Five Peaches

One of five hardy peaches on our tree -- the surprise of our summer
One of five hardy peaches on our tree -- the surprise of our summer

It was the surprise of the summer: I found a peach in the grass under our peach tree Friday afternoon as I was trimming the lawn ahead of mowing. Why the surprise, you might ask? Because — to the best of our knowledge — we had no peaches on our brave little peach tree this year.

As we made it through the cool wet spring and into the first part of the summer, we had been keeping an eye on the peach tree to see if it was going to need lots of thinning as it had last year. We never saw an blossoms, let alone any forming peaches that might need thinning, and had as a result just written off any chance of getting peaches this year.

Given that it had produced big crops the past couple years, we figured a down year might not be all bad as it would give the tree a chance to rest and grow. But we were missing our annual fix of peaches, missing it enough in fact that we actually bought peaches. Not bad (actually good) but not in the same class as a tree-ripened peach that has just been picked…

Li holding a treasure: a fresh peach from our tree
Li holding a treasure: a fresh peach from our tree

So imagine my surprise to see one laying in the grass. It took a few seconds to register with me as I stood looking at. All through the summer, I’ve trimmed around that tree each time I’ve mowed the lawn and never looked up. A quick look showed two more on the tree, and further looking revealed two more. A total of five peaches, a couple of which were softball-sized world class peaches.

I gently carried the one I’d found in and showed it to Deb, and when Li woke up from her short nap on Friday afternoon, we went out and picked the surprise. And we were reminded how wonderful fresh (I mean really fresh) peaches are…

Chicago: Last day

I head for home later today, and with any luck will be back in my own bed this evening…

It’s been a really full week here in Chicago. Three of the four presentations we’re involved in are now past — I  have one left that I am leading today — and one of them went well, the others not so much. That’s fodder for another post (or not). At any rate, it has been a good week here in Chicago:

  • We’ve been able to connect (or re-connect in some cases) with people we work with and rarely get to talk to face-to-face
  • A couple of very interesting sessions at the conference itself
  • Great weather, good food (had good deep-dish pizza at Gino’s East on Superior on Tuesday, and a pretty good filet at Shula’s steakhouse last night), and a pretty decent conference facility

Now if we can just make it out of O’Hare on time this afternoon. I was amazed at how quickly we got out of O’Hare when we came in Sunday evening (under 15 minutes between when we stepped off the plane and when the shuttle pulled away from the curb), but I think this will likely be a different story.

I am missing Deb, Li, and Ian. This post from Jeffrey Zeldman’s blog yesterday hit home; I just wonder if the postscript is a noun, a verb, or just an exclamation…

Chicago: Not bad so far

OK, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. As I alluded to earlier, I really wasn’t looking forward to coming to Chicago. (And in truth, I’ve not really spent much time here in the past aside from a week here several years ago for a coaching license course and being routed through O’Hare on the odd flight to/from the East coast.)

Weather has been quite pleasant, I’m staying about 10 minutes walk from Navy Pier on the lake — which is actually really pretty (and deserted!) early in the morning as the sun is coming up and shining on the city, and we found really good Thai this evening for dinner at Dao Thai on Ohio. Great food, very good prices. Ice cream on the walk home.

MAX Day 3 Recap

A quick recap of the final day of Adobe MAX…

  • Started the day in an excellent hands-on lab session led by Simon Slooten on building CF-powered Flex applications. He did a great job moving through an appropriate amount of material to introduce those of us who haven’t yet had a chance to play with Flex and using it as the front-end for Web-based, data-driven apps.
  • Sat in on a fairly interesting panel discussion on what might lie ahead for the next year or so within the RIA area for developers. This one could have (and probably should have) been at least half an hour longer.
  • Finished the conference with a session with Sean Corfield on event-driven programming within CF. Kind of a mind-bending concept, focused on using a similar paradigm within the server side of the Web app world as you would use on the client side with a Flex- or AJAX-based front end. Very interesting. It might have been easier to get my head around more completely had it (my head) not just plain been full at this point in the week.
  • Spent a couple hours wandering around downtown SF and Chinatown with the guys. It was good to just wander and watch people. Had a great dinner at a place called Santorini Mediterranean Cuisine: dolmos, saganaki, hummus, babbaganoush, souvlakia…

And it’s a wrap. I head for home and family this morning.

