JCrete 2014

I spent the last week in the beautiful island of Crete. It was my second JCrete unconference. Last year I was blogging each day and you can see all these blogs here.

This year JCrete was as good as always. Geertjan Wielenga wrote a detailed report here.

Special kudos to Stephen Chin. Here’s his awesome photo of all unattendees. He also recorded a bunch of videos with unattendees of JCrete (myself included), and you can enjoy them at http://nighthacking.com/category/jcrete2014.

My hat off to Uros Djunisijevic who’d never leave his room without  a camera, and you can see lots of JCrete photos here.

This event doesn’t need any promotions – the number of people on the wait list is the same as the number of attendees. JCrete is and will remain successful because the attendees are either seasoned software developers or are eager to learn from others.

But for me, the atmosphere is most important part of this event. Everyone is friendly and is willing to discuss whatever is on your mind. There are no official speakers. Everyone is accessible and willing to share.

After participating in JCrete unconferences I know who’s doing what. If I need to find an answer to a question on a particular Java-related technology, I know who to ask. Networking at its best. And no, I’m not talking about people who can give me work. This is networking of people in the know.

But more importantly, this is probably the best vacation a Java developer can think of. Three hours of session a day followed by relaxing at the great beaches while continuing professional discussions with respected people. This works perfectly for me.

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I hope to be able to come to each of the future JCrete unconferences if circumstances permit. I also hope to be able to organize a similar event in the city of Odessa, Ukraine next summer. But I don’t want it to be limited only for Java developers. In 2015 the words “I’m a senior Java developer” will sound like “I’m a master of a Phillips screwdriver”. Modern programmers needs to know several programming languages, don’t they?

Blood Pressure While Presenting at Conferences

In June I was presenting at the ThingsExpo conference  at Javits Center in New York City. During my talk I was demonstrating how to integrate consumer devices into a business workflow (we develop software for insurance agents). In particular, I was doing live measuring of my own blood pressure to show how to integrate consumer devices into a business workflow. Internet of Things, you know. The results were automatically appearing in my customized Web application.

When the results appeared on my mobile device I was quite surprised to see that my pressure was 200/120. This was damn high. My regular blood pressure is typically around 140/90. If you think that presenting in front of a large group of people makes me stressed out, this is not the case. I’m pretty experienced speaker and, actually enjoy presenting. I thought that was a device failure.

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I’m writing this blog from the beautiful Crete Island, Greece. As you see, on August 28 at 5:45AM my blood pressure is normal. I’m participating in a small conference called JCrete – this is where experienced Java developers unwind.

Guess what, I was delivering a scaled down version of the same presentation in a small room in front of a dozen people. The atmosphere in the room is friendly and relaxed. May be that’s the reason why the results of my blood pressure measurement where not as high as in New York: 180/110. It’s still pretty damn high. Again, I was not nervous at all. Yes, I was a little excited.

This make me wondering if talking from the podium increases blood pressure? In October I’ll be measuring my pressure on stage at the conference in Moscone Center in San Francisco. I’ll update this blog with fresh numbers then.

Is presenting at a conference dangerous for your health? Should people with high blood pressure avoid public speaking?

If you know of some scientific studies of this subject please leave a comment on this blog. If you are a speaker yourself, do a little experiment – take a blood pressure monitor with you next time you’re presenting. Do the measurements immediately after your talk is over. Don’t be ashamed. Let’s contribute to medical science.