JCP party online today vs a year ago

Today was the JCP (Java Community Process) party online for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. I found it interesting comparing how I felt about it between the two years. The format was roughly the same – a welcome, a game, chatting.

Engagement

I felt way more engaged this year. Most of that was due to me. Big group things aren’t that easy to participate in. And last year, I got frustrated more easily. So I got talked over the first few times I tried and gave up. This year, there were either less people or quieter people or I was thinking faster. But it didn’t become a negative feedback loop. And last year because of that negative feedback loop, I felt like I was watching others the whole time.

Paying attention

Way better this year. Working from home all day (and every day) sapped my energy. I didn’t have enough to get through an 8 hour work day let alone enough focus for an after work activity.

Convenience

Last year wins on convenience. I was home all day last year so I just had to walk a few steps and turn on my personal computer. This year, I had to leave work at 3pm. (Which worked out well because I got a new computer and setting i up at home does work well. Start downloads/installs and walk away. I don’t need to watch Maven “download the internet.”

And yes, I could have worked from home today. I didn’t want to. I’ve worked from home enough for a long time.

Human Interaction

A year ago, my interactions were limited to four families and one neighbor. This meant there were some weeks where I’d see one or human beings. That wasn’t enough. So interacting with people online was a constant reminder of how frustrated I was of the fact. This year, I’m going to the office every day and getting out of my apartment. I’m going places and seeing people again. So while I wish I could have seen some of the party attendees in person, it wasn’t a big deal. Also, I’ve seen a few of them in the past few months in person. (I went to KCDC and the NYJavaSig leaders did a get together.)

Overall feeling

The difference a year makes. This proves that environmental surroundings matter.

what i learned about live coding at kcdc

This is a post about my experience. For the live blog, see the KCDC 2021 live blog table of contents.

I planned to do 10 minutes of live coding at my KCDC “Intro to JUnit 5” talk. It was an experiment to do more of that in the future. Here’s how it went.

Coding with people watching

This wasn’t as awkward as I worried it might be. I have coded with a bunch of people watching at work before. And I tried mob programming once at an event. I did have to google something I would have been able to copy/paste at work. But that was fine.

My Focus

I’m very interactive when I speak. I watch the audience. I ask them to participate, raise their hands, etc. I look when they look puzzled or their energy level is going down. When my focus and attention are on coding, this isn’t happening.

Why I should have seen this coming

I didn’t enjoy presenting at online conferences because I didn’t get that audience feedback loop. I was ok when on or moderating a panel because I saw the panelists. I’m ok at my team meetings (which to be fair had participants in locations other than mine even before the pandemic) because they are on video.

I did not enjoy presenting to my computer without seeing the audience. And I knew this. It’s why I have been declining opportunities to present at online conferences and meetups. I didn’t connect it to live coding in a room of people. Oh well. Now I know!