Last weekend I went to BarCampGrandRapids2, which turned out to be a wonderful experience. Dave Brondsma and Carlus Henry put together a great little un-conference; jointly organized, show up and present, if people come to your talk, great, if not, don't worry about it.
The conference was sponsored by Gordon Food Service (free food), Calvin College (free space), and Google, which provided a speaker, a recruiter, and a few give-aways.
The most interesting talk I went to was probably Matt Michielsen's "Industrial Automation for Techies" - learning about programmable logic controllers and such. Second to that would be the open spaces, where we talked about everything from SOA to the impact of universal GPS/GIS. No Geocaching, but maybe next time.
The weirdest thing for me was interacting with the attendees. We're all a bunch of computer nerds, so a lot of people were just sort of quiet and passive. I found that I kept falling back on where do you work / what do you do / here's my card / what's the hiring situation kind of discussions. Nothing wrong with that, but it's hard to get deep.
Now BarCampGR2 was on a Saturday, and it drew a totally different crowd than usual. This was no during-the-work-week junket at a posh resort. Attendees were computer enthusiasts; people who do this stuff because we love it - or who love this stuff and wish they could do it for a living. There was a talk on robotics. Instead of asking "what do you do?" a better question for something like BarCamp is probably "What do you care about?"
In the mean time, I am also reviewing a book manuscript for Addison-Wesley on the process of evolutionary software development, learning to play golf (badly), and I owe a few blog posts on estimates.
More to come. Also, if you'd like to preview a couple chapters of the Scott Bain book on evolutionary development, let me know. If it's popular enough, I have permission to post (a little bit of it).
Schedule and Events
March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email: Matt.Heusser@gmail.com