Computing Thoughts Bruce Eckel's Programming Blog

The Winter Tech Forum

Crested Butte in Winter, at night

Photo courtesy JC Leacock

Although the Java Posse has ended transmission, we are still having the conference, renamed to the Winter Tech Forum (yes, that’s WTF – because we’re always trying to figure things out). Come create conversation, generate ideas, hack projects, create workshops, ski, snowshoe, snowmobile and experience small-town living.

The dates are Feb 23 - 27, 2015. Many people like to arrive earlier and stay a bit later; activities start with the Sunday evening barbecue and go through Saturday morning breakfast.

The conference takes place in my home town of Crested Butte, Colorado, renowned for skiing and winter activities, scenic beauty, preservation of the original mining town, and most especially the feeling of community and friendliness of the inhabitants.

The theme this year is Creating Adaptware in the Information Continuum: From Big Data to Responsive Systems. The theme is just an idea to produce conversations, but is by no means a restriction — you can create any conversation you think people want to discuss. For example, I will hold one or more sessions around my continuing research on Reinventing-Business.com.

The Winter Tech Forum is an Open Spaces Conference. There are no presentations or predefined topics. Instead, participants write discussion topics on sticky notes and place them in a time slot for a room. Anyone who is interested in that topic shows up. You can end up with tiny groups or large groups and both are just fine. The best part of most traditional conferences are the hallway conversations, and Open Spaces produce all hallway conversations, all the time. If you aren’t used to Open Spaces, they seem a bit strange at first but you’ll be amazed at how well they work.

On Wednesday, we have a hackathon day, something which has become a favorite. Often people explore alternative languages on the JVM, but we’ve also seen hardware projects, explorations of build systems, and any number of odd projects. If you and your team want to build it, they will come. Wednesday evening includes short presentations of the results of the day.

In addition, the week is packed with other activities (wherein, we’ve discovered, some of the best technical conversations take place despite our attempts to recreate). Afternoons are open to allow for skiing and other outdoor activities, but just as often fill up with user-organized workshops. Evening events include barbecues, 5-minute lightning talks (by you), and pub discussions. Thursday is our very popular “progressive dinner,” and Friday night is the optional Yurt dinner, where we do a short cross-country ski, snowshoe, or catch a lift on a snowmobile out to the yurt in the woods for a catered dinner (alternative dinners at local restaurants are often organized as well). Saturday morning is a group breakfast at my house where your shuttle can pick you up.

Get in early for group houses, better airfares, to set up travel with others, etc. For full details, schedule and registration see www.WinterTechForum.com. Attendance is limited to 70.