I have been sorting through all of my notes and materials from last week's JavaOne conference in San Francisco and trying to collect and analyze my thoughts about it.
This was my first JavaOne and frankly, I was not impressed with the quality of the presentations. Obviously, I could only attend a tiny fraction of all of the parallel sessions, but the ones I did attend were, with about 3 or 4 exceptions, not very good.
In some cases it was because of the speaker(s); ones who should never have been allowed any where near a public speaking stage. However, in most of the negative cases, it was because of the lack of knowledge of the subject, their bias against or for one or more technologies or the simple fact that the session was nothing more than an hour long "infomercial" for their product.
I have been to many computer science conferences of a more academic bent, such as OOPSLA and other ACM and IEEE events, so I am no stranger to conferences. For size JavaOne has these beat by at least an order of magnitude, but, from what I saw at this conference, JavaOne cannot even hope to compete with these smaller events for quality.
I am very dissappointed in JavaOne.
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I was also at JavaOne - there's some truth in what you say, though I actually found the sessions very mixed, some excellent (not least Joshua "Effective Java" Bloch) and some less good. I just accepted that not all the presenters were as entertaining as him, but as long as the material was interesting, considered my attendance worthwhile. And if a presentation wasn't relevant, there was plenty else to do - the Pavilion in particular was a great place to meet people, and get invited to evening events, such as the excellent Sun Certification party, or a live podcast from the Java Posse gang. I certainly learned a lot during the week, and would go again.