NightHacking Tour – 1st Half HighlightsStephen Chin | April 6, 2014
In case you have missed the first half of my insane tour through Europe, I have stayed in more cities in the past month than most people visit in a decade. Staring in Munich, I rented a motorcycle, loaded up a few hundred pounds of video and demo equipment, and have been riding around Europe to celebrate the launch of the Java 8 release with an itinerary including 4 conferences and 30 JUGs!
So far there have been over 30K views from Java developers of the videos, so thanks everyone for supporting the tour! Here are some of the highlights:
Unexpected guests in Munich
I kicked off the tour with a bang in Munich, joining an event on DukeScript with Toni Epple, and we had two surprise guests. Marcus Eisele, Oracle ACE, Java Champion, and conference chair for JavaLand showed up for a surprise visit. Also, Kirk Pepperdine, Java Champion and performance testing guru, flew in from Hungary just for the event! You can watch the action at the start of the NightHacking Tour in Munich here:
After a great event in Brno (kudos to the team there on building the largest Czech JUG from the ground up in the past 2 years), Professor Petr Adámek invited me over to stay at his wine cellar and I couldn’t refuse. The wine cellar is excavated out of compacted sand that is now as hard as rock, but provides fertile soil for their Cabernet Blanc grapes. It also is a breeding ground for some “good” molds that have grown over an inch thick in some places and give the whole cellar a very distinct aroma. The cellars pre-date WWII, and as such have a long history including having their entrances demolished by soldiers to prevent refugees from hiding. However, they were able to recover the cellars and re-excavate them to recover the wine-making business. The 2004 Cabernet Blank shown here was a masterpiece (including a heavy plume of mold for character)… so what were you doing in 2004? [Hopefully the answer is playing with Generics right after they cane out in Java 5]
Wind, Sleet, and Hail in Poland
The fix for a hangover? Some hail stones raining down on your motorcycle! I think my most adventurous (read life-threatening) journey so far has been the leg from Brno to Krakow. It started out as a very windy day with my 600 pound machine getting kicked around by 40mph winds and trucks passing by on narrow roads. A little on and off drizzle, so I put on NAO’s raincoat and continued pressing on for the 6 hour trek up to Krakow. Little did I know that I was headed straight for a storm front, which started with some nice hail stones and went into a full-blown snowstorm with sleet covering my windshield. Fortunately the road was warm enough that the snow melted immediately and there was no ice forming on the bridges yet. Needless to say, I was a bit frazzled by the time I made it to Krakow, but arrived in time and put on a good show (the JUG members in Poland are super-geeky — just drop by GeeCON and you will know what I mean!)
Does JavaFX Run on That?
I spent the weekend in Munster at Gerrit Grunwald’s place and we did some *real* NightHacking. First we did a toy show with the JUG Munster guys including Michael Hoffer who brought some cool things he had been 3D printing using a JavaFX-based geometry designer. Then the real NightHacking started as Gerrit and I started playing around with a few new devices. He helped me get a version of his QlockTwo application deployed to my Android watch, which was surprisingly easy to do. Next we spent some time getting the Udoo to work with Java 8 and JavaFX. Initial support was as easy as copying over the Java 8 SDK and running JavaFX in GTK mode. The performance was surprisingly good, beating the Raspberry Pi by several orders of magnitude (although this should be no surprise with a quad-core imx.6 processor at your disposal). Although like any good hack, the devil was in the details — getting the chalk-elec 7″ touchscreen to run at 1 to 1 pixel resolution required booting into the special pre-loader and typing multi-line commands over a primitive terminal. (this is clearly an area the RaspberryPi shines)
The real Java 8 Launch Stream
If you were one of the thousands of folks watching the launch stream on the 25th, I am sorry to tell you, but you missed out on the real action. At JavaLand we had a live panel on stage commenting on the launch video in the background with some of the most knowledgeable people in the community discussing Java 8 over 1… 2… 3… er, a lot of beers! Fortunately, this was both broadcast (kudos to the JavaLand team on the great network and stage setup!) and also recorded, so you can watch the action at the most exciting new conference in Europe!:
NAO Hacking by the Lake
JUG Bodensee is a new Java user group started this year by NetBeans Dream Team member Sven Reimers, and a regular participant in the NightHacking Worldwide events. Our second NightHacking Worldwide event was a NAO lab with Aldebaran Robotics, programming the 2 foot tall humanoid robot to do all sorts of crazy things. JUG Bodensee successfully got a few programs to run remotely, but was having challenges getting more complex examples to run without a robot to test. Well, there was no way I could miss the chance to drop by in person with my NAO robot, and they created some really awesome programs in the span of just a few hours!
Lego Duke had a great fall…
The Geneva JUG had a record turnout for the evening NightHacking event [~150 attendees], which was held in an awesome venue with a real hardwood stage. Duke made an impression on stage when the planted audience volunteer “accidentally” lost their grip on Duke and he literally fell to pieces on stage, transforming into “Robo Duke”! Even with his lego skin in tatters, Duke was still able to (mostly) balance and the Geneva JUG got a unique view into the internals of our favorite Java mascot. Here is an outtake of Duke’s little fall:
I am writing this from 25,000 feet up in the air. Would rather be on the autobahn cruising at 200kph, but this was the fastest way to get home for a quick 48 hour stopover to visit the relatives in San Francisco [my wife and 2 girls]. Also a great opportunity to do a quick resupply [more stickers!] and give Lego Duke a relaxing visit to the glue spa.
— Stephen Chin (@steveonjava) April 6, 2014
On Monday I will be back in Marseille for some more NightHacking, and am continuing the tour through France, Spain, Portugal, and speaking at Devoxx France before I switch continents to India. I hope to see you on the 2nd half of the Java 8 NightHacking Tour!