"On the road again"
I'm about to embark on a set of trips: I'm participating in the 2005 'No Fluff Just Stuff' software conferences tour. The first conference is up in Milwaukee; the tour is detailed on the NFJS web site.
I last participated in 2003, giving talks on a couple of open source projects. My talks in 2003 included the Castor data binding framework for Java, XUL, and my ashkelon open source documentation system.
So, after absence from the symposia in 2004, I'm looking forward to getting back on board, so to speak. I'll be giving four to five talks this time around, four of which are new topics.
One aspect of these conferences that I really like is that they seem to attract top-notch attendees. With few exceptions, almost every attendee I've met at NFJS events was there for all the right reasons:
not because he or she was "sent" there or "had to" be there, but because he or she is truly passionate about his work; they take it seriously, and they enjoy being active players in their industry.
This reminds me of the reasons i decided a number of years ago to start attending my local jug meetings. Something happens to you somewhere in your career where you feel a true passion for your work. You start seeking others in the field with whom you can relate, and discuss all kinds of software problems that you mutually find fascinating (i guess we all do this virtually as well through our blogs and web site informal publications).
I find these interactions very satisfying. Over the years, I've had the pleasure to meet some real talent in Austin (Texas, where I live). likewise, I feel lucky that through NFJS, I've also gotten to know some national talent in the field, not to mention the opportunity to interact with other geographic Java communities.
It's for those same reasons that I'm attracted to open source: you're allowed to participate in the process, you're encouraged to join mailing lists, contribute to discussions, contribute patches, make a difference.
So, surprisingly, it looks like Willie Nelson's song "On the road again" applies to me quite fittingly this year (with a minor edit, that is):
On the road again
Just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is writin' software with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again
Who would have thought?