Monday, March 27, 2006

Spring Break and new cards

I suppose I should probably give an update now that Spring Break con is over. I spent the last couple of days recovering (no real revelry, drunken or otherwise – just kind of worn out) so I’m just now getting around to the updates.

It all started Wed night with dinner with the presenters and some of the con staff. I have to say that I hadn’t had that much fun in a long time. It was just a bunch of technical people (and the girlfriend of one of the staff members) having dinner and shooting the breeze. Nothing really that eventful, just a fun night.

However, I still think it’s hilarious that the one guy was kind of puzzled at the fact that I both spent a fair chunk of my childhood on a farm and I fenced in college. Apparently fencers should be too snotty for that sort of thing. I come across as frighteningly down to earth to most people. Go figure. *chuckle*

Fast forward to the next day.

I got to the building where the con was being held at about 8am (set up was between 7:30 and 9) and didn’t see John, so I had a minor moment of panic since he said he was going to be there at 7:30 to set up. A mildly worried call to his office showed that he was on his way and that all was well.

Well, okay, not everything was well – the CDs that we were going to pass out didn’t turn out well, but that’s okay. These things happen. The banner, however, looked good and the fliers were good.

Most of the day was spent between my going to different talks and manning the booth (or should I use “personing?” According to the spell-checker, it isn’t a real word, but we must be PC after all *smirk*). There were plenty of cool people that stopped by the booth and, of course, a few that were hostile (whether it was to Rails, which featured in our banner, or to open source in general. I never will understand the hostility to a huge group of things thing).

Most of the talks I went to were really cool. In fact, all but one of the ones that I attended were given by people I’d had dinner with the night before.

The best of these was, by far, the last. It was also the least technical. The basic topic? How to actually have a life while being in the profession of software development. A lot of it was things that I’ve been saying for a long time along with a few things that I hadn’t seriously considered. It’s just kind of nice to hear that sort of thing coming from someone else. It sort of makes you feel like you aren’t either crazy or the only one.

All in all, things were pretty good. It’s just that I never knew how exhausting it was dealing with a conference full of people asking questions. It kind of makes me glad that I missed the deadline to be a speaker. I didn’t think I was ready for that anyway even though the people at the con wanted me to speak. At the moment, writing and coding are weird enough. Speaking may come in the future.

Oh yes. I can see it now. “And now, let’s discuss why it is that I have no problem ad-libbing in an informal situation (say, on the floor at a conference while speaking with vendors and my peers), but put behind a desk or podium I get nervous and trip over myself.” That’d go over really well. :-P

Actually, they wanted me to speak on Open Source, but the same things would apply. “The source – it’s open. Hence the name. Have I mentioned that I dislike RMS? The whole of the software world doesn’t have to be free. It should be up to the people who make the software (or who commission it) to decide what they want to do with it.”

In truth, I would probably be a lot better at it than that, but it is occasionally fun to lampoon oneself, though I do dislike RMS.

Being the clueful, slightly smart-assed (when appropriate) guy chatting about random things with others and giving a talk that people are taking seriously are two completely different things. If I could only manage that level of comfort and rapport in the second situation, I’d be golden =]

Oh well, on to the other part of the topic.

I’ve been out of business cards for way too long. I kept meaning to order them, but things always came up. I finally bit the bullet and sent in the order for new cards on Friday. If you really want to see what they look like, you can look here. I’m not worried about stalkers. All of that contact information is available on my website anyway.

They should be here in a couple of weeks.

It’s kind of necessary anymore. I get too many people asking for my card. I find it kind of amusing that, if you don’t have one to give them, so many of them tend to take you less seriously. Oh well. That should be remedied here in the next week or so.

Current mood: tired
Current music: Aqua – Doctor Jones


Karyl said...

And somehow I get the feeling that your "bad speech" example actually WOULD go over well, because you have a weird way of pulling things off. :P

James Hollingshead said...

Probably. It's that inherent likable smartass thing.

That would probably end up being the intro into the talk if the truth were to be told.

Like most of my opening lines, it would break the ice pretty well.

Relax, people. I don’t bite. Unless you ask.