How Katacoda saved my NDC presentation

A few weeks ago I presented at the NDC Minnesota conference. The event is part of the NDC Conferences family that I enjoy very much. It started as the Oslo event gathering community around .NET technologies and quickly spread out to London, Copenhagen, Sydney and now Minnesota. This is one of my favourite conferences as I think they’ve achieved a great balance between building an inclusive community and delivering a strong technical content. If you add to this the fantastic food and mastered event organisation, there is rarely anything better.

I submitted a talk ‘Natural Language Processing with Python’. It was aimed to make the introduction to text processing concepts, documents preparation for the machine learning problems and a simple Bag of Words model. My plan was to deliver a talk followed by a demo based on processing Reuters dataset documents. But as Murphy is teaching us, things are rarely going according to the plan. You may suspect few things one of them would be that my demo failed. But in this case, the problems started long before I started the session.

It was, of course, the never-ending story about the broken projector. It appeared not to like my new laptop and resulted in a blinking sensation. Me, tech crew and people in the audience didn’t manage to make it work for around 10 minutes. The situation started to look ridiculous when the new idea came up to the picture –  I was offered a different laptop. So simple, right? I exported my presentation and plugged in the borrowed laptop. From this moment everything in my session worked like a charm.

Did you notice what had happened? Because I didn’t back then. I simply presented my slides and gave the demo. ‘But… how?’, you ask. Did it just happen that the new computer had my code and all the required libraries? Was I so lucky that it all worked in the new environment? Not exactly.

I was so accustomed to using Katacoda for my demos and workshops that I completely disregarded the fact that this switch wouldn’t be possible without it. So what happened? How was my demo possible to run on somebody else’s computer? For those of you who know Katacoda, the answer is obvious – I created a scenario before my talk and was presenting it in front of the audience using a web browser. No installations, downloading the code or configuration needed. The cool part is that the audience and you can do it too. Even after I am done with my talk, at home, all you need is a browser. Just use the link and learn!

The thing is I am not some special person who can build the scenarios. Anyone can create their own courses and labs. All you need to do is to follow the instructions on the create page. Your content including markdown files, code and pictures is stored in your GitHub repository. To make it work with Katacoda you need to link the account to it. Example repository provided by Katacoda can be seen here. You can also have a look at mine that contains all my Katacoda content.

When writing the steps for the scenario, you need to decide on the environment your lab will be running on. For example, I used vanilla Python environment for my NDC Minnesota talk, but TensorFlow for my NDC London one. This and the lab configuration can be set up in the index.json file. It defines the steps, assets and other metadata. Scenarios can be standalone or gathered into courses. You can also embed them on your website or use directly on the platform.

And it is all completely free! So have fun learning, teaching and creating and let the Katacoda be with you on that journey!

Conference talks, where did we go wrong?

Every week I read tons of tweets, blogs and articles on people either organizing or going to some events. And it’s quite convincing. Being a conference junkie is apparently the new black. More and more often developers decide not only to show up but also to become speakers.
As for me I recently went through something completely opposite. It wasn’t anything serious or life breaking, not even a professional burn out. Maybe a little conference overload. I started questioning reasons why people (including me) are attending, speaking at and organizing any kinds of events.

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl…

When I started attending conferences not every talk was amazing. I found many of them to be too complex. Some appeared to be completely boring, others were just ok. But I used to make the most of my time spent there.
I took inspirations from new topics being discussed. The talks helped to expand my knowledge on issues I previously faced. Even the dull talks became beneficial. I used the session time to clear my mind and think of solutions to the problems I encountered. It was all worth the money, time but most of all – my attention.
For me speakers were gods, rockstars, celebrities – you name it. Seeing them at the after parties was an incredible honour. I took everything what they said as revealed truths. It was like conference speakers couldn’t be wrong.
At some point I had this idea I could not only go for conferences but also give talks. I have always had a sweet spot for education, so such a development was quite natural for me.

Time to grow up

Looking back I was quite naive, but this is what being young is all about, right? So more conferences, more reflections they have brought. I also saw things from the other side, while gaining more experience as a speaker. I started slowly, from users groups and local events. As a result for last two years you can meet me in more international environments.

But recently, something has struck me. I’ve noticed that rarely anybody, including myself, goes to a conference to watch the talks. It’s all about networking, partying with celebrities and self-promotion. While those are great reasons, I cannot shake the feeling that this shouldn’t be main motivation.
I can see why people skip talks.

I’ve summarised some of the problems I’ve experienced with conference presentations. If I have feedback then I always provide it to the speaker(s) involved, I’m famous for it. My opinions are not meant to upset or offend anyone, they are just thoughts to keep in mind when preparing a talk.

Have a point

Talks needs to have a main goal, giving something back to the audience. I honestly have had enough of sessions where I was left asking ‘and so what?’. For example a demo that finally worked but no one explained why it was shown in a first place. Or someone telling me the story about how important is to test the software. Whatever the case I just simply couldn’t put my finger on what the hell was this last hour about.
There are several reasons why this is still happening. It can be lack of preparations or being too close to the topic. But the root cause is speakers not asking themselves the most important question, what will the audience get form your talk.

Story of some project

The common advice when giving a talk is to tell a story. It helps with the flow and engaging the audience by providing a roadmap. Unfortunately this is where many of the speakers stop with preparations. You hear a nice narrative, get to know what people did, which technologies they have used, but that’s it. No conclusions, no advices, not even what worked and what didn’t under the circumstances.
Stories help the presentation flow, but you also need to have content for attendees to learn from. If you have nothing to teach, there is no point telling the story.


Sadly a number of talks turn into product ads. Developers don’t enjoy sales pitches. While there is nothing wrong with promoting your brand, you should do it in a proper way. Talk about what you’ve learn in a process with some conclusions. Don’t let your app to be the main topic, it’s better to move it to the background.

Hello word

What is the point of you having ‘Introduction to X’ session? Even if the topic is quite new, very soon there will be tons of tutorials online on it. And they will be much more suitable to follow than having them as an hour long conference presentation. It’s important to add your own views, experience and conclusions when summarizing a book or already established concepts.

Funny, funny …

Everyone likes a little bit of fun in the talk, right? But I consider this an issue though when I don’t learn anything else as a result. It’s not  a comedy club, it’s a conference. I honestly think people should come here with the basic goal – to learn something. So there is nothing wrong with you having an interesting metaphor. You can compare teams to cats or present what you have learnt during your last holiday. Use it but, please, go beyond that.


I often have this feeling that being a well known speaker means you don’t have to deliver a decent talk. Like if just your presence is enough for the attendees.
I’ve encountered the situation when a popular speaker refused to work on their presentation skills. I have also been to a lot of talks where presenters appear to not care anymore. They think it is cooler to say something funny, rant about some technology or produce the content on a fly. Basically their main goal is being a star and they’re behaving like one.
I’ve seen it working and I’ve seen it fail miserably. Regardless the outcome I find it quite rude against me as an attendee. Think of it – they don’t prepare and then brag about it. Having a good reputation is enough for people to show up, but you still need to deliver an amazing experience.


I still think the informal parts like networking and joining the parties are an important aspect to conferences.  I simply don’t believe they should be the main takeaway. Poor presentations are not fair to attendees, organizers or employers who send their staff to those events.

I’ve attended some world class presentations at conferences I love. It’s just a shame that no matter how hard organisers work, one or two poor presentations can have a huge impact on the overall event. And recently I’ve seen much more than few representing simply not acceptable quality level. While conferences are fun, speakers sometimes need to remember to act professional, myself included.

Auditing 2014

Couple of days ago I was sitting in front of my laptop and bitching about another obstacle I encountered while coding. I had been warned not to get too stressed incase I’d get ill again. This time I need to really hear it as it actually happened few weeks before where I almost passed out at work during standup. A week after this incident I got hideous migraine that ruined very nice Sunday afternoon. So now I know – I’m exhausted and cannot push myself too hard. To be fair – events I’m describing were real wakeup calls. I’ve just realized how tough this year was for me.

When I was talking about that to one of my friends, he surprised me with the question, if me being tired was even justified. “Have you done anything except moving to London?” he asked. “Hell yeah” was my response, I have a whole list. The end of year is a nice summary point before the beginning of the next year begins – time for promises. So let’s go with this tradition and summarize my year here.


