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GeeCON - the blog

Monday, 28 May 2012

girls@geecon get-together

Attendants list
It has been a few days since GeeCON ended and I finally managed to have some well-deserved sleep, so now I am ready to write this little diary.

As some of you might have noticed, we held a little girls get-together during the lunch break of conference day 1. First of all, sorry to any and all of the female GeeCON participants who did not know about this meeting and would have liked to attend. I did what I could: I contacted all the ticket winners (5 Google grants, 2 extra tickets on our side), placed the 'poster' on the birthday room door, approached a few girls in the Multikino corridor, and tweeted like crazy. I did not want to spam all attendants for many reasons, including the fact that I am fully aware how a number of IT girls for different reasons want nothing to do with initiatives like this one.

So, we met, we ate, we talked. We saw a number of very happy male faces peeking through the birthday room glass door :) We also had some clashes of opinions. At lest one of us (also: the one who has the most expertise in using female-oriented Google grants ;) ) thinks that women are in no way discriminated against in IT, and that the grants and other initiatives like it are sexist and unnecessary, though appreciated. Most of the girls, however, think that the situation ('the situation' being the small percentage of women in the field; more or less 30 out of 500 people at GeeCON were ladies!) does not reflect the natural predisposition of society members. Not all of the girls have hardcore stories like mine (about quasi-programmer or girls who can only deal with picking out colours), but almost everybody has experienced the difference in the attitude. Also, most of us would like to work in more gender-balanced teams.

Girls get-together in one of the birthday rooms :)
So, if we were to come up with a manifesto, what would that be? Here are 4 main points I think most of us agreed upon during the lunch-break meeting, and also a smaller afternoon out on conference day 2:
  1. Parities are nonsense, but there are more girls fit (and happy in favourable circumstances) to do IT than what we see now.
  2. We are not saying there are not differences between men and women, but members of both sexes can become great programmers or visionaries in computer science.
  3. It is very important to monitor early education stages and eliminate concious and subconcious hints sent by parents and teachers, assigning girls to 'softer' crafts or praising them only for looking good (and boys for being intelligent and creative).
  4. We (girls) have to become just a little more self-confident, including starting our sentences with 'I know that' instead of 'I think that'.
So, to sum this up, we had a nice time together. For me it was wonderful to talk about what the situation (see the definition above) is in other countries. I am really looking forward to doing this during the next GeeCON, or some other conferences during the year too, perhaps? And maybe the next time, we could even invite the speakers? :)
After the conference, in Kuchnia dla Dragona
On a finishing note: I felt quite good seeing that this one time there was a huge line to the men's toilet, even after they took 'spare' resources from us and let guys use half of the girls' room! ;)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Is your geek on?

Wow! This have been a few long days for us here at the GeeCON team. We think that everything went pretty well - no major slips or annoyances. But we're not the ones to tell! We will be sending out a link to a survey to all the participants - please fill it in to help us improve what's there to improve and to keep what's there to keep - we value your opinion and the survey is the way for you to speak directly to us.

A t-shirt for a winner

We all know you are all terribly busy at work so we thought of a small gift that we'll send to the three lucky persons that fill in the survey and win: a cool t-shirt! One person will receive a free ticket to 2013 edition as well. You can also write a review of the GeeCON conference on your blog / website and send a link to testimonials@geecon.org - we will be drawing a free ticket and a t-shirt among those that do as well!

We would like to use this opportunity to thank everyone for making this possible. Huge thank you goes to our sponsors - you guys are awesome! No less appreciation goes to you - our participants. Thanks for coming, enjoying the talks and the discussions in the hallway!

Another thank you goes to our technical staff - those guys have helped the conference run as smoothly as it did.

If you've endured any mistreatment on our part we can only assure you it was never ill-intended. Sometimes getting just 2 hours of sleep leaves one snappy. If that was ever the case (we hope not!) - we are offering our sincere apologies.

Thanks for partying with us too - we know it takes a lot of effort to show up at a party after the whole day of lectures. We hope you have enjoyed the GeeCON drinkup and bar-hopping with Allegro as much as we did.

Thank you all for coming to GeeCON and see you back next year!

See you in 2013 GeeCON graphics
See you in a year! Stay tuned for details.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Bar-hopping with Allegro Group


If you still don't know, there is a party tonight! You can visit Allegro's booth for all the info. There will be coupons for free beer handed out at the following locations (all directly in the Main Square):
  • Londoner Pub (Stary Rynek 90)
  • Drink Bar Tropicana (Stary Rynek 10)
  • Columbus (Stary Rynek 38/39)
  • Guliwer (Stary Rynek 38/39)
Make sure to make your way there!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

GeeCON partying!

