Itinerant Java/NetBeans speaker
I've not been posting lately, but it's not for lack of excitement around here.
For one thing, I've been collaborating on the forthcoming NetBeans RCP book. If you're at all interested in RCP development, I promise you this book will make your job easier. I started on the NB platform about 3 or 4 years ago, and I struggled with it a lot. I can't believe how much easier it is now. The support in the IDE for writing platform-based apps is better (thanks largely to Jesse Glick), the information on platform.netbeans.org is much, much better (thanks largely to Geertjan), and this book is going to be the icing on the cake.
And, while I was writing that chapter, I also gave notice at Nuance. After 6+ years at the speech recognition giant, I'm calling it quits. I'd like to stress that there were no hard feelings or anything particularly negative at Nuance that made me feel I had to leave. My experience at Nuance has been tremendous. Right out of college, I was fortunate to work in an exciting and technically challenging software field (speech recognition) with a lot of really, really smart programmers and linguists. Everything I learned about developing large, high-quality software products I learned at Nuance. I grew a lot there, both professionally and personally.
I was just ready to take a break, and soon I'll be looking for new challenges. But first...
My girlfriend gave notice at her job as well. We've decided to travel the world together for about a year. We're going to South America, Europe, and Africa. Everything after that we haven't planned out yet, but it's likely to include parts of India, China, southeast Asia, possibly Japan, Australia/NZ, or some islands in the south pacific. I'll be posting all about this on my new personal blog.
As part of this grand adventure, I'm attempting an experiment. I figure, if Sun, with their millions spent on marketing and travel, can have a "NetBeans World Tour", why can't I?
The lonely planet books all say that the best way to travel to foreign countries is to engage with locals in a more substantive way than just interacting with hotel clerks and waiters. Have conversations with people who are not paid to have conversations with you (i.e. people in the tourism industry).
In my opinion, one way to do this is to meet people with similar interests. Like, maybe Java.
I've spoken twice at JavaOne and once at OOPSLA on the subject of NetBeans RCP development. I've also got fodder for talks from my experience at Nuance doing speech recognition with java in general, and NetBeans RCP in particular, as well as the material I've contributed to the new book.
Also, while not specifically Java-related, my girlfriend and travel companion Patty is an expert (and has spoken at conferences) on advances in telecommunications infrastructure, particularly in the realm of FTTP.
So here's my idea: we'll have several slide decks on USB keys with us. If you have a JUG or other organization somewhere on our itinerary, and you'd like one or both of us to come and speak, we'd be happy to, in exchange for space on your couch or in your guest room for the night, and maybe some company to help us explore your home country. Show us your favorite museum, pub, hiking trail, or landmark.
In a nutshell, we're trading expertise for experiences.