Its the Sunday before my fifth JavaOne and already I can see that I'm gonna be really sleepy by next Friday. As usual for me BOFs, Community Meetings and nightime activities will keep me up despite best intentions and in a real sense those after dark activities are the best of what a Technology Conference can give you. For me JavaOne is all about running into old friends, new trends and exchanging ideas. There's more than a person can do in a single week but the point is to get in there and do as much as you can. Afterall, it only comes once a year!
Of course attending the sessions and walking the expo floor is the real heart of daytime activities at JavaOne. But what I like best about daytime JavaOne are the transition periods when I'm walking between sessions and can strike up a conversation with the folks walking next to me. I also like sitting with folks I don't know at lunch and asking what sessions are interesting to them and why. Sometimes I change my whole plan for the afternoon based on what I hear.
Its great to see old friends too. Some of my favorite people will be contributing blogs on the new java.net site during and after the show and I can't wait to see what they have to say. Also, this is the first year that JavaOne has added an "Open Source" topic to the request for papers, and there are quite a few sessions about using Java with open source that I am looking forward to attending.
Anyway, here's my (somewhat motherly) pre-conference advice for surviving and thriving at JavaOne 2003:
1. Wear comfortable shoes - the expo floor at Moscone is concrete and a little carpet on top doesn't really pad your feet. Consider treating yourself to a foot massage at the conference, or take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot on the grass in Yerba Buena Gardens at lunchtime.
2. Drink plenty of water - you'll probably be walking more distance than you normally do in a day and carrying a conference bag around, and you probably took a plane to get to San Francisco. Try to drink 64oz of water a day. Diet cola doesn't count.
3. Mark your conference bag - until you put a distinctive mark on it (like a bright luggage tag or even a ribbon tied around the handle), your bag will look just like everyone else's and its easy to grab the wrong bag in a dark session room.
4. Pace yourself - its okay to take a nap once in awhile. That's why they invented bean bag chairs. Also, take a play break. Check out the games area or participate in one of the contests.
5. Talk to strangers - how often in your normal life are you in a big room full of strangers who are all interested in the same topic as you?.
6. Check java.net blogs at http://today.java.net often - to see what our bloggers are finding cool at the show and where they'll be going next.