Wow, what a great weekend at beCamp this year! I missed the setup and introductions because work kept me late Friday night, but I made it in time for proposing session topics (and pizza, of course). Running a session on Google Web Toolkit last year was a big thrill for me. I proposed GWT again, and ChromeOS, hoping to talk about my experiences with my Cr-48 since December. My GWT session got the same number of votes as last year, despite attendance being down something like 40% this year. Go me! ChromeOS didn't make the cut.
My first experience as a conference speaker was at beCamp 2010. In the spirit of the event, I proposed a session on GWT despite having no slides or other materials prepared. I got votes. I got scheduled. When I found myself in front of a dozen people with nothing prepared, I just started talking. I like GWT. I love using it. So, I went with that. What is GWT? Why do I use it? What do I love about it? That's what I talked about. And people asked questions. Lots of questions. I answered as many as I could as well as I could. People thanked me. This speaking thing wasn't so bad after all. I was even asked to give a presentation on GWT to the Richmond, VA Java User Group. I agreed. I obviously had a lot to say on the subject, and based on the response I was getting, people wanted to hear it. So I set about building slides for a presentation. I did my research. And in October 2010, I presented to about 25 people at the RJUG meeting. Nerves and a few technical issues aside, it went well. Now here I was, back at beCamp the following year, giving the presentation again. And people liked it. That feels good.
I gave the presentation using my Cr-48, only slightly disappointed that nobody wanted to hear about that too. But then after the session, I was approached. What was that notebook I used for the presentation? Oh, that's my Cr-48, a prototype Chromebook. I knew from the voting the night before that at least a couple of people were interested, so I was glad one of them had picked me out of the crowd later to talk about it. Then at lunch, more people gathered around interested in seeing it. Should I have put "Chromebook" on the topic card instead of "ChromeOS?" Are people more interested in the hardware than the operating system, or just more interested in seeing it in action? I'll propose the topic again next year, maybe under a different heading. I'll probably still be using the Cr-48 anyway, so if you're there and you want a look at it, come up and ask!
Thanks again to the organizer, Eric Pugh, all the sponsors, and everyone else who made beCamp 2011 possible. See you next year!