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18th October
2010
written by Therese

I have been to a lot of conferences and seen a lot of presentations from brilliant people, but sometimes those brilliant people fail to make a presentation that connects with the audience. As an audience member (and not speaking as one of the brilliant people presenting) I have just one advice for those speakers.

Speak at conferences because you are on a mission. Don’t give a presentation just because people ask you to, and you are flattered. Make sure to think about what you are giving the audience – what the audience should take away from your talk (and make it simple). At conferences most attendees are on information overload, so you have to inspire them for further investigation. Tell jokes, tell anecdotes, use images to let your audience connect with your material. Be enthusiastic. Be memorable. Be tweetable. Be bloggable. Be the odd one out. Make sure that everyone knows why you are on that stage and what you are talking about.

That’s it.

11th October
2010
written by Therese

Last week I was at the JAOO conference – the last JAOO conference ever. The conference runs from Monday-Wednesday with training days at Sunday and Thursday-Friday. On Monday the JAOO organizing team had a surprise for all attendees: the conference changed it’s name to GOTO (in the logo it’s written goto;). The next day all the JAOO banners were gone and big GOTO-banners had replaced them – and now the conference is PINK. A very bold move for a techie conference, but then again so is the new name GOTO (the jokes are endless: goto considered harmful is the most obvious).

I have been part of the JAOO conference for a few years now and I guess now all my conference-stuff with the JAOO logo is going to be worth a lot of money on Ebay for all the true JAOO fans – or maybe not :-). My favorite thing is these JAOO green shoes (with the JAOO logo on the toes) that is really nice to wear even for a whole conference.

JAOO is dead – long live GOTO!

The GOTOguy Kresten Krab with the tombstone for JAOO

15th September
2010
written by Therese

So far all my code versioning needs has been covered by CVS and SVN, but recently I keep hearing about distributed version control. Git and Mercurial are very popular topics in certain parts of my social circle, so I decided that I need to look into the topic (some very painful personal experience with a large programming project on Subversion also had some motivational influence on that decision).

So where to start?

I decided to start looking into Git. This was not a deliberate deselection of Mercurial but motivated by my attendance at the IT-conference JAOO in a months time and at JAOO Scott Chacon from GitHub will host a Git 101 tutorial, which I am considering attending (oh, and one of the GitHub founders, Tom Preston-Werner, will do a presentation called “Mastering Git Basics”, which also could be interesting).

My starting point was wikipedia and as it mentions that Git is designed and originally developed by Linus Thorvalds, I googled Git together with his name to see what he had to say about the subject. The result was this Tech talk from Google, that I quite enjoyed:

Then I told my twitter friends that am looking into Git and as always they give great feedback. My favorite was from jlouis666, who pointed me to a page with the Pro Git book by aforementioned Scott Chacon (the guy hosting a Git tutorial at JAOO), which is available online. I’m hoping to look into it before his tutorial.

So far I have not had time to really play with Git. Because all my existing projects are in SVN and migrating between two such different systems would probably be unwise/a pain I am saving my practical experience with Git for my next project. I hope that these things I am looking into will prepare me for the practical experience, but any advise you have could really help too…

After JAOO I plan to look into Mercurial/hg – If you know of good sources of information for that I would love to hear about it. (I guess with all the Git-stuff at JAOO they didn’t have any time slots left for Mercurial or maybe they have just chosen their favorite…)

11th September
2010
written by Therese

Sometimes you have to remember to do something good for your blog readers (and twitter followers) and because I have been behind the scenes at JAOO the last few years, I was able to negotiate a good discount for the JAOO IT-conference.

So if you want to go to JAOO in Aarhus and hear some great speakers like Tim Bray, Oren Eini (Ayende), Dan North, Erik Meijer, James Gosling, Mary Poppendieck, Michael Nygard, Dan Ingalls, Dave Thomas and many more, you can get a 20 % discount using the discount code “jaoovip2010” when signing up.

If you have questions about going to the conference, feel free to ask. You can leave a comment on this blog or write to me on twitter @qedtherese.

11th September
2010
written by Therese

These days I’m hiding out at home at my parents house. I look like I have been beaten up with a swollen face, a broken nose and blue/black/red/yellow circles around my eyes, but this is all done on purpose and with my consent. Two days ago I underwent surgery on my nose to try to straighten it out after it broke in three places last January. This is my third surgery this year but in the last two they were not able to put all of the breaks back into place, so they had to do this last surgery after I had healed.

For months I have been waiting by the phone for them to call with a time for my surgery and last Monday they did. At first they offered me a time slot during my favorite IT-conference JAOO and I reluctantly took it, because I had to get this done before we leave the country November 1. Then they called me again Tuesday asking if I could do it this Thursday and even though I had to cancel a few things I jumped at the chance. This way I get to heal before JAOO and I can make a surgery followup appointment just before we leave the country. The timing couldn’t have been better.

So now I just have to get through the next few weeks with bruises and painkillers…

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7th September
2010
written by Therese

I’m so sorry, but I just have to rant about this: The last few years I have been part of organizing an IT-conference here in Aarhus called JAOO. Last year, when the world was in crisis mode, I could understand why people, when asked if they want to go to JAOO, said, that their boss wouldn’t let them and that the conference budget for the whole year was cancelled.

This year the economy is doing much better and still my friends are not going to JAOO even though they love the conference. Now the excuse is that they don’t have time. Fewer hands are doing the same amount of work as before the crisis, so now they are running around getting sick from stress. AND they just accept that their employer does not update their skill set because the business is too busy.

