Monday Jun 08, 2009

DevDusk June 2009 in Munich

Last week, DevDusk June 2009 took place at the Sun office in Munich.

What is DevDusk, you ask?

To me, it's the ultimate geek after-work party: Every once in a while, developers gather after their work day and chat about current cool technologies. Think after work mini-unconference. There are DevDusks in Frankfurt and in Munich, and this time we were lucky to sponsor the latest incarnation out of the Sun Startup Essentials program.

Every good geek event starts with food & beer!After some food and beers, we had a nice variety of talks:

  • Wolfgang Stief talked about one of the coolest hobbies: Collecting and restoring old computers. Not just C-64s and Commodore Amigas, no, the real stuff: Control Data Mainframes, Crays, etc., including a project to build a full tube-based computer. He shared a lot of funny stories involving the many obstacles in transporting, reparing and operating huge digital beasts. Check out the website and Wolfgang's collection of photos on Flickr.

  • Wolfram Kriesing from introduced us to EventNinja, a clever way to leverage free Cloud services (Google Docs, Yahoo! Pipes) to create fully functional, intelligent and customizable widgets, without the need to operate any server infrastructure by yourself other than a simple static web server. Very cool and a glimpse of a whole generation of clever, light-weight distributed cloud widgets. I'm working on a similar thing myself, more on that in a future blog post.

  • And yes, I got to present something too. I used the opportunity to introduce the group to my personal definition of Cloud Computing, the Sun Cloud, highlighting it's REST APIs and encouraging the audience to play around with Zembly while they're waiting for the Sun Cloud to become publicly available.

Slides, links and other material are available from the DevDusk Munich event page, feel free to check them out (some may be in Germany, but what's a little language barrier to tech people anyway?). Also, check out Gabi's blog entry on this event as well as related Twitter comments.

Friday Feb 20, 2009

Challenges and Opportunities 2009

Me speaking at #cando09This Wednesday I was invited to speak at "Challenges and Opportunities 2009", an informal, almost barcamp-like gathering of startup companies and other bright and innovative people in the center of Munich. The name is the topic and so the focus was on how to make the best of the current economic situation. Surprisingly, the overall feeling of the conference was quite relaxed, almost cheery, as if the econonmy wasn't really that relevant. Just the right attitude to have, I'd say.

Nicholas MacGowan von Holstein of took the effort of putting this event together, which was a remarkable feat, given that he was in the middle of entering open beta with his startup at the same time. Twidox is a new startup company that offers a platform for the collaborative exchange of high-quality documents. The idea comes from Nicholas' experience during his university days where students would spend a lot of time researching publications and trying to find relevant papers to a certain topic. Twidox lets you both publish and search for documents and helps you make sense out of them through tagging, rating and other mechanisms. Actually, there are quite a few parallels to our own SunSpace document management system and so it was not surprising to see Nicholas and Peter having a great interest in each other's work.

Each presentation was limited to 5-10 minutes which was a good thing to keep the pace going. We heard from Terry Bibra about Yahoo's strategy of openness, Stephan Uhrenbacher from Qype talked about principles they observed when creating their startup, Ingo Dahm from Microsoft highlighted some opportunities that today's technologies offer and Nicholas Kirschner of High-Tech-Gründerfonds offered his insight as a venture capitalist about the good, the bad and the ugly of VCs during difficult times. The ticketing logistics of the event were done through Amiando, a fast growing German startup that provides streamlined ticketing operations to everyone. Felix Haas from Amiando offered his own views as a startup, highlighting flexibility in finding the right business model and pointing out that startups don't necessarily need to go for a multi-million Dollar exit.

My own talk was about "Survival 2.0", inspired by Tim Bray's "The Fear Factor" talk at FOWA 2008 that he also elaborated about in a series of inspiring blog posts. Tim talked to developers, so I mixed in some of my own experience of having gone through the Dot-Com Bubble and made a 5-point list of tips to get you through tough times, that everyone of us can use today. Most, if not all of these tips are just common sense, it's just that we sometimes tend to lose our common sense when the going get's tough...

The fine people at Tiburon-TV have recorded the talk and you can watch a video of "Survival 2.0" here. The slides are available from Twidox as well. It's all in German but if you're interested, I can send you a translated version of the slides so you can use them for your own presentations.

Also, check out the Twitter buzz around this event's #cando09 hashtag. It's quite fascinating how dynamic instant communication has become today...

Tuesday Dec 16, 2008

New OpenSolaris Munich User Group

The Munich OpenSolaris User Group (MUCOSUG) LogoMunich is one of the IT centers of Germany. Some would say, the IT center in Germany. Most popular IT and media companies are based here, including Sun Germany, and of course Bavaria has the reputation of being an important technology powerhouse for Germany, between Laptops and Lederhosen.

It was about time that a Munich OpenSolaris User Group be created, which Wolfgang and I just did.

So, if you love OpenSolaris and happen to be near Munich, welcome to the Munich Open Solaris User Group (MUCOSUG). Feel free to visit our project page, subscribe to the mailing list, watch our announcements or participate in our events.

As you can see above, we already have a logo. It shows a silhouette of the Frauenkirche church, which is a signature landmark of downtown Munich, with the Olympiaturm tower in the background. This is meant to symbolize the old and new features of Solaris, but let's not get too sentimental here... Let us know if you like it, or provide your own proposal for a better logo, this is not set in stone yet.

Our first meeting will be on January 12th, 2009, 7-11 PM (19:00-23:00) at the Sun Munich office near Munich, Germany. Check out some more information about this event, we're looking forward to meeting you!




Tune in and find out useful stuff about Sun Solaris, CPU and System Technology, Web 2.0 - and have a little fun, too!


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