“why are you even here?”

I went to part of the Toastmasters conference last week. At one of the sessions, I was on my tablet and the lady next to me said “why are you even here if you aren’t going to pay attention”. I was doing a mix of:

I obviously didn’t get into this with the woman who said this. But I did email myself that the answer would be a good blog post. I use a computer/tablet during conferences in two scenarios.

Scenario 1: I want to be fully immersed in the material

As noted in the presentation she was hassling me in, humans have a short attention span. Live blogging prevents me from being distracted. I’m *very* focused on what is going on because I’m listening and processing to write. This only leaves me with a tiny bit of spare brain power. Which I use for scanning comments from others ex: twitter.  And it prevents me from having enough brain power to attempt doing something that has the potential to steal my focus like email.

Now granted, I wasn’t live blogging at the Toastmasters conference. But it is common for me to do so at tech conferences. For example, see my QCon blog posts. Hard to argue I wasn’t paying attention there!

Scenario 2: Only listening some

Sometimes you are only interested in part of a session or the speaker isn’t great. Not bad enough to get up and leave. But not enough to want to pay full attention. (If I’m at a session after work on the weekend or on a vacation day, it’s completely up to me how much attention I pay.) And there’s an advantage to this. Paying partial attention, you might learn something. Leaving you guarantee you’ll learn nothing.

This Toastmasters event was on my vacation time and I paid the entrance fee. There were plenty of the empty chairs in the room so I wasn’t taking a seat away from someone who would pay full attention. And I didn’t sit in the front so I wasn’t taking up a “good seat”. So completely up to me what I wanted to do in the room. At least I wasn’t bothering anyone. I sat next to another person at this event (not this lady) who took notes by repeating what the speaker said into their phone.

As far as why did I come – I wanted to see what the semifinals and world championships of public speaking were like. And I wanted to go on vacation to Vancouver. So I combined the two. You can’t pay for just the speaking part; the educational sessions are bundled. So I went to most of them. They were good. But mainly inspirational or facts we’ve been exposed to. I don’t need to pay full attention to get what I’m going to out of that.

Conferences encourage this

The Toastmasters conference encouraged people to post in the activity stream of their app. (Like a poor man’s twitter.) They incentivized posting pictures rather than having discussions so the stream wasn’t comment rich. But they clearly didn’t discourage having your phone/tablet out. And they supplied internet. [By comparison there was a no phone/tablet policy during the world championships of public speaking at night.]

Now for the speaker’s side

My first public presentation was in 2011 at The Java Server Side Symposium. (Scott and I live blogged there too). I knew it is common at tech conferences for people to be doing other things while in a session – tweeting, email, coding, whatever. So I gave a presentation at my Toastmasters club called “The Case of the Distracted Audience”. I gave people specific annoying things to do and practiced reacting to them. It helped a lot.



AWS CodeBuild + Bitbucket – Teams = Epic Fail

Updated 8/19/2017: Amazon has now updated AWS CodeBuild service to support Teams! In other words, in the 2 days since I posted this issue, it has now been fixed. Hooray! I now see my team projects in the list of repositories after linking my account. One minor nitpick though… They sort the list of repositories in the drop-down chronologically, not alphabetically. Since I have hundreds of repositories, that means in order to find a particular one I have to remember the order it was created. Hope they fix this (minor) issue too!

As a user of both Bitbucket and AWS, I was recently excited to hear Amazon had announced integration with both AWS CloudBuild and Atlassian Bitbucket. For those unfamiliar with these two products, AWS CloudBuild is part of Amazon’s suite of code automation CI/CD toolset. This service, along with the full suite, provides the ability to automate software build creation, testing, and deployment. Atlassian Bitbucket, on the other hand, is a large source code repository provider. The AWS announcement means that you can now build projects in AWS using Bitbucket repositories as the source.

Or that’s what it was supposed to mean… Apparently, no one told AWS that most professional software development companies use Bitbucket Teams to manage projects. The new AWS integration is accomplished using an OAuth authenticated sign-in from within the AWS CodeBuild project creation wizard. Unfortunately, after logging in it only allows two types of repositories to be selected: public repositories and those in your *personal* account. Most people using Bitbucket professional use teams and do not store the repositories in their personal account. The result is that no repositories are available for integration.

In other words… it’s broken. One solution would be to authenticate with the team login but Atlassian disabled the ability to login with the team account years ago. Now, Amazon only announced this feature recently, so it is possible they will get around to fixing it but in the short-term it is quite disappointing. While there are other ways to integrate AWS CodeDeploy and Bitbucket, I was looking for an all-in-one solution. In fact, when I recently tried Atlassian’s plugin to integrate one of my repositories into AWS CodeBuild, the web page just froze. Oh well, hopefully Amazon will fix this oversight soon!

By the way, you might ask, “Why I don’t just move my source code repository into AWS CodeCommit?” The answer is simple logistics. If I have hundreds of projects used by hundreds of developers, migrating them to a new repository is not easy/fun. The advantage of having this integration working is that it provides a nice, fluid transition toward migrating to AWS builds, without the commitment of actually transferring any repositories.

junit 5 and intellij

I use Eclipse at home for development. And mostly Maven (except for two projects that use Ant because some of the people working on them have less reliable internet connections).

After preparing to run JUnit 5 with Eclipse and Maven, I wanted to check the impact on IntelliJ. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried using IntelliJ. The internet says it supports JUnit 5 so I wanted to try it to confirm. I need to know this:

  1. So I know what IDEs people can use at my JavaOne JUnit 5 hands on lab
  2. So I know whether upgrading the CodeRanch JForum fork to JUnit 5 will be a problem for the developers using IntelliJ

Installing IntelliJ

  1. Download Mac version of free community edition from JetBrains
  2. Drag .dmg folder to Applications folder
  3. I chose not import settings. I don’t even remember the last time I ran IntelliJ on my Mac so those settings aren’t likely to be useful.
  4. After accepting the privacy policy, IntelliJ opens and I chose all the defaults.

Running the project

To run the project I migrated, I chose:

  • Check out from version control > git
  • https://github.com/boyarsky/oracle-java-cert-objectives-history.git and clone
  • IntelliJ asked if wanted to create a project based on the pom and I said yes
  • Choose command 1 for project view
  • Tried to open a Java class and got prompted to configure the SDK. I chose the latest Java 8 on my machine. No need to use Java 9 for what I’m doing. /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_xxx.jdk/Contents/Home
  • Build using build pulldown
  • Run using run pulldown

The result

IntelliJ was able to recognize the JUnit 5 annotations/methods and run them. It’s a bit ahead of Eclipse in this space so JUnit 5 won’t be a problem if they are using the latest version of IntelliJ.