Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Berlin buzz words 2012: impressions

This year I have had a unique chance to participate in the Berlin buzz words conference for the first time. In brief, it is the event where search, store and scale people come together to exchange on the recent ideas / developments in the area. I must say that the conference level simply amazed me: the quality of the presentations and the audience maturity have clearly aligned together.

Urania building, the venue

To me, as a Solr / Lucene user and developer it was especially fun to meet in person people I have previously only seen on the mail-lists or in video talks on the Internet. These, in particular, include (in my case): Otis Gostpodnetić, Uwe Schindler, Simon Willnauer, Robert Muir, Grant Ingersoll, Ted Dunning, Rafał Kuć. There've been new folks I haven't heard of previously and got inspired by their presentations, like Alex Lloyd from Google and Markus Weimer from Microsoft (opps, GOOG and MSFT in the same sentence). Got to see sematext guys in action at their SPM booth.

Opening session kicks in

The wi-fi worked everywhere, which is unnatural usually to other conferences. Yet, I kept my laptop at a hotel in order to force myself do three things: 1) actually listen to the presenter and ask questions via mike or in person; 2) occasionally take pictures; 3) network during the coffee-breaks.

First day's keynote session by Leslie Hawthorn

As a result: I took some amount of pictures; felt less distracted and tired at the end of each day; asked questions from the audience and got (probably) recorded on the video and many more questions in person; networked with leaders in their areas to actually perceive how things are going in their communities. SO this is to say, that in the end, what mattered to me was people and not only the technologies they have talked about.

Eric Evan's presentation

Some observations (probably interesting more to the conference orgs), pros and cons mixed:
1) The personal badge could have name on each side because of two reasons: it tends to always flip so that the name isn't visible and second - the map on the other side of it was useless, because it was easy to learn where each auditorium was.
2) Food was great and free beer / ice-cream / snacks by sponsors -- awesome addition.
3) Small auditoriums tended to have been super-packed and the only big one have been super sparse (excluding opening and closing sessions). Could be addressed somehow next year?
4) 20 minutes talks have been a surprise for the presenters that expected to have 40 min. The result is usually running out of time to ask any questions from the audience and presenters getting slowly to the core of their presentation.
5) Party on Monday evening and cute small surprises on the bus seats from wooga were cool!

There was also sometime left to explore the beautiful city of Berlin and of course eat Schnitzel!

Thanks to all the #bbuzz team for excellent experience and hoping to come next year!
yours truly,

Saturday, June 2, 2012

(first?) virtual presentation on Dialogue conference

Just participated in one of the biggest Russian conferences which fuses together theoretic and applied linguists, Dialogue'12. This time I couldn't come there in person, so instead we decided with @vporoshin to try out some modern technology. The selection was pretty easy: skype Finland->Russia, directed through speakers onto microphone connected to an amplifier. Also injected a photo of myself to add to "physical" presence. The conference organizers have appreciated utilizing new advanced technologies in presenting scientific papers. Here is the presentation (no author's photo there, you had to be present on the conference to see it):