All in all, not a bad conference. I’d come hoping for a better feel for what Flex is/does/might help us with and hoping for some general nuggets as far as CF and Web app development in general. I got both of those, along with a chance to talk to fellow developers and get a read on where Adobe is taking CF. Adobe, generally speaking, did a decent job with the conference: decent broad coverage, decent venue, good end-of-day events, decent stuff in the exhibit hall. Thumbs up for those. Thumbs down for not providing a decent bag to the conference attendees, nor for even including a pen with the shopping bag full of throw-away product literature when you check in, and for not ensuring decent WiFi in the convention center (Opera Mini and Google Talk on my Blackberry were lifesavers this week). And a big “Thank you!” for Kristen Schofield of Adobe’s CF team for the CF t-shirts for me and Jeff on the last conference day!

It will be interesting to see where the new Bolt CF IDE goes, and how it compares to existing alternatives like CFEclipse, etc. Mark Drew has indicated that Bolt by no means signals the end of life for CFEclipse. Given that IDE’s tend to be a religious thing with some (most?) devs, I’m sure there will be some interesting turns ahead.

MAX Day 2 Recap

A quick recap of MAX Day 2…

  • Two very good sessions by Charlie Arehart on hidden (or less well-known) stuff in CF8 and the use of Derby (the open source Java-based database from the Apache project that comes as part of CF8). Both were excellent sessions with lots of good pointers that left me with a fairly lengthy list of things to follow up on for our team at work. Charlie, as always, did a great job covering lots of ground at the right level. I’ve sat in on several of his presos at CFUnited in the past and he is a very strong presenter. So far, these two sessions were probably — in terms of valuable potential takeaways — the high point of the conference so far.
  • A disappointing session by Scott Stroz on “hack-proofing” your CF app. Not much new ground to plow (which I suppose could be considered a good thing, given our focus on some of this stuff in the past 18 months). He kind of let the audience hijack his session with questions, comments, and even “me too’s” and ended up spending 75% of the preso on SQL injection which left very little time for the remaining two thirds of his talk.
  • Another disappointing talk on the use of jQuery and AIR by Ed Finkler. Too much jQuery, particularly given that about 90% of the audience indicated that they were at least somewhat familiar with it, and not enough AIR. Sharp guy, obviously knows his stuff, entertaining speaker with a dry sense of humor, but the preso itself missed.
  • The keynote, hosted by Ben Forta and Tim Buntel, highlighted some pretty impressive workflow integration on the design side of Adobe’s product lines, touched on the coming IDE for CF (codenamed “Bolt” in honor of the old CF lightning bolt; an Eclipse-based environment which looks to have some pretty interesting capabilities for the coders in house but for which few if any details are really available), and some cool stuff called Alchemy that allows for existing C/C++ code to be automagically transterpolated into ActionScript for use in Flash.
  • Spent a bit of time talking with the CF designee in the Adobe “support lab” about a couple things we’ve bumped in to, and posing a couple of questions about things that Ben had mentioned related to the new CF IDE. Walked away thinking “That was a waste of time…”
  • MAX hosted a customer appreciation event at the de Young Museum and California Museum of Sciences in the evening. Very cool place to spend a couple hours hanging out. Saw the show in the new Morrison Planetarium; also very cool!
  • Late dinner with Jeff and Blaine (we lost Marco somewhere at the museum, but did talk to him late after he got back) at the Pinecrest Diner. Try the hot pastrami on rye. It’s the kind of place that — had they had one on the menu — I would have ordered the chicken fried steak sandwich. The guy who runs it is a 30-year old guy whose grandfather had it in this same location since the 1960’s, is trained in Italy as a chef, and is keeping the place going. Great basic food and an interesting menu.

So, kind of a mixed bag from a technical standpoint but I did get a couple of items of real value from Charlie’s presos.