ApacheCon random bits

ApacheCon just started with a great keynote about computer history, I chaired my first session and I’m now sitting in a crowded room to hear all the best and latest from Apache Geronimo, while trying to catch up with e-mail and office-related issues (sometimes being able to check e-mail sucks badly). These have been incredibly packed days, full of geek fun hacking on Cocoon and its possible migration path to OSGi and with some wonderful moments spent with my wife. Some random bits of what happened during the past few days follow:

  • driving to Stuttgart went smooth, despite Switzerland doing its best to piss me off. I always hated having to pay a yearly fee to get to Swiss highways even if it’s just for a day: even though the total amount is probably less of what I’d pay in tolls for a corresponding mileage on italian highways, still I don’t like the idea, so finding out that a good deal of the road was on ordinary single-lane roads going across villages and cities provided a good chance to refresh my curse and swear words vocabulary.
  • the hotel is great, offering one of the best breakfasts I could experience in a long time (people who know me are aware of how much of a difference that can make). Beds are incredibly soft and fluffy, and I had a few sleeps to remember (well, driving 500kms surely helps in sleeping well).
  • Stuttgart is having an important tennis event, and a good deal of players share our hotel: it’s somewhat funny, in the evening, to see the hotel reception packed with tanned athletes on one side, and over/underweight pale geeks with funny shirts on the other.
  • food (well, apart from breakfast, that is) hasn’t been that great so far. We’ve been unable to find a decent place in Stuttgart: when I’m abroad I costantly refuse to eat italian food, and my wife doesn’t like oriental. Given that here you basically have to choose between italian and chinese restaurants, you can imagine us walking frantically downtown to find some local place, with no real luck (bad suabian food really sucks, believe me). Suggestions are welcome, of course.
  • A notable exception to the bad food experience happened yesterday. I left the Hackathon early, to drive around Stuttgart with my wife and do some sightseeing. Eventually, we had quite a trip: we were able to get on a scenic road crossing the Black Forest, where we had some breathtaking views of the impressive landscape, with our final destination being Baden-Baden. Well, actually Baden-Bades was just so-so, which made us consider having dinner in Karlsruhe, just to be able to see a different place. On the highway, we found out that Heidelberg wasn’t that far away, and we decided to go the extra (20) miles. Well, it was definitely worth the fuss: Heidelberg was really nice, and after a short walk I had one of the best “Schweinaxe” (spelling?) I can remember. It took us a while to get back to Stuttgart, and eventually I got lost trying to find the hotel, but it has been a great day to remember overall.

It’s now time to get back to the conference with the usual setup going on: enjoy conference, use the wi-fi network, hunt power plugs to recharge your batteries, meet great people and so on. More on this later…