Archive for the Technology Category

October 29th, 2017

Madrid + Vilnius

I’ve been collecting interesting places to my must go places list from late 20th century, and it has gradually shrunk over the years. Not every year, but like six cities in a decade. This month I multiplied the pace by visiting in two places, first a week in Madrid, Spain, and then two days in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The Madrid trip was our family’s autumn holiday. The schools closed for a week this year – the length varies from year to year, next year the length is probably three days – and we got an excellent deal from Norwegian to fly to Madrid. This combined with a centrally located, spacious, and inexpensive AirBnB flat made the week very lucrative financially. And it was not bad in other fronts, either.

Numerous Finnish families had selected the same flights, Friday from Helsinki to Madrid and then the following Friday from Madrid to Stockholm and finally to Helsinki. Seldom I’ve seen so good prices for holiday seasons.

The flights were peaceful, too, mostly due to the fact that our sons purchased Nintendo Switch console a month ago. It is an ultimate silencer – the games are true Nintendo quality and they entertain several hours without raising anger levels, unlike most other console games.

The kids continued to play the Switch for a limited period of time also in the Madrid flat, but we limited the amount to 30 minutes per day. Otherwise we might been stuck inside the flat for the whole week.

The week was low on action, as both I and Sanna have had very busy weeks in work, and there was no point having the same stress on a holiday. So, mostly we had only event per day, such as visiting a park or museum.

We toured the major museums – Reina Sofia, Prado, and Thyssen Bornemisza – and visited two parks. Then I and the boys watched Real Madrid playing against Tottenham Hotspurs in Champions League – besides being a good match, it was a thrilling experience to hear around 80 000 people roaring, singing, and yelling during the game.

I also met a few open source people both privately and in a Drupal meetup.

All in all, very good holiday in a truly nice city.

The trip to Vilnius was a bit different. I was selected to spoke in DrupalCamp Baltics that was organised for the first time ever in Vilnius – earlier locations are Riga, Latvia, and Tallinn, Estonia. I’ve been part of the organisation committee for Tallinn camps, and as the next year’s camp will be in Tallinn, it was good to be there to see how things are organised in Lithuania.

The camp was an excellent experience, a lot of good sessions, and very good discussions with people from all Baltic states. My own sessions were about how open source creates meaning to people’s lives, and how Drupal companies should focus more on growth.

As I’ve never been in Vilnius before, I took a later flight on Saturday and strolled around the city for a few hours before it started to rain. The old city is huge and nicely layers different eras. It was surprisingly worn, especially when compared to Tallinn or Riga old towns that are almost spotless nowadays. Sort of felt like being sent 10-15 years back in time.

There were way more cafes and churches than in the two other Baltic capitals. Maybe the climate is less harsh or people are more outgoing in Lithuania. Religiousness seems to grow in Baltics when you travel from north to south.

The Vilnius airport was one of the smallest ones that I’ve seen for a nation’s capital. Only fourteen gates in very compact area, a few shops and cafés, and that’s it. Walking it from end to end took like five minutes. Without Finnair’s successful Asian strategy, Helsinki airport could be of same size – but now it felt really humongous, and it is constantly being expanded.

September 30th, 2017

DrupalCon Vienna

I spent the best part of this week in DrupalCon Vienna – annual European gathering of people working with Drupal CMS.

The trip started already on Sunday with me and number of other European Drupal business and community leaders participating in Drupal Association’s strategy summit. I could participate only on Sunday due to both family items on Saturday and by booking so cheap flight ticket that it could not be changed. Anyhow, the discussion was good and a lot of progress was made.

On Monday I participated briefly in business summit and gave a talk about participating in IT associations in Finland and what my company Exove has got out of that. Had a very interesting discussion after the session and people come back to me on the topic also later the week – so it was most probably a successful presentation.

The rest of the day was spent in the community summit to discuss the future of European DrupalCon. The event is making loss in the current format and things need to change in order to have continuity for the event. Finally, I popped over to Acquia partner day for a few hours of extensive discussion about their roadmap, marketing, and sales. After their evening dinner I was well done and decided to retreat back to the hotel.

Tuesday was the keynote by Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal project. I and Michel van Velde from OneShoe, the Netherlands, have been working hard with our teams to survey the business landscape of Drupal companies. We shared the results with Dries, too, and I was thrilled to see some topics we pointed out in the keynote. It also felt good to see Exove’s logo on the slides.

The rest of the day was spent in various meetings and in the evening there was opening reception in the sponsor area. Again, I had spent all my energy and the bed in my hotel room felt so sweet.

