Monthly Archives: September 2008

Scala for Java Programmers talk

Last night, I presented a talk entitled "Scala for Java Programmers" at the Ann Arbor Java User Group.  I have posted the slides at

This talk had its origin in a workshop that Joel Neely and I did at the Java Posse Roundup last March.  Joel presented this talk internally at FedEx, and I presented it at Chariot Solutions' Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise conference in Philadelphia.  I recently updated it for the AAJUG talk.

I didn't even touch on generics, traits, classes, and objects in this talk.  So I've posted my earlier talk (from CodeMash) which included information about these as well:

The Mysteries of Magic Numbers

Today I asked the question, "What's so magic about the number 838 hrs 59 minutes?". It appeared to be the upper limit for a sum in an open source package that we use internally.

The answer came from Ben Barefield, whose search netted that this is upper range for a TIME field in MySQL. It appears that this software does the sum calculation into a TIME field and maxes out at 838:59.

Looks like that program could have used some more testing.  Since it's open source, we can fix it.  That's good.

I’m speaking on Scala this week

So, this Tech Events in Ann Arbor post for the week of September 22 finds yours truly speaking at the Ann Arbor Java User Group on Tuesday, September 23 at 6:30.  The meeting will be held at Washtenaw Community College in room BE270.  I'll be talking about "Scala for Java Programmers".  What CAN you do with this language? And why do you care? Is it a Java replacement? We'll explore some of the corners of the functional aspects of Scala, but object-oriented programmers will feel quite at home in this talk. Please come.  I would love your feedback on the language (and on the talk).

On Friday join SRT for lightning talks, from 3:30-5. As always, lightning talks are open to all.  Come to do a 5 minute talk or to listen!

Next week, the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting will feature Bill Heitzeg discussing JBoss and .NET.  AACS meetings are free and open to the public.  AACS sponsors pizza and soft drinks.  Members qualify for door prizes.


Castle ActiveRecord at AADND

It's the second Wednesday of the month (September 10) and THAT means, that it's time for the Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer meeting.  Brian Genisio is speaking, and the topic is "Castle ActiveRecord — Don't Get Good at a CRUDy Job".

Here's his abstract:

One of the worst parts of a programmer's job is writing database CRUD (Create, Retrieve, Update and Delete) code. Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) tools help to eleviate much of this pain by mapping your objects to the database. The "Active Record" pattern takes it to the next level by requiring your objects to be responsible for persisting themselves. This talk will discuss the NHibernate and Castle ActiveRecord products for eliminating the CRUD in your code base. Topics included are testing, basic usage, comparisons of NHibernate vs ActiveRecord, queries, pros, cons and alternative approaches to minimize problems with the ActiveRecord approach.

The meeting starts at 6 pm, and is held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200.  It's open to the public and free. Pizza will be ordered (pitch in if you're eating).

And don't forget that Friday September 12, we'll have Lightning Talks at SRT from 3:30-5. Learn something new in these 5 minute talks (or talk about something that interests you).  Everyone is welcome.

Titus Brown speaking at Michigan Python User Group tonight

Titus Brown is speaking at the Michigan Python User Group in Ann Arbor tonight.  Titus, who recently started his new job teaching at Michigan State, will speak about that job as well as his work with the Python Software Foundation (PSF).  I'm interested to hear how things are going at Michigan State, where they're using Python for introductory CS classes (instead of C++, which they previously used).  I've spoken to professors at other universities who haven't seemed interested in making the switch, and I'm curious to hear how MSU has accomplished it.  Has it been, as in many cases of technology adoption, driven by a strong advocate?  Committee?  Was there pushback from faculty?  Were there problems finding graduate students to help with those classes? Titus has blogged that the performance of students coming out of the new Python-based introductory class has not negatively impacted their performance in the follow-on class.  It will be interesting to follow this migration.

The meeting starts at 7 pm and will be held at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave, Suite 200.  That's at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington, in downtown Ann Arbor. We're right above the Linux Box, entrance is from Fifth Ave.

I don't know if I'll be able to attend the meeting or not (my daughter had her first full day of kindergarten today and I've felt drawn back home from the moment I entrusted her care to the bus driver this morning).  Anyhow, I hope that someone will take good notes!

About Titus Brown:

Titus Brown runs the lab of Genomics, Evolution, and Development (GED) at Michigan State University.  He is also an assistant professor in the departments of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) at MSU.  Titus has spent his career considering how to build better computational analysis pipelines and tools for interacting with scientific data, and he has spent a great deal of time working on large scale genomic analysis frameworks. Titus is also the primary author of twill, a scripting language for Web browsing.

AACS priming the pump for Agile Summer Camp

The Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting tonight (Wednesday, September 3) will be an open spaces format, which will enable the attendees to customize the meeting to the topics that they want to discuss. Arrive with ideas about things that you want to talk about, and post them during the organizational period (early part of the meeting). Then, break into small groups and discuss. The meeting will start at 6:00, and is open to everyone. You do not need to be a member of AACS to attend OR to eat the pizza provided by the organization. You do need to be a member ($20/year) to qualify for door prizes.

Tonight's AACS meeting is a nice lead-in to this weekend's Agile Summer Camp, where developers will gather together at Brighton Recreation Area from Friday September 5 through Sunday September 7 to discuss agile software development in a low-tech (no electricity) open spaces environment. Camp if you want (there are 2 bunkhouses) or go home and come back each day.  But register soon!