Notes from the States – Day 6: REAL World Last Day

Before I tell you about the last day of REAL World, I think I better clear up some miss-understandings from yesterday’s post.

Apparently some people have got the impression that we were out until 4am, that’s wrong, we were all back in our rooms by 2am at the latest, it probably was earlier, can’t remember. I was checking my mail, forums and then writing the post up until 4am, not out on the town.

Also, I didn’t have anywhere near as much to drink as on the Saturday night, and I don’t think anyone else was chucking it back either, but I could be wrong. I for one didn’t want to feel ill for the last day of the conference as there were sessions I really wanted to get the most out of, and I don’t think anyone else would risk wrecking their last day either. Sorry for any confusion on that one.

However, something went a little wrong with that, I must have eaten or drunk something that didn’t agree with me, as I had a really dodgy stomach in the morning. Didn’t feel bad otherwise, just a nasty stomach.

My first session of the day was “Accessibility and You!” by Aaron Ballman, with special guest Dr Scott Steinman. This was a superb presentation describing how disabilities can make using your application almost impossible to use unless you develop with them in mind, some ways of testing for and improving accessibility and how these changes will make a positive impact for disabled or non-dissabled users alike were discussed. It was only marred by the fact that it was being shoe-horned into an hour when it really needed at least an hour and a half. I felt really sorry for Scott, his very interesting explanation of how colour blindness (or rather “weakness”) physically happens and what the results are had to be zipped through as Aaron’s part went on too long. Well, it didn’t go on too long really, in fact it should have been longer, but us attendees had too many questions during Aaron’s part that we lengthened it too much. Still, it was an excellent session, a good way to start the day.

My second session of the day was “RBScript 201″ by Thomas Tempelmann. I’m not sure whether this was a good session for me to attend or not. Having only just got my head around RBScript the day before, Thomas’s explanation of a couple of pretty advanced concepts was a little too much for me. Maybe if I’d had a little experience with RBScript I’d have appreciated it more, although I understood the concepts and problems he addressed it was a little over my head for just now.

The very last session I attended at REAL World 2006 was Aaron’s “Windows User Interface Design” presentation. Again, this excellent session needed to be at least an hour and a half as it covered so much, and prompted a lot of discussion among the group on Windows, Mac and Linux user interface design and accessibility. Aaron really knows this stuff, I learnt a lot, and made many notes on how I could improve CaseDetective for Windows and Mac to make it more compliant with their respective user interface guidelines and also improve accessibility.

There were a few sessions after lunch, but I wasn’t feeling well enough to sit through a 2 hour session with my dodgy stomach and all. A bit of a shame as I fancied seeing Joe Strout’s session on creating 3D games with REALbasic.

So I did some email and caught up with some feeds from the REAL World Internet Cafe, which had a great connection at the time, much better than it had been on the previous two days. I also tried to call my wife through Skype once I was back in my room, but that didn’t work so well, and AIM, instant messenger and even email all ended up being pretty useless. The wireless internet connection in my room has been terrible throughout my stay, and it’s been the same for many others too. Maybe that’s why there was a letter in my room to say that from 5pm until midnight the in-room wireless internet would be down as they were to change supplier.

Right at the end of the REAL World schedule there was a feedback session, where everyone could pipe-up and say what they liked or disliked about the conference, any ideas for improving it and generally chat about it. This was great, most people were very happy with the venue and new single venue format, lots of good feedback on what worked or didn’t work with the sessions and session schedule, and other general comments about the conference. I won’t bore you with the details, mainly because I didn’t take notes, but also I don’t think it’s appropriate, it’s something between the attendees and REAL Software and hopefully we’ll just see the fruits of the discussion next year. Although I will mention that I asked that they considder a european conference now that they are going to have a European office. Even a mini conference would help, maybe just a two day event with two or three distinct tracks for newbies, intermediates and experts. Fingers crossed on that one, I’d love to be able to attend a conference with say three or four of the engineers in attendance, and then some speakers from the community. Obviously there’s a lot of issues around language and venue to be considered.

Once it was all done and dusted it was decided that we’d all go get some Texas BBQ, as there was quite a few people staying for the evening.

As we waited for the arranged time for us all to wander down to “Stubbs”, I had a chance to chat with Mars about his excellent debugging session and then with Geof about the REAL SQL Server (which I’m very interested in). How often do you get a chance to bend the ear of the CEO of a company who’s product you rely on, and have a very frank discussion about the future of it’s technologies. This kind of access to people like Geoff and all the engineers working on REALbasic and other REAL Software products is absolutely priceless, and when Will Lesher joined in on the conversation about REAL SQL Server he explained a couple of details about the REAL SQL Server implementation that make it a very attractive proposition in deed. I am worried about the licensing model for it, it’s got to be attractive to enable developers to bundle it with their applications, but nothing’s been decided yet so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s going to be simple and affordable.

The BBQ at Stubbs was very nice, I really enjoyed my Beef Brisket, fries and onion rings, and Pepsi. I decided that I’d not tempt fate and have a beer with my meal, and I think this was a very good decision. My stomach felt much better after a good sized feeding of BBQ, and what’s more Geoff picked up the tab for everyone there! What a nice guy, can developer relations get any better?! :-)

After the meal I and a few others headed back to the hotel, while some stayed a little longer at Stubbs, and I guess they’ll probably have gone onto somewhere else. Maybe someone will blog about that in due course or leave a comment here.

I ended the night chatting with Tom Dixon and Peter ??? (sorry, never caught his last name over all the time I’ve spent with him this week, shame on me) over a beer. By this time I was really starting to feel the lack of slumber from the night before, so although I could of happily chatted with them for another hour or two I decided to call it a night after just one beer. My mind had basically crashed, I think it was a SleepDeprivationException which I had failed to trap, so I said my goodbyes to them, and then to Geoff, Will, Steven, Lisa and others that I bumped into in the lobby, and made my way up to my room.

The only way to combat a SleepDeprivationException is to quit all threads of input, and close your windows on the World!

No comments.

  1. Thanks for the great blog of REAL World! I just slogged through hours of snow to get home to CT, but boy was RW worth it.

  2. Stubbs rocked! It was good to meet you Ian. Hope to see you at REAL World 2007. :)

  3. It sure was great being at REAL World and meeting great people like yourselves.

    Fingers crossed I can make a success of my business this year and can afford to make it to REAL World 2007.