JavaOne notes. Im in San Francisco

The plain to SF has arrived 30 min earlier. Fly Continental! To my surprise, they still have free meals. To make it up, they charge for the headphones: “If you have your own headphones, feel free to use them. Otherwise, we offer you state of the arts headphones for five dollars “. I did not believe in state-of-the-art headphones for five bucks, so I did not purchase them. My laptop battery died on the plane in two hours. I need to find some time and blog about how to select a laptop.

The first night in SF I’ll be staying at my friend’s Alex home and he was gonna pick me up at the airport. We were friends with Alex from college, besides he’s the one of the best programmers I know. When I came out from the arrival area, the angry Alex was there refusing to accept $35 ticket for waiting for us in the his car in the arrival area. Cops in SF are different, and programmers as well. The cop did not warn Alex, but just announced that he’s got a ticket. It’s either $35 now, or $70 if we’d leave and the ticket would have to be mailed. Alex has chosen the second option. Any New York programmer would be happy to get away with $35. In a case like this though, NYPD would suggest to leave before giving the summons if the driver was present.

The Bay Area is a completely different world when it comes to programming. Working on business applications is considered a boring job here. It’s all about small companies and startups. People have ideas on the West Coast. Alex works for a company of 4 people. He casually speaks about meetings with executives of well known software companies: a CEOs can be sitting in the next cubicle. Another interesting thing: stock options is an important part of negotiating compensation when you are applying for a job. For example, a company ABC offers a particular salary plus 0.25% of a company stock, no, I’ll take the offer from XYZ, because it offers 0.4%. There is no guarantee, that any of these companies will be in business two years from now, but the early retirement is lurking…

I’ve asked Alex, if he ever worked on a boring 9-6 job, and he answered, “No “. After doing programming for 25 years, he always prefers a smaller compensation on an interesting job to a better-paid boredom. My kudos to you, Alex. On the other hand, on the East coast, Alex would have problems in finding employment. He’s an excellent Microsoft C++/Windows programmer who knows internals of this OS back and forth, but demand for such people is very limited on the East.

He goes for job interviews on a regular basis, which in many cases consist of solving some programming puzzles. He knows most of the answers… Surprisingly enough, he did not get an offer from Microsoft: he mis-spelled the name of one C++ function. He explained how it worked, but instead of initSomething(), he said createSomething(). How long would it take to google the name of this function? Less than one second. Microsoft has lost yet another quality programmer…

It’s Sunday morning, I need to check into my hotel and spend some time on sightseeing. Tomorrow, I’ll start immersing into the Java world by attending the NetBeans day. My son Yuri came to SF with me. He’s an artist and will be drawing SF-stuff while I’ll be busy at the Moscone center.

Alex and Lena, thank you for the hospitality, all the best to your family… Moving on…

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