Wednesday was very similar day, except that we had a meeting of the future of the event among a group selected by Drupal Association. I felt proud to be part of that group and will do my best to ensure a good future for the event.

The culmination of the week was the annual Drupal CEO Dinner that I and Michel have been organising for several years. The evening focused on good food in a good company, and possibility to speak freely with your peers from other companies. We also went through the Drupal business survey further during the night, and had in general good time.

I slept in on Thursday morning and run various items forward back in Finland – in other words, spent my time in Slack discussing and guiding people. Thursday is always a bit more relaxed day in DrupalCon, I popped over to marketing sprints, event future discussions, and other smaller topics before the closing session.

I am proud to say that the community pulled off quite a feat during the few days. There will be no DrupalCon Europe in 2018, as the Drupal Association will need some time to find the best concept for 2019 and onwards. Instead, Drupal Europe will fill that gap – organised by the community for the community. I am very proud to be in both of these movements.

The busy week ended – for me, others continued in coding sprints on Friday – with a volunteer dinner. I’ve been working to organise the event among a lot of other people for better part of this year, and it was nice to see most of them in the dinner. Some of them I knew from the past, but made also a lot of new acquitances.

Friday was travel day. I got to the Vienna airport early on, the idea was to go to lounge to work. Unfortunately, the lounges were all before the security control and I found that after queueing through. Fortunately, there is free wifi on the airport, so I could do my mails before boarding the plane.

This week has been one of the most memorable experiences in DrupalCon and in business in general. Maybe due to my grown involvement in doing things or then everything just clicked. Or both.

September 30th, 2016

Dublin Travelogue

I’m writing this on No. 1 Lounge in Heathrow, in between flights from Dublin and to Helsinki. I’ve spent the past week in Dublin, participating in the annual European DrupalCon.

I’ve visited Dublin once before, in 1998. Back then, the city felt quite drab and expensive. Now, it felt fresh and somewhat expensive. There has been a huge amount of new buildings erected near the docks area and the conference happened to be there – so lot of new and even futuristic vibes.

I arrived on Monday after spending my weekend with junior hockey players in Leppävirta in eastern Finland. Travelling with 43 eleven years old players and around ten adults for two days (and nights) takes it toll. I was dead tired on Monday morning after woking up 5.20 in the morning – I had spent seven hours at home between trips.

Monday was a Business Summit day that I combined with a quick visit to Acquia Partner Day and then the opening of the expo floor. The Business Summit was awesome and way better than I would have expected. Didn’t learn that much, but we had excellent posse on our table and thus had loads of fun.

My company Exove and One Shoe from Netherlands organised a Drupal CEO Survey together with Drupal Association. We got over 70 responses and analysed them before the DrupalCon. A shared press release and detailed analysis was made. We presented the analysis on Drupal CEO Dinner on Wednesday, and discussed about the results with Drupal Association. People welcomed the survey and its results so warmly that we’ll do it again in 2017.

Other than that, DrupalCon was quite normal experience. Met a lot of old friends, made a few new ones, and had numerous good discussions. The venue was the best since Munich and its location near the city centre unrivalled by any DrupalCons I’ve visited from 2011 onwards.

The event ended on my behalf on Thursday evening at the DrupalCon volunteer dinner. I was this year global track chair for the business track, helping the my local counterpart to build a comprehensive and well-balanced track of sessions. There would have been Drupal Trivia Night after the dinner, but I was so dead tired that I decided to hit the bed.

Today has been a day of wading through emails and travelling back home. The first flight was from Dublin to Heathrow where I needed to change terminals. I got nice instructions from Heathrow’s website stating that the transit time is 75 minutes. I got through in less than 30, so I’ve got plenty of time to enjoy the food here and write this entry.

September 29th, 2015

DrupalCon Barcelona

I spent the previous week in sunny Barcelona – albeit mostly inside in CCIB conference center – as my company Exove participated in DrupalCon Barcelona as a Diamond sponsor.

DrupalCons are held once a year in Europe, and also in America and Asia. So, attending to DrupalCon has been an autumn tradition for the past five years or so for me.

Barcelona was by every means an excellent city to host the event. Good weather, excellent architecture, fabulous food, and working infrastructure makes it an ideal destination.

Unfortunately I had quite a bad flu the whole week. It actually started like two weeks before the trip and I was constantly coughing and sneezing. Some days were better and some worse, but I felt a bit sick every day. Not so much to stay in the bed, but just having a constant headache and so forth.

