Since I'll be presenting sessions throughout the week, I should really be
reviewing them to make sure I have my message straight or at least make sure
I don't goof up too badly. I'm still trying to live down that episode when I
credited Sir Francis Bacon, of all people, with the invention of Java.
(Sorry, Dr. Gosling!) It's just that kind of faux pas that can affect a
person's technical credibility!
Actually, I have the sessions down pretty well, I guess, though I won't
know until I'm standing in front of the audience. It's rarely the case that
any Java presentation can remain unchanged from conference to conference; so many things change so quickly that bringing the information up to date is always a concern. While I'll be talking about our iSeries JVM, another project I work on called Remote AWT,
and some JNI topics, I think the most exciting subject is the new content in
version 1.4 of Java: the new I/O, assertions, regular expressions, and
logging, to name a few very cool new stuff in an already cool language.
I arrived in Denver last night, and it was my only "free" night here, so
naturally (instead of reviewing my sessions or getting a good night's sleep)
I had to seek out some local foosball. I happened to find a wonderful Web
site dealing exclusively with Colorado foosball that listed a half-dozen or
so likely foosing venues in downtown Denver. After a nice dinner (on the
company, naturally) I took my little hand-scrawled map and struck out on my
own to find just the right table.
Since my foosball Thread last year ("Ahh, Youth..." [JDJ, Vol. 6, issue 12]), I've been getting a bit more serious about the game. I have my own
table now and have been practicing on a fairly regular basis, so naturally I
like to think I'm getting pretty good. After all, my foos team was runner-up
at the site-wide foosball tournament at work, so I figured I must be nearly
Oh, I knew I might run into some talented foosers, but I fully expected
to be among the better players. I even envisioned returning to my hotel a
wealthy foos king, having been showered with the undying admiration of the
entire Denver foosing community. "Look out Denver foosers!" I thought. "I'll
just go downtown and give these local foosers a taste of truly sophisticated
Yeah, right. Either (1) there are a lot of talented foosers in this town
and a few of them happened to stop by the table at which I chose to play, or
(2) there are only a few talented foosers and they all happened to show up.
Either way, I'll be looking for the shards of my shattered foosball ego for
the rest of the week.
Many of my colleagues at work are taking to the game with a lot of zeal.
Last year, I was on the team that won the site-wide foosball tournament,
albeit barely, but there frankly wasn't a lot of competition. Only a couple
of teams were in any position to seriously compete for the title. This year,
it was apparent that lots of people have been practicing; any number of
teams could have taken the coveted foosball title, complete with T-shirt and
all-important bragging rights.
Of course, I've been doing some foosing "on the town" back home, as
well, but the results have been mixed. (The eternal question: Is it
"success" to beat someone so badly that they throw a cue ball at you? Yes,
it really happened.) With the onset of Old Man Winter in Minnesota, I'm
hoping the extracurricular foosing opportunities increase (though I might
have to borrow my son's football helmet if we go back to that place).
What if programming language dominance were as simple as foosball
dominance? "I happen to know a little language called Java that'll kick...."
(Just look out for flying cue balls!)
Blair Wyman is a software engineer working for IBM in Rochester, Minnesota,
home of the IBM iSeries.