Tag Archives: Crested Butte

Android in Crested Butte …

Last year, at the Java Posse Roundup in Crested Butte, a few of us got together the day before the conference for a pre-event.  We talked about Django and TurboGears. It was quite interesting, and people filtered in throughout the evening, as they arrived in town.  So I figured we needed something similar this year and had been sort of thinking about what might be a good topic, but hadn't really given it much thought until TODAY, when one of the attendees (waving at Mike Levin in the Swamp) mentioned that he and Robert Cooper had been talking about Android quite a bit and were looking forward to seeing what they could do with it.  No sense them having all of the fun, all by themselves.

So, for this year's Roundup (March 4-7), a few of us are going to get together the day before the conference starts to see what we can do with Android.   Should be fun.  I already have all of the development tools on my laptop, from CodeMash. I'm looking forward to it, and several of the attendees have already emailed me saying that they are as well!   Fun!


Events Worth the Travel

Upcoming Events Outside of Michigan

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am a huge fan of Open Spaces events.  In particular, I've really enjoyed the Open Spaces events that Bruce Eckel has offered, in Crested Butte, Colorado.

In about a week, you could travel to Crested Butte (about a 5 hr drive from Denver), and combine the Flex & AIR Jam and the Rich Internet Application Summit all in one.  Since Adobe is giving away a $499 license for FlexBuilder with the Flex & AIR Jam registration, that conference is an amazing value.  James Ward, Adobe Flex Evangelist, will be there too, of course. James is a great guy and also a great contributor to Open Spaces events.  He has a really great knack at distilling a problem into manageable chunks and showing you how to use Flex to solve it.

Immediately following the Flex & AIR Jam is the Rich Internet Application Summit.  Bruce is even offering a discount if you attend both events.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

If your employer is wincing at the expense, it's way less expensive than attending a traditional conference like Java One and, in my experience, more useful. And, you can always get a room at the International Hostel to save money on lodging. It's a great place!

I wish that I were going.  If things shake out just right around here, I may end up out there yet.  It's hard to stay home when I know that there is a really great learning experience going on. And the hiking and mountain biking are great out there this time of year as well!

Bruce Eckel's Open Spaces Events

Web Frameworks Comparisons at the Java Posse Roundup

Java Posse Roundup Day 0

 I’m here in Crested Butte for an Open Spaces conference, The Java Posse Roundup.  The conference officially starts this morning, but we had an “extra session” last night at Bruce’s house.  Graham Ullrich presented his experiences with TurboGears and Django, both web application frameworks written in Python. 

Graham’s experience with TurboGears was in the summer of last year, with about the 0.9 release.  Since then it has been released as 1.0, and I think that the documentation has been improving steadily.

The major drawbacks of TurboGears include:

  1. Kid templating errors are hard to decipher
  2. SQLObject is limited in functionality

Both of these can be addressed now, as you can drop Genshi in place of kid (and Genshi has awesome error reporting), and SQLAlchemy is more powerful than SQLObject (and arguably than the ORM built into Django).

The major drawbacks of Django include:

  1. Incomplete documentation
  2. Newforms development incomplete 
  3. Not easy to understand what to do with static content

The Django project was poorly advised to put a note in the documentation that new projects should use newforms, since there are major pieces that are not implemented.

Overall, Graham reported that his experience with Django was more “pythonic” than his experience with TurboGears.  It’s hard to tell whether that’s because he was using an earlier version or whether it just feels more natural to him.  In particular, he likes the admin interface and database mapping.

Here are some more comparisons of the 2 toolkits:



And, if you missed the presentation and want to read through his slides, he's provided them (see below).

Graham's presentation on Django vs. Turbogears

Saturday in Crested Butte

After the Web Frameworks Jam …

Saturday was JUST for fun (hmm, as opposed to the other days which were also fun?). Everyone from the workshop (yes, everyone) met for an 8 am mountain bike on the Lower Loop in Crested Butte. It was a great ride, and everyone was at different levels in their riding abilities (and interest) and we had a wide range of bikes. Several of us rented bikes, while others brought them along.

