The Øredev 2009 Conference adventure

Week before last, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at two conferences. With even more conferences in the pipe, last week was pretty intense, work-wise, to cover up for that, but now I thought I’d take the time to talk about them, starting in this post with the Øredev 2009 conference.

Getting there

Since the Øredev 2009 conference takes place in Malmö, in Sweden, I decided to take the X 2000 train there instead of flying. I could try and say that it was for environmental reasons, which is a good thing, but to be honest, my decision was just based on travel time and making it easier with arriving directly at the station next to my hotel.

In retrospect, though – and I know how weak this sounds – the train goes really fast and takes the curves leaning, so instead of me working or reading, I just needed to basically just sit still to avoid starting feeling sick. So even though I like the idea, not sure I will take the train next time – at least not the high-speed one.

I work out a lot regularly, and I drink protein shakes. So, as a snack/afternoon meal at the train, I wanted to drink one, but didn’t really feel like preparing it in the toilet sink. Therefore, after some serious smooth-talking, I managed to convince the train conductor to allow me to use his little kitchen which had a sink and faucet. Last thing he said to me before I went in there was: “Be careful, the train can be a bit jerky in some turns – just so you know”.

I though “Yeah, whatever, I’m a grown-up now, I can manage”, filled my shaker with protein powder and water, and started shaking it. After just a few seconds the lid got off the shaker, and I spilled the containing goo all over me and the entire kitchen… I got some paper and started to clean up as good as I could; the kitchen looked fairly decent at least, but the protein drink stains on my shirt looked like sperm or something… No bother, only four more shirt-stained hours to go on the train!

So, in my stain misery, all I could do was tweet about it and share the “joy” with people. I think the best reply ever was from Jim O’Donnell, who wondered about me being in a room with the conductor, and a stained shirt, and ultimately asked me if “Protein shake” was our safe word! :-D

Hotel room

Eventually I arrived in Malmö, and walked across the bridge from the train station over to the hotel, Elite Hotel Savoy. I checked in and got put in room 626. All well so far, but I got some interesting instructions on how to get to my room.

Take the lift to the second floor, get off, walk down half a stair, take the corridor to another elevator, take that one to your room.

Ok… I always thought room numbers starting with 600 would be on the 6th floor, but apparently my floor seemed to be wedged somewhere between the first and second floor, and elevator number two surely must have been going exclusively horizontal.

Nevertheless, I got a beautiful room with lots of space for all my stuff, and a little envelope with welcoming instructions as well (and even some Swedish car candy!). I unpacked what I had to, and then directly went off to the speakers’ dinner.

A picture of my hotel room

Speakers’ dinner

The speakers’ dinner took place at the absolutely gorgeous City Hall in Malmö, which is, especially on the interior, very very nice – let me tell you, it was the first time as a speaker walking on a red carpet to the welcome room. :-) Feeling a bit lost and not really knowing any other speaker, I browsed around amongst the other speakers in the mingling room just before the dinner, and luckily I ran into the lovely Theresa Neil. Theresa and I both were speakers at the Scandinavian Web developer Conference 2009 so we got to know each other there, and it was good to see that she once again this year was visiting Sweden!

We were then ushered into another, highly ornamented, room with lots of round tables put up for dinner and enormous chandeliers hanging over our heads. Theresa and I sat down at one table, and we were joined by some people from the conference organizing committee as well as performance guru Steve Souders, Vice President of Development at Oracle Cameron Purdy, interaction designer Dan Saffer and Alex Loddengaard.

A picture from the speakers' dinner

It was a nice dinner with some very, eh, interesting dishes, and at the end of it I dared to approach Steve Souders – he has influenced a lot of my work and it was really good to meet him in person!
After the dinner a few of us went to the official pub of the conference, just next to my hotel, and drank beer, spoke and generally had a good time.

Like before any of my speaking engagements, I was staying up way too late, making last-minute changes and generally panicking…

The conference

I got up pretty early in the morning, and went for a morning walk. Had breakfast, packed all my stuff and then I decided to walk to the venue instead of taking the offered shuttle service – just to get some fresh air and properly wake up, I thought. And man, did I wake up! It was very brisk outside so I guess the walk served its purpose at least. :-)

I got my badge, which interestingly read “Independent” (probably since I was invited as me, and not just as an employee) – I liked the notion, though, of being strong and independent. :-)

A picture of my badge

I managed to see some of Marc Lesser’s keynote “Accomplishing more by doing less” (he sure has a name that fits his presentation…), before I went to where my presentation would be and got ready.

My presentation

I gave my presentation JavaScript – From Birth to Closure (View/download on SlideShare) and overall I think it went pretty good. I was worked up, in a good mood and I felt I got good some good feedback/reactions from the audience as well. Only regret I have is that I had a dirty joke in the middle of my presentation, just to desperately shock/wake people up. Sure, some people liked it and tweeted about it, but the general feedback after was that it was a bit low and uncalled for, and I believe some even got offended. Please accept my apologies – the joke is now gone.

Let me also say that it is quite a mental challenge to give a talk on JavaScript with Douglas Crockford, JavaScript Godfather, in the audience. The feedback I got afterwards, though, was that I seemed to have done well. :-)

Presentations

With nine (!) separate tracks going at the same time, there were quite a number of talks to choose from. The other presentations I attended were:

JavaScript: The Good Parts – Douglas Crockford
I have seen this talk before by Douglas, except for some minor changes, and it is a great presentation, and especially the introduction to have if you are coming to JavaScript from other programming languages like Java, C++ or similar.
Even Faster Web Sites – Steve Souders
Steve was talking about how much performance matters, not just for end user experience, but also in conversions, loyalty and revenue, and showed both some interesting techniques as well as numbers to back his claims. First time seeing Steve talk, and it was very inspiring!
The JSON Saga
Douglas gave his talk about how JSON came to be, and it truly is a saga that has led to where we are today. Besides everything JSON, I also learned that Douglas apparently, at times, likes to design logos. :-)
Design to Development – Collaborating and Communicating on Interaction Design – Theresa Neil
Needing a break from code, I decided to see Theresa give her talk about user experience and different approaches to common problems. As a fellow presenter, I also liked her new slide deck design!
How Exactly Can Developers Create a Compelling User Experience? – Ben Galbraith
Getting inspired by Theresa’s talk, I decided to stay for another user experience talk. Ben, (previously with Google, then Mozilla, now Palm), gave a nice presentation about how design and user experience matters, and presented a lot of feedback and quotes from people researching it.

Evening

After the conference, the organizers were offering dinner at the venue together with some beer – I think this is a great idea, to keep everyone around and still mingling even though you are several hundred people! During dinner, Remy showed up, since he was due to talk the day after. We had some dinner together, and then later some beers at the pub, but both he and I were quite tired, both from escapades before the conference, as well as upcoming adventures.

Morning after, I left to go home and meet the family, before embarking on my next conference adventure (which I will cover in my next blog post).

The Øredev Conference review

It was my first time at Øredev, and I have to say I was extremely satisfied! Everything, down to the last detail, was very well organized, and everything just worked!
Especially as a speaker, it’s so good when you don’t need to waste time and effort into administrative details, but instead just focus on your talk, and the web track leader Olof Adell set a great example there!

If I ever get the chance to go again, I would say yes without hesitating! Thanks for everyone making it such a great event, and especially to Michael Tiberg for making this happen!

My pictures from the event are available in the Øredev 2009 conference photo set

Posted in Developing,JavaScript,Speaking,Technology,Travel |

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