Wednesday, May 30, 2007

June... 24? Yes, June 24.

If you're missing hockey, street hockey, or just streets in general, get your runners, get your sticks and mark June 24 on your calendar because I'm similarly marking it as a day to play street hockey.

The tentative location is Minchau School. I picked this place because it's fairly easy to find, it's in the city and it's close enough to my place to have people over for barbecue later.

It's almost a month away and details are very sketchy right now but there will be more to come.

Streets, hockey, Sunday June 24.

Don't forget to mark it on your calendar.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

JavaOne part three

5/10/2007 6:12 PM Mountain
Monday was an interesting day. We met sometime around 8:30 and went to Mountain View, bickering about radio stations, fighting over which way to take, and generally getting along peacably. After eating, “stopping for coffee” a couple of times, and the drive, rife with traffic and slowness, we arrived at the Mountain View office sometime around 10:00 am. Upon arrival, we all connected our computers to the work network and, to our horror, realized that we had an 8:00 am skip-level meeting with Spencer. Only two hours late. I guess it would have been a good idea to connect to work before going to bed the night before.
I read my emails, sent some emails and had a meeting on Struts2 before it was off to the all-hands meeting where we got another unbridled dose of optimism, good-feeling and an idea of what to expect in our lists of things to do in the coming months.
Honestly, I was pretty positive about the all-hands meeting. My boss's boss's boss, Paul Rosenfeld is a pretty straight shooter and comes across as having very little tolerance for BS. I don't agree with his opinions on everything but at least I'm confident that he does.
After the all-hands, we headed out to San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House. I wasn't very enthusiastic about that – I'd tried to talk Marius and Wenpan into abstaining since we'd already been through there but peer pressure guided us all to the decision to follow the crowd. Honestly, I was pretty impressed. The guy had exactly the same spiel as the girl had had a couple of months before but his in-between commentary was a lot better than the girl's.
After that, it was a kind of dinner I've never had before. They brought dishes out – fish, beef, chicken, veggie, but they just kept coming. It was pretty nice and I was impressed by what they offered for the most part but I was surprised to find that at the end of the evening, I was still pretty hungry. There was a lot of good conversation to be had. I moved around, trying not to miss any of it. I talked with Grace, a UE designer and I was pretty impressed with what she had to say. I'll go into that later.
After dinner, Marius, Gustavo, Evelyn, David and I went out to an Irish pub. It was loud during the Golden State Warriors game then people filed out and David Cassidy's evil doppelganger showed up and wowed people with his hair and his guitar. Unfortunately, his guitaring sucked and his voice was worse. I could recognize most of the songs he was playing but only through keen observation. After that, we went back to the hotel and I pressed the up button a couple of times before going to bed.
JavaOne was like I expected it to be – only way louder and with waaaaay more people. The first opening session was likely six to eight thousand people sitting and listening to a guy talk about taking Java open-sourced. Maybe I'm not seeing all of the benefits that this provides but I didn't get really jazzed about it.
I'll go into the details of the sessions in my technical blog at for those of you who care. It's mostly about Java language and web programming but who knows? Maybe there'll be something in there for you to care about.
Probably not, though.
San Francisco has been, in turns, sunny and hot enough to melt a man, cloudy and windy, cloudy and calm, on the brink of rain (without ever actually raining to back it up) and sunny with wind. The San Diegans have been bitterly cold but I have been in a t-shirt and shorts the entire time. I guess it all comes down to what you're used to.
The food has been fantastic. I've been spoiled with the generosity of our manager. Steak, rack-of-lamb, any number of amazing meals that I've eaten happily.
The only one that I didn't enjoy was the pizza.
I like pizza. I like pizza probably more than any man has a natural right to like pizza. However, this one had Shiitake mushrooms which I THOUGHT I liked, but they were disgusting on the pizza. And it also had sauteed onions that covered the top of the pizza like some unnameable slime. I suffered through. I'm such a freaking trooper.
Mostly, I end up struggling to find a wireless signal and I struggle to keep my laptop charged. Disabling the wireless speeds up the charging but I'm fighting a losing battle. I managed to get my Palm charged and synced up thanks to Derek Deter who works for the people we bought and are integrating with. So now I'm taking my in-session notes with the palm and if I can get together with Derek again before the end of the conference, I'll put them on the PC. If not, I'll hope the battery doesn't die on the Palm before I can get the notes off of there. Maybe it's worth it to type them up on the tablet by reading them off the palm. Don't worry about me, though, I'll figure it out.
Last night, Gustavo and I went with Abraham, another Intuit employee, to a party hosted by Terra Cotta, a company that does some kind of caching solution or something. I didn't really understand. I just know that they claim to be 8-10 times faster than JBoss cache. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds like when the skinny doper at the golf course told me he power-bombed some guy through a pool table. My bullshit monitor kind of peaked at that moment and I knew it was time for me to leave.
I don't know how many more of these updates I'll do before I get on the plane tomorrow afternoon but I'll get another one up when I get home. A sort of conclusion to the festivities.
Until next I blog,

