Out of Africa; into the Fire

I got back from Johannesburg last Saturday. We did three days of technical education sessions at the Tech Days event. There are lots of good engineers in South Africa, and no shortage of work for them to do. I was last there about 8 years ago. The contrast is dramatic. People feel safe. The economy is booming. Buildings are going up everywhere. House prices are getting painfully high. The airport is swamped. All in all, a very cool place these days. I got a few hours to visit Pilanesberg National Park. I got lots of great pictures of the wildlife, but one got a little close: an elephant decided to walk up to our jeep and just after I took this picture, he decided to charge. The driver jammed his foot on the accelerator and we got away with just a scrape from a tusk. The drivers guess is that the elephant was drunk: apparently there's a fruit that grows in the park which the elephants like. This time of year the ones left on the trees are over-ripe and fermented.

I got back on Monday to the firestorm-that-is-JavaOne. Things were pretty crazy a couple of weeks ago, but pretty much lined up and calm(er) now. The hard part is that there's just too much cool stuff going on. I'm doing the "toy show" keynote at the end of the conference again (Friday morning). I've got six long (7 minute) demos to run through. Each needs an hour or two to get the full picture. There was a lot of anguish in cutting the cool-stuff list down to just six demos. The decision process has never been tougher. The tuesday keynote is also heavily loaded with demos. I'm excited.

I foolishly volunteered to do a bunch of the IT for the slot car race. It's mostly pretty solid, but there are definitely rough edges. Some probably won't get fixed because we're nervous about destabilizing the whole thing. But I can't resist tinkering...

May 10, 2006