I have been following the sessions from the depth of my couch, living with a 9h time difference with everything around me, but it's always worth it: the field we are in evolves and mutates all the time, and it would be ridiculous to think that I'm done with my learning.

I always have mixed feelings regarding the conference itself: I was there when it was in San Jose before it was in San Francisco. I've been there since, multiple times. I see a mutation in my field that doesn't completely jive with me, but I understand why this is. We are hip now. It comes with benefits (I don't have to lie about my job anymore), and with disadvantages (people will say they belong to my tribe, because it's cool).

All of that to say that I will never make fun of someone who says they don't know how to do X in code. If you have a very long bathroom break, I recommend this explanation. Coding, programming, developping, it's hard. You've got to translate vaguely human demands into a logic that's definitely machinic. When you don't know how to do X, you have to learn it and that is fine.

However, the ratio of learned vs learners people has definitely shifted in the past few years. WWDC was a thing that you did if you knew that coding would be your life, and quite a huge investment of time, energy and neurons. I remember sitting for lunch (yes, there was seated lunch with all the attendees, and we'd compare scars and anecdotes, discuss issues with frameworks freely with engineers that weren't really supposed to disclose so much information, because we all knew that we were in the same boat) with the people who fricking wrote the Java Virtual Machine, one engineer from SETI who just released SETI@Home, and feeling very very junior. But they didn't exclude me from the conversation, and before long, the age difference was forgotten, and we were simply discussing (calmly) the advantages and disadvantages of various programming models. Spending a week at WWDC would usually overload my brain something fierce, on top of the physical exertion. I wouldn't be able to talk to non-coders for a while after that, because my brain was so full of things to try, answers to my questions, cool new things to read about, and a fistful of business cards.

From afar, and from the conversations I can have with people who come back from their migration, it seems to me that the networking has taken over and that the technical gets pushed to the labs, where you can ask questions relevant to your problem secretly, kind of, to experts from within the Fruit Company. The sessions are nice, and you can tell the presenters would looooooooooove to go into more details and geek out on specifics. But they can't because the sessions have to be 40 minutes and digestible by an audience that is potentially less invested in the minutiae.

All in all, it seems that it's less about code and more about The Message. You pull a probably very competent engineer from their lair, who is probably very interested in what they present. You put them in front of other engineers (probably) very interested in what they're about to talk about and have a million questions. And you make sure that they can't geek out about details and subtelties.

That's for later. That's for when you bump into the presenter in the hall, or when you go to the labs. So if your question is of any interest to me, or if I have the same one, I will never get the answer.

I know I sound like a bittervet. But I can't conceive my field without the built-in drive to explore and learn and dig deep that I see kind of regressing. Like on Stack Overflow, where there used to be super technical and alien questions, with threads going deep into architectures, I have the feeling that the vast majority of the open topics now are mundane, and relatively simple. It's all about the job. "How do I do X?", not "OK, I can do X that way, and it kind of works, but I'm looking for better alternatives".

That being said, the session which blew me away and was by far the most entertaining in a "you won't find that tutorial in page 1 of the documentation kind of way" was Chris Miles's advanced debugging techniques. It's quirky, it's fun, it mixes languages and techniques and dives deep into how the thing works under the hood. And it emphasizes curiosity and using your brain more than copy-pasting.

Anyways, back to work, lots of new technologies to investigate in my (non-existant) free time!