At the end of 2013 I had only one serious New Year’s resolution – I wanted to speak more often at IT conferences. The rest was pretty standard and a bit unspecified, like exercise more, find a passion, finally do something with my life, etc. Even though the first one wasn’t exactly S.M.A.R.T. in terms of planning, I really took it under consideration and worked hard to make it happen.

It worked out pretty well. For the first part of 2014, I had 15 talks in my account. They took place mostly in Poland, which changed after DevSum and me moving to London. Now I can brag as also being a DDD East Anglia, BuildStuff and NDC London speaker.

Less stressful and because of that sometimes more pleasant, appeared to be events when I didn’t give a talk. I was travelling a lot. I was never good at getting to know new people, networking or socializing. Conferences were great way to gain those skills. But it required a lot of effort.


I started my blog at the end of 2013. It might not seem as a big accomplishment, especially when you look at frequency of my entries from last half a year, but the fact that it happened and that I managed some kind of a regularity and attention, was a big deal for me. At some point I pushed myself even harder and switched to English as a language I use. The response has been great. My last posts have been pretty well received and, from what I can see in Google analytics, fairly popular.

I quit my job & found a new one

I already wrote about me quitting my job. It was a part of me finally making something with my life resolution. Still, this was the biggest decision I’ve made this year. Just to mention – I had no further prospects yet when I chose to make this step, so one can say it was brave, others that it was a bit silly. I can assure you it was first of all very stressful. Luckily everything ended up well.

With the prospective of running out of money approaching it appeared that I needed to find employment. Having in-mind my earlier decision about moving out of Poland, I launched all my international connections. A couple of European cities were under my consideration, but I mainly focused on Stockholm and London. I went through several recruitment processes in a very short amount of time. Giving the fact that I needed to find something within a month or so, the whole process put a lot tension on me. But it turned out to be also very satisfying – I passed almost every recruitment process so at the end of the day I could pick and choose.

Moving houses

Changing a place to live is rarely easy. Needless to say how significant this decision was for me after 14 years of living in Krakow, I didn’t expect that wrapping up your whole life could be so intense. Especially that I had less than a month to complete it. Packing my things and finding tenants for my apartment was just a beginning. It turned out that giving up tons of shoes, clothes and my beloved books can be a very emotional experience. Not to mention painful experience from carrying heavy boxes.

Finally I had to found my way in London. Job-hunting was the first step. Then came finding an apartment, settling bank account and applying for insurance number. To really settle in I need more down to earth arrangements like finding grocery and pharmacy stores, good lunch places or shopping centers. I totally forgot how to start your life again, I’m still in a process but it’s been simply great so far.

Passion means hard work

A part of doing something with my life resolution referred to my professional carrier and reflected itself in me finally finding something that I like to work on. Even more I’ve found a task I can’t wait to do when I’m back home. I started my own project, which is going to be launched soon, on a topic that I’m going to pursue as a part of my next year plan and that’s only the beginning. As a result of this search, I keep feeling hungry for new challenges. Although it’s quite energy and time consuming, this is how passion reveals itself in my case.

A bit personal…

Last but not least – I finally fell in love! And… I’m in a relationship. I knew it will be a hard work, but I didn’t expect the bright side of it could be so astonishingly wonderful. I finally got what other people have in mind when they chose to spend time with their loved ones. I finally understood what it means when people say that everything is better with that right person. I’m very happy, more than I thought I could be…. Let’s just leave it like that for now 🙂

I don’t know if this list is impressive for anybody but me. Most likely for many of you, this is what a standard year looks like. But from my perspective tons of stuff has occurred. Maybe for the first time in my life I feel that I worked hard and achieved a lot. Even if those things weren’t necessary planned according to the resolutions and happened by chance, they gave me the sense of accomplishment. The result of me being so tired just shows how much work and motivation it required. It was a tough year, but incredibly amazing.

Who knows what I’ll figure out for 2015? What will you?

Happiness & Identity Crisis

Last time I started a bit sadly. Well… more than a bit. After all I promised you a post about happiness and ended up describing symptoms of a clinical depression. Hopefully this entry points to some more constructive aspects. It’s about me winning my life back, some steps I’ve taken to get better and things I understood during the process. It all started with me having a massive identity crisis, problems with self-acceptance and loosing myself in other people lives. It wasn’t easy and took a lot of time, but finally I managed to recover.

Who are you?

Have you ever watched Runaway bride movie? It tells the story of a girl running from the altar couple of times already. You meet her at the exact moment, when she’s preparing to the next one. The thing that stroked me the most, was that all those weddings were one of a kind and none seemed to be what she really wanted. Every time she was only pretending to be happy – without even realizing she’s not. Obviously losing herself in those relationships, she couldn’t tell anymore who she really was. I literally saw myself in that picture and decided I no longer want to be like that.

The biggest problem for me was not knowing … like what. Obviously I couldn’t answer the question Who is Basia?, but the worst part was, I couldn’t even respond to the What is Basia like?. I was so lost, I couldn’t say what I fancy or not. It applied to basic, every day stuff, I didn’t even have to go as deep as my identity.

Step one – acceptance

I strongly believe every change should start with recognition of the current situation. Only after that point there is a time and a place for transformation. In the matter of self-acceptance, this was really hard for me. I honestly didn’t like myself. I’ve seen all the flaws I had and obviously few that weren’t there. I even thought, that if I had a friend like me – I wouldn’t like them at all. I was (or still am) whinny, self centered, emotional, unstable and the worst thing of all – boring. I didn’t have any exciting hobbies. I might be intelligent, but I didn’t do anything actually interesting with that. I wouldn’t leave a mark when I were gone from this planet. I didn’t like spending time with other people, I barely could hold any conversation at the parties. I took everything seriously and didn’t know how to have fun. Well… let me just stop right here, otherwise this post will turn to be really long. But you should have a rough idea what I was thinking about myself.

So who would like that person? No one, obviously. But you know what? Someone did, couple of someones to be honest. Therefore moment of realization came to me – maybe I am just who I am. Perhaps I even have some qualities. Otherwise, those amazing people I care about, wouldn’t be present in my life. Wait… did I just said I care about? Is it possible that this mine I don’t like people phrase is not entirely true?

Find out who you wanna be

After acceptance chapter, there was a time for transformation. I really wanted some severe changes, but sadly had no idea what direction they should point to. One thing I noticed, is people usually are very good in pointing what they don’t want and have lots of problems with figuring out what they do.

In my case the most difficult flaw I wanted to get rid of, was this me being boring thing. I just couldn’t let it go. I’d do almost anything to appear more interesting. For example I was changing my hair color so frequently, that people (including me) really had problems with determining the natural one. I tried a lot of new things, like scuba diving, playing piano, learning how to draw or cycling. What’s more – I joined a gym for God’s sake. I also tried to work on my social skills, so went for parties more often and even started some conversations from time to time. As you may noticed, this trying new things phase is typical for puberty or middle life crisis periods. My age didn’t quite go well with any of that, but … oh well, apparently that was my time to go through the process.

One day, really unexpectedly both self-acceptance and directions came to me. I figured it all out and wanted to be… Leonard from The Big Bang Theory (and yes – I do realize I watch too much TV). If you know that show, you probably say now: Sure, everybody wants to be Leonard. For those of you, who don’t – let me provide a short introduction. Leonard is this geeky guy, little awkward and a bit boring, who cares about friends and is in love with his neighbor. He’s smart but not a great scientist. Just an average guy. So how come everybody wants to be like him?

It’s because he’s just great. He has tons of qualities, like good heart, brains, care. He’s also a human being, so gets pissed when someone makes him angry and does stupid things very often. But the thing that stroke the most was – he’s boring and I still like him. Maybe, I thought, there is a hope for me. At that point, I finally made peace with myself. I accepted my not-to-be-considered-the-most-exciting-interests like math, physics or art. I admitted that sometimes I prefer to watch Harry Potter in the evening with my niece than go out. And it’s fun as long as it works for me, as long as it’s fun for me, as long as I am… happy.

It’s still hard work

Even though eureka moments are great, if not followed by real actions, they last only for seconds. Having this big finding myself goal ahead of me, I planned actual work to become happy again. I had a whole list of stuff I hated but no idea what do I like. So I started slowly – first I needed to figure out what gave me joy. At the beginning they were small ones – books I wanted to read, conversation topics I was interested in, food I liked.