JavaOne trip Part Two

JavaOne SF Trip Part 2 – 5/9/2007 11:49AM
The date and time above might be a little misleading. I'm seated in my session and waiting for it to start so I thought I'd keep working on the updates.
So, I explained the “Uncle Marius” thing by mentioning what happened at the hotel but we didn't get to the hotel until pretty late Sunday night.
We got out of the airport area around 10:00AM here, and we were going to be going sailing at around 11:00. So, we had lots of time to get to the marina. Which turned out to be a good thing, since I took several wrong turns, and had a very vague idea of where the marina was.
We stopped at Peet's coffee, which would become a theme of sorts for all of our wrong turns. “oh, it's okay, Eric, we don't need your GPS for the drive home. We're going to stop for coffee on the way back to the hotel.”
So, we made it to the marina and I won't go into the entirety of the seven-plus hours spent on the water but I will say some.
It was sunny, sunny, sunny. I sun-blocked everything that showed but I still burned my elbow-pits. They're coming around now but they were pretty red for awhile there.
The helm doesn't move. I discovered this, to my pain, by experimenting with my nose. I thought I had missed a spot with the sunscreen, since there was a very tender spot, but using my scientist-powers I deduced that sunburns turn red and the spot on my nose was definitely brown. Just – like – a – bruise.
I am a tacking-genius. Okay, so it's not so hard to tack. You just have to turn 90 degrees. But Tom, whose boat it was, said that I got sailing right away. I think that's the highest praise I've ever gotten from him.
Seven hours on a boat in the hot sun can tend to make you stink. The bath at the hotel when sailing and eating and getting Eric back to his car were FINALLY taken care of seemed to be better than any shower I've ever had before or wil ever have again.
And of course, for those of you who don't know, Kim and I chose two and a half years ago not to keep cable. It's nice but it wastes so much time and the absolute crap that is out there, we can get for free. I only mention this because the hotel room has cable – ESPN, all the networks (couldn't find Fox), Comedy and soe others. There are a lot of buttons on the TV remote. Buttons where you can rent movies, buttons where you can turn on the GameCube, buttons for channel changing, volume control and some other crap. The only button that has any meaning in my life anymore is the up-channel button. I pressed that button over and over and over again, going around the horn over and over again.
Now, if I were to do this kind of thing at home, around the horn is four, maybe five channels and I'm done. The same things are on, the same commercial is usually on if I don't catch anything interesting, I get bored and turn off the TV.
The hotel has in excess of 40 channels. This means the usual around the horn takes 9-10 times longer than at home. Coupled with the fact that there are three ESPN feeds, there's always something catching my attention for a couple of minutes. That means that by the time I get around the horn all the way, there's always something new and interesting on a given channel than there was the last time I flipped by it. Unless there's a movie on, then forget about it. Random movies are my special crack and I will sit and watch that until there's a commercial, which just slows the flipping down even more.
I say this because I made the mistake of turning on the television when I got to my hotel room, thinking it would be once, twice around the horn and then straight to bed.
I stayed on that sucker until 1:30 in the morning. Stupid me. Around the horn is a professional's game. You don't go cold into American cable thinking you can spend less than two hours idle time. Being tired made it worse.
That's it for this update. It's long enough.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

JavaOne trip -- Part One

Being part one of a series of posts about Liam's trip to San Francisco for the JavaOne conference, 2007.

San Francisco Update: 5/9/2007 11:21 AM
After Beaver Camp, Nick and I drove back to Edmonton, getting home around 11PM. I helped Kim finish packing me up for this trip, ordered a cab for 5:00 and headed to bed around 1:30 AM.
I woke, shaking my head to the pounding on the door from the cab driver. I rushed downstairs and told the guy I would be right out. Gathering things together, I dressed and shot out the door. Kim also threw some muffins and a banana into my bag.
The US customs guy was actually pretty friendly. The first time that's ever happened for me. I shot through security with Kevin Hu in tow and we sat by the gate to wait for the flight and the rest of the team.
Gustavo showed up first, and Wenpan and Marius didn't make it until the plane was pretty much full. Apparently, security got crazy after we went through. Gustavo got finger-printed and he got a free cuddle from one of the scanner-people.
The flight was fairly unremarkable. I read my book – Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler, while I listened to Sandy Foster on my MP3 player. I dozed off for awhile but it's hard to get comfortable in those miniscule seats.
Renting the car was an adventure, since my credit card was declined. I'm still not sure if it's because I'm in the States without them knowing or because of the credit limit but “Uncle Marius” stepped up and used his credit card and we were on our way sailing.
--I have a session in a couple of minutes on Java Persistence but I'll continue the update later on.
*Uncle Marius is what I called Marius after he helped out with the rental car and then did the same thing for my hotel room, Kevin's hotel room and Gustavo's hotel room.
Catch you after the session – if I have time for that, lunch and blogging.