Friday, November 5, 2010

A Big Fat Map Sandwich

Just returned from another successful EWUG conference in Middleton, WI (www.ewug.org). This conference is for techy, geeky, GIS types who get excited about new geoprocessing tools and functions, server apps, and software upgrades. Typically we talk shop until the wee hours because we forget that we have families and the like. It's really sad actually.

In all truthfulness, it's not as bad as that. We try to abide by the rule that there is to be no GIS talk after 9:00 PM, which is probably a good thing anyway. If there is to be GIS talk, it has to be kept light, like software slamming or sharing the dirt on someone who was fired, etc. No talking about how to properly set up a spatial index on multiple attribute columns in a SQL Server 2008 Release 2 database. Ooops, there I go again. I'm sorry.

The keynote speaker for the conference was Clint Brown from ESRI. He was mildly engaging, but what caught my attention was how he kept referring to applications that allowed you to make a "map sandwich". I'd never heard that phrase before, but I kind of like it. Of course, no one but a GIS professional would understand what it is, but that's who he was speaking to anyway. He did it right before lunch, which kind of got everyone in the mood to eat. LOL.

I actually spent two days in Adobe Flex training after the conference on Wednesday. Flex allows you to create some really cool, flashy GIS applications. It was nothing short of intense for me, a non-programmer, or as a programmer-wannabe. Programmers have to think on a different level, I'm convinced. I picked up quite a bit of it by the end of the class, but needless to say, my brain is fried and I'm putting it on ice for the weekend.

Every time you think you have the code written correctly, you save it and run it and you get a nasty new error. I got better at debugging it after two days, and maybe more importantly, better at preventing the need to debug. It was a decent training course, with the exception of the manual, which stunk, frankly. I'm not the only one with that opinion, the guys I was with had the same shallow opinion of it.

So, suffice it to say I'm happy to be home. Three days is a long time to be away from my wife, kids and pets. I missed them greatly and I think the same is true for them.

Tomorrow morning I have to help Donna server 300 kids breakfast after Elmbrook's Mosaic Ministry's Ultimate Overnight. It is an affair where the kids do a variety of activities in the course of staying up all night. It includes, bowling, inflatables, video games at Dave and Busters, swimming/lazy river, pizza and more. It sounds like a blast for a teen, a nightmare for anyone over 40. We have to be there at 5:00 AM to setup the cereal, juice and make coffee. It sounds brutally early, but sure beats having to stay up all night, so I'll take it.

That's my week and weekend in a nutshell. Thanksgiving and the whole holiday brouhaha looms.
I'm sure not ready for that.

Blogging off...

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