NRW07 – Community Event in Wuppertal, Germany


The chaps over in Wuppertal, Germany have pulled off another successful conference: NRW07. Like last year’s NRW06, this event was held in a venue that is used to seeing heavy metal and rock act performing – a far cry from the 22 speakers and 100 attendees craving for an IT community event! Also like last year, the weather was great. In the UK, we have pretty much missed the best of the summer weather, it was nice to have three days of sunshine, even if I was indoors for a lot of the time.


My current knowledge of the German language is limited to the very basics! I even bought a Fast Talk German book (more of a booklet actually) just so I could acquaint myself with some of the more popular phrases, including travel signs and basic restaurant menus. I didn’t “get by”, or even come close, but was lucky enough to share my time with attendees and speakers who were happy to chat using English. I really must try and make the time to progress to basic conversational.


I sat in on Thomas Freudenberg’s session about Community Server 2007. Thomas is in favour of social networking and makes use of Facebook and Twitter.

Lunch was sponsored by Subway. There seemed to plenty “Subs” about, enough for three each.

After lunch, I set myself up at the back of the room that I was going to be presenting in. I sat through Roland Weigelt and Jens Schaller talking about Visual Studio anpassen und erweiter.  This session ran over in the break and as such caused my session to start a little later than I had hoped. Unfortunately I was unable to recover the time from the delayed start, I had to overrun myself – thus I was “involved” in one of the cardinal sins of presenting: delaying attendees from getting their free beer.  Fortunately, there was plenty of beer so the damage was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. In case you are wondering, the other such sin is overrunning in the session before lunch whereby you are keeping attendees from getting their food.

After my session, I sat in on Patrick Lauer’s session about Python (under Gentoo Linux). It was interesting and offered a unique approach to presentation delivery: lots and lots of very small demonstrations with audience discussion directing the course of the coding. Patrick was kind enough to share some tips with me.  One of the tips was to use Twitter as part of the build process – the team then follow the Twitter feed as a means of monitoring the build. I though this was a rather neat and innovative solution.

I was lucky enough to grab podcasts with Mischa Huschen, Thomas Freudenberg, Frank Solinske, Michael Willers, Vinzenz Feenstra, Daniel Fisher and Stephan Oetzel.  Most of the podcasts where recorded outside. Unlike the DDD5 podcasts where the rain could be heard in the background, Wuppertal enjoyed glorious sunshine. I’ll be producing the podcasts over the course of week, expect to see them appear real soon now!

There was a prize giving session that took place in a 30-minute slot after the final session of the day.   Over the course of the day attendees put their business cards into a pot. If the business card was lucky enough to be selected at random, that person won a prize. A number of books, a few products and a router were given away! Bribing the attendees with the promise of a swag bag in return for a completed evaluation form worked well!  Swag consisted of a lanyard, a mug and a T-shirt.

Quote of the day. Speakers were issued with a rather nice button down collar event shirt. It had the conference logo on the collar and the HP logo on the sleeve. I was busy practicing my session when somebody asked if I worked for HP…and then went on to ask why this was an HP event and I was working on a Dell laptop!

A Few Speaker Blogs
Lars Keller
Thomas Freudenberg
Mischa Huschen
Karim El Jed
Frank Solinski
Marcel Gnoth
Daniel Fisher
Stephan Oetzel
Michael Willers
Andreas Hoffmann

I have missed a few, please feel free to let me know and I’ll add them!

An aside
Things are so different in Europe. Travel for a start is much more efficient – trains do what they are meant to do – they just run, on time. But, having become used to the smoking ban in the UK, I must admit that I found it a “blast from the past” being amongst smokers – remember, in Scotland we had the ban in place before England, hence it being a blast from the past. Note to self: when sitting in the departure lounge at Dusseldorf airport, sit in the non-smoking section – two guys have just lit up….I am sitting just a few feet away from an open counter with food. C’est la vie I guess.

Related Posts
Oliver Sturm’s write up
My slides: Automating the Build Process Using FinalBuilder
Running NUnit Tests Using FinalBuilder
Thomas Freudenberg’s write-up of the event
Daniel’s write up

Post-event gaming
Video: NRW07 – let the games begin!

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