Events of the past few weeks

A couple of weeks ago I went to a technology conference at CME Group, arranged by Chicago Java Users Group‘s CME Contact, @agilefugue. There were three tracks: JVM languages, handing big data (Hadoop, caching) and agile methodologies.

I attended one of the big data talks and two of the JVM language talks: Scala with Daniel Spiewak (website, twitter) and Clojure with Aaron Bedra (website, twitter). One of my goals is to learn a functional language. I was going to look at Scala, but now I am thinking about Clojure. There are a lot of braces, brackets, parentheses, arrows and other stuff in Scala. It looks like line noise to me. I am still getting used to the parentheses of Lisp.

I have been reading a few articles on Lisp (such as this one and Paul Graham’s articles), and I starting to go through Practical Common Lisp. So I will go through that and check out Clojure a bit more.

We had a meeting for the Chicago Java Users Group on the 16th. Michael Segel gave an intro to Hadoop. He is the co-founder of the Chicago Hadoop Users Group. Contact them to find out more about Hadoop. A lot of companies in Chicago are using it.

I attended a meeting for Chicago Android. I stayed for an hour, but they could not hook up one of the big screen tvs to the host’s laptop. I am starting to get serious about Android.¬† It has taken me a while to think of an app to make, but I am starting to get a few ideas. There seems to be a big push to make Chicago a big center for mobile and Android development.

I also attended a seminar put on by Morgan Stanley about private equity. The speaker was one of the founders of Hyde Park Angels. The venture capital/startup community in Chicago seems pretty big. He gave some interesting statistics about the amount of money invested in companies throughout the state of Illinois (with Chicago being about half):

  • 2008: $467 million
  • 2009: $184 million
  • 2010 (January 1-June 30): $432 million

So it looks like the economy is looking up. There is another indicator: The floor I am on at work is filling up.

 Image from Wikimedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use. Image from Bibliotheque Nationale, MS It. 81, around 1310.