The view.

The view., originally uploaded by theothermattm.

One of the better shots from my trip to San Francisco. This was a tiny little hole in a door on Alcatraz. What a creepy place.

Check out the whole San Fran set here.

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Posted by Matt 5/17/2008 03:42:00 PM Comments (0)

San Francisco: Day 6

Last day, and what great sessions at the conference to end it. Today started off with a talk from James Gosling (the "father" of Java) showing off some real-world applications of Java.

The best of which was Livescribe. Livescribe is a pen which records sound and what you write to the pen. Sounds stupid, right? But you're able to download that data to your computer and then play it back, watching what you wrote as the sound was recorded. It also stores your notes/drawings/etc. and makes them searchable. Very, very cool. After that, there was a huge line to buy one at their booth. I probably would have picked one up myself if it worked with OS X... But I hear that's coming down the line.

Next up was a session called "Why engineers are an endangered species" by Todd Fast from Sun. This talk was a breath of fresh air for me, as I can get pretty overwhelmed by how technical some of these sessions get. The talk went over how Web2.0 and Social Networking apps go hand-in-hand with the concept of the Long Tail. Summed up: Software Engineers are experts, and their work is detailed and takes time, thus we can't keep up with the need for niche apps (the Long Tail). So, he introduced the concept of the "Casual Developer" which is not an engineer but an "advanced user" of technology who can create mashup type apps. I couldn't say that this talk was anything new, but Todd Fast presented it in an extremely well organized manner.

A session on User Experience was interesting, as was one on JAX-WS for RESTful web services. I write this as I wait for a security talk for webapps ... My patience is waning, however, and I really would like to get home.

I will be taking the redeye back to logan this evening and bidding adieu to San Fran. I will miss it. Pictures to come!

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Posted by Matt 5/09/2008 03:01:00 PM Comments (0)

San Francisco: Day 5

I started the day with a bagel in Yerba Buena gardens. It was amazing outside, maybe a little cool, and it was fantastic. I wish I could do the same every morning.

Today was a day of great technical sessions, the best of which was Advanced Security for Web Applications. Lots of "gotchas" to watch out for when coding a webapp. The line was literally going around the building for that one.

Not much more than that, had a great meal of meatloaf and mashed potatoes at Mel's Drive-In, and more technical sessions later tonight. Including one on Java on OS X. Smash Mouth is also playing the "After Dark" event. Meh. But I do have drink tickets ...

Last day tomorrow!

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Posted by Matt 5/08/2008 08:56:00 PM Comments (0)

San Francisco: Day 4

More geekiness today! Lots of excellent sessions and less tired at the end of the day than yesterday.

Along with cargo pants, there are a lot of ponytails here. I saw one today I could only name the "dissapearing braid". Thinning, stringy blond hair, bald on top, party in the back, BRAIDED. It looked like a tiny, disgusting rope.

I wish I could have gotten a picture but it would have been way too obvious.

More Italian in North Beach tonight. Pretty good, but not as good as Monday night!

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Posted by Matt 5/07/2008 10:55:00 PM Comments (0)

San Francisco: Day 3

Today was the first day of JavaOne. What geek chaos! Seems like I was waiting for hours yesterday.

The Keynote this morning featured music, dancing (yes, dancing), and ... Neil Young. He talked about how Java powers his new Archive Blu-Ray set. It was a bit of a stretch, but still kind of cool.

The sessions I attended were great, though. Picked up some good tips, new ideas and new tools I'll be able to use immediately or in the future.

Most importantly, in the evening in the vendor pavillion: Free Beer. And not just one or two ... Good stuff!

Also, had an excellent dinner of Goat Cheese ravioli and roasted chicken at Cafe Lulu on Folsom St. Delicious!

Well, this one's gotta be quick, I'm off to more Technical Sessions!

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Posted by Matt 5/07/2008 11:30:00 AM Comments (0)

San Francisco: Day 2

Absolutely exhausted.

Cramming as much San Fran experience into two days leaves you short of words and with your legs tired. Today was the "touristy" stuff.

  • Golden Gate Bridge. Had to see it, dwarfs everything around it. Pictures to come.
  • The Presidio. We only saw some of the abandoned parts. Eerily pretty.
  • Coit Tower. Cool, but $4.50 for an elevator ride? Come on ...
  • Fisherman's Wharf. For some reason when I pictured this place I pictured a few quaint piers with some restaurants near them, and some sea lions who sat on docks. Wrong. What a nightmare, reminds me of Hampton Beach, NH. ... The sea lions were cool though, admittedly.
  • In-N-Out Burger. Those are good burgers, Dude.
  • Alcatraz. Very eerie and cool as expected. Went on the last trip out. Got some good shots thanks to the evening light and the prime lens. Can't wait to go through them.
  • North Beach. Lots of restaurants that smelled amazing. The one we went to, North Beach restaurant, featured a Maitre'd who liked to drop politician's names. Great wine recommendation, though. Want to go back before I leave!

Geeking it out begins tomorrow, I'm psyched and almost glad there's not going to be that much walking around.

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Posted by Matt 5/06/2008 02:39:00 AM Comments (0)

San Francisco: Day 1

I've wanted to visit San Fran for a long, long time. A couple of weeks ago I learned I had lucked out and got to go to San Francisco for the annual JavaOne conference in San Francisco. Needless to say I was very stoked. Both for the opportunity to go for one of the best technical conferences in the country, but also just to explore the city.

My flight last night was delayed 2 hours, left at 8pm EST and arrived at my hotel at 12:30 Pacific time. Ouch. But, the hotel has one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in. It's almost as comfortable as my new couch, purchased for $150 on Craigslist. Unfortunately, I can't say the hotel stay is that cheap ...

I spent the day wandering around on foot with my camera by my side in my manpurse. I mean, ahem, camera bag. I don't feel like describing things in detail so here are some random thoughts:

  • Union Square. Had breakfast here. Very nice but obviously the tourist Mecca of the city.
  • Chinatown. I'd like to go back with someone who knows the area better. Especially for some good food. I got to see some sort of dance performance and ribbon cutting ceremony for ... something. Not sure what. Most bizarre moment of the day was when this ceremony was interrupted by a funeral procession with a brass band.
  • Yerba Buena Gardens. Beautiful, relaxing, and right next to the Moscone Center where JavaOne will be. Looking forward to going back.
  • San Fran Museum of Modern Art. Absolutely stunning. Not only the collections but the building itself. MUST go back.

It appears as though the nerds haven't arrived en masse here yet, but I'm sure they will be filtering in tonight and tomorrow during the day. After a drink on the 36th floor of the hotel (amazing view) I think it's time for bed.

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Posted by Matt 5/04/2008 09:02:00 PM Comments (0)