Letting myself to feel good and experience pleasure finally introduced some peace and joy to my life. And believe me – I hadn’t felt like that for a while. I think I might even given up on a possibility. And that’s how it started. Every day, simple stuff and embracing them. It didn’t sort itself – but this is how it started.

I’m happy and I worked for that

I’m starting this entry by simply stating that I’m happy. And it’s not the fireworks or too much excitement – I’m talking about me being calm and in peace. One can say, no wonder, I have all I need – a job, a new life in London ahead of me and at this very second I’m in a plane for some vacation time. So everything is just perfect, right? Well… for now, and not really everything.

Only rare moments in life, are entirely ok. There is almost always something that sucks. For example today is the second month of me not working, so no salary comes into my bank account, no one wants to rent my apartment and my sister is in a hospital. And tomorrow will bring other sad points to the list. How come I am so happy then? I just think it’s irrelevant. My theory is, that happiness is a state rooted more in our core us, than dependent on life circumstances. You can be happy and worried in the same time. You can even be happy and cry because you’re sad. But it’s happiness, that can make you go through all those life obstacles. Otherwise it becomes really difficult. And this is the state I’m in right now, for some time actually. Envious? Don’t be – start being happy yourself.

Easy to say? Far from that actually. As the title of the post says – I worked for that. And it was a hard battle. I went through years of anger, rejecting people, clinical depression, and lots of other shit. How did I get out? How come I can breathe now and just enjoy my life? It wasn’t easy and it took me few years to deal with it.


At the beginning I just didn’t notice how miserable I was. That’s because I was too busy. I was during my studies, just started my second faculty. And it was the love of my life – math. I found a job as a programmer and finally had some social life. More than that – rumor had it, my boyfriend was just about to propose. Everything was perfect, right? Nope… That was actually the middle of the clinical depression. Not because of those factors, of course. Reasons were inside me.

Do you think I noticed that I had a problem? Not at all – too exhausted to realize that. Did I get that I had too much on my plate? Honestly, I was even thinking that I was lazy. I knew other people that dealt with this kind of situations much better than me. So I tried to push it more to the limit, still taking more duties to my shoulders.

There were some signs though that something is wrong. I’m not a therapist so the things I’m about to point out come just from my experience and research I’ve done. But I’ve seen those behaviors so many times in my friends lives, that I just need to highlight them.

If you are miserable for months – this may be a sign of a depression. If you hate yourself and/or other people – this might a be a sign of a depression. If you live day by day without joy – this might be a sign of a depression. If you have picks of enthusiasm just to keep you alive between ages of a bad mood – this might be a sign of a depression. If you’re tired all the time, and want to vomit every morning – this might be a sign of a depression. Finally, if you cry every day, for weeks – this is definitely a depression. And it doesn’t help if you’re exhausted. Because then you won’t have energy to fight those destructive feelings.

Get help

Because I managed to have friends and loving family back then, they noticed that there is something wrong with me. Me on the other hand was refusing to admit it. And when I finally did, I figured I’m that smart and strong, that now, because I know the problem exists, can figure this out just by myself. I’m a problem solver, right? Help is for weak people. I just need to pull myself together and everything will be great again.

Again – depression doesn’t work like that. It’s not logical. It’s not present because you have some difficulties in your life. Hence solving them, won’t make it disappear. It’s an illness that results in adding so many emotion to your life and your thoughts, that it just becomes impossible to figure stuff out. So how to get some distance? Yes – the therapy word now comes in, drugs even. Both are pretty controversial, which is understandable and sad in the same time. People (including me back then) often think that it’s the last option for them, to use when they are desperate, just for crazy people. They prefer to struggle and trying harder than get actual help. They refuse to admit one of the two things – that they are already by the wall or that you don’t have to hit the bottom to want to get better.

I thought the same. So the result was me fighting with my emotions, telling everybody I know about what I’m going through and … no progress. That’s because family and friend are not qualified to heal you. They should be there to support or love you, but not to play a role of psychologists. I still didn’t thought that this kind of help is an option for me, and refused to call a professional. Fortunately one of my friends did it for me.

I still think I’m not a good candidate for therapy. I’m a smartass, I know everything better. I can manipulate the psychologist. I believe in pharmacology more. But it doesn’t mean it didn’t worked that time. It gave me some structure in my life, some project to do. I still remember first moment I felt better. While coming back from one of the sessions, waiting for cars to pass by, so I can cross the street, I finally realized the source of one of my problems. And it felt so stupid to have it as a source. That moment I left it at this crossroad. I hope nobody picked it up.

I finished therapy after half a year. It’s very soon, I realize that. And it didn’t mean I was healed. But as I already said – it wasn’t a proper solution for me. But appeared as a great starting point. Now with clearer mind, distance to myself and to the world, the real work could start. You can read about it next time, but no worries – you already know there will be the happy end.


Also – see the great talk about depression in devs world.

Babs – the sky is the limit

Hello again dear readers. It’s been a while, but a bunch of things happened last month, so I was a bit busy. I’ll cover all of them one by one, but today’s episode is about me falling into a whole new dimension of chilling out and getting this long stick out of my ass. And believe me – this is a battle I was fighting since the day I was born. This blog post tells the story of NOT getting stressed out in a situation when even normal person, not just control freak like me, wouldn’t feel comfortable.

Conference junkie

As some of you may notice – I have this… bad addiction. I love going to conferences, meetups, user groups. Why this is bad, you may ask. Like with everything you overdo, there are some dark sides. This case it was a matter of relationship between me and my employer. You know, they hired me to do specific job – programming. And I have been at so many events this year, that it started to look like this is my main duty there. So we talked and decided that I’d slow down. I think I even promised that there were only two conferences left, after which I’d start actual work. But then … I fell off the wagon and I did another one… and another.

This of course happened while I was still working, so when Paweł asked me then, if I want to join him as a volunteer during NDC Oslo, I was strong and decided this time I’d pass. The deal is, volunteers have accommodation and conference for free while working for 50% of the time. And after I quit my job, this voice sounded in my head (yeah, I hear voices): “You know what, Basia? You’re free now… You don’t have any urgent duties. So why won’t you do this NDC Oslo? You know you want it… :)”


There was one problem though – voice spoke on Saturday and NDC was supposed to start on Monday. Such a short notice is a bit scary, for normal people, but it was a complete nightmare for a person like me, who needs week or two to get used to the fact of the next journey. So… I just asked Paweł and the organizers, if it’s not too late to join the volunteers team. And it wasn’t! In fact they needed people since Wednesday, but the organization meeting was supposed to happen Tuesday evening.

Obstacles appeared elsewhere – because of the conference, hotel was fully occupied. So I didn’t have a place to stay…Sure I could book something, but you know… it’s Norway, and Oslo… and I was without a job, and even if I wasn’t… it’s Norway and Oslo… One thing I thought about, was asking people who were supposed to be there, if anyone can help me. So I tweeted that and expected to have this problem solved till the end of the day. Unfortunately except couple of RTs, all I’ve got, was lots of laughs and jokes :). And some comments that because I’m a girl, there will be no problem for me to find a place to sleep. Far from that, I can say…

But first things first – I can worry about accommodation when I’m in Oslo. My major concert at the moment was finding a way to get there. So I started to search for flights and almost resigned from the whole idea, because of the prices. Usually tickets are ridiculously cheap, but not when you’re trying to book something two days before departure…

And guess what – I also had a talk planned at Women in Technology on Monday. Sure I might cancel that, but it was the first meeting in Kraków and Natalia was working very hard to make it happen. I just couldn’t let her down.

And there was this other thing. Did I mention, that I hate working? And price for being a volunteer was actually doing something productive.

Just chill…

Normally I would be stressed like hell. Normally I would give up the whole trip. There were so many obstacles, timelines, things to arrange… But this time, somehow I wasn’t. I just thought “go with the flow”, “this will be the adventure”, “think about it later” or whatever new age, chilloutish crap you can imagine. Basically I really wanted to go, so nothing could stop me. And to be honest, all of this was just a matter of good organization, and if you get stress out of the equation – everything is achievable.


So, how to get to and from Oslo and not get bankrupt? Oh… I’m so bad at finding right flights, just awful. Fortunately Michał to the rescue! The only ones that wouldn’t ruin me, appeared to be from Gdańsk and to Katowice. Second one wasn’t such a big problem, but first… it’s like 10h journey just to get to the airport. And I needed to be back on Sunday around noon, because my niece had a ballet performance, I promised her to watch.

