Why, Google, Why?

I’ve been banging my head against this one for over a day now. My loop that was supposed to run when the value that came back from the cookie was null wasn’t running. It was only after exhausting every other option that I discovered that in GWT (Google Web Toolkit), Cookies.getCookie(cookieName) doesn’t return null when the cookie isn’t found, it returns the string “null”. You know, four characters, starts with the letter “n”. WTF? That’s just plain bizarre.

TEDx Rochester

Hey, it’s been a couple of weeks of interesting conferences. Last week I went to Toronto for Stack Overflow Dev Days, and today I went to TEDx Rochester. (Hey, I did blog about Dev Days, didn’t I? Or did I just write about it on meta.stackoverflow.com? I’ll have to check that later.)

If you’re at all interested in the Internet, and the amazing ways it can bring people together to talk about amazing things, you probably have heard of TED. If you haven’t, head over to http://www.ted.org/ and watch all the videos. But don’t do that right now, because if you do you’ll never come back and I’ll just be sitting there waiting for you. TEDx is sort of an attempt to do what TED does at a local level. It’s not organized by TED, but they’re allowed to show TED videos as long as they don’t charge any money and they don’t use it for advertising. So what TEDx Rochester did was get some really amazingly interesting people from here in Rochester, and have them give talks, and every now and then they showed one of the “real TED” talks on the video screen. I think there were 6 or 7 real “talks” and 2 or 3 videos. I wasn’t really keeping count. The talks went from 2pm to 4pm and from 5pm to 7pm. There was food provided at the 4pm break.

Like any conference where there is only one speaker track, there were speakers that I found really interesting, and ones that bored my socks off. There were a couple that I really wondered why they were up there, like the woman who seemed to be showing us her life story and resume, but not really talking about how she did things or why, or the not very good improv comedy troupe. And a couple that didn’t hold much interest for me but I could see they were well done, like the Brazilian guitar guy and maybe the weird artsy dance-like movement thing.

The only real downers were that

  • the food at the break was placed at only one table (as opposed to three tables for a smaller crowd at DevDays) so the line was horrendous
  • like every conference in the world these days, the wifi SUCKED
  • and the woman next to me with the really bad breath who, during anything remotely technical and therefore interesting to me, would, every 5 minutes or so, sigh loudly and then slam herself back and forth in her chair, moving my chair and the next couple on the row. Yeah, my butt was getting pretty sore by then too, but I didn’t disturb and entire row of people because of it.

But those were minor and pretty par for the course. The conference was great and I can’t wait for next years.