360|Flex Impressions

by Thomas Brady


Whew, what a week. I learned a lot. I learned that networking at events like this is tough. Mostly you get to hear a lot of nerds tell you how much they hate someone or some thing or, most often, some company. Or perhaps you’ll detect that they’ve confused you with someone in a hiring position. Perhaps dressing like a self-respecting professional was a bad idea. 

I did meet some cool people. I found out I’m not the only “Sr. User Experience Prototyper” in the world. I met some personable, passionate developers who can actually converse about the world around them.

There were times I felt I had wasted my employer’s money and my own time going to Denver for this conference. Some advice I got from my mother in law soothed that worry. She was a teacher until she retired, and she attended dozens of conferences over the course of her career. She told me that if you can leave each of them with one good idea it was worth your trip. I left with a few.

I also left with a healthy respect for Adobe’s Flex team. Hearing and meeting people like Narciso Jaramillo, James Ward, Evtim Georgiev, Steve Shongrunden and Deepa Subramaniam can’t be anything but good for the platform. More than a couple times they would respond to an audience question (or statement) about some behavior or feature of some bit of Flex architecture by taking a note (sometimes as actual comments in actual code checked out from the actual Adobe repository!) rather than defending their decisions.

And it was good to be among my kind. I’d only ever met one or two Flex developers before this conference. It was good to get a sense of where I fit on the continuum of developers. It was good to see and hear what people were working on. It was fun to not be embarrassed about what I’m working on.

I’m quite glad I went.

But boy did I miss my family, and boy am I glad to be back. I swear my 19-month old son looked like he aged 6 months in the week I was gone.

One final note. If you’re going to a conference in the near future wherein you’ll be taking lots of notes and you have an iPad I can’t recommend highly enough two things: 

  1. Notes Plus. Easily type, draw, and organize notes. The drawing engine will even automatically recognize shapes and turn your squiggles into perfect, resizable triangles, circles, etc. (a feature you can turn off if you want squiggles).
  2. The ZaggMate with Bluetooth Keyboard. By day two people were realizing that the few of us with this or a similar setup were the true geniuses at the conference. We were refilling our coffee or getting more sopapillas while the guys lugging around the giant backpacks full of gear were searching for open ports on power strips underneath tables. Seriously, I took notes from 9AM to 9PM, and when I was done the iPad had about 65% charge left. Who knows how much the keyboard had. It never died.