Saturday, March 7, 2009

Powers of Two

When I was 2 my parents divorced, but I didn't know that at the time. I LOVED apple juice.

When I was 4 I made an alphabet book with pop-up pictures of things that start with the 26 English letters.

When I was 8 I learned to type by playing Infocom games. I had already decided that I would grow up to be a fantasy novelist or an Infocom game author. I was incorrect but I was starting down the right path.

When I was 16 I designed theater sets and managed a crew to build them. I wrote and game-mastered year-long role playing games with my friends, which would later turn into an epic poem for high school credit. I didn't know it but all of this was gradually turning me into a software developer and manager.

Today I turn 32 and I'm on a plane returning from the Java Posse Roundup in Crested Butte, Colorado. My driver's license vanished so the airport security folks find me interesting, and maybe even attractive. One guard was even so attentive that he wanted to pat down my arms and legs. He asked if I was sore or tender anywhere.

I told him about falling on my ass repeatedly while cross-country skiing with computer geniuses. On the trail, Dianne Marsh patiently taught me the basics as we trudged through 3 miles of winding hills. The creator of Artifactory, Fred Simon, showed me how to cut the snow by bending my ankles correctly to go slowly down a hill.

My brain is brimming with ideas from the conference. My housemate Todd Costella showed me the value of Crucible and Fisheye for recording code reviews. My other housemates Andrew Harmel-Law and D. J. Halberg helped me understand Scrum master training. The formal and informal discussions were eye-opening, and the 5-minute lightning talks were such a good idea I'm going to try to get them started at work.

Dick Wall will gradually publish the audio of the discussions and the audio-video of the lightning talks. Thanks for everything, Dick! I'll be listening to those files many times, including the ones I was present for. Until the files are available I think I should blog about what I remember. This way I'll have a way to review my experiences and convert them into actions.

Tor Norbye shares my appreciation for fruity cocktails instead of beer. I introduced him to the joy of the Bay Breeze (Malibu rum, vodka, cranberry, pineapple). I'll have to find out his favorite drink so I can try it out as well. He's already shown me how valuable Netbeans is for Groovy, JavaScript, JavaFX, and Matisse.

On this same plane with me is Bill Robertson who redesigned the look and feel of Dick Wall's JFlubber application for the new and improved FlexFlubber and JFXFlubber incarnations. I sliced and diced Bill's design in Photoshop to make an exported JavaFX app. James Ward grabbed the PSD to make FlexFlubber. A few of the drop shadows didn't get into the buttons in Flex but it still looks wicked cool.

Our wrap-up session from last night is already uploaded as episode #233 of the Java Posse Podcast at and the best of the lightning talks are starting to show up on

When I'm 64
I could be handy mending a fuse when the lights have gone.


James Ward said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you had a great time in CB. I wonder if the Java Posse Roundup will still be around when you are 64 and what craziness we will be coding then.


Bill Robertson said...

Happy belated birthday!

It was great to meet you Joe. Sorry I had to run off at O'Hare, but I had to hoof it to get make my connection.

TheGoof said...

That was a very sweet post (at least the beginning the later part I got lost in).

Happy B-Day!