Aside from becoming a great programmer, one of my lifelong dreams has always been to visit Sweden and be able to see everything that its cities have to offer. That dream finally came true last week when my employers gave me the whole week off so that I can attend the Øredev conference in Malmo, Sweden.
There were so many great things that went on during that conference, and if I had to summarize it in a single word, I would call it “amazing”, and if you’re looking for a more detailed summary, here we go:
Day Zero - Old world architecture, fine dining, and bloody gooses
After a quick round of introductions at Magnus Mårtensson's place, everyone walked over to the Malmo City Hall for the Speaker’s dinner. This place was huge, and according to some historians, it was the place where the Swedes celebrated victory over the Danish invaders that were trying to reconquer the southern region of Skane (the area now known as Malmo) back in the 1700s. It was the first time that I’ve ever seen such a place, and suffice to say, I was impressed.
The building interior was ornate with paintings of its former Danish princes and rulers, and the far end of the Council Room had images of its Swedish victors. The deputy mayor of the City of Malmo stood in front of all the attendees and welcomed us to the city. I watched as everyone lifted their champagne glasses to toast the event, and at first, I thought that we were just going to stand around in the Council Room and have a cocktail party. Ten minutes later, they escorted us into a huge dining hall, and the surroundings were like something out of an old world fairy tale.
After everyone found their seats among the various open tables, the waiters started serving us various types of white and red wines. Everything seemed normal up to that point, until the waiters served this one mysterious bowl of soup:
At first, I thought it was some bowl of chocolate-flavored syrup. After all, as I naively told myself, the Swedes must be known for their chocolate. As it turns out, it was the Swiss (not the Swedes) that were known for their chocolate, and that “special” soup was actually a bowl that was chalk full of goose blood. When I asked the waiter what was in the bowl, he just gave me a weird look and said, “they didn’t tell you what was in the bowl?”
I just shook my head and waved the bowl away, and if weren’t for my vegetarian tendencies, I probably would have become an avian vampire. After picking and eating the meatless option (which was the lobster soup), I went around the room and took a few pictures of some of the notable speakers that were at the conference:
Center: Jeremy Miller, aka “The Shade Tree Developer”
What surprised me was that many of the developers that I had been reading about for many years were sitting right there in front of me in that dining hall. They were no longer just some prestigious names on a random blog post on a programmer site. They were there, en vivo, and it was nice to finally be able to match a face to each one of their names.
Center: Roy Osherove, author of “The Art of Unit Testing in .NET”, and Hadi Hariri, Tech Evangelist at Jetbrains
For the most part, the rest of the dinner was filled with toasts and speeches from the Øredev organizers. Overall, I’d say that the food was excellent, and as introductory dinners go, it was filled with lots of people getting to know each other over bleeding gooses. For me, it was remarkable for its attendees, but relatively unremarkable for the dinner chatter.
Things didn’t get interesting until we all left Malmo City Hall and went to the Green Lion Inn. After spending about an hour talking to Hadi (Hariri) about emergent refactoring techniques, he said that he had to get some sleep because he had to be at the Jetbrains booth very early by the next morning, so I said goodbye to him, and he left.
I was tired too, and I figured that I should go back to my room and get some rest. My internal body clock was seven hours ahead of my physical location, and I was headed for the door until some stranger approached me and told me that he wanted to talk to me about AOP. The two-hour conversation about AOP that soon followed seriously changed the way I saw AOP, and that stranger was no ordinary stranger.
It was Greg Young, and he blew me away with what he had to say.
…to be continued