If you ever get the chance to go to Oslo, don't pass it up. It's a beautiful city filled with friendly people. And don't worry if you don't speak Norwegian - almost everyone I encountered spoke perfect English, which is good since jeg snakker bare litt norsk.
I was in Oslo last week to attend JavaZone 2006, which was very worthwhile. I saw several good presentations in a relaxed atmosphere. The event is organized by javaBin, which is the Java user's group in Norway. They describe JavaZone as a "miniature JavaOne," but the vibe is a little different. First of all, there are no keynote speeches - the hotel where it was held did not have a room large enough to hold all 1,400 attendees. That lack of keynote speeches puts more of the focus on the technical presentations. And the smaller size of the conference brings about a more user friendly experience - at lunch you just walk out of a session and grab a bag with a couple of sandwichs, a candy bar, and an apple in it.
Geertjan has already described some of the sessions that I attended, here and here, so I won't repeat a description of those. There are two sessions he did not mention, though, that I particularly enjoyed. One was DTracing Java - Super Powers for the Developer! by Rikard Thulin and Peter Lindh. They did a really good introduction on using DTrace to find performance problems in Java applications. The other was Fly By Wire by Kirk Pepperdine. Kirk did a recap of the lessons he has learned about how to zero-in on the underlying cause of a performance problem.
Kirk attended my session and was very complimentary, which was nice. I'd have to say that was the best part of JavaZone - the people I got to meet. In addition to Kirk, I met Geert Bevin, Heinz Kabutz, Averil Meehan, and Bruce Tate, among others.
For those of you who attended my session - I will be posting a follow-up blog entry to provide additional information that covers some of the Q & A portion. For those of you who did not attend JavaZone, it appears that the presentation slides are already available. In addition, I think they are going to make audio available for all sessions and perhaps even video for some of the sessions. I will pass on any information once I get it.
A note about the photos - the Sun booth had one of those "strong man" contests set up in it. To win a prize, you had to swing a large mallet and hit a lever at the bottom in order to force a large ball bearing up about ten feet (about 3 meters) so that it would ring a bell at the top. I have a few photos here - Romain Guy took more so hopefully he will post them.