Heading to Oslo…

Tricky part was to figure out how to get to Gdańsk, so that I can do 2pm Tuesday flight. Plan was then to do WiT talk on Monday 6pm, then grab some aftermeeting’s beer with attendees and at 11:30pm get on a bus that was taking me to Tricity. And you know what? Everything worked out. Even the night spent on a bus. My back hurt only a little and I appeared in Oslo exactly an hour before volunteers meeting was about to start.


So I came to Oslo and headed straight to some friends’ hotel room. I left my stuff there and warned them about my worst sleeping option, which was crushing their floor, if I couldn’t find another place to stay. They were somehow concerned, even tried to think about arranging some blankets, armchairs and so on… Surprisingly I wasn’t, so there was no reason for them to be like that. I couldn’t allow this to ruin my evening. I had worked so hard to get here, I wouldn’t spoil it now.

It was late evening and my situation hadn’t changed. But then, around midnight, I got the message from one of my friends about a spare bed in his room I can take. When my colleagues in the bar heard the news, they didn’t let me go to “some guy’s hotel room”, and offered theirs 🙂 Somehow problem solved itself, and around 1am I even had two sleeping options 🙂

Coming back

While planning getting back to Kraków, I couldn’t gain any information about busses or trains that go to the airport for that early flight I had. From schedules I did stumble on, I found out that the earliest one goes there around 1pm. So the only way I could be on time, was heading to the airport the day before, around midnight, and staying there for the whole night. But that wasn’t my only concern – airport was supposed to be closed for the night and weather forecast announced heavy rain. Tough, I thought, but doable. Again, like Scarlet O’Hara, I decided to think about that tomorrow.

But on Friday I felt a bit uncertain. Was that going to be my last evening in Oslo? So I figured, it’s not such a bad idea to ask people who live there, if I was looking for transportation in right places. And it appeared I wasn’t 🙂 That there are busses dedicated to each flight, also to mine. And it gets even better. On my way to the bus station at 4am on Sunday, I’ve met some guy from Poland, who was heading to the same airport. And he was getting there by a bus driven by a Polish company, that is even cheaper than one from the main station. Finally trip to Kraków from Katowice was really quick, and I was even able to sleep a bit before my niece’s performance.

To summarize…

So… that’s it. I can’t say it was the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it was pretty close. When I tell that story, or even just pieces of it, I often get in response, that others would be very stressed and that I’m nuts. They ask me how did I pursue it. My answer is – I just really wanted to go there. Seriously – I cannot imagine that I wouldn’t do this conference just because I was afraid of sleeping on a floor, or spending a night outside, or a night in a bus, or not having enough money, or work. It was totally worth it!

My advice to all of you, who still are afraid of doing something without planning every little details, is: just do it! When there is something you really want, there’s always a way to achieve it. Best strategy here is semi passive approach – throw a ball and everything will happen somehow. To be honest I’m not trying to convince you to do it like me. I’m not telling you to go to some foreign country without accommodation option or to easily accept the fact that you’ll spend the night at the airport. I write all of this to show you that even my crazy implementation was possible. And you really, seriously cannot plan everything. You will be just fine, if only you’re able to accept the worst option.

Sure there will be some problems. They even will appear unexpectedly – it’s the nature of them. But we often try so hard to foresee everything and get stressed while figuring it out. And all those troubles are not even present yet. Maybe they never will. There is no need to panic to early. Some of them will just figure itself out. And if there are people you know, who care for you or just like you – you can count on them and they will help you.

From my perspective – I had a time of my life… till next one that was even better 🙂 But this a material for another story.

Basia, DevSum and my first talk in English

Once upon a time this DevSum conference happened in Stockholm. It’s annual thing and this year it was exactly 21-23 of May. I didn’t recognize it much previously, because you know… I’m not Swedish, but it was supposed to be a big deal and as a person who was there month ago, I can tell you it really is. First heard about it months before from Michał, who was invited there with Rafał to perform a talk about passion. But I didn’t even suspected then to also get invited to the event. So… First of all I need to give my thanks to Tibi. He’s one of the organizers and the reason I was at the conference. How come? We talked a little bit during CraftConf and he offered to try to get me a slot, if one of the speakers – Greg Young or Ben Hall don’t have a chance to perform. Well… I like to joke now, that because Greg wasn’t available, I was the second choice Smile Hence – this blog post. You’ll find here some information about the event itself and sessions. But first things first…


First evening there was speakers dinner planned. Of course plenty of people had met before it happened. Me and Jake landed around 4 pm, got to our hotel and headed straight to this beforeparty. While drinking delicious flowers flavored Swedish beer, I’ve met tons of people. This all almost didn’t happen, because during the actual dinner, I was annexing and was totally annexed by Rob. Good conversation though – I really had a great time. But… no regrets when he left after couple of hours, because this gave me the chance to spend some time with others. Party moved back to the hotel and lasted really long. I’ve been at plenty of conferences but I’m still naive and never learn, that when you’re up all night, it’s really really hard to focus on any talk the next day. But also that it’s extremely tough to perform your own. So… maybe next time I’ll remember about that? Nah… Smile For me next day was less stressful, so I could really chill out in the evening. Mainly because my talk was behind me already. There was a party there at the conference venue with some food and drinks. Weather was just great and allowed us to stay at the balcony of some sort and enjoy beautiful view at Stockholm city. And the place speaks for itself. After some time (10pm and still bright like it’s 5pm in some normal country) a subgroup of speakers (including me) separated. First we’ve headed the IceBar. I was in a dress and when Paul realized my outfit, I heard from him: You’ll be f…(reaking) cold. Yeah… he was right! It was ridiculously freezing, but also I was in such a good mood, that I survived it pretty easily. Seriously, I haven’t had so much fun in years. Everybody were tired that day, but nonetheless party lasted long again. This time I really needed to catch up with some sleeping and got maybe whole… 2h of it. So next day I headed the conference venue around noon and spent most of it getting tanned outside in the sun. Conference I knew the venue is a theatre of some sort, but didn’t expected what I got. It was actual theatre with the stage and stuff. I didn’t get the chance to perform there, because some of the talks had to take place in smaller rooms or even separate buildings, but still – awesome. Shame though it was so hard to get to the speakers lounge – it was on the end of the world guarded by trolls and 2 pin codes. So neither me or anybody I know came there. Because of stress, partying and early flight the second day of the conference, I attended only three talks. So… you know what’s next Smile

Ben Hall – Embracing “Startup life” and learning to think “The startup way”

First of all it was a miracle that I was up this early (10am) after sleeping maybe for half an hour. I was planning to lay in the sun trying to catch up, but Polish guys gathered me from the outside to see this presentation. How was it? Really nice (it’s similar to fine). Especially because I usually reject (it’s like physical reaction) most of the startup buzzwords and ideas, and it wasn’t the case this time. The baseline was straightforward and not so pompous. Also we had some laughs with guys while sitting in the audience and referring what Ben said to enterprise (theirs) and startup (my) realities. I also understood most of it – not like on DevDay for example. Basically it was fun, well prepared (yeah, I know he claims he doesn’t do that Smile) , and told from experience. And maybe if I didn’t know better how startup life look like, I’d be tempted to live it. Great catchphrase though: Easier to go from shit to great, that from nothing to greatness.

Niall Merrigan – From attendee to presenter , managing technical presentations

Great talk! Planned, interesting, well prepared, even better performed. Niall did his research, had plenty of talks, and really knew what he was talking about. And it was about presentation giving, preparation to them and performing them. It pointed out some mistakes and wrong habits. Because it was mostly focused on IT talks, rules were not only for the person who is presenting and slides, but also for coding demos. There was even an exercise for some people in the audience. But it was a mistake for me to watch it. My talk was supposed to be next, and Niall pointed out as a mistake almost everything I had prepared. No, I’m exaggerating but still, there were so many things to improve… From proper font on presentation, trough abusing our “favorite words”, to being well prepared. He said you should record yourself or practice in front of the mirror. Oh my – I can’t do it yet. I was literally terrified at the end… but will write later how it went.

