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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Øredev 2010 Wrap Up

Someone should give Michael Tiberg a cape!

I’m just back from Øredev 2010 and it was awesome! I am very fortunate in that I have the opportunity to attend and speak at a lot of conferences but none of them are like Øredev.

For the unfamiliar, Øredev is held each fall in Malmo, Sweden. It is put on by Jayway and organized by Michael Tiberg and Emily Holweck (who should also get a cape). This year they drew over 1,000 attendees from all over the world. The primary focus of the conference is development, but the topics addressed cover such a wide range that there is never a moment when you can’t find something that will spark your interest.

The conference kicked off with a Keynote called Mission Critical Agility by Dr. Jeff Norris from NASA. He gave a great presentation on innovation, failure and how unlikely events drive success. It was very inspiring and included some fascinating anecdotes about Alexander Graham Bell, as well as some very cool ARToolKit material about the moon landing. (There is no way I could explain ARToolKit and do it justice, but here is a random YouTube video that will help: http://bit.ly/41Wg0x).

The theme this year was Get Real and the tracks included Java, .NET, Smart Phones, Architecture, Cloud and nosql, Patterns, Agile, Web Development, Social Media, Collaboration, Realizing business ideas, Software Craftsmanship and, the conference’s secret weapon: Xtra. The speakers are encouraged to make their presentations as challenging as possible, so there is rarely a session that doesn’t make you feel like you’re watching a TED video. (And in fact, they taped every session and they will be posted in a few days.)

The Xtra track was an experiment this year and I really hope other conferences start to include tracks like this. Along with the sessions about HTML5, Java Provisioning in the Cloud and Agile Release Planning, the Xtra track had sessions on Understanding hypnosis, the lifecycle of a coffee bean as it makes it’s way into your cup, MIDI, Photography and using your voice and body to become a more effective speaker. While these topics may not seem to fit with the rest of the conference, they provided a balance I’ve not seen before and it made an awesome conference even better. The technical talks I attended challenged me from an intellectual perspective and I can definitely say that being asked to sing part of a human chord in Kathy Compton’s session “Music: the language of the eternal kinderkind” definitely put me out of my comfort zone – but in a good way.

I’ll post an update when the videos are live. If you missed it this year, you may want to start planning to make the trip next year. It is a truly unique thing.