CodeStock 2009 Recap

Codestock was a rocking fun time this year. Major props have to go out to Michael C. Neel (@vinull) for once again busting his ass and putting together an impressive conference. Of course let’s not forget the amazing community work that Alan Stevens (@alanstevens) does with the open spaces.

This year was a great conference and it was cool to see it expand to a two day event. This I noticed seems to be a trend. Last year the conference / event schedule was saturated with what seemed like events almost every weekend the last year. This year there are far less but the ones that are there have expanded to be much larger. My personal view is that this is a better deal. It’s tiring and hard on developers with families to haul off every other weekend for events.

Thursday I jumped in the car and hit the road from Ohio to Tennessee. Out of all the long drives I have ever done the I75 drive to Knoxville has to be my favorite. The scenery, once you get out of Ohio, is very interesting and I love mountain diving. It can be a bit scary at times whipping around the curves and racing down the road at unsafe driving speeds, yet so thrilling and fun!

I rolled into Knoxville around 5:30pm and right to the lovely and lushes La Quinta. All jokes aside the La Quinta is actually a very nice hotel. They do a very good job keeping the place clean and it’s dirt cheap. With my AAA discount I snagged a double room for 53/night + tax. Extra special thanks to Dean Weber (@deanweber) for splitting the room with me. Made the whole trip even more affordable and fun having a roomie!

The unofficial pre-conf party was at the Mellow Mushroom, a pizza place. We managed to take over the entire patio area and then some. It was an awesome time and it great to finally meet many of the #TwitterTribe in person for once.

Friday morning came around very quickly and we headed over to the conference. I figured we were getting there early but the line was already a mile long. My personal opinion would be to get it broken into multiple lines sorted by name to help keep the flow moving a bit better.

Alan Stevens ran the opening keynote, if you could call it that, since it was really what had to be the largest open spaces opening circle I had every seen!

I attended mostly open spaces but also did a few eyes front presentations. Honestly I’m not really here to comment on them. A recap for those that weren’t there is pointless and for those that were know what happened.

Closing the day out we were all privileged to get to be part of a live taping of DeepFriedBytes Podcast by Chris Woodruff (@cwoodruff) and Keith Elder (@keithelder). Special guests include three microsofties; Josh Holmes (@joshholmes), Brian H. Prince (@brianhprince) and Jeff Blankenburg (@jblankenburg).

After that a group of us hit a local Mexican join for some solid food and then we rolled over to the Official Codestock Social. Ok time to get on my soapbox here. Once again I was very disappointed in many of the core community and speakers. I know it’s a free country and people can do what they want but for all the talk about community I found it very disappointing to see that a group of people decided to have what account to a private pool party at the hotel instead of attending the Social.

The social was a great time and I wish more had attended. I had many great conversations and enjoyed playing video games and board games with many people.

Saturday came way to early once again and I crawled out of bed and drug my butt to the conference. Josh Holmes gave an inspiring talk about “The Lost Art of Simplicity.” This is a must see if you get a chance to see him give it.

I attend a bunch of open spaces and eyes front sessions. The only really exciting one was the introduction to Ruby and Koans by Leon Gersing (@fallenrogue). I had an amazing time learning ruby and getting to hang with a few of the Tribe. Best session bar none!!

Finally the day wrapped with the closing and prize giveaway. The big prize this year was the uber-mega Visual Studio Team System Team Suite with MSDN Premium Subscription given by Wallace B. McClure (@wbm). This is every developers dream prize and at a retail price of roughly $10,000.00 it’s also way out of the league of most developers. Unfortunately I did not win. Next year I’m going to have to bribe or blackmail someone to get it!

Then a large group of us headed out for dinner and the unofficial after party at Alan Stevens place. The food was fair, I was pretty disappointed in the quality of the prime rib I had but the time spent with my friends more than made up for it.

The after party was helluva good time! I won’t go into great details but there was a bonfire and lots of people having awesome conversations. I drank a few beers and smoked 3 cigars that night. A Rocky Patel Vintage 92, Gran Habano 3 Siglos and a Drew Estate Tabak Especial Cafe Con Leche.

The party winded down around 2:00am and I headed back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep until I would have to drive back to Ohio.

The drive home was bittersweet. It was nice to get back home to my love and to sleep in my own bed, yet I was saddened to once again leave my developer family.

I cannot stress how important it is to be able to spend time with all of the wonderful people I have come to meet and befriend. Working in a job day to day can be great but many times the coworkers you have to deal with are very much what have been termed the 5:01 developer that has no passion or care to attend events of just hang out and talk tech. They turn off at 5:01 and go home for the night. There is very little passion or enthusiasm for their trade and they see it as nothing more than a job to earn a paycheck.

Being able to spend time with the Tribe as we call ourselves is needed to help me recharge and re-energize my passion for the craft.

I look forward to seeing you all at the next event. Thanks for reading!

Alan P. Barber
Software Developer, Computer Scientist, Scrum Master, & Crohn’s Disease Fighter

I specialize in Software Development with a focus on Architecture and Design.

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