Michał & Rafał – Passion makes the world go round

Some people were interested in listening to two guys from Poland that created one of the best IT conferences in Europe. I know them both and can say for sure, that passion is their way of living. So to tell the whole truth – I was a bit disappointed. I mean it wasn’t a bad presentation, but it seemed like they were talking about the passion … without it. As ones said to me at the conference, when I shared my opinion – probably I’m just jealous and hard to pleased. This is probably true. If you read my previous posts, you know there weren’t many talks I recommend. On the good site – the topic was theirs – they really owned it. They DID organized the conference against many obstacles and without the passion they have, this wouldn’t be possible.

And how was my talk?

First of all, as I said previously, I was terrified. Second it was like 5 minutes to my presentation and the room was almost empty. The only people there were me, technical guy and 2-3 people who knew me and wanted to hear me speaking for the first time. It was good and bad at the same time. Then something changed… There were attendees coming and in few minutes I had a room full of them. My colleagues even got up to stay at the back to make some seats free. Wow, I thought then, that’s the challenge, and… just started. Still, I was really nervous, couldn’t find proper words in English, and was a bit shaking. I managed to warm up the audience while introducing myself – after all this is my favorite topic Smile. And I almost lost them while live coding. But fortunately it passed when… I started being funny. And the best part is, that I hadn’t even planned it before. Feedback? I actually had people coming to me after and saying that it was the best talk so far. Yay! Rarely felt better after one. After some time I got also some rough numbers, and was pleasantly surprised. My sense of humor has been appreciated and people wrote that they got real value form the topic of presentation. In my head I have some things I need to work on though:

  • Use my voice more consciously – different tones, different volume
  • Remember to repeat questions, when asked from the audience
  • Have better slides – especially bigger font, because currently text is barely visible from the last rows
  • Be more mobile, not just stay in one place
  • Talk more while live coding
  • Actually prepare for the talk Smile
  • Stop saying “actually” all the time (and there was this second word there… but it’s not meant for public)

For me this was a great conference, but I barely survived it, because of some physical limitations of mine. I really need sleep. Additionally stress was eating me all the time, till the moment I had presentation. But it all passed and after I came back, what was left was amazing memories, new people not only in my facebook/twitter account, but also in my heart and feeling that life can be really awesome.

Queen of the comfort zone, how did I get out

Well… I’ve decided to change my life. Again. What changes do I have in mind? I don’t know that yet Uśmiech I’m going to write today about Basia’s Revolutionary Road and how it evolved through time. Everything started like a year ago. And some things that happened during this period have already transformed my life. Or maybe it was me who has changed? Not sure about that either. Let me invite you into the journey of my life transformation.

Dear diary…

A year ago I was really fed up with IT world. Actually I wanted to quit. For real.

I honestly didn’t care about programming, technologies, news or conferences. I felt frustrated, exhausted, without hope and bored … Wait! I’m never bored. So this was a real sign. I needed a change – revolution to be honest. But… I chickened out. I said to myself regular excuses – like that I don’t have money and do have a loan to pay. So I really cannot switch to any other industry, without resigning from my current life standard. Don’t get me wrong – it all was true. I really needed to have something that allow me to earn some money, so at this time, this meant I needed a job.

So I started to think about getting new one, in which I could have a chance to really care about what I’m working on, to actually do something valuable. First thought was about starting my own coaching business, but those were just plans, distant future. At this point I thought the only option I had, was getting back to IT. I made a promise to myself though: I cannot do the same stuff I was doing for 9 years. So this is how I turned to Base. I never dig that startup/unicorn/changing the world attitude, but what I knew for sure, was that their real and most important values are the product and the client. This was something I truly needed. Something radically different than I had a chance to experience.

Ego polishing

There was another thing I decided that time – I really craved to start doing more talks, to speak in front of people, at conferences and meetups. If you know me at all, you probably know that deep in my heart, in my core ME, I am a star Uśmiech I love to shine, brag and act the wisest person in a room. But there was a problem – I was Ms nobody then. There was even one day (actually during the recruitment process to Base), when I used my speech at 4developers from 2009 to brag about my teaching skills. Somebody asked me then, why I don’t do this more often. This remark made me feel a bit ashamed. It was like someone pointing out Why aren’t you doing this thing you always wanted to do?. So finally I decided to really live my life (at least in that area), stop whining and actually go for it.

So a little bit later, with big help from one of my friends, I got some speakers gigs. If you read my blog, or follow me on Twitter, you know how well it went and still is.

Successful woman

People are awesome – I hear it far too often. Personally I think this phrase doesn’t mean anything. It’s even a bit offensive. Everyone wants to be special, and when you say that, you’re basically claiming no one is. Ok, maybe when we talk about general beliefs I can admit people are great, but I don’t know them all, do you? And how can I say so without getting to know them better. And how well can I do this when I usually meet them only during conferences or in a bus or on a street. I don’t even mention about my lack of social skills (yes, yes, this changed also, but I will talk about it later). Aghhhh… And last but not least – getting to know people is so complicated, time and effort consuming, so why bother if the reward is maybe 5% chance that I’ll meet somebody interesting? After all I was happy with my old, boring but well known myself, in my apartment, far away from others. And when I got a bit lonely I could always catch up with someone using this cool new thing called the internet.

Surprisingly something changed one day . I gave a chance to people, because I did it to one person. And there … there was like a flood after that point. And people were responding to the changes that happened in me. Of course they mostly didn’t know there were any changes. I not only have met tons of people, but I actually have built real connections, friendships even.

Yeah… My name is Basia and I’m no longer asocial person!

But lately I often hear that I’m a successful woman. I go for all those conferences, have a great job, am single (so that basically gives me the right to do what I want). But to tell you the truth, those are only shallow aspects. They are nice, I like them very very much, but I could really live without them. They don’t define me and to be honest aren’t my real success. So what is it then? Yeah… as it is hard to say for me – people, or maybe to be closer to the truth – relations with people. Deep, meaningful, absorbing and often funny. This is my biggest success in my life – I touch people and what’s more important, I allow them to touch me.

So… are all people awesome? Sure, but maybe to some other people … ? Don’t get me wrong again – they probably are, but there is only some number of them I can handle and get to know deep enough to say so.

What now?

First of all I quit my job. Last Monday. Base was a great employer, with awesome people (yeah, yeah, shut up Uśmiech), working environment, and a place where I could really grow. But at this stage of my life, I’m looking for something even more. It will be hard to beat that, because they really spoiled me Uśmiech I was thinking about it for some time, since I realized that I really don’t care enough about the stuff we were working on. And in Base commitment and faith in product, in work you do, is crucial.

First I noticed that when I switched to the new project where there were lots of things to figure out, including what Basia likes the most – architecture layers, pattern choosing, DA approach, using proper ORM tool. Guys were discussing those topics and I was like… what are you talking about? It’s just wrong what you’re deciding now. But… I didn’t tell anything. I just thought Why bother?

This was the moment I knew it’s over. After all shining and to convincing people that they are wrong is something I really love. And it wasn’t like that that moment. Why? This wasn’t a fault of the project, team or company. It’s just not right time and place for me right now.

Excuses? Just stop it!

Now is the moment when I can shape my life however I want it to look like. Actually wrong – now is the moment when I know there is always a good time to do it. You may probably think that it’s easy for me to do it. I’m single, so no family to support. I also have 10 years of experience in IT, I’m intelligent and really good at my job (haha, a least I hope you think that Uśmiech). I speak at conferences, and recently worked at this cool Cracow’s startup. So I’ll find a new job just like that. My Maslow’s physiological needs are fulfilled, so now I can have my childish first world problems, as finding myself and being picky.

That’s all true, but those are just excuses. For me making a decision like that wasn’t easy too. It’s a big (or even gigantic) deal. I was single, smart, and good at what I do for almost 10 years, but didn’t have the courage to do anything with my discontent. I also really don’t have any money. I may remind you somehow of Madonna, but I’m not a material girl Uśmiech So I do need to figure out the way to earn some and cannot have vacation all the time. Because as previously pointed out – also don’t have family to support me Uśmiech

Finally, remember – there is always a good time to start your own life! The one you really want to live. The hard part it to realize this and figure out what is this life you want to pull off. So if you’re miserable, please just stop it! Do something! Don’t be afraid. I tell you that – previous queen of the comfort zone. If you want to get a cool job – apply for it. If you wanna be better at what you do – spare some time and effort on it. If you want to speak at events – find something you want to share with others and send some papers when there is CFP open. Cliches? Maybe, but worked for me. And believe me – usually nothing works on my machine Uśmiech

As I previously noticed, life is not just about work. But actually changes in mine started with this area, when I realized it’s really important and first of all – time consuming part of my life. When I quit my job it became even more clear to me. Now I’m considering deeper changes that include city I’ll live in, starting my own company, but even to which parts of my life I want to devote evenings and weekends.

