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NoSQL Roadshow
On Thursday I attended the NoSQL Roadshow, a one-day conference held near Blackfriars that covered various aspects of NoSQL databases. With NoSQL databases maturing in recent years, it is time to consider how we could use them at work, and whether they could help us with solving scaling problems with existing databases, or in new product development.

Accompanied by several colleagues, I watched a series of presentations, some by the creators of NoSQL databases, some by developers who use the databases, and some by vendors. Thankfully there wasn’t too much of a sales pitch, and many of the talks were quite interesting. I appreciated the overviews that classified the various mainstream NoSQL databases, and explained some of the differences between them. There was some content on Cassandra, which was useful, but little mention of MongoDB, which is a pity as it is one of the leaders in this area. I was interested by a couple of talks on Riak, which I’d not come across before. It is a product that I’ll look forward to learning more about.


The conference was hosted at the Crowne Plaza London — The City hotel, which was pretty good, and gave us a decent hot buffet lunch. (What a joy it is to attend a conference have have real food, rather than “meeting sandwiches”.)

I suppose it is de rigueur to take note of the diversity of a tech conference. All of the speakers were, unsurprisingly, male, although there were a variety of accents. I think there were around fifty delegates, of various ages and races, of whom perhaps five were female. I counted only one slide that should not have been shown; I cannot imagine how anybody would think it appropriate to illustrate database availability with a stock photo of a prostitute and a kerb crawler.

Was also bemused by the political content of one of the talks. Why would anyone make anti-Thatcher jokes in a database presentation? And does anybody really still call her “Thatch”?

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I think the sexual slide and the political slide both come from the same place - the idea that everyone here is "just like us" and therefore all jokes are in-jokes, and appreciated in the way the person themselves feels them.

Did anyone talk to them about the inappropriateness of either thing?

I don’t know whether anybody spoke to them about it at the event, but I intend to mention it to the conference organisers. I assume there will be some form of post-conference feedback; if there isn’t, I’ll drop them an email.

While I can see that both could come from the same place, in practice I think that the chippy chappie with the lefty politics was attempting to provoke a reaction in his audience, whereas the German with the kerb-crawler slide felt that it was a suitable illustration of the point that he was making.

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