Showing posts from 2012

This Blog Has Moved!

Right, so yes, five years ago I moved to github pages, and never bothered to redirect any of these pages there. Now I've moved on from there, and... Finally I am using my real domain, . My blog is now at .  See you there!

Devoxx: The Problem with Women - A Technical Approach

As well as talking about, you know, actual work-type-stuff , I was encouraged to give my "Technical Approach to Women" presentation at Devoxx.  This went so well at JavaOne that I thought it would be difficult to top.  Also, I wasn't convinced it would work at Devoxx, because the theatres are not well suited to audience participation - the seats are warm and comfy, the room is dark, the speaker is on stage in front of a massive screen.... I was incredibly impressed with the audience.  There were literally hundreds of people, most of them men.  To me, it proved once again that the men in this industry are determined to "fix" this problem of gender imbalance.  And they're happy to extend that to improving diversity as a whole, once you highlight the bigger problem.  It says to me that this is not naturally a misogynistic industry, where you have to fight against the boys club to get anywhere.  It says to me that we are all in this together.  After all, in th

Agile++: When Agile Goes Well

If you see anything about LMAX - the Disruptor, Continuous Delivery, or even the selection criteria for hiring developers, you'll see that LMAX is pretty keen on Agile .  However, no-one's documented the Agile process there, as far as I know.  Although I personally had it on my todo list, I never had the motivation, the hook to do it.  And I realised eventually that's because I'm not sure it's a process that would work very well for another team, in another company, working in another business. The agile process followed at LMAX is one that works for the individuals and the organisation there.  And that's because they do one thing very well - they regularly examine the issues faced and adapt the process to try and combat them.  It's an agile process that's, well, very agile - it's constantly changing.  Documenting it would only represent a single snapshot in time that would be out of date almost as soon as the next retrospective comes along.

Webinar: Processing High Volume Data Feeds with MongoDB

Hot on the heels of my very first MongoDB webinar,  I was... encouraged... to do another.  Here at 10gen we've been running a series of webinars around using MongoDB in the financial services domain.  Yesterday was the last in the series, and was presented in association with C24  - John Davies , their CTO, did most of the talking, and demonstrated their product for automatically turning financial messages from one format into another. video platform video management video solutions video player (Slides and webinar available here - and you're not going deaf, the sound doesn't start until about 3:44 into the video) It was a fun webinar to do, actually - I didn't know anything about C24's iO tool, so I learnt quite a lot as I watched John navigate the demo.  My background in trying to debug raw FIX messages probably skewed my questions, I was definitely more interested in how to use it as a developer and what it could give me if I were doing production su

My First Official MongoDB Appearance

Yesterday I had the nerve-wracking dubious alarming  great pleasure of presenting my first official MongoDB -shaped talk.  This was in the form of a webinar, which is an interesting and different format. I na├»vely assumed it would be like a presentation but without the visible hand-waving, but it isn't really.  For a start, you can't easily poll the audience to find out what their level of experience is, and taking questions is quite tricky, even with the technology to support it.  Also, because you're not standing in front of people, I think the "rules" around making sure your slides don't distract from you are a little different - it strikes me that webinars are more like a set of slides with a narrator and a fixed time, than a presenter with a set of slides to emphasise points.  This puts the medium in an awkward position between an infodeck and a talk (yes, I am reading Presentation Patterns at the moment, and it's making me very conscious

LJC Open Conference 2012

Saturday I had the pleasure of being part of the 5th London Java Community Open Conference .  This is a great event to end the conference season on - it made me feel good about being part of the LJC, and  got me excited about the prospects for 2013. The fantastic thing about an open conference is that a) you don't have to prepare like mad for it and b) the short sessions and wide variety of subjects mean that you learn stuff you didn't expect to. Given how much I've been presenting lately, and with the conferences piling on top of each other back-to-back leaving little time for preparation, I had decided not to speak at the open conference, but to sit and learn for a change - it's a great opportunity for new speakers to present for a start.  But that resolution lasted all of 3.54 milliseconds.  After all, if people don't like the sessions I propose, they won't come, so I lose nothing by suggesting some. Photo by Ged Byrne First up, it was a very great

Summary of Devoxx 2012

Devoxx topped off a crazy two months of conferences. I've heard people talk about the conference season in the past, and been slightly (OK, very) jealous of all that jet-setting.  I'll admit, however, to a slight feeling of relief that my focus until Christmas is pretty much going to be coding.  I hope. Neal Ford's When Geek Leaks So, how was Devoxx?  Well for starters, the calibre of the speakers and talks was excellent.  I learnt things in every one I went to - either something I could put into practice at work, or something I could do to improve my own presentations.  My favourite was Neal Ford's When Geek Leaks - Neal is a great speaker, and this talk was entertaining and informative. I'm also currently reading his Presentation Patterns book, which is extremely useful.  Although obviously I give a bunch of presentations and have found some very handy tips in here, it's dead handy for everyone, even if you're just presenting to your boss or t

Brain Overload!