I can let you in on a little secret: The business is always busy when there is no economic crisis. Some IT-companies was even busy when the crisis was peaking. Such is IT. The diffence between now and then is that now the workers that did not get to go to the conference last year and probably wont get to go this year are outdated. They haven’t taken the time to get their qualifications updated the last few years and the tech world is moving terrible fast. Some don’t know what the whole NoSQL-thing is about, some haven’t heard much about HTML5 and some haven’t heard anything about the mobile phone development department. Now the crisis is over and companies are getting business deals that demands skills in that department and their current workforce can’t deliver. They should have been working smarter, not harder!

A lot of places they are trying to bring in new people with updated skills but this is turning out to be problematic. New workers have a learning period before they can get really started and sometimes you end up hiring the wrong guy/gal for the job because none of the people who applied was right for the job. Firing people is also expensive (at least it is here in Denmark) and if the current skill set in your workforce is outdated then you might have to.

I just think that it is very irresponsible to accept being outdated in the tech knowledge department – it could lead to unemployment. When my last employer told me I couldn’t go to JAOO, I decided to pay for the whole thing myself by taking some of my vacation during the conference (I got the ticket through version2.dk because of my blog there). Of course now I don’t have the problem of having to use my vacation time on conferences, because I quit my job to travel the world… (I’m leaving just 2 weeks after JAOO and yes, that timing is chosen on purpose.)

I’m so sorry for the rant – soon I will be back to normal and overly positive as usual.

(P.S. Of course there are plenty of ways to keep your skill set updated – I just know the conference business especially well, so I know that those few days are well spent, very inspirational and valuable enough to miss a few work days.)

29th August
2010
written by Therese

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and I’m day dreaming about travelling. I’m just looking through my holiday pictures from last years trip to Rome… What a beautiful city! I could see myself living in Rome – especially if I ever find the time to learn Italian.

Being in Rome as a turist can be a little stressful because there is so many things to see and places to go. I have been to Rome a few times now and have found my favorite places to hang out, take pictures and just revel in being a turist. For me these places are the essense of turist Rome. I will just share my top 5 with you – one blog post at a time… They are all places you should go see but I have ordered them so that I will write about my favorite place in Rome last and number five first.

My fifth favorite place in Rome is… the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s square.

I could use endless hours in the Vatican looking at art from the different ages – some religious art, some not so religious. The range of different styles of art is amazing and it’s coming from all corners of the catholic World as paintings, sculptures and even furniture. St. Peter’s square is just around the corner from the Vatican Museums and it is a must-see. The number of people coming to this place every day is enough reason to come here too, but also just to feel the historic presence standing in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. I have only been inside the Basilica once and for me it is not worth the long line and the security checkpoint – I much prefer the square in front and the museums.

For at day at the Vatican Museums I have a few pointers coming from my own experience:

A day in the Vatican Museum is hard – you should make sure that you have saved up strenght, that you wear sensible shoes and that you conserve your energy before going (and bring food and water). If you buy tickets in advance online, you can skip the usual VERY LONG line, so consider it. We didn’t buy tickets in advance last fall and had to stand in line for more than an hour outside in the rain. We also walked half way across the city center to come to the Vatican – I can recommend taking a bus or a taxi, so you have more steps left in you when you get to the museum – though it is an impressive walk over the bridge and up to St. Peter’s square.

Once you are inside the Museums, take your time. I see a lot of people just following the crowd the long way to the Sixtine Chapel without taking the time to see the amazing art on the way there. The tour through the museum can feel like standing/walking in line for 30 minutes if you just follow the crowd. Take some time in the central yard to plan your trip through the museum and make sure you see the pieces that you really want to. I prefer egyptian, roman and greek art a couple of thousand years old and there is plenty to see.

Oh – and consider bringing lunch because the food inside the Vatican museums can be expensive and bad. I tried a pizza slice and it was mostly just dough – not enough toppings to cover the whole slice. I don’t know what alternatives that are inside the museums but I can advise you to stay away from the pizza.

And make sure to take in the architecture – one of my favorite photos from our trip to the Vatican Museums last year is the stairs at the exit.

I think that is all the advice I have about the Vatican Museums. If you have more, I would love to read about it in the comment section.

26th August
2010
written by Therese

I just found this great blog post on the MoMA-blog. This is what happens when you give MoMA-employees a Friday afternoon with Lego; they start copying the art!

My favorite was this yellow piece that they have made. It is probably the most complex of the pieces, so you can imagine that most pieces are quite simple, but so are the artwork that they copy. (You will have to go to the MoMA-blog to see the other photos.)

Lego from Moma

MoMA pieces in Lego

I would love to see an exhibit at MoMA just with Lego art. The Lego company should just send loads of Lego bricks to artists to see what would come of it.

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23rd August
2010
written by Therese

This is what Poul is working on at Lego :-).

That’s soooo cool. I wish it was me working on that.

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22nd August
2010
written by Therese

As I have said before – I love the RSA Animate videos. This one is about enlightenment, which I as a scientist at heart feel is a very important subject.

Because of our upcoming trip I can’t help but to read an extra level of enlightenment of travel into this video and the term “global empathy” really hit the nail on the head for me. I hope to learn much from our journey through the world and feeling the global empathy more is one of those fields I hope to improve in. Sometimes it is about the journey and not the destination.

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