Hey there fellas and ladies! We know that after a whole day of lectures, the more adventurous of you will want to roam the city of Poznań in a search for a perfect place to have a beer. It should come as no surprise to those that have attended any of our past events that we are providing each of our participants with an opportunity to relax & party between the conference days. This year will be no different!

We would like to invite every GeeCON participant to the GeeCON drinkup on 16th of May and to the GeeCON bar-hopping sponsored by Allegro Group on 17th of May!

GeeCON drinkup will take place in the Johnny Rocker pub, starting at 19:00. We will be offering beer coupons to the GeeCON participants - just bring your GeeCON ID! You can consult our map for it's location (as well as the map on pub's website).

As for bar-hopping - this will be an opportunity to jump around different pubs in Poznań's Old Town. There will be free beer coupons available at various bars. We'd like to invite you to Allegro's booth for more details!

As much as it is tempting to chat all night in the company of fellow geeks & nerds we'd like to remind you that each of those parties is followed by a day full of quality lectures so it's best to drink reasonably!

One more thing - if you have a blog or a website and would like to show your support, you can install a small script that our friend Konrad has prepared. It will show an overlay (for a short while) saying that you're on GeeCON. Hit the link https://github.com/ktoso/were-on-geecon on how to install and for download. Please mail us a link to your website / blog if you do use it - we will be drawing a small prize amongst those that do!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Dinner with speakers

We are inviting all the GeeCON speakers to a dinner. This has become our tradition to show our appreciation for the quality content they provide for the conference.
This year we thought that this is a perfect excuse for a contest. One of you will have the opportunity to have a dinner with your idols! A dinner in a very charming and stylish restaurant will take place at 19:00 on 17th of May (Thursday). Many of you are using twitter during the conference to express your thoughts on GeeCON and we've decided we should reward that!
Here is what you'll have to do in order to compete:
  1. We will tweet about the dinner contest - you will have to re-tweet this announcement to inform us that you want to participate in the drawing. This is the link to the tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/GeeCON/status/202670241518592003.
  2. You have to tweet during the conference.
  3. At the end of Thursday we will randomly choose one participating person that was actively tweeting about GeeCON.

UPDATE: The tweet you need to retweet has been posted

Sunday, 13 May 2012

If GeeCON is not enough...

P.I.W.O. Tour, Kraków, 22.05.2011, phot.: Piotr Ficek
What else is happening in Poznań during the conference?

P.I.W.O. Light Show - the ultimate geek treat

From the organizer's webpage:

P.I.W.O. – the Powerful Index Window Display (or if you prefer, B.E.E.R. – Big Electronic Entertainment Renderer) – enables us to transform buildings into giant screens. Each window becomes a separate ‘pixel’ controlled by a computer, which enables a smooth display of animations with combined sound effects.

And this time they are also playing the controversial Poland's Official EURO 2012 song: Koko EURO Spoko!!!

When? May 16, 2012, 9:30 PM
Where? Poznań University of Technology dormitory no 6, ul. Św. Rocha 11B
More info? http://www.piwo.pwr.wroc.pl/poznan2012 (the Poznań event description is only in Polish, but general information is available in other languages too)

(I hope you managed to learn the one important Polish word from this text)

Outer Spaces Wilda

Outer Spaces is a street art festival, and this year it is happening in Wilda, which also means: very close to the GeeCON venue.

There are many events and activities in the festival, but maybe the most spectacular one is that between 14 and 19 of May you will be able to see street artists creating murals on the walls of historic (and mostly quite neglected) tenement houses: Sikorskiego 25, Przemysłowa 21, Czarnieckiego 14, Górna Wilda 89.

When? May 13-19, 2012
Where? Wilda district
More info? http://outerspaces.pl/ (Polish)


The annual students celebration is taking place in the Academic Sports Association stadium in Pułaskiego street between May 17 and 20. The concerts are free for students, others have to buy (very cheap) tickets. The list of bands is available here. The event is very picnic-like, but can get out of control.

When? May 17-20, 2012
Where? Academic Sports Association stadium (Stadion Akademickiego Związku Sportowego), Pułaskiego street (2.5 km from Multikino)
More info? http://juwenalia.poznan.pl/ (Polish)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Where to eat at GeeCON?

Dragon pub / restaurant photo
If you are a regular at GeeCON, you know that we will not let you starve - we offer you modest breakfasts and lunches every day. For dinners, however, or if you feel like exploring a bit (just make sure you are not missing any interesting sessions!), you will have to make some choices on your own. This little guide should help you start with the correct ones ;)

As you might remember from the Explaining Local GeeCON Territory post, we will be situated in the city center. Your most obvious choices are the Stary Browar shopping/business/arts center, and the main square, but there are also some nice small places even closer to the GeeCON venue.

