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Tutorial days at ApacheCon

Posted by davidvc on October 10, 2006 at 9:27 PM PDT

The first two days of ApacheCon are over, and it's been a lot of fun so far. On Monday I gave a tutorial on embedding a database in a browser. Man, what I lot of work I put into that tutorial, but it was worth it - I learned a lot and I think so did the attendees. It was a full room, and the class was pretty engaged in the morning. By the end of the day, however, eyes were getting glazed even though I was doing my best to keep things engaging. Reminds me of the Gary Larson cartoon where the student raises his hand in the school classroom and says "Teacher, may I be excused, my brain is full."

One of the more eye-opening revelations for me happened when the first lab started. I was watching all the students struggle with their laptops, and noticing they kept using forward-slash instead of back-slash and didn't know how to bring up a command window. I finally asked how many people had been given loaner laptops with XP on them but were actually UNIX users, and over half the class raised their hands. Yipes! I had just assumed that everyone had their own laptops - I mean, that's how I perceived it at OSCON and JavaOne and, I thought, here at ApacheCon. I immediately pointed them to Cygwin so they could at least somewhat feel at home again, and once this was accomplished people were much happier.

On Monday afternoon I rented a bike, way cool, I rode the 2 miles back from the bike store down a beautiful trail along a creek to the banks of the Washington River, where another bike/walk path meanders along the banks. It was so great to get out into the sunshine and nature rather than hermit myself into the hotel all day.

Today I took a really good tutorial on media relations with Sally Khudairi, how to talk to the press, how to present yourself and your projects and work with the press to get your message across. I have never really had much exposure to the press, but as it turns out Sun is setting me up to meet with two members of the press tomorrow, so I must say that was good timing!

Austin is a beautiful little town, with lots of large sprawling oak trees hanging with moss, bike paths and walking paths, nice relaxed folk who move a little slower than those of us from the Bay Area. It poured rain most of the day today; it was a thick, warm, steady rain with little or no wind that reminded me a lot of monsoon time in India. I love that kind of rain - very hypnotic and soothing, and comfortable to be in, not at all like the cold misty rains that tend to chill your bones like we get in the winter-time in the Bay Area.

Tomorrow the sessions begin and the expo hall opens and things are going to pick up, but I still hope to find some time to hop on my bike and explore some more of Austin. Then there's Sun's UnBoF party tomorrow night, so who knows when I'll get to bed tomorrow... :)

See y'all later!