The moral of today's story - be careful what you wish for. This is my brain During the normal course of my life, it's filled with Stuff. Early in November, 10gen ordered me to go to New York to learn about MongoDB (Oh No!  My Life Is So Hard!).  I was looking forward to shopping and taking photos of the devastation wrought by Sandy, but actually I spent the whole time drinking from the firehose of MongoDB information provided by my ridiculously smart, ridiculously well-informed colleagues. (I didn't even buy shoes!  But I did buy a new winter coat, so there is some balance in the world). 24 hours after landing back in in London, I was on a train on my way to Antwerp for  Devoxx .  There, I did three talks, including a new talk on Agile, co-presented with a colleague from LMAX (a teeny snippet of which can be seen in the video on the Devoxx home page).  Running from thing to thing, helping out at the  10gen  stand and meeting new

Devoxx 2012

This week I'm at Devoxx for the whole week, and already I've achieved two things I didn't manage last year: I drank Belgian Beer and I've spent some time in Antwerp itself. It's going to be another busy conference, I'm presenting three times (thankfully one is just a quickie): Wed 13:35 - Why Open Source Your Secrets (Quickie) Wed 17:50 - Agile++: When Agile Goes Well - Co-presenting with one of my ex-colleagues from LMAX . Thu 17:50 - The Problem With Women: A Technical Approach . When I'm not talking, you should be able to find me lurking around the MongoDB stand, or at the various after-conference events that involve alcohol.

Java 8 - Introduction to Lambdas Article

This month's Java Magazine features an article by me, Ben Evans and Martijn Verburg about the new lambdas  coming in Java 8 . The aim of the article is to give an overview to normal, human Java developers, who don't need to know the theory behind what they are or how they work under the covers, but want to know how to use them when they get the shiny new version of Java next year (or even get ahead of the curve and try them now ). Look inside > Exploring Lambda Expressions for the Java Language and the JVM

NightHacking Tour: The LJC

On the same day Stephen Chin came to see me at the 10gen offices, we also ran a NightHacking session in the evening with the London Java Community.  Not many people turned up (maybe I need to work on my signage to the office?) but it was a great session. In fact, having less people meant we could all be involved. Expect Raspberry Pi s and JavaFX .

Interview and Hacking session with Stephen Chin

On Monday, Stephen Chin from Oracle visited me at the 10gen offices as part of his NightHacking tour .  In the video we talk about my sessions at JavaOne and the Agile presentation I'm giving at Devoxx, and I do some very basic hacking using the MongoDB Java driver , attempting to showcase gradle at the same time. It was a fun experience, even if it's scary being live-streamed and recorded!

NoSQL is a Stupid Name

So, I've finished my first full week in the new job and I've learnt lots of new stuff. Which is great, because that's usually why you change jobs. I'm learning a lot about these new-fangled NoSQL database thingies. The LMAX architecture was based on keeping everything in memory and reducing the waits for IO - messages were journalled to disk, and reads and writes to the MySQL database were off the critical path. Therefore doing anything radical to the storage side of the architecture was just not high on the list of priorities. Everything I knew about NoSQL I learnt from the various conferences I've been going to in the last year, and even then that's limited - without a business reason to pursue knowledge I know it'll just leak out of my brain, so I avoid sessions with no immediate applicability to me. Let's summarise what I knew about NoSQL databases before last week: They don't use SQL. Who knew?  There are different flavour

Upcoming Events

Time for another ad-hoc update on what I'm up to: Thur Oct 25th: LJC JavaOne Circleback Event Thur Nov 1st: The Problem With Women - A Technical Approach Wed 14th November - Devoxx : Why Open Source Your Secrets , Agile++: When Agile Goes Well Sat 24th November: LJC Open Conference Thur 29th November: My first MongoDB Webinar .   I'm also going to be in New York for training from the 5th - 9th November, but I can't swear to my availability during that time - apparently training is going to take up the days, and the evenings I'm going to try and get a jump start on some actual code.

JAX London 2012

Seemed like a quiet conference this year.  Not really sure why, maybe it was the layout of the massive (and extremely dark) main room; maybe it was the awkward L-shape of the communal space; or maybe this year people were more interested in listening to the (really very good) sessions rather than participating or meeting other people.  Whatever the reason, it felt quiet and almost low-key. Performance seemed pretty high on the agenda, as you'd expect from a London conference, with a number of things on offer: A great keynote from Kirk Pepperdine and Martijn Verburg , covering a massive range of things to care about when thinking about performance on the first night A high-level talk about Java Performance from yours truly (which I may run again for the LJC if there's interest, but it's more likely to be a one-off) A deep dive into writing lock-free coding by Mike Barker And a talk from Kirk exploring your GC logs. It was great to see a number of LJC regulars p

And for my next trick....

