Keith Rome and I just returned from an excellent day at Florida's FREE Code Camp. This was WELL WORTH attending; several speakers were truly world class.
Props goes to Nova South Eastern University who provided a fine location (seen below). The lecture theatres were clean and new, with spotless desks. Very unlike the University I attended in the UK; which was probably last modernized in the 1800's!
So, how did it go? Thanks to Delta and the Superbowl filling every flight to Florida we arrived very late Friday evening missing the social- dang it. The silver lining is this meant I spent nine hours with Keith Rome who educated me in many areas of .Net I know little about. Keith is seriously smart. My background includes three CS degrees, Keith's degree was not CS related; he is one of the many self taught programmers out there. Yet, in many, many areas he beats me hands down - amazing talent. Listen up recruiters, a CS degree is not mandatory!
After meeting a few fellow attendees at our nearby hotel (+ a newbie speaker on quite the ego trip, LOL!) we trundled over to registration. Keith is seen below scrutinizing the final session schedule.
Ok time to start wrapping this long post up. The photos below try to illustrate how packed the closing keynote was. Plus, do you see how much swag was provided? There must have been over a hundred prizes not including the t-shirts, mints, candy, DVDs etc thrown into the audience. Pretty impressive swag, but I heard a rumor Doug Turnure said it was nothing compared to what we'll see at Atlanta's code camp. He mentioned something about needing a flat bed truck to haul it all, right Doug?
Lots of people + my friend Greg (far right) mesmerized by swag
Ok everyone knows I call things as I see them, no sugar coating or (unjustified) bias towards Microsoft here... It was a great day but just a few observations of how Atlanta can be better:
One presenter I saw appeared hung over. He simply read from slides and was often right clicking menus to find out what the product did. Note to presenters: Please prepare and practice your material. Even if you are local superstar with a confident swagger try to make an effort, please!
Not that we are discouraging amateur speakers from presenting (myself being a TOTAL AMATEUR). Some speakers at Florida were obviously nervous and not very polished (aahhem.. not a bit like moi talking about NUnit to 80+ people last week, honest!). Being inexperienced is fine, everyone can see they are making an effort and attendees still take knowledge away from the talk. Drinking until 4am then speaking on something you have barely researched is not at all impressive.
There was only one other low light. A handful of speakers were somewhat rude if us regular ‘plebs’ tired to speak to them. All the best speakers were very friendly and talked to the attendees. I guess that is what differentiates superstars everyone likes (e.g. Mark Dunn) with the wannabes superstars who's local following make them feel like Tom Cruise.
OK, that was way too much negativity. It was an AWESOME event, thanks again to all that helped organize it. Today I am submitting my own talks for Atlanta's Code Camp – hopefully one will be accepted, but given the quality of Florida it will not be surprising if I do not make the grade.