Stary Browar (200 m from Multikino)

You can find the complete list of cafes and restaurants in Stary Browar (Old Brewery) here. There are three types of locations in the list: Atrium is the 'old' Old Brewery, the closest to Multikino, with 2 entrances from Półwiejska street; Passage is the new part (with entrances to other sides); Courtyard is the part between them. To get to the Courtyard you have to go to Atrium 2nd level.

The shopping center is open from 9 am to 9 pm (the two gourmet supermarkets are open from 8 am to 10 pm). The restaurants and clubs in the Courtyard have separate entrances, so their opening hours may be longer too. The ones I subjectively recommend are:
  • Art Sushi for a nice Japanese/Korean lunch/dinner,
  • China Town for a quick lunch (in my opinion their spring rolls are the best in town),
  • Pralinka Cafe for coffee and sweets from my hometown of Bydgoszcz (the famous confectioner Adam Sowa),
  • Salad Story for great salads, obviously including vegetarian things, but not limited to them,
  • Weranda Lunch & Wine: the name does not reveal this, but they have really nice breakfasts! On the more expensive side, though,
  • Piano Bar for an elegant evening with high end food.
And if you wander to the 'new' part (Passage), you might see another Multikino... Don't ask me.

The Main Square (1.3 km)

There are just so many to choose from! In the previous post I already mentioned Dragon (Zamkowa 3): a picteresque pub and a restaurant (Kuchnia dla Dragona - Kitchen for Dragon) open from 9 am till early morning (of the next day). There is Pracownia Cafe (Woźna 17) - vegetarian fusion with some fish and poultry. For something traditionally Polish you can try Bażanciarnia (Stary Rynek 94; Stary Rynek is the Main [Old] Square). You can also try the restaurants in Wrocławska street (one of your possible routes from Multikino) which has recently been turned into a pedestrian zone. Among others, there is a pierogi restaurant called Chatka Babuni (Wrocławska 18). Another nice place in the main square is Brovaria (73/74): a very good restaurant which also brews its own beers (and has nice steaks, if you crave them).

Hidden gems around Multikino

Just in front of Multikino (but you will have to go around to use a pedestrian crossing - in Poland you may get fined for crossing on a red light or outside of a designated crossing; if it happens, your best option is to [pretend you do] not speak Polish) there is an inconspicuous-looking pizzeria called Gallipolli which serves surprisingly good pizza* (and beer). Another good place for a pizza or some mixed Polish/Italian gratins is Tivoli in Św. Czesława (850 m). To go there you have to actually enter the Wilda part of town (see the previous post), so I highly recommend it! :)

Pyry z gzikiem

I almost forgot!

We are in Poznań, and the traditional thing to eat in Poznań (once) is pyry z gzikiem. It is a Lenten dish, made from, well, potatoes (pyry in the local dialect) and cottage cheese. You can find a nice variant of this dish, together with all things potato, in Pyra Bar in Strzelecka street (900 m from Multikino).

*theadam considers it the best pizza in town!

Monday, 7 May 2012

GeeCON OpenSpaces

Want to talk about design patterns? Looking for the answer how to deliver high quality software on time? Maybe you would like to ask others what is the real value of automated tests? Or how big is big data and how to deal with it? ;-) There are many questions like these, and that is why we would like to invite you to GeeCON OpenSpaces - our first official unconference.

It is the first event of this kind organized by the GeeCON team. Because of that we have asked for help of Bruce Eckel himself! Bruce have led and participated in many unconference-style events and he will lead the GeeCON OpenSpaces. If you want to know more about unconferences, watch his short introductory presentation.

GeeCON OpenSpaces will be held after the main conference on Saturday (19th of May). We will meet around 10 AM in the headquarters of Cognifide in Murawa Office Park (ul. Murawa 12-18, Poznań). The event will last (approximately) till 4 PM.

If you are interested, you have no time to waste - we have only 50 tickets, so register now!

Sold out!

GeeCON conference sold out drawing
Neither Alexei nor Guido will be holding the gate @geecon, don't worry!
If you haven't already noticed, we have sold out all the tickets for the main conference! There are still some tickets left just for University Day. Check out registration site for details.
It really pleases us that the Java community is so interested in quality trainings! We would very much like everyone to attend our conference, but even though there is enough room for lectures, the hallways will be too cramped if we accept more participants. We hope to alleviate some of the 'crowded hallways' issues by having all the cinema to ourselves (including a chillout room).
Thanks everyone for such a huge interest!