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My numbers about Jazoon

Posted by fabriziogiudici on July 3, 2007 at 4:04 PM PDT

Now that the Jazoon conference is over since a few days, I think I can post a balanced opinion about it (BTW, you can also read what Filippo, Roumen, Emmanuele and Moritz think).

  • 800: the number of participants. I don't know whether it's good or too low, but Jazoon organizers seem to be fine with it. I think that probably a conference of this class should have more, sometimes you had the feeling of "few" people around, but after all it was just the first edition.
  • 28: the number of countries from where people came. Quite good.
  • 150: the number of presentations. Good.
  • 7: the number of parallel tracks. Too many, and this probably lead to some dispersion in talk attendees (see below). Also, it would probably be useful - suggestion for next year - to "tag" tracks with a certain argument (e.g. "desktop", "web", "commercial", etc... so people can choose better).
  • about 15: the number of attendees in many "demo" talks. Probably people had a wrong opinion about what demos were (maybe they thought about some marketing talks), and - as Roumen suggested - the fact that the timetable was "shifted" with respect to the one of talks made things worse.
  • 5: the number of talks I held (including a 10" quick presentation at the NetBeans day, which indeed was not technically part of Jazoon); I had a decent number of attendees with the exception of the BoF, that got deserted (while it could be entirely with the exotic topic, it could also be something to improve for next year, see below).
  • 0: the number of attendees in many BoFs. The whole BoF thing was bad planned, as the final timetable was given only a few hours before the BoF slots, and they probably were scheduled too late. Also at JavaPolis I had the impression that the BoFs were not well scheduled. Probably in San Francisco people wake up at 6AM and stays until 11PM for BoFs, in Europe it doesn't sound as the same attitude ;-)
  • about 20: the number of Java VIPs I was able to meet. Excellent.
  • 4: the number of minutes I could stand the high-volume music at the party held on Wednesday night. Sorry, but it's a physiological thing, I can't stand noisy environments (ok, ok, I also worked in Formula One for some time, but I went to the track only a few days and I wore ear-cups ;-) Apart from my hate for noise (and for that kind of music), the whole point in a party is to meet people, but it's really annoying to scream in order to be listened by the person in front of you. Next time I suggest a more relaxed environment and soft music in the background.
  • 25: the cost in euro for parking my car for 8 hours at Sihlcity (the Jazoon venue). F***ing hell! This is really too much! Fortunately Jazoon offered free tickets for the public transportation so I could leave the car at the hotel parking the following days. Zürich is really an expensive town in many respects.
  • 40: the duration of talks. While I was able to fit in this tight duration, it's really too short. 50 minutes should be the right timing.

Other non-numeric notes:

  • while Zürich didn't caught me (I didn't find any "special" corner; a tidy, clever but anonymous town in my opinion), it's for sure an excellent place to work and live. The public transportation efficiency is incredible, you can sync your watch with the tram timetable.
  • unbelievably enough, in Switzerland smoking in closed public areas is allowed. It's terrible! In Italy the smoke ban has been introduced some years ago and I got used to breath clean air in closed spaces. It would be nice if next year the Jazoon venue saved the lungs of non-smoking people...
  • food at Jazoon was decent/good (I saw that Filippo complained about the pasta served on the first day, but in the end it was not so bad - clearly you can't serve pasta to 800 people and having the italian ones not complaining about ;-)
  • we need some kind of feedback. As a presenter I'd like to know whether my attendees were bored or satisfied, if the abstract matched the presentation contents, if people would prefer to see more code, etc... I know that the Jazoon website has some "5-stars" rating facility for talks, but it's not enough.
  • WiFi coverage and power-plug availability were excellent :-) This is very important today.
  • the conference ticket was very expensive (especially in comparison with JavaPolis, which is the term of comparison for any conference in Europe). This is coherent with the Zürich context, but as people also come from foreign countries, this is something that should be improved next year. Also, I was surprised that co-speakers had to pay half of the price - I mean, speakers should go for free. It's to be said, on the other hand, that Jazoon gave some free passes for JUGs and there were some special discounts.

Summing up, a good starter from my perspective. I personally enjoyed my stay at the conference and I came back with a high degree of satisfaction. And it's good to have another good conference not so far from home. I hope I'll be back next year.

At last, these are some personal remarks:

  • 250/300: the weight in grams of the sausages that I ate at the Zelthauskeller restaurant. :-)
  • 0.2: the weight in kilograms I got during my stay in Zürich, pretty good considering the previous point;
  • 1: the number of photos I was able to shoot during the trip to Zürich. While I traveled through Trentino, Alto Adige, Tirol, Lichtenstein and - of course - Switzerland, the weather was bad and I woke up late, so I had to drive in a hurry (also the traffic was considerable and austrian/swiss highways have the same terrible concentration of "men at work" of italian highways, which dramatically reduces your cruise speed).
  • 102: the number of photos (before selecting the actual keepers, of course) that I shot during my trip back to Italy ;-) as the weather was fine and alpine passes are so beautiful.
  • 2436: the altitude that I reached on Furkapass, which sets my current altitude record for driving (boys, I'm a seaman, I've been exploring mountains only in recent years).
  • 1700: the kilometers I drove in ten days from home to Padua (where I worked the days just before Jazoon), to Zürich and back home. Unfortunately I hadn't found yet the time for downloading the trip data from my GPS recorder (as for postprocessing the photos), I'll blog on that later.
  • 13: the average temperature in Zurich during the conference, which is by far too low for my June standards :-( It's to be said that it has been a crazy week, with temperature in excess of 45C in southern Italy, so maybe it was below the Zurich standard. The only day with sun (Sunday) the temperature was - I believe - around 25, pretty good.

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