Control freak

However stupid that sounds – I’m a workaholic right now. Yes – even without a job. I’m programming during the evenings, go for conferences, write a blog, don’t have time for my family, think about … work all the time. That’s not healthy and will burn out soon – you know, because I actually don’t have a job any more Uśmiech. So what then? First of all I’m gonna need to figure out what to do with my free time. Find out again what I like and hate to do and start to use this spare time, even to the limit. After all I’m now leisure time lady.

But the most important task for me right now is learn how to have fun. Without drama, too much thinking and bad emotions. I had that once not long time ago (I’ll write it in the next post) so now I know I can do it more often.

Good news is I don’t have to figure out my core values – I’m sure of them, I know myself in that area pretty well. I know the answer to the question Who is Basia?. Those are other levels that I need to think of. Now I’m just happy and open for changes, because as we know this is the only stable thing in our lives.

Well… this is it – for now. I leave you like that, because this is basically how my life currently looks like. So, if you’re curious how it evolves in the future, consider reading more or/and following me on Twitter.

Uroki Budapesztu a kondycja Basi – relacja z CraftConf vol. 2

Po ostatnim wpisie dostałam pytanie: Czy coś w ogóle z tej wycieczki zarekomendujesz? No cóż… był gulasz, fajne towarzystwo z Polski, ładne miejsce konferencji i ławeczka nad Dunajem (zainteresowanym szczegółami mogę podać lepsze koordynaty)… Ale rozumiem – mało. Postaram się więc teraz, lecz na cuda nie liczcie Uśmiech

Dzień 2: Pierwsze zachwyty i pożegnania

Ostatni dzień konferencji rozpoczął się od tradycyjnego zaspania, pysznego śniadanka, niewybrednych białostockich żartów i tłumnego pójścia na sesje.

Chad Fowler – Keynote: McDonalds, Six Sigma, and Offshore Outsourcing: Unexpected Sources of Insight

Na keynote’a spóźniłam się sporo, ale ponieważ wszyscy bardzo go chwalili, dość szybko nadrobiłam to po powrocie. Co myślę? Że fajnie, ale d… nie urywa. Prezentacja była dobrze przygotowana i poukładana. Przedstawione sytuacje były dość ciekawie, działały też nieźle na wyobraźnię. Na przykład od tej pory, kiedy tylko jestem w McDonald’s, albo chociaż widzę ich szyld, wspominam ideę marketingową z początków tej firmy. Myślę: Jem kopię hamburgera Uśmiech. Ale wracając do samej sesji – znów nie do końca zrozumiałam, co było jej tematem przewodnim i brakowało mi tego. Ale to chyba jest problem wielu dzisiejszych prezentacji. Wciąż też szukałam tego czegoś niesamowitego, o czym słyszałam z wielu ust. Może po prostu zawiodłam się przez rekomendacje?

Aż strach pisać dalej…

Gerard Meszaros – Find the Right Abstraction Level for Your Tests

Poza faktem, że slajdy wyglądały jakby ktoś je przerobił z folii do starodawnego rzutnika (i to jakimś kiepskim konwerterem), dodał pstrokate kolory i  śmieszną czcionkę, wystąpienie było naprawdę dobre.


Już na początku okazało się, że nie dostanę tego, czego się spodziewałam, po tak atrakcyjnym tytule. Jednak mimo, iż nie było tu może nic rewolucyjnego, temat przedstawiony został bardzo rzetelnie i przystępnie. Tytułowy poziom abstrakcji okazał się ładowaniem logiki do odpowiednich klas, a sesja poprowadzona była w formie refaktoringu – na prezentacji co prawda, ale zawsze.

Nie mogliśmy wytrzymać do końca i pierwsze dyskusje nawiązały się już w trakcie wystąpienia. Slajdy jednak raziły i już mi chyba nikt nie powie, że nie mają one znaczenia. Natomiast kilka poruszonych kwestii prześlizgnęło się nam nawet do późno wieczornych rozważań podrinkowych.

Nat Pryce, Steve Freeman – Building on SOLID Foundations

To od początku był long shot. SOLID na poważnej konferencji w dzisiejszych czasach? Srsly? Przypomina mi się pierwszy DevDay… Ale ja mimo wszystko lubię taką tematykę, więc zazwyczaj się na nią nabieram.

Niestety potem było tylko gorzej. Dwie osoby mogły wprowadzić dużo dobrego mimo słabego przedmiotu sesji, ale ci panowie temu nie podołali. Jeden z nich (ten po prawej Uśmiech) momentami ratował prezentację, ale człowiek łatwo o tym zapominał, gdy do głosu dochodził drugi, który co kilka zdań podchodził do laptopa i czytał ze notatek (sic!). To było strasznie lame. W sesji podobało mi się chyba jedynie porównanie różnych styli architektur do włoskiego makaronu Uśmiech

Jevgeni Kabanov – Data-Driven Software Engineering

Wyglądało zachęcająco, ale okazało się ze tytułowe data to… dane statystyczne. O wpływie na produktywność i jakość. Pominę już fakt, że dla mnie badanie produktywności programisty to jakiś pomysł rodem z kosmosu, ale pewnie mogę sobie wyobrazić jakieś metryki, które wypluwają mniej lub bardziej sensowne liczby. Niech więc będzie. Natomiast jakość? No cóż, to już dla mnie totalna zagadka. Ale pewnie się nie znam na tych mądrościach i po prostu wszystko hejtuję.

Z tego co pamiętam obydwie te wartości brane były z ankiet pracowników, więc jakoś zagubił mi się ich obiektywizm. Stąd też nie rozumiem, jaki sens miało przedstawianie kilkuprocentowego wpływu takich czynników jak udział testerów w procesie czy refaktoring. Dla mnie nie było żadnego – wiec wyszłam. Słyszałam, że potem coś się poprawiło, pojawiały się wpływy kilkudziesięcioprocentowe. Ale średnio w tę poprawę wierzę. Jeśli więc kiedyś zdecyduję się obejrzeć tę sesję, to z pewnością nie będzie ona moim priorytetem.

Stefan Tilkov – Architecture War Stories

No i wreszcie! Świetne prowadzenie, życiowy temat i mięso. Czyli to co Basia lubi najbardziej Uśmiech Żeby wiele nie zdradzić (bo tę prezentację trzeba koniecznie zobaczyć) powiem jedynie, że wystąpienie dotyczyło historii kilku projektów i absurdów związanych głównie z projektowaniem architektury, ale również z obowiązującymi w nich procesami czy metodykami zarządzania.

Momentami miałam nawet wrażenie, że uczestniczyłam w niektórych z nich Uśmiech. No i natchnęło mnie to do zrobienia podobnej prezentacji z moich doświadczeń. Dokładnie w tym momencie Stefan stwierdził, że on już wpadł na ten pomysł i od teraz tylko takie tematy zobaczymy w jego repertuarze Uśmiech

Greg Young – Polyglot Data

Już kilkanaście minut przed prezentacją, w sali zaczęli się zbierać grouppies Uśmiech Greg zaczął świetnym hasłem, którym od razu wszystkich rozbawił, a jednocześnie skupił. Jak to on – był świetnie przygotowany do tematu, którego przecież był autorem. Ta sesja powinna również być pozycją obowiązkową!

I tak właśnie konferencja dobiegła końca. W tym momencie pozwolę sobie na kilka uwag dotyczących organizacji. Właściwie moim zdaniem można się przyczepić jedynie do dwóch rzeczy:

  • Brak przerw między sesjami, powodował, że się w praktyce zazębiały.
  • Mniejsze sale miały problem z miejscami siedzącymi, a także ze stojącymi Uśmiech, gdy było zbyt dużo chętnych na daną prezentację.

Wieczorem pierwszy raz wybraliśmy się w szerszym gronie w bardziej turystyczną część Budapesztu. Po burzliwej dyskusji nad miejscem, zjedliśmy pyszny posiłek – przynajmniej ja, Mirek i Andrzej, bo reszta jadła coś innego Uśmiech.


