cool demos. I got to see a OLPC XO-1 UP-CLOSE. I really want one. I would consider learning Python to get one. There was also a mini-talk on Nintendo DS Homebrew that I wasn’t able to get to because it coincided with a Ruby talk I wanted to check out.
There were technical difficulties all around. The guy who wanted to give an "Anatomy of Lisp" talk had a catastrophic pdf corruption. He’s gonna recover the file and give it today. There were several people who had projector issues, myself included. In my defense, there were 3 monitor cables in the presentation space. Ubuntu will do PnP if the component is plugged on bootup. I didn’t have as many people as I expected at my talk because it was so late in the day(8P). There were some good questions and I got the general feel that people liked it. They liked the demos... well, the ones that ran. Glossitope which uses Java Webstart to launch wouldn’t run. And this occured during a question about the differences between Webstart and Glossitope.(Argh!) About midway through the talk, I noticed my tick is saying the word "So..." at the end of slides. I pointed it out and got a couple of laughs when I would slip up and do it again. Some of my jokes flopped miserably, some went over well.
And then there was the dreaded question I knew would come: "Are there any visual GUI designers for Groovy?"
Other than the free junk food, energy drinks, and alcohol, there were some great discussions. I felt free to express myself without having to dumb stuff down. These are really passionate people who read, know their industry, and didn’t learn just for a job. Jason Rexilius and I had a discussion about the merits and utility of Java. He thinks there is little to none but I still think he is a great guy. I talked to this kid Jess about the new JSRs and how the best ORM can’t make up for crappy DB design, and told a bunch of folks about my project.
One guy told me that at one point he counted 75 people so I’m guessing at least double that cycled in and out throughout the day.
Having been up for almost 24 hours, I turn in at 2A Chicago time. I curl up in a sleeping bag in a dim corner so my new friends can’t pull any frat boy tricks on the first to fall asleep. I wake up and shower to find that some of my compatriots have stayed up all night watching vids and drinking.