This year, StrangeLoop was a little more relaxed for me given that I had no sessions to present. Although it is exhilirating to present at a conference, sometimes it is just as fun to just be an attendee. The first session I went to was Ken Sipe's session on Gradle. I'll have to admit that I'm already a Gradle fanboy but it was nice to see Gradle coming along as a valuable component in the Java ecosystem. The next session I went to was VMs with Go presented by my friend Eleanor McHugh. I've really got to get started with coding Go. I'm really intrigued by the compile times.
Another standout was the Android Squared talk presented by Eric Burke and @crazybob, errr Bob Lee where they described the lengths they had to go through to get credit card signals over the microphone jack. If and when the video comes out, watch it. They also announced the opensourcing of a modular Android library called Retrofit. Retrofit has classes that simplify getting io, http calls, and shake events from Android devices. I'm looking forward to working it into some Android projects I'm working on.
Douglas Crockford's keynote on Open Source Heresy was really good. That's another video you should watch. In his talk, he describes how JSON came to be and how he didn't wait for a standards committee to validate or approve his efforts. He just did them and let the market catch up to him.
One of the things that sets StrangeLoop apart from other conferences is StrangePassions. It's part-party, part-geekout. The entertainment for the party are short sessions on interesting topics that CAN'T be programming related. This year there were talks about brewing your own alcohol, photography, politics, and the frequent crowd pleaser lockpicking. While we find common ground in being developers, things like StrangePassions gives us an opportunity to bond on deeper terms.