Tego wieczora pożegnaliśmy wcześnie część towarzystwa, z uwagi na wieczorne i poranne powroty do domów. A ja się pytam po co? Nie można było zostać na weekend? Zupełnie tego nie przemyśleliście. Adamie – specjalnie dla ciebie, poniżej uwieczniona jedna z naszych ostatnich wspólnych chwil w Budapeszcie.

adam i ja

Dalsza część wieczoru odbyła się w fantastycznej knajpie. Nazwać ją jedynie hipsterską, byłoby lekkim nadużyciem.Zaadaptowana została z podwórka, a zagospodarowane lokale kryły w sobie wszelakie dziwactwa, jakie może podsunąć wyobraźnia. Nie moja co prawda, ale czyjaś na pewno Uśmiech Ciekawym (choć nie najoryginalniejszym tam) siedzeniem była polowa wanny, chętnie przez nas wykorzystana. Chociaż niedawno miałam okazję zobaczyć ten sam patent w Gdyni w knajpie stylizowanej na lata PRLu.


Chyba trochę jestem już za poważna (czyt. sztywna), by się aż tak jarać barem, czy jego wystrojem. Niemniej jednak muszę uznać kunszt osób, które się tym zajęły. Z jednej strony zrujnowane ściany, z drugiej elementy sztuki nowoczesnej, z trzeciej psychodela jakaś. Dla mnie – majstersztyk.

Zebraliśmy się dość wcześnie, bo zmęczenie trochę nas złamało. Jednak po drodze złapaliśmy drugi wiatr i tak intensywnie spędzony dzień trzeba było uczciliśmy browarkiem na … przydunajowej ławeczce Uśmiech

Dzień 3: Zwiedzanie i umieranie

Rześcy i gotowi zebraliśmy się całą kupą (tak, tak, znów białostocką, choć zupgrade’owaną o przyjezdną tego dnia Joasię), by rozpocząć podbój Budapesztu i jego zabytków. Poprzedniego dnia umówiliśmy się z Mirkiem i jego rodziną, by razem zaliczyć zwiedzanie. Zebraliśmy się więc w kierunku parlamentu, by paręset metrów przed nim usiąść w knajpce w środku jakiegoś parku. I tak nie wiadomo skąd, zrobiła się godzina 13. Po drodze odnalazł nas Gutek, ale szybko oddalił się w swoją stronę, zresztą tak samo jak Marcin. Chyba ocenili nasze tempo i postanowili jeszcze dzisiaj coś zobaczyćUśmiech.

A my posileni piwkiem ruszyliśmy dalej. Po parlamencie odłączyli się od nas Robert z Joasią, a reszta skierowała się w stronę wzgórza zamkowego. Wjechaliśmy tam kolejką Sikló i to chyba było dla mnie ciekawsze niż cały ten zamek. Wkrótce poczuliśmy też głód, naszą uwagę skupiło więc poszukiwanie odpowiedniego lokalu gastronomicznego. Rozsiedliśmy się tak miło przy gulaszowej i kolejnym browarze, że niestety przegapiliśmy godziny otwarcia Kościoła Św. Macieja. Na szczęście baszta rybacka otwarta jest cały dzień Uśmiech Było tam po prostu pięknie.

I od tego momentu zaczął się dla mnie dramat… Obcierające buty zaczęły mi bardzo dokuczać.Kilka kilometrów dalej (w mojej głowie sto, ale w rzeczywistości może ze dwa) moje ciało odmówiło posłuszeństwa. Usiadłam i powiedziałam: Dalej nie idę. Ale ponieważ poszłam (dzięki Basiu za pożyczenie japonek), chyba do końca nie wszyscy wzięli mnie na serio. Niewierni – nie zdawali sobie sprawy, że gdy mówię o braku kondycji, to jest to szczera prawda i tylko prawda. Towarzystwo (a szczególnie Karol) stali się w końcu ofiarą wykończenia mojego organizmu. Gutek, który odnalazł nas po raz drugi tego dnia, dość szybko uciekł od naszych kłótni Uśmiech

Zbawienna okazała się Meggy, gdyż szlaki wędrowne ponownie skierowały nas w stronę Bálna Budapest. Na szczęście po pewnym czasie wstąpiło we mnie drugie życie i byłam w stanie wieczorkiem rozkoszować się atmosferą kolejnej fajnej knajpy, umiejscowionej w podwórku. Można było tu spróbować kilkudzieściu gatunków piw, pojawiło się więc kilka konkursów, kto zasmakuje ich największej liczby. Ta impreza była dla mnie osobiście okazją do zawarcia nowych znajomości (tak Michał, o tobie mówię) i chwilowej chociaż rezygnacji z towarzystwa wzajemnej adoracji.

Dzień 4: Rezurekcja i reumieranie

W niedzielę już prawie nikogo nie było “na mieście”. Większość rozjechała się tuż po śniadaniu lub jeszcze wcześniej. Dzień zaczęliśmy więc z Pawłem ok. południa Uśmiech Przypomnieliśmy sobie o Marcinie i razem popłynęliśmy tramwajem wodnym na wycieczkę po Dunaju. Ze względu na zakwasy i wspomnienia dnia poprzedniego, była to preferowana przeze mnie forma uprawiania turystyki. Niestety stateczek dość się ociągał, a mieliśmy w planach jeszcze coś zobaczyć i oczywiście zdążyć na samolot. Trzeba było się więc ewakuować w okolicach Wyspy Św. Małgorzaty.

Nie znalazłam w sobie tyle siły by całą drogę powrotną przejść pieszo, chłopaki stali się więc ofiarą mojej pospacerowej traumy. Mam nadzieję, że bardzo nie narzekają, bo starałam się jak mogłam, a przy okazji poznaliśmy uroki budapesztowego transportu publicznego. Zahaczyliśmy jeszcze o wczorajszy (dla mnie) zamek i Kościół Św. Macieja (gdyż znałam już drogę), ale odpuściłam tym razem zwiedzanie na rzecz ocienionego miejsca na schodach i schłodzonego tokaja (btw. świetny pomysł, Paweł Uśmiech). Ostatkiem sił (i za pomocą tramwaju) doczołgałam się z powrotem do hotelu, skąd czas był już wracać. Co niniejszym uczyniliśmy.

Ot i koniec relacji. Podsumowując – było świetnie, o wiele lepiej niż się spodziewałam biorąc pod uwagę tłumy ludzi (które działają na mnie stresująco), kilkudniowy pobyt za granicą (zwykle wieczorem pierwszego dnia włącza mi się homesick) oraz niezbyt wysoką jakość sesji.

Wieczory pod chmurką i ławeczka nad Dunajem – relacja z CraftConf vol. 1

Rozpocznę trochę niechronologicznie, ale narobiło mi się tyle konferencyjnych zaległości, że to, co już jest nieświeże, może chwilę jeszcze poleżeć. Poza tym, zdarzenia aktualnie, lub te co zadziały się całkiem niedawno, z pewnością są ciekawsze niż to co wydarzyło się w dalekiej przeszłości.

Więc… pod koniec kwietnia odbyła się wyczekiwana przez wielu (w tym mnie samą) konferencja CraftConf. Już sama nazwa dawała wiele nadziei, a potem miało być tylko lepiej. Obietnica 2 dni konferencji, ciekawych warsztatów oraz meetupów zorganizowanych w tym czasie przez lokalne społeczności, ściągnęła do Budapesztu rzesze spragnionych chleba i igrzysk programistów. Oczywiście nie samym chlebem człowiek żyje Uśmiech, ale nie będę się tu rozwodzić nad tym po co jeżdżę na konferencje. Myślę, że zrodzi się z tych refleksji odrębny wpis.

Przedstawię natomiast kronikę zdarzeń widzianych moimi oczami. Może komuś zaoszczędzi to oglądania prezentacji, których nie polecam. Albo wręcz przeciwnie – polecę komuś jakąś sesję. Może zachęcę do urlopu w Budapeszcie, albo zareklamuję jakieś lokalne danie czy trunek Uśmiech Zobaczymy. Zachęcam jednak mimo wszystko do wyrobienia sobie własnego zdania na każdy z tych aspektów. Dodam jednak, że uczestniczyłam jedynie w samej konferencji, ominęły mnie warsztaty, więc na ich temat wypowiadać się nie będę. A jeśli chodzi o sesje, to konferencja zorganizowała 3 ścieżki, stąd wniosek, iż widziałam maksymalnie (sic!) 1/3 z nich. Więc sama już zasiadłam do nadrabiania zaległości i oglądania ich online.