After the bike ride (which took about 2 hours), we all got together for a late breakfast/early lunch before heading our separate ways. It’s always a bit of a letdown to be leaving, but (as with the group in March), I think that communication between the group members will continue and I look forward to it.

Web Frameworks Jam: Wednesday

Another Day in Crested Butte

First, work stuff:

We continued our TurboGears quest yesterday (Wednesday). The “out of the box” tutorial experience isn’t really there yet, but we’re still hopeful about the package. Mainly, if I had been working on my own, I’m just not sure I would have been this motivated to continue working with the package, after encountering the roadblocks that we’ve hit. None of them have been insurmountable, but “real” work would have probably drawn me away from it when I did get temporarily stuck and I’m not sure I would have gone back.

The idea of using Best of Breed Components to put together a framework is compelling, and I’m enjoying getting my feet wet with a little Python as well. The “gotchas” seem to be package installs, at this point, further complicated by the fact that we don’t have a live internet connection at the conference location (which really just inspires us to visit the coffee shop next door quite frequently).

We’ve been making notes, mainly about the tutorial and this “out of the box” experience that I just mentioned. Bruce is going to post them, and I’ll add a link here when he’s done that.

The Spring/Hibernate team is plugging along (mainly focusing on Spring at this point, I think). The Google Web Toolkit team is making progress as well. One of the guys has extensive knowledge of the toolkit (has been using it for a while) while the other 2 have great interest. I’ve seen notes from them as well (extensive!), and I’m hoping that they post those as well. I’m looking forward to reading them in more detail, and I’ll post a link if they get blogged. Pretty sure they will …

In any case, we’ll be getting back to TurboGears this morning. Barry finally has everything working on Debian and Bruce has upgraded to 0.9 from the default install of 0.8.9. We’ve learned a lot about the package, and I’m looking forward to getting through the tutorial and onto new things now that (hopefully) the wrinkles have been ironed out.

And now, the recreation report:

We went for another hike (Slate River) yesterday afternoon, hiking to a waterfall. An old mine is nearby. It was a very nice hike, more elevation than yesterday.

And we had lunch at a great little outdoor Tibetan restaurant (Mo Mo’s). I had curried beef with lentils and rice and some chai. It was fantastic and the outdoor garden setting is amazing.

Last night, one of the other attendees and I attended a community forum at the local school. Ambassador Ed Peck, former chief mission to Baghdad, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about unrest in the Middle East. Pretty timely. He’s an amazing speaker and probably makes a great diplomat. He really stressed the importance of listening to what people (in other countries, especially) are saying and thinking. Imagine that. This isn’t a political blog, so I won’t go into more detail, but suffice it to say that I’m really glad that I attended. I wish that I were going to be here next week, when Sandra Day O’Connor will be speaking. Wow!

Crested Butte is simply a wonderful place. Costly, but lovely. It’s definitely a great place to visit. Some local tidbits:

·I talked to a woman at Camp4Coffee yesterday morning who had ridden her bike there with her 6 month old baby. We were talking about bike trailers. She said that she bought that trailer when some visitors came to town for a week, bought a brand new bike trailer, and sold it for $70 when they left. Nice deal!
·I spoke to a man in the hotel lobby this morning who is a rancher from Texas who has been coming to this town every year for 30 years. He’s here with his grandson this week.

Web Frameworks Jam

Heading off to Crested Butte

I couldn’t stay away. Bruce Eckel is offering an Open Spaces Web Framework Jam in Crested Butte next week, and I am really looking forward to it. Yes, I was just in Crested Butte in March (for Programming the New Web), but this is a hands-on experience and I think that it’s going to be a great learning experience and incredibly fun too.

In addition to meeting new people, I’m looking forward to hanging out with some familiar faces from the last conference as well (three of us are returning). I hope to post some updates from the web framework jam here.

