Pure Danger Tech


Putting away 2009

01 Jan 2010

So long 2009! Another great year in the bag. A year ago, the Lambda Lounge was just getting started and has now stabilized as a really sustainable group of language enthusiasts. We’ve already got some great stuff lined up for 2010 and I fully expect that the talks and conversations this year will start to move to another level of depth. Not just skimming the surface of the hot new language (although I hope we do that a bit too) but really digging deep into the meat of these upcoming programming paradigms.

A year ago, I was just about to have the thought that a great next step after the Lambda Lounge was a St. Louis software developer conference that ultimately became Strange Loop. Of all the things I did in 2009 (and in the top 10 for my life achievements), I am extremely proud to have willed Strange Loop into existence this year. There was so much I had to learn and do to make it happen and so many amazing people that helped me at just the right time, often without me even asking. I sometimes have a hard time believing that it happened at all and wasn’t just something I dreamt about.

You might imagine that I came out of Strange Loop exhausted, but actually I bursting with a ton of ideas, plans, and fire in my belly to make it even better in 2010. I’ve been scouting locations and compiling lists oalmost since Strange Loop ’09 ended. The current tentative dates for Strange Loop 2010 are Oct. 14-15th (subject to change of course). I hope to lock down a venue in the next month or so. I’m certain that the 2010 conference will have more attendees, more sessions, and most importantly more AWESOME. My goal is simply to be the best conference you speak at or go to in 2010. Stay tuned.

On the flip side, one of my own very private personal drivers for Strange Loop was the death of my uncle Al in February. I wrote a long blog about Al that I’ve never posted and maybe never will but suffice it to say that he was important and an inspiration in my life. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in his early teens and had three kidney transplants over the course of his long and meaning-filled life. I’m eternally grateful to whoever donated those organs – if you have not yet signed up as an organ donor, please please do so today.

At his service in Portland, I met so many people that had been personally affected by what he did and what he inspired others to do. Al had a knack for coming up with audacious goals and convincing others to take them on. He was truly a creator of community and a lover of life, children, food, nature, woodworking, and so many other things. I miss him dearly.

In the areas of writing and presenting, I did a lot of work I’m proud of this year. Probably the highlight on the writing side was the Java Concurrency refcard I did for DZone. I worked my butt off on it and it seems to have been fairly popular. It’s not perfect but I think it was good stuff.

In presentation land, I did a lot of talks in a lot of places this year but the highlight was JavaOne where I did my Java Concurrency Gotchas talk. The amazing Brian Goetz was in the audience and was kind enough to send me lengthy notes afterwards. He also paid me the high compliment of saying “I was pleased to see that I found no outright errors — this is an accomplishment, given the material.” There were of course, several paragraphs of criticism after that. :) [By “criticism” here, I mean the highest form of professional advice by the way – specific, concrete suggestions which I am grateful for receiving. Brian is a class act.]

Of all the presentations I actually saw this year, I would in fact have to list Brian Goetz and Cliff Click’s talk “This is not your father’s Von Neumann Machine” at JavaOne. This talk goes through the major eras of computer architectures, how they differ from a performance perspective, and how our programmer’s view of the architecture is so tragically at odds with the reality under the hood. I saw many other great and enjoyable talks but I have come back to and recommended this one to other people over and over this year.

This was an interesting year for my blog mostly due to seasonal ups and downs. Due to Strange Loop and work, I had my slowest blogging period ever from August-October, barely a trickle. Despite that, I had a dramatic increase in yearly stats in 2009 over 2008. In 2009 I had 439K page views (27% increase) and 289K unique visitors (48% increase). A lot of that is attributable to catching a handful of big stories early – Sun’s acquisition by Oracle, Terracotta’s acquisition of Ehcache and Quartz (had a little inside notice on those :), and the re-introduction of closures to JDK 7.

These days a lot of effort I used to put into my blog I put into Twitter instead (@puredanger). Twitter has become important to me in a lot of ways and I derive a great deal of value from it, well worth my effort. My favorite tweet of 2009 (and ever) is Jeff Atwood’s tweet from January:

@codinghorror: “it’s better to be safe than sorry” is such crap. You know what’s better than being safe? Being AWESOME.

Every time I read this I just want to carpe diem the shit out of everything I’m working on. If you’re not striving for awesome, then why bother?

Terracotta was a crazy ride this year with acquisitions, major new releases, new products, and more. There is a ton of awesome stuff in the pipeline as well. The first quarter of 2010 will see all sorts of great stuff coming out of Terracotta both in the core platform and in the suite of products for Ehcache, Hibernate Second Level Cache, Quartz, clustered HTTP Sessions, and maybe some new things as well.