I attended my first CodeStock this year and in short it was awesome. Like 100 billion hot dogs awesome. The travel there was crazy to say the least, but I met lots of new people, had a session go well and recorded 3 podcasts. So that is the short version. If you are on twitter and either follow me or followed the #codestock hash tag, you probably saw my airline craziness in Philly.
It all started on Monday. We had a client deliverable on Wednesday morning and due to some things that happened I only got about 4 hours of sleep between Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon. This included one 32 hour work day. I left work at noon on Wednesday and was able to get a few hours of sleep, but not a lot. I came in Thursday for a couple of hours to finish up a couple things and have a quick meeting. One of my developers was going to take me to the airport to make my 3:40pm flight to Knoxville. About 10:30, I got an email that the flight was delayed an hour. I wasn’t really worried since this would give me a little more time to make it through security and such. We left about 11:30 from work and got some lunch, before going to the airport. I haven’t flown in 13 years since I left South Korea when I was in the Air Force, and a lot has changed. I wanted to get there a little earlier since I didn’t know what to expect. Several people at work told me it would take me about an hour to get through security.
I got through security really fast. It literally took me longer to take my shoes off than it did to get through the process, so there I got lucky. However, that is where my luck ended. I get to the gate and get out my laptop, get setup with wifi and get an email that my flight had been delayed again, this time 5:18. Then almost instantly, I get another saying 5:40. While this wasn’t ideal, it was only a 2 hour flight at max so I would still make it to the before party. About a half an hour later, I get another email that it was delayed until 6:03. Finally about 4, the flight gets cancelled. There was some bad weather and I am assuming that it was the cause.
I get to the gate check-in where they told us to go and they put me on another flight leaving at 8:30. I had pretty much given up on making the before party at this point, but at least I would get there early enough to still catch up with some people before having to go to bed. I get my new boarding pass and get an email as it is being handed to me that the new flight I was on got delayed, by a little more than an hour. I get 3 more delay emails as the night progressed and the last time was 11:54pm. Needless to say, I wasn’t really happy. I managed to find a seat in the gate area that had power so I could keep my laptop powered up. This was probably the single thing that kept me sane the whole time.
Finally we find out the that the flight we were waiting for was actually coming and when it finally showed up at the gate, everyone started cheering. The plane was pretty small but at least I was on my way, but I was getting into Knoxville at 2am, with a podcast session at 9:50 in the morning. Combined with little to no sleep the rest of the week, I was getting a bit worried that I would be able to pull it off. Andrew was prepared to do the podcast solo if necessary, but I really wanted to make it on time. I get to the hotel just before 3 and get a sleep, but not what I needed.
I made it to CodeStock a few minutes into the first session and the second session was the Community Megaphone Podcast session Andrew and I were doing. We did a “Speaker Horror Stories” panel and it went extremely well. We had a good group of speakers sharing craziness. We will have the show up in a couple of weeks and it is one that you will not want to miss. I had my “Getting Started with Entity Framework 4” session at 12:30 so I got some lunch and found my room.
Presenting on very little sleep usually has one of 2 outcomes: Great success, or complete and total failure. I was also giving my presentation on my new macbook pro, which I had not done a presentation on before. I had my slides setup in Office for Mac and was running Win7 and VS2010 in a virtual machine. It’s how I do my development on a day to day basis, but just hadn’t presented on it since I had only had the new laptop for about a week or so. It was risky but I had gone over everything about 50 billion times in the Philly airport so I was prepared for what ever may come. As long as I didn’t fall asleep I was going to be fine. I had about 50 people show up and the session went really well. I only got through about half of my material since I tend to go into more detail about some stuff than I probably should when I’m tired. I got some good feedback so I am calling a success. Thanks to all who came out, it was a blast.
I got out of my session and begin to start looking for people that I had been following on twitter, but hadn’t had a chance to meet. Since I am in Philly, I know a lot of people on the east coast, but not many past there so it was fun. Since I had tweeted all night about the airport the night before and hash tagged it, several people knew who I was just from that.
Andrew and I then went back to the hotel and in the lobby we recorded a podcast episode with Alan Stevens which went well, except for some of the noise in the lobby. It’s kinda cool to have that ambience of where you are, but when Starbucks starts making frappichinos, it can get pretty loud. We will have that episode up in a month or so. Alan talked about going independent and it will be well worth a listen for anyone who is thinking about doing that.
The keynote was Friday evening in a really cool old theater, complete with the “muppet” box seats on the side. It was the box seats where Statler and Waldorf would sit and heckle. Michael Neel tweeted that the muppet seats were for speakers and were on first-come-first-serve basis so I skipped supper to make sure I got one. My friend, Rachel Appel, did the keynote and did a wonderful job. Having the keynote at the end of the day was really nice since there weren’t as many time constraints. One of the highlights was when Andrew Duthie got on stage during the keynote, he took Rachel in his arms like he was going to give a big kiss and Joel Cochran stood up from the front row and shouted: “SHE’S MINE!!”. Of course it was all staged and part of joke that started on twitter quite a while ago. Most of the people in the audience had no clue what was going on, so if you where one of those, let me explain:
First you must know that the very first rule of a code camp or any developer conference is:
Never, ever under any circumstances, leave your laptop or phone unlocked when not using it.
Someone (like Rachel) will come along and use your laptop to tweet for you and such. This happened to Joel on multiple occasions and in cases he professed his undying love for Rachel via twitter. Along with various rashes and such. Rachel has done this enough, that when ever that happens to someone, we call it “Getting Rappeled”. So since Joel has professed his love for Rachel, that was the source of the joke. So now you know. Joel also hasn’t seemed to learn his lesson as he has been “Rappelled” multiple times. Since it was actually done by Rachel.
So if you ever come across Joel’s laptop, you not only have permission but an obligation to tweet something from it.
After the keynote, I had supper with Bethany Vananda and Jeremy Likness from Wintellect, who I both met at Devscovery earlier this year. That was a blast and I will forever have some great inside jokes from that conversation. I spent the rest of the night hanging out in various locations before going to get some sleep.
I got some much needed sleep (finally) and actually slept through the first two sessions on Saturday. Saturday was another day of going around and chatting with people. I tend to try to do more networking at conferences than I do going to sessions, as I usually get more out of it that way. I spent a little bit of time in Open Spaces and went to a session or two before recording another podcast with Michael Neel, the founder and all around awesome guy behind CodeStock. Afterwards, I went and got some food and headed to PostStock, the after party at Alan Stevens house. There I found some people I hadn’t had a chance to chat with and spend a few hours there doing just that. No crazy stories from Saturday, just a really good day of connecting with people. The trip home went well, I even got to hang out with Gary Short and Rachel Hawley at the airport.
In summary, CodeStock 2010 was truly awesome. Like 100 billion hot dogs awesome. (If you google or bing that, you will find the reference). Michael and his crew put on an excellent event and it is one that I would recommend anyone go to. The sessions I went to were some of the best I have attended. CodeStock isn’t a free event, but its worth every penny. I will definitely be going back next year.