The “It” Thing …

Some kind of event in Crested Butte, CO, July 18-21

Bruce Eckel was going to do a “Thinking in Java” Open Spaces conference in Crested Butte, CO in July, but interest (or at least enrollment) didn’t seem to be there. After a flurry of email between several of the people that were at his Programming the New Web Open Spaces conference (held in March), he is re-working it as potentially an even cooler event. Check out the link for more details at:


I really trust Bruce when he says, “We'll find something interesting to do even if we don't know exactly what it is yet. It's in the same vein as an Open Space — where you have a basic topic but you don't know what sessions will appear until people start putting sticky notes in time slots — but taken up a notch. Here, we're not sure what the topic will be, but we assume that something will appear by the time we actually convene.”

I hope that I can be a part of it. My attendance, right now, is only limited by family obligations. If I can work out those details, I will be there. If I can’t make it, I will be really bummed and anxiously awaiting news on how it all turned out.

To be able to go and build something for the fun of it (and for the educational experience)! It would be like summer camp!

BTW, there’s a hostel in Crested Butte. I hear it’s pretty nice and you sure can’t beat the price!

Conference Information
Summary of Potential Topics
Open Spaces
Discussion of Open Spaces Technology
Crested Butte Hostel
Best Value in Crested Butte
Other Lodging/Travel Info
Where to stay and how to get there


A quest for good food and even a Python reference.

When I was in Crested Butte for Bruce Eckel’s Programming the New Web conference (and therein lies the only hook that this will have to a technical topic), I picked up some Larabars at the local grocery store, for a quick snack. And since then, I have been on a quest.

Larabars taste great and they meet my “rules”. I’m one of those pretty wacky people who reads food labels before buying anything. And larabars totally meet my criteria … no added sugar (and no CORN SYRUP), no partially hydrogenated oils, no preservatives. So what DO they contain? Fruit and nuts. That’s it. They’re NOT cooked; they’re NOT processed. Naturally occurring Omega 3’s! Omega 6’s! Oleic acid! This is good stuff!

And with decadent names that will make you feel GUILTY! Cherry Pie, Cashew Cookie, Chocolate Coconut! And for the programmers among us, try CherryPy (sic, sneaking in another technical reference!).

Luckily for me, our local grocery store carries them. Otherwise, we would have had to move to Colorado. My favorite larabar flavor that my local store doesn’t sell: Ginger Snap. My husband would go NUTS for Ginger Snap (but I ate the only one I brought home from CO so he’s gonna have to wait to try it).

(My other food hangup: Styrofoam cups. They freak me out. In Crested Butte, Camp4Coffee has paper cups. Ah! Heaven!)

Back to programming … snack time is over.

Larabars website
All the yummy details
Larabars in the news
An article about larabars
Styrofoam cups
Or why I love paper cups

Dianne heads off to a conference in Colorado

Programming the New Web: An Open Spaces Conference in Colorado

I’ve been in Crested Butte, CO, this week for a conference. Bruce Eckel is running it. The format is “Open Spaces”, which allows the conference attendees to customize the content, rather than the other way around. The first day, we submitted ideas for talks, and we found that we had a full schedule of 4 “talks” per day. In a larger group, we might have broken out into multiple sessions, but we’re a group of 10 and that’s pretty much perfect for consecutive sessions. I’m hesitating on using the term “talks” for such informal discussions. It’s really been a sharing/learning experience and it may well spoil me for a more traditional conference setting.

The attendees span our industry, both in terms of size of companies and in application areas. We have everything from pure website development to embedded systems, in both industry and academia. Company sizes range from the sole proprietor to a Fortune 100 company. It’s been a great experience in terms of seeing what other people are doing, and small enough that we can actually get into more detail than would typically be possible at a conference. I would definitely attend an Open Space conference again!

Crested Butte, too, is an experience. It’s visually stunning and outdoor opportunities abound. Cross country skiing is one of my favorite activities, and I’ve been really happy to be skiing here. There are a lot of other random things that I am really enjoying in this town … the friendly faces (and paper cups) at coffee shops, the yoga studio in town, the metal roofs on all of the houses, the gorgeous scenery.

Check back for technical content, or check out the links below!

Ben's weblog
Attendee at Conference
Barry's weblog
Attendee at Conference
Mike's weblog
Attendee at Conference
Bruce's weblog
Organizer's weblog