Dzień 0: Gulasz, wino i piękny mo(n)dry Dunaj

Przyleciałam zbyt późno by zdążyć na meetupy… Niby trochę żałowałam, ale szybko okazało się, że nie jestem jedynym leniem w Budapeszcie Uśmiech Niemal prosto z taksówki zgarnęła mnie ekipa Białostocka (Maciek, Joanna, Karol, Mariusz oraz Robert) i razem poszliśmy do bardzo klimatycznej knajpy, gdzie wszyscy zakosztowaliśmy prawdziwego (na tyle, na ile byliśmy w stanie stwierdzić) węgierskiego gulaszu. Siedzieliśmy tam dłuższą chwilę słuchając muzyki na żywo, granej przez panów o aparycji członków mafii, popijając napoje orzeźwiające.

A gdzieś tam w czeluściach melanżowego Budapesztu odbywała się prekonferencyjna impreza, na którą … nie chciało się nam iść. Bardziej atrakcyjną opcją był zakup odpowiednich trunków i spożycie ich w przy Dunaju, w klimacie nieco menelskim Uśmiech. Pogoda była świetna, a mi udało się uwiecznić widok z “naszej” ławeczki.


Co prawda Robert kupił okropne drugie wino, ale z racji tego właśnie, że było ono drugie – smak przeszkadzał tylko trochę i tylko na początku. Po kilku godzinach pewna część (głównie polska) wspomnianej wcześniej imprezy przeniosła się do nas. Nie dla każdego starczyło więc miejsca siedzącego, ale panujący klimat zaowocował chyba tym, że nikomu specjalnie to nie wadziło. Dzień zakończył się późno, choć nie aż tak, by był problem ze wstawaniem następnego dnia.

Dzień 1: Sesje, imprezy i pierwsze rozczarowania

Po w miarę przyzwoitym śniadaniu zebraliśmy się na krótki spacer w stronę Bálna Budapest. Chociaż do organizacji jeszcze się przyczepię, to muszę przyznać, że chyba nie widziałam dotąd ładniejszego miejsca na konferencję – zarówno z zewnątrz jak i wewnątrz. Poniżej lista recenzji sesji, w których uczestniczyłam. Kilka opuściłam, bo było piffko, ładna pogoda, czy ciekawsze okazały się dyskusje kuluarowe. Nie mniej jednak trochę widziałam.

Bodil Stokke – Programming, Only Better

Nieco się spóźniłam na tego keynote’a, ale żałuję, że nie bardziej. Nie do końca wiem o co chodziło, ale gdybym miała strzelać, to powiedziałabym, ze o jakąś metaforę, porównanie postaci My Little Pony ze stylami zespołów programistycznych/ języków programowania/ samych programistów…? Nie w pełni to zrozumiałam. Żeby nie było – jestem w sekcie kucyków, znam bohaterki, ich temperamenty i zwyczajnie uwielbiam tę bajkę. Jednak sposób prowadzenia, a przede wszystkim monotonny styl tej pani, spowodowały, że z utęsknieniem wspominałam niedawno opuszczone lóżko.

Rachel Laycock – Implementing Continuous Delivery: Adjusting your Architecture

Wystąpienie było dość przyjemnie i zaskakująco merytoryczne, ale … nieco banalne. Dziewczyna ma 10 lat doświadczenia w IT, głównie jako programistka .Net, więc od początku poczułam coś na wskroś spotkania bratniej duszy. Ale o ile potrafiłam się z nią zidentyfikować, w dalszej części prezentacji skończyły się już porównania. Spodziewałam się ciekawszych historii do opowiedzenia, a nawet konkretnych rad-algorytmów dzięki którym zespół będzie ciągle dostarczał Uśmiech. A wyszło, … jakoś tak nijako.

Máté Nádasdi – It’s never too late to fight your legacy!

I niestety doczekałam się sesji typu Story of some project. Na każdej konferencji jest taka, zwykle jako konsekwencja sytuacji: nie mam tematu na prezentację, to opowiem o tym co robię na co dzień. Napiszę o zjawisku jeszcze bardziej szczegółowo, a teraz podsumuję tylko: ten projekt i ta historia nie były ciekawe. Wszystko co zostało powiedziane można streścić w jednym zdaniu: Projekt poprowadzony był źle, a potem zaczął się proces refaktoringu. Gdzie tu legacy? Gdzie fight?

Maciek namówił mnie bym twittnęła co tym sądze i teraz żałuję, że nie napisałam czegoś bardziej dosadnego, bo śledzenie feeda dostarczało nam o wiele więcej rozrywki niż sesja. Dlaczego się nie zmyliśmy? Bo durni usiedliśmy na przedzie i jakoś tak głupio było wychodząc pchać się przed kamery.

Poza tym, stwierdziliśmy, że wytrzymamy, bo za chwilę miała na scenie stanąć … legenda Uśmiech

Eric Evans – Acknowledging CAP at the Root – in the Domain Model

No i nadeszło … największe rozczarowanie tego dnia i pewnie całej konferencji. Zapowiedź gwiazdy zwykle kreuje wiele wygórowanych oczekiwań, więc to, że nie będzie fajerwerków byłoby do przełknięcia. Ale sytuacja przedstawiała się dużo gorzej. Nieśmiertelny (bo najwyraźniej nie da się go uśmiercić) temat cargo, fatalne slajdy i przede wszystkim jednostajny ton prezentacji można podsumować jednym słowem – nuuuuudy. Wiem, ze kilku osobom mimo to sesja bardzo się podobała, może więc chodzi o moją kumatość, czy brak dogłębnego rozeznania w temacie, ale praktycznie od początku czułam się jakby ktoś odciął mi kabelek łączący uszy z mózgiem. Nie zrozumiałam prawie nic, a po chwili zwyczajnie słuchać przestałam.

Dan North – Jackstones: the journey to mastery

Nareszcie! Ja i cała konferencja doczekaliśmy się najlepszej prezentacji tego dnia. No suprise here – Dan po prostu dał czadu, jak zwykle. Uwielbiam metafory, a ta, która została przedstawiona w kontekście procesu uczenia się, była po prostu genialna. Sam warsztat prelegencki – nie wiem czy umiem to ująć jakoś sensownie. Każdy kto kiedykolwiek widział jakąś jego prezentację, wie co chcę powiedzieć. A kto nie widział, powinien to jak najszybciej nadrobić. Nie byłabym jednak sobą, gdybym się do czegoś nie przyczepiła. To była sesja nietechniczna, co samo w sobie nie jest złe. Natomiast (wiem wiem – wyklniecie mnie) dla mnie było w niej za mało mięsa. Zabrakło mi konkretów, wiedzy, pojęć, definicji.

I tak – szykuje się z tego kolejny wpis Uśmiech

Bruce Eckel – What Makes a Good Development Process?

Nie wiem czy to efekt niesamowitości poprzedniego wystąpienia, czy po prostu sesja była słaba, ale to co mówił Bruce wydało mi się tak nudne, że po kilku minutach postanowiłam zrezygnować ze słuchania. Teraz siadłam strategicznie z tyłu sali, skąd można było się bezpiecznie ewakuować. Obiecałam sobie, że jednak dam tej prezentacji szansę jakiej nie miała przez fatalny timing i odtworzę ją w zaciszu domowym.

Po zakończeniu części prezentacyjnej zorganizowana była impreza. Ale chyba nie wyszła za dobrze. Ludzie się zmywali dość wcześnie – jednym było za głośno, innym za gorąco, jeszcze inni zaczęli szukać miejsca gdzie można coś zjeść. Nie pomógł wiele występ niesamowitego zespołu Little G. Weevil. A choć nie jestem fanką improwizowanej (ani stylizowanej na improwizację) muzyki, to muszę przyznać, że akurat przy tej świetnie się bawiłam.

Na szczęście tuż za “rogiem” był świetny bar, gdzie znalazłyśmy wraz z Joanną nasze piwo szczęścia – Meggy. Po kilku przetasowaniach, spacerach, poszukiwaniach jedzenia (wczorajszy gulasz niektórym mocno utkwił w pamięci Uśmiech) i zmianach knajp, choć w różnych konfiguracjach i czasach wszyscy wrócili do swoich(?) łóżek.