Anyhow, I flew in on early Sunday morning – the flight left Helsinki airport at ungodly hour of 6.15 in the morning and I was already at the city at 9.00. Most of our people – eleven in total – would come on Monday and leave on Friday, so we had reserved a big apartment for everyone of us. I had to pad my stay for a night on both ends, as I bought extremely cheap tickets from Stockmann’s crazy days. And then upgraded myself to business both ways using Finnair’s campaign. I probably had the cheapest business class seat on both of my flights.

I had reserved a room for one night at both ends (Sunday-Monday and Friday-Saturday) from a boutique hotel through booking.com. What I didn’t notice when doing the reservation that the hotel was a gay hotel. Albeit heterofriendly. Frankly, I was a tad shocked at first, but found that it was actually quite a good hotel. The only cues for the orientation were pictures of tanned and very muscular lads without shirts in all hotel advertisements.

I spent Sunday strolling around the city quite aimlessly. I decided to go to Picasso Museum, but the queue was like hundred people and it moved really slowly. So I ended up coding in my room. This is the downside of visiting cities that you’ve been in several times already.

Monday to Thursday was DrupalCon. A lot of meetings, a couple excellent dinners, and standing at our booth. I was quite drenched on Thursday evening.

I rented a car on Friday and drove to Andorra. I’ve never been there before and this was like a good day to pop over. The drive took around three hours in one direction and then I spent a couple of hours in the small country. It seemed to be a tax-free haven, but I ended buying only a can of Diet Pepsi.

On Saturday I flew back to Finland. There was a warning for an air controller strike for Saturday, but fortunately it was cancelled.

I spent Sunday mostly sick at home and then visited doctor on Monday – sinusitis on both sides. Now I’m on antibiotics and hopefully getting better.

The next trip is to New York to speak in eZ Conference at the beginning of November.

February 28th, 2015

DrupalCamp London 2015

I’ve been fortunate to participate in DrupalCamp London for three years in a row – actually, as long as the Camp has been organised. This year I also had a session about making meaning by open source contributions to people near and far. The slides can be found at Exove’s Slideshare channel.

The camp is one of the largest DrupalCamps in the world and probably the largest in Europe, this weekend it hosted in total around 600 people. It is always good fun to see a lot of familiar faces and enjoy excellent discussions spiced with some sessions. I even ended up in sprints to help in a JavaScript questions the coders had.

Besides DrupalCamp, I’ve been meeting prospects and clients – we’ve been working on the UK market for a few months now, and our story has a very good traction. Of course, it takes a lot of time to convince people to buy systems from a newcomer, but we are extremely patient.

I didn’t have any time to stroll around the city – only a quick dash to Lego store – but fortunately London is such a familiar city nowadays that I can cope with this.

September 23rd, 2014

Amsterdam Calling

In a couple of days (three, in fact) I’ll be going to Amsterdam to spend a week at DrupalCon Europe. My company is a platinum sponsor of the event, and I’ll be talking, breathing, and living Drupal for one very intensive week.

Travelwise, it has been a while since I’ve been in Amsterdam for good. I was there briefly in 2012 — again in a Drupal event — but spent most of the trip near the airport and visited the city only for one dinner at a restaurant near the central railway station. The previous occasion was 2009 — very good trip, only me and Sanna; kids stayed home with grandparents…

Anyhow, this time I’ve got a weekend to both stroll around the city and network with fellow Drupalists. It is always a pleasure to have some free time to discuss and reflect things, especially after spending this week hectically organising everything and between related to DrupalCon.

March 31st, 2014

DrupalCamp Stockholm

Mere two weeks from DrupalCamp London, and I was on the road again due to DrupalCamp Stockholm. This time I had two sessions, one individual and one shared with Wauwaa’s Laurent Chollat. If you are interested in the slides, go to Exove’s Slideshare channel.

Besides one truly good and inspiring day at the local camp, Stockholm is always a fun city to spend a day or so. I arrived early on Friday — the camp was on Saturday — and spent part of the day with fellow Drupalists. And also writing a couple of offers and spending some time in telco. Thus no much time for shopping, but I’ve already discussed with my wife that we could come as a whole family to Stockholm during summer.

February 28th, 2014

DrupalCamp London

I’m currently at London, attending DrupalCamp London. Today is a CXO day and the next two days are full of Drupal goodness and meeting a lot of people.

There is a surprisingly lot of people from abroad. Maybe London is an easy destination for most of Europeans.

I continue my high-flying lifestyle in two weeks in Stockholm, where I’ll give two presentations at DrupalCamp Stockholm.

My only wish is that these events would be during weekdays, working two weeks without pauses is somewhat tedious.