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My First OSCON

Posted by tonya_rae_moore on July 23, 2012 at 6:17 AM PDT
I’m someone who came to this field from a management, as opposed to technical, background. In an effort to understand this website and its users more fully, I am (slowly and painfully) teaching myself basic Java, reading every book handed to me, and jumping at the chance to attend any conference the Oracle Powers That Be will allow. One of my biggest hurdles has been the special technical language only programmers and engineers speak. This, my first OSCON, was monumental in cracking some of your crazy moon language, answering questions I didn’t even know enough to ask. I learned what POJO means, and LAMP, and the difference between a JSR and a JEP, all on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, engaging though they were, my newfound vocab wasn’t enough for me to parse Arun Grupta’s session, The Java EE 7 Platform: Developing for the Cloud, and I only conceptually understood Martjin Verburg and Ben Evans’ Exploring Java 8 Technology.

However, there were other sessions which I fully understood and were hugely useful to me. Like Sonya and Tori, I was so entranced with Dave Eaves’ Wednesday morning keynote speech that I sought him out a second time for Open Source 2.0: The Science of Community Management. As a person who came to the table bearing only soft skills, a couple of psychology degrees, and a long MB history, I felt both comfortable and enthralled with his discussions on negotiation theory. Meghan Gill’s Scaling Your Community by Nurturing Leaders had me thinking hard about how her experience with growing the MongoDB community could be applicable to a non-revenue based community such as ours.

On Thursday Paul Tashima was wonderfully plain-spoken to a room full of UX Design laymen, and his talk, Storytelling a Better User Experience, sparked my interest in learning more about how storytelling and design affects and enhances the time you spend online. In Effecting Organizational Change, Kane McLean shared his experiences with getting the emotional and rational mind working in conjunction to crack one of the toughest bureaucratic nuts of all (no pun intended), the United States Army, while Keith Fahlgren’s Analyzing How Developers Learn Online For Fun and Profit gave me a crash course in analytics and opened my eyes to Safari Books Online. I ended Thursday with Martjin and Ben’s discussion on how beer helps bring people together (there were other points, but, BEER) in Building a Free Java Community With Deep Roots. And, before catching my plane, I managed to squeak in Simon Phipps and Tony Wasserman’s Friday morning session, OSI – More Relevant Than Ever, which was an excellent opportunity to learn from two OS legends.

These discussions gave me lots of great ideas, some of which I hope to implement on Next up for me is JaveOne2012!

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