Get off my lawn.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

PNSS, Day 1

I'm in Seattle this weekend from Friday until Monday, at the Pacific Northwest Software Symposium. It's an action-packed affair put on by an organization called "No Fluff Just Stuff".

Unfortunate about the name. Most conferences of this type have a catchy name that's easy to say, or at least abbreviate, for example "Comdex", "LinuxWorld", "JavaOne", etc. "Pacific Northwest Software Symposium" doesn't really roll off the toungue the same way. You can't really abbreviate it either. At least not if you plan on saying "PNSS" out loud.

The conference itself has been pretty cool. It's a lot different than some others I've been to. JavaOne, for example, is a big gathering of major vendors of Java-based tools and infrastructure software. A trip to JavaOne is a walk-on part in a big commercial. You get a lot of free stuff (pens, keychains, t-shirts, etc.), but not a lot of useful information. There are keynote speeches, educational sessions, and more, but they're all cheerleading, and not very useful if what you're looking for is real information about something.

As I mentioned, this is different. In terms of swag, I got a t-shirt. That's about all. The speeches and sessions are given by normal-looking "functional" types in t-shirts and jeans, and they seem to have no qualms about mentioning the not-so-great parts of a given product, framework, or process. There's no cheerleading going on, just honest information from people who know what they're talking about. Here's an example: In a JavaScript session I heard today, the guy said (in effect) "Javascript has a lot of really stupid features which have no apparent justification. Still, it's a handy language. Learn to like it." (He's right, too.)

It's a refreshing change from the boring/useless noise I spend most weeks listening to at my job in the IT department of an insurance company.

The hotel room is great. Seattle (actually Redmond) is pretty cool. Tomorrow or Sunday, I'm going to go sightseeing, maybe over to the Microsoft campus.


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