The time has come, and I'm moving on from LMAX .  I've had an incredible (nearly) four years working for one of the most radical finance firms in the world, during which time I feel I've learnt more than the rest of my work experience put together, and had the pleasure to work with some of the smartest and most interesting people I've ever met. I've been invited to join 10gen and their MongoDB driver team, a challenge I am really looking forward to.  After years in finance and in the IT departments of other organisations, I'm finally working for a product firm, and an open source one.  I expect it will be very different from anything else I've been involved in. I hope this means I will be blogging even more, and that I'll have opportunities to abuse my graphics tablet producing more ridiculous scrawlings.  I also hope this will give me an opportunity to meet more people as I travel around. So, as if this were a goodbye e-mail to the company or a

Introduction to the Disruptor Slides

I've produced a very cut down version of the presentation I've been giving at a lot of conferences, giving a high level overview to the Disruptor .  This serves as a quick intro to the concepts behind it. Introduction to the Disruptor from Trisha Gee My slides are usually pretty useless without me (or someone else) talking over them, so for more context don't forget there's always my original blog posts (the Magic Ring Buffer , Reading from it , Writing to it , Wiring it up ), which are now pretty dated, and the Java Magazine article I wrote at the start of the year.

JavaOne: The Summary

So, JavaOne. Taylor Street Cafe I'm going to be controversial.  I think this was my favourite conference of this year.  I know that's not trendy, and that Oracle-bashing is still a popular pastime.  And I know I've also made a big deal about how much fun it is to meet people who program in different languages.  But there is something very special about being surrounded by thousands of people from all around the world who use the same technology as you, some facing the same problems, some solving very different issues. Maybe it's because since I first spoke at JavaOne last year I've met a lot of people in this ecosystem - Oracle Java people, other conference organisers, Java User Group leaders, speakers and attendees from all sorts of places - and seeing many of them in one place is fun and makes you feel like you're "home".  I'd be sat in the Taylor St Cafe area and people would sit down and hang out with me.  I'd be hiding somewher

JavaOne: The Problem With Women - A Technical Approach

Yesterday dawned, with a sense of foreboding (actually it dawned with me coughing my lungs out, but we've heard enough about the sub-optimal state of my respiratory system this week).   On this day, I was giving the talk I was dreading when I got asked to do it.  It's the talk I actually put more work into than any of the other sessions I was presenting at this JavaOne.  It was the Women In IT talk. It's timely, given that conference season has one again led to cries of sexism and discrimination .  So although I really hate banging on about the subject (you'd never believe it from my blog) it's still necessary to cover. I feel, and have felt for a long time, that the way we're approaching the "problem" of the lack of women techies is just wrong.   Obviously painting stuff pink is just not going to cut it (I hope that's obvious).  I think the fundamental problem is that we keep thinking about women.  While that should be great for someone li

Tips for Presenters

...or, tips-for-Trisha-because-she-has-the-memory-of-a-goldfish. Do not drink too much coffee beforehand. Do not replace coffee with Diet Coke, it is not better... Do not drink too much coffee and drink diet coke and forget to eat. Check skirt length before prancing around on stage. Check desktop background for public-display-appropriateness. Close down applications that have popup notifications.  Do you really want hundreds of people seeing that tweet...? Plug in your laptop power.  Re-typing your password every time the screen powers down is boring. Remember your Mac-to-VGA dongle thingie.  Bring one even if you don't use a Mac - there might be a cute/friendly/senior/cool speaker who needs one, and you can help them. Bring your slides/laptop.  Not that important, especially if you've put it on dropbox.

JavaOne: User Group Sunday

Well this is exciting!  JavaOne 2011 is the first conference I spoke at, so this the first time I've covered the same conference two years running.  I think. It's very nice to be back at JavaOne.   Last year  it was my first opportunity to meet so many people - the guys at Oracle who work really hard to make sure Java has its own identity; the JUG Leaders and Duchess folk; the JCP EC committee members; and loads of people who live and work in the area who I wouldn't normally get a chance to speak to in person. This year I'm here with several other  London Java Community  people, and it's great to be a member of the Alumni, to have the privilege of showing other guys around and introducing people to each other.  It's nice to run into people I met here for the first time last year, some of whom I've had a chance to see at other events this year. Today, Sunday, is an interesting day.  The focus is on community, so I get to hear what other JUGs are do

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