In the middle of changing jobs, I have also been quite busy with the last minute preparations for the Smidig 2008 conference for the Oslo Agile user community (“smidig” being the closest Norwegian translation of “agile”).
The conference be two days of lightning talks before lunch and open spaces after lunch. The program is in the final stages of being finalized as we speak.
There are still a few open seats. We’ve structured the price so that we don’t need to sell out to avoid losing money. But we want to make sure that as many people as possible take advantage of the opportunity to learn and discuss with a large number of other practitioners of agile software development.
I am changing employers. As of October 1st, I will no longer be lead software architect at BBS Nordic. Instead, I will be the chief scientist at the Norwegian division of Steria.
This weekend, I was invited to join my new employer at their gathering at a resort in the south of Norway. I’ve had a chance to speak with a lot of my new colleagues, and I was overwhelmed by the number of skilled, thoughtful and friendly people.
Steria has lots of very talented people, and I’m still looking for the best way to help the organization in my new role. I hope I can personally teach a lot of people the architecture and testing techniques that I’ve learned over the last years, and I hope I can help the people who actually produce the results that are needed at the end of the day get a stronger voice with our management and our customers.
Watch the thrilling story: What happens when you take a domesticated programmer out of his natural habitat and put him into a new world. Will be be overwhelmed by the differences, or will he be a new invasive species in the foreign ecosystem?
(Yes: I will insist that my proper title should still be JustAprogrammer. How long will I get away with it?)
I just watched another amazing talk from the TED conference. Spencer Wells is a natural public speaker. He talks about where we all, as a species, came from. Amazingly enough, everyone who is alive today share a common ancestor in Africa no more than about 2000 generations, or 60,000 years ago. Wells describes the fascinating questions and their answers, as we know them today.
The TED conference is full of remarkable talks. Here are some of my absolute favorites:
My presentation at JavaZone was riddled with technical difficulties this year. To make a long story short: I learned five minutes before the presentation the the projector would be inoperative for a while (turned out to be 30 minutes). This threw a wrench into my plans, as I had planned to open with a demo.
I have read many times on presentation zen about presenting without slides. But before I stood in front of four hundred people with nothing to look at except me, I didn’t really believe how effective it would be. I’ve never seen a more attentive crowd! Thanks, everybody!
I don’t know if I had dared to throw the slides away if I hadn’t been forced to do so. But my next talk, I want to do without slides, too. This really was a serendipitous mishap.
There will be a video available of the talk, sadly, I forgot this, and spoke in Norwegian when I learned it was an all-Norwegian audience. I will link to the video for my Norwegian readers as soon as it is available.
A few months back, I saw a presentation that has kept me thinking ever since. Nicholas Negroponte is currently in the completing phases of a project I think might revolutionize the world. The $100 laptop project, or, as it is known now: One Laptop Per Child (OLTP). The idea behind the One Laptop Per Child project is to create a computer that can be given to every child in developing countries. In order to do this, the computer has several innovations to overcome the limitations of its environment. There is little or no power available, so the computer has to consume dramatically less power than what is common, and it accessories will provide hand power, like a crank or a foot-pedal. Network capabilities will be weak, so the computer has spearheaded innovations within grid wireless networking. The size and ergonomics has to be adapter for children, but the computer will probably also be used as TVs by the whole family.
There are a few interesting sides to this. First: Prices for off-shoring to India have been increasing, and it has been years since the first time I first heard of Indian development sub-contracting with Chinese. India and China will probably have a limited lifespan as source of highly qualified inexpensive labor. But imagine a generation in Africa having grown up with access to good computers and the internet. In ten years, I think that’s where the off-shoring will go. That’s, of course, extremely good news for Africa.
Second, the computer is really cool. It is ultra-portable, Linux based, low-power, super-networked and in-expensive. Rumors are that non-third-worlders can buy one for the price of two – the difference will sponsor the laptop of a third-world child. I can hardly wait until they become available!
Now, to see an inspiring talk and vision, you can watch Nicholas Negroponte’s talk about the One Laptop Per Child project.