Event Review: Google I/O Extended Vancouver

Event Info

Event Title: Google I/O Extended

Event Location: Eventbase, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Event Cost: $0 CAD

Approximate number of attendees: 50

Duration: 8 hours

Highlights

  • Watching the Google I/O videos: having not seen any of Google I/O before attending this event, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the presenters and content in the videos. I also really liked having a group to watch it with for discussion afterwards.
  • A lot of recommendations on how to stay connected, do things on your own in bits and pieces, and encouragement to participate in the community. This was invigorating and inspired me to try get involved with the Google Development community.

Lowlights

  • The venue was not the most comfortable for a developer event: cramped seating, no working surfaces, limited access to power.
  • All the videos were played at more than 1x speed. This made some of the more content heavy videos hard to follow.

Would I go again?

No. I would no go to this again because there was not a lot of value to being at the conference compared to watching Google I/O videos at my leisure. There wasn’t a lot of value added by the speakers who were there on site. There was some good networking but since this particular group is small the benefit of networking would come through regular attendance of their events.

Details

The event started off on time with an introduction from an organizer of the Vancouver Google Developer Group. The introduction did a great job of setting the tone and topics for the day: the focus is on mobile and machine learning; this is a diverse group welcoming all backgrounds and discrimination is not tolerated. The only thing that was a little off was the statement that “there are no women in tech”. That was a poorly received misstep given that there were at least 3 women in the front row and prompted a “what am I, chopped liver?” response.

The keynote from Amit Chopra was a good survey of Google I/O. He was fairly knowledgeable of the new opportunities for developers and focused on covering the breadth of topics to ensure we all got a taste of the huge amount of information covered at Google I/O. The keynote was fairly short (30 minutes). I think I would have liked to see a longer keynote with some original content from the speaker such as demos of the new developer ecosystem programs or engagement case studies. As it was, this was primarily a review of the Google I/O highlights.

Following the in person keynote, we watched the Google I/O keynote. This would explain why the in person keynote was abbreviated.

Next up was a 1 hour demo about development and deployment with App Engine, Kubernetes, Containers, and Stackdriver. I am a great supporter of CI/CD  and good devops hygeine so I was interested in what would be in this talk. Unfortunately, the presenter well prepared and the presentation was hard to follow. Firstly, if you weren’t already fairly familiar with the covered technologies, you were lost. He did not go over background at all. Secondly, he was not prepared for this presentation and there were several long pauses while he worked through his demo and waited for containers to build. The presenter’s parting line was “I hope that wasn’t too chaotic” which tells me he may have been asked to do this last minute or he wasn’t very invested in preparing well for it.

A few interesting things covered by this presentation:

  • The presenter’s team moved from AWS to App Engine to improve integration with Kubernetes and take advantage of the container and logging management.
  • You can use App Engine to configure container affinity which would be very useful for fault tolerate scaling and reducing round trip time between components
  • A single dashboard manages your code repo, your logging, your alarming, your containers, and your hosts. It seemed really easy to use.
  • App Engine will manage your master hosts for you for Kubernetes so you can avoid the former headache of managing your own master hosts in AWS (though the presenter noted that AWS is solving this problem with another service).

After the lunch break, we moved into the hands-on Flutter workshop component. Flutter is a mobile application development kit. The workshop was a self-directed walk-through of some codelabs. We watched the Flutter videos from Google I/O. I honestly didn’t get very far with this because the setup took so long (shame on me for bringing my Windows machine instead of my Mac or Linux machine).

After fluttering about, we moved into the talk on how to stay involved with Google I/O and other technical communities. Recommendations included:

  • Join meetups near you in the Google Development Community.
  • Watch Google I/O and the videos from the GoogleDevelopers channel on Youtube.
  • Stay connected with virtual communities like WomenTechmakers in your area.
  • Download the I/O app (is anyone else wondering if the Android version was written in Java, Kotlin, or Flutter?). The app provides searchability and programming.
  • Do the thing. What he actually said “Build the App” – get your hands dirty and write up the apps in the talks.
  • Follow up and do the codelabs.
  • Check out other developer events.

The final presentation was teasingly called Batman and Superman. This was a hook to get people interested and the talk mapped a Justice League super hero to a product in Google Cloud (example: Wonder Woman and her (Tensorflow) Lasso). I unfortunately had to miss the first few minutes of the presentation. This was made further unfortunate that the speaker must have had one too many cups of coffee and was going at light speed. He did eventually realize he did a 1 hour presentation in 30 minutes but I couldn’t keep up after missing the first part. The presenter was the most enthusiastic organizer and I would be more likely to go to events where he is organizing.

There was a raffle at the end for some pretty good stuff: Google Home, Chromecast, T-shirts, mugs!

Networking

  • I met a member of one of my networks that I previously only knew via online interaction. It was great to chat with him and it turns out we have similar career goals and will likely work together in the future.
  • An older Eastern European gentleman encouraged me to become a manager since it is better to be feared that pitied. There are always some weird ones.
  • I spoke with another developer asking me about how immigration for Canadians to the US working in the tech area works. I did caution that the recent disruptions to NAFTA and tighter restrictions on visas in the tech industry may result in a stronger tech scene in Vancouver (or at least I’m hoping so – Go Canada!).
  • I followed up with the Developer Team presenter and got some recommendations on certifications and which teams to apply to next time I plan